ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Roads & Bridges Series

Roads and Bridges: Restaurants along the Major Road Network

roads and bridges bannerWe’ve been devoting a handful of posts to the roads and bridges TransLink is responsible for in the region. For the basics on TransLink’s roads and bridges, check out the Managing major roads and bridges in Metro Vancouver post from our TransLink 101 series and check out the roads and bridges series to read the other posts.

For this final post in the series, Angela, our student communications assistant, is sharing her love of food and where to find it along the Major Road Network (MRN). Besides spending her summer at TransLink, Angela is also part of the team over at VANEATS.ca, Vancouver’s food adventure network. We thought it would be great to marry her love of food and transit in one post. Enjoy!

 

Richmond – Deer Garden

3 Locations: 8580 Alexandra Road, Richmond | 3779 Sexsmith Road, Richmond | 6270 Fraser St. & 47th, Vancouver

Deer Garden Signatures is a popular favourite. They are renowned for their signature fish soup noodles, and have two locations in Richmond: Alexandra Road, and Sexsmith Road in Union Square. Deer Garden also opened a new franchise in Vancouver last year on Fraser St. and 47th.

For $8.50, you get to choose your own soup base, noodles, two toppings, and a hot or cold drink. Portions are huge, and I love the variety of different toppings to choose from. My personal favourite soup base is the Tomato & Pumpkin Fish Soup with Rice Noodles.

Tomato & Pumpkin Fish Soup at Deer Garden. Photo Credit: Curtis @ Foodobyte

Tomato & Pumpkin Fish Soup at Deer Garden. Photo Credit: Curtis @ Foodobyte

Downtown Vancouver – Nook Restaurant 

2 Locations: 781 Denman St., Vancouver | 1525 Yew St., Vancouver

Nook is located just off Robson Street on Denman Street. They also recently opened a new location in Kitsilano. Whenever I visit, I usually order the specials of the day, which are usually chalked onto a blackboard. They have never disappointed – always a mixture of refreshing ingredients, yet with the most flavourful and delicious pizzas and pastas I have had in the city. I especially appreciate their use of fresh arugula – it really adds a bit of punch to the pizza!

Be forewarned: the restaurant is quite cosy and does not take reservations. For larger parties, they recommend visiting their sister restaurant Tavola, right around the corner.

Nook Restaurant

Nook Restaurant

West Vancouver – Fraiche Restaurant

2240 Chippendale Road, West Vancouver

Fraiche Restaurant is located just off the Trans Canada Highway 1 in West Vancouver. It features Pacific Northwest cuisine, with a stunning panoramic view of the Lions Gate Bridge and surrounding areas. The menu offers Ocean Wise (thumbs-up!) and gluten-free options – a bonus for those with diet limitations! Although a little more on the luxurious side of fine dining, it’s worth dropping by for a visit for a fantastic view of Vancouver and beautifully prepared cuisine.

My favourite dish is the Maple Glazed Sablefish – rich, succulent, and delicious!

 

Enjoy a beautiful panoramic view at Fraiche Restaurant

Enjoy a beautiful panoramic view at Fraiche Restaurant

Burnaby – Han Ju Tofu Hot Pot

4500 Kingsway (Crystal Mall)

This little hole-in-the-wall, Han Ju, is located just outside Crystal Mall in Burnaby, also within walking distance from Metrotown.  Their hotpots are affordable and delicious,  and their Korean Style BBQ bowl is an excellent choice of comfort food – it includes rice, spicy tofy, pork, egg, bok choy, cabbage, and a small soup broth on the side. A particularly refreshing drink is their lychee drink: cool, crisp, and sweet. The BBQ bowl and lychee juice have become my usual order at this little spot after a long day of shopping at Metrotown!

Korean Style BBQ bowl at Han Ju Tofu Hot Pot

Korean Style BBQ bowl at Han Ju Tofu Hot Pot

Kitsilano – Café Régalade 

2836 West 4th Ave, Vancouver

Tucked in the Kitsilano area, this French restaurant, Café Régalade, works wonders with their cuisine. Their brunch menu items are great – lots of variety for a friendly price. Their Healthy Breakfast option comes with two boiled eggs, low fat yogurt, fruit salad, home made granola, choice of milk, and dipping soldiers. For dinner, their Duck Breast a L’Orange is incredible – each tender bite of duck is soaked in a rich orange sauce that is beautifully balanced between sweet, tart and a touch savoury.

