ALERT! More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Regional Transportation Strategy

Get involved! Southwest Area Transport Plan consultation continues May 23 to June 19, 2017

Last year we began consultation for the Southwest area of Metro Vancouver that highlighted transportation improvements in Richmond, Tsawwassen First Nation, South Delta and connections to North Delta.

We’re back again with Phase 2 of the Southwest Area Transport Plan (SWATP) and we still need your help and want your input!

Take the survey from May 23 until June 19 and have your say, your way on proposed changes for this area.

What exactly IS SWATP?

I’m so glad you asked!

SWATP is a review of this area that will focus on improving transit service and infrastructure while addressing cycling, walking, driving and goods movement.

The planning process looks at customer experience, current and projected land use and development, transportation and ridership data as well as feedback from the public, stakeholders and local governments.

What is the goal of SWATP?

Proposed changes in Phase 2 aim to:

  • Provide more reliable and convenient bus service.
  • Provide Frequent Transit Network (FTN) service along key corridors.
  • Improve bus service for growing communities and large areas of employment, including industrial areas.
  • Make NightBus more direct for service to Richmond City Centre and YVR Airport.
  • Identify regionally-significant corridors for cycling investment.

How do I get involved?

Again, so glad you asked!

First, read all about the proposed changes to Southwest area at translink.ca/swatp.

Take the survey!

It just takes a few minutes of your time and you can do so by clicking here.

Attend an in-person event:

Ladner May Days
Sunday, May 28, 2017
10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Steveston Farmers & Artisans Market
Sunday, June 4, 2017
10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Bridgeport Station
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
3 p.m.–7 p.m.

Tsawwassen Farmers Market
Saturday, June 10, 2017
10 a.m.–2 p.m.

North Delta Farmers Market
Sunday, June 11, 2017
10 a.m.–2 p.m.

Pick up a paper copy of the survey at these locations:

  • Delta library branches– George Mackie, Ladner Pioneer, Tsawwassen
  • Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre (North Delta)
  • KinVillage Community Centre (Tsawwassen)
  • McKee Seniors Recreation Centre (Ladner)
  • Minoru Place Activity Centre (Richmond)
  • Richmond Centre for Disability
  • Richmond Chinese Community Society
  • Richmond Public Library branches–Brighouse, Cambie, Ironwood, Steveston
  • Tsawwassen First Nation–Administration building, Lands department office

**Please note** Surveys are available in both English and traditional Chinese at in-person events. The online survey is in English only.

The feedback you share with us from May 23 to June 19 will be considered, along with other technical and budgetary factors, as we identify transportation priorities for the Southwest area.

Thank you for participating and making your voice heard!

Need more information?
Visit the project page or sign up for TransLink eNewsletters!

Author: Adrienne Coling

TransLink commits more than $48 million to road and cycling projects

TransLink contributes to the annual upkeep and maintenance of all 600 km of the MRN.

TransLink contributes to the annual upkeep and maintenance of all 600 km of the MRN.

As you may or may not know, TransLink is much more than transit!

Did you know that TransLink is funding more than $48 million in major road and cycling projects across Metro Vancouver’s municipalities in 2016?

That’s right!

Translink has committed $9.8 million towards 16 capital improvement road and bicycle projects in 12 Metro Vancouver municipalities.

We have has also committed $38.5 million to operate, maintain and rehabilitate the regional Major Road Network (MRN).Bike infographic

The MRN is a network of more than 2,300 lane kilometres (or 600 road kilometres) of arterial roads stretching across the region that carry the bulk of the region’s commuter, transit and truck traffic.

Funds* are used by municipalities for a range of activities, from street cleaning and snow removal, maintaining streetlights, traffic signals and signs, patching potholes, and repaving.

To get the inside scoop on the MRN and other projects around the region, I spoke with one of our very own engineers, Sam Young.

What type of work do you do for TransLink?

I am a Transportation Engineer and have been with TransLink’s Infrastructure Program Management Department for about three years. We have lots of projects on the go, and I am part of a team that works closely with Metro Vancouver municipalities to fund the maintenance, operation, and upgrades to the Major Road Network, as well as upgrades to the regional cycling network. Our team also works with internal and external stakeholders to make sure that new and existing TransLink services and facilities, such as bus routes and bus exchanges, can operate safely and efficiently.

Can you tell us about how the MRN was formed?

