Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for April 2017

Translink Liveries

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This post started life as a comment. Back in 2007. Originally the links in the comment went to a site called fotopic.net which ceased operations in 2011. So I went to my flickr stream to see if I could find similar illustrations.

So why did I “need” this? Becuase of this in my inbox this morning

The pingback was to this post and was from this article . It is nice to see that old stories from this blog continue to have some utility. And now this new post can be the source of reference to the old article and my comment under it.

For a while Translink had plain white buses: this was for buses ordered in the period of transition from BC Transit, before the new blue and yellow livery was decided on.

Translink P8101 Braid Stn New Westminster BC 2002_0114

Many remained in service in the old red, white and blue of BC Transit.

Translink P3105 D40HF Braid Stn 2002_0612

Note that black paint has been added to to window pillars and on the upper part of the doors. This was peculiar to the Vancouver transit system and was not added to BC Transit buses operating elsewhere.

Translink P4226 Pitt Meadows BC 2006_0908

This was the standard livery in Translink’s first iteration. As the fleet went through its usual maintenance cycle the older buses were repainted white with a blue and gold set of stripes.

TL S058 on C93 Williams Rd 2004_0811

Community shuttles had a variation on the paint scheme.

Translink R8076 D60LF on 98 B Line Richmond BC 2007_0708

The B Line had its own variation, with a blue front to help intending passengers spot the difference from regular services. This was very similar to the BC Transit B Line livery, which had a red rather than the gold swoosh.

Translink B8010 D60LF Broadway at Commercial 2008_0114

Of course that did not stop artics in regular livery being used on the B Line. A number of regular bus services needed the capacity of articulated buses to meet the surge of demand caused by the introduction of U Pass as UBC and SFU

E40LFR 2270 Howe at Smithe 2007_0827

When the new trolleybuses started being delivered they carried this new black and grey livery with the blue stripe converted to a swoosh and the black being expanded on the front and onto the upper panel – not just the window surrounds. New diesel and natural gas buses were similarly treated.

9548

The Novabus did not get nearly as much black paint as the New Flyers, and I think looks the better for it.

S351 on C21 Beach on Burrard at Dunsmuir

But the new Shuttle buses did

R9222 R9247 Bridgeport Stn

The high floor Orion highway coaches used on the express routes got their own yellow livery. This is the first version.

R9282 Burrard Station #602 Tsawwassen Heights

Later versions have grey on the lower panel. This one was photographed at Burrard Station: the introduction of the Canada Line saw these services cut back to Bridgeport Station in Richmond – which is where the previous picture was taken.

Xcelsior bendy on 41st at Arbutus

The most recent variation has also reduced the amount of black paint with grey on the front and sides and is, to my eye, more pleasing.

The last one on the lot

This was a variation used in West Vancouver for a while.

West Vancouver Blue Bus 1204

This is what they use now. There is so little blue visible that the words BLUE BUS have to be added above the bike rack in large, friendly capital letters.

BC Transit 9270 Abbotsford

BC Transit now uses this livery instead of the old red white and blue.

BC Transit 9067

Though in 2015 it could still be seen in Victoria – here on a British built Transbus (Dennis) Dart Plaxton Pointer delivered in 2000.

And, by special request, here is a preserved bus in the old BC Hydro Transit livery

BC Hydro Fishbowl

Photo by Michael Chu on flickr

2040 at Marpole 20080407

And I think this one may be earlier. I am told that in the bad old days buses got repainted with each change of government into the colours of the ruling party – but that can’t be true can it?

Written by Stephen Rees

April 28, 2017 at 10:21 am

Posted in transit, Vancouver

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Fraser Voices Press Release

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In the wake of Christy Clark sending a letter to Justin Trudeau suggesting a tax on US coal exports through Vancouver would be an appropriate response to the softwood lumber tariff

Actually this lady beat her to it

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 9.16.39 PM

 

No Coal Makes Way for a Cheaper, Faster, Safer Second Tunnel

 

 

No need for $4 billion Boondoggle Bridge

 

After years of ignoring thousands of people complaining about the impacts of US thermal coal through the Lower Fraser Delta, Premier Christy Clark is finally acknowledging that the coal is “not good for the environment.”

Now she is asking Prime Minister Trudeau to ban the export of thermal coal.  No matter how he responds, the public now expects the B.C. Government to stop plans of Fraser Surrey Docks to export US thermal coal.

