Category Archives: Transportation

Transit is a space not just a race

Last night CBC launched my spirits, then dashed my hopes.

I was quite encouraged when the article titled “Five ways to make better use of your commute” popped into my inbox—something I’ve wanted to write on for some time now.

Seabus 3

Then I read it.
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Open letter to helicopter parents

Dear Helicopter Parents,

I am sympathetic to your worries and can understand your intentions, but I would appreciate it if you could reign in your hovering urges when it comes to my kids.

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Kids leading the way along the WillametYou see, I am not one to hover; mine are the children who wave goodbye to me without looking back.

They know I would never send them off into a world they are not prepared for.

They know that things might go differently than they might expect, but they can adjust and move on.

They have been listening to the new skills I have taught them at each step of their development.

But it is what I know that I would like to discuss with you.

I know when it is time to let them choose who attends their birthday parties.

I know when my kids have learned what range of foods they should put in their own lunches.

I know when it is time to let my 11-year-old navigate a controlled crosswalk across a busy street.

I know when my 11-year-old can ride with his 8-year-old sister to your house for a play up the notorious hills of North Vancouver.

I know when they are ready to be at home alone for 15 minutes, a half an hour, and eventually for an evening.

Isaac star jump

So, please don’t

Pout if your kid was not invited this year,  he or she may make the cut next year, who knows, kids are fickle.

Feed my children more than they thought to pack.

Insist on picking him up because you wouldn’t let your child cross a busy street alone.

Offer to drive them home.

Wonder what kind of parent I am to leave her children alone.

Because, I’m the kind of parent who expects that her kids

Never need to be reminded to be polite.

Never expect other houses to be just like home.

Never need me to hold their hands while they are out.

Never question why we choose to leave the car at home whenever possible.

Always know that I am just a phone call away should they need me.

They are confident, flexible, individually minded, and proud they can do so much on their own.

They make mistakes, they get hurt, and they struggle with their feelings.

They fly their own helicopters.

Sincerely,

A woman trying to teach her children independence and courage


Live within limits without limiting life

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18. Bus part-ay!

(Not to be confused with a “Party Bus”!)

Have a kid’s birthday coming up?

Already worrying about how to entertain them for the hours that feel like days?

Take public transit!

My daughter wanted to go skating at an outdoor rink for her sleepover birthday festivities, but the conundrum is always how to get the kids there. Even if we did own two cars, we wouldn’t have enough seats.

No problem. We walked to the end of our street and filed onto the 232.

Kneeling on the bus

Some of the kids had never been on a bus!

To kids, the bus is liberating and daring. No seatbelts. Sometimes you have to stand. You can sit by yourself or curl up next to mom.

They chatted and giggled and sat on their knees to look out. They wondered when the bus would come, how to pay the fare, and how to get off. They wanted to pull the string for our stop and they figured out how to open the back door.

Our bus trip became part of the festivities.

Taking the bus in Vancouver is convenient because it is well-connected, and it is getting easier all of the time. This year, Translink is moving toward a refillable fare card. The “Compass Card” will be a much more convenient means of paying for and validating fares, and the system automatically determines the fare rate based on where you “tap in” and “tap out.” No more guessing which fare applies and what time of day and for how many zones!

In the meanwhile, I keep passes on hand so we can hop on the bus anytime to explore our city! (Without having to hunt for change!)

HOT TIP!  Get a transfer when you board the bus. Most transit systems validate fares for 90 minutes. You might be able to get there and back on a single ticket!


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This is not a baby sweater

In a post dedicated to an aunt’s love for her niece, my words fell short when trying to describe the mathematics of knitting, and other handwork. Well, no need for words. These miracles of “Making Mathematics with Needlework: Ten Papers and Ten Projects,” illustrate just how dorky mathematicians can really be!

susan-marie is a total math dork, what’s worse? She knits! Check out her work in an article she wrote for American Scientist:

 

 

That is one continuous surface people. Think about that.


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On funding public transportation

It is my privilege to write for Carbon Talks, a Simon Fraser University initiative that engages public, private, corporate, governmental, institutional, not-for-profit, any individual/group wanting to move sustainable development forward.

I have written a blog comparing Toronto and Vancouver, and the universal struggles of developing and implementing regional transit that is so efficient and convenient people won’t want to bother driving to work!

The Big Move: the cost-benefits of regionalizing transit

in preparation for Carbon Talks’ upcoming public dialogue:

A mayor’s vision of how to fund regional public transportation

Friday March 1st, 12:30-1:30 PST

Carbon Talks with Mayor Richard Walton, Chair of TransLink’s Mayor’s Council
SFU Harbour Centre Room 1700, 515 West Hastings St or by webcast

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Hands on household gadgets

Another gem from Houzz:

People-powered AND pretty!


Live within limits without limiting life

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New Year’s Resolution: Walk to School

Tired of the constant battle between drivers and pedestrians, I’m hoping this Letter to the Editor will inspire parents to get out of their cars and make walking to school safe for everyone, not just their own kids!
BY BETSY AGAR, NORTH SHORE NEWS DECEMBER 28, 2012
Dear Editor:
Every parent I have ever met, in every area of the North Shore has a singularly unanimous complaint: traffic during pick up and drop off at school. Well, guess what? That anonymously named “traffic” is just another word for “too many of us are driving our kids to school.”

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It seems we are not the only ones suffering school zone traffic issues
My own kids have almost been hit twice in as many years.
The first time, someone thought a three-point turn in an oversized SUV would be a good idea and his back end parted a group of kids walking on the sidewalk.
The second time, one car was parked across the crosswalk while two others made illegal U-turns in the middle of the intersection. When the middle car was held up by the first, she backed up just as my 7-year-old was stepping into the crosswalk.
My children’s lives are worth more than ANYTHING on their busy schedules.

Live within limits without limiting life

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16. Noise (Part deux of my Car Series)

Tis the season… to sit in a tire shop waiting to pay some grease monkey (is that okay to say?) to change my tires.

“What?!?!” you ask, “The woman who fixes bolt locks with play dough and dishwashers with elastic bands (long story) doesn’t change her own tires?” Let me explain.

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11. Hrududu (the first of my car series)

I often find my family’s long line of matriarchal legacies earn credit in my writing, but today is Dad’s turn.

Cars. We are stuck with them. The fortunate pocket of folks in our society who can live deep in urban centres and rely solely on the amazing transportation infrastructure that only cities can sustain, is a small proportion of our society. As for the rest of us, well, there just isn’t quite enough space for everyone.

That doesn’t mean we are without choices. Here’s where my Dad comes in. He’s an accountant. He seeks out the numbers and the US Department of Energy provides exactly that. When I was buying my first car, Dad put me onto this fantastic interactive USDE website that allows visitors to compare the fuel economy of vehicles. Hint: Look for the highest number possible in the Fuel Economy column.

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

Because of this website, I own a Prius. It is my family’s only car, so my husband and I took the liberty of spending a pretty penny on it. Regardless of size or type of personal vehicle , the Prius wins, every time. My vote was uncontested.

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8. Push, don’t pull

or even better, you guessed it, make the kids mow the lawn!

Girl pushing rotary mower

Without even mentioning the noise
push mowers get a running start. Lawn experts will tell you that lawns are healthier when they are trimmed by reel mowers (when kept sharp!).

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