Translink Buzzer Blog

Train2Main Begins in 2 Days!

2014-03-12 Train2Main line diagram

Train2Main service

Hey buzzer readers!

This is a reminder that from March 30 (two days from now) until fall 2014, anyone travelling to or from Main Street-Science World Station will hop on the Train2Main, a special two-car SkyTrain – trains are normally four or six cars long.

Here’s a refresher on the details:

  • Train2Main will provide service to and from Main Street-Science World from Waterfront, Burrard, Granville, Stadium-Chinatown and Commercial-Broadway Stations.
  • Regular four and six car trains on the Expo Line and Millenium Line will operate as normal during this time, except they will not stop at Main Street–Science World Station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from the east will transfer to Train2Main at Commercial-Braodway station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from downtown Vancouver will use the Train2Main.
  • Passengers using Train2Main should plan 10 minutes of extra travel time.

Train2Main is necessary to keep Main Street-Science World open during construction as much needed upgrades are made to the station. To learn more, visit www.translink.ca/ontrack. Thanks for your patience!

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.

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.

 

 

Bus service improvements coming to West Vancouver on April 5

West Vancouver Blue Bus

West Vancouver service changes come into effect on April 5!

Hey Buzzer readers – do you remember when we told you about the North Shore Area Transit Plan in a post back in 2012?

To refresh your memory, public consultation began in the fall of 2010 and concluded in the summer of 2012. The upcoming changes respond to what we heard from more than 2,500 North Shore residents and stakeholders during the North Shore Area Transit Plan public consultation process.

Drum roll please….on Saturday, April 5, TransLink and West Vancouver Transit will implement the following improvements:

250A Dundarave/Vancouver

  • Significant increase in weekday AM and PM peak period service increases to every 7.5 minutes, from Dundarave to Vancouver.
  • Weekday off-peak period and weekends/holiday buses increases to every 10 minutes.

251 Queens and 252 Inglewood

  • The current one-direction service along both routes will be replaced by a two-direction service with 51 new stops long Queens and Inglewood.
  • Service will operate every 30 mins during peak periods and every 60 mins in off-peak periods.
  • Customers who travel to downtown will transfer at Dundarave or Park Royal.

For more details on the consultation process visit the North Shore Area Transit Plan.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Buzzer illustrator interview: Tyler Dale

Tyler and his Buzzer illustration!

Tyler and his Buzzer illustration!

The latest and fabulously purple edition of the print Buzzer newsletter is on transit and available to download in .pdf form! I’m a big fan of the illustration this month. To say Tyler has a bright future is an understatement. Here’s a little more about him and his art.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a illustrator, graphic designer and a self proclaimed grilled cheese connoisseur.

What’s your favourite thing to illustrate?

cats!

How did you come up with your illustration?

I typically sketch out a few solution for a piece of work. But for this I decided right away to do a composition design separating all of the elements up into their own boxes.

Do you take transit? if so, what do you like about it?

Yup, I use it all of the time. When I lived in Kitsilano, I used the # 4 almost everyday to get around. I always looked forward to the bus rides after a long day.

What does your future hold for you?

Lots of work and more happy clients!

Thanks for making the Buzzer look beautiful Tyler!

Transit Driver Appreciation Day is Tuesday, March 18th!

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards

Downloadable Bus Driver Appreciation Day Cards


They’re the people that many of us see almost everyday. Some of us speak with them regularily others may simply exchange a, “hello”, a smile or maybe nothing at all. They can make or break your commute and when the make it, it can really change you day. They’re your transit operators and tomorrow is a day to say thanks for getting me to where I need to go.

It’s called Transit Driver Appreciation Day, and it’s tomorrow! If you check out the website, you can download!

Conceived in Seattle in 2009, the date was chosen because, “That’s the day that bus service is believed to have debuted in Paris in 1662.”, says the organizers

This day is not to be confused with the Bus Driver Appreciation day at Vancouver Technical School or Say Hi on the Bus. And of course, any day can be a day to appreciate your driver.

So, if you haven’t yet, say thanks to the driver you like, give them a card or simply give them a smile. I’m sure they’d love to receive it!

Going to Main Street-Science World? Look for the Train2Main

Train2Main

Train2Main service starts March 30

You’ve probably noticed that Main Street–Science World Stations is getting some much needed upgrades. Work is moving along at the east side of the station, and the second phase of construction is about to start.

To keep the station open during this phase of construction, SkyTrain will operate a special two-car train, Train2Main, to get customers to and from the station.

Do you travel to/from Main Street-Science World Station?

Train2Main service will start March 30 and operate for approximately six months. Here’s some helpful information:

  • Train2Main will provide service to and from Main Street-Science World from Waterfront, Burrard, Granville, Stadium-Chinatown and Commercial-Broadway Stations.
  • Regular four and six car trains on the Expo Line and Millenium Line will operate as normal during this time, except they will not stop at Main Street–Science World Station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from the east will transfer to Train2Main at Commercial-Braodway station.
  • Passengers travelling to Main Street-Science World from downtown Vancouver will use the Train2Main.
  • Passengers using Train2Main should plan 10 minutes of extra travel time.

