Showing posts from 2007

Artic Ice and Highways

With all the climate news focused on the Bali talks this week, another important story may have been missed. U.S. scientists presented a report that forecast Arctic ice to disappear by 2013 . For a public that sometimes has difficulty understanding the more abstract qualities of climate chaos this may be a dramatic wake-up call. If the forecast is right it will occur just one year after the highway one expansion is scheduled to be completed. This project is projected to increase green house gas emissions from the traffic - already the largest source of emissions for this region. Will there be wide spread public anger against the project? Or will the government in a desperate attempt to meet its climate change goals restrict traffic in such a way that makes the extra lanes unnecessary? Either way it seems like a bigger fiasco than the fast ferries scandal . Powered by ScribeFire .

Kill Bill 43!

Why is the Transportation Minister afraid of democratic representation?

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cars and Light Trucks in Canada

GHG Emissions from Cars & Light Trucks Originally uploaded by Rob__ Apologists for the Gateway Program have begun to claim that we can expand highways and reduce ghg (greenhouse gas) emissions because cars are getting "cleaner" and "total emissions continue to decline." The problem is that they are confusing different types of emissions. It is true that emission controls for automobiles have reduced some types of toxic emissions. But these controls do NOT reduce CO2 - the major ghg emission. Fuel efficiency does reduce ghg emissions. But after a sharp decline in fuel efficiency in the 70s and early 80s the combined fuel efficiency of light duty vehicles started rising in the 1990s (partly because people started switching to SUVs, vans and trucks from cars). see: GHG emissions from cars actually declined from 1990 -2005 but the total ghg emissions for car and light trucks incre

Stop Gateway Rallies

Bill Rees speaks at afternoon rally Originally uploaded by Rob__ Rally outside the Bayshore Hotel Originally uploaded by Rob__ Hundreds attended two rallies this weekend to support the Livable Region strategy and oppose the gateway program . The first rally on Saturday was a standing room only event at a hall that seated 300 people. The second event saw hundreds brave the cold and driving rain to rally outside an appearance of Al Gore and Gordon Campbell in Downtown Vancouver. At both events experts from a wide background spoke on the negative consequences of the Gateway Program.

Buses on the Port Mann

Apologists for the Gateway Program appear to be re-writing history and claiming that Translink had no plans to run transit over the Port Mann bridge. In actual fact a transit route with queue jumpers was originally planned to be implemented in 2004-2005 (see page 93 of Tanslink's South of Fraser - Area Transit Plan, Final Report - June 2000 : Later it appears this was changed to 2007 (see page A8 of Three Year (2005 - 2007) Implementation & Financial Strategy - December 2004 : ) The two maps below produced by a third party illustrate the plans outlined in the documents referenced above. The Port Mann bus route is shown in red. The 2000 Transit plan had the route stopping at central Surrey - this map extends that route. The queue jumper lanes. Update: This project is also mentioned in the "KEEPING GREATER VANCOUVER MOVING&q

Punishing People in Cars

Mike Harcourt, speaking on Gateway asks, "Why punish people in cars?" We might also ask, "Why punish transit users?" Right now transit users have to put up with over-crowded buses and sky trains, increased fares and a bus fleet that is smaller than plans called for. And they are only getting vague promises of improvements in the distant future sometime after the Gateway program. So why are we rewarding people in cars with more lanes? These are the people that are contributing to climate change that will have severe consequences for the planet. These are the people that are contributing to pollution that kills 6,000 Canadians every year. And pollution that increases the frequency of asthma attacks among our children. Why not reward those people who make choices that make our planet a better place to live? Why not reward those whose choices improve our health and well being? Perhaps not everyone can make that choice, but why not reward those that do? Powered by S

Emission Free Transporation Options

The anti-clean air gang continue their campaign of wishful thinking by proposing that somewhere in the hypothetical future technology (like hybrids) will allow us to expand our highways and still reduce harmful pollution and green house gas emissions. The fact is only about 1% of cars sold in Canada are hybrids. And hybrids still pollute and release green house gases. And we already have transportation solutions that are virtually emissions free (SkyTrain, LRT and electric trolley buses). Why don't we expand this infrastructure now and wait until the other technology is widely adopted before expanding highways? Powered by ScribeFire .

Seling Real Estate in a Hummer

With growing public consciousness around climate change and all things sustainable I find it strange that anyone would want to advertise their business on the side of a Hummer H2 (except maybe Hells Angels ). It certainly won't be helping the price of real estate in Richmond . Maybe there should be a boycott of Glen Warren Re/Max Real Estate Vancouver Powered by ScribeFire .

