Resolving Timeline Issues

Posts Tagged ‘transit

The other day we got our annual snowfall. I really have no idea how much it was because we barely got a skiff of snow. Of course now its rather cold out, but clear – which is nice (except that my car desperately needs a carwash and I can’t do that until it warms up a bit or the locks will freeze).

A few things about the weather in Lotusland:

1. We’re never satisfied. Its either raining too much, or its too cold or its too hot. Or its too humid. Or its too [insert word of choice here].

2. We don’t know how to drive in the snow. Most of us run around all year on all-season radials expecting them to take care of us. Then we’re shocked when they don’t in the snow.

This is a pet peeve of mine. I have two sets of tires because I live at the mouth of the Fraser Valley. Both have their own sets of rims so its really just a matter of getting the all-seasons swapped out for the snows in October/November (usually thanksgiving).

BUY A SET OF WINTER TIRES FOR YOUR CAR ALREADY. Then you won’t be stranded when transit isn’t running because of the snow. According to the local news, on Saturday there were 44 accidents around Lotusland – there are normally about 3.

3. Transit in the snow here sucks. Last year sometime, transit up to Simon Fraser University stopped before the university shut down for snowfall. People were stranded. On Saturday night, transit basically stopped serving the downtown core.

Drivers were told to avoid driving if conditions were too dangerous; many just parked their buses and went home. But don’t go blaming the drivers, folks. According to one comment on that article I linked above there: “Yes the drivers are struggling with not only shortages of buses, service and support in normal weather, but bald and rain tread tires which give no traction whatsoever in icy and snowy conditions!  Hence the clear directive from company to park the vehicles, and the decisions by responsible drivers to stop/wait for plowing, salting and sanding to meet safe driving standards.” [emphasis mine]

Let’s rephrase that: TransLink is refusing to supply winter tires for its buses. Not economically responsible you know, since we’ll only need them once or twice a year.

I’ve written about my beefs with TransLink before. Of course, my biggest issue is that its a private board  that’s deciding how to spend my tax dollars – Lotusland residents have NO SAY in how its spent, what kind of service they get and when.

What it boils down to: take some responsibility for yourselves, people. I know its a sucky time of year to possibly miss out on a day’s pay, but a lot of the time its safer to stay home if you’re not prepared for the weather than to go out.

In the meantime, some pointers:

  • get some snow tires for your car, if you have a car. They may save your life.
  • Get some appropriate boots/shoes for walking. If you must, get something like yaktrax to make sure you don’t slip and hurt yourselves on icy sidewalks.
  • Shovel your sidewalk if you have one. Its your responsibility.
  • Dress appropriately; don’t expect roads to be plowed and transit to be running. Be ready to walk if you have to: coat, hat, gloves, scarf layers, warm boots.
  • Bring an extra pair of socks along – they may get wet.

Anywhere else in Canada seems to get this. Lotusland, on the other hand, seems kind of special.

Now you’ll excuse me while I get ready to face the day with my hat, gloves, coat, scarf, snow tires and dress shoes in a bag.

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The other night, I went to a townhall meeting with TransLink where they presented their Transport 2040 strategy.

Now, at the risk of sounding forgiving, you have to realize that they’ve been given a nearly impossible task. On January 1, 2008, some new legislation kicked in that said they had to have a plan of some sort by August 1, 2008. That’s an awfully short time to develop a comprehensive, 30 year plan. So what you’ll see on this link is a strategic plan – broad brush strokes that point the way to some future.

That being said, after the meeting (and there were a LOT of angry people there – more on that later), and I said to some guy that I thought the whole plan was a load of horseshit.

I live in an area that’s not well-served by public transit. There’s the WestCoast Express which runs only during peak hours. The result of that is this morning was a mad dash in time for last train to get me downtown. I’d planned to go into work late and I did – I got there at 9:15am. There’s the 701 to Coquitlam Station which is an “express” bus – with 30 stops. There are numerous community shuttles – which are unreliable. One 16 year old at the meeting told a story of how she waited for 45 minutes for a shuttle – late at night that never came.

There is little transit east of 200th Street. And Maple Ridge is supposed to be a city centre.

There were a lot of angry people at that meeting. TransLink wasn’t even going to come to Maple Ridge (probably because they knew there was nothing in that plan for Maple Ridge) until the Mayor asked them to come. They looked sufficiently chastised, especially when they were asked no more than 4 times if they’d taken transit out to the meeting (of course not? are you crazy? THEY IS HI POWERED EXECUATIVES!)

But none of that really fazed me – its part of the reality of living here. And I love this town.

What got me what what the accountant guy said:

To me, this isn’t a plan, because its not financially sustainable.

Well, no shit, Sherlock. And yet you want to keep increasing my property and fuel taxes, and we don’t get any benefit from it?

Other highlights:

  • investing $24M in cycling and $29M in WestCoast Express over the next 10 years (do YOU see a discrepancy here?)
  • West Van has half the population of Maple Ridge and twice the bus service to downtown Vancouver (I guess that’s what money can buy you)
  • people out here want to take transit but can’t; its offensive that TransLink believes all that’s needed is a behavioural shift (FOR SHAME. It goes without saying that in order for people to change their behaviour, you have to give them the resources to do so)
  • for what it costs to build one kilometer of underground skytrain (an oxymoron, really), you can build a line of light rail from Maple Ridge to Mission.

Did you know that there’s no bus service from Maple Ridge to Mission? And that people in Abbotsford have to go to Mission, then the WestCoast Express to get downtown?

So kudos to Mayor Robson for getting TransLink out here. And more kudos to him for wanting to get Maple Ridge out of TransLink. I can tell you which Mayoral candidate out here will get my vote in November.

Edit:

Oh and a couple of days later, I found out another interesting thing: TransLink didn’t ask any municipalities for input until the strategy had been created – they weren’t considered stakeholders.

This is crossposted over at WetCoast Women  where Nicole also rants sometimes.


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