A Few Steps Forward, Regina Moves Back

The progress of a city is not assured by the passage of time. Regina has unquestionably progressed in some areas of life, and unquestionably regressed in others. The following is an incomplete list.

100 years ago, chickens were allowed to roam free.
Now, the City prohibits them even in a backyard.

60 years ago, Electric Vehicles were common on some Regina streets, in the form of streetcars. Now, only a few dozen or so EVs are in the city, as electric bikes, cars, and SUVs. We also had a bus route to the airport, but no bus is available to the airport today.

Also 60 years ago, we allowed toxic waste dumping into our soil and groundwater, all over the city. Now that’s only permitted at the landfill.

28 years ago, you could leave Regina by STC bus, or by Via Rail train. Now, in 2017, neither of those modes of transportation are an option due to government cuts without environmental reviews being undertaken to guide those bad decisions.

27 years ago, Parking enforcement used sensibly sized vehicles. Now they use GMC gas burning SUVs.

January 1990 Parking enforcement vehicle

Last Night In Regina, Another Person Run Over

Hours before I met with dozens of cyclists at Artful Dodger at Bike Regina‘s latest advocacy meeting, a 21 year old man was hit by a truck on 7th Avenue.

No one there had heard about the tragedy, but many including myself expressed a desire for the City to quickly install safe infrastructure so that we might avoid serious injury or death at the hands of an inattentive or aggressive driver.

How many more people will die or be injured needlessly before our City installs safe bicycle infrastructure for the thousands of people who want to move around our city on bikes?

GMC Factory Fire in Regina

The old location of General Motors’ factory along Winnipeg St. experienced a serious fire last night.

GRID VR is one business at the far north end of the old plant.

 

Wascana Calls Back

I took a call from Wascana’s CEO who explained their position on spending $193000 to expand the parking lot[PDF] at Candy Cane Park. Their view is more cars that already park illegally on the street will use it, and as a result kids will be safer because they won’t run out between illegally street-parked cars, presumably.

Can’t say that’s how it will work, I said “mark my words, there will still be spill-over onto the street, and more cars overall”. She had to concede at busy times, that’s how it will go. It’ll take more than my voice to end this #strandedasset project. Oh, it also increases runoff by replacing soil with pavement, reducing the water quality in Wascana Creek.

It’s 2017, and if we don’t limit air pollution quickly, our kids will have a rough go of things. Putting a dollar more into auto infrastructure before cycling and pedestrian infrastructure makes kids less safe, not more.

On the upside, Wascana is putting some trails through the arboretum near Wascana Rehab and Hillsdale St.

Also they will now consider manually clearing Broad St. Bridge which wasn’t being swept clear of snow like everything else the last two Winters. I explained that the City of Regina builds nothing for cyclists, so it’s really up to Wascana Centre to provide cycling infrastructure for Reginans.

Added two more important points:

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.

Electric Vehicle Charging in Regina

Presently there are a few places you can charge your Electric Vehicle (EV) in Regina, and Moose Jaw. A couple sites are due to Peavey Mart investing in the technology with national leader Sun Country Highways. You can go to any Peavey Mart, even in Assiniboia, SK, and charge your EV. Most people though find the greatest convenience from charging at home, however.

Regina infamously turned down a deal with Sun Country Highway for several EV chargers, citing low proliferation of the greener cars. It frankly would have surprised me a little had the City chosen to be leaders of a more ecological technology. Private business is forging ahead where local government is letting us down, however. The app Plugshare is a great way to see what chargers are in your neighbourhood or at your destination already.

The Federal government is even putting some money into EV charging infrastructure, but it remains to be seen how much Saskatchewan will benefit from the ~$7M investment. For now, Sun Country is good. Tesla has avoided installing any Superchargers in Saskatchewan to this point. There are 3 in Alberta, and none in Manitoba, but one Level 3 in Winnipeg.

Level 3 chargers can fill a battery in 30 minutes, in some situations. Level 2 (J1772 plugs, on most North American EVs) tends to fill after 3-4 hours. Level 1 (standard 110V wall outlet) can take 12 hours to fill to 80%.

This is me in conversation with James Dennis of Sun Country Highway. It’s now 3 year old information, but still mostly applies:

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.