When TransLink was formed in 1999, it became the first multi-modal transportation authority in North America responsible for not only transit within Metro Vancouver, but also cycling, roads, as well as goods movement within the region.

The MRN was born around the same time, comprising of roads across the region that were either declassified from the Province (such as Lougheed Highway and King George Highway), or uploaded from the Municipalities (such as Knight Street and Broadway). At that time, a systematic evaluation was done to assess which roads would be included as part of the MRN; but generally speaking, a Major Road would typically play a significant role in providing mobility and connectivity across our region.

If you study the MRN map closely, you’ll notice that the majority of Major Roads are important transit and goods movement corridors, link multiple municipalities and activities centers, and connect to the Provincial Highway system for travel through the region or outside the region.

What are some major projects that have been completed in years past, that readers might be able to recognize?

Some of the recently completed projects with TransLink funding include the Low Level Road Project in North Vancouver, the Powell Street Overpass Project in Vancouver, the Moody Street Overpass Upgrade Project in Port Moody, and the Fraser Highway Widening projects in Surrey and Township of Langley.

What is the benefit of these investments to each municipality?

Not many people know this, but TransLink also provides funding towards the day to day operation and maintenance of the MRN, including snow removal activities, street cleaning, pavement maintenance such as patching of potholes as well as sidewalk and bike lane maintenance.

MRN: by the numbers

  • The MRN is approximately 2,360 lane-km in length, which is long enough to stretch from Vancouver to San Diego!
  • In addition, TransLink also owns and maintains a portion of the MRN. The MRN extends through three TransLink owned bridges (Golden Ears Bridge, Knight Street Bridge, Pattullo Bridge), as well as Golden Ears Way. There are over 200,000 vehicle crossings on these TransLink bridges every day.
  • When the MRN was formed in 1999, it was only about 2,200 lane-km in length. About 30% of this original network consisted of declassified Provincial roadways. Over the years, the MRN size has increased due to additional major roads being added, road widening projects, and intersection improvement projects such as new turn lanes.
  • There are over 1,000 traffic signals on the MRN alone – the funding TransLink provides also goes towards the operation and maintenance of signals. The replacement of these signals systems occur when they reach the end of their useful lives. Same goes for street lights!

Thanks to Sam for some MRN insights!

For more information you can visit our
Roads, Bridges and Goods Movements Projects page.

Author: Jordan Keim and Adrienne Coling

*Funding is provided per kilometre of MRN within each municipality.

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas – Carl Guardino

The first of the SFU lecture series this year!

TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program is pleased to announce another installment of the Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas series. This latest installment is with Carl Guardino, widely lauded as one of the most influential forces on transportation policy and funding in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area, where such ballot measures are routine and have successfully funded major transportation improvements.

Here’s a bit about Mr. Guardino’s talk and about the man himself:

 

Transportation Referendum: Lessons Learned from the Front Line

 

A healthy and competitive economy relies on efficient transportation. In Metro Vancouver, we are increasingly facing some of the worst traffic congestion in Canada. The region’s mayors have developed a Transportation and Transit Plan to cut congestion; keep people, jobs and our economy moving, and accommodate a million more people expected here by 2040.

This spring, Metro Vancouver voters will have a say on these proposed transportation and transit improvements through a referendum—the first of its kind in Canada.

Carl Guardino is widely lauded as one of the most influential forces on transportation policy and funding in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area, where such ballot measures are routine and have successfully funded major transportation improvements.

Carl will share lessons learned from a region that has been recognized for its progress and innovation, and how this experience might help engage and inform Metro Vancouver residents as we weigh the important decision before us.

 

About Carl Guardino

 

Carl Guardino is the President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a public policy trade association that represents more than 385 of Silicon Valley’s most respected companies.

He also serves as the Chair of the California Transportation Commission, an independent public agency responsible for programming and allocating of funds for the construction of highway, passenger rail and transit improvements throughout California.

Guardino led efforts that resulted in $1.4 billion of funding for 19 key road and rail improvements and co-managed a traffic relief initiative that will generate $5.5 billion in local funds for transit improvements.

His experience in building consensus around transportation measures, successful managing of referenda and activating business leaders to promote sustainable transportation will make an excellent contribution to the current transportation dialogue in our region.

 

Event Details:

Monday, January 19, 7 to 9 p.m.

Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre

Room 1400, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W Hastings Street, Vancouver

Reservations: Admission is free, but reservations are required. Reserve

This lecture will also be live webcast. Reservations are not required for the webcast.

 

For more info on this series check out the SFU page or read some our past posts. And remember, you can always post your questions about this series here as well as following the hashtag #movingthefuture on Twitter.

 

 

Delegations from around the globe travel to Vancouver to meet with TransLink

RiyadhDelegation

Left to Right: Guy Akester, Derrick Cheung, Ian Jarvis, Ibrahim Aleid, Saud Al-Saud, Ibrahim Alrajeh, Yosef Aljallal and Yosef AlBanumay.

 

Did you know that delegations from around the world, including Thailand, Sweden, Australia, Japan and Korea, visited TransLink in 2014 to learn about Metro Vancouver’s integrated transportation network?

Metro Vancouver’s transit system has an international reputation for excellence and TransLink’s ability to deliver transit-oriented development investment attracts interest near and far.

A delegation from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, was in Vancouver this fall. Five delegates met with TransLink’s real estate group, planning and infrastructure management teams, and the Transit Police.

Ibrahim Aleid, Director of Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design at the Riyadh Development Authority says that TransLink is well regarded globally for delivering an efficient and integrated transportation network that is shaping world class transit oriented communities.

“We are developing a transit system in Riyadh and we hope to learn from the success of Metro Vancouver in creating the necessary conditions to foster and promote highly innovative transit-oriented communities and developments.”

 

What is a transit-oriented development?

Transit-oriented developments enable people to drive less, and walk, cycle and take transit more; and therefore maximize the value of transit investments. TransLink works in collaboration with public and private sector partners to enable the Metro Vancouver region to realize the benefits of transit-oriented communities and foster transit-oriented development.

Since 2011, development near transit has grown exponentially. There are now 35 development projects in construction or planning stages—significantly more than the handful of projects that existed from 1986-2011.

Author: Angela Salehi

Missed it? Markus Moos and Gil Peñalosa’s Rethinking Transportation talks are now online!

SFU_banner_

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas, brought to you by TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program, was back at Simon Fraser University on Tuesday, September 16 and Wednesday, September 17!

Gil Peñalosa

Gil Peñalosa

Dr. Markus Moos

Dr. Markus Moos

Markus Moos, Assistant Professor, School of Planning at the University of Waterloo, spoke on The New Generation: Are Millennials Changing the Game? His talk looked at how Millennials’ values, preferences and priorities could affect your work, commute, home and community — now and in the future.

Internationally acclaimed “healthy cities” expert Gil Peñalosa‘s talk, Future Livability: Boast or Bust?, explored whether Metro Vancouver can maintain its “Livability Credibility” for the next 30 years

SFU Continuing Studies now has both talks archived on YouTube! Click here for more information about the talks and the speakers.

Author: Allen Tung

 

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas – talks from Markus Moos and Gil Peñalosa

SFU_banner_

Exciting news – Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas, brought to you by TransLink in collaboration with the SFU City Program, is back at Simon Fraser University!

Event Details on both talks:

Markus Moos

Date: Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m.

Location: Room 1400, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Vancouver

Admission: Free, but reservations are required. Reserve

Live Webcast: http://creative-services.sfu.ca/broadcast/

 

Gil Peñalosa

Date: Wednesday, September 17, 7 p.m.

Location: Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, SFU, Woodwards Building, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Admission: Free, but reservations are required. Reserve

Live Webcast: http://creative-services.sfu.ca/broadcast/

Markus Moos, Assistant Professor, School of Planning at the University of Waterloo will be speaking on Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m., at SFU Harbour Centre. The talk, The New Generation: Are Millennials Changing the Game?, will take a look at how Millennials’ values, preferences and priorities could affect your work, commute, home and community — now and in the future.

Internationally acclaimed “healthy cities” expert Gil Peñalosa will be speaking the following day – Wednesday, September 17, at SFU Woodward’s at 7 p.m. His talk is titled, Future Livability: Boast or Bust?, will explore whether Metro Vancouver can maintain its “Livability Credibility” for the next 30 years.

Admission is free for both talks, but reservations are required. Visit www.sfu.ca/rethinking-transportation to register. Unable to attend? Both talks will be available as a free webcast online at creative-services.sfu.ca/broadcast/.

