Archive for the ‘Traffic’ Category

Smile, you’re on Google camera!

Google Street View Canada went live today, which means that if you live in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, you can now spend countless hours looking online at all the places you can go look at first hand.

This is one of the better views of the Google camera car that trundled around Vancouver this past Spring (judging by the cheery blossoms), popping 360 vistas of city streets (and a few alleys). It hasn’t been a perfect launch however, as David Loukidelis, BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has already launched a number of complaints regarding Google’s privacy measures not working as promised (I caught a shot at Thurlow and Robson, where a cab license plate is visible. Nearby, a city bus’ plate is clear, but the automated blurring system incorrectly blurred the turn signal light.) It doesn’t sound like he’s looking to pull the plug however, rather he’s just pushing for people’s protection.

“We acknowledge that this tool may be of interest to people, but at the same time under the privacy law in B.C. there are issues that have to be addressed.”

See anything cool? Anything touristy? Google maps has a link tool that will create a link for exactly the view you’re looking at – just use a link shrinker. Google map links are huge!

It’s Bikes Baby!

Well as promised by the Mayor, here comes the Burrard Bridge bike lane! It’s great seeing the year over year improvement in terms of greening our city and encouraging awareness of alternative transportation.

We’ll see how this bike lane experiment pans out, but this coupled with BCAA’s fairly recent announcement of providing Roadside Assistance to cyclists are two definite strides in the right direction for cyclists I think.

These two things will hopefully encourage more riders and less drivers. Especially in the downtown core.

How BCAA “Bike Assist” works as quoted from their site:

  • The cyclist must have experienced a mechanical breakdown, which includes any issue that makes the bike inoperable during a rider’s commute, such as a broken chain or flat tire. No assistance will be provided to cyclists looking to avoid challenging terrain or inclement weather.
  • Service technicians will do their best to get the cyclist on the go, but if the repair cannot be made at the site of the breakdown, the technician will transport the cyclist and their bicycle to their destination, home or nearest bike shop. The kilometer allotment will be consistent with the member’s current level of membership (e.g. a basic member is entitled to a five kilometre tow).
  • Only two cyclists can be accommodated at a time.
  • BCAA cannot break bike locks, as bike ownership cannot be easily identified.

The Vancouver Sun currently has a more thorough view/opinion piece on the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial.

Snow: Informer

Snow it's not just a Canadian rapper anymore.
Snow it’s more than just slick rhymes.

To save money the management of the building that I work in shuts down the heat during the weekend.  Since it’s just our store and the Blendz open Saturday and Sunday they figure that nobody is going to care, and so that’s why I’m standing here wearing a thermal fleece, a thick sweater and mittens.  My co-workers are wearing full winter coats, and have set up two space heaters which seem to simply be draining electricity and making a great deal of noise.

Meanwhile Vancouver airport is, at this point, still open for business despite fresh snow throughout the day [yvr].  Flights are being delayed, though few have been cancelled out right and those seem to be because of snow on the other end of the flight. 
Road-wise the downtown streets were cleared about an hour ago, but they’re now back to being mostly slush and loose snow.  Smart driving is going to be okay, but I’d add a little more time to your schedule this evening if you are going anywhere.
It’ll be snowing throughout the night and into tomorrow so plan your commute to work accordingly.

So where was all the traffic?

Burrard Street on Sunday by Cult Iconic on flickr

It was a lovely weekend, but CKNW didn’t find any traffic jams to report on. This is unusual when we have a long weekend and sunshine. So they called me to ask – why?

Best guess is that gas prices have a lot to do with it. Everyone has to commute, so that trip can’t be cut, but “discretionary travel” can be. There are always closer destinations, or you might decide to get out into the yard and catch up there rather than go to Bellis Fair Mall. The border crossing at the Peace Arch has construction work going on so there were only half the lanes available, and CBC were warning about that on Friday. But the ferries were not overloaded either.

Americans are coming here in fewer numbers, partly due to the lower US dollar, the economic downturn but also increasing restrictions at the border. They tended to drive here. They are being replaced by folk from further afield – China and Europe – who are less likely to drive when they get here.

