Transportation Not Meeting Demand

It’s been kind of a bad year for transportation in Saskatchewan. Aside from the potential Supercharger for Swift Current, there haven’t been many tangible bright spots for Saskatchewan.

  • Premier Wall rejects the carbon tax plan to reduce emissions
  • SGI says they’re not considering a rebate on Zero Emission Vehicles, as they once had 5 years ago until Minister McMillian of SGI (now President McMillian of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Procurers) cancelled the rebate. Gee, no bad optics there, right? Just an oil industry lobbyist directly encouraging people to buy trucks over EV or hybrid vehicles.
  • The SaskParty closed and sold off the STC Crown, with no replacement for bus service apparently in mind. As a result, there’s no bus service between Saskatoon and Regina! I emailed a company reported in the news as seeking to offer service, and they replied:

    We have not been approved for scheduled passenger service yet

    Sincerely
    Mitch Blyth
    General Manager
    Carpe Diem Group featuring our new Land Jet mobile office division.
    Regina, Saskatoon & Yorkton Sk.
    []531-9626

  • Cumberland House still doesn’t have sufficient transportation to/from it.
  • Via Rail offered unlimited $150 passes and travel in July to youth under 25, then only to 1867 youth, then several thousand, but stopped before demand was satisfied, and failed to offer the pass for additional months, or add additional train service to meet the obvious demand. Saskatchewan only has Via service to 2 cities, Saskatoon and Melville. Regina, Moose Jaw, and Swift Current are left out even though they are on the Trans-Canada as is Calgary in Alberta.

Considering I was hoping a passenger rail line between Saskatoon and Regina could one day be built, it’s especially appalling that the government has ended bus service between the major cities this year.

So what can one person do? I attended the large rally at STC headquarters in March. I’ve pushed on City Council several times encouraging them to have Regina Transit buy STC resources and operate it on profitable routes as a money maker for the City, while providing a valuable service the province has abdicated itself from.

Disruption of Used Car Market And Transportation Norms

By 2025 we’ll see:

“Cities will ban human drivers once the data confirms how dangerous they can be behind a wheel. This will spread to suburbs, and then beyond. There will be a “mass stranding of existing vehicles”

“The value of second-hard cars will plunge. You will have to pay to dispose of your old vehicle.”

No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century.

This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries.

“The cost per mile for EVs will be 6.8 cents, rendering petrol cars obsolete. Insurance costs will fall by 90 per cent. The average American household will save $5,600 per year by making the switch. The US government will lose $50 billion a year in fuel taxes. ”

“The Robot Revolution Will Take Your Car, Your Mom’s Car, and All the Oil in 13 Years”

“Countries that fail to lead or make a transition to TaaS will become the 21st century equivalents of horse-based countries trying to compete with economies whose transportation systems are based on cars, trucks, tractors and airplanes”, concludes the RethinkX report.

 

Still More Hawaiian Sights

Pearl Harbor

The 3rd day of driving, we headed toward the old Dole Plantation. After climbing a hill on the freeway, the Leaf’s battery was a little depleted especially since we started off at 66% since we couldn’t charge it overnight. We aimed for a free charger at a decidedly not-free health care clinic.

There was a huge solar array covered car-park behind it, and we circled the building only to finally find an EV charger that was either out of service, or not compatible with our EV. After learning from the support number on it that the troubleshooting steps I’d taken weren’t sufficient, we popped over to Tony Nissan to charge up. There were 3 Leafs there already, and only 2 chargers. One soon left after a couple minutes, and another Leaf rolled up with no miles remaining on the guessometer. I let him charge first, and we talked about his vehicle so I could learn more about owning an EV. The CHAdeMO charger at Tony had been broken for some time, and I overheard it wasn’t being repaired for months longer. That seemed totally unacceptable to me, but that’s what Nissan corporate in the USA wanted to do. Tony had shelled out $9000 already once to fix the cord on the charger, but it’d broken in some way again. I think there’s probably a design flaw, and some sort of replacement unit going in their place in the next few months.

We got our time on the charger, and rolled back down the hill and over to the other half of Pearl Ridge Mall that we had skipped the day before. This time we rode the Monorail over to the side with the giant Cook map on the floor, where we’d charged the car after the Tesla vacated the charging spot I waited 40 minutes for. We had to check all of the chargers before finding an available one. Another Leaf, and a BMW i3 were on the upper parkade chargers.

While charging, we had lunch, and shopped around a bit for jewelry and such. I popped out to see how the car was doing, and a young woman was charging her Leaf instead. Curious, I asked what was up, and she had to be across the island for a deadline of some sort, and apologized for interrupting my charging. I said it was okay, and to just plug me back in when she had enough for her destination.

Pearl Harbor

Then we went over to Pearl Harbor as it was closing, parked nearby, took some photos, parked again, took more photos, and got out of the lot just before they locked it up for the night.

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

We drove past an unfinished freeway hanging over us in the air, and through Honolulu killing time exploring while on our way to return the Leaf to Autoland.
Pearl Harbor

electric tree
An electric Leaf definitely needs an electric tree!

We enjoyed the sunset at the coast in a park, with some cats, newly married couples, and a few homeless people in tents.
cat fed in Kaka'ako park

wedding in park

The SaskParty’s Deaf Ears & Dumb Cuts

It’s staggering that the province is willing to spend multitudes more money on redundant highway so people can avoid going to Regina, than they are to improve literacy.

Don Morgan is out of touch, and wrong.

The Saskatchewan Library Trustees’ Association said in a news release after the budget that Morgan has said the province “should be getting out of bricks and mortar libraries and people should be focusing on electronic or alternate media.”

The association said it was “deeply disappointed and discouraged that the work we have done promoting the value of Saskatchewan’s libraries has fallen on deaf ears.

