Start our own Bus Service?

Stop The Cuts held a press conference yesterday to highlight the SaskParty Government turned down federal money for STC.

In response, the incompetent and callous SaskParty Government said, “[I]f Stop the Cuts is interested in starting its own passenger service, we would encourage them to make the appropriate application to the Highway Traffic Board.”

We had our own service, it was called STC.

There’s a good economic reason why a co-operative or private bus company isn’t going to operate a successful bus service in Saskatchewan. The geography is too vast, and it requires the resources of a government to operate, much how free healthcare cannot be provided by private healthcare offices. To have a higher standard of living, we cannot depend solely on the private sector to deliver services that lose private owners money when they offer equitable service to rural Saskatchewan.

Regina has its own bus service called Regina Transit. However, it’s limited by a bylaw [provincial law instead perhaps?] preventing it from operating beyond 25km of the city limits. It would also need to obtain STC coach buses to operate a successful and profitable service to Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.

From Regina Transit’s Route and Scheduling Analyst:

Regina Transit is a municipal system for use by the residents of Regina. Under the Highway traffic bylaw we are not allowed to travel outside the city limits more than 25 KM. Our buses also aren’t geared for highway travel but rather geared for lower city speeds.

Leading The Way in Saskatchewan on Renewable Energy

May 26, 2017

Dear Editor,

In response to your May 24th article “Regina councillors return from Vancouver”, about Regina Councillors seeking to make our city use more renewable energy, I’d like to point out that Regina presently produces no solar electricity on public buildings. This is frankly outrageous since Regina’s solar resource is the best in Canada among major cities. The Federal, Provincial, & Municipal governments, and even the University of Regina all produce 0 Megawatt hours (MWh) of solar electricity for the SaskPower grid in Saskatchewan. That’s 4.6 MWh less than I’ve personally produced with my solar panels, for SaskPower. If the City would spend only $20,000, they could surpass my contribution within a year.

Saskpower is on track to miss their “50% renewable electricity by 2030” target mentioned in the article. 71 MW more fossil fuel electricity is planned to go online than renewable electricity in the next 4 years in Saskatchewan. That leaves a significant shortfall to hit 50%, with no plan as of yet being delivered to explain how the Crown Corporation intends to make it up.

I’m eager to see if City Council is willing to put its money where its mouth is, and stop making me look so good by comparison.

John Klein
Regina, SK

Transportation Master Plan Back At Council

I’ve been waiting a lot of years for Regina to have a plan that includes more bicycle infrastructure. Now you have the opportunity to improve the safety and convenience of Regina for people moving around it.
Two years ago, Councillor Young was quoted in the Leader-Post about the Transportation Master Plan (TMP):

“We’re hoping we get to talk about it early in 2016 and then we’ll bring it forward for the 2017 budget,” said Coun. Barbara Young, who chairs the public works committee.

She also said the reason for the delay is the expansiveness of the TMP.

“We need time to take it apart and ask how it was done, what was the methodology and who have you consulted with?” Young added. “We aren’t ready to take it public. We need more information.”

A majority of Council was not here in 2011. I was, as a member of the public and as the President of a corporate stakeholder, actively involved in Design Regina and then TMP planning meetings. I hope you’ll consider my insight into the plan.

We each have our own vision for what Regina can be. Some want smarter cars, others want safe cycling infrastructure, some great Transit, and others are pleased with how things are now and want nothing to change. That last option is the worst, and must not be permitted by this Council if Regina is to be successful at growing. I often hear members of Council expressing their desire to see Regina grow, yet the voting tends toward policies that keep the status quo. Regina now favours automobile traffic over active, healthy, happy people. 8 out of 10 people in Regina go to work in a private car. Regina cannot grow as laid out in the Official Community Plan, if 8 out of 10 people use cars as their primary mode of transportation.

Young people want to move to Regina, or stay here, if their quality of life will be better than it is in Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, or Assiniboia. If we offer them traffic jams, parking tickets, no commuter cycling infrastructure, and mediocre bus service, will they choose ‘here’, over ‘there’? Regina is presently poised to miss the boat. The TMP moves us toward catching it before it sails.

Here’s a short list of problems I think the TMP might help fix in the near future:

-Parking-minimums

-soaring bus fares

-the loss of regular bus service to Saskatoon and most Saskatchewan cities

-no bicycle infrastructure installed during sidewalk and road repaving happening today on Broad St. and elsewhere.

-lacking evening and weekend Express bus routes.

Support the TMP and with it, the review of antiquated bylaws intended for an outdated and now harmful reality of a bygone century.

Regina Wins Award For Mediocrity

City completes planned project in under a decade. Wins award from local board that was less inspired by literally everything else (not) happening.

In a province where the SaskParty leads, this is what can happen:

It’s not a bad project, just not award-worthy. And I’m concerned RCE will give Councillor Hawkins another chance to justify calling Regina enviro-friendly. To give an example of how not friendly Regina is toward our environment, some of our latest bike parking infrastructure was installed in the 1990s (and is removed each Winter to inconvenience Winter cyclists). More recently a small rack showed up in front of Vic’s Tavern.

Continue reading

Regina Budget Re-do

Check out Jim’s presentation, he asks important questions and City Council dodged every single one of them.

And if you haven’t had enough input from the ecological perspective, check out my presentation with a long list of ideas to save money, and reduce pollution. I even include a new revenue stream for the City to start up.

