Category Archives: British Columbia

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: 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

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

Metro column: Time for smokers with kids to butt out

After midnight tonight, British Columbians who smoke in their vehicles with children present will face more than just social disapproval. They will become outlaws.

That’s because, to mark World Health Day tomorrow, our provincial government is putting new anti-smoking legislation into effect, which takes direct aim at this behaviour.

All I can say is, it’s about time. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Environment, Health, Law and Order

Trailer parks for the homeless?

Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver-based architect, isn’t afraid of challenging local defenders of the status quo.

Last year, the principal of Henriquez Partners Architects felt the wrath of some vocal North Vancouver residents, who railed against his proposal for an iconic 40-storey highrise on the sleepy Lower Lonsdale waterfront.

The boobirds eventually got their way, and Henriquez’ design was chased away. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Culture, Environment, Events, Gentrification, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Parks, Urban Planning

Metro article: Vancouver bus driver fired over blog

February 11, 2009

A Vancouver bus driver says he has been fired for publishing a blog that describes his day-to-day experiences on the job.

Michael Cox, who completed his training with Coast Mountain Bus Company in December, started a blog called Short Turns to share with the public what he was learning about operating a bus.

“The initial impetus for the blog was for friends and family — curious about my training — but soon I got more interested in blogging about transit in general, including other cities, and was writing entries each night after my shift,” Cox told Metro in an exclusive interview. Continue reading

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Filed under British Columbia, Media, Politics, Transportation

Metro column: Will Olympic Line leave a transit legacy?

09 February 2009 05:41

With the one-year countdown to the 2010 Winter Games just days away, it’s a bit depressing to see so many British Columbians dwelling strictly on bad news associated with the event.

While well-publicized financial troubles connected to the Olympic Village are indeed troubling, they won’t cancel out the benefits arising from the Games — including everything from new recreation facilities to the build-out of related infrastructure such as the Canada Line.

Another project timed with the Games goes by the name of, appropriately enough, The Olympic Line. It is Vancouver’s modern streetcar initiative, and it could usher in a new era for public transit in and around the city’s downtown peninsula. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, British Columbia, Commuting, Environment, Heritage, Neighbourhoods, Portland, Seattle, Tourism, Transportation

Metro column: Vancouver deserves better rail travel

January 26, 2009

Last week’s inauguration of Barack Obama has not only raised the hopes of those looking for a major shift in United States foreign policy, it has also changed expectations for that country’s urban and transportation policy.

The president-elect, the thinking goes, will be looking to stimulate the economy by investing in major infrastructure projects in cities — including those devoted to public transport such as railways. Canada’s politicians would be wise to follow that lead.

Rail travel — while long neglected in this country — is now being recognized as a smart alternative to worsening road congestion. Compared to automobile or even air traffic, it also makes good environmental sense, producing less carbon emissions. Which makes it hard to understand the sorry state of inter-city passenger rail in this region.
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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, British Columbia, Cascadia, Commuting, Environment, Japan, Osaka, Politics, Seattle, Tourism, Transportation