Commute Times: Perception vs. Reality

The asphalt lobby is making a big deal about an opinion survey that found that people in Metro Vancouver have a perception that congestion is getting worse and commute times are getting longer. A more rigorous study that measured actual commute times found that although traffic has slowed, actual commute times have shortened in the last ten years. Powered by ScribeFire .

Hybrids and Highway Expansion

I have been thinking more about the idea that fuel efficient vehicles will help mitigate highway expansion. Only about 1% of vehicles currently sold in Canada are hybrids.  The best estimates I have seen predict that the Gateway project will increase automotive emissions by 31%.   Hybrids under best conditions can reduce emission by half.  So if, 1% of the increase is from vehicles that reduce emissions by half that means that the increase will be 30.85% instead of 31%. How will a 30.85% increase instead of 31% help us meet Premier Campbell's target of a 33% reduction? How do we explain to parents of an asthmatic child that their asthma attacks will be 30.85% worse instead of 31% worse? Hybrid vehicles are a small part of the solution, but if we really care about people in our region we need better solutions. Powered by ScribeFire .

Bizarre Gateway Arguments

The arguments of proponents of the Greater Vancouver Gateway Project keep getting more bizarre. First, they tried to use the news that BC has reduced it's green house gas emissions to argue that we need to exapnd highways . Except the fact is that BC reduced emissions during a period when we were NOT building highways but instead making limited investments in public transit.  Why would we want to reverse this trend and invest money in highways instead of transit? Especially when the the reduction we have seen is only one tenth of the Province's own modest emissions targets? And when even the Province admits that the Gateway project will increase GHG emissions? Now, they are trying to argue that the increased use of hybrids means we should support the Gateway program. These are the same people that tried to argue that the Gateway program would reduce pollution from idling (even though there is no evidence to support this happening for more than a short time period).

Don't Build It and Traffic will Stay Away

In a recent column in the Surrey Leader BC Trucking Association president Paul Landry said : “...there are people who think you can reverse that logic and apply it to roads – “If you don’t build it, they’ll stay away.” Unfortunately, if you follow their logic you’ll not only end up without a Field of Dreams,...” Of course this is just one man's opinion and he offers NO evidence to support that position. In fact, the evidence suggest otherwise. Extensive research has found that traffic can be reduced if you “don't build it” AND give people alternatives. Here is part of the summary of the report: “This paper reports on two phases of research, resulting in the examination of over 70 case studies of roadspace reallocation from eleven countries, and the collation of opinions from over 200 transport professionals worldwide. ... significant reductions in overall traffic levels can occur, with people making a far wider range of behavioural responses than has traditionally been assume


A recent comment on this blog claimed that SPEC did not support commuter or transit trains in the Fraser Valley. Of course, this is false. Ironically enough just today SPEC announced an advertising campaign to promote passenger rail in the valley. Audio ad clips: Traffic Jams Next Stop- Langley Print Ad: And speaking of media. Here is a great video about the South Fraser Perimeter Road: Powered by ScribeFire .

Academics/Experts on Gateway and Congestion

I came across the most bizarre quote from another blogger . In response to the statement, " double the Port Mann bridge and you'll get double the traffic within a year or so" he states, " this assertion is utterly false. No responsible expert would state such rubbish. " Why does the Gateway Projet bring out such Orwellian Doublespeak? In fact the exact opposite is true. Experts almost universally agree with this statement. Here are a few quotes. Larry Frank , currently the UBC chair of sustainable urban transportation systems: "Building these highways in the absence of strict growth controls will only result in more congestion and auto dependency.....You cannot build your way out of congestion." quoted from: h ttp:// Bill Rees , UBC professor: “In our province, we have the ludicrous Gateway project, ...There’ll be more cars, and in about three months, we’ll be jammed up and more cars

Gateay Project not an environmental debate?

At a press conference last friday Federal International Trade Minister David Emerson said regarding the Gateway Project : "But don’t disguise that debate as an environmental debate,.." This is probably the most bizarre statement from Emerson.  The gateway project will include: - an increase of container ships which each contribute more than pollution than 2,000 diesel trucks (including particulate matter which has NO safe level). - the loss of a wildlife management area three times the size of Stanley park permanent damage to the hydrology of Burn's Bog - the loss of 1,000 acres of farmland - an increase of 31% in on-road green house gas emissions - the serious health concerns associated with increased traffic And it is not an environmental debate????? This is Orwellian double-speak at its worst. Powered by ScribeFire .

Highway Exapnsion as Common Sense

The opponents of a liveable region have taken to using the phrase “common sense” as an explanation of why we need to expand the Port Mann bridge. Of course “common sense” can be applied to almost anything. I am sure that at one point people thought the concept of a flat earth was “common sense.” Transportation and pollution are issues that are too important to be discussed with terms like “common sense.” Instead shouldn't we be looking at the evidence? - Doesn't the evidence suggest that highway expansion does not relieve congestion? - Doesn't the evidence suggest that highway expansion will increase pollution and greenhouse gas emissions? - Doesn't the evidence suggest that highway expansion will lead to increased health problems? Powered by ScribeFire .