Café Régalade

Café Régalade, on West 4th Ave.

 

These are just a few of my favourite go-to places in Vancouver! There are so many amazing restaurants in this vibrant city. Seeing as I am still slowly exploring my way into other areas of Metro Vancouver, such as Surrey, White Rock, and Coquitlam, what great places would you recommend?

What are your favourite restaurants within the Major Road Network?

Author: Angela Chang

Roads & Bridges: Cycling infrastructure

roads and bridges bannerWe’re devoting a handful of posts to the roads and bridges TransLink is responsible for in the region. For the basics on TransLink’s roads and bridges, check out the Managing major roads and bridges in Metro Vancouver post from our TransLink 101 series. Check out the roads and bridges series to read the other posts.

Roads and bridges aren’t just about buses,cars, trucks and pedestrians; they’re also about bicycles! TransLink has been working towards making cycling a realistic and viable travel option by planning and funding support for bikeways and other cycling infrastructure. For this installment of our series, I spoke with cycling devotee, Helen Cook. Helen is a planning manager in our Roads Department. I sat down with Helen for a few minutes right after her commute to work on her bike.

How long have you been with TransLink?

Helen and her bike

Helen and her favourite mode of transportation.

Helen: I’ve been with TransLink since our inception in 1999. Previously, I worked for BC Transit as a transit planner.

Have you always been passionate about bikes?

Helen: Indeed, I have. I’ve been a cycle commuter since I first moved to Vancouver to go to university and continued when I started working.

Did you focus on bikes while at BC Transit?

Helen: There wasn’t much of a cycling program there per se, but I did have some responsibility for studying and doing some feasibility work for putting bike racks in front of the buses. Over time, I worked with BC Transit to retrofit and install bicycle racks on all the buses. Getting bike racks on all the buses in the region didn’t actually happen until after TransLink was formed.

How does cycling fit into your current role at TransLink?

Helen: he cycling program fits within the Roads Department because it’s largely based on roads infrastructure. TransLink is interested in promoting cycling as a viable mode of travel, and  the ways that we help to promote that is through guidance to municipalities through the Regional Cycling Strategy and Implementation Plan  as well as providing funding to those municipalities for cycling infrastructure as well as including cycling into our own infrastructure, which includes the transit system and the bridges that we own. We make sure that cyclists can access all of our own infrastructure. TransLink also produces the Metro Vancouver Cycling Map, and delivers education and encouragement for cycling through the TravelSmart program.

What are some cycling infrastructure of note that TransLink is directly involved in?

The Canada Line bike bridge

The Canada Line Pedestrian-Bicycle bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen: When I think of specific infrastructure, I think that the Canada Line Pedestrian-Bicycle Bridge has been great for cycling. There’s a dedicated crossing for both cyclists and pedestrians. It’s accessible from both Richmond and Vancouver and bike routes lead to both sides. It goes a long way to improving the comfort of crossing that part of the Fraser River.

We’re also currently undertaking an operational review of how we can improve our customer experience in terms of cycling as it pertains to our buses, SkyTrain and SeaBus and West Coast Express. Are there things that we can do to make operations safer? Are there things that we could be doing with the vehicles in relation to best practices? These are questions we’re aiming to answer.

Are there any cities or organizations that you look to for inspiration when it comes to cycling infrastructure?

Helen: Well, TransLink is a leader in North America when it comes to accommodating bicycles on transit. One of the places we look to for inspiration or ideas is in regards to bicycle parking. Cities like Portland and Chicago have introduced what are called bike cages or secure bike parking areas. These are separate rooms in a station or separate buildings near a station where cyclists can park their bikes securely on a rack using their own lock while having access to the area with their transit pass.

So these are different than the bike lockers we currently have on the system?

Helen: Yes, our lockers are a program we introduced years ago and are now considered standard equipment at the stations. However, we’d like to make bike storage even more accessible. Our lockers currently require obtaining a key, and you need to sign up for them for at least three months via a rental payment. Secure Bicycle Parking areas are designed to be accessible by many people through use of an electronic entry that can be monitored remotely, much like office access or elevator access cards.

Are there plans to have these rooms on our system?

