Translink Buzzer Blog

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

Run the Golden Ears half marathon and 10K, Sun Mar 9, 2014

2014-03-07 GEB Half Marathon

The Golden Ears Half Marathon & 10K is coming!

Hey buzzer readers!

The fourth Golden Ears Bridge Half Marathon and 10K race is happening on Sunday March 9, 2014, and TransLink is very excited to be supporting it again!

Both races will go over the Golden Ears Bridge, crossing on the east side and then coming back on the west side. Traffic control measures will be in place on either end of the bridge while race is taking place, so keep that in mind if you’re driving in the area.

Proceeds from the race will go to the School Meal Program in the Langley School District and Friends in Need Food Bank in Pitt Meadows. And if you want to be out there pounding the pavement on Sunday morning, you have until tomorrow to register! Visit the Peninsula Runners site for more info.

Happy racing!

 

 

 

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.

Tapping made easy, for everyone

Hooray, we’ve already reached over 3 million taps in the system!  We think this is a pretty cool first step in our Compass rollout.

More good news: Vancouver CNIB clients will start to receive their Compass Cards in the next few days. CNIB clients will be transitioning to the Compass Card in small groups over several weeks and we’re working with staff at CNIB to offer training sessions for these users to make sure they’re comfortable using their Compass Cards.

Curious as to what these training sessions look like? Check out the videos we took during recent sessions. They’re already pro tappers!

CNIB training

CNIB Compass Card Customer Experience

 

field demo cnib

Field Demonstration

 

CNIB classroom

Classroom Demostration

Got questions?

Ask away on Askcompass.ca

TransLink in the media: The expanded lot at the South Surrey Park and Ride

News hounds like myself might be reading some of the chatter today regarding the expansion lot at the South Surrey Park and Ride. The Province and Georgia Straight have both written about it.

We would like to correct some facts regarding who funded this $4.5 million project.

To respond to overcrowding at the previous lot, the expanded Park and Ride was developed as a partnership between the Province and TransLink. The Province funded the project’s capital costs and contributed to the land purchase. That is, the Province of British Columbia funded the $4.5 million expansion project. TransLink is responsible for operating and maintaining the lot.

This expanded lot supports improved transit and transportation for local communities, transit users and the travelling public. It makes it easier for people to connect to the existing transit network, which in turn makes transit a more viable choice.

UPDATE: Letter sent from TransLink to CTF

Fare gate in action at Sapperton Station

A TransLink employee, Joanne Proft, was REALLY excited to use the fare gate.

A TransLink employee, Joanne Proft, was REALLY excited to use the fare gate.

If you’ve been to Sapperton Station in the last few days, you might have noticed something different. Yep, you’re right, one set of the fare gates is closed, and yes, it’s supposed to be that way.

We know many of our customers who already have Compass Cards (80,000 of them!) are excited to be able to tap their card and have the fare gates swing open for them to walk through—now they can.

What’s up with that?

So why’d we close the fare gate? Lots of reasons:

  • To test a fare gate in regular use
  • To give customers a chance to try a fare gate out and see how they work
  • To get customer input and feedback
  • To give Compass Card holders another reason to tap
  • Because, frankly, we can, and we wanted to have some fun!

I’ve got a Compass Card, what should I do?

Try it! Tap in and watch the fare gate open (and close). Tap out and watch the fare gate open again. Form a conga line with your other friends with Compass Cards and see how many can tap in a minute.

And keep an eye out: we might just close another fare gate at another station close to you (but only if it won’t impact flow for customers without Compass Cards).

Don’t have a Compass Card?

Your turn to tap is coming soon. Next up: Canadian National Institute for the Blind clients are getting their Compass Cards slowly over the course of several weeks. West Coast Express customers will follow in the late spring, and other customer groups will be added through the summer and fall.

But don’t worry, we won’t be closing all the fare gates until we’re confident both the system and our customers are ready—likely in late 2014.

Stay tuned for more information as we move through the different transition phases to find out how and when you can get and use your Compass Card.

Got questions?

Ask away at AskCompass.ca