Thanks for your patience as we make these much-needed improvements at Main Street-Science World Station. When complete in winter 2014/15, the upgraded station will improve the overall customer experience at one of the busiest stations in the SkyTrain system. To learn more, visit www.translink.ca/ontrack.

The March 2014 issue of the Buzzer is on the system

The latest issue of the Buzzer newsletter is available on buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express! If you can’t wait to get your hands on the issue, you can always download it.

So what’s in the issue? The main theme is TransLink’s 15th anniversary! Yup, it’s true we’ve been around that long! We’ve included some of the major milestone that have happened over these years from the completion of the Millennium and Canada Line to the introduction of the U-PassBC and the extension of the Major Roads Network (to name just a few).

We also printed some the pictures you took and made us smile for the #2010olympiclove photo contest. I just love looking at those. What a time it was in 2010!

Almost every month we provide an update on the Compass Card. This month we highlight the 2,500 new Compass Card users from the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) that we also featured on the blog.

The other two new features have to do with the Transit Police’s new non-emergency texting line 87-77-77, as well as the Train2Main which we’ll tell you more about early next week.

And what would a Buzzer newsletter be without coming events, contest corner and back issue? The answer: it wouldn’t be much of an issue!

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue. As always, let us know what you think of it!

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?

Compass fare product priority

Compass Points the Way

Welcome back to the Compass classroom!

This week’s topic: deciding what comes first on your Compass Card. Did you know there’s a priority to Compass fare products?

Get in line

One of the handy things about Compass is that you can load multiple types of passes on your Compass Card, so they’re ready when you need them. If you have more than one fare product on a Compass Card, the Compass system will select a fare product to use in the following order when you tap in and tap out:

1. Any active pass – the system will look for an active Monthly Pass, Program Pass (i.e. BC Bus Pass), or DayPass first to use for travel.

2. Inactive but valid Monthly Pass or Program Pass – when there isn’t any active pass found on the card, the system will look for an inactive Monthly Pass or Program Pass to activate for travel.

3. Inactive but valid DayPass or WCE Return Trip – when there isn’t any active pass or inactive Monthly or Program passes on the card, the system will look for an inactive DayPass or WCE Return Trip to activate for travel.

4. Stored Value – when there isn’t any active or inactive passes found on the card, the system will use Stored Value.

*Please note that this only applies to Compass Cards, not Compass tickets.

Active or not? 

So what’s the difference between an active pass and a pass?

Well, for example, an active Monthly Pass is one you’ve purchased and is in use at the point of tap in and tap out (meaning you’ve already activated it for travel). An inactive but valid Monthly Pass is one you’ve purchased and loaded on your Compass Card for the current month, but hasn’t been activated. (A Monthly Pass only gets activated on your Compass Card once you’ve tapped your card in for the desired month.)

Still have questions?

Ask away at askcompass.ca

Compass points the way to a more convenient, easy to use, and safe and secure transit system.

All aboard the live opera train on the SkyTrain!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Get a little culture on the rail this weekend with the Opera Train!

Looking to do something you’ve never done this weekend? How about some live opera on a SkyTrain courtesy of our friends at TravelSmart!

That’s right, starting at Surrey Central SkyTrain station at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 9 (don’t forget to spring forward before you go) live performances will be happening until approximately 12:30 p.m. at all Expo line stations between Surrey Central and Stadium-Chinatown station.

For more info on the schedule and why this is happening in the first place, check out the TravelSmart post!

 

 

Evergreen Tunnel Boring starts today

TransLink Board Chair Marcella Szel speaking at the press conference.

TransLink Board Chair Marcella Szel speaking at the packed press conference

It’s an exciting day for all you Buzzer readers following the progress of the Evergreen Line development. Today the TransLink board chair, Marcella Szel, joined Premier Christy Clark and Honourable Minister Todd Stone to announce the start of Evergreen Line tunnel construction and to officially name the tunnel boring machine.

The machine has been dubbed “Alice”, after Alice Wilson, Canada’s first female geologist. Very appropriate timing, considering tomorrow is International Women’s Day. Alice will bore the Evergreen Line tunnel which will run east of Barnet Highway in Port Moody to south of Kemsley Avenue in Coquitlam.

Once the Evergreen Line is complete, B.C. will have the longest rapid transit network in Canada at 79km in length.

Welcome to the TransLink family Alice!

 

(From left to right) Minister Todd Stone, TransLink board chair Marcella Szel, Premier Christy Clark and XXX in front of, "Alice", the tunnel bording  machine.

(From left to right) Honourable Minister Todd Stone, TransLink board chair Marcella Szel, Premier Christy Clark and Honourable Minister James Moore in front of, “Alice”, the tunnel boring machine