Friday, April 22, 2011

Dreaming of Spring Gardening

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival

This post is part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!

Note from Erin: this post was written a couple of weeks ago for inclusion in the blog carnival. Things are looking a little different in the back yard right now. Watch for an update post coming soon!!

Well, so this is what my backyard looks like right now. (As you can see, the Spring Indicator is still standing. And yes I DID manage to catch a chickadee on the bird feeder with my Blackberry camera, go me!!) Anyway. Snow. SNOW!! I've had enough of it.

Over the last few years, I've been making some conscious efforts to "eat local". Food transportation costs have always bothered me. Why should I eat an apple from another continent when we're so close to one of the biggest fruit-growing regions in Canada? And I've promised myself that as the growing season gets rolling here in Southwestern Ontario, I am going to make more of an effort this year to bypass the grocery store produce section and buy directly from the farmers...we have so many great farmer's markets around here. But what could be more local than my own back yard??

Those lovely raised beds back there are all filled up, just waiting for warmer weather to come. I'm so excited about gardening this year! Last year, I planted seeds and seedlings then went away for seven weeks, and came home to a ridiculous jungle. Hopefully this year I'll be able to maintain it a bit better as it goes along.

Last year, we were signed up with the Fertile Ground CSA, which was completely and utterly awesome. But we're not doing it again this year, the hope being that with TWO raised beds, we can produce enough veggies on our own to keep us going without the CSA share. I'm planning to grow tomatoes (heritage varieties, of course, obtained from the Little City Farm seedling sale), various greens (lettuce, spinach, tatsoi mustard, rapini), green beans, zucchini, leeks, green onions and "lemon" cucumbers. Maybe carrots, if I have enough room. And possibly some other things that I'm forgetting at the moment. I'm also planning to dig up the sod next to the garage on the left there, and make that the new spot for the herb bed...they didn't do so well last year hidden away behind the hop trellis. Oh yeah, we're growing hops again, too. That's what the pole on the right is for. Local hops for the home-brewed beer, yeah! And I'm really, really hoping that the asparagus I planted last year delivers a few spears this spring.

I've also been learning how to do some basic cheese-making at home. I've been enjoying some amazingly delicious homemade cottage cheese lately, and hope to perfect the mozzarella-making technique. My eventual goal is to make a completely homemade pizza...just need to get some local flour for the dough, and make a simple margherita, with tomatoes and basil from the garden and homemade mozza. It's going to be so awesome. And you can't have any. Well, maybe if you ask real nice...

Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt JunctionVisit Monkey Butt Junction and Child of the Nature Isle to read all about the Earth Day Blog Carnival.
Going Green in 2011 - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the way she and her family are going “greener” in 2011.

Our Greatest Teacher - Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares her experiences with her children and nature, their greatest teacher.

Dreaming of Spring Gardening - Erin of the Waterloons talks about the ultimate in local food, her backyard garden.

Earth Conscious Minimalism - Nada at miniMOMist thinks minimalism can help you save the world — as long as you don’t just toss everything in the trash! Check out Her list of places to donate (bet you haven’t thought of them all!).

Blessings to the Earth - Amy at Anktangle believes that a simple act, such as being intentionally grateful for our food, is just the catalyst we need to bring about large-scale change.

Eight Movies to Inspire Change - Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her top 8 movies that have inspired her to take action to make the world a better place. She’d love to hear your suggestions to add to her viewing list!

Can I Have a Green Period Too? Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the environmental impact of switching to sustainable menstrual products, along with offering a great Mama Cloth giveaway for anyone interested in making the switch (and for those who already have and want to increase their stash!).

An Eden to Call Our Own - Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how learning to care for the Earth starts in her own garden.

Elimination Communication - Melissa at the New Mommy Files discusses the environmental impact of diapering, and why elimination communication was the best choice for her family.

The Living Earth: A Meditation in Science and Reverence - Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante asks you to pause to wonder at the blessing of the fact that our living planet is here at all.

Earth Day Anthem - Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro created a poem in honor of Mother Earth, women and nurturers everywhere.

The Plasticity of Compromise - Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how she is working to compromise on healthy family living and avoiding plastics whenever possible.

Earth Day Resolutions - Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares why she has decided to make Earth Day resolutions, what those resolutions are, and how they are a step up from her current efforts at green living.

