We hope you have all had an opportunity to enjoy walking/cycling/rolling through our brilliantly-hued tree-lined streets these past weeks. Pretty nice!
In our newsletter this month we have some great stories to share with you: The Bicycle Valet reports on our fall volunteer party and where we’ll be in November; there’s news about the upcoming BEST holiday party, which we will once again be holding with our friends at HUB; and we tell you about a walking tour of Gastown led by BEST Board member Emily Willobee. We are also excited to have a Road Story from Tallinn, Estonia written by our intrepid GM, Stephanie Williams. Stephanie’s story looks, amongst other things, at the broader implications of free transit like they have in Tallinn. Lastly, we take note of the recent TransLink funding projects relating to sustainable transportation.
Happy reading everyone, and don’t eat all your candy at once!
The Bicycle Valet: Celebrating our volunteers and staff!
The Bicycle Valet was once again at the fabulous UBC Apple Festival; a group of our amazing volunteers celebrated at our fall party.
October was an exciting month for The Bicycle Valet! Our volunteers, staff, sponsors, and friends joined us to wrap up the summer season at our fall party on Friday, October 13th. Creative Coworkers graciously lent us their space to host the festivities, and as always, Earnest Ice Cream kindly donated delicious ice cream that was enjoyed by all! Our friends at TransLink showed us all the cool stuff happening with transit (#BiketoTransit), and we honoured some of our longest-standing and most dedicated volunteers and staff at BEST and The Bicycle Valet. We are so grateful to have so many lovely people in our ranks!
In other Bicycle Valet news, our attendance at the UBC Apple Festival was once again a big hit; this year, 429 bikes were parked over the weekend. We also joined Emily Carr University of Art + Design at their Open House, celebrating the opening of their new campus along the Central Valley Greenway! The Whitecaps have been killin’ it this season! We followed them into the playoffs by parking 188 bikes at their last home game in October. Go ‘caps go!
We still have a lot of great events in store for the month of November. Ride your bike out and find us at:
November 1st - HUB Bike Shorts
November 3rd - Men’s Canada vs Maori All Blacks Rugby Match at BC Place
November 4th - BC Lions at BC Place
November 9th - Women’s Canada vs USA Soccer Match at BC Place
November 16th to 19th - Eastside Culture Crawl
November 19th - Hyde Creek Salmon Festival in Port Coquitlam
November 25th - Surrey Tree Lighting Festival
November 29th - BEST/HUB Holiday Party
We’re always adding new events and details (possibly some more Whitecaps playoff games), so check our calendar to stay up to date.
For more information on anything Bicycle Valet, please contact Anita at email@example.com or (604) 669-2860, or sign up now if you’d like to volunteer.
BEST Holiday Party: Come share in the good cheer!
The BEST Holiday Party is just around the corner on Wednesday, November 29. Once again it will be held with our friends at HUB, and great food, drink, prizes, games, and excellent company will be had by all. All BEST members and volunteers will be getting an invitation to this must-attend party, so if you aren’t yet a member of BEST, sign up now – not only will you get to attend this fantastic event, you'll be supporting all of our terrific programs.
For more information, call Anita Man at firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-669-2860, ext.207. We hope to see you there!
Walking Tour: Reimagining Gastown's streets
In October BEST's Emily Willobee lead a walking tour
as part of the Gastown Complete Streets project.
The City of Vancouver is in the process of creating a plan for the streets and transportation network of Gastown -- and BEST is involved.
As part of the Gastown Complete Streets project the City held an open house and five public walking tours on October 21. One of these walking tours was led by BEST board member Emily Willobee. The focus of the walk was active transportation in the Gastown area.
Beginning at SFU Woodwards, the tour proceeded down Cordova to Richards; over to the Harbour Centre bike room; along to the triangle by the intersection of Water, Cordova, and Richards; down Water to Abbott; and back to SFU Woodwards.
Emily said that “Over the course of the walking tour we had great conversations about the current walking and cycling environment – pros and cons. We also talked about how it might be important to maintain access for vehicles, especially delivery trucks and transit, and even about accommodating tour buses. We talked about trade offs when making decisions about how to use limited space, and basically had a great dialogue.”
There was general agreement among participants that Water Street is currently a better street for walking than Cordova. But some felt that Cordova has the potential to be a better street for cycling than Water because it's flatter, wider and connects well with other cycling routes further to the east. Many people felt there were lots of opportunity improve the environment on both streets for all users.
Participants generated a number of ideas and suggestions for how to improve the environment for active transportation, which they would bring back to the round table discussions with City staff as part of a "visioning" exercise during the second half of the engagement event.
For more information about the Gastown Complete Streets project and how you can get involved visit the City website.
Tallinn: The ripple effects of free public transit
Both vintage and modern trams grace the streets of beautiful Tallinn, Estonia.
By Stephanie Williams, BEST GM
According to my walking tour guide, Tallinn, Estonia is the largest city (about 500,000) to have free public transit for all residents. According to a more verified source, the city began offering free transit in 2013 and, so far, it’s stuck. Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s free for visitors. Not that it’s expensive, at 1 Euro with a pre-loaded card, or 2 Euros with an on-board payment.
Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in a large increase in the number of transit users, which I suspect provides impetus for the provision of more transit. This is all paid for out of the 1000 Euro municipal tax which all residents pay upon registering for the system.
The public transit consists mainly of buses and trams, some brand new, while others are more “vintage.” Apparently a subway was never built due to it not meeting the USSR requirement of at least 1 million people. What being part of the Soviet Union for 50 years did bring, however, is blocks upon blocks of 5 storey concrete apartments (6+ storey buildings required elevators), allowing for decent density and ridership efficiency for the streetcars and buses.
One thing I wondered while walking around was how many potential walking trips were replaced by free transit trips? How many car trips? How many trips in general were taken when they might not otherwise have been? This last question is particularly pertinent from the lens of seniors’ transportation and preventing social isolation. Does free public transit (provided it’s generally accessible and comfortable) encourage people to get out more? According to this case study of Tallinn, it does. I would also think the tax of 1000 Euros on all new registered users would also provide incentive for the city to build more housing to attract more residents. Food for thought.
An example of the excellent walking infrastructure
supporting transit in Tallinn.
New sustainable transportation projects underway
North Van has a growing network of bike paths.
On October 13 TransLink announced 51 infrastructure projects across Metro Vancouver that will be in line for funding under the Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision. Each project gets a share of the $23 million in funding coming from Phase One of the 10-year plan.
(Photo credit: Modacity)
In making the announcement, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said that most of the projects are modest in scale and designed to be completed quickly.
“Some of the projects will have very low impacts, some a little more. None of them are major kinds of projects, as if you’re going to build a new highway or new road.”
Projects include a multi-use cycling path on West Keith Road in North Vancouver; road widening and new bike lanes in Delta; a separated bike lane on 100 Avenue in Surrey, and a new park with multi-use path along Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby.
Other projects include new sidewalks and pedestrian upgrades. BEST is very happy to see these new sustainable transportation upgrades in the works!
For more information, read the Final Phase One Plan.
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Thank you for your continued interest in BEST!
To advance the transformation to sustainable transportation
Vibrant, healthy communities built around sustainable
modes of transportation
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