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Burrard Bridge bike lane trial starts Mon July 13

A rendering of the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial, which starts on Monday. Photo from the <a href=http://vancouver.ca/projects/burrard/index.htm>City of Vancouver</a>.

A rendering of the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial, which starts on Monday. Photo from the City of Vancouver.

Cyclists, motorists, pedestrians: here’s a reminder that the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial starts on Monday, July 13.

One lane on the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver will be devoted solely to bicycle traffic for a trial period. You can find all the details on their website.

And just to clarify, this is a City of Vancouver project, but TransLink has been involved to make sure transit service remains the same over the bridge.

Happy cycling, if you’re trying the new lane out on Monday!

The July Buzzer is out today!

The July 2009 Buzzer is now on all buses, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express!

In this issue, we’ve got a list of summer getaways you can take without a car — and almost all were suggested by you guys in this post.

(I’m also thinking we could do more lists of summer getaways or just fun local destinations online, so if you have suggestions, please fire them over to me.)

The Buzzer also lists special transit service for the HSBC Celebration of Light and Caribbean Days in North Vancouver, plus the holiday service for B.C. Day (yay holidays!), and the downtown Dunsmuir Tunnel SkyTrain work.

And our little Back Issues section talks about Langley joining the B.C. Transit service region in 1988 — can you believe it’s been over 20 years now?

Again, it is the Buzzer’s great pleasure to have a cover drawn by a Canadian illustrator: this time, it’s the wonderful Aurelie Grand.

As always, if you can’t get the Buzzer on the system, you can always read it in PDF form on our website. Visit our Buzzer PDF archives, which stretch back to the heady days of June 2006. (Here’s the direct link to the July issue PDF.)

Remember to enter the FareCard contest too! Win a free FareCard in every issue of the Buzzer: read the issue, then email in your info and the answer to the trivia question by Monday, August 10 at 9 a.m. to win! (And argh, the date for the next Buzzer issue in the contest section got moved: the next issue is Aug 7 now, not Aug 14. Le sigh x 2.)

Anyway, enjoy the latest Buzzer as always! Comments are welcome below!

MEC Great Rides kick off with Golden Ears bike ride, Sun July 12

The Golden Ears Bridge on opening day! The Great Ride bike tour this weekend will take you over the bridge on its two-metre wide sidewalks.

The Golden Ears Bridge on opening day! The Great Ride bike tour this weekend will take you over the bridge on its two-metre wide sidewalks.

MEC, TransLink and the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition have teamed up to offer some Great Rides this summer—four fun bike tours that let you explore the festivals, city centres, and lovely country lanes of Metro Vancouver.

The first one starts this Sunday, and includes a ride over the new Golden Ears Bridge!

Check out the event page for all the details. You can start any time from 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.: the ride takes you to the Caribbean Festival in Maple Ridge, Old Fort Langley, and the bike lanes on the Golden Ears Bridge in between.

There’s a cost of $15 per adult (16 and under are free!), and that gives you free entry into Old Fort Langley, a bag of goodies, maps of the route, and access to refreshment stations along the way—plus bike valet parking and help from bike mechanics to tune up or fix your bike.

Hop to it now if you’re interested: online registration for the ride closes Saturday, July 11 at 12 noon, and registration on the day is cash or cheque only!

Link fun for a gloomy Wednesday

I wish the weather was like this photo right now.

I wish the weather was like this photo right now.

While we wait for the weather to warm up again — and Environment Canada better not be joking about that — I thought I’d brighten things up with some fun links I’ve collected over the last little while.

If you have any good links to share, please drop me a line!

Downtown SkyTrain riders, look out: late-evening maintenance work in SkyTrain’s Dunsmuir Tunnel runs July 13-24

Ride SkyTrain in downtown Vancouver late at night? Watch out — for two weeks starting July 13, SkyTrain will start the first stage of work in the Dunsmuir tunnel, to address water seepage and related drainage issues.

The lower level of the tunnel (the “eastbound” track) will close early to allow work crews in at 10 p.m., with more work planned for fall—the work requires more time than available in the limited nightly system closure hours.