Tomorrow night City Council votes on raising your taxes, and if they don’t listen to people, they’ll end our Lawn Bowling history, put fees up at the Airport, make it more difficult for people to depend upon the bus, and pave more of Wascana Park for cars.

Save Public Services

Good evening Your Worship,
I’ve a list of requested changes to make to the budget. It’s more important to me that we build our public services than hold taxes low. The City has been able to dig deep for the Roughriders, and now it’s time to come through for equally important Libraries, Schools, public transportation, and reducing our world-leading air pollution figures.

  • Cities should buy Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation buses, or transfer them from the provincial government, then operate them on STC’s profitable routes to better service the people of Saskatchewan. Even though the Government of Saskatchewan has fallen down on that job, it doesn’t mean we have to lose ground-based public transportation to our closest neighbouring urbans and their services. As you know, Regina has no Via train service. It’s madness to lose our only bus routes to Saskatoon, Weyburn, Estevan, Yorkton, and other cities. We must not let it happen. Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw all have transportation services that could be extended to enhance inter-city transportation options that were lost with the pending closure of STC.
  • Ensure the Regina Public Library can function the best it can, with the loss of the Inter-library Loans program due to provincial anti-education cuts.
  • If you dare think of closing a public pool for the season to save money, I want to see it being properly repaired during the closure, to make the pool last for decades more.
  • Do not end holiday bus service. That’s one of the few areas that Council has permitted Regina Transit to improve upon in recent years, so it would be taking a large step backward to deny people that important service, and cause uncertainty about the availability of Transit in Regina on any given holiday.
  • To save money, reverse the earlier decision to give $193,000 to Wascana Centre to extend a parking lot at Candy Cane Park. Paving more of the park for cars does not fit with the Official Community Plan’s Sustainability requirements. People can park at the Science Centre’s new lot, and walk, or park on Broder St. or any number of nearby residential streets within walking distance. If the apparent safety problem is due to illegally parked cars as I was told by Wascana Centre, ticket and/or tow them. Boom, revenue! People can also take Regina Transit to the location, on #15, which is another reason that holiday Transit should not be cut. Instead, add a sidewalk to Victoria Avenue east of Park St. to connect downtown to points in east Regina. Connect Regina Avenue’s sidewalk to the multi-use pathway the Regina Airport has built to the bridge at Sandra Schmirler Way. It’s really shameful there’s no safe active transportation options to our airport or to the entire north-east side of our city from this spot.
  • Spend enough on cycling infrastructure to ensure there is more than 1 project this season to improve the safety of children on bikes in our city. Enough men have died on bikes in Regina in the past year to make most people realize that it’s crucial we fix our streets’ level of safety. You can put the right sort of lanes, bollards, and paint down while crews are repaving any given street so it meets a modern safe standard. The City has promised to do this for years, so make sure it happens this year.
  • Set aside $10,000 to spend on rewewable energy equipment, so the City can finally generate more renewable power than I do for our grid with a modest investment 2 years ago. The City would also surpass the Province’s contribution to renewable energy on our electrical grid. This should especially appeal to you after the Province’s mismanagement and unkind cuts made tonight’s meeting necessary.

Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina, SK

  • And Garbage pick-up going to bi-weekly is a positive change, so glad it’s been made.
  • Household hazardous waste collection is a matter of public health and should be expanded, not discontinued.
  • Glad you’re not advertising about making road repairs. Who thought that was a good communications idea? It wasn’t. Take the thousands of dollars and fill some potholes, or sweep the bike lanes that are full of sand.

“Whichever way you look at it – financial, moral, compassionate – the city-led, mostly provincially funded 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness launched by then-Mayor Steve Mandel in 2009 has been a success.

You can look at numbers until your brain is spinning, but a few big ones stand out.

Since 2009, Homeward Trust – the umbrella organization coordinating housing and social programs in Edmonton for the homeless – says 6,000 formerly homeless individuals have been housed.

Two-thirds of those helped were considered to be chronically without shelter.

The annual 2016 Homeless Count – the best measurement available – was 1,752 people. The 2014 count was about 2,170. The count in 2008 was about 2,500. Had no action been taken, the 2009 report suggests the homeless count could have jumped to 8,500 by 2018.”

UPDATE:

Another hot topic from delegations was the considered elimination of statutory holiday bus services effective July 1. The service change will save $68,300 in on-going savings.

“Do not end holiday bus service. That’s one of the few areas that council has permitted Regina Transit to improve upon in recent years,” John Klein told council. “It would be taking a large step-backward to deny people that important service, and cause uncertainty about the availability of transit in Regina on any given holiday.”

Save STC – SaskParty Ending Rural Transportation System

In a shocking turn of events, it’s been left to the NDP to defend the interests of people in rural Saskatchewan. This is something that would not have been predicted ten years ago, when the NDP name was mud outside of Regina and Saskatoon for having closed hospitals and schools in many small communities. Now, the SaskParty government is selling off STC’s assets to private companies, destroying a critical transportation infrastructure that has been in place for 70 years.

About 200 people gathered over lunch hour in Regina at the new STC Bus terminal, to tell the government to stop the closure. Guest speakers include City Councillor Andrew Stevens. Andrew was on the Morning Edition to explain the ridiculous cuts to the Cities.