Local, national or global stories that are fairly interesting, screwed up, or guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Evergreen Line progressing

SkyTrain at Waterfront Station

SkyTrain at Waterfront Station

The latest extension of the SkyTrain, the Evergreen Line — which will run from Lougheed Station on the eastern edge of Burnaby, through Port Moody and up to Coquitlam, is slated to have construction start in late 2010.

Although TransLink is struggling to obtain additional funding to maintain existing services, both the Provincial and Federal governments have earmarked $800 million dollars for the 11km project. The Province will work with the Metro Vancouver-based transit company on how to raise the estimated $400 million needed for completion.

The Evergreen Line will use the same Mark I and II cars that run on the Expo and Millennium Lines and is expected to be completed sometime around 2014.

Tolls on Lower Mainland bridges

Cash strapped TransLink is looking to plug a hole in its pocket by possibly adding tolls on some bridges in Metro Vancouver. The Knight Street Bridge on the north arm of the Fraser River between Richmond and Vancouver, has the potential for charging motorists who use the span. Currently, only the Golden Ears Bridge, linking Maple Ridge and Langley, has tolls.

TransLink, the organization that operates many of the bridges in the region, needs around $130 million a year  in order to maintain costs in keeping the bridges up to code along with bus and rapid transit service, according to the Regional Transportation Commissioner.

The plan for tolls on the Knight Street Bridge have not been finalized and it may take some time to get the idea out and work with the communities that use the crossing.

Source: News1130

Possible new Green Line stop

CTA Pink Line at Quincy

CTA Pink Line at Quincy

The Chicago Sun-Times overheard the CTA talking about a new station on the Green Line near the Museum Campus and Soldier Field. While there are no plans for this stop at either Cermak Road or 18th Street in the immediate future, there is a need for a station on the Near South Side in the 2.5 mile gap between Roosevelt and 35-Bronzeville-IIT. Unfortunately, the Green Line is plagued with a few significant stretches of track where there are no stations.

Up until 1978, there was a station on Cermak Road, but was closed and removed due to budget cut backs.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Canada Line running August 17

Canada Line at YVR

Canada Line at YVR

TransLink has announced that the Canada Line, the new rapid transit line from downtown Vancouver to YVR/Richmond, will be up and running on August 17th, 2009. From 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm PDT, passengers will be able to make the 25 minute journey for free.

The Canada Line uses different cars from the existing Millennium and Expo Line trains, making use of Hyundai Rotem’s technology for longer, more spacious cars with electronic destination signs and air conditioning. These trains use electric traction motors powered by an electrified third rail instead of Bombardier’s linear induction motors which is already in place with SkyTrain.

Actual revenue service begins on August 18th.

Source: TransLink

And let there be heat…


It's 99° F right now!

Vancouver and much of southern British Columbia has been sweltering under temperatures climbing into the high 30s (upper 90s for those south of the border). Since Saturday, records have been shattered around the province as the mercury climbed — Lytton in Fraser Canyon is reached 40° C yesterday and Port Hardy hit 39° C, while those in Vancouver cooked under a reported 32° C (though the thermometer pictured shows close to 100° F).

Good news though as temperatures are supposed to cool off towards the weekend as the heat wave diminishes. Remember to keep cool by drinking plenty of fluids, staying in the shade, and taking it easy.

So long Sears Tower

Sears Tower

Sears Tower

Since 1973, Chicago’s Sears Tower has set the skyline over the mid-west city, easily trumping the AON Center (ironically, which was previously known as the Standard Oil Building) and John Hancock Center in its shadow.

Today, the British insurance firm, Willis Group Holdings Ltd., started moving in after purchasing 140,000 square feet of space in the landmark earlier this year, along with its naming rights.

In the late 1960s, Sears Roebuck and Co. commissioned the construction of the 110 story tower as a way to consolidate a considerable chunk of their operations into one building. However, Sears moved out of the building in 1993, leaving the name (and empty offices) behind.

The Willis Group obtained the naming rights during their purchase as Sears’ rights had expired in 2003.

Chicagoans, will you call it the Willis Tower? Or stick to what everyone knows it as? It’s still the Sears Tower to me, so let’s hear what you have to say on this.

The Stars have fallen

Two icons in the entertainment industry have passed away today. Actress Farrah Fawcett succumbed to anal cancer after fighting it since 2006 and pop music idol Michael Jackson passed on due to a suspected cardiac arrest while in hospital.

Farrah is best remembered for her work on Charlie’s Angels where she worked alongside two other women as a private investigator. Michael wowed audiences around the world with his music, including hits like “Thriller,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” along with his stage performances. Farrah was 62 and Michael was 50.

Montreal Canadiens sold

The largest sale of a hockey team saw the Montreal Canadiens ready to change hands from the Gillett family and into Molson family. Although the NHL hasn’t approved the half billion dollar sale yet, the team is expected to make a statement over this weekend. The Canadiens are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year since their inception in December of 1909.

Got a question? 3-1-1!

The City of Vancouver has a new number you can call if you have a question about city services or for non-emergencies. You can now dial 3-1-1 to get in touch with a city representative who can help you out on most topics and handle instances that do not require immediate police or fire intervention.

3-1-1 is already in use in other cities, like Chicago, where citizens can call about residential services, municipal policies and even report less than pleasant cab drivers. This new number should make it easier for residents in Vancouver to get their questions answered.

High-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver

The reality of high-speed rail between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon is arriving at the next station.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Portland Mayor Sam Adams signed an agreement that would allow them apply for additional funding from the United States government so the infrastructure can be upgraded.
However, the Canadian government is looking to charge Amtrak an extra $1,500 CAD a day for running a second train between the two cities. Vancouver City Council wants the government to drop this fee on the rail provider as it could implicate the addition of another train.

The two mayors believe this upgrade will bring improved economic and environmental benefits to the communities along the line, plus not to mention cutting the trip from Vancouver to Seattle to two hours down from four. However, the upgrades and service additions are in the planning stages and will take a few years before being implemented.

Source: News1130

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