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Translink Buzzer Blog

Celebrate the new Capilano University transit exchange on Monday Apr. 6

A map of the new Capilano University exchange. Click for a larger (and readable) version!

A map of the new Capilano University exchange. Click for a larger (and readable) version!

I wrote about the new Capilano University transit exchange on February 9, but an official opening is now set for Monday, Apr. 6!

So join TransLink, Coast Mountain Bus Company, West Vancouver Transit and Capilano University for a special ceremony marking the official opening of the new Capilano University transit exchange.

The event is at Capilano University, 2055 Purcell Way, in the Maple Building (Student Lounge), starting at 10 a.m., and then moving to the location of the new exchange itself. Refreshments will be served!

It’s a great milestone for us and for Capilano University. In January 2009, students joined the Vancity U-Pass program, where each student receives a mandatory transit pass at a substantially reduced rate. The Vancity U-Pass drove the need for a new exchange due to the increased demand for transit services among the 14,000-plus students.

The exchange has been achieved through the collaborative efforts of the university’s students, staff and faculty, TransLink and the two bus companies serving the university, the District of North Vancouver and the local neighbourhood. Monday’s ceremony is a much-anticipated opportunity to acknowledge those efforts! We look forward to seeing you there!

And check out more information about the exchange on the main TransLink site!

Workshop on Newton Town Centre land-use and transport plan – Wed Apr. 8

The study area is bounded by 72 Avenue to the north, 138 Street to the east, and the BC Hydro Railway to the south and west.

The study area is bounded by 72 Avenue to the north, 138 Street to the east, and the BC Hydro Railway to the south and west.

Come to a public consultation workshop about the Newton Town Centre area next Wednesday, Apr. 8!

The City of Surrey and TransLink are inviting you to join in as they start the process of preparing a transit-oriented land use, urban design and transportation plan for the Newton Town Centre area.

At the workshop, you can meet the project team, learn how the planning process will take place, and provide input into the plan at an early stage.

The map in the picture here shows the study area, bounded by 72 Avenue to the north, 138 Street to the east, and the BC Hydro Railway to the south and west.

Key info about the event:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Frank Hurt Secondary School Gymnasium, 13940-77 Avenue, Surrey

The agenda will be as follows:
6 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Participant sign-in
6:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.: Project introduction & overview
6:45 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.: Presentation from project consultant
7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.: Community workshop exercises
8:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Questions, comments & wrap-up

If you want more info, here’s who to contact:

  • Gertrude Kwan at 604-591-4129 or Ron Gill at 604-591-4773, both from the City of Surrey Planning & Development Department
  • Vincent Gonsalves at 604-453-3043, Community Relations Coordinator at TransLink

You can also visiting the Planning & Development Department at Surrey City Hall, or by emailing Ron Gill at rgill@surrey.ca.

Retired trolleys in blue, orange, green, and red!

Our retired trolleys have been painted in new colours to serve the transit system of Mendoza, Argentina!

Our retired trolleys have been painted in new colours to serve the transit system of Mendoza, Argentina!

Jorge Luis Guevara from Mendoza, Argentina has passed along a few more photos of our retired Flyer trolleys, painted in bright new colours! They’re being prepped for their debut on the Mendoza system, which I’m told is approaching. (I’ll ask about the exact date and let you know when that happens, of course!)

As always, check Jorge’s blog for more photos and video of our retired trolleys in their new home.

And here’s a few more photos of the trolleys — click for larger versions!

Here are the past articles on our retired trolleys:

Tsawwassen First Nation celebrates treaty effective date

On Friday, the Tsawwassen First Nation is celebrating the effective date of their treaty!

It’s the first urban treaty in modern-day British Columbia, and means the Tsawwassen First Nation will be self-governing, as well as transferring over land and funding to them. (The Surrey Leader has a great article on the treaty, if you’d like to read more.)

In honour of such a momentous occasion, TransLink will be providing free service on the #609 Community Shuttle on Friday April 3, which travels through Tsawwassen First Nation land.

All our best to the Tsawwassen First Nation!

Broadway Station construction update for March-April 2009

Steel support framework is now up on the west wall. The framework will hold the glass walls when they are finally installed.

Steel support framework is now up on the west wall. The framework will hold the glass walls when they are finally installed.

Here’s the third update on the Broadway Station upgrade project, for March-April 2009!

If you hadn’t heard, we are upgrading Broadway Station to better handle customer traffic and security. I wrote about the overall plans for the upgrade in November 2008, and posted two updates on the station’s progress, in December 2008 and February-March 2009.

Read more »

Fleet Overhaul Series, Part 3 of 6: The paint shop

video-still

Here is the third in a six-part series about Fleet Overhaul, the vehicle maintenance centre down at Burnaby Transit Centre. (Check out the first article, on the body shop at Fleet Overhaul, and the second article, about panel fabrication.)

Well, once a bus is repaired, it needs to be painted! And that happens here, in the large paint shop at Fleet Overhaul.