Is it time for you to say “Enough!”? Mrs Green at My Zero Waste asks you to rise up and say ‘Enough!’ on Earth Day.

Homeschooling with the Earth - Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares her desires and dreams for Earth-based learning and the ways her two young children have already started a natural curriculum.

Beyond the Green Sheen - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction offers some advice on how to avoid greenwashing and make purchasing choices that really have a positive impact.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lexington/Columbia study notice

Something a little different: it's theoretically cycling season, and would be except for the unusual cold outside and the nasty one in my lungs. And with cycling comes the reminder that if you're a cyclist in the City of Waterloo and you need to cross the expressway, your life is nasty, brutish, and potentially short.

So with great interest I learned today that a study is commencing on Columbia Drive/Lexington Road between King St. and Davenport. On the surface, this is great news! This is a vital cycling link across the expressway, and the only one right now that is even close to cycling-friendly (and not much, at that.)

But it's worded in an interesting way-- "City and Regional traffic growth forecasts show the need and justification for operational and capacity improvements to the Columbia Street / Lexington Road corridor." The good folks over at WonderfulWaterloo tell me that this is code for "widening", which is troubling.

What makes a widened Lexington Road troubling from a cyclist's perspective is the overpass on the expressway. Unless the bridge gets widened too, then cycling lanes-- at least continuous cycling lines-- are toast! And the expense of widening the overpass seems... unlikely to get through.

On the other hand, the newly completed Transportation Master Plan makes a lot of references to Lexington being both a key piece of the cycling network, and a recommended recipient of "Road Diet" treatment like Davenport has got. And I believe that Lexington's current car load could be handled as well by two lanes plus turn lanes, as it is by four lanes without. The question is, does Waterloo want it to handle more traffic?

Waterloo desperately needs to connect its sparse, but growing, cycling routes together. If you are a cyclist trying to get across the expressway in Waterloo, Lexington should be of critical importance to you. It could connect the nice bike routes in Eastbridge to the rest of the city.

If this matters to you, let the planners know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why LRT? Part 2 - Why Rapid Transit at all?

(Part 1)

This is the second of a multi-part overview on LRT in Waterloo. Like any complex topic, it takes some time to get through, so I'll spread it across multiple posts and link them together. I hope you'll bear with me, and if you have questions, comments or criticisms, please comment below.

There's not much point in discussing LRT without discussing Rapid Transit first. What is Rapid Transit and why is it being considered over conventional route expansion in Waterloo?

Most dictionary definitions of Rapid Transit sound something like "a form of high-speed urban passenger transportation such as a subway or elevated railroad system". The key aspects of a rapid transit system are that they provide frequent, reliable service on a dedicated right of way. Other important aspects are that they provide a convenience and comfort level to attract more riders than conventional bus.

Why Rapid Transit?

Rapid Transit is seen as a way to meet the goals I discussed in the previous post. Properly implemented, an RT system will both drive development around it (attracting more of our growth into the core and reducing sprawl pressure), and improve transit ridership.

Currently RT will only serve the central corridor, but it will connect the densest parts of our region and, in coordination with improved express bus routes and a realigned bus network, provide a more attractive and more useful transit network to a larger proportion of our population.

Why a Dedicated Right of Way?

The most visible impact of Rapid Transit is the dedicated right of way: both LRT and BRT proposals specify it.

The need for the Right of Way is simple: Rapid Transit isn't rapid if it has to compete with regular traffic. The current iXpress is not "Rapid Transit" because of this aspect: its schedule is affected by traffic on its route.

One of the major factors for why iXpress is not regarded as a long term solution is its mixed-traffic status. As our population increases and traffic congestion worsens, so too does iXpress's end to end time. While iXpress, LRT and BRT all project similar end-to-end trip times (around 1 hour 15 minutes), iXpress is expected to worsen to around 2 hours from Ainslie to Conestoga.

Providing a new Rapid Transit system with its own right of way is a large part of the system's expense, but also its saving grace. RT becomes independent of traffic levels. In combination with its own Right of Way, both LRT and BRT would come with signal priority to minimize time at traffic intersections. (Although, how effective this is for BRT becomes an issue-- I will discuss this later.)

