Being aware of auto servicing

I recently replaced my 2010 Nissan Altima sedan with a 2012 BMW station wagon (or "Touring" in BMW-speak) and was surprised to see that the BMW only needs oil changes every 24,000km. 

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Adding Garden Plots in Strathcona Centre Community

Strathcona Rail Garden, located at 105 Street and 86th Avenue, is a very successful community garden that was established in 2009. 46 families currently grow and harvest fresh produce from the garden, and it acts as a benefit to the entire community as a beautiful green space in which all are welcome.

"Informal" Road
The gravel roadway to the west of the garden is actually not supposed to be there. At some point along the way, motorists started using it as a short cut, and then the city put gravel on it (probably at the request of those using it). A picture of the roadway is attached to this message.
The city is now undergoing a process to transform this informal roadway. This presents a major opportunity for gardeners to further beautify and enhance the area by creating additional plots to our community garden.
The garden wait list for plots was capped at 25 families last year. Since we decided to limit the size of the list, we have turned away 25-50 more potential gardening households. Clearly there is a huge, unmet demand for garden space in this area of the city. 
The problem is, in September 2012 the Parks department brought the issue of removing the informal road to council. Two residents who live near the garden presented concerns to council. One resident complained about a lack of parking in the area due to nearby bike lanes, and the other stated that he needed the road in order to pull his trailer (that he uses for business purposes) onto his property.
To address concerns like these, the city initially proposed to have a paved key shaped area allowing for parking and for average sized vehicles to turn around. this area would be north of the two houses located west of the gravel road. Anyway, city council postponed the decision about what to do until more consultation was done (see "public meeting", below).

It is very important that the garden be respectful of its neighbours, and we will continue our efforts to foster good relations with them. However, it is also okay for us to respectfully disagree with them. The garden allocation committee estimates that we could create up to 16 more plots (depending on final design specifications) from the space that the road currently occupies. The creation of the new plots would not only help to alleviate the high demand for gardening space, it would also improve neighbourhood security and ambiance by getting more people outside, and it would create a beautiful space out of a gravel flat-top.

It is the opinion of the garden and the Strathcona Community League that the best use for the space occupied by the road is to convert it back to a garden.
Public Meeting

The Sustainable Development Department is holding a public meeting about the road closure on April 17, 2013. It is very important that supporters of the road closure attend the meeting to have their voices heard. Please consider attending the meeting so that we can create more garden plots for nearby families and make the Strathcona community a more beautiful, livable place.
Date: April 17, 2013
Time: 7pm-9pm
Where: Strathcona Community League Building, 10139 - 87 Avenue

How Many People Bike In Edmonton, And Where?

Your author's children, 7 and 9

How many people cycle in Edmonton, and where do they live? 

In the 2012 Edmonton census, the City asked people about their "main mode of transportation from home to work".  It's a terrible question, really, because it ignores the flexibility inherent in the decision to cycle. What if you only ride to work on sunny days? How about if you only ride to work when you don't have meetings? 

The "main mode of transportation from home to work" question misconstrues the number of actual trips. For example, according to this question, only 22% of people in Amsterdam mainly ride to work (wikipedia). However, other statistics show that around 50% of every trip in Amsterdam is taken by bike.

Anyway, using the data that we do have, what do they say about Edmonton?  Well, they say that only 0.7% of Edmontonians mainly cycle to work, which seems very small (see above complaints). For reference, Portland's number is 6%, San Francisco's is 3%, and Vancouver is at about 2% (source). Aside: Edmonton cycling infrastructure is only getting 0.35% of the capital funding for the current capital budget, so even by this underestimating metric, cyclists are not getting their fair share.

More importantly, though, they tell us that we have hotspots that deserve infrastructure, and cold spots that don't. Here are the neighbourhoods that answered above 2%:

Neighbourhood % of people who "mainly ride from home to work"
Mckernan 5.29%
Strathcona 4.89%
Parkallen 4.32%
Grandview Heights 4.26%
Queen Alexandra 3.81%
Belgravia 3.30%
Riverdale 3.12%
Ritchie 2.95%
Lendrum Place 2.92%
Garneau 2.91%
King Edward Park 2.78%
Virginia Park 2.70%
Windsor Park 2.66%
Landsdowne 2.65%
Allendale 2.48%
Laurier Heights 2.38%
North Glenora 2.35%
Crestwood 2.29%
Westmount 2.26%
Hazeldean 2.25%
Brookside 2.24%
Strathearn 2.20%
Avonmore 2.15%
Malmo Plains 2.09%
Glenora 2.05%

I got this data by importing the 2012 Edmonton census numbers into a spreadsheet, then writing a formula to tease out cyclists as a percentage.  read more... »

Bike Lanes 2013: The Saga Continues

One of Edmonton's best pieces of bike infrastructure, the multi-use trail between 109 and 110 street

Wednesday's (March 13, 2013) Transportation meeting was a success for those who care about cycling in Edmonton. Even though they delayed the lanes on 76 and 121 Avenue, I think we have to take the long view on this one. City council is very conservative, and the bike plan represents a big change (we were way behind the rest of the world in implementing a smoking bylaw, for example, something that now looks totally obvious in hindsight).  read more... »