Fredericton

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Where did the Fredericton Transit wi-fi go?

Posted by on 17 Oct 2011 | Tagged as: fail, Fredericton, transit

Where did the wi-fi go?
There was a lot of hype about it, but then, nothing. There are two reasons:

1. It wasn’t cheap. Costs weren’t made public, but I can’t imagine it would have been cheap to equip every bus with it. As Fredericton Transit doesn’t seem to care that much about passenger amenities/comfort, they just decided not to spend the money.

2. It didn’t really work that well. During the test period, they had a live webcam attached to one of the buses. As that was using the same connection as the wifi, the connection could be tested without having to go on that specific bus. If you watched it for any period of time, you’d see that the camera image wouldn’t update if the bus was travelling more than 60km/h. It also had reception issues on some areas on the north side, including Marysville. They may have been able to fix them, but that could have been expensive.

Sadly, that also means that there won’t be any real-time GPS-based updates. That system came with the wi-fi. For the time being, you’ll have to call the transit info line for real-time updates. (Of course, that line is closed for most of the morning and evening rush).

 

Fredericton to install bike-detecting traffic light sensor

Posted by on 03 Oct 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton, Reviews

As seen here, on the CBC, Fredericton is purchasing a traffic light sensor that can detect bicycles. $15,000 sounds a little steep for something that only bikes will use, doesn’t it? Fear not, as this device, according to the manufacturer, has advantages for drivers of non-bikes as well:

  • It does a better job of detecting motorcycles
  • It can see cars coming from 100ft away and trigger the light change earlier
  • If the light’s about to change, it can hold the green for you if you’re less than 100ft away
  • It tracks the direction of traffic so someone turning left too tightly won’t trigger the lights for the cross-traffic
  • It works in all kinds of weather
  • It sits on the pole so the road won’t have to be dug up when it breaks

$15,000 sounds like a lot, but compared to digging up the road to install an underground metal-detector loop, it’s a bargain.

Fredericton Council still clueless about paratransit

Posted by on 26 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton, transit

Despite spending piles of money on accessible transit buses, Fredericton City Council members can’t seem to see the most obvious solution to deal with the shortcomings in their paratransit system.

They again failed to look at the relatively inexpensive option of designating certain regular transit routes as being accessible. How easily can they do this? For the past eight years, Fredericton Transit has been purchasing low-floor accessible buses. They already have enough to guarantee that some runs will only use those accessible buses. This will easily allow them to move the least impaired people onto the regular system while keeping the para-transit for the riders that need it the most.

Yes, it will take longer to load passengers, but remember that 10 out of 30 minutes of a Fredericton Transit bus’s run time is idling at King’s Place or the Regent Mall, so it won’t greatly affect on-time performance.

At this point, about half of the fleet is already low-floor. They could start with route #16, which goes by the medical clinic and the hospital. At some point (the year 2029), the entire fleet will be accessible, but until then, they can slowly add routes to the accessible list as the older buses are retired.

Tax funded survey keeps Fredericton City Council incumbents in power

Posted by on 15 Sep 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton, opengovernment

Municipal elections for Fredericton will be held in May of 2012. The city recently held an “attitude survey” where they tallied up people’s opinions of what’s right and wrong about City operations. That survey would be very valuable to anyone running for council. Having access to the data would help a candidate form a platform.

So who has access to this data? The 13 elected members of council, and nobody else. How fair is that? They get to see the full thing where the rest of us get to see a press release that’s full of spin.

It makes it difficult for new people to get involved in municipal politics when the people at the top make it hard to get in.


Disclaimer: The author of this blog is not running for council in 2012.

Can we have a compromise on the biking on the sidewalks in Fredericton?

Posted by on 02 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton

I have been seeing a lot of discussions about whether people in Fredericton should be allowed to bike on the sidewalks. The reality of the matter is that there is a perception that biking on the street is unsafe and the city won’t enforce the current bylaws (unless you’re Charles LeBlanc). However, many people are upset at the sheer number of cyclists that just fly by them downtown.

I propose a compromise:

Allow bicycles on sidewalks when the following conditions are met:

  • The cyclist must give right-of-way to pedestrians and cars entering/exiting driveways
  • When coming up on someone, the cyclist must slow down and pass slowly
  • Certain areas (such as downtown) will be walk-your-bike zones and will be signed
  • Cyclists must choose either the road or the sidewalk and not weave on and off the road

The police/park patrol must actively enforce the new rules or else there will continue to be resistance to bicycles on the sidewalk

 

Goodbye TRA building

Posted by on 20 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton, landuse

And throughout the city, not a tear was shed. (The new building will be much nicer)

Review of 746-792 McLeod Ave.

Posted by on 26 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton, landuse

Tired of looking at these tired, old, shabby railway-era industrial buildings?


