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.

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#OldNews about Alcohol and Planes

Roughly, it says:
“Alcohol makes lumps. Whoever is not satisfied, can see it in this photo, which was acquired last night after a driver who was under the influence of liquor, first drove to the gate of the High Sluis and then ended up at the motor line 7. The driver himself was a lucky escape, but one occupant and the tram driver were slightly injured.”

Alcohol maakt brokken. Wie daar nog niet van overtuigd is, kan het op deze foto zien, die genomen werd nadat gisteravond een autobestuurder, die onder invloed van sterke drank verkeerde, eerst tegen het hek van de Hoge Sluis reed en daarna terechtkwam tegen de motorwagen van lijn 7. De bestuurder zelf kwam met de schrik vrij, doch een inzittende en de bestuurder van de tram werden licht gewond.

Laying Down A Deadly Bluff

For ages now Canadians have been conditioned to accept that we “need” more pipelines to move more oil. Otherwise we’ll continue to exhaust train crews and have bombtrains in every town.

Now it slips out that the plan is for oil to grow even though we need to #LeaveItInTheGround to have a chance at not exceeding our atmosphere’s “carbon budget” which determines if climate change causes mass flooding and extinctions. This will happen during our lifetimes, if we don’t build the alternative transportation systems now.

Solar All Over California

Train station

Pawn shop

On our Amtrak trip through southern and central California, I watched the dry and irrigated fields fly by me at 133km/h. We stopped for the night in Bakersfield (the most conservative city in America, some figures show), and it was 41 degrees even with the sun down. The cement around the pool at night warmed my feet as if the hot sun was beating down on it only a moment earlier.

Large #solar farm north of Wasco CA
This large solar farm appears to be the one mentioned in this story about a Hanford Dairy.

Bridge and plane

"PALM BARF" in L.A.

Oil in L.A.
Los Angeles oil production. You can see how dry it is there.

2015-08-21_07-05-25

Hills covered with wind turbines north of Oakland.
Hills filled with wind turbines in California

Metal tends to rust near the ocean:
Rusty beach cruiser

Canada’s Car Culture Criticized

Glad to see some Danes standing up for Canada.

A Canadian stands up for the Danes.

The Danes stand up for themselves.

A few points have arisen as a result of this discussion, largely in defence of “car culture.” I’d like to address them if I may:

We love our cars!

That’s great. What is important, though, is having choices, and safe, affordable and convenient choices. Cars should not be the only option. In a sustainable, livable city, a citizen should have a choice to walk, cycle, run, take the bus, ride the train, get a lift with a friend or drive. These choices must be open to everybody old, young, able bodied and disabled. It is possible to have it all, and the option of driving a car should be alongside, rather than at the expense of healthier, quicker and often more affordable options.

Country X is too big for sustainable transport

Density and sprawl are more relevant to the discussion than size. Many people live within 5 to 15 km of where they work, shop and play but infrastructure designed exclusively for private cars makes sustainable and healthy travel options difficult. In regards to inter-city travel, driving for lengthy periods is unsafe and time consuming. Large countries in particular should demand superb transport systems between cities to make travel safer, cheaper and more relaxing.

What about winter?

Agreed. Winter in Scandinavia is pretty dismal, especially for vulnerable groups in society. I’m sure parts of Canada are even worse. Again, it is about providing choices for safe travel, not just cars. Gridlock is gridlock in sun and snow. Car-free bus lanes, trains, cleared bicycle and pedestrian lanes alongside traffic-calmed roads can make winter transport safer and more convenient for everybody. The same is true of choices for the remaining three seasons.

Amid the responses to this discussion I genuinely hope that energies are directed towards those who can actually change policy. Hopefully less gridlock, safe and sustainable choices, green spaces and livable, vibrant, healthy communities are what people want all over the world. Sustainable transport is about giving people safe choices to travel, not banning cars.