Reducing Commute Times for Families.

A recent opinion piece tried to make the argument that we need to twin the Port Mann Bridge to give people more time with their families. The MacPhee, Collins and Smith study found that travel time by a light rail transit system from Abbotsford to Coquitlam would be about 40 minutes as opposed to the 1.5 to 2 hours in the article's scenario. Evidence from across North American suggests that adding freeway lanes (especially just one in each direction) reduces congestion for only short periods of time (sometimes only a few months). After which people would be back to the 1.5 to 2 hour commute. So if we really want to give people more time with their families why not implement the best solution NOW? Why implement a very expensive short term fix that has all the associated problems with pollution and global warming? Powered by ScribeFire .

Investors Greeted by Protesters at Goldcorp AGM

Investors faced a spirited protest as they entered Goldcorp's annual general meeting in Vancouver. Protesters in masks handed out leaflets detailing Goldcorp's environmental and human rights violations in the Americas. Goldcorp's mining operations in Honduras and Guatamala have contaminated water supplies with heavy metals. Authors of independent studies on the water supply contamination have received death threats. More info on Goldcorp's mining operations and the effect on local populations can be found at: NowPublic Tags: Environment | Goldcorp | human rights | mining | Vancouver

Gateway will help transit?

Jordan Bateman has blogged "...road and transit options--Gateway will help us with both..." That Gateway will somehow help with transit is one of those ideas that keeps getting repeated but there seems to be no evidence to support it. There have been some vague promises about bus service on the twinned Port Mann bridge in the far distant future but there have been NO specific plans on incorporating transit into the Gateway project. In fact, transit projects keep getting delayed and reduced due to funding cuts. If the funding that is planned for the Gateway project could be used by transit we might be able to meet the original targets for bus and rail expansion in the lower mainland. Transit is a much more efficient way to move people in an urban environment. But currently people are choosing to drive single occupancy vehicles because our buses and skytrains are overcrowded. An investment in transit could provide immediate congestion relief. Powered by ScribeFire .

Climate Change Rally In Vancouver

On April 14th residents in Vancouver, BC joined cities acroos North America in urging governments to act on the issue of climate change. NowPublic Tags: entertainment | Climate Change | Global Warming | highway expansion | rally | stopgateway | Vancouver | step it up

Hundreds Rally Against Gateway Project

An overflowing crowd packed the East Delta Community Hall to hear speakers call for a stop to the South Fraser Perimeter Road, Deltaport Expansion and the province's "Gateway Project." Organizers estimated that close to a thousand people came to at least part of the rally. The Gateway Project includes a plan to expand a long stretch of Highway One leading into Vancouver and twin the Port Mann bridge. Another part of the project, the South Fraser Perimeter Road, will destroy Burn's Bog, remove over a thousand acres of farm land and increase pollution around several schools in Delta. Although people came from West Vancouver, Lion's Bay and Vancouver, it was clear that majority of the those present were from south of the Fraser River. Proponents of the province's plan have tried to claim that there is near universal support for their project in communities south of the Fraser. A group of 17 cyclists travelled from Vancouver to the rally and cyclists also rode f

Trucks on the Port Mann

The recent Vancouver Sun editorial ( “Gateway is important for our future economic well-being” March 22 nd ) repeated the big lie that Highway One expansion is necessary to accommodate truck traffic volumes. In actual fact only 10% of the traffic on the Port Mann bridge is truck traffic. If the other 90% of drivers were given viable public transit options there would be more than enough room for truck traffic on the existing bridge.

Protesters Outnumber Supporters at 2010 Olympic Ceremony

Protesters greatly outnumbered public supporters at Olympic flag lighting ceremony in Vancouver. In the public viewing area the chants of the protesters drowned out the speakers for most of the ceremony. People chanted “Homes not Games,” “No Olympics on Stolen Native Lands,” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Security for the event at city hall was tighter than at previous Olympic ceremonies and some commented this was an ominous indication of things to come for the city of Vancouver. Police and other security personnel ringed the entire two blocks and everyone who entered city hall grounds was supposed to be subjected to a search. Early on police turned away one person because he was wearing a bandanna. He was able to enter the grounds later. When a large group of protesters arrived at the site the police initially tried to prevent them from entering the grounds. However, the crowd moved on to a different location where they overwhelmed the police and passed the perimeter. The polic

