As public transit for a major city we have been wondering why TransLink does not have continuous public internet along the system, and why there are no washrooms, because it is a human need and everyone needs access to washrooms. We have been exploring those issues for some time in Price Tags.

TransLink has now announced that free access to internet service is coming, and will be offered on SkyTrain, the SeaBus and on transit.

As the Vancouver Sun noted, there had been cut and paste internet service offered at SeaBus terminals and on the SeaBus, but service was not extended beyond these locations. Working with Shaw the idea is to provide uniform service across the transit network, with the proviso that such coverage will take six years to be completely implemented. And yes, you will be able to access the internet even if you are not a Shaw customer. Trials will start next year, and the complete internet coverage of the public transportation system is said to the first in Canada.

And to make matters even more comfortable and convenient, the TransLink Board has approved the development of a strategy to provide washrooms on the system “over the longer term”.

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There is an extraordinary video on YouTube with Vancouver television host Jack Webster taking an early ride on the SkyTrain from New Westminster to downtown in January 1986. The video has some funny angles~Mr. Webster whose Scottish brogue made him often undecipherable has to pay fifty cents for a senior’s fare on the bus, and does not have the change. He has to dismount the bus and walk across to the station, something he grouses about.

He is greeted by Michael O’Connor, who was the Chief Administrative Officer for the former “GVRD”, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) and later became head of B.C. Transit.  Mr. O’Connor now heads up NaiKun, the project harnessing wind power off Haida Gwai. The “Mr. Hodgson” who is chairman of the GVRD board is actually the highly respected  Stuart Hodgson who was the first Commissioner of the Northwest Territories and worked at bringing services to run at the  community level in remote arctic towns.

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Occasional Price Tags contributor Tim Davis explains why he LOVES Amsterdam (and provides the photos).

A neighborhood in the far northwest section of Amsterdam’s core, where Amstertourists rarely venture.

 

It shows the incredible cycling and transit infrastructure found in a typical Amsterdam neighborhood. You get to see how people really live, away from the tourist shops.

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Six years after the adoption of Transportation 2040 by city council, work continues to expand and connect the downtown Vancouver cycling network.

Up next are upgrades to an extension of the Richards Street protected bike lane, from Cordova to Pacific, to provide better access to downtown, and of course the commensurate infrastructure for the safety and comfort for people of all ages and abilities. (Can you say triple-yay?)

An open house is happening next week where the public can ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed design:

Thursday, December 6
4pm to 8pm

Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch
Promenade Trade Fair (North End)
350 W Georgia Street

Can’t make it? You can be part of the consultation — check out the design boards and information displays, then:

 

 

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Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Richmond City Council  seem to have had a bit of inside information when they sent a letter to the Province regarding the  review of the multi billion dollar proposed Massey Bridge. As reported in the Richmond News  the letter reiterated that Richmond ” as council, think the best option is to upgrade the existing tunnel and to twin the tunnel.”

And as MSN.com reports, it turns out that Claire Trevena the Provincial Minister of Transportation  has already met with the Richmond mayor and staff on November 14th. On November 26 the following memo was sent to Council which stated:

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Of course it makes intuitive sense that active transportation users and bus commuters would frequent retail businesses more often than those constrained by  vehicles. But it is always better to have the hard facts on this data, and researchers in the City of London England have done just that.

Transport for London (TfL)  in Great Britain has released a new study  with some staggering statistics about what happens when street improvements are made to facilitate walking and cycling. Time spent on retail streets increased by 216% between shopping, patronizing local cafes and sitting on street benches. Retail space vacancies declined by 17%.  London’s Business Improvement Districts are 90% in favour of more street improvements to facilitate pedestrians, and 85% in favour of better facilities for cyclists.

But the best news, and this is also in line with research conducted in Toronto and in New York City “people walking, cycling and using public transport spend the most in their local shops, spending 40% more each month than car drivers”.

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Durning picked this feature by Chris Bruntlett in the Brisbane Times:

Bike city, great city: How Vancouver can inspire a better Perth

In 2008, when Vancouver’s newly elected mayor proposed taking out a general traffic lane of a busy city bridge and replacing it with a protected bike lane, some pundits predicted it would be the end, not just the beginning, of his political career.

Television helicopters were sent to capture the impending “carmaggedon”. A prominent business leader declared it would “choke the lifeblood out of the downtown”.

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A tweet from Chris and Melissa of Modacity, touring Australia:

When Perth’s new 60,000 capacity Optus Stadium opened earlier this year, the state government decided not to build *any* public parking (patrons are offered free transit).

Instead, they built the Matagarup Bridge: a spectacular $91.5M. walking/cycling crossing of the Swan River.

 

 

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