You can tweet your questions and comments using the hashtag #movingthefuture.

Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas is a speakers’ series focused on key transportation issues and opportunities facing the Metro Vancouver region. The series will explore new perspectives on the movement of people and goods in cities with thought leaders, decision makers, and experts from across North America who have tackled some of the most pressing transportation challenges.

The New Generation: Are Millennials Changing the Game?

Dr. Markus Moos

Dr. Markus Moos

Millennials’ values, preferences and priorities could affect your work, commute, home and community – now and in the future.

The New York Times has mentioned “Millennials” 122 times between January and August 2014 on topics ranging from TV and pop music to travel and literature.  Why the interest?

Millennials, born between the early 80s and the new millennium, are a significant and influential demographic—outnumbering even the baby boomers. The roughly 9 million Millennials across Canada and over 500,000 here in Metro Vancouver think, communicate, travel and work differently. Understanding how they impact housing, transportation, jobs and communities is critical for planners, employers, real estate and technology developers, and anyone who interacts with this new wave of change-makers.

Far fewer Millennials have driver’s licences than previous generations, which is particularly relevant as we reach a critical juncture in transportation planning in our region with 1 million more people expected to join us by 2040.

Join Dr. Markus Moos, Assistant Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo to learn more about how Millennials are different from young adults in Metro Vancouver 20 to 30 years ago; how their housing and commuting decisions are different from their previous cohorts; and —perhaps most importantly—what this means for transportation and housing in Metro Vancouver and beyond.

About the Speaker

Dr. Markus Moos is a Registered Professional Planner and Assistant Professor in the School of Planning, Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Moos’ research is on the changing economy and social structure of cities. His most recent work has examined the factors shaping Canada’s housing markets, the changing characteristics of our suburbs, and the affordability, sustainability and equity implications of present-day urban change. Dr. Moos has published widely in book chapters and peer-reviewed articles in top-ranked international journals. He is currently co-editing the most recent edition of Canadian Cities in Transition—a compilation of chapters written by some of Canada’s top urban researchers. Dr. Moos holds an Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario for his research on young adults’ changing housing needs.

Future Livability: Boast or Bust?

Gil Peñalosa

Gil Peñalosa

Can Metro Vancouver maintain its “Livability Credibility” for the next 30 years?

The Metro Vancouver region is frequently cited among the world’s most livable.  Just this summer, Vancouver – and by extension much of our region – was cited by The Economist as the third most livable city in the world, with particular kudos for our current and near-term rapid transit connections through Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Can we maintain our frequently and broadly cited international livability credibility? With a million new residents, 600,000 new jobs and potentially 3 million more car trips per day in our region by 2040, how will we maintain the unique and treasured qualities we enjoy throughout Metro Vancouver?

Internationally acclaimed “healthy cities” expert Gil Peñalosa believes in the importance of mobility in planning healthy, sustainable cities – cities where people can walk, bike, and access transit to carry out their daily activities, no matter their age, ability, or social status.

As part of SFU’s Rethinking Transportation Speaker Series, Gil will share examples from around the world that show that transportation systems that put people first from the point of view of public health, environment, recreation, mobility, and economic development lead to sustainable, healthier, more vibrant and livable cities.

Join Gil Peñalosa of 8-80 Cities to learn more about what we can all do to protect the future livability of our local communities and the importance of investing in our transportation system so we can preserve our quality of life now and for generations to come.

About the Speaker:

Gil Peñalosa is passionate about cities for ALL people. Gil advises decision makers and community leaders on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility. Because of his unique blend of pragmatism and passion, Gil’s leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past eight years, Gil has worked in over 150 different cities in all continents.

Author: Allen Tung

Congratulations to the #HappyCity contest winners

Thanks everyone for participating in the Happy City contest! Here are some of the photos that won the contest prizes:

We gave away 4 FareCards and some more prizes donated by TravelSmart, Modo, Vancouver Opera, MEC and Vancouver Attractions. We hope these prizes will help you enjoy our beautiful region even more!

Author: Borjana Slipicevic

Choosing the Happy City Lecture Recap

Charles Montgomery presenting at SFU Woodwards on March 26, 2014 Image by Borjana Slipicevic

Charles Montgomery presenting at SFU Woodwards on March 26, 2014
Image by Borjana Slipicevic

 

Hello Buzzer readers! I hope you made it to the lecture Choosing Happy City by Charles Montgomery or watched it via webcast. It was the third lecture in the series “Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas”. The lecture was streamed live and the video will be available shortly.