The paint shop is right next to the body shop. See the video above for a very quick look at how it’s laid out. The door visible in the far left corner is the long room where articulated buses are painted, and the room visible on the right is where conventional buses are painted. The bus on the far right is being washed in anticipation of a paint job.

Read more »

Property tax rates released for 2009

Well, this is a slightly awkward topic to bring up, but we’ve officially released our property tax rates for 2009. (And it’s not an April Fool’s joke, sadly.)

On average, homeowners can expect their property tax to rise by about $16, and business property taxes will go up by about $59. It all goes to fund the ongoing operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the region’s major roads and transit network.

Here’s the full press release if you’d like to see it. Also, Jeff Nagel at the Surrey Leader also has a really good article on the increases.

I should mention that this tax increase has nothing to do with the 2010 10-year plan. That’s the plan for our next 10 years which has been bandied about in the news lately, owing to the discussion of a vehicle levy and other proposed funding mechanisms for the future. (We’re also starting to consult about it over at BePartofthePlan.ca.)

Instead, this property tax increase is to resolve a loss of revenue from last year, which happened because our parking site tax was cancelled at the end of 2007.

We lost $18 million of revenue when the parking site tax was cancelled, and the province gave us special permission to make up that $18 million using additional property tax on residences and businesses.

In 2008, we chose to collect only half of that tax ($9 million), through boosting the property tax on businesses alone. (Here’s the 2008 press release about that decision.) This year, we’re collecting the full amount from both residential and business properties.

TransLink turns 10!

Happy 10th birthday to TransLink!

Happy 10th birthday to TransLink!

It’s TransLink’s tenth birthday today!

And yes, it’s funny that it lands on April 1, but we have some good company: Apple also celebrates its birthday today, as well as the Wrigley candy company.

You might not know this, but TransLink is a pretty unique organization — it’s the very first transportation agency in North America, responsible for planning and managing both public transit, major roads, and other transport modes in the region.

This integrated model lets us plan the network as a strategic whole, has helped Metro Vancouver become one of the most livable regions in the world, and has won us some lovely accolades along the way. (Check out this nice article about us from Mass Transit magazine in May 2006!)

Similar agencies now exist in New York City, London, UK, and very recently (as in two days ago), the greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

If you’re interested in learning more, have a look at our recently written history book (3MB PDF) — it tells our story from the start in 1999 to 2008.

And if you’d like some quick tidbits, here’s our last 10 years by the numbers!

Read more »

Knight Street Bridge lane closure tonight

A heads up to drivers and riders out there—one southbound lane will be closed on the Knight St. Bridge overnight.

The closure will in effect from Tuesday, March 31 at 10 p.m. until Wednesday Apr. 1 at 5 a.m. Workers will be performing a routine warranty maintenance check on the deck joints.

So, if you’re driving, watch out for the closure, and remember to observe all signs and instructions from traffic controllers and the 50 km/h workzone speed limit.

(And if you didn’t know already, TransLink owns and maintains the Knight Street Bridge, the Pattullo Bridge, and the Westham Island Bridge.)

Hope this doesn’t inconvenience anybody!

Friday fun poll: do you have a secret friend at your transit stop?

Last week I asked if you stepped off your transit vehicle when standing near the doors, with people rushing to exit behind you.

After 142 votes, 61 per cent said you do step off the bus when people are rushing to get out, and 39 per cent said you stay on the bus and let people exit around you.

Well, that’s certainly a closer result than our previous poll! Anyway, in the comments, the “step-offers” were much more vocal than the standers. Here’s Dan Udey:

I don’t know if I’d classify ’standing in the doorway’ as a strategy. Generally it just serves to make everyone’s life harder (including the stander, who gets shoved around as people try to get off the bus).

And Dan B also added a few more thoughts on the matter:

I dislike it when people stand in the doorways of buses as well. Usually there are free seats or room away from the doors. I surmise that the people who do stand in the doorway like the extra room, even though it is technically forbidden by the placards. Many times, people stand in the doorways so they can chat with their friends, or because they like the extra room — even in cases where there are free seats!

——

New poll time! Bet you’re wondering what I’m talking about with this “secret friend” business.

I’m officially naming this type of person a “secret friend.” If you have an alternate term, please feel free to suggest it. And if you have actually talked to your secret transit friend, tell us all about it in the comments :)

Be Part of the Plan: join our discussion site about our transportation future

Check it out, yo—we’ve launched a new discussion website at BePartofthePlan.ca!

The website is basically the starting point for a conversation about our shared transportation future. Starting Friday, you’ll start seeing ads promoting the site in the media and on transit.

We’re encouraging everyone to visit BePartofthePlan.ca, learn about the six transport goals our region has set for the next 30 years, and let us know your thoughts on transportation issues.

Your thoughts and feedback will help shape the upcoming 10-year plan for 2010. And after a draft of that 10-year plan is released in June, we’ll continue the online discussion to get your thoughts on the plan’s details. A final version will then be put together for approval by the end of the year. (Here’s an explanation of the difference between all these plans!)

And I’m actually going to help moderate discussions over at BePartofthePlan.ca, so I’ll be splitting my time between that site and the Buzzer blog for the next little while. (Don’t worry though, I’m not abandoning the Buzzer blog!)