Here’s a bit of background: The major part of SkyTrain’s underground section in downtown Vancouver uses the Dunsmuir Tunnel built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1932, linking the transcontinental railway terminus (Waterfront Station) to the previous freight yards and maintenance shops in False Creek – now a distant memory save for the Roundhouse centre in Yaletown.

Groundwater leaching through the tunnel walls contains natural minerals which accelerate corrosion of track components, as well as creating slippery conditions for maintenance crews and emergency passenger evacuation routes.

Shuttle train to be used between Stadium and Waterfront

The following service changes are in effect Monday to Friday, July 13 to July 24, from about 9:45 p.m. to the end of the service day:

  • All Expo and Millennium Line trains from the east will terminate at Stadium Station, at the normal service frequency (8 minutes each; combined 4 minutes between Columbia and Stadium);
  • A single train shuttle will operate every 12 minutes on the normally “westbound” track between Stadium and Waterfront, stopping at Granville and Burrard in both directions.
  • All passengers must change trains at Stadium Station. Passengers can expect a two to 10 minute wait at Stadium, depending on their arrival time and travel direction.

Exceptions for the fireworks festival and B.C. Lions game

  • On Wed July 22nd there will be no work due to Celebration of Light (SkyTrain will run full “rush hour” service throughout the evening to accommodate the thousands of fireworks spectators).
  • On Fri July 24, maintenance will start 90 minutes later due to the B.C. Lions game at B.C. Place (SkyTrain will provide frequent extra service for Lions fans, as usual; shuttle operation will start at 11:15pm).

Additional SkyTrain staff will be on hand at affected stations to provide directions and assistance. We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we keep our system in good repair for your overall service.

Tweet the location of the new SkyTrain

Twitter-users-slash-SkyTrain riders: I’m wondering if you guys might help out people who want to ride the new train.

If you board it, could you tweet your location so people can find the train and hop on too? Add a #newskytrain hashtag at the end of your tweet — those who want to find the train can search Twitter for #newskytrain to see its last known location.

;-) made the original excellent suggestion last week to use Twitter to track the train’s location. How about we give it a try for the next week or so, while the new train is still a novelty on the system?

More photos and video of the new SkyTrain car in action

The new SkyTrain car at Edmonds Station. Photo by <a href=http://thetransitsite.bravehost.com/Photo%20Gallery/Skytrain/Bombardier%20MKII%20Trains/1300-1400%20series/MKII%201300-1400%20Trains.html>Bryan Gal</a> --- see a much larger version <a href=http://www.majhost.com/gallery/translink/Transit/TransLink/Skytrain/img_5050.jpg>here</a>.

The new SkyTrain car at Edmonds Station. Photo by Bryan Gal --- see a much larger version here.

The new SkyTrain cars hit the system last Friday, and a few excellent readers have caught more photos and video of the train.

Bryan, who you may have heard in the podcast last week, has photos up at The Transit Site, and a video of the light-up maps and more.

Josh also sent along a gallery of his photos.

Adam also sent along three videos done with his phone camera:

Again, you can see many detailed shots of the interiors + exteriors at the past Buzzer blog posts:

Feel free to email me or write in the comments with more new SkyTrain car sightings/stories!

Friday fun poll: where do you like to stand on a bus?

If you like, you can skip to the end of this post to answer the poll about standing on a bus.

Results from last poll: trying transit in other cities

Last week I asked how many cities have you tried transit in.

With 207 votes counted, the most popular answer was “5 or more cities” with 72% of the vote. Far fewer voted for 4 cities (10%), 3 cities (7%), 2 cities (6%), or 1 city (5%).

City transit systems visited by more than one Buzzer blog reader: a chart! Click for a larger version.

City transit systems visited by more than one Buzzer blog reader: a chart! Click for a larger version.

Really, I should have known better with you transit enthusiasts—most of you guys listed 10 or more places you’ve travelled! Daniel Quinn even suggested rerunning the poll with higher numbers.

Anyway, to manage all the data, I put together an Excel spreadsheet counting the cities you specified, and used it to produce the chart at right. Together you provided 122 city names, with Victoria, Seattle, Edmonton, and Portland being the most mentioned outside our own system.

