Monthly Archives: June 2009

Metro column: Ferry boss laments state of maritime travel

22 June 2009 05:35

Just because Ihab Shaker is disenchanted with the state of passenger ferries in Metro Vancouver doesn’t mean he’s planning on sailing away from the region anytime soon.

The owner of Coastal Link Ferries — which serves walk-on commuters between Bowen Island and downtown Vancouver — fumes over the uneven playing field for his privately run service, and the layers of bureaucracy he is constantly up against.

But far from giving up in the face of adversity, the sea captain is gamely expanding his business.

Since the winter, he has tripled the number of sailings between Bowen’s Snug Cove and Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. An upswing in customers has naturally followed.

More recently, according to Shaker, he has reached an agreement with the Port of Vancouver to construct a new, albeit modest, terminal for his ferry between the SeaBus station and the Helijet landing pad on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Commuting, Environment, Marine transport, Politics, Tourism, Transportation

Metro column: Sad end for Japantown’s field of memories

15 June 2009 05:27

Later this week, the Vancouver Canadians baseball team will play its much-anticipated season opener at Nat Bailey Stadium.

Expect the scene to be an upbeat one — from the singing of Take Me Out To The Ball Game to Little Leaguers cheerfully chasing foul balls in the bleachers.

But not far away, in the Downtown Eastside, a far less happy baseball story is being played out.

At Oppenheimer Park, in Vancouver’s old Japantown neighbourhood, the historic playing field of the Asahi baseball team is being demolished. The City of Vancouver is removing the ball diamond as part of its renovation of the park. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Environment, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Politics, Protest, Sports, Vancouver

Metro column: Cycling plan goes beyond lip service

08 June 2009 05:21

Last week, while cycling home from the office, I was almost flattened by a car charging through a red light. This came moments after I was nearly run off the road by another careless motorist who mistook my bike lane for a turning lane of his own.

Welcome to Bike Month in Metro Vancouver.

This being June, the annual push is on to get locals onto this more sustainable mode of transport.

But don’t be fooled by the cheery speeches or beefed-up Critical Mass rides: Bike mode share — the number of cyclists on the road compared to motorists, transit riders or pedestrians — is disappointingly small in this region. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Environment, Events, Health, Transportation, Urban Planning

Metro column: Breakdown leaves customers in the dark

01 June 2009 05:26

TransLink is on a roll these days.

Sparkling mega-projects like the Canada Line and the Golden Ears Bridge are nearing completion. For cyclists, the Central Valley Greenway will be completed at the end of this month. Needed upgrades are happening across the transit system.

So it’s a shame that when TransLink screws up, it has to do so in royal form.

A case in point is the No. 44 bus service. At the best of times, it is a frustrating, unpredictable affair — complete with pass-ups, overcrowding, and third-rate scheduling.

But at the worst of times, it simply doesn’t show up. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Transportation