Electric Vehicles in Regina

One of the advantages of not running for City Council this year is I have more time for fun events. And 2 members of City Council were there checking out the Teslas, Leafs, Volts, and VW converted-electric Bug. Councillor Murray, and Mayor Fougere both stopped by to scope out the latest, greatest cars, and the Mayor through Murray proclaimed it National Drive Electric Week in Regina.

I got to work on Monday by using my electric bike, and will all week, so mission accomplished. You may have greater difficulty, but there are electric bikes for sale at Dutch Cycle and Western Cycle, I know. Canadian Tire may also have something. Prince Albert has a Nissan dealer with electric cars on the lot. The Mayor suggested that he’d like to have an electric car as the Mayor’s vehicle. That’s a step up, but a better option would be a shared electric car as the Mayor’s car. That’s what Elon Musk envisions anyway too. I’m not holding my breath that this Mayor gets one.

The Tesla owners had a variety of adapters for the various charging solutions out there. The standard 110V wall plug can work, but rather slowly since it has a 15 amp maximum, while many EVs can make use of 60 or more amps at a time to charge far more quickly.

There are NDEW events around the province this week, including in Swift Current and Saskatoon, so check them out. It was at Peavey Mart in Regina, in part because they have great support for electric cars at all of their stores.

 

Sondors THIN eBike Battery Review

Most people won’t care about the stats below, but someone looking on Google about the Sondors’ performance may find the reference handy.

Regina is a really flat city. I went about 26.5km (16.5mi) before the battery showed dead on LCD, flashed, and it only worked on PedalASsist sometimes while pedaling the next km to my destination. I had been hoping the range would be more like 40km (while using the throttle a fair bit), but I guess the 50mi* range maximum advertised is far too optimistic, or only pedaling with PAS 1 makes a huge difference over using the throttle too. The PAS 2 setting I tend to use is about 79W ~24km/h, and the throttle spikes to 420W and cruises around 250W at 31km/h (19mi/h), so the stock THIN battery just doesn’t last like I’d hoped.

The bike is still really useful to me, but I’m going to need spare batteries before I attempt an inter-city journey down the Trans-Canada Highway to Moose Jaw 70km away. I expect ebikes like the Sondors THIN and Original fat bike to become standard equipment for commuters within the next decade. I haven’t felt this way about a technology since I first saw the iPod Touch around 2007, and now everyone has one of those (or their enhanced equivalent) in their pocket.

*My tire pressure was a bit low about 40psi (of 50psi max), and there were some head winds at times. I’ve not checked if the front brake is perfectly adjusted so there’s 0 rubbing, which would impact the range somewhat too.

Saskatoon City Planner on Environment etc.

Here are the key quotes, as I see them, which also directly apply to Regina and its thinking.

It can be awkward, going from a small city to a big city. And by the time we get done with the 30-year plans, we’re going to be a big city. We’re going to be half a million people. So all of the things we’ve done for the last 100 years has all been manageable in a small city way, like our transit system, like the way we plan neighbourhoods, like how we design our road system. And how we relate to the region had all been pretty much stable for the last 60 years or so.

Those things are all changing and we can’t ignore it. They’re just coming at us. We will have to deal with it. …

Transit — that’s another one. It’s a big one. We have a small city transit system. It has to evolve or it’s just going to fail. It’s starting to fail already. When you have buses congested in traffic, there’s no way anyone can keep a schedule. If you can’t keep a schedule, nobody’s going to use it. Four per cent of the population. It might go down from there. Who knows? But why would you use transit?

Under the radar for a while, but everything eventually percolates to the top: Homelessness. Homeless counts are going up. They’re not going down. How that’s being addressed is kind of behind the scenes here.

…Although roads will continue to be built, we can’t rely on the automobile as much as we are — 1.1 drivers per car is our average. So that’s one person in a car driving all over the place.

…You see a lot of cars driving in and out, so we’re using our cars an awful lot. Maybe we’ve made it too convenient to do that and I think that’s true because we’ve been able to, but you can’t continue that.

I think environmentally, we need to pull up our socks a little bit. We’re lagging behind in some respects. We just brought in recycling in the last five years. So we’re not exactly leading in any great way.

…We have an awful lot of sunshine here and I don’t know why solar hasn’t taken off. While not being too unkind to our Saskatoon Light & Power folks — they do a wonderful job — but that should be an energy company. Maybe it’s time to cut the tie with SaskPower and maybe generate, create energy and sell it.

Move To Saskatoon?

George C. Sharpe of Regina writes to the Leader Post:

Regina is at least three steps behind similar-sized cities such as Saskatoon.

For example: There is still no transit service to Regina International Airport in spite of pleas and requests from the airport authority. (It is much like having bus service denied to an entire neighbourhood.)

No ban on smoking on outdoor patios. Saskatoon has been doing this for 10 years.

Still no bylaw making it mandatory for all Regina residents and businesses to clear their sidewalks after each snowfall.

The first snarky response to his letter from the public?

“So, move to Saskatoon then.”

That’s a bad attitude, and possibly why Saskatoon is ahead of us. If everyone who wants those common sense improvements is told to “Move to Saskatoon”, Regina will continue to be left behind. I’ve tried pressuring the Mayor and Council to reinstate bus service to the Airport for years, but it won’t happen without greater public support for my George’s and my position on improving Transit.

What’s $60 Between Cities? #YQRbike

In Montreal you can drive into a cop car and cause injuries for two $30 fines, or in Regina you can ride your non-kid bike on the sidewalk (not hit anyone), OR ride at night without a headlight (and not hit anyone) for $60.

Extremely Normal Sidewalk Challenge

I challenge someone to take a bike, or walk from City Hall to Peavey Mart in the east end. From a lack of takers, we can assume it isn’t safe and the City of Regina has to fix it so there are sidewalks and cycle tracks available down Victoria Ave.
It’s only 6.4km, just 2km farther than City Hall to the University of Regina. Many people go this distance on their bike every day, or run around the lake this far for fun.
I was in the newspaper the other day asking why pedestrians always come second behind people getting around in cars, especially in construction zones. Conveniently there’s another construction site underway to test my theory…
Hi John Klein, the pedestrian sidewalk on the south side (under Ring Rd. overpass) is closed for safety during certain aspects of construction, but is usually open. It is closed when traffic is closed on Victoria Ave due to overhead work. Pedestrian access will be closed under the bridge this weekend when the road is also closed to traffic. Please use the north service road. Thank you.

John Klein John Klein: Are signs posted back at Park St. and Vic. so pedestrians know they’ve no way through if they don’t use the Service Rd from that point?

City of Regina | Municipal Government City of Regina | Municipal Government: John Klein The road closed signs applies to pedestrians and motorists. Further to that, we encourage pedestrians to ALWAYS use the north service road when walking in that area due to the high speed traffic on that section of Victoria Avenue.
John Klein John Klein: Pedestrians don’t tend to adhere to road closed signs if there isn’t also a sidewalk closed sign or fence. There being no sidewalk there makes that a bit awkward. If the City encourages pedestrians to ALWAYS use the service road, why is there a pedestrian underpass with lights at all? It’s not connected to anything. The answer to my rhetorical point is that the City doesn’t actively encourage pedestrians to use the service road, and should build the safe street infrastructure along Victoria Ave. so pedestrians stop dying in that stretch.

Build the TransRegina Sidewalk.