Vehicle Allowance

Do you wonder why Regina isn’t a Transit City? It’s because of automobile subsidies like the former City Manager getting $600-$1000 a MONTH for a personal vehicle.

A $1000/year would easily cover a Regina Transit pass, and the City Manager could fill in the gaps when headed to work sites with car sharing (which happens to be conveniently parked in City Hall Parkade).

Even an exorbitant $600/month vehicle allowance can buy my well-equipped bicycle once per month. I’d have to struggle to spend $600 a month on a car, unless I went with a Tesla Model S which could easily be $900/month if leased.

Do people from Regina wonder why our city transportation system is in decline? People in charge of it don’t decide to settle here after years of sort-of maintaining it. And the people who want to live here are not being listened to by those who could fix the problems.

Pedestrian Safety Committee

This was sent to City Council last week in regard to this news story and Regina’s glacial repair of dangerous street design:

Your Worship, and City Councillors,

I write in support of Councillor O’Donnell’s idea to improve pedestrian safety in school zones. I would hope though that this effort to save lives is not limited to only school zones, and will be extended across the city.

The main problem is not just that the 40km/h and 50km/h limits are too high in residential areas, the streets are designed in an unsafe way for pedestrians, and actually encourage speeding. This debate was recently seen in Calgary, regarding fire truck street design vs. pedestrian safety design. For times when a collision does happen, 30km/h is far better than 40km/h, as a limit. That’s why it’s the standard for progressive countries looking to reduce auto/pedestrian fatalities.

To get people to actually slow down takes more than another street sign, it takes road redesign. Look on Broad St. N., College Ave., and Douglas Ave. for examples; all go by schools and have three lanes for cars (one is parking). If we were concerned about slowing vehicles down in these zones, one of those lanes would be blocked off for bicycles only, and there would be no parking close to where children and other pedestrians cross the street. There would be bulb-outs to make the walkers’ trip short, and pose a visual threat to drivers going too quickly. Speed humps, that put pedestrians at grade, like the one seen in the parking lot of Victoria Square Mall in front of Jysk is a fine example to copy too. Make streets as narrow as possible for cars (and emergency vehicles and snow removal equipment). Do not place congestion concerns above human life. If people want to avoid congestion, they can walk, bike, or take buses given priority lanes.

Two people have died recently on Victoria Ave. E. because that street was designed only with vehicles in mind. Instead of walling it off to people, give it safe places to cross, and a sidewalk (and cycle track) to connect east Regina with Downtown. With the new bypass, Victoria Ave. should be reclaimed as a city street instead of a highway hostile to pedestrians with the body count rising.

 

Friend Jim on Radio for Heroic Water System

Consider that Regina and area is prone to droughts that can last more than a decade. The last century has been mercifully wet.

Jim Elliott’s living off the Regina water grid in Broder’s Annex. He’s buying drinking water (brought by cargo bike), but his other water needs are met through efficient rainwater use.

Regina Could Celebrate Bypass

To usher in a new era of people driving across Canada now being able to avoid going into Regina, our city should open a new sidewalk. The grand sidewalk could connect downtown Regina with the furthest reaches of the east (Princess Auto / Peavey Mart), and would celebrate the making of Victoria Avenue a Regina city street again, instead of a clogged main stretch of TransCanada Highway.

The proposed pedestrian safety committee could certainly look into how to do this. Our millions saved on not having snow to clear this past Winter could be poured into this TransRegina Sidewalk. Bonus points if they build it with a separated bike lane. (We all know the City Council isn’t capable of this forethought, so if the sidewalk is built, it will instead be the safer bike-way too.)

On Sunday I noticed a family pulling a child’s wagon, as they walked west down the Victoria Ave. E. service road just east of Fleet St. Are we so poor a city that we cannot afford to pave a standard sidewalk width of gutter/curb along side our bustling urban streets built primarily for automobiles? Does the safety of pedestrians, including children, mean so little to us? Let me answer with a photo:

Make-do bus stop infrastructure AKA a bus stop sign. Bike lane on Wascana Parkway.

