Archive for April, 2015


Transit Referendum: vote yes despite legitimate concerns

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

trees and bikesLots of buzz has been going around on the upcoming transportation plebiscite in Metro Vancouver. We published a blog post back in January that debunked some myths regarding the plebiscite. The Bike Co-op has started to hand out information around campus on how to sign up to vote for the plebiscite, as well as some information on the improved cycling infrastructure a “Yes” vote would help provide.

A common concern I hear around campus has to do with the method of funding itself. Although a sales tax is regressive, transportation infrastructure must be funded in the Lower Mainland. I think that it is possible to be aware of the problems with the plebiscite, while still supporting its overall goal of building better transportation infrastructure for those who live, work and play in Metro Vancouver.

Among the identified problems with a regressive sales tax that I find hard to reconcile is that it will tax a larger proportion of lower income people’s earnings compared to that of higher income people. Fortunately the sales tax increase will not apply to essentials like food staples, and instead will be more noticeable when purchasing luxury items. Possible measures that could be put in place to mitigate the effects the sales tax increase would have on lower to middle income households include instituting a sales tax rebate, or discounted U-passes.

I calculated that as a master’s student living on a budget, I would only pay on average $35 a year towards funding a significant boost in infrastructure that would benefit me as a pedestrian, cyclist, transit-user and occasional car user. Despite the undeniable problems associated with a sales tax, I definitely do not have a problem contributing to what will amount to a fantastic increase in infrastructure.

Other methods of raising money for transit were proposed before the referendum was officially announced. Alternatives included a vehicle levy and an increase in the carbon tax. These two initiatives would put most of the burden of funding transportation infrastructure on drivers, which is less palatable to voters than a funding initiative that would charge all transportation users evenly. The Mayors’ Council ultimately decided on the less divisive funding method.

Another concern I heard while campaigning had to do with Translink. Many people felt as though Translink should not be “trusted” with money. A lot of negative press has come out recently regarding Translink’s practices. However, the plebiscite is a vote on whether or not the residents of Metro Vancouver support funding transportation initiatives more broadly. The plebiscite is not, and should not be, a referendum on the management of Translink.

Specifically, the plebiscite is asking whether residents approve of funding more B-line bus routes, a new Pattullo Bridge, a Skytrain extension to Arbutus and Broadway, rapid transit connecting Surrey Centre with Guildford, Newton, and Langley, and increased pedestrian and cycling networks. These improvements to transportation infrastructure would make a big difference now, and they are necessary in the face of an expected population increase of approximately one million people in Metro Vancouver by 2040. Far from perfect, and definitely open to constructive critiques, the upcoming transportation plebiscite might be the biggest transportation decision with such a high level of resident involvement of our lifetime, and will have ramifications for generations to come.

 

 


 

Bike Tour to Wildwood!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

In partnership with the Varsity Outdoor Club and the UBC Student Environment Centre, your friendly neighbourhood bike coop (us) is organizing a bike tour to visit Wildwood, the weekend of April 25th to 26th. 

wildwood

Photo by Jeff Gibbs. via The Land Conservancy

What is Wildwood, and why do I want to go there?

Wildwood is a forest on Vancouver Island owned by The Land Conservancy and stewarded by the Ecoforestry Institute. It is a working experiment in “sustainable selective forestry,” whereby they harvest less than the annual growth rate. Learn more about their ideology and management practices here. You want to go there because you love camping, innovative sustainability, biking and the combination of these things!

Where is Wildwood and how will we get there?

Wildwood is located near the small town of Ladysmith, BC, on Vancouver island. We will get there by bike, ferry and then bike! See map below. We will depart UBC at 8am Saturday and arrive back on Sunday at approx. 7pm. Detailed itineraries will be provided to participants.

Screenshot 2015-04-07 12.57.07

 

What do I need to participate?

You’ll need a dependable bike with a rear rack and panniers to fill with (your) camping gear. Panniers are available for rent from the co-op. Camping and rain gear are essential. Some things (i.e. tents, stoves) can be shared. A detailed gear checklist will be provided to participants. Most of all you’ll need a sense of humour and a love of biking (fair weather is never guaranteed!)

But I’ve never bike toured before!

There will be a free BIKE PARTY at the Bike Kitchen on April 20th. During this evening there will be a quick workshop on cycle touring as well as ample time to discuss bike issues with mechanics and ask for advice. Participants will also be able to tune up their bikes free of charge (unless you need additional parts).

During the tour, group leaders will carry equipment to assist with on-the-road repairs.

How much is this going to cost?

Luckily, peddle power is free! Ferries however, are not, and cost 16.90 each way. You will also need to provide your own food. Donations to Wildwood are encouraged.

How can I sign up?

You can register on eventbrite here.

 

 


 

We’re Hiring a Summer Work Learn Programs Intern!

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Are you a currently registered UBC student? Looking for a summer job? If you’re a detail-oriented person with excellent organizations and time management skills, we’d love it if you applied to be our Summer Work Learn Programs Intern.

The AMS Bike Co-op provides students and the wider community with an accessible environment where they can learn about bicycle maintenance and cycling as a safe and sustainable means of transportation. The Programs Intern will work under the supervision of the Programs Manager and will provide administrative support for the Bike Co-op’s programs and services.

The Programs Intern will provide support for the following programs and services:

  •  Purple and Yellow Volunteer Night
  • ReCycle Night
  • Intro to Mechanics Workshops
  • Build Your Own Bike Program

The Programs Intern will also provide assistance for other Bike Co-op programs as directed by the Programs Manager, including preparing and collecting surveys, entering data for program and member feedback and assisting with the organization of documentation and resources. They will also work closely with the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator by assisting with volunteer coordination.

To learn more about the position, including the qualifications we’re seeking from applicants, visit the Careers Online website and search for the job title (“Programs Intern”) or Job ID (814703).

Applications are due April 10, 2015. 

 


 

We’re Hiring a Summer Work Learn Assistant Volunteer Coordinator!

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Are you a currently registered UBC student? Looking for a summer job? If you’re a community-oriented person with strong people skills, we’d love it if you applied to be our Summer Work Learn Assistant Volunteer Coordinator.

Job Description

The AMS Bike Co-op provides students and the wider community with an accessible environment where they can learn about bicycle maintenance and about cycling as a safe and sustainable means of transportation. The Assistant Volunteer Coordinator will work under the supervision of the Programs Manager and will assist with member engagement and volunteer coordination, particularly through the AMS Bike Co-op’s public education and outreach initiatives.

The Assistant Volunteer Coordinator’s main tasks will be: 

  • Attending volunteer nights, particularly Purple and Yellow Volunteer nights every Tuesday from 6-9pm
  • Attending outreach events, such as Cycling Resource Centres (community cycling resource stations at local farmer’s markets and community events, where free cycling information and by-donation tune-ups are provided)
  • Providing support to volunteers during volunteer nights and at outreach events (greeting volunteers, providing brief orientations to new volunteers and assisting other volunteers when necessary)
  • Assisting the PM with volunteer coordination and recruitment
  • Facilitating volunteer orientations
  • Entering data and compiling statistics on volunteer retention and member engagement
  • Collecting data on the Purple and Yellow Volunteer nights, to identify the volume of bicycles repaired and currently in circulation
  • Monitoring volunteer programs and seeking areas for improvement
  • Attending the Bike Co-op’s Board of Directors and Programs Committee meetings on Tuesdays from 5-6 pm
  • Other duties as assigned

To learn more about the position, including the qualifications we’re seeking from applicants, visit the Careers Online website and search for the job title (“Assistant Volunteer Coordinator”) or Job ID (814701).

Applications are due April 10, 2015.