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.

Good News From Regina Landfill

I did not expect this to ever be finished. I remember it being talked about at a green expo put on at Lakeview United Church last decade. There was some sort of issue with the supplier chosen at that time, and the project was delayed.

Congrats to the City employees who made this worthwhile project happen. It’s the first somewhat-renewable power generation project in the history of Regina.

Now, onto bigger and better things, I hope. The City still has some catching up to do.

Global Regina is claiming that it inches toward 50% renewables while burning what is essentially a fossil fuel (methane). This isn’t a good way to think. Rotting things in the landfill will not remain constant once we compost properly and methane production goes way down. Only 50 years of gas left for this engine, is the estimate. That’s assuming Wastegina ever gets that program going.

If you want the true picture of what direction SaskPower is inching, or rather galloping, toward read this:

Money Where Its Motor-Mouth Is

Good article by the Leader-Post, on how City Council talks an okay game, but then gives $193,000 to paving more of Wascana Park for cars, and next to $0 for cycling infrastructure so kids can bike to the parks on our streets safely.

The City of Wastegina

Wastegina, SK – The City of Wastegina would like to remind you during this special time of year, the True Meaning of Recycling is its profitability.

Not all citizens agree.

Laura Mack said, “It’s extremely disappointing and disillusioning that they are refusing to recycle wrapping paper because it “would not bring in as much money for the company or the city,” and not because it cannot be recycled.”

With Wastegina’s Waste [mis]Management, it’s always the same crap, different pile.

Aug. 13, 2014: “Waste services manager with the City of Regina, Roberta Engel, said Wednesday they are at an 18 per cent diversion rate which is well on the way to the 2015 goal of diverting 40 per cent of household waste to the dump site.

“We’re easily keeping up with the demand on the collection and processing side, but the city would really like to encourage residents to recycle more.”

Engel added 12 per cent of what residents put into the blue pins is contaminated, meaning 15,000 tonnes of recyclables are still entering the landfill.”

Feb 13, 2015: “40 Per cent of residential waste that was hoped to be diverted from the landfill by the end of 2015. The diversion rate currently sits at 18.4 per cent.”

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4 New Councillors Could Shift The Balance

I’m more optimistic today than I was yesterday about the new Council. Although a majority 6 Councillors were returned, with 4 new faces it’s possible that some of the incumbents could be convinced to change their votes on a number of issues.

Lori Bresciani is new in Ward 4. I’m concerned about her current view on downtown parking.

If we want to people to come downtown Parking has to available and convenient.  I do not believe we have adequate parking and we need to provide more parking options for residents.

Contrast her view with Joel’s below. I hope her perspective will change with experience.

Jason Mancinelli, a highly rated auto mechanic, is new in Ward 9. I couldn’t find his campaign page. He appears to want action on environmental issues. If he makes his first impact on changing the culture of transit by turning down his Council parking pass, and insist upon a Transit pass instead, that will be great.

Andrew Stevens in Ward 3 wants a bus route to the airport, first thing. That’s long overdue, and low hanging fruit. He also wants a housing first strategy that works, like Medicine Hat has. That’s great! He wants to “work towards water conservation and stewardship.” Excellent! He’ll focus on implementing the Transportation Master Plan, and Official Community Plan.

Fixing our infrastructure: The current Council has prioritized sprawl at the expense of maintaining and improving our existing infrastructure. Instead, we need to develop a strategy for improving public transit, bike infrastructure and recreation facilities, while fully implementing the Official Community Plan and Neighbourhood Plans.

When it comes to infrastructure, we need to talk about dedicated bike lanes and a better public transit systems. Cars are expensive and damaging to our health. We need to change, and that’s why I’d look to recommendations in our Transportation Master Plan for guidance.

Joel Murray in Ward 6 seems to understand that parking in downtown cannot be solved by adding more car parking. He gets bonus points for knowing about car sharing.

If we can invest more into options other than a private car (bike lanes, car sharing, and transit) we can keep rates low and have more parking available.

Protecting out environment is paramount. As a community we need to work together on diverting more from our landfill, expanding transit, increasing bike lanes, shopping local, and working from home if possible.

Is approval of the Blue Dot motion forthcoming from this changed Council? Time will tell.

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.

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.