The reason for the largest, most expensive bridge ever built in B.C. is to remove the George Massey Tunnel, dredge the Fraser deeper and facilitate export of US thermal coal through Fraser Surrey Docks.

Plans also include transport of dangerous jet fuel and LNG on Panamax vessels and LNG carriers on the Fraser for the first time in history.  As Canada has no effective laws, these projects do not meet international safety standards.

With no need for coal freighters, the public should demand that the B.C. Government revive the original plans to upgrade the George Massey Tunnel and build a second tunnel by immersing a second tube.  This would be cheaper, faster, and safer.

Cheaper:    Bridge: $3.5 to $6 billion                    Tunnel:       $1 to $2 billion

Faster:        Bridge:  5 to 6 years                          Tunnel:       2 to 3 years

Safer:          During seismic activity: “Underground structures suffer minor damage       compared to aboveground structures.”

(Tunnel under seismic loading: a review of damage case histories and protection methods, page 24)

ENGOS, Journalists and Politicians

“… politicians (other than all local mayors except one) simply have done little to challenge this $3.5 Billion boondoggle when another tunnel at less than 1/4 the coast is the best alternative to protect the fragile lower Fraser River.

The issue is mainly about building a bridge that will allow large freighters and tankers up the river after the tunnel is removed and that will be a very large nail into the coffin of the Lower Fraser in that it will be followed by Port Vancouver’s grandiose plans to industrialize the estuary and lower river.

This and the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project will be the modern era’s beginning of the final degradation process of the last significant biological values in this globally significant river and estuary. It is time that the federal Trudeau Ministers did stand up and take notice of an out of control Port Vancouver and a total lack of and or proper CEAA assessment of such large projects affecting many federal values.”

Otto Langer Fisheries Biologist

Background

The B.C. Government triple-deleted all information on how they changed plans from a twinned tunnel to a massive bridge.  Freedom of information requests from the public and MLA Vicki Huntington yielded a response of:

“Although a thorough search was conducted, no records were located in response to your request.”

However, a FOI request from Voters Taking Action on Climate Change revealed that from 2012 to 2014, the B.C. Liberals had ongoing discussions and correspondence with the federal government, the Port of Vancouver, Fraser Surrey Docks and vested interests.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 27, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

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Sydney Harbour Bridge

The challenge this week opens with “Have you traveled anywhere exciting lately?” Well yes and I have been posting pictures of Cuba for a while now. That was our most recent trip. In October 2015 we were much further from home. This photo was taken as our cruise ship arrived in Sydney in the early hours of the morning. We did not see any kangaroos in our trip, but this landmark is about as iconic as it gets.

Sydney Opera House

Unless you count the Opera House of course, just opposite the bridge and the cruise ship terminal – and in much better light.

The great advantage of taking a ship is that when you arrive in a city on the other side of the planet, there is no jet lag, and you get to enjoy your visit straight away. On that cruise we also visited Honolulu, Fiji and some of the smaller islands of the South Pacific, which for a lad from East Ham was about as exotic as I have ever experienced.

Living now in Beautiful British Columbia we are spoiled for wonderful destinations on own doorstep. Even a short trip to the nearest beach produces breathtaking views. And some of my wanderlust has been tempered simply by the increasing harassment travellers experience just trying to get on a plane to somewhere else. Or even to drive over the border. We are not planning to travel anywhere very much in the immediate future, just to avoid these hassles.

Sydney wildlife

Written by Stephen Rees

April 26, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Posted in photography

Tagged with ,

Sailing into Unknown Waters

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LNG tanker
file photo: Reuters

There is a lot wrong with the present BC government’s obsession with establishing an LNG industry. It is, of course, based on fracking – which has been creating earthquakes in BC, a place which, you might think, has quite enough of an earthquake risk already. We also know that the industry has been understating the release of methane from fracking – and that is far more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. It is also the case that the costs of producing and storing power from wind and solar sources have been dropping rapidly – far faster than any other power producing source anticipated. That means that whole idea that there is a need for some kind of intermediate step between phasing out coal and switching to 100% renewables is redundant.