In the comments, people mostly gave lists of the cities they went to, but there were a few stories about transit experiences elsewhere. Here’s Alexwarrior:

I got a 40 Euro fine in Paris. I paid the wrong fare, d’oh! (Wasn’t on purpose) I framed the ticket and it made a nice souvenir for my wall.

And Dora, who is really on a roll with good stories in the poll posts, wrote this:

I once got a talking-to (but thankfully no ticket) in Frankfurt because the group of us accidentally go into the first class section of the commuter train (who ever heard of a first class section on an intra-city train?). I often find myself missing London’s Oyster card system and wishing we had something similar here at home.

We will soon enough — smartcards are coming!

Anyway, check out the comments at the original post: there are some good conversations on how to get to Seattle from Vancouver solely on transit. I should mention that there’s even a zine showing how to travel from Vancouver to Portland solely on transit, if you haven’t seen it. Yay zines!

This week’s poll: where do you like to stand on a bus?

David Lam suggested this poll, and I realize I’ve asked about sitting but not standing on a bus!

If you have anything to add, feel free to share in the comments :)

The Buzzer rides the first of the new SkyTrain cars!

As mentioned yesterday, the first of the 48 new SkyTrain cars started running on the system this morning, and I got to jump on for its first trip!

Above is a video of the two-car train #306 arriving at Edmonds Station — its first stop ever on the system. (You can see the cameramen from CTV and Global there, so you might certainly see more footage on TV tonight.)

The train will definitely be in service for the next week or so, and remember, you’re all welcome on board! It’s currently in an “endurance running” phase, which means it must complete 2000 kilometres of regular service while meeting certain criteria (that’s the equivalent of about one week of service). A critical part of this phase involves passengers boarding and disembarking the trains, so go ahead and get on it!

 

Okay, now above you’ll find a short podcast with some rider reactions to the new car. Just thought I’d capture a few first day thoughts!

And after the jump, there’s some more photos and video. I’ll keep it short, since I’m sure you guys will come up with way more great shots and video too — and please do send them my way!

Read more »

Ride the first of the new Mark II cars tomorrow!

One of the new Mk II SkyTrain cars will start on our system tomorrow---July 3!

One of the new Mk II SkyTrain cars will start on our system tomorrow---July 3!

Woop woop — the first of our new SkyTrain cars will be running on the system tomorrow, and you’re all invited to ride it!

After the morning rush hour on Friday July 3, look out for train #306 and feel free to get on board when it stops at your station.

The train is now in its “endurance running” phase, after successfully completing extensive testing and trial running. Endurance running requires that the train completes 2000 kilometres of regular service while meeting certain criteria (the equivalent of about one week of service). A critical part of this phase involves passengers boarding and disembarking the trains, so go ahead and climb aboard!

You’ll find a SkyTrain attendant on board to talk to passengers about the new train, plus I think I’ll also pop in to see what people think of it. You can also check out the Buzzer blog’s posts about the car’s new interiors, and photos/video of the exteriors.

This new train is one of the 48 new SkyTrain cars expected before the Olympics, boosting our capacity by 30%—hurrah!

And watch out over the next week: you’ll see some other new Mark IIs start their trial runs at the stations.

Part of the trial run plan requires trains to operate on the guideways, stopping at stations and activating the doors—but the trains won’t carry passengers just yet. You’ll see signs on the windows and staff on board to indicate that passengers are not yet permitted on those trains.

Photos from the Central Valley Greenway event

Riders go over the Winston Overpass at the Central Valley Greenway opening. Photo by <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/stchou/3666901670/in/set-72157620514340327/>Steve Chou</a> again!

Riders go over the Winston Overpass at the Central Valley Greenway opening. Photo by Steve Chou again!

While Oakridge Station had its open house, the Central Valley Greenway also held its opening celebration last Saturday.

Steve Chou sent along his photos of the CVG opening, which are in a handy Flickr set.

And it looks like 24 Hours did a short video of the whole path, with an interview with awesome TransLink planner Michelle Babiuk!

Plus Dora also sent along some snaps from her iPhone (click for larger versions):

Edit: Jason Vanderhill also sent along his Flickr set, including this fun photo of Michelle Babiuk :)

Thanks guys — the opening looks like it was a fantastic time!

If you have any more photos of the Greenway celebrations or the Greenway itself, please do send them my way.

