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:

A Notable Walk to the #YQR Regina Airport

Regina is lucky to have an International Airport located within its city limits. Cab rides to downtown from stepping off the plane cost no more than about $15C, compared to the $50 seen in major centres around the continent. What we are unlucky to have, is a complacent City Hall with no plan to provide active transportation options to the airport in the immediate future. The Airport, to its credit, has built a walkway to the edge of its property, but the City refuses to even budget to close the sidewalk gap. There is still no $3.25 Regina Transit bus to the airport or businesses west of Lewvan Dr. There’s no Uber or Lyft in sight.

How bad is it right now to take the bus then walk? It was +2 to +6C on Friday. Take a look, as I step off the #9 bus* (not the closest stop, but the most convenient for me to step onto on this particular day) at Elphinstone St. and Regina Ave. I was pulling two small rolling suitcases and a backpack, for additional hilarity and amusement.

*Do not try this at home, I’m a professional puddle jumper. 😉

There was one person walking the other direction, while I was leaving the bridge and entering the pathway.

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.

Ode For a Sidewalk

Give us a sidewalk?

No.

Give us a sidewalk.

It’s a medium priority.

Give us a sidewalk!

Sometime in the future.

Give us a sidewalk, a cycle track, bus route, and safe streets!

Now!

Pedestrian Safety Committee

This was sent to City Council last week in regard to this news story and Regina’s glacial repair of dangerous street design:

Your Worship, and City Councillors,

I write in support of Councillor O’Donnell’s idea to improve pedestrian safety in school zones. I would hope though that this effort to save lives is not limited to only school zones, and will be extended across the city.

The main problem is not just that the 40km/h and 50km/h limits are too high in residential areas, the streets are designed in an unsafe way for pedestrians, and actually encourage speeding. This debate was recently seen in Calgary, regarding fire truck street design vs. pedestrian safety design. For times when a collision does happen, 30km/h is far better than 40km/h, as a limit. That’s why it’s the standard for progressive countries looking to reduce auto/pedestrian fatalities.

To get people to actually slow down takes more than another street sign, it takes road redesign. Look on Broad St. N., College Ave., and Douglas Ave. for examples; all go by schools and have three lanes for cars (one is parking). If we were concerned about slowing vehicles down in these zones, one of those lanes would be blocked off for bicycles only, and there would be no parking close to where children and other pedestrians cross the street. There would be bulb-outs to make the walkers’ trip short, and pose a visual threat to drivers going too quickly. Speed humps, that put pedestrians at grade, like the one seen in the parking lot of Victoria Square Mall in front of Jysk is a fine example to copy too. Make streets as narrow as possible for cars (and emergency vehicles and snow removal equipment). Do not place congestion concerns above human life. If people want to avoid congestion, they can walk, bike, or take buses given priority lanes.

Two people have died recently on Victoria Ave. E. because that street was designed only with vehicles in mind. Instead of walling it off to people, give it safe places to cross, and a sidewalk (and cycle track) to connect east Regina with Downtown. With the new bypass, Victoria Ave. should be reclaimed as a city street instead of a highway hostile to pedestrians with the body count rising.

 

Regina Could Celebrate Bypass

To usher in a new era of people driving across Canada now being able to avoid going into Regina, our city should open a new sidewalk. The grand sidewalk could connect downtown Regina with the furthest reaches of the east (Princess Auto / Peavey Mart), and would celebrate the making of Victoria Avenue a Regina city street again, instead of a clogged main stretch of TransCanada Highway.

The proposed pedestrian safety committee could certainly look into how to do this. Our millions saved on not having snow to clear this past Winter could be poured into this TransRegina Sidewalk. Bonus points if they build it with a separated bike lane. (We all know the City Council isn’t capable of this forethought, so if the sidewalk is built, it will instead be the safer bike-way too.)

On Sunday I noticed a family pulling a child’s wagon, as they walked west down the Victoria Ave. E. service road just east of Fleet St. Are we so poor a city that we cannot afford to pave a standard sidewalk width of gutter/curb along side our bustling urban streets built primarily for automobiles? Does the safety of pedestrians, including children, mean so little to us? Let me answer with a photo:

Make-do bus stop infrastructure AKA a bus stop sign. Bike lane on Wascana Parkway.

Then, when a new sidewalk is built, if there’s adjacent road or property construction, this is what happens:

"Improving pedestrian safety" by blocking the sidewalk.