It's not all end-to-end trip time, either. Another important factor is reliability. With its own ROW, RT can adhere to its schedule better. Reliability and frequency is a major issue for transit users, and buses in mixed traffic tend to interfere with each other and "bunch up" around stops and traffic lights, throwing schedules into havoc. While iXpress attempts to pass regular route buses when it can, it is still affected by the large number of buses currently servicing the Central Corridor.

Why convert a lane of car traffic into a Transitway?

A contentious issue about the RT proposals in Waterloo is that for much of the route, a dedicated railway or laneway will cost a lane's worth of traffic, as well as constrict several intersections. If the number of drivers are increasing, this seems like a good way to further congest traffic!

And while it does affect traffic capacity along its road-based corridor, the deciding factor is how that lane serves the most people. According to Wikipedia:

  • "Traffic jam" levels of road traffic are at 2000 vehicles per hour per lane (at 1.2 occupants per car, this means ~2400 people per hour per lane)
  • Buses on dedicated lanes (BRT) have a capacity of 7000 passengers per hour per lane (almost 3x)
  • Multi-car LRTs have a theoretical capacity of 20000 passengers per hour per lane. More practically, a system like Waterloo envisions (with a 450 passenger vehicle capacity) would have a capacity around 12000 passengers per hour per lane (5 times!)
In other words, the two lanes of car traffic capacity we spend buy us the equivalent of ten lanes (or 2.5 King St's) worth of transit capacity. And the more who take transit, the more the remaining drivers benefit.

So, to summarize, Rapid Transit:
  • attracts greater ridership and intensification than conventional transit,
  • uses a dedicated laneway that trades a small amount of car capacity for a much larger transit capacity,
  • is capable of more frequent, fast and reliable service than conventional transit along its corridor.

Why I Support LRT

Normally I let Chris do the transit-talking around here, but I have a little story of my own to tell.

I started my post-secondary education at the University of Waterloo in September of 1995. For various reasons, I lived at home for my first two years of school. Home was Cambridge. Unfortunately, I had neither a driver's license nor a car to drive. Sometimes my dad would drive me to school, sometimes I could catch a ride with a friend. But more often than not, I had to get to UW via public transit.

At the time, the entity known as Grand River Transit didn't exist. In order to get from my home in Cambridge to the University, I had to deal with three different transit systems (Cambridge Transit, Trentway-Wagar, and Kitchener Transit). On days where I had an 8:30 class (which was usually three days a week at least) I had to get up at 5:30am, and I would still arrive on campus 15 minutes late for class...and that's if I was lucky enough to make all my connections. It was physically impossible to get to campus on time for an 8:30 class. I missed lots of classes entirely because the bus transfers didn't work out. And then I still had to do the whole process in reverse at the end of the day. If I had a night class until 10pm? Forget it, I had to leave early in order to not miss the last Trentway bus of the night.

Needless to say, this lifestyle took a huge toll on my sanity, my sleep schedule and my marks. When Grand River Transit was created, I cheered long and loud, even though I was no longer a regular transit rider by that time. When the iXpress service was created, I cheered even louder. If only that had been in place during my early student days!! So now that we are facing the decision time for the next "big stage" of transit improvements, I think back to that time of my life, living with a fractured transit system that didn't work. Many people say that our existing transit system, with all the improvements added since the mid-90's, doesn't work. So let's make a transit system that works!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cultured Council

I experienced something interesting yesterday evening! I attended my first-ever city council meeting. (I only stayed for part of it,'s a start.)

Why was I there? Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran wished to recognize members of the Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre for their award-winning production of the Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. Check out the video:

(Yes, that's me in there. Thanks to Chris for filming the second half of that video so I could go up with the rest of them.) Anyway. Immediately following our presentation was a report from the Creative Enterprise Initiative CEO Heather Sinclair. She's been on the job for a mere two and a half weeks, but it sounds like she's been busy! (Be sure to check out the website to see what this organization is all about.) She said one thing last night that really rang true for me: one comment she has heard most from Waterloo Region residents is that there is "no culture" in this area. But she and I agree that is not the case. This area DOES have a vibrant and rich arts thing we need to do is find a way to communicate all the exciting things to the potential audience members.

As someone who spends countless hours trying to contribute to the "culture" of this Region (both as an individual artist, a member of a community theatre organization AND a member of a band) it really pains me to hear people say there's nothing cultural going on around here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's letter time again

With a transit proposal that costs a lot of money on the table, there are a lot of people who resent the idea of paying more taxes for something that doesn't benefit them directly and immediately.

