Archive for the 'vision & goals' category

electric waterfront shuttles

March 24, 2008

A couple weeks ago I saw a booth for zipcars at the Globe 2008 Trade Fair, then Michael Geller talked about tuk-tuks in his SFU City Program lecture last week, and this weekend I saw electric GEM rental cars in Seaside, Oregon.

GEM e6 electric vehicle for 6 passengers

Putting those three concepts together, I came up with an idea that I think would alleviate parking stress on the waterfront.

Imagine this: a public transportation service that requires no staff operators, responds to the weather, has very low maintenance costs, upfront capital costs in the tens of thousands — not hundreds of thousands or millions, and requires no large fleet service or storage facility.

This is my vision… Six-seater electric vehicles driven by independent entrepreneurs ferrying passengers between far-flung parking lots and along the waterfront. Drivers are registered with the City. They choose when they want to check out a vehicle. They pay an hourly rental fee for the vehicle. Passengers pay a small fee (such as $1) for the service, perhaps purchased from the City’s parking meter. The driver collects tickets from passengers and redeems them with the City. Their only overhead is their time and the vehicle rental rate. The City gets more efficient use of its existing parking lots and expanded capacity for the waterfront commercial district.

I figure a pilot project could be run this summer for maybe as little as $15,000.

There are all kinds of problems that are easy to think of, but I think the solutions are just as easy. If a pilot project were successful, there are some technologies that could be applied to greatly improve security, streamline the payment process, and create a system where a driver can be notified of a ride request.

If nothing else, this concept has potential to solve the employee parking problem. Merchants with staff working late night could use a shuttle to get their staff safely home or to their vehicles in the Semiahmoo lot.

This is an innovative experiment that we can do now to expand the capacity of our waterfront using parking spaces that already exist.

capturing resources

October 9, 2007

For financial sustainability, White Rock (as do most BC cities) needs new sources of revenue. Currently, city finances are stable and sufficient. Read on »

eyes on the prize

September 16, 2007

I want to live in a White Rock that is clean, comfortable, and beautiful with people who are healthy and happy.

I suspect there would be consensus on this statement in the community. Where we find conflict is in 1) how we define those adjectives, 2) the different visions each conjures, and 3) how to achieve them. Read on »

walk (and drive) the talk

September 8, 2007

We all know how beneficial it is to our health, environment, and economy to use energy more efficiently. The City of White Rock can demonstrate to its citizens how to be energy conscious with their cars. Read on »

waterfront parks, not parking lots

February 1, 2007

Why do cars take up some of the best spots on the beach?

Imagine what an incredible place White Rock’s waterfront would be if those acres of asphalt were grass fields, meadows, bicycle and rollerblading lanes, picnic tables,… imagine it were a place for people instead of cars.

We need a transportation solution that brings people to and from the beach without their cars.

Some people say the commercial district would shrivel up without an abundance of parking right outside their door. I don’t believe them.

Some of the best, most vibrant places in other local cities are not set up like strip malls in a lake of asphalt… Steveston, Robson Street, Kits, even big box stores are starting to get it. When you visit any of these places, you know it’s not realistic to expect to park right outside the door of your destination. But you go anyway and then walk.

Is what we offer in White Rock of such weak value that people would be unwilling to do the same? Any reasonable person would agree not. Even now, people visiting the beach are already parking a distance from their intended destination then walking.

What I think is unfortunate is that we have them walking through/past a vast, never-ending parking lot along their way. This eyesore should be somewhere else. It is a tragic waste of incredible potential for a beautiful park worthy of its setting and fantastic spaces for recreation and leisure.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I suspect we could all agree that what we have now isn’t working. There are options. I think we should look at them without getting defensive or dismissing them without consideration. Sometimes by looking into a bad idea you can find a good idea behind it.

Let’s work toward a more clean, green, pleasant, and safer waterfront.

trees or forest?

January 3, 2007

Some people wonder why I feel so strongly about letting trees grow tall, as nature intends for BC. It probably comes from the vision I have for this community.

It’s not just that I want to have lots of trees within the city, what I want is for it to feel as though there is a city within a forest. Rather than the trees appearing to be imposed upon a street, I want it to feel as though there are buildings and streets inside a forest.