Helen: Yes, we are preparing to install one at King George Station as a pilot project. We recently received capital funding to install that, and we have a project manager working on finalizing the design. The hope is to have this Secure Bike Parking structure, which will have permeable walls with electricity and video monitoring, finished for spring 2014. We have a lot of bike lockers at King George Station, and they’re usually full and sometimes there’s a waiting list. So, we’re hoping that this new facility, which is more efficient in terms of design of space that it takes up on the plaza, can accommodate all of our new cycling customers and some of the existing ones.

Is TransLink in touch with the City of Vancouver about their new public bike share system they plan to put in place in 2014?

Helen: Yes, TransLink conducted a public bike share feasibility study in 2008/9. After we published this study, Vancouver City Council became interested in bike sharing systems and it looks like they’re on the road to making it happen. Our feasibility study identified the City as the most likely part of the region where Bike Sharing could be successful. Since our study, the City did their own due diligence and investigation and research and have agreed that they are the right organization to implement a bike sharing system.

TransLink supports their decision to move forward with a bike sharing system. We have a Regional Cycling Strategy and a public bike sharing system is identified as a good way to encourage more cycling in the region. One of the ways it encourages more cycling is that supports spontaneous cycling travel. It also allows people to experiment with cycling and hopefully will lead them to discover that they’d like to cycle more. After a few years into implementation, other cities with a public bike sharing systems have seen noticeable upticks in the number of cyclists and bike sales.

What about the Evergreen Line and cycling?

Helen: Since early on in the process of making the line a reality, we’ve been working with the province to maximize access for bikes and we’ve identified road improvements that can be done in conjunction with construction of the line. We’ve also worked with the municipalities involved in the line to synchronize Evergreen Line construction with municipal cycling plans and pedestrian improvements as much as possible.

There are a few intersections that will see improvements for both cyclists and pedestrians as a result of the Evergreen Line. There are also a few slightly off-the-guide-way cycling routes which will also be in place once the line opens. We don’t have the same opportunities with the Evergreen Line as opposed to the Expo Line in terms of clear right of ways. However, we have identified parallel routes to the line which can be used by cyclists.

Have you noticed any major changes in how cycling is viewed over the fourteen years that you’ve been at TransLink?

Helen: Things have changed a lot. I think TransLink and many other transit agencies are far more interested in accommodating cyclists on transit systems. I see a lot encouragement of cycling to transit. The goal of our bike parking program is to encourage people to use their bicycles as part of the system. This shift towards increased incorporation of cycling into the transit system is also the result of more transit employees cycling to work.

Thanks for the interview Helen!

For more info on bikes and TransLink you’ll want read our past posts as well as the cycling and bikes on transit pages on the TransLink website.

 

Roads & Bridges: Getting to know Westham Island

roads and bridges bannerWe’re devoting a handful of posts  to the roads and bridges TransLink is responsible for in the region. For the basics on TransLink’s roads and bridges, check out the Managing major roads and bridges in Metro Vancouver post from our TransLink 101 series. Check out the roads and bridges series so far.

West end of the Westham Island Bridge truss

West end of the Westham Island Bridge truss – image courtesy of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

For this installment of our roads and bridges series, we look at one of TransLink’s oldest assets, Westham Island.

Officially opened on March 29, 1910, Westham Island is the oldest of the five bridges TransLink owns and operates. Operated by TransLink since 1999, The over 100-year-old bridge is also the narrowest TransLink bridge and one of few remaining bridges containing wood components in Metro Vancouver. Located over Canoe Pass, which is in the Fraser River Estuary, the structure connects Westham Island with Ladner and the Municipality of Delta.

The bridge is comprised of thirty timber stringer approach spans, a Callender-Hamilton swing-span steel truss, a steel C-truss, and a timber Howe truss, with  partial single-lane operation. The  swing span can swing 90 degrees to allow boats to pass.

I sat down with Bob Moore, Bridge Operations Manager for TransLink, and asked him a few questions about the historic bridge.

Tell me about the bridge.

Bob: The bridge is part steel, part timber. Part of the bridge is a steal truss, like you find in the Pattullo Bridge. Another part is a timbre truss, which is highly unusual these days but typical of similar bridges built in the early part of the last century. The remainder of the bridge consists of heavy timber stringers. It’s a swing span bridge, which is also unusual.

Bob holding a sign to a TransLink meeting room with the same name as the bridge.

Bob holding a sign to a TransLink meeting room with the same name as the bridge.

How do swing span bridges work?