Arguments about all the other things the Region spends money on that "don't benefit them directly" either, of course, seem to fall on deaf ears. And the last thing that appeals to a car-dependent city, of course, is public transit. Because who uses transit? Everyone drives. So don't spend money on transit!

We're facing down a decision on what will be the backbone of transit in Waterloo Region. It could, quite literally, define our community over the next fifty years. And its goals for the next twenty years are surprisingly modest-- move 15% of peak time travel out of cars and into trains and buses.

But the benefit of that move is anything but modest. It will absorb the worst impact of our growth, and will channel more of that growth into downtown areas that can sustain it.

I fear something ugly may happen. The LRT/aBRT proposal is too easy to oppose for superficial reasons. There is no sentiment among the community to look to the future. And some councilors are making noises that they will simply react to their email inboxes, where people who read the latest opinion piece from Taylor or Outhit send their knee-jerk reactions. (Because if that's all they read, then they're probably thinking LRT is going to repossess their homes and molest their pets.)

Of course, it's our councilors' jobs to be informed and do what they think is best for the Region. If we didn't have a Council, and simply relied on public sentiment, nothing would get done until it was far, far too late.

So... it's 'Loonie Letter Time again. Time to remind the councilors themselves of the duty of care they must take.

I am writing to let you know that I completely support the current LRT proposal. No plan is perfect, but this one strikes the right compromise between our needs and our resources.

But I am urging you to base your decision on LRT on what you believe is best for the long term future of the Region of Waterloo. I am not asking you to blindly support it or oppose it. What I want you to consider is:
  • Public support at the consultation sessions has been very strong. Those who have taken the time to be informed generally support LRT.
  • The Region staff have compiled convincing arguments for LRT. Peer review has validated their case.
  • Growth is coming. We can shape it, and be ready for it. But we ignore it at our peril.
Of course, it is clear that a lot of people resent the disruption and costs of LRT. But it is also clear that many (if not most) of these people have not taken the time to understand it. It's easy to simply react to the price tag. But as an elected representative, it's your job to understand the issues and make a sound decision based on our present and future needs. However you vote, so long as you can justify that decision, no one can really complain.

However, if you ignore the pros and cons, and base your decision on current public sentiment, then I'll be blunt: What's the point of having councilors at all?

Thank you, and good luck in the days ahead.

It's the best I can do. But maybe you should do the same. Please write your regional councilors and tell them how you feel. I believe some of them want to do the right thing, but fear for their jobs in the backlash.

Region Council emails are here. Happy activism!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Art, Craft and Creativity

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I'm an artist. (I'm slowly getting used to saying that, to defining myself as an artist instead of as a scientist, but that's a topic for another post.) Ever since I started doing my stained glass work, I've always thought of it as an "art" rather than a "craft". But how do you tell one from the other? What makes a person an "artist" and not a "crafter"??

Each piece I make is unique. Most of the work I do is abstract, and my designs are completely my own. I also try really hard to make every piece me. I would proudly hang any and all of my creations in my own home, and enjoy looking at them. I've always said that my stained glass is different, I don't do the usual stock-pattern "angels and butterflies" that you see at oh so many craft shows. I guess all of these things help me to feel justified in calling my work "art".

But I feel like I'm trapped in the craft world. In an effort to try to sell pieces, I sign up for shows. I've tried to avoid the hardcore "craft shows" and tried to get into events with more of an art focus, but the result is still the same: I find myself spending hours and hours in the studio, churning out lots of small-to-medium suncatchers (each one unique!!) in order to have enough stuff to sell at these shows. For instance, this past week has been spent almost exclusively making lots of recycled bottle glassware to have on hand at tomorrow's Bloomin' Earth eco-fair event. I also stress over my Etsy shop, which I try to keep stocked with my stained glass molecule designs, so I find myself cranking out lots of those as well. (I'm proud of my stained glass molecules, and I've been slowly gaining attention on Etsy with them over the last couple of's so nice to have a unique little niche in that particular community. But sometimes I feel like a factory, constantly cracking out little glass hexagons!)