Stephen Rees built a another interesting Storify post of the tweets posted during the lecture. Again, he kindly allowed us to post it here and give our readers a better idea of the what the conversation was about. Kudos to everyone who tweeted during the lecture!

The next lecture is in May. More details to follow – stay tuned!

 

 

Choosing the Happy City: People, Part 3

Dr. Helena Swinkels

Dr. Helena Swinkels

Choosing the Happy City lecture is today at 7 p.m.

Our final interview before the lecture is with Dr. Helena Swinkels, Medical Health Officer with the Fraser Health Authority. Dr. Swinkels is responsible for healthy living and healthy communities for the region and she is Medical Health Officer for the City of Surrey. She has a keen interest in creating physical and social environments that make it easier to live a healthy life. She gets around by transit, walking or bicycling whenever she possibly can.

Dr. Swinkels is going to provide an introduction at the lecture later today. She has some great things to say about how the work of the health authorities is connected with cities, happiness and transportation. So, let’s begin.

What city in the Lower Mainland do you live in? What about work?

I live in Vancouver and work in Surrey.

What makes you happy about where you live or work?

I’ve always wanted to live in a neighbourhood that supports the healthy kind of life. So, I moved to a neighbourhood close to the Main Street SkyTrain station. Now, I can take transit to work, I don’t have to drive, my commute is shorter, and I can walk or cycle in and around my neighbourhood.

For me, it’s very important to live alongside SkyTrain line, because my mother is disabled and she always uses transit to get around.

How do you usually travel around your neighbourhood? How do you travel to work?

In my neighbourhood, you can get around by foot, bike or public transportation. When I travel to work, I almost always take SkyTrain. I did cycle from Surrey to home once and would love to do it again. It took me 2 hours, including a 15-minute stop to pick blackberries along the way. Next time, I’m taking my colleagues with me!

What’s your favourite thing about how you get around your neighbourhood?

I mostly walk and my favourite thing about it is that I run into my neighbours. This is an area for pedestrians and although there are cars there, they are mostly guests.

You speak often about the survey “My Health My Community”. What is that about?

Health stems from where you live, work and play. Recognizing the need for better data about what produces health at local level, the Fraser Health, VCH and UBC created MHMC. This survey will help us work with our community to better promote health. Our aim is to provide communities with actionable health-related data about specific neighbourhoods. The survey collects data about perception of health, stress, lifestyle questions, health care access, and transportation.

The better we understand the relationship between our cities, our health, and our experiences, the better equipped we’ll all be to design cities that are happier, healthier, and more resilient and that will offer a choice on how to travel and how to live. I encourage everyone to go to myhealthmycommunity.org to fill out the survey.

You’ll introduce Charles Montgomery at the lecture today. How is the “happy city” concept connected with your work and lifestyle?

It’s a very important topic.  I am particularly interested in how urban form and the transportation system can support health, happiness and meaningful choice in areas that have been built in the era of the car.  We know that our ‘suburbs’ are doing some things right. There are compelling reasons to develop denser urban areas in our cities and towns, large and small, suburban and rural – but in doing so, we have to make sure these are built or retrofitted with their residents’ health and happiness in mind.

Also, Charles Montgomery has done a masterful job telling diverse stories in his book. I love good stories!

Finally, what’s the link between health, transportation and happiness?

Most people don’t think of transportation as a health issue but it is hugely important for health.   Physical activity you get, amount of air pollution, a number of injuries and social connectedness – these are all greatly affected by transportation. It’s about how we design the cities but also how people get around.

Author: Borjana Slipicevic

Choosing the Happy City: People, Part 2

Image by Chris Brayshaw

Image by Chris Brayshaw

The lecture Choosing the Happy City is tomorrow and I continue to interview interesting people in our region about what the ‘happy city’ means to them.

Today, I spoke with Chris Brayshaw, an independent bookseller. Chris started Pulpfiction Books on Main Street in Vancouver in 2000 and later added two more stores, one on Broadway Street and one on Commercial Drive.  His stores offer a combination of used and new books to ensure there is something for everyone’s taste.

What city in the Lower Mainland do you live in?

Vancouver.

What makes you happy about where you live?

