Friday, May 12, 2017

HUB Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows meeting dates 2017/2018


Our meetings are on the second Thursday of the month, with the exception of the November meeting, which is on the third Thursday.

Location: Maple Ridge Library, Alouette Room (upstairs).

Here's a list of the meeting dates from September 2017 until August 2018:

September 14
October 12
November 16
December: no regular meeting
January 11
February 8
March 8
April 12
May 10
June 14
July 12
August 9

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Art Studio Bike Tour 2017, May 13 and 14 (Mother's Day weekend)

Updated May 11: It was our intention just to provide maps for this tour, but several people have asked us to do a guided tour as well. So we've decided to do a guided tour of route #2 (Maple Ridge) on Sunday, May 14, 10:00 am, starting at Studio #19 (Diane Speirs, 23386 124 Ave.). Please e-mail Jackie (jchow23708@yhoo.ca) by Friday May 12 if you would like to join us! Maximum participants per group is seven.

For this year's Art Studio Bike Tour, we've decided, instead of guiding a tour, just to provide maps of the two routes we've put together for those who like to explore the local arts scene in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows by bike. This way people can go at their own pace, with their own group of family or friends, or just by themselves.

E-mail Jackie at jchow23708@yahoo.ca for pdf files of the routes that you can print out yourself.

Here is the link to the Art Studio Tour, where you can find more information about the event.

Below are the suggested bike routes, with a list of artists along the route:

Route #1 (Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge)

Distance: 11 km. Flat route.
Suggested direction: counter-clockwise.



List of artists for route #1:

#2 - Gone Hooking Group and Whonnock Weavers and Spinners Guild
12479 Harris Road, Pitt Meadows

#3 - United at Ten Artists
Pitt Meadows Library, 12099 Harris Road, Pitt Meadows

#4 - Brad Dinwoodie
11673 192A Street, Pitt Meadows

#5 - Rob Egan
11741 195B Street, Pitt Meadows

#7 - Uma Sharda
#105-20285 Stewart Crescent, Maple Ridge

#8 - Dorothy Johnson
20437 Dale Drive, Maple Ridge


Route #2 (Maple Ridge)

Distance: 7 km. Flat route.

Suggested start/end point: you can start at any of the studios along the route,  and bike in the direction of your choice.

If you’re driving to the route, we suggest you park your car on the street at any of the studios along the route. 



Art studios for route #2:

#11 - Darrell Swanson
12865 224 St., Maple Ridge

#12 - Jane Mackay
22416 129 Ave., Maple Ridge

#20 - Karen van der Pauw
12895 234B St., Maple Ridge

#19 - Diane Speirs, Alouette Mountain Studio
23386 124 Ave., Maple Ridge

#18* - Rebecca Fisher
11980 Glenhurst Street, Maple Ridge

* When visiting studio #18, cross Dewdney Trunk Road at the crosswalk at 234 Street, and bike along Dewdney on the south sidewalk to get to Glenhurst Street.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cycling on the sidewalk once again hot topic in Maple Ridge

I appreciate being being given the opportunity to write columns about cycling for the Maple Ridge News, but I wish my columns didn't have to be edited. I usually prefer my original version. Problem is, they're usually too long.

Below is the original version of my latest column in The News "Make sidewalks, streets safe":

Maple Ridge's new Active Transportation Advisory Committee is looking for a solution to the cycling-on-the-sidewalk problem in our downtown, a frequently recurring topic of discussion among council members for years already. At its March meeting, Ineke Boekhorst of the BIA, Don Mitchell of the Seniors Society, as well as a a lady who owns a business on 224th Street, all told the committee that elderly people are often afraid to walk on the sidewalks, as inconsiderate and rude people on bikes could easily knock them off their feet, with serious consequences.

Evidence is anecdotal in nature as there has been an absence of hard data, but nevertheless I agree it's a problem that needs to be addressed. 
The fear alone of being hit by a person on a bike will keep seniors from going out for a walk to exercise or do some errands. They should feel safe to do so.

The problem is by no means unique to Maple Ridge, even though our city distinguishes itself from everywhere else in B.C. by having a by-law that allows cycling on sidewalks anywhere in town. New Westminster allows cycling on certain sidewalks only. 

Our by-law dates from 2009. When an open house was held at the time to gather input from residents about the proposed new by-law, Brock MacDonald, the then Director of By-laws, told me that the reason for the change to allow cycling on the sidewalk was that the By-laws department was getting too many complaints from people in residential neighbourhoods who wanted them to issue fines to their neighbours for allowing their kids to ride their bikes on the sidewalks. They were tired of having to deal with these complaints. I agree. Kids should be able to ride their bikes on the sidewalks if the roads are too dangerous due to speeding cars. 