View Larger Map

Pretty soon you won’t be. If this passes council, and the developer is actually able to build it, it will soon look like this:

But wait, there’s more. Phase 2 will include a row of townhouses which will fill in the rest of the lot:

The apartment building will also have 64 units of underground parking (1 per unit), and four penthouse suites. This is a high-quality development that will add density to the area and will hopefully reduce some of the issues in the nearby “student ghetto”. Hopefully the city will ignore the NIMBYs and allow this to be built.

Review of TRA building replacement proposal

Posted by on 19 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton, landuse

Many people have been tired of looking at the old TRA building on Queen St. which currently looks like this: (that picture was from 2 years ago, it actually looks much worse now)

One group hopes to replace it with this:

TC Land Holdings (who are somehow related to PlazaCorp, the strip-mall developer) have filed an application to build this 32 unit apartment building on that site. Some might say that 32 units is a bit small, but the actual lot isn’t that big:

As you can see, it pretty much fills the entire lot, leaving only enough space for 14 parking spaces. There will be another 26 spaces located on the first floor of the building. Due to flooding concerns, there won’t be a basement.

Hopefully the project won’t get derailed by soil conditions (or the fact that it’s built on an old dump). This will be a great addition to the downtown and will bring in some much-needed residents. Some density advocates would wish for a larger building, but considering the technical issues, I think this is the best anyone could do.

Planning Advisory Council members will be voting on this on Wednesday, April 20th. It will then have to pass council at a later date, probably in May.

Update: Building is under construction. Here is the website that has some leasing information: http://www.westpointebytheriver.ca/ The prices aren’t listed, but the extra “e” on “pointe” implies that it will be expensive.

Fredericton Transit Master plan – How are they making out?

Posted by on 04 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton, transit

Been a while since anything about Fredericton Transit has shown up on this blog. In August 2008, Dillon Consulting released their report with 18 recommendations to be completed in the next five years. We’re halfway through the 5 years, let’s see how they did:

(from page 117 of report)

  1. ADOPT TRANSIT SERVICE STANDARDS – NO
  2. New Route to Two Nations Crossing / Cliffe Street – FAILED
  3. Service Frequency Improvements to maintain a minimum hourly service on all routes during their normal hours of operation – NO
  4. Modification of Route 216 to service Knowledge Park Drive – NO
  5. Increase service on Route 11 with introduction of a UNB U-Pass. – NO
  6. ESTABLISH NORTH SIDE TRANSFER POINT AT ST. MARY’S STREET AND MAPLE STREET – NO
  7. INCREASE AND IMPROVE SHELTERS – NO
  8. DEVELOP AN ENHANCED TRANSIT MARKETING PLAN – NO
  9. ADJUST FARES – YES
  10. EXPAND U-PASS – NO
  11. EXPLORE EMPLOYEE TRANSIT PASS PROGRAMS – NO
  12. CONSIDER NEW INDUSTRIAL SPECIAL TO ALLISON/GILLIS AREA – NO
  13. DEVELOP APPROPRIATE BUS TURNAROUNDS – NO
  14. EXPAND AND MODIFY KINGS PLACE TERMINAL – NO
  15. RELOCATE REGENT MALL TERMINAL – NO
  16. INITIATE REVIEW OF TRANSIT GARAGE/OPERATIONS CENTER – YES
  17. INITIATE DIAL-A-BUS REVIEW – YES
  18. INCREASE ACCESSIBILITY OF BUS SERVICE – NO

Out of eighteen action items, they successfully did three of them. That’s a grade of 16.67%. Of the three things they did, adjusting the fares actually raised revenue, the new transit garage was mostly Federal stimulus dollars and the dial-a-bus review cost $46,000. They also attempted to remove service to Silverwood, that plan was cancelled after much public outcry.

Fredericton City council has shown that they like to talk about being green and sustainable, yet can’t actually spend money on being green and sustainable. Many of these action items won’t cost much to implement, yet they don’t have the initiative or will to do them. The next municipal election is in 2012.

A review of sandwich boards in downtown Fredericton

Posted by on 14 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Fredericton

There has been quite a bit of talk about sandwich boards being an issue in downtown Fredericton. Some people find them annoying, others consider them a hazard, yet most people just ignore them. Here are some examples of signs and how they are placed:

Series of 3 sandwich board signs

Here, we see three of them placed right next to the building, generally out of the way, only partially intruding onto the width of the sidewalk. Most of the sandwich boards are like this.

 

This one is particularly bad as it is really short. If you aren’t looking where you’re going, you could very easily trip over this one. People who text while they walk are most at risk with this one. Note the footprints in the snow and see how that sign goes right over the ones on the edge.

 

This one was the worst one I saw, it’s right in the middle of the sidewalk. Yes, it’s a wide sidewalk, but does it really have to be in the middle?

 

This is the best one I saw. It’s out of the way between a telephone pole and a tree. The store owners solved the visibility problem with balloons.

The simplest solution is to make all the sandwich boards go in the space between the sidewalk and the street. That way, they’re out of the way and the store owners will still get some visibility.

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