The number of smallish, owner-operated businesses around.  The non-corporate quality of the streetscape, which is perfectly scaled to walking, and not to travel by car.

How do you usually travel around your neighbourhood?

By foot or trolleybus.

What’s your favourite thing about how you get around your neighbourhood?

Green parks seamlessly integrated into the grid of the neighborhood, perfect for cutting through.

How do you usually travel around your city?

By foot or trolleybus. Less often by Skytrain. I like transit lines with three to five minute service.

What do you like most about your work?

I opened Pulpfiction Books, Vancouver’s largest independent new & used bookstore, in June 2000. It’s still the best poorly-paying job I’ve ever had.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the Happy City contest to win some great prizes.  Apart from the Buzzer, this contest is run by the Vancity BuzzThe Thirties Grind and Surrey604.  The lecture Choosing Happy City is sold out but you can watch it live via webcast; simply click on the webcast link here at 7 p.m. on March 26.

Author: Borjana Slipicevic

 

 

Choosing the Happy City: People

Living in the #happycity means hopping on the train for an impromptu sunset seawall stroll after dinner. Photo by Chris Bruntlett (@cbruntlett)

Living in the #happycity means hopping on the train for an impromptu sunset seawall stroll after dinner.
Photo by Chris Bruntlett (@cbruntlett)

 

 

The lecture Choosing the Happy City is just around the corner and it’s a good time to explore different perspectives on the connection between neighbourhoods and the happiness of people who reside in them. A few days ago, I posted the interview with Charles Montgomery – I hope you enjoyed it.

Today, I had a pleasure to speak with Chris  Bruntlett, a residential designer, writer, photographer, and bike enthusiast. During the day, Chris works as a residential designer, designing single family homes, duplexes and laneway houses in the City of Vancouver.

Outside of the office, he spends a great deal of his evenings and weekends encouraging people to get on a bicycle through writing, photography, public speaking, and filmmaking. If you read posts about city cycling in the Spacing, Vancouver Is Awesome, Vancity Buzz, Hush, or Momentum Magazine, the chances are that you came across Chris’ work.

 

What city in the Lower Mainland do you live in?

Our family of four lives in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood of Vancouver, just a couple of blocks from the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station, and have done so for five years now.

What makes you happy about where you live?

We love having the freedom to choose how we’re getting somewhere, dependent on the nature of the trip we’re taking. Sometimes it’s walking. Sometimes it’s cycling. Other times it’s by bus or Skytrain. And once in a while, we’ll borrow a car from Modo or Car2Go.

How do you usually travel around your neighbourhood?

More often than not, we get around Grandview-Woodlands by foot or bicycle. We are fortunate enough to have the traffic-calmed 10th Avenue, Lakewood, and Mosaic Bikeways at our disposal, although running errands along Commercial Drive can be problematic. We’re certainly hoping the long-term plan to create safe, comfortable space for cycling on The Drive happens sooner rather than later.

What’s your favourite thing about how you get around your neighbourhood?

Moving at a slower pace allows us to have an intimate, unfiltered, first-hand connection to our neighbourhood, its shopfronts, merchants, houses, parks, and neighbours we may run into along the way. Our kids know the people and places in their community like the backs of their hands.

How do you usually travel around your city?

When it comes to longer distances, we’ll usually take a combination of Skytrain and/or bus, although our kids have been known to amaze us with their ability to ride their bikes long distances. We absolutely love cycling on the seawall as a family, with its stunning views of the ocean, mountains, and glass towers; and can sometimes ride over 20 kilometres in a single day!

What do you like about travelling around your city?

Getting around without a car transforms all of our travel time into family time. Walking, cycling, or riding the bus provides ample opportunity to relax, hold hands, make eye contact, and chat about any number of topics, big or small.

You’re often involved in projects that focus on city cycling as part of everyday life. What are you currently working on?

I recently produced a series of six short films which intimately profile a number of Vancouverites who use a bicycle to get around. We just wrapped up the first series (http://www.youtube.com/vancyclechic), which were incredibly well received and publicized; and have started pre-production on a second series, to be shot and released in 2014.

You recently wrote a review of the book “Happy City” for Vancouver is Awesome. Anything you want to mention from the book?

