Category Archives: Transit

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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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

Live within limits without limiting life

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