Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

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Tour Guide

Share with us an image, or two, or three, (or more!) of where you live. For bonus points, tell us what it is about the photo(s) that you love.

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Vancouver BC sits on the Burrard Inlet, one of the finest natural harbours anywhere. I recommend using the SeaBus to get across it – at weekends and in the evening one of the cheapest harbour tours anywhere.

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Vancouver has magnificent beaches, clean water and very safe swimming. Tourists tend to go for the “standard sights” like Stanley Park, or the Steam Clock in Gastown. I would recommend you set aside some time just to relax, go sit on the beach and admire the scenery.

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If you feel like a bit of exercise go for a walk in the woods. On the North Shore are a couple of reservoirs in closed watersheds, with old growth forests and many trails. This one is Capilano but Seymour is just as good.

Written by Stephen Rees

February 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm

What Vancouver Streets will look like

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A powerpoint presentation by Dale Bracewell (Manager of Transportation Planning, City of Vancouver) via Twitter

Three sample slides

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Download the complete presentation

Written by Stephen Rees

February 1, 2018 at 2:38 pm

Vancouver Mural Fest – part four

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Looking at the photos posted by others, it dawned on me that the map was if not unreliable perhaps a work in progress. So I set out again to cover the gaps.

In the mosaic click on any image for a larger version

And, once again, a number of murals were incapable of being captured into one shot so I have been doing some stitching again. These images are all on the flickr album and the Mural Festival site is also being updated with much more information, some of which I have copied here and to flickr.

Click on the image to be taken to the flickr page to get a much larger version

DAVID SHILLINGLAW - "We Are Croutons Floating in Cosmic Soup"

DAVID SHILLINGLAW – “We Are Croutons Floating in Cosmic Soup”

Artist Statement: The mural explores aspects if the human experience. Signs and symbols, patterns and forms that attempt to communicate a universal language. Inspired by board games and hieroglyphics, my mural works create a visual space to visually negotiate, a collection of separate parts that connect and can be read in multiple directions. The content is full on bold colour forms, a collision of shapes, some recognisable, some more ambiguous.

Kids at Heart

This one is not actually part of the festival: it was painted by Kids at Heart and is at the Beaumont Gallery

JENNY RITTER - Community Mural left
Community Mural - right

Two halves of the Community Mural

This mural is an exploration of water, as illustrated by artists and musican Jenny Ritter. Imagery includes, swimming, boats, creatures etc. Using a monochrome palette of blues, members of the community painted the mural using a paint by numbers technique.

Trees Burn While Flowers Bloom
TYLER KEETON ROBBINS – “Trees Burn While Flowers Bloom”

“Artist Statement: Look closely at the brush strokes – you will see trees, flames, smoke, yet blossoms. This mural is based off a painting depicting British Columbia’s natural ecology, how it is currently being impacted and in turn how nature and we as a community overcome.”

Carson Ting "Ride Wild"
Carson Ting “Ride Wild”

In this piece, we depict to arms reaching from both ends of the mural. In the middle, we have two stationary vehicles waiting at the light. On the left, we see a large arm and hand holding a wheel entering the scene to help fix a broken black car. The left black car has opened up like a Russian doll to reveal a rabbit character sitting on a bicycle. In a similar fashion, the right side depicts a yellow car held by a giant hand. The yellow car also reveals a rabbit sitting on a bicycle inside. The concept behind this mural is based on a fun portrayal the modern commuter’s psyche in Vancouver. We are often faced with the dilemma of whether we should drive or cycle to our destination, but deep down we are often caught longing to be riding freely on our bicycles. This piece will hopefully help remind us to break out of our reliance on cars and ride our bicycles as free as wild rabbits. This mural is generously supported by Native Shoes.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Art

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Vancouver Mural Festival

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The festival ran from August 7 to 12 but, of course, the murals themselves will last a lot longer than that. Thinking to avoid the crowds, I went out the day after the festival events were over, but there were still plenty of people out taking pictures. Other blogs are already ahead of me with their postings and so far I have only covered those near Main Street from 14th to 4th. There’s a lot more to come but to get a taste of what else is out there see Ken Ohrn’s series on Price Tags. His pictures show many of the murals being created.

Click on the image in the gallery to see the larger version
Check out the festival’s page for artist details and so on – I have added a copy of their map at the bottom of this post.

 

Some of the murals were much bigger than I could get into one shot so there are some much larger, stitched panorama images on my flickr stream

VMF 2016 GODZILYA

Actually from the 2016 Festival but one of my personal favourites

Native Education College

Native Education Centre

Hoot Suite

And only in that last one was I unable to get a clear shot without people. I do not understand why so many were getting themselves photographed in front of the murals. This last one is on the Hoot Suite building.