Will we get used to higher gas prices and go back to driving? Only if incomes rise, something else gets cheaper or we decide to give up something else. Britain has much higher pump prices than we do – and has done for many years – but they still have chaos on the roads every bank holiday weekend. But the adjustment process is not going to be easy, and it doesn’t help that we have so few alternatives. Overcrowded transit and no trains off peak or at weekends on West Coast Express for instance.

Dane Driving

Dane Driving

Bumper sticker reads: “Dane Driving. Thanks for not laughing.”

Seen at the intersection of Braid and Brunette in New Westminster, near the Coquitlam border.

At first I suspected it was Vancouver blogger Dane. Then I saw the Danish flag.

So, um, are the Danish supposed to be bad drivers? Maybe our Vancouver Great Dane blogger, Mr. Jan Karlsberg can answer that.

PS Check out his post on our lame Vancouver attempts at prank billboard modifications.

Verrus, the best thing since parking


I have to admit, the first time I only did it because I was curious. (How many confessionals start this way?) The next several times were because I found out a clerical error had resulted in a rate mismatch so it was cheaper than the real thing. And easier. And far quicker. And then I was hooked.

No, not a plug for the Cobalt Motor Inn, though it easily could be. I’m talking about Verrus [link], the pay-by-phone parking system rolled out throughout the Vancouver area the last couple of years.

“Sure, I’ve seen that on the meters, but never tried it,” friends often concede. “Does it actually work?”


Top 10 Crash Sites

ICBC has announced the Top 10 Crash Sites in the greater Vancouver area. My nemesis, the Pattullo Bridge rounds out the list while danger zones in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta and are all highlighted.

By highlighting high-crash locations, ICBC hopes to draw attention to the larger issues of high-risk driving behaviour and how driver behaviour impacts the cost of insurance. ICBC says there is a strong link between certain high-risk driving behaviours and crashes. [News1130]

  • 1 Trans-Canada Hwy & Willingdon Ave, Burnaby
  • 2 Knight St & SE Marine Dr, Vancouver
  • 3 Knight St Bridge, Vancouver/Richmond
  • 4 Brunette Ave & Trans-Canada Hwy, Coquitlam
  • 5 Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver/North Vancouver
  • 6 Alex Fraser Bridge, Delta
  • 7 152nd St & Trans-Canada Hwy, Surrey
  • 8 Gaglardi Way & Trans-Canada Hwy, Burnaby
  • 9 88th Ave & King George Hwy, Surrey
  • 10 Pattullo Bridge, Surrey


I’ve made a Google Map of all locations and while putting this together I realized most are on either Hwy 1 or a bridge, which seem to be places people tend to speed. Please slow down and drive with caution – I don’t want to be putting up any more posts about the Bridge of Death… well unless they’re actually ever going to DO something about it…


When the sun starts popping up you know the road work will begin. Robson Street [wiki] been in the middle of some sidewalk rehabilitation over the last couple of weeks and the roads are next. One thing I find particularly interesting is what’s underneath our dear Robsonstrasse. It was interesting enough to make me snap a pic on my way home only to find out my husband, while out earlier that day, had also pulled out his camera phone and snapped similar shots of the street’s brick and cobblestone past.


For more info about construction that might slow down your commute this season, check out The Road Ahead on the City’s official site and for more glimpses at Robson Street’s history, visit City Reflections – especially their 1907/2006 image comparisons.

Lights out

Vancouver – Robson Street

Originally uploaded by Waqas Ahmed.

If you’ve been wanting to get into a car accident there are a number of traffic lights on Robson Street are currently not working and the Vancouver Police Department have not yet shown up wearing their white butler gloves to direct traffic, so this is an excellent time.

This could be especially useful if you’re wanting to get ICBC to buy you a new car.

It appears though that someone knew that this was going to happen because there’s temporary stop signs at Robson and Seymour. Stop signs which none of the traffic going down Robson is paying attention to much to the amusment of the traffic trying to transverse Seymour.

I’m hoping for violence, it’ll make the work day go so much quicker.

Update: As of about 2:30 in the afternoon the lights were back to fully operational. There were, at least at my little corner of Robson and Seymour, no accidents.

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