It’s hard to believe that the last time I wrote about bike lanes was almost 3 years ago. At that time I highlighted the major deficiency in the way we support cycling in Thunder Bay — specifically the lack of protection from cars. I went on to endorse what I called “the missing link” which were a series of cycle corridors (a grid) along busy streets in Thunder Bay to allow people to quickly transit the city on two wheels. A lot has happened in those 3 years. For one, some friends and I fully baked my proposal into a movement to create Thunder Bay’s first real cycle track called The Memorial Link. First we ran a petition. We went to council and gave a deputation, presenting photos, educating councillors about bicycle separation and asking for three specific things: that council add the May-Memorial corridor to the Active Transportation Plan, request that administration study cycle tracks in upcoming Transportation Master Plan, and direct administration to develop a complete streets policy as a part of the same plan. We even explained it in a way people could understand— The Memorial Link will get bicycles off the road. We got some national coverage by the cycling community which is nice but our target audience wasn’t and isn’t cyclists. It’s everyone. Continue reading The Memorial Link
Context is everything
For all but one of my 32 years, I’ve called Thunder Bay home. But within the last decade I’ve spent at least 7 months in various countries that aren’t in North America. Prior to this my sentiments about home were very much fond and affirming but that all changed a few years ago when I picked up a copy of “Lonely Planet Canada” and read the section about Thunder Bay.
Continue reading The state of bike lanes in Thunder Bay
There comes a time when you need a car (or two, but almost certainly not three). If your car-liking muscle exceeds the power of your money-saving muscle, this isn’t a post for you so stop reading. But if you think you might be able to make a purchase based solely on rational thought within the context of spending the lowest amount of money without dying in a horrible car accident, read on and I’ll tell you how to choose a car. Also, if you think you might like to just hear what I have to say and then make a decision, I’m down with that.
Do I need to choose a car?
The absolute best car you can buy from a financial standpoint is a TFSA. “But that’s not a car”, you say. Oh right. But if you can ride the bus without strenuous effort, or walk, that is way cheaper. Be honest with yourself: you don’t need a car to get 2 km to work unless work involves hauling dozens of kilograms of random crap to and from your job in the snow every day. Even then you may be able to get away with a cargo bike if you live in a moderate climate. Bicycles are a good option. In the warmer months I like to ride my bike to work on days I’m not working from home. It’s 7km one way and takes about 20 minutes. It’s a great way to unwind and get time to think and it saves money. Quite a bit actually.
Continue reading How to choose a car (the mostly-rational way)
Before I started working from home, we often found ourselves having scheduling conflicts around our single car. I started using my bike much more at the end of last summer and plan to continue as the snow lets up in the spring, but sometimes you have to go the extra distance and for most people that involves a second car.
I recently discovered that Google was now providing transit directions in Thunder Bay. This is arguably the best thing to happen to transit in a long time. No longer do I have to consider planning a bus trip. Now I can sit on the couch and pull out my phone and know instantly how long it will take me to get where I want to go. I realize this is old news for people in larger centres, but it’s basically a second car that costs a fraction of the price. Or a first car. Why not pull out your phone just before you get in your car and see how long the bus will take? It’s very likely that it may only be an extra few minutes over the car trip and will save you money and let you relax.