“Had the government been listening they would know that libraries are indeed working with promoting and developing technologies. Libraries are the wave of the future.”

More Sights In Hawaii

After a couple nights at the first place we stayed, we dropped off our keys and picked up the ones for the next place. The timeshare employees moved our bags for us once the rooms were cleaned, which was convenient.

Army museum closed for President's Day weekend

On Monday, President’s Day, we hopped on the bus to the other side of Honolulu, and picked up our rental car, an electric Nissan Leaf. After getting a quick tour of the car, (but not one where we retained that there was a USB port available to charge our phones), we took off into the distance not entirely sure where to go. I reasoned we should set a free car charger as our next stop, so we picked one east of Waikiki on the Plugshare app on my phone, and set the phone’s GPS to navigate us to it. When we were almost there, we pulled over into a large free parking lot to take a quick look and stretch.
A few minutes later we pulled into a busy parking lot, and immediately spotted the free Volta-branded EV charger, and the parking spot was available narrowly. I squeezed in beside a pickup, and we plugged in.
Hawaii

With up to 2 hours to kill, we wandered off to find lunch. There was an Italian place, and we got a window table by the boat docks.
Hawaii
I tried calamari steak for the first time, and it was good, but there was a lot of it. American sized meal portions remain a bit of a problem even for a bottomless pit like myself.

The car was fully charged again when we returned to it, after charging our phones in a mall hallway outlet. We set off for the next charger. We stopped along the way at the rocky ocean side where there was a free parking spot with lots of tourists doing the same.
Hawaii
Leaf parked

The Target we ended up at had chickens and roosters wandering around the parking lot. The EV charger was busy though, so we explored the town more after taking a wrong turn once and having to go in a circle.

We found the grocery store charger was busy too, but another pair of chargers (one working and occupied) provided us with some free juice after only a 30 minute shopping wait. We walked over to another mall nearby, and there was a nice sitting area with an outdoor phone charging stand. One of the haggard parents we saw there with a little girl, we ran into later on the Luau bus trip we took on Thursday.

On our way back to Waikiki, there was a charger near a McDonalds, but it only worked for 5 minutes without a payment option. So we drove back, parked, and went to supper at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Delicious, and you really pay for the location.

Cheeseburger in Paradise

golf course
The golf course visible from our condo’s balcony.

sunset
The next day’s sunset after a bit of shopping at Pearl Ridge, I found the beach to be a bit too well used.
sunset

sunset
For an unused beach, the parking security across the street was annoying given that their parking lot was empty and their suggestion was to park only 40m away on the dirt. I ended up finding a better spot adjacent to the beach, after a U-turn on the non-busy street.

How Safe Will the Model 3 Be?

The Tesla Model 3 could be the safest car on the road — and that’s bad news for every other automaker

MORGAN STANLEY: Tesla’s Model 3 may be 10x safer than any car on the road today

Frank Chaparro

Mar. 23, 2017, 11:08 AM

 

It’s expected to be so safe, that Business Insider published two stories about it, in the span of an hour. One, with two glaring typos I spotted right away.

Paved Paradise Because Parking Was Already There

July 5th, 2016, after years of a mud pit following the rip-out of the previous playground:

University of Regina CW

Now it looks like this again:

College West reno playground removed

Reasoning given:

 A project of this scale requires a large site and staging area directly adjacent to the building. The site, the courtyard immediately west of the building and south of Wascana Daycare, is a centrally located site that allows for a full and safe construction staging area which will house cranes and heavy equipment.

This area creates efficiencies for the contractor, minimizes the impact on surrounding community and safeguards all who need to access the building and surrounding area. Using this site saves us money on the overall project, even if you include the cost of removing and reinstalling the playground.

When the playground was initially constructed, approval for the College West construction program was not yet granted.

A faculty member responds:

“As Dena mentioned, there was no approval for the $38M+ project prior to building the playground. But surely it must have been on the radar – $38M+ projects don’t materialize over the course of a few months, do they?  Or perhaps they do, because in fact, the BoG approved the renovations of College West on July 5th (the same day the fences [were] installed, it seems; …

Perhaps being prudent in building the playground would have been wise.”

A parent with an impacted child thinks so too:

“when I dropped my son off on Monday, he was DEVASTATED to see a bulldozer tearing up the his new playground. While it is posed to be rebuilt, it will not be until 2018.”

This is another frustrating example of construction on the University of Regina campus. Over the years I’ve proposed and supported many projects. Some are now realities, like the park and ride at Conexus Arts Centre (used by the Health Region instead), The RPIRG Green Patch garden, and the U-Pass universal bus pass for students which drastically cut the cost of a bus pass for students and increased bus service on campus. But also many more ideas have been rejected or have yet to be built. There’s no wind-row composting system on vacant University land. There’s still no energy dashboard, but there’s one apparently in the works and behind schedule. And there’s no separated bicycle infrastructure on streets. There’s no single-stream recycling system. No composting system. Not a single on-grid solar panel array. The thousands of dollars that went into constructing a playground and fence in use for less than 4 months, could have gone a long long way into implementing any of those other ideas and wouldn’t have been bulldozed in under a year.

I usually keep these sort of writings internal and send them directly to President Timmons, since she does respond and listen to what I have to say. This example though is already done, and was already done wrong. The money is gone, wasted. What do I hope for? Better foresight in project planning, and more willingness to try ideas proposed by staff and students. I can’t help but feel that a playground was destroyed literally in front of children who loved it, because a nearby parking lot is too precious to people who need to get over their love affair with their cars.

There are places in our city that fund raise for playgrounds, and our University is creating and destroying them in an unimaginable time scale. This is not sustainable growth. Unless you can build, destroy, build, destroy, then rebuild a playground within ten years in a sustainable way.