Well, it sits on bearings. When ships want to pass through the channel, they radio ahead to our person in the operating booth for the bridge, and they go out onto the deck and press the button to make the bridge swing open. At this time of the year, the operating booth is fully manned. As we get into the winter, there are certain hours of operation.

What types of boats usually pass by the bridge?

It’s mainly fishing boats and some pleasure boats as well. I’ve actually seen a houseboat go through there. There is a houseboat community right near the bridge. On average, the bridge is opened roughly seven or eight times a day. It’s a vital link to the island. There are many farms on the island, and trucks need the bridge to get their goods on and off. Mind you, there is a load limit to the bridge of 50 tons, which means you can’t bring a semi-truck over it.

How is the bridge maintained?

We have a maintenance contractor who is out there weekly making any repairs that are needed. Because of these heavy trucks and the fact that the deck is wooden there is some regular maintenance needed. That replacement includes fixing and replacing parts of the deck, the rubbing rails and curbs on the side, etc.

How long can a bridge like the Westham last?

Well, it’s a swing span bridge, so there are moving parts that can rust or wear out. However, if it was designed and maintained well from new, it could  last almost indefinitely (with timely maintenance and rehabilitation). The deck on the bridge can feel a little loose because it’s made of timber which dries up during the summer. The workers will then go in and tighten the deck up on a regular basis.

Tell me about the future of the island.

About six months ago, we commissioned a report to look at the cost of three different scenarios: (1) to keep maintaining the bridge for the next ten years, (2) to keep maintaining it for the next thirty years, and (3) to look at replacing the bridge entirely. We have that report now, and we’re reviewing it to see  what we’ll do with it.

Thanks for the time Bob!

If you haven’t visit the bridge yet, it’s worth a trip. The unique look of the bridge has attracted camera crews of TV, films and commercials over the years. That includes  new TV series, Bates Motel, has been shooting on the bridge recently.

Have you ever gone over the bridge? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Share you Westham Island story in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roads & Bridges: Up Close and Personal with the Pattullo Bridge

 

roads and bridges bannerWe’re devoting a handful of posts over the next couple of weeks to the roads and bridges TransLink is responsible for in the region. For the basics on TransLink’s roads and bridges, check out the Managing major roads and bridges in Metro Vancouver post from our TransLink 101 series.

July 20th marked the first full day closure of the Pattullo Bridge summer weekend maintenance work. TransLink took this opportunity to invite local media to tour the 76-year-old bridge for a “behind the scenes” look at the work being completed. As the organizer of the event, I decided to take a few notes myself and share them with our Buzzer readers.

We began the tour by walking underneath the bridge, getting a close look at any fallen debris. I spotted a few chunks of fallen concrete on the ground, which seem to have originally been attached to the bridge. Our bridge operations manager (and our tour guide), Bob Moore assured me this is a sign of normal wear and tear of any bridge. “There is no structural risk or public safety concern (unless you’re standing underneath the bridge when the concrete falls!)” Bob says.  He also adds “TransLink has identified the defected areas and will be repairing these areas as part of the maintenance work.”

We then walked up the stairs onto the bridge deck to see construction workers at work. They were jack hammering the bridge, creating extremely loud drilling noises and causing lots of dust particles to fly all over our faces. I’m glad everyone was wearing their safety vests, hard hats and steel toed boots!

Along the bridge you could see red rectangles marked throughout. Bob said those were identified as “delaminated areas, where horizontal cracks are formed in the concrete, allowing water to flow through and causing the rebar to expand and corrode.” In layman’s terms, the concrete cracks create potholes, the water gets in and the rebar (made of iron) rusts. Again Bob adds, “this is normal wear and tear for any aging bridge. This is why it’s important for us to address these issues, complete this maintenance work and ensure Pattullo will maintain in a state of good repair”.

What’s interesting to note is how the delaminated areas are identified. As a standard test, a 10 feet long chain is dragged across the bridge. The sound created from the chain and concrete hitting determines the areas of delamination. High pitch tones means the area is delaminated and low pitch tones means the deck is still solid and intact. After identifying the delaminated areas, workers then mark the areas in red (explains the multiple red rectangles), break the concrete, clean the rebar and loose concrete, pour grout and repave the area.

With over 77, 000 daily commuters traveling across the Pattullo Bridge, I’m glad to see the maintenance effort put forward to ensure this aging bridge is always in a state of good repair. This tour was both interesting and educational for this transit junkie. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed seeing it!

Author: Jiana Ling