As Charles Montgomery points out, the greener, happier and resilient city all occupy the same place. In my opinion, Vancouver should be aiming to be the “World’s Happiest City”, and framing the (sometimes heated) discussions around what we have to gain – rather than give up – in order to live sustainably.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter the Happy City contest to win some great prizes.  Apart from the Buzzer, this contest is run by the Vancity Buzz, The Thirties Grind and Surrey604.  The lecture Choosing Happy City is sold out but you can watch it live via webcast; simply click on the webcast link here at 7 pm on March 26.

Author: Borjana Slipicevic

Choosing the Happy City: Q & A with Charles Montgomery

Author Charles Montgomery at Madison Square Park, Flatiron District, Manhattan Photo courtesy Lee Satkowski

Author Charles Montgomery at Madison Square Park, Flatiron District, Manhattan
Photo courtesy Lee Satkowski

As we’re getting closer to the lecture Choosing the Happy City on March 26 at SFU Woodwards, I had a pleasure to talk to Charles Montgomery, the author of the book Happy City and the speaker at the lecture.  Charles is a passionate and engaging speaker, and here he explains why he dedicated five years of  life to find out how cities can improve happiness of people who live in them.

What inspired you to write the Happy City? 

It started with a bike ride through Bogota, Colombia, chasing the mayor who had used that unhappy city as a testing ground for his ideas on happiness. Enrique Peñalosa insisted that by transforming the form and systems of his impoverished and violent city, he had made citizens happier.

So, the bike ride through Bogota led to you start your five-year long exploration of happiness and cities?

That experience in Bogota posited a question; could a city really be redesigned to build happiness?

It was a thrilling idea, but I was skeptical. So, I set out to test it against science and evidence from other cities. The quest led me to the doorsteps of neuroscientists, psychologists, behavioral economists and activists, as well as sites of remarkable urban transformation around the world.

What connection between urban design and happiness did you find?

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we shape our cities, and then they shape us. Buildings, roads and other city systems alter how we move, where we pause, how much spare time and money we have, and how we interact with and regard other people.

Good relationships, physical health, and social trust—all of these are key ingredients of happiness. By understanding these effects, we can reconfigure our cities and our lives to be healthier, happier and more resilient.

How can transportation help build happy cities?

We know that social relationships are the most powerful ingredient of happiness. So it’s crucial that we build systems that help us connect with other people in the city easily–and get us home in time for dinner with the people we love. Relying only on private cars won’t achieve that.

What’s the place that make you happy and why?

My happy place? Granville and Georgia at rush hour. The tide of people pouring out of the Canada Line station give the corner a thrilling sense of life and possibility.

What can regular people do to build urban happiness?

We need to understand the effect that city systems have on our emotions and behavior. We need to demand cities that reward us rather than punishing us for making healthy, more efficient choices.

Do you have examples?

In Davis, California a couple convinced all their neighbors to tear down their backyard fences so they could all enjoy a giant shared garden—and ended up with a finely-tunable device for sociability.

In Brooklyn, a man angered by honking horns outside his window went from throwing eggs at drivers to altering the way his city’s traffic lights worked. His work launched a movement that would lead to the renovation of the entire city, and pedestrianisation of Times Square.

None of them were thinking about the science of happiness. But they proved that we all have the right and the power to fix our cities.

What about the rest of us? What about the people who don’t have aspirations to change the system?

You can boost your happiness just by changing your relationship with the urban system. For some people, this means changing where you live, or how you move. For others, the answer lies in understanding the city’s invisible emotional systems, and consciously altering your response to them. I hope Happy City will help.

To hear more about the Happy City, come to the lecture on March 26. Admission is FREE but you have to register. RSVP here.

Did you know that you can enter a Happy City contest to win some great prizes? Spoiler alert: all it takes is a selfie! Check it out here.

Author: Borjana Slipicevic

 

 

Contest: Choosing the happy city

Show us your Happy City!

Show us your Happy City!

Hello Buzzer readers! We have a new contest for you and it’s all about cities and happiness. Before participating, let’s first consider a few questions.

Do we live in neighbourhoods that make us happy? Can we design our cities and transportation systems to maximize happiness?

In his new book, Happy City, Vancouver-based author Charles Montgomery shows how urban systems, including transportation, impact our lives and shape our emotions and behaviour in ways most of us never recognize.

How about you? Is there a place in your community that makes you happy? Or a place that makes your neighbourhood and community more connected and complete? Is it a neighbourhood café where ‘everybody knows your name’, a corner store, a park, a busy street, or is it a way of moving around to get where you need to be?

