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.

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.

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.

Move To Saskatoon?

George C. Sharpe of Regina writes to the Leader Post:

Regina is at least three steps behind similar-sized cities such as Saskatoon.

For example: There is still no transit service to Regina International Airport in spite of pleas and requests from the airport authority. (It is much like having bus service denied to an entire neighbourhood.)

No ban on smoking on outdoor patios. Saskatoon has been doing this for 10 years.

Still no bylaw making it mandatory for all Regina residents and businesses to clear their sidewalks after each snowfall.

The first snarky response to his letter from the public?

“So, move to Saskatoon then.”

That’s a bad attitude, and possibly why Saskatoon is ahead of us. If everyone who wants those common sense improvements is told to “Move to Saskatoon”, Regina will continue to be left behind. I’ve tried pressuring the Mayor and Council to reinstate bus service to the Airport for years, but it won’t happen without greater public support for my George’s and my position on improving Transit.

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.