Monthly Archives: May 2009

Metro column: Politicians on slow train to nowhere

25 May 2009 05:22

This Wednesday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will travel to Portland to speak at the Cascadia Rail Partnership Conference — a gathering of transport pundits, policy wonks and politicians focused on bringing high-speed rail to the corridor stretching between Vancouver and Eugene, Ore.

The group should be especially energized, thanks to last month’s funding announcement by U.S.
President Barack Obama — pledging $8 billion for high-speed rail along major population corridors, including the Pacific Northwest.

But frustrated Vancouverites stuck in airport queues or traffic jams en route to the U.S. West Coast would be wise not to envision themselves rocketing down the I-5 corridor in a Shinkansen bullet train just yet. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under British Columbia, Cascadia, Commuting, Japan, Portland, Seattle, Tourism, Transportation, Vancouver

Metro column: Cycling and transit a winning combination

In case you haven’t heard, Bike to Work Week starts today.

The annual cycling event aims to get more working stiffs out of their carbon-emitting cars and SUVs, and onto eco-friendlier 12-speeds and cruisers instead.

I’ll admit it.

I’ve drunk the cycling lobby’s Kool-Aid.

This spring, I’m captaining a Bike to Work team at my office.

And why not? I could use the exercise and the fresh air. Besides, cycling as a viable form of commuting has come a long way in the Lower Mainland.

Yes, cyclists still have to contend with rampant bike theft, and many routes could be a whole lot safer.

But beyond these points, cycling is an enjoyable, economical and environmentally sensible mode of transport in Metro Vancouver. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Environment, Neighbourhoods, Transportation, Urban Planning

Metro column: Community gardens: Utopian and utilitarian

Nearly five years and counting.

That’s how long I’ve been waiting for my patch of communal garden in Metro Vancouver.

A half-decade ago, before the popularity of high-minded movements like organic eating, food security or the 100 Mile Diet, I had registered for a shot at green-thumb glory at the North Shore’s Lower Lonsdale Community Garden.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm for urban agriculture. To my chagrin, it turned out there were no plots available.

So I was told by an organizer that I would be put on a waiting list. And from that queue, annually, a few lucky folks would be selected for garden membership by lottery.

Year after year, I’ve been waiting for some good news about my new patch of green. But it has yet to arrive. Two weeks ago, I found out that, once again, I was a loser in the annual garden plot sweepstakes. I wouldn’t be growing carrots or cucumbers this summer.

It’s not just this one patch, mind you. There are waiting lists for community gardens across Vancouver. The supply of plots just can’t meet the growing demand. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment, Food and Dining, Green Space, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Urban Planning