And you can also click here to see the Buzzer blog’s virtual tour of the Greenway again.

Photos from the Oakridge Station open house last weekend

Oakridge Station on the Canada Line, photographed by <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/dennistt/3667656854/in/set-72157620523547719/>Dennis TT</a>.

Oakridge Station on the Canada Line, photographed by Dennis TT.

Hello! I’ve come back as promised, bearing photos of the Oakridge Station open house last weekend.

If you haven’t seen it before, Oakridge is the first underground station to be part of an open house. Thanks to everyone who sent in their links — and here’s the big list of albums for you to run through:

It looks like there was a great turnout! And the station looks shiny and new :)

Canada Day celebrations and transit service

Canada Day revellers at Canada Place! (Thanks to Canada Place for the photo!)

Canada Day revellers at Canada Place! (Thanks to Canada Place for the photo!)

I’m still on holiday: this is a scheduled post!

Canada Day is coming up, with festivities happening all over the region! And we’ll be ramping up transit service to connect with many of the events.

On Wednesday, July 1, SkyTrain will run on Saturday hours, a bump up from Sunday/holiday service, with lots of capacity to take people to Canada Day events in downtown Vancouver.

That includes the annual Canada Day fireworks show from the Burrard Inlet Fireworks Society. And this year, Canada Place will be holding their first ever Canada Day Parade at 7 p.m. starting at West Georgia and Broughton Street.

SeaBus will run on 15-minute frequency in the afternoon and evening for the fireworks, and will extend service until 1:22 a.m.

If you’re heading to the Surrey Canada Day festivities at Cloverdale Millennium Amphiteatre, SkyTrain will make connections with extra CMBC service at Surrey Central to get you to the party.

And extra shuttles from Cloverdale after the fireworks are expected to get you back to Surrey Central station well before the last SkyTrain departure to Waterfront at 12:38 a.m.

Also, you can see all the bus reroutes in effect on Canada Day on our Alerts page. Buses affected include the C21, C23, C43, C44, C93, 98B-Line, 228, 229, 230, 232, 240, 401, 402, 407, and 410. (The Steveston Salmon Festival and Yaletown Grand Prix are also on July 1!)

For trip planning, try the TransLink website, Google Transit, or our customer information line at 604.953.3333.

Have a happy Canada Day, everyone!

Buzzer blogger on holiday, June 25-July 1

Just a short note to say that I’m on holiday from today until Canada Day, returning to the office on Thursday July 2.

Sadly, this means I’ll miss both the Oakridge open house and the opening of the Central Valley Greenway!

Please flood my inbox with photos of the events if you can — I’ll post them all up on the blog when I get back.

Here are some handy links in case you need info while I’m away:

  • Our list of customer service contacts and addresses on the main TransLink site
  • Our web form in case you have a commendation or complaint
  • Ken Hardie’s Twitter account— he’s our director of communications and often tweets about any service issues or other TransLink news
  • CMBC’s Twitter account — this is the Twitter from CMBC’s media relations dept, and they tweet about bus service issues you might need to know about
  • And for transit information, call 604-953-3333.

Watch out for a few scheduled posts while I’m away—I’ll be back to answer your comments and questions next Thursday.

Hope you have a great week and I’ll see you soon!

BePartofthePlan consultation: What we have heard so far

So our BePartofthePlan consultation period ends on June 30, but I thought you might be interested in what we’ve heard so far.

Check out minutes and comments from our in-person community consultations—they’re on the community workshop page of the TransLink website, but I’ll also post them here:

Minutes and comments are coming soon from this week’s workshops in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Richmond: keep an eye on the community workshop page for those.

We’ll also have summaries of the online discussions and game once those sections of the consultation are complete.

Remember, as of June 30, we’ll be turning off the It’s Your Move game and winding down forum discussion – so if you haven’t tried the game or posted in the forums yet, do it soon!

The old site

Also, as you might recall, before we launched this site on June 1, there was another version of BePartofthePlan.ca that invited your comments.

Well, that old site didn’t just disappear. You can still visit the archived version here: bepartoftheplan.fcvhost.com.

We read through every single comment and made sure to capture all of your feedback from the old site, too. If you’re curious, here’s the summaries of all the suggestions you guys gave to us.