Vancouver Mural Festival Map

Vancouver Mural Festival Map

There are now three further posts that cover the murals not shown in this one. There is also a flickr album of all of these pictures, which are downloadable at their original size and covered by a Creative Commons license.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 13, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Arbutus Greenway North End

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We walked from Valley to Granville Island today. Since I was on foot there are more photos than the last episode.

Arbutus Greenway North End

A woodchip trail has now been laid parallel to the blacktop between King Ed and 16th.

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It would appear that some of the neighbours have needed to adapt a STOP sign to something more needful.

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The first bike rental station I have seen on the Greenway itself, but I am still not tempted to use them – they are just too pricey. $7 a day – as long as the none of the individual rides is longer than 30 minutes.

Arbutus Greenway North End

The crossing at 12th seems to be utterly contrary to the City’s stated priorities: cyclists are expected to get off and walk their bike down to Arbutus street and back again.

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From 10th to Broadway is the only section that has not yet seen any blacktop.

I have not taken any pictures of the crossing of Broadway since there isn’t one. There is also no signage. One group of cyclists we saw were riding in circles trying to see what it was they were supposed to be doing. The answer of course is to walk to the existing crosswalk at Arbutus Street.

Arbutus Greenway North End

There isn’t any official public art on the Greenway yet but this piece seems worthwhile.

Arbutus Greenway North End

This is the City’s poster on the trail – actually almost at the same point where the photo was taken before it was photoshopped to show the chip trail and “divided” blacktop.

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It was a nice day today

The crossing of Burrard Street is all in place but just not working yet. Even so, compliance seems admirable. Down at the Fir Street playground things seem to fizzle out. Like the southern end there is no signage but at least the right of way between 5th and 4th has been kept clear of parked cars, unlike the following sections.

Arbutus Greenway North End

Written by Stephen Rees

March 25, 2017 at 4:03 pm

“Increased B.C. tanker traffic will be safe”

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This is the claim by Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau, which is examined in a CBC documentary. There is no commenting permitted under the article on the web page.

So I posted this to facebook instead

I read the article, I listened carefully to the video report. There were many references to “products” “diesel” and even “Alberta oil”. But what will be coming down the pipeline and will be shipped on the tankers – and transhipped to super tankers somewhere offshore – is diluted bitumen. And that is not a “product”. It is not even crude oil. It is heavy tar mixed with sand that has had about a quarter of its volume added with natural gas liquids. Diluted bitumen. In a spill the diluent evaporates, and tar sand sinks. It has been years since the Kalamazoo river spill – and that is far from clean. No one in this documentary talks about dilbit.

And dilbit sinks. It is not recoverable and pollutes for a long time. And we need answers that are appropriate to the problem. Talking about diesel – or even bunker C, the guck that spilled in our harbour recently from a bulk grain carrier – is not relevant. The risks of a dilbit spill have not been presented or assessed in this report. How can they say it will be safe?

And just in case you think that because dilbit sinks it won’t be an issue, let me remind you of this

Not enough is known about the impact oilsands bitumen could have on ocean plants and animals to assess the risks of moving it through marine environments, according to a new study.

“Basic information is lacking or unavailable for several key sources of stress and disturbance, making it impossible to carry out a complete risk assessment,” said the paper, which draws its conclusion from an examination of more than 9,000 papers on oil and the environment.

The paper has been peer reviewed and will be published next month in the journal Frontiers in the Ecology and Environment. Although it has been shared with the federal government, it has not been publicly released.

That was in the Vancouver Sun on November 30

I did write to the West Coast Marine Response Corporation, and this is what I got back

We did discuss diluted bitumen with the CBC, but that portion of the interview was not included in their final edit.

The body in Canada that is responsible for looking into the fate and behaviour of hydrocarbons in the ocean is Environment Canada. They published a report in 2013 on the topic, which you can read here: https://www.ec.gc.ca/scitech/6A2D63E5-4137-440B-8BB3-E38ECED9B02F/1633_Dilbit%20Technical%20Report_e_v2%20FINAL-s.pdf

For WCMRC comments on diluted bitumen, I would refer you to our submission to the TMX panel, you can read that document here: http://wcmrc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/TMX-Ministerial-Panel-WCMRC-Presentation-August-16-2016.pdf

I have just started reading the first of those reports, and was surprised to read

A diluted bitumen blend spill occurred in 2007 from a pipeline operated by Kinder Morgan into Burrard Inlet, Burnaby, B.C. (TSB, 2007). The product spilled was Albian Heavy, a blend of synthetic crude oil and heavier oil sands product. Approximately 224 cubic metres of oil were released, with 210 cubic metres being recovered (TSB, 2007). Oil escaped under pressure from a pipeline rupture. Spilled oil migrated through the sewer system into Burrard Inlet where it began to spread on the water. Approximately 15 000 m of shoreline were affected by the spill.