Then, when a new sidewalk is built, if there’s adjacent road or property construction, this is what happens:

"Improving pedestrian safety" by blocking the sidewalk.

Wascana and Upper Qu’Appelle Watershed #WUQWATR

The group taking responsibility for the safety of Regina and area’s watershed, met last week at the Wascana Centre.

I went to the meeting to learn about the group, and present an idea for municipalities to require more greywater use in new homes.

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Only 5 Minutes at #YQRcc

Two years ago, City Council did this.

City council has decided to reduce the allotted time for presentations to council to a maximum of five minutes, down from 10.

It’s a time limit change seen in one random town in the States too.

It’s possible for presenters to submit ideas in under 5 minutes, sometimes. And sometimes the information required by Council and the public in attendance need more explanation. Here’s a short presentation, no pun intended:

Part of the issue I have with the limitation is there is no limit to how long Councillors get to each ramble about an issue raised by a presentation, and it’s structured so the public citizen has no chance to respond to the crowd.

Energy Mileage of Cycling vs. iCar

I was biking to work, thinking about how silly it is that we think of “fuel mileage” when my bike uses no fuel. How can we accurately compare its mileage (which should be kilometerage, to keep up with the times), when fuel driven vehicles, and electric vehicles don’t have common terms with cycling through person-power.

Previously I calculated how much I’ve saved in biking to work.

AFTER 2 YEARS I’VE SAVED $7300!

I’m going to update with the latest numbers. I started these calculations in September, and am picking it back up in February. Wow, gas prices have changed, they are only 78¢/L right now! (Picking this back up again on St. Patrick’s Day, gas is 84.1¢/L.)

Now, on March 18, 2016:

Bike odometer
2216km these past 2 years on my bike (~25km on another of mine).

If I was paying for a car for myself, that’s about $8000/year, CAA estimates. That includes ownership, depreciation, gas, insurance, repairs, parking, (fines?), oil changes, tires, etc.

What about a dreamy car situation though, where you only pay for the basics and need no repairs and get no tickets?

Gas is $0.841/L today at most Regina stations. (Last month it was $0.78 in Regina.)

If my imaginary car (i-car) got a whopping 6L/100km. I’d have had to fill it with 6L * (2216km/100km) = 133L of fuel.
$0.841/L * 133L = $111.85 in unburned gasoline. (Actually this number is too low, because gas is cheaper now than throughout the last 2 years.)

If my i-car cost $1000/year to plate/register that’s (1000/12=>$83/month * 24 months = $2000)

If i-car’s lease payment is $99 biweekly (as many ads suggest right now):
$99 payment * 48 payments = $4752 (incidentally $600 is a nifty new bicycle with bells {and whistles, as I bike by}.)

If i-car was parked at work that would be, including GST, $40.55/month
($486.60 * 2) = $973.20

If oil is changed every 6 months, that’s $45 * 4 changes = $180

$112 gas + $2000 plate/registration + $4752 lease + $973 parking + $180 oil = $8017 for 24 months of owning and using i-car in the most affordable way possible (no repairs, or fines, or extra parking charges).

$8017 i-car – $600 (+ $100 in upgrades and maint’) bike = $7317 saved in only 24 months.

Over the next six months, the bike should need $30 input, while the i-car would need another ($99*12 + $45 oil + $243.30 parking + $50 gas) = ~$1526.30, increasing my 30 month savings to $8843.

Why aren’t more people clamoring for better bike infrastructure? If you can ditch your car, you can very realistically save ~$7100 within the first 2 years, while getting exercise and feeling good as you sail past traffic jams. I hop on the bus once in a while with my bike to avoid the rain. I bought about $150 of rides, and haven’t used them up in this time.

Regina doesn’t invest much into biking.