In the meantime, my head is swirling with new ideas, new things I want to try out to take my art to the next level. I want to make large stained glass panels. (I do make large panels currently, but only on a custom basis. I think the chances of selling a non-custom panel are so slim that I am hesitant to put in the time and effort required to make one, when I could be using that time to make smaller pieces that WILL sell.) I'm super-excited for the glass fusing course I'll be taking this summer, and I will want to incorporate the things I learn there into my art. I want to experiment with some mixed-media and three-dimensional stuff, and do more etching/sandblasting.

But I just don't feel like I have the time to simply stop and be creative. I'm too busy trying to get ready for the next show, and the next show, and then the one after that. But if I stop doing these shows, my already-meager income stream will also stop. (The other day I received an invitation to apply to be a vendor at the Fergus Scottish Festival in August. I got really excited, then asked myself: do I really want to spend the entire summer making celtic knot after celtic knot to prepare for it?? I still haven't answered that question.)

I'm going to have to find some balance somewhere. In a perfect world an artist wouldn't have to make the choice between "being creative" and "making money" but I guess that's what I'm facing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why LRT? Part 1 - Goals

This is the first of a multi-part overview on LRT in Waterloo. Like any complex topic, it takes some time to get through, so I'll spread it across multiple posts and link them together. I hope you'll bear with me, and if you have questions, comments or criticisms, please comment below.

So, one of the things I've been meaning to do here is to go into detail about the Region's transit plans, and in particular about the Rapid Transit proposal. It's obviously a big deal for Waterloo, and it's easy to oppose a major expenditure that looks risky and disruptive if you don't understand the reasoning behind it. Is this a white elephant in the making? Or is this a critical piece of our future growth?

Full Disclosure

I've been behind the Rapid Transit proposal for some time, and in particular have supported LRT as an alternative. There are many reasons for this, but I'll get one out in the forefront at the beginning: I do expect to benefit personally from transit expansion. The combination of Grand River Transit and the decision by both 'Loons to live in a central, walkable location has enabled me to be only part-time reliant on one car. I see transit improvements as a way to minimize my own car use, especially for commuting where a car just sits uselessly in the parking lot.

On top of that, being within walking distance of a proposed RT stop, I could expect to see my land value increase. Of course, that's only if one of the central arguments for Light Rail-- that it drives intensification-- holds true. And it also means I should expect my taxes to go up disproportionately in the future.

So, that's where I'm coming from.

What are we trying to accomplish, anyway?

Where to begin? How about with what we are trying to accomplish in the first place.

The Region of Waterloo expects to see 729,000 residents by the year 2031. This forecast, made in 2006, is so far right on track as we clocked in at around 545,000 at the end of 2010. The difference the next twenty years will make will be like adding another City of Kitchener inside the Region's boundaries.

Unless this growth is planned, accommodating these new residents will cause all three cities to sprawl out past their countryside borders, something the Province of Ontario doesn't want us to do. Places to Grow is a 25-year plan to handle this new growth while reducing sprawl. This means intensification: adding density to our neighbourhoods and places of work. In other words, grow upwards, not outwards.

But there's more to it than just zoning for higher density. More people living here means more people trying to get around. And with our current car-centric transportation model, that means a lot more cars on our roads.

Costs for road expansion in the next twenty years have been estimated at $1.5 billion-- not to mention the disruption and destruction caused by road widening within the city. But we can avoid some of the financial cost and the worst of the environmental effect, if we change how people get around.

If we move some trips from car to transit, the number of cars will still increase, but by a much smaller margin.

Goal 1: Reduce car usage

One of the Region's main goals with Rapid Transit is to reduce congestion. No-one is expecting us to transform into a transit-centric city overnight. The goal is simply to reduce car use rates by providing alternatives: over twenty years, the Regional Transit Master Plan wants to move transit from a 4% share of total trips to around 15%. In combination with other initiatives, the overall auto driver/passenger share would move from 85% to 70%.

It's the difference between being simply car-centric, and virtually car-dependent. But even if things go to plan, most of us will still get around primarily by car. Many of us will have other options, and all of us will benefit from a better transportation network.

We will also save about $500 million in road expenditure savings, not to mention avoiding the road expansion that money would have bought us. (Side note: another local blogger asked the Region what those additional road expansions would be, and got some answers. Take a read, he paints a grim picture.)