At TransLink, we are exploring the role of transportation in building a happy city.

Join the conversation at #happycity. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take a ‘selfie’ picture at the place in your city or community that makes you happy.
  • Tweet your photo to @TransLink and with the hashtag #happycity. You can add a comment explaining the image and hashtags #selfie and/or #selfienation.
  • Post your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #happycity. Our Instagram page is TransLinkBC.
  • Come to the lecture Choosing the Happy City by Charles Montgomery on March 26 at 7 pm at SFU Woodwards to claim your prize and learn more about the Happy City. RSVP is mandatory.

By participating in this contest, you can win one of the following prizes:

  • One of four FareCards.
  • One TravelSmart Travel gift pack $50 with gift card to MEC and TravelSmart Swag.
  • Two tickets to Don Carlo opera at the Queen Elizabeth Theater.
  • One free yearly membership and $50 car sharing credit from MODO.

Before you enter, please read the contest rules and conditions.

Photos may be used in the print Buzzer, the Buzzer blog, presentation during the Choosing the Happy City lecture, tweeted by @TransLink and posted on the TransLink Facebook and Instagram page.

Images and posts tagged #happycity will be shared on the Buzzer blog. Join us in this conversation.

My happy place!

 

Here’s my #selfie. I took it last year in North Vancouver, with the Coal Harbour in the background. This is the view I enjoy every morning while taking the Seabus to work. Pretty cool, right?

Author: Borjana Slipicevic

Rethinking Transportation with Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne speaking at SFU Woodwards

Andrew Coyne speaking at SFU Woodwards

Hello Buzzer readers! I hope you had a chance to attend the second lecture in the series “Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas” that took place on Tuesday, February 26 at SFU Woodwards. The lecture, Easing Congestion in Metro Vancouver: Prices without Subsidies, by Andrew Coyne, was streamed live and the video will be available shortly – I’ll keep you posted.

The lecture generated a very interesting conversation about mobility pricing. Stephen Rees built a storify of the tweets posted during and about the lecture. He was very kind to let us post it here to give our readers a better idea of the what the conversation was about. Kudos to everyone who tweeted during the lecture!

The next lecture is on March 26, 2014. Check here for more info.

Easing Congestion in Metro Vancouver: Prices without Subsidies, lecture by Andrew Coyne

The second installment of Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas is Feb 25, 2014!

The second installment of Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas is Feb 25, 2014!

Hello Buzzer readers. The speaker series Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas continues this month with a lecture by Andrew Coyne on February 25, 2014. Coyne is the weekly columnist for the National Post, member of the CBC, The Nathional’s At Issue Panel, and the former national editor of Maclean’s magazine known for his insightful and provocative commentary on political and economic issues.

Coyne’s lecture, Easing Congestion in Metro Vancouver: Prices without Subsidies, will address pricing of roads and transit – a timely issue in Metro Vancouver and other metropolitan areas grappling with the effects of growing congestion. He has written extensively about road pricing as a possible answer to congestion including MacLean’s Magazine.

Coyne takes an approach that pricing road use is the only effective way to induce people to drive less. As road use is at present rationed by time rather than money, other methods such as wider roads, carpooling, synchronized lights, etc. end up inducing people to drive more, since they reduce the time-price of using the roads.

The lecture will take place on February 25 at 7 pm at Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (at SFU Woodwards), 149 West Hastings, Vancouver. The admission for the lecture is free, but reservations are required. RSVP or sign up for the webcast here.

This is the second lecture in the series Rethinking Transportation: New Voices, New Ideas. The first lecture featured Anne Golden, Chair of the Ontario Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, who spoke about her work with the Transit Panel on making recommendations on transit funding for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. If you missed the lecture, you can still check out the video here.

With nearly 45,000 people moving to Metro Vancouver every year, the conversation about how we travel in our region becomes increasingly important. The lectures will continue throughout 2014 and the idea is to explore new perspectives on the movement of people and goods in cities, with thought leaders, decision makers, and experts from across North America.

What do you think are the most important, transportation-related, topics we should talk about? Let us know in the comments below.

Do you know someone who would be interested in attending this lecture? Feel free to share this post with your colleagues and friends. For Twitter mentions, the hashtag for the lecture is #movingthefuture.

Author: Borjana Slipicevic