Category Archives: Politics

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: SkyTrain right choice for Metro Vancouver

For a party that’s fighting for the hearts and minds of urban voters in British Columbia, one would think the provincial NDP would be trading off of its strong legacy of endorsing — and expanding — SkyTrain across the Lower Mainland.

After all, it was former NDP premier Glen Clark who brought Vancouver the Millennium Line, which has enjoyed steady increases in ridership since its completion in 2002.

Another former New Democrat premier, Mike Harcourt, is one of the most vocal advocates of building light-metro for our growing region. In his 2007 book, City Making in Paradise, Harcourt cites SkyTrain as one of the legacies from Expo 86 that saved Vancouver’s livability. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Environment, Nimbies, Politics, Transportation, Urban Planning

Metro column: Deeply troubling issues behind Seattle-Vancouver train expansion

It is astonishing that a long-awaited second passenger train connecting Vancouver to Seattle is still in serious limbo.
Why the hold-up? The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) wants $1,500 per day from Amtrak to serve this train. Not surprisingly, the U.S. rail operator refuses to cave to their financial demands.
British Columbians should be furious. Afterall, $3 million of their tax dollars helped provide extra rail capacity for this initiative. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, Cascadia, Commuting, Politics, Portland, Seattle, Tourism, Transportation

Tech blogger comes out swinging against car sharing

In response to a glowing article about car sharing published recently in the New York Times, Andrew Smith with the Dallas Morning News comes out swinging in the newspaper’s technology blog.

The justification for this “astonishingly long magazine article”, he says, “seems to be that car ‘sharing’ is an entirely new type of business that must be explained from the ground up. In reality, it’s just plain old car rental with a much more efficient system for pick up, drop off and billing.” He then takes a slightly more personal swipe against the car sharing community. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Politics, Transportation

Metro column: Writing was no Short Turn for Cox

02 March 2009 05:26

It has been an extraordinary two months for Michael Cox, the Coast Mountain Bus Company driver from East Vancouver who was fired in January because of his blog, Short Turns.

As first reported in Metro, Cox received his walking papers from Coast Mountain — a TransLink subsidiary — because of a complaint lodged about the online publication, which described his experiences driving a bus.

Cox, who was still a probationary employee, had also written about the bus service’s shortcomings during this winter’s brutal snow storms. It would prove to be his undoing. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Education, Journalism, Politics, Transportation

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