Surrey Light Rail project a terrible idea

Surrey is one of the fastest growing cities in Metro Vancouver. And with that growth comes the need to improve transportation so that residents and visitors can move between home and work and social events. Enter light rail, Surrey’s and TransLink’s silver bullet to making that future a reality.

Unfortunately, that silver bullet is nothing more than a lead weight, heavy with unnecessary spending, ill-advised ideas and a misunderstanding of the community. The first phase is to have street-level light rail transit (LRT) run down the middle of King George Boulevard between Surrey Central station and the Newton Exchange near 72nd Avenue, with another line out east to the Guildford Exchange on 152nd Street.

A map of the proposed Surrey LRT and future expansion to SkyTrain Expo Line. Source: TransLink

It sounds like a good idea considering that these routes are busy on any given day when taking the existing bus service or driving. However, street-level LRT down a major thoroughfare is not the best answer to this problem. Here’s why.

The LRT routes are not grade separated. This means that trains will run down the centre of King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue. This means that these trains will be subject to all existing traffic lights at intersections and traffic. Take into consideration of vehicles making left-hand turns off of King George or 104th and you can easily back a train up. Existing bus service is not subject to this (unless they themselves need to make said turn) as they run in the right/curb lanes. In turn, this is a glorified bus route that is restricted to the rails and can’t go any faster than what traffic dictates.

Then you have to factor in pedestrians. With the platforms for the LRT routes being in the middle of these roads, the potential for jaywalking and pedestrian-related incidents increase as passengers rush to catch a train or seek to cross the roadway after exiting to get to their destination. Watch the video below to see how trams and other LRT vehicles interact with cars and pedestrians.

Capacity is also an issue. Any LRT trains will need to limited to a certain length to prevent them from blocking intersections when stopped or delayed. Trains that are too long and moving too slowly could cause backups for traffic intending to cross when passing through an intersection as lights change or due to other circumstances (e.g collisions, pedestrians, etc). With a bus, you can add and remove vehicles as demand allows — and they can manoeuvre around any issues brought on by traffic, construction, etc.

With LRT sharing the same path as cars, trucks and SUVs, what’s to stop a vehicle from driving into support pillar for the overhead lines, bringing it down and necessitating a halt to transit service? Or if a vehicle collides with a train thus backing up service?

What about the cost? As of June 24th, 2018, the LRT project is projected to cost 1.65 billion CAD. And once the project begins, what’s to stop it from snowballing? That money could be put to better use, like more buses or towards expanding SkyTrain further into Surrey.

These are just a few of the many issues facing this boondoggle of a project. There’s so much wrong with putting a light to medium capacity system in the middle of a continuously growing city — it’s just as hilarious as the idea to limit the Canada Line to two cars per train with short station platforms. It’s not a sustainable vision.

Over the last, local community groups have been calling for extension to the existing Expo Line which terminates at King George. SkyTrain has the added benefit of elevation, meaning it is grade separated keeping it away from vehicle traffic and errant pedestrians. SkyTrain service can also be increased due to demand if necessary, to a max headway of 90 seconds between trains.

The Surrey LRT project is a novelty that might work well in other cities where road traffic is lighter, but it’s not right for Surrey. Surrey council needs to realize that there is demand for SkyTrain and improved bus service, not a dedicated LRT system that has no potential for growth and fuel for commuter’s headaches. You can voice your feedback through any of the community meetings or online.

Relive the classics with the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo this weekend

Video games have come a long way in the last 40 years, and the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo aims to keep the love for the classics alive this Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre.

From 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, join other gamers for a chance to experience retro consoles, buy that long forgotten title and catch up on live entertainment and music. Learn how to make older consoles work on your new televisions, sample music made with 8-bit systems, test your knowledge with trivia and get an up close look at the fabled Nintendo PlayStation prototype console from the early 90s.

Tickets for the Vancouver Retro Gaming Expo are available online or at the door for $25.00. The Anvil Centre is a quick walk from the New Westminster SkyTrain station on the Expo Line.

Game-themed restaurant and bar EXP to close at end of June

Vancouver’s video game-inspired restaurant and bar, EXP, is closing down on Saturday, June 30th, 2018.

According to a post on the EXP Facebook page, The landlord informed restaurant management that they must shut down at the end of June. Leading up to the closure, food and drinks are being discounted with the funds going to staff as thanks for their efforts.

