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.

End Of A Life

A careless, criminal driver left a man on a road to die, in Regina.

Watch Global Regina tonight for an interview with my thoughts on this tragedy, and what the City should do to prevent it from happening to anyone again.

UPDATE: Global didn’t include my comments about what the City must do to prevent deaths. A 30km/h speed limit would slash fatalities in the range of 90%. Improved, separated cycling and walking infrastructure everywhere (but first on major and recently deadly streets like Ross Ave. and Victoria Ave.) would help a lot. It’s possible to aim for 0 traffic related fatalities, and we should set that as our vision and start passing bylaws to meet it.

If streets are made safe enough that parents can comfortably let their children bike to anywhere in the city, we’ll have succeeded in improving our infrastructure.

(Side note: It’s always disappointing when I speak with the media for ~10 minutes, and 15 seconds is all they can/bother to include. I guess Luke made one of my points about infrastructure lacking, but it’s irritating that visibility of cyclists was covered as an angle in this story, when the critical factor was a law requiring the cyclist to use a street where they could be AND WERE run over by a motorist. Lighting would have played less of a role if the car had had automatic braking installed, or the driver had been required to drive at 30km/h so they might have reacted to the slower moving cyclist.)

Update: police are looking for a white damaged F-150 Ford truck.

http://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/daughter-of-man-killed-in-regina-hit-and-run-says-her-father-loved-his-family-with-all-of-his-heart

UPDATE: Police have charged a man with leaving the scene of an accident [sic]. The Act should be updated to include “scene of a fatal collision” with conviction resulting in a sentence similar to that of dangerous driving causing death.

Police spokesperson Les Parker said it was late at night when Gallon was hit and he was wearing dark clothing.

He said there is no evidence of dangerous driving at this time.

 

Car Culture in Alberta

The Alberta NDP government’s transportation minister could use a few more people who walk to work, looking after their communications.

The department the following day finally pulled the offensive graphic off their Twitter feed. No apology from them yet to mark the retraction.

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.

 

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.