In the downtown, it's rarely kids biking on the sidewalk. You'll see basically two different varieties of adults on bikes. The "bike bandit" types mostly wear hoodies or baseball caps, and they're commonly suspected of riding stolen bicycles. Again, anecdotally, anyone who crosses their path when they're zigzagging at high speeds around obstacles on our sidewalks, risks losing life and limbs. They don't give a hoot about by-laws.

And then we have the so-called "legitimate" people on bikes, of which I consider myself one.  As far as I've seen they're mostly very considerate. They slow down for pedestrians and politely use their bells, which people walking would be able to hear if only they didn't plug their ears with headsets to listen to loud music. These "legitimates" mostly wear helmets too. Somehow some people feel that if a person on a bike does not wear a helmet, he or she is automatically considered guilty as charged, whatever the charge. 

So why are people on bikes on the sidewalk in the first place?
The answer is plain and simple: they fear for their lives, having to share the road with speeding cars and inconsiderate and rude drivers! 

If people can't safely ride on the road, either they'll ride on the sidewalk - by-law or no by-law - or they won't ride at all. You can't argue with fear. I'd personally rather get a fine than be killed.

Bicycles are obviously not welcome on Lougheed and Dewdney. 
There are some designated east-west bike routes. All have been designed to accommodate car traffic, but discourage through traffic, with stop signs at every intersection. Perhaps not surprisingly, stop signs discourage cycle traffic even more, as frequent stop-and-go's waste a lot of precious energy and are time consuming. Helpful drivers who stop and wave people on bikes through actually unintentionally make crossing intersections more hazardous for cyclists as driver behaviour becomes less predictable.

The purpose of these designated bike routes is mostly to keep cyclists out of the way of cars on the arterials so they don't have to slow down. 

But wait, we want them to slow down!

That's the other problem that the Active Transportation Committee wants to find a solution to: speeding throughout the town core. It's one that's not easily solved. 30 km/h signs are not going to do it, as drivers will continue to drive at the speed that feels safe to them, even if it doesn't feel safe to others.

Maple Ridge Director of Engineering David Pollock says "road design is key". But the 'improved' design hasn't worked so well on Lougheed so far. Speed is pretty hard to control on an arterial if you have two lanes in each direction.  

The question that needs to be answered is: what do we want our downtown to be: a people-place - with streets that are inviting to young and old, with outdoor terraces, where people like to hang out - or a traffic sewer system? Right now, Dewdney and Lougheed are traffic sewers, the purpose of which is to accommodate the fast and efficient movement of cars on our streets.  

Fact is, people on bikes don't feel safe on some of our roadways and pedestrians don't feel safe on our sidewalks. You wouldn't want to sit down on a sidewalk bench along Lougheed Highway unless you need to. You can barely have a conversation walking along Dewdney or Lougheed without yelling at the other person. 

The ATAC committee first wants to focus on 224th Street, where speeds are already lower than most. It'll be a good start. Hopefully before long other roads will follow and we'll slowly but surely see our downtown transformed into a more people-friendly place.  Eventually, as the town core further densifies, all streets should be designed to accommodate all road users and make everyone, including people on bikes, feel welcome and safe. 

The cycling-on-the-sidewalk problem cannot be solved without solving the issues of speeding and cyclist safety. After all, you really can't argue with fear.

Monday, September 19, 2016

529 Garage: free bike registry


Have you heard about 529 Garage? It's a free bike registry that can help the RCMP recover your bike in case it gets stolen.

You can register your bike on-line at www.project529.com, or at one of several registration events that Ridge Meadows RCMP will be holding in the next few weeks.

Read more...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Meeting dates 2016/2017

Our committee meetings are held in the Alouette Room (upstairs) in the Maple Ridge library on every second Thursday of the month, 6:45 - 8:45 pm.

Here are the dates for our meetings from Sept. 2016 until August 2017:

2016:
September 8
October 13
November 10
No regular meeting in December

2017:
January 12
February 9
March 9
April 13
May 11
June 8
July 13
August 10

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Art Studio Bike Tour, May 8, 2016


Updated April 28:

On Mother's Day, Sunday May 8, we'll do another tour by bike of art studios in Maple Ridge during the annual Art Studio Tour. The Art Studio Tour is on the whole weekend. For details, see the Art Studio Tour website.

It's a lot of fun doing a tour by bike, as it adds an element of adventure, and it's cool doing it with a group of like-minded people, but if you wish you can do it on your own as well. We can send you a map on request and you can print it out yourself.

We're offering a flat route, quite similar to the one we did last year, and a hillier route, with studios that we haven't visited before. The hillier route is a great option for those who wish to get some additional health benefits from pedaling up some hills. I hope to do the hilly one myself this year. Who wants to join me??