So come on down and power up with a Triforce Burger (or sip a Pikachu’s Revenge) while you still can.

It’s hoped, that EXP may be given a 1-UP to re-open at another site.

Source: Facebook

Celebrate Latin American culture with the tenth year of Carnaval del Sol

Latin American food brings everyone together at Carnaval del Sol

Start summer off with some Latin American flair at the Carnaval del Sol, celebrating its tenth year at Concord Pacific Place on Saturday, July 7th and Sunday, July 8th, 2018.

This two-day event is the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and incorporates food, fun, music and more from countries in Central and South America. Multiple plazas focus on many aspects of these cultures: food, arts, family, kids, health and wellness, kids, beer, travel and a chill zone sponsored by Tim Hortons. And with the World Cup in full swing, there’s a soccer tournament taking place at the nearby Andy Livingstone Park soccer fields.

Carnaval del Sol closes off the Latin American Week, which includes cruises, a parade, a Latin film night, Women’s panels, and wining and dancing.

Carnaval del Sol is hosted at Concord Pacific Place, 88 Pacific Blvd in Vancouver. There is a $2.00 admission this year for single day access (or a $10.00 VIP pass for use on both days) is easily reachable by transit with a quick walk from either the Stadium-Chinatown or Main Street-Science World SkyTrain stations.

Nintendo Direct for E3 2018 announces new games for Switch in 2018-19

Nintendo hosted their live streaming video this morning on the opening day of E3 2018, the bulk of which centred on the new Super Smash Bros. title, with the rest on a handful of other games offered by the Japanese company and other first and third-party developers.

The Nintendo Direct video jumped immediately into footage from the mech fighter DAEMON X MACHINA, developed by Marvelous and First Studio, coming in 2019 for the Switch.

Up next was Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country, which opens a new story mode for players holding an Expansion Pass. The combat system is updated to allow control of both Driver and Blade as they explore the Kingdom of Torna. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country goes on sale on September 14th, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo of America President and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime, appeared and re-introduced us to the two Pokémon titles on the Switch: Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!. Returning to the Kanto region with first generation creatures, these two games allow the player to partner up with Pikachu or Eevee as they roam the countryside collecting wild Pokémon. While there are no battles with the wild Pokémon, players can battle other trainers. A new controller designed specifically for these titles, the Poké Ball Plus, recreates the feel of throwing a Poké Ball, and can let you carry one Pokémon in it out into the real world. There’s also connectivity with the Pokémon GO mobile app, which allows one way transfers from the mobile app into the Switch games. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and the Poké Ball Plus are available on November 16th, 2018.

Partake in all the fun with your friends and favourite Mario characters with Super Mario Party. Using the Joy Con controllers, players can choose from any number of party mini-games that test your patience, skills and dexterity up to four players (using two Switch consoles). Super Mario Party is available on October 5th, 2018.

There’s a new Fire Emblem game coming to Switch: Fire Emblem Three Houses. This tactical RPG is the latest in the Fire Emblem saga set in the world of Fódlan where the Church of Seiros wields control over the lands and its people. In battle, players can move a single unit so that troop formations can follow suit, allowing enemies to be completely surrounded and contained. Outside of battle, main characters can roam freely to explore and interact with other characters. Fire Emblem Three Houses is expected in Spring 2019.

As of 10:00 am PDT, the popular multiplayer battle royale title Fortnite is now available on the Switch. Up to 100 people can play online with one per console as they seek to build cover and take out their opponents as they gather resources to survive.

Overcooked 2 is the sequel that’s serving up seconds with more chefs, recipes and kitchens. Cook through kooky chaos in single player or up to four players — no such thing as too many cooks in these kitchens! Overcooked 2 is available for the Switch on August 7th, 2018.

Killer Queen Black is an action/platformer title with that arcade feel. Redesigned for the Nintendo Switch, Killer Queen Black allows two teams of four players (eight total) to race towards victory in front of ever-changing odds. This follows the title Killer Queen and is available for the first time on the console in late 2018.

Hollow Knight is a two-dimensional platformer that twists and winds its way through a fallen kingdom infested with bugs and other critters. Exploring this ruined world opens up opportunities to acquire new skills which can