Not only is this what is perfectly natural for this corner of the coast, it is perfectly in keeping with the ‘green appeal’ that drew so many people to live here in the first place. The green character of this community is valued by almost everyone who lives or visits here.

An important part of how to retain and enhance that character is to
• protect existing trees;
• plant more trees;
• plan redevelopments around existing trees;
• plan for significant stands of trees in new developments.

Let’s honour the natural appeal of White Rock by protecting existing trees and planting more. Let’s see the trees for the forest. Let’s be an enchanting city within the forest, by the sea.

New Year Resolutions for 2007

January 2, 2007

I. Build and support satisfying personal relationships

Spend more time with friends

• Go out at least once each week
• Have guests over at least once each month

Write birthday cards

• Design a birthday card

II. Be more effective in my role as a City Councillor

Conduct a performance review

• Collate data from 2004 review

Build stronger professional relationships

• Develop a contacts database
• Answer all communications within 2 days
• Show up on time

III. Communicate with clarity to infect people with optimism

• Rebuild website

Study and practice NVC

• Speak in positives

IV. Learn lots

Read no less than 5 books

• Choice Theory
• Consensus Decisions
• The New Suburbia
• Emotional Intelligence
• Psychology of Decision-Making

Finish writing papers on urban planning

V. Get fit

• Gain 10 lbs of muscle
• Walk no less than 4000 steps each day
• Do no less than 40 pushups each day
• Eat when I’m hungry

VI. Have more fun

• Learn to dance

VII. Establish greater financial stability and confidence

Start my own business

• Build 6 bird baths

VIII. Create a comfortable and impressive home environment

• Build arches
• Install hallway floor
• Install kitchen shelving
• Finish tiling kitchen
• File all paper piles
• Purchase dining room table and chairs

engaging community

December 27, 2006

It should be easy for people to learn about and share ideas about their community in their day-to-day life. It seems that people find out about city services by reading the newspaper, visiting City Hall or the website. The problem with these is that the newspaper often doesn’t follow-up on issues or provide a full account of the facts, people often aren’t motivated to visit City Hall until/unless they are frustrated, and websites don’t offer the kind of fluid conversation that sometimes helps things make sense. So I’m hoping we will find better ways to talk to each other. These are a few of my ideas:

• expand the Leisure Guide to become a City Guide city newspaper or magazine;

• install community bulletin boards so that people can read City notices and post notices in public places;

• open-agenda town hall meetings for people to ask questions and learn about things they want to know more about;

• televised department reports to give City managers a chance to talk about things that are working well or show progress on past issues;

• televised question and answer periods would allow people watching at home to hear the answers to question period inquiries, which are currently normally provided in writing;

• stronger communication links with local community and government agencies so the City can ensure its services are well-coordinated or cross-promoted.

smouldering cause

October 12, 2006

It looks like I probably won’t get where I wanted on tobacco control in White Rock. But it is looking more likely that we will be making some incremental progress… so that’s a good thing.

Yesterday, the Social Committee recommended to City Council that smoking be not permitted at the entrances to public facilities and on patios of bars and restaurants. I was hoping to have parks also be smoke-free, and wanted to have tobacco products hidden from view of minors in corner stores and pharmacies. But one member of the committee noted that society needs time to adapt and making incremental change is progress – better than where we are now. They were concerned about going further than the community is ready for and then having problems with compliance.

They stated that it is the committee’s vision that White Rock become a smoke-free city and that their recommendation should be seen as another step towards that goal. Hopefully council will share that goal and that intention.

steps to being smoke-free by 2010

October 7, 2006

These are the steps I think the City should take to becoming a smoke-free city.

2006 • patios declared smoke-free, signage at city entrances and key locations stating that White Rock will be a smoke-free city by 2010

2007 • smoking areas designated

2008 • all public places declared smoke-free – no smoking permitted anywhere in the city except in designated smoking areas

2009 • enforcement begins – up to this point the smoke-free spaces and designated smoking areas will have been recommendations

2010 • tobacco products required to be hidden from minors