Update on Arrests at Betty Krawczyk's Sentencing

The two supporters of Betty Krawczyk who were arrested following her sentencing were released without a clear explanation of what they were charged with and with no date to appear in court. One of those arrested said he assumed that they would be charged with violating the court injunction that was read to them. He hopes to challenge it in court. The court order was against anyone blocking doors in the courthouse and he believe that the bailiffs were the one primarily blocking the doors. Highway activists remain defiant in spite of the sentence given to Krawczyk. The organizer behind said, “Ten months in prison, the judge said, is necessary as a "deterrent" to further action – Betty's, and ours.In spite of all the injustice surrounding her treatment, we must remember the fundamental reason why Betty is in jail now. She is there because it is fully unjust, corrupt and obscene to continue building highways through living communities, whether inhabited by

Wilderness Protector Sentenced to 10 months – Law Courts Locked Down.

Betty Krawczyk was sentenced to 10 months in prison today for her involvement in protests against highway expansion at Eagleridge Bluffs. When observers of the proceedings attempted to ask questions about the extraordinary security measures in place, the court security responded by locking down the courts for almost two hours. Hundreds of people had shown up well before the 9 AM start time for the hearing. Many were angry that Krawczyk was being sentenced by the same judge who had recently sentenced Harriet Nahanee. Nahanee died from pneumonia which she may have picked up while in jail. Courtroom security decided to implement extraordinary security measures, checking bags, refusing entry to those with bags and even doing prolonged inspections of bicycle helmets. These security measures had not been in place for any other trail involving Eagleridge Bluff protesters. By slowing the process for people entering the courtroom, less than one third of the observers were able to get int

harriet nahanee

harriet nahanee Originally uploaded by Rob__ . CBC Radio is reporting that Harriet Hahanee has died (also coverage here , here and here ). In her early life she was a victim of residential schools. At the end of her life she became a victim of the province's ideology of development regardless of the consequences. Perhaps she will be remembered as the first person to die as a result of protesting development around the 2010 Winter Olympics. In January, Madam Justice Brown sentenced the Squamish elder to fourteen days in jail for asserting her rights under the Constitution as an Indian and refusing to apologize to anybody, including the court, for blockading construction at Eagleridge Bluffs. Betty Krawczyk, who had been acting in the courtroom as a McKenzie Friend of the court on Harriet's behalf objected to the sentencing. She felt the Surrey Pre-Trial Centre would not be safe for someone in Harriet's condition. Betty was forcibly ejected from the court room and refus

Jailing Wisdom

Last summer a first nations elder taught me how eat shoots of salmon berry bushes. I am interested in indigenous edible plants, so I was excited to learn that more of the plant was edible than just the berries. It was a wonderful moment on the edge of magnificent forest. The moment stuck with me partly because the elder seemed so kind, generous and wise. Today that elderly women is fighting for her life. She developed pneumonia while in a pre-trial detention centre. She was arrested for trying to defend that magnificent forest that we stood on the edge of. More details including constitutional arguments that may have made her sentencing illegal can be found on Betty's Early Edition blog .

CO2 is a pollutant part 2

"A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment." pollutant. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Science Dictionary . Retrieved February 15, 2007, from website: " physical, chemical, biological, [or] radioactive . . . substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air." (CAA, sec. 302(g))" The Clean Air Act in the U.S.

CO2 (carbon dioxide) is a pollutant

I recently got into a online discussion with someone who made the ridiculous argument that CO2 (carbon dioxide) can not be classified as a pollutant. Below are the reasons he gave that it is not a pollutant and my responses: ".. benign gas..." Many pollutants are "benign" at low levels. The are several ways in which CO2 is not benign at higher concentrations. "..occurs naturally..." Many pollutants (maybe even most) occur naturally - asbestos, mercury, sulphur, radiation, "helps to maintain the earth at a temperature suitable for life" Ozone as it exists in the atmosphere also helps to maintain life on the earth. But it is also considered a pollutant. "...essential to the growth of all plants..." Nitrates are essential to plant growth. Sulphur is an essential element for cell growth. But both are considered pollutants.

Nairobi, Malaria and climate change

A recent article in the International Herald Tribune by Paul Reiter attempted to throw doubt on the climate change consensus by raising the old malaria in Kenya controversy. I wonder if the author was trying to qualify for the $10,000 offer from the AEI ? Selected quotes from the article and my responses follow. “I am not a climatologist,...” But then he goes on to try to make claims about climate science. Isn't it interesting that often the most adamant deniers are often people speaking outside of their area of expertise? “...that this consensus is a mirage” But he offers nothing to support this statement. It is incredibly dishonest. By any reasonable definition there clearly is a consensus and even most people in the denier's camp have come to admit this. “...Al Gore's film, ... which claims that Nairobi ...” The film is filled with much more convincing evidence that global warming is occurring. Why are critics continually pulling out this one small item from the f