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Vancouver Diary: Movie Moment at YVR

December 15, 2014

From Dianna:

Saturday when I arrived at YVR to collect Michael I was drawn upstairs by the sound of a live piano and vocalist. A few people were dancing and on the sidelines was an older couple, she in a wheelchair, with a young woman perhaps their daughter. Luggage and coats piled alongside as they, too, enjoyed the moment.

Then, the man got up, extended his hands to the older woman who slowly rose from her wheelchair then they danced slowly and in perfect sync around the base of the Bill Reid sculpture.

It was a movie moment, but in real life.

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Ohrn Words: Bike parking at UBC

December 15, 2014

I was out on this super-duper day, riding through UBC on my way elsewhere, when this shiny new bike parking structure caught my attention. Within a very robust all-metal cage is the same dual-level rack system used by TransLink at the Main and Terminal Skytrain station. UBC has also installed a small toolkit and pump.

I like the idea of a locked cage like this, but I find that I can’t get my rear wheel into the little structure at the back of the lower rack. I do prefer to lock my rear wheel and frame to something solid, so this rack doesn’t work for me.

I may have to go back for a second look, because I think I see a motion detector in the upper left-hand. If so, in the age of inexpensive digital recorders, this makes sense.

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Charles Marohn: On the Ethics of the Transportation Engineering Profession

December 15, 2014

‘Strong Towns’ founder Charles Marohn explains the significance of this sign, using a tragic anecdote from the a small U.S. town.

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In this broadside, no words will be minced. Fortunately, his indictment does not generally apply to transportation engineers in Vancouver and many municipalities in Metro – and certainly among many if not most of the younger members of the profession.

Ohrn Image: Thoughts in Winter

December 15, 2014

A personal greeting from Mr. Ohrn to PT:

Think of this as you gaze over your rum punch and sunburned toes at the people splashing in the sea. Here’s Pacific Spirit Park, with autumn falling on top of winter.

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Thinking of more variations on a theme by tequilla, actually.

Referendum: The Wording and the Poll

December 11, 2014

The Wording:

Do you support a one half percentage point (0.5%) increase to the Provincial Sales Tax in Metro Vancouver, dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan, with independent audits and public reporting?

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The Poll:

At this point, do you believe the referendum will pass:

 

Post-Motordom in New Zealand: A Change in the Chart

December 11, 2014

From our Auckland correrspondent Darren Davis:

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New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport has done a bunch of work on future demand which, as far as I know, is the first time a Government has been prepared to fundamentally challenge the view that traffic growth will continue unabated indefinitely.

It included the following typical graph beloved of urbanists showing how traffic projections have been proven wrong only to be recalibrated form the new base to show that the resumption of traffic growth is just around the corner. The difference this time is that the Ministry of Transport is using this graph to demonstrate how wrong past predictions have been, rather than the usual “traffic growth is just around the corner” scenario. Of note, since its peak in 2004, light passenger vehicle kilometres travelled per person (VKT per capita) in New Zealand has fallen by 8%, whereas in other western countries, VKT per capita has remained static.

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“Figure 2 illustrates how our traditional forecasting models have consistently overestimated demand.”

This is clear in the following information from the Ministry of Transport’s website future demand section (my emphasis).

“New Zealanders drive nearly 30 billion kilometres each year in their cars, vans, utes and SUVs. The road network also carries 70 percent of all o

f our freight . As a nation we have built and continue to maintain a network of roads to allow us to make these trips.

The road network is worth more than $60 billion and costs more than $1 billion a year to maintain. We are planning to invest $10 billion over the next ten years to change the shape of the network to improve its quality and capacity.

This would be relatively straightforward if we knew how demand would change. The challenge we face, however, is there have recently been changes to the patterns of demand for personal travel. From 1980 to 2004 we saw annual increase in demand in the order of three percent per year. This highlighted the importance of tackling congestion and improving safety and gave us assurance revenue would grow to cover the costs of a growing network. From 2005 to 2013 total demand only grew by 0.25 percent per year.

We now face an uncertain future. We cannot be certain demand will return to pre-2005 levels of growth nor can we be certain it will remain flat. This means we can no longer rely on traditional forecasting models alone to help us to decide how to invest. Figure 2 illustrates how our traditional forecasting models have consistently overestimated demand.”

Read more…

Your Brain on Exercise

December 11, 2014

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Story in Fast Company.

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