We will be riding in groups of  9 people or less.

We need to be prepared volunteer-wise, as each group needs at least one, but preferably two volunteers to guide the group. That's why we ask people to register ahead of time, so we know how many volunteers we're going to need. We may have to cap the number of participants if we can't get enough volunteers. We can possibly also hand out maps at the start of the ride, so those who wish to do so, can do the tour on their own.

Start time for each route is 10 am. Please arrive 10 minutes early to sign a waiver.

We'll probably finish some time between 3 and 4 pm, so bring enough water and some lunch. Several studios will be offering snacks and drinks.

The flat route will start from the Bandstand at Memorial Peace Park. The hillier one will start from Starbucks at 240th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road. If you're planning to do either route by yourself, you can of course start anywhere you like along the route. Another good place to start route #2 from would be Kanaka Creek Coffee on 102nd Ave.

Contact Barry (nobell@telus.net) to register. Please specify which ride you would like to do.

If you would like to go at your own pace, please contact Jackie (jchow23708@yahoo.ca) to obtain a map with artist list.

Please note that HUB volunteers do not assume any responsibility for the safety of participants. If you decide to participate with any of our rides, you do so entirely at your own risk. Please obey traffic rules and regulations during the ride.

For these rides, we do not encourage participation of kids under 16 years of age on their own bikes. We're ok with kids in trailers (flat route only!), but again, parents are entirely responsible for the safety of their own children.


You can find the maps below.


Route #1 (flat, about 12 kms):
The artists on route #1:

#11: Kat Wahamaa - Port Haney Artist in Residence - shinyb.ca
11630 - 224 Street, Maple Ridge

#7: Kerry McLaren - Red Dog Studio - kclay.ca
Donnae Bell - donnae.ca
21536 River Road, Maple Ridge

#8: Diane Wooldridge - The Mud Room / Creations By Sisters
21652 121 Ave., Maple Ridge

#9: Kristin Krimmel - kristinkrimmel.com
12343 - 216 St., Maple Ridge

#15: Craig Speirs - facebook: Whispering Wind, Wind Dancers 
Diane Speirs - facebook: Alouette Mountain Studio
23386 - 124 Ave., Maple Ridge

#14: Rebecca Fisher - Maple Ridge Artist in Residence - divasniche.ca
12178-227 Street


And this is route #2, the hilly one (about 16 kms):


List of artists for route #2:

#19:  Alexandra Lanzarotta - LXandraJewellery
11019 - 237 Street, Maple Ridge

#23: Brigitta Schneitter - Brigitta's pottery
Andres Schneiter - Maple Art
Bill Hartley - Brickyard Productions
Mike Stewart - Mike Stewart
24705 - 108 Ave.

#22: Fiona McQuillan - Westcoast Elements
facebook: Metal Mantra Jewelry
24985 - 112 Ave.

#21: Mark Tigges - pottery
11614-246 Street

#20: Elizabeth Hancock - Holly Tree Studio
12122 - 244 Street, Maple Ridge



Monday, November 9, 2015

Meeting dates for 2016

Our meetings are held in the Alouette Room (upstairs) in the Maple Ridge library on every second Thursday of the month, 6:45 - 8:45 pm.

The dates booked so far for 2016 are as follows:

Jan. 14
Feb. 11
Mar. 10
Apr. 14
May 12
June 9
July 14
Aug. 11

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bike to Farms 2015 now open for registration

Finally we have commitment from the three participating farms...farmers are pretty busy people and have other things on their minds this time of year! So happy that they're willing to have us!

So I can tell you that this year's Bike to Farms event will be on Sunday, Sept. 6, and we're ready for registration! Don't wait too long...it's our most popular ride and we have limited space! We do ask registrants to let us know if they can't make it at least several days before the ride. We'll keep a waiting list if necessary so we can still fill up any cancellations.

We've decided to ask for a $5 registration fee this year to cover some of the cost and to be able to give the farmers a thank-you gift for participating.

We will provide participants with a snack and a drink at the end of the ride. Make sure you bring some water and a snack to keep yourself hydrated and energized during the ride. With the stops the ride will take several hours. Our experience is that the farmers really take their time to show us around, and we may arrive back a little later than planned, so it's good to be prepared.




This is the route (same as last year's route):


Participating farms:


The distance will be about 15 kms.

We'll be riding in two groups of max. 25 participants each.

  • Group #1 leaves from Big Feast Restaurant at noon, returns at Big Feast (or at Memorial Peace Park) at about 3:30.
  • Group #2 leaves from Big Feast Restaurant at 1:00 pm, returns at about 4:30.
Here's my blog post with photos of last year's Bike to Farms ride.