An assessment of the spill clean-up and environmental impacts was commissioned by Kinder Morgan five years after the spill (Stantec Consulting Ltd., 2012b). The report of that assessment indicated that spill response operations were effective at removing oil from the environment and in limiting the short- and long-term effects of the spill. Oil was recovered by skimming and booming, as well as by flushing and removal from the affected shorelines.

Though shoreline intertidal zones were oiled, most marine sediments had only a small increase in measured PAH concentrations, with 20 of 78 monitored sites exceeding water quality guidelines (Stantec Consulting Ltd., 2012b). Levels of extractable hydrocarbons and PAHs for surface water quality requirements were met in 2007. Subtidal marine sediments were monitored through 2011, with most samples having levels of PAHs below the water quality requirements. Those subtidal sediment samples that did exceed the maximum regulated PAH levels appeared to be caused by sources other than the spill. Based on these observations, only trace amounts or less of oil from the 2007 spill appear to have remained in the marine harbour sediments.

and from the conclusions

This work demonstrates that, in waters where fine- to moderate-sized sediment is present, these oils are at risk to sink, when there is a high degree of mixing energy available. However, the effects of different mixing regimes, including current flow, on oil-sediment interactions have not been examined in the present work. Comparisons to meso-scale testing in lower mixing energies by other researchers have revealed some differences between, for example, water-uptake by oils. Testing in the wave tank described in Chapter 5, moderate mixing of the oil-sediment aggregates, resulted in a suspension of the materials. Available mixing energy factors seem to have an influence on the fate of the formed oil-sediment aggregates. While the present work illustrates some of the forms that these oils may possibly adopt following a spill, more work is needed to understand the mechanisms and rates of formation of these states, and to understand the factors that govern the transitions between these fates. [emphasis added]

Written by Stephen Rees

December 6, 2016 at 9:27 pm

Arbutus Greenway Conversations

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There is nothing scientific about this: merely talking to the people we happen to meet when walking on the Greenway. I am astonished how much information people are willing to share. I think it is an affirmation of how effective the current work has been that people actually want to stop and talk about it. I have yet to meet anyone who opposes the use of black top. And on the section between 16th and 33rd where the work has been completed, I have only heard positive comments.

Today we met a woman who had been in charge of the work creating the BC Parkway (formerly the BCER right of way through Burnaby and New Westminster). She was most impressed by what has been done north of 33rd, where we met her, but was unaware of the opposition to the use of blacktop. She felt that rolled gravel was far inferior, and would be the cause of greater injury to cyclists.

“You come off on gravel, that’s gonna hurt!”

Rolled gravel greenway south of 33rd Ave

This is the unpaved surface south of the 33rd Avenue crossing: it is going to be like this all the way to South West Marine and beyond.

We also discussed the politics of the decision. There are some people who feel that the priority for City funds should be affordable housing, meeting the needs of the homeless rather than a public amenity for one of the wealthiest  neighbourhoods. “But this” she said, indicating the Greenway, “is going to be available to everyone. And it’s going to be a great place to teach children how to bicycle. I taught my kids to cycle in a cemetery. There’s not much traffic and they don’t drive fast there.” She was also unaware of the upcoming consultations, so I pointed her to the sign (actually now set up again but facing the wrong way) which has the URL of the city information piece.

“I’m going to buy a bench for it!” She had also not heard of the use of movable tables and chairs in New York City for places like Times Square.

We also met Gabriel, on his electric scooter. My partner wondered to me if he was in the wrong place – but I pointed out it was not a motor scooter, as it was silent! He told us that the scooter is speed limited [“no faster than 32 km/h on level ground“]. He was very pleased to see the improvement which eases his commute: he works in one of the houses along the way. We talked about the process of consultation. He was full of ideas about what could go along the greenway. Perhaps the most far sighted was his idea for a roundabout to replace the current complex double signals at 41st Ave and the Boulevards. He thought that a large enough public space in the middle would become a popular meeting place, if properly designed, and a great improvement in the urban streetscape.

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Earlier this week we met some people on bicycles, peering over the barriers at 16th Avenue where the gravel starts.

Rolled gravel Arbutus Greenway at 16th Ave north side

They were not inclined to proceed further, and turned around to retrace their route back up to Kerrisdale. They had some fairly pointed views on those who opposed the use of blacktop.

POSTSCRIPT I have just read another blog post in the form of a letter to Council on the issue from the perspective of someone who uses a wheelchair. Essential reading, I think,  for a number of reasons.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 10, 2016 at 7:08 pm