A note on the discussion topics, and the site

One of the ads you might see on transit in the next while.

One of the ads you might see on transit in the next while.

There are six discussion topics right now, to get you started thinking about each of the goals.

But every week or so, we’ll update the site with new topics to discuss. If there’s a topic you think should be up there, feel free to suggest it.

Also, we know this website isn’t the most perfect way to conduct this conversation, and we welcome your comments to improve it.

The site will be tweaked as we go along, and there will be a bigger redesign for the June discussion, so make sure you let us know exactly what you think.

Join in!

So I’m really encouraging you to visit BePartofthePlan.ca and talk with us! We want to hear from you, and your thoughts will really help us develop a transport plan that reflects your needs and values. I hope to see you all there!

Take transit to the Juno Awards

The Juno Awards are in town for four days (Thursday Mar. 26 to Sunday Mar. 29), and we’d just like to suggest taking transit to get to the celebration. Here’s some useful info on the transportation situation.

The City of Vancouver will be closing roads in the Granville Street Entertainment District and some sections of Abbott Street around GM Place. (These closures don’t affect bus routes!)

Stadium-Chinatown Station is the nearest SkyTrain stop to General Motors Place, where the Junos will be held. You can reach GM Place by taking the east exit and crossing Expo Boulevard via the Abbott Street crosswalk.

Please note the last Skytrain to Surrey on Sunday leaves Waterfront at 12:15 a.m. After this time, you can use night bus service, which operates every 30 minutes, seven nights a week, from approximately 1:30 a.m., with the last bus leaving downtown Vancouver at 3:09 a.m.

You can use our online Trip Planner to plan your trip to the Juno celebrations, or give Customer Information a call at 604-953-3333.

By the way, here’s a list of our 12 NightBus routes:

Free pink whistles can help you stay safe

The pink safety whistles from our Whistle Blower campaign -- they are available at Collingwood Community Policing Centre, at 5160 Joyce St in Vancouver.

The pink safety whistles from our Whistle Blower campaign -- they are available at Collingwood Community Policing Centre, at 5160 Joyce St in Vancouver.

We had 1,000 pink whistles in the office this week!

They’re part of the “Whistle Blower” safety program, which was launched in May 2007.

The program provides free, super loud whistles to anyone who requests them, so they can make as much noise as possible if attacked or threatened.

It’s a partnership between TransLink, SkyTrain, the Collingwood Community Policing Centre, Vancouver Police Department and the Transit Police.

You can pick the whistles up at the Collingwood Community Policing Centre, 5160 Joyce Street in Vancouver, which is where we delivered these whistles this week. (We’ve given away 2,000 whistles so far – this is the third order of 1,000 whistles since the program began!)

And check out the Collingwood Policing Centre’s page on the program too—it includes a list of great safety tips for when you’re out and about.

A short history of interurbans in the Lower Mainland

The very first interurban on the Burnaby Lake line, leaving New Westminster. (Item 166-001, from the Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection, courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.)

The very first interurban on the Burnaby Lake line, leaving New Westminster. (Item 166-001, from the Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection, courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.)

Today, I’m pleased to present a look at the history of interurbans in the Lower Mainland.

Lisa Codd, the fantastic curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together. She first shared a luncheon menu and programme from the 1937 Pattullo Bridge opening in January – and this is a continuation of that collaboration, to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

Golden Ears Bridge hosts opening celebration June 14

The Golden Ears Bridge, in mid-construction. The bridge will be in one piece when you go out to celebrate in June!

The Golden Ears Bridge, in mid-construction. The bridge will be in one piece when you go out to celebrate in June!

Hey, you’re invited to celebrate the opening of the Golden Ears Bridge in June!

The bridge should be completed by early summer, and while the official opening date for traffic isn’t yet set, a public celebration will be held on Sunday, June 14.

It’s going to take place on the new Golden Ears Bridge deck, and it will be a pedestrian-only event. The celebration will feature entertainment and activities for the whole family.

TransLink’s new bridge and 13-kilometre road network will provide a quick, easy and convenient link from Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge to Langley, Surrey and beyond.

Here’s a few comments from TransLink executives on the celebration, from our press release:

“This is an exciting opportunity for people to get a close up look at the bridge and to experience the magnificent view from the bridge deck,” says TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast. “For the first time ever, the people living in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Surrey and Langley will be able to connect easily to friends, families and opportunities on the other side of the river.”

“We want to invite the region to share in this historic event,” says Fred Cummings, TransLink vice-president of major construction projects. “The opening celebration is an opportunity to thank the communities for their support and commitment to the new crossing and to honour the bridge workers whose skill and dedication created the bridge.”

The Golden Ears Bridge uses QuickPass, the first electronically tolled system in western Canada, and will allow drivers to cross the bridge and pay the toll without stopping or slowing down. Find out more about QuickPass in this October 2008 Buzzer blog post on the subject.

And for more information on the project, please feel free to visit TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge website, or the Golden Ears Bridge construction website.