This is an email response I sent to Anthony Reinhart, who wrote a fantastic article on parking lots in the Innovation District in Kitchener.
I’d love to get your feedback on my ideas and hear what you have to say on the subject.
Thanks so much for writing your “Problem with Parking” article on View From The Loo. I’ve seen you around the hub; I work with Ivan on Will Pwn 4 Food.
It’s an issue that’s dear to my heart, especially since I spent 5 years in walkable, lovely downtown Guelph. After getting the gig with Ivan, I knew that I’d have to move here, so I found a spot to rent across the street from Communitech on Victoria (I’m right across from Oak St., near the green Vidyard home).
I use my car to go a few blocks, just as you said, and I hate it. I would never have done such a thing in Guelph. After living here for 10 months, there are certain things that make being a pedestrian almost impossible.
We need a pedestrian-first mindset in this city. Here’s what I think needs to change to support that:
- 40km/h speed limit in the Innovation District, rather than the 50km/h default, strictly enforced
- All intersections default to crosswalks on. Currently, if you don’t press the crosswalk button on the corner of Victoria and Joseph (Communitech’s location), you are not allowed to walk across the street even when the light turns green (and lasts < 10 seconds I might add)
- Pedestrian crossing light on Joseph for people who park in the stone parking lots behind Communitech. Currently, everyone j-walks and it’s very dangerous, especially in bad weather
- A “scramble” crosswalk at the corner of Charles and Francis, giving us tech workers quick and easy access to food downtown without fear of being run over (I see many people crossing diagonally already)
To help support the discussion on this topic and keep the ball rolling, I’m going to CC this email to my blog. Is there a forum I can link to, as well, in case people have responses?
Thought I’d post a follow-up to my Car As An Office article a couple weeks ago with some pictures.
While I wait patiently for Canada to adopt a comprehensive high-speed rail line and commuter service, the next best thing is a car for working on the go. Though I’m the primary driver these days, there have been times when I’ve been the passenger. I write this now from a very comfortable position next to Exhibition Park in Guelph. I’m doing work on the laptop in the passenger seat (using a 3G USB adapter from Wind mobile).
Rail is my favourite mode of transport because:
- You face people. Seats are positioned in a way that fosters communication, unlike cars, in which everyone faces the same direction and it’s hard (and sometimes impossible) for people sitting less than a metre away in the back seat to hear conversation in the front seat.
- Free Wifi.
- Work while you travel. When you’re driving, you can’t do anything but drive. It’s dead time; a complete waste of human existence. If you travel by rail, you can accomplish work, read, think, relax, read.
- It’s fast. Even current rail service in Canada, specifically between Guelph and Toronto, isn’t that bad in terms of speed. My GPS reported that we reached 140km/h at one point. With some proper funding and planning, that could be the average speed, not the top speed.
- It’s safe. Rail is a very safe method of travel, especially compared to the car.
- You can pee. Every car has a washroom built right in. You don’t have to stop transport to pee.
Still, for times when I need a third place and cafes are closed, I use my car. It’s a 2001 Chrysler 300m. Here are a few things that could have been done better.
- Built-in inverter. My car has two access points to DC electricity: One in the front and one in the centre console. It uses the traditional cigarette lighter type adapter, to which I plug in an inverter which gives me AC electricity for my laptop. (An even better solution would be to buy laptops that include a DC plug as well as an AC plug so I could just plug straight into DC since that’s what laptops use natively).
- Auxiliary input for the car stereo. I won a free car stereo and had the installers provide access to an AUX IN jack so I could plug my laptop audio in but it would be awesome if this came included out of the box. I have all of my mp3s, oggs, and music modules on my laptop.
- DC Access point for the back seat. Currently there is no way to access DC power in the back seat except through the centre console, which, when left open, is uncomfortable for the driver.
- Better fuel economy. While I’d love to have a fully electric car (such as the Ford Focus Electric), I realize that in 2001 the technology wasn’t close to being ready. My car gets an average of 11L/100KM in town and 7L/100KM highway. It would have been nice to have the ability to switch the engine between performance mode and economy mode whilst in the city.