Registration and payment can be done in person (cash/credit card) or by phone (credit card) through:
Pitt Meadows Visitor Centre
12492 Harris Road
Pitt Meadows
tel. 604-460-8300
The Pitt Meadows Visitor Centre is now closed for the weekend. Please register with Jackie at jchow23708@yahoo.ca or call (604) 476-9616. 
Payment: cash only at the start of the ride.

(Please specify whether you wish to be in group #1 or #2)

Note that kids under 16 years of age will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Participants are asked to arrive 15 minutes early to sign a waiver.

For more info e-mail Jackie at jchow23708@yahoo.ca. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Latest column: What about closer to home?

My latest column in the Maple Ridge News. Unedited version below:

"The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members" - Ghandi
It's a 'no'. The people have spoken. Loud and clear.
In Maple Ridge, more people (77%) voted against the proposed 0.5% increase in sales tax to pay for transit, road and bike improvements than anywhere else in Metro Vancouver. Would that have anything to do with the fact that we rely more on our cars than anywhere else in Metro Vancouver? It's quite possible. 72% of Pitt residents voted against.
Voter turn-out for the plebiscite in Maple Ridge was 51%, Pitt Meadows 49%. Compare that to the significantly lower 2014 municipal election turn-out of 31% in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Whatever message people felt they needed to give, whether to Translink, to the BC Liberal Government, or to their Mayors, or all of the above, this vote was obviously extremely important to them. There's been an abundance of smug post-victory facebook posts about this great achievement, and many people apparently have been doing happy-dances.
Great. So the no-side won. And now what?
The real problems - worsening congestion, lack of transit options for many and poor cycling infrastructure - are now even farther from being solved, and seem to be on track to make our commuting lives more miserable in years to come. Call me negative. I call it being realistic.
On to the next referendum? Forget that!
Let's also consider this: while many blame Translink for all that's bad in the transit world, how can Translink be blamed for the way Maple Ridge has made many rather unwise land-use decisions in the past that now make it pretty darn difficult for Translink to provide cost- and time-effective transit for all in our area?
Somehow the powers that be should, hopefully, come up with a new funding source, eventually. Despite the no-side's victory, fought for with so much passion and dedication, many won't be so happy in the end, 'cause they're gonna get stuck in traffic, big time.  After all, even though many thought this was just about teaching Translink a lesson or two, we just chose the car as our solution to carmageddon, make no mistake about it.
In the meantime, we cycling advocates will continue to give our feedback when road construction is being planned. Life goes on.
I just want to say this. I am convinced that the only way a city can be successful is by being inclusive. A city should work for all. It should be inclusive of people who take transit, people who walk and people on bikes. It should be inclusive of the young and the elderly, many of whom don't drive. It should also be inclusive of those on a low income, many of whom can't afford a car.
A successful city should even be inclusive of street people, many of whom tend to get around by bike. Do you honestly think that if we just don't build bike lanes and install bike racks for them, they'll eventually just magically evaporate from our streets? Just like they need a place to live, they need to be able to get around safely, cheaply and efficiently, if those who are able to work are ever going to be able to get and hold a job.
Cycling facilities should not be seen as optional, as they often still seem to be today in Maple Ridge.
When a brand new, massive intersection appears such as the one at 112th/Kanaka Way and 240th, or so-called 'road improvements' are implemented at 240th by Albion Elementary, we're told we'll just have to wait for our bike lanes until the entire area is built out, which can be many years from now. Until then, we'll have to be content to be biking with the sharks, or stay on the sidewalks. So much for the pride our city takes in its so-called 'multi-modal' transportation system that supposedly works for all.
Seeing so many people speak up in this plebiscite, with such passion, about whatever it is that they felt was so important to them, makes me wish that those same people would speak up with the same passion when it comes to their vision of the kind of city that they want to live in.
Although, you have to wonder, what is their vision of the ideal city?
Many people just seem to want to get from point A to point B fast, and how their speedy, and often noisy and dangerous travel affects others and our city in general seems of no concern to them.
Through our car addiction, we've created a lot of places that apparently aren't worth caring about. The way a lot of drivers speed through our neighbourhoods attests to that. They drive through them as if they don't care about them and the people that live in them.

In the end, it all depends on what we, the people, want. Here's hoping that the many people that cared so much about Translink's governance problems and wasted tax dollars, will start caring enough about our streets and our neighbourhoods, about our kids and their future, and about our seniors, our poor, and our street people, to start demanding proper funding for transit and bike lanes! Call me naive. I guess I am.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Column: Traffic laws need to catch up

My latest column:

Not only are our roads designed for cars, our traffic laws are written for cars, and bikes are more like a fleeting afterthought.
Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers, but this principle ignores some big differences that are not reflected in traditional road design, nor in the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act.