Goal 2: Shape our growth

Another main goal of the Region is to drive intensification into our core areas, instead of letting it happen haphazardly in low-density areas. The more we grow upwards in the core, the less we overload suburban road networks. And if these core areas are well served by transit, people living and working here will have less overall need to get around by car.

One of the main tools the Region has for shaping growth is transit. But in this area there is a difference in the mode of transit chosen. In particular, Light Rail has demonstrated in many cities to drive intensification around its stations. Even in its current stage, LRT is already driving growth around the planned station sites. Most material I've found points to LRT having a large advantage over BRT as a growth catalyst. (Including this article, which is a pretty even-handed LRT/BRT comparison.)

So, by investing in transit, the Region aims to direct growth to areas that can be better served by transit, and in doing so reduce the impact of that growth on our road network.

That's all for Part 1. In Part 2, I'll go into more detail on why LRT over BRT.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken about urban chickens

I love the idea of urban hens. There is nothing I would like better than to have a small flock of hens merrily existing in my back yard. It's just another brick in the wall of my plan to turn my back yard into a little urban farm! (This plan still exists mostly in my head, and is being implemented extremely slowly, over the course of years. But it is a plan nonetheless!)

But it seems the City of Waterloo has struck another blow against urban chickens. For the past two years, the City has been running a "pilot project" of sorts, where certain registered households are permitted to keep hens under close scrutiny. After the two years was up (and after lots of study, public consultation, report-writing and bylaw-drafting) at a recent Council meeting the matter was voted on, and came down to a tie. It means the grandfathered hens are still safe, but the motion was defeated  What's going to happen going forward?? I am a resident of Kitchener (though we are oh-so-close to Waterloo, with the property line of our back yard falling right on the city boundary) and while we in K-Town are expressly prohibited from keeping hens by the letter of the law, I had hoped that if Waterloo went ahead with allowing urban chickens, Kitchener City Council would be inspired to follow suit.

There is a blog post HERE that talks about some of the reasons why the motion might have been defeated, and touches on the possibility of an underlying fear that city-dwellers might have against the erosion of the boundaries between urban and rural existence. It's quite interesting.

Of course, bylaws are only enforced when there are complaints, and there are many households in the city of Kitchener with hens! But I'm just not brave enough to do it...I'm terrified of the idea of having to "get rid" of the birds once I have them and my neighbours complain. So, I continue to watch the issue, and fantasize about moving to the darn country where I can do these things....

Anyway. What really gets me about the whole issue is sort of the same thing as with the local transit debate. There's a very vocal contingent of naysayers who seem to think they can tell me what I can and can't do in my own backyard because it'll somehow diminish the enjoyment of THEIR backyards. In the meantime, I have to waste time combing through my garden to pick out the nasty cat turds from other peoples' cats before I can plant my vegetable seeds. (Seriously, if I wanted to clean litterboxes I would get pet cats of my own.) I have to listen to my neighbourhood barking dogs, and loud music. There are bylaws against all these things, of course, but if I call for enforcement then I'm a bad neighbour.

Urban living has its benefits but sometimes I think I'm just not cut out to co-exist with other people.

"Preliminary Preferred Rapid Transit Implementation Option"

Say that three times fast.

It's happening right now: staff are presenting the Preliminary Preferred Rapid Transit Implementation Option report to the Region's Planning and Works committee. But you can read it directly by clicking the link.

What does it say? In short, that the feedback from the public consultations not only overwhelmingly supports Rapid Transit, but also very strongly supports some form of LRT. And based on the public feedback, as well as all of the supporting data put together in the past few years, staff still recommends LRT.

If you're like me, then this simply reflects how the facts and our needs won't change no matter how many times we go back to the table. If you're dead set against transit or LRT, then obviously this is a (ahem) railroading by the Region to get its shiny toy no matter how wrong you say they are.

Unfortunately in a bid to control cost, staff are also recommending delaying some of the Regional Transit Master Plan implementation. I understand compromise, but LRT as a backbone without the express bus skeleton to go around it? Seems foolish.

Anyway, go read.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bloomin' Earth Eco-Fair THIS SATURDAY

Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up, the Bloomin' Earth Eco-Fair is happening THIS SATURDAY April 16th from 9am - 3pm at Kitchener City Hall! Come check out this amazing event. I will be there with my recycled bottle glassware - beautiful and functional earth-friendly art! (Also some stained glass!)