The siting of LNG plants has also been one of significant controversy, mainly because of sensitive ecological issues which have been ignored by our deliberately crippled environmental review process. There is an LNG plant operating here already – and has been for many years. It is operated by what is now called Fortis BC, which used to be BC Gas. They developed an LNG program to reduce their storage costs. Gas gets produced year round but demand is heavily seasonal. They were also interested in developing new markets in an exercise called load spreading – for example using natural gas either in its compressed or liquid forms for transportation. Which is where I came in. As a policy analyst and transportation economist for the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum resources in the early 1990s I was lobbied by BC Gas to try to get CNG powered buses for BC Transit, and LNG for BC Ferries. The first did happen, the second didn’t. But CNG in transit had a very chequered history.

The LNG plant is located at Tilbury on the Fraser estuary.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 2.58.38 PM

One of the reasons the Port is so keen on getting rid of the tunnel is the potential to increase traffic on the river – including much larger LNG tankers for exports. People like Todd Stone have been denying this, but the evidence is overwhelming. But what that also means is that due diligence has not been done in assessing whether such a proposal is desirable at this location. I used to be a Fortis shareholder, as my financial advisor was very keen on their performance and its impact on my portfolio. We had a very interesting discussion about the meaning of the words “risk assessment” – particularly when it came to the expansion of the Tilbury terminal.

I am indebted to Kevin Washbrook, who has been very diligent in researching this issue and bringing it to the attention of Fraser Voices – one of the groups opposing the tunnel replacement. That is another reason for the insertion of the map: the proximity of the terminal and the idea of very large LNG vessels passing under the bridge is a concern, but because of the way the way that all the proposals in the area are viewed as standalone and no cumulative assessment has been done, the concern is not now being addressed.

As Kevin says

Canada is way behind what is legally required in the US and not at all prepared for security or safety risks of building LNG terminals near coastal communities.  The Wespac proposal on the Fraser River is particularly egregious.  I don’t think there is any way it would be approved in the US.

The comparison to security procedures in the Port of Boston is interesting.   There a major bridge over the Tobin River is closed every time an LNG tanker transits underneath.

I don’t have any sense that the Province has considered this in their planning for the new 10 lane Fraser River crossing.   Security closures during rush hour when LNG tankers are transiting the river?  That won’t go down well.

There is a full report as a pdf file. Part Five is a focused review of the Wespac proposal on the Fraser River and is of particular interest.

To give you a taste of what is covered I am going to cut and paste the Executive Summary here

The pursuit of an LNG export industry in British Columbia is taking place without the government oversight needed to protect the public from safety and security risks.

US regulatory processes provide clear guidance on how to screen LNG proposals for these risks, and how to enforce security protocols around LNG facilities and tankers. Both are needed to protect communities and critical infrastructure from the risks posed by LNG. Similar regulatory processes could easily be established in Canada – if governments chose to make public safety and security a priority.

However, in British Columbia LNG export proponents choose siting locations according to their own criteria. When these proposals enter licensing, permitting and approval processes, those sites are taken as a given:

• NEB export licensing decisions consider only whether proposed exports will impact Canada’s domestic supply of natural gas;

• Our federal government, with responsibility for marine safety, has not established a pre-screening process for marine LNG facilities or a process for assessing the security of our waterways for the movement of LNG tankers;

• The voluntary TERMPOL review process does not consider security concerns;

• Federal Marine Transportation Security Regulations contain no terminal siting criteria or waterway assessment protocols;

• Federal and provincial environmental assessment processes address accidents, but not the likelihood and consequences of deliberate attack; and

• The BC Oil and Gas Commission, with authority over the permitting of coastal LNG facilities, does not explicitly require assessment of the risk of deliberate attack on those facilities, and excludes consideration of LNG tankers and marine approaches to proposed facilities from hazard identification and emergency planning processes.

In short, no government agency, federal or provincial, is tasked with asking fundamentally important questions:

• Is this a safe place to build an LNG terminal?

• Is this an appropriate waterway for the movement of LNG tankers?

As a result, as project reviews gain momentum, there is valid concern that approval processes will attempt to mitigate risks through design requirements for projects that should have been rejected at the outset because they are poorly sited.

The best way to manage security and safety risks around LNG development in BC is to avoid creating those risks in the first place. Canada and British Columbia need to establish transparent and well justified site selection and waterway suitability assessment processes for LNG export proposals to ensure we avoid these risks. A preliminary pre-screening process will be an important tool for eliminating poorly sited project proposals, and will save proponents and government time and money that would otherwise be spent in lengthy approval and permitting processes.

Fortunately, the hard work of developing a pre-screening process has already taken place in the United States. Studies by Sandia National Laboratories have determined justifiable hazard planning distances for assessing risk posed by proposed LNG facilities and LNG tanker movements on nearby populations and critical infrastructure.

The Sandia Laboratory findings have been incorporated into a comprehensive waterway suitability assessment process used by the US Coast Guard to screen LNG marine terminal proposals for safety and security risks. USCG waterway suitability findings from this process are used by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the US agency in charge of LNG terminal approvals) in their decisions on LNG terminal proposals.

Canada should look closely at existing US regulations – they provide a ready made and proven template for developing our own pre-screening process to protect the public from LNG risks during the process of LNG terminal site selection.

However, even if government did develop a comprehensive pre-screening process, British Columbians would still face risks from LNG export projects. Our federal government has failed to establish a preparedness and response regime for ship-source incidents involving hazardous substances like LNG, despite long identifying such a regime as a priority. The LNG industry has not established a dedicated response organization such as the one in place to address oil spills. Coastal first responders are likely unprepared to deal with the serious hazards posed by a worst case incident involving loss of containment and fire on an LNG tanker. Canada has not established a regulatory regime for bunkering LNG–fuelled vessels, nor, apparently, a certification program for LNG bunker barges.

Further, existing marine security regulations in Canada are underdeveloped and reactive. They do not incorporate, as normal operating procedure, moving exclusion zones around LNG tankers that are common practice in US ports. In addition, neither our Port Authorities nor LNG proponents themselves appear adequately resourced to enforce such exclusion zones if they were applied.

While the probability of a deliberate attack or serious accident on an LNG tanker or facility may be low, the consequences for our communities or critical coastal infrastructure of such an attack could be catastrophic. Government has a responsibility to properly assess and prepare for these risks before BC exports LNG.

Our governments have shown themselves to be keen supporters of development of an LNG export industry. However, before LNG exports proceed, they must show they are just as keen to protect public safety and security from the risks posed by that industry.

BC and Canada should place a moratorium on approved and proposed LNG exports until key regulatory issues are addressed, including 1) developing a proper site screening and waterway suitability assessment process for evaluating LNG export proposals 2) establishing mandatory and enforceable security procedures to address the risk of deliberate attack on LNG facilities and tankers and 3) creating a robust preparedness and response regime for ship source incidents involving LNG, and ensuring that LNG bunkering is properly regulated and LNG bunker barges are properly certified.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

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IMG_2029

When I first saw the challenge for this week I was thinking of looking for one of my gigantic panoramas. But then as I was scrolling through Photos on my MacBook I saw this little snapshot. We were walking around the Cleveland Dam and Capilano park, when I saw this skunk cabbage emerging from the earth. That does look like a particularly fecund bit of ground – lots of naturally composting plants and detritus from the forest. And that fern is really artistic, don’t you think?

We have had almost continuous rain here for months – and the chance to get outside during the brief dry spells is eagerly grasped. Spring has been late, but all around things are emerging and blooming as the warmth returns – if not much actual direct sunshine.

We need to keep in mind how much we depend on earth. The fact that we have anything to eat at all depends on a few inches of topsoil and dependable rain. But humans seem to be very bad at understanding that this is very fragile and easily broken. There might be water on a moon of Saturn, but that does not give us any realistic alternative to taking better care of the Earth we inherited and are so lucky to have survived our ill treatment thus far.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Weekly Photo Challenge “Surprise”

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IMG_1828via Photo Challenge: Surprise

The little white dots of foam that you see on the surface of the spaghetti squash are where I carefully pierced the skin with a large fork to allow the steam to escape. I have done this many times when cooking it in the microwave. Probably the easiest way to deal with this vegetable. This time, there were not enough holes, apparently, as there was a loud bang. Surprise!

Fortunately this was toward the end of the cooking time, and the mess was fairly limited. It was very tasty: served with a meat sauce, of which there were leftovers, which I have just finished for lunch today – with real spaghetti – not another squash or any surprises.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 12, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Posted in photography

Tagged with , ,

Why Andrew Weaver got into politics

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Written by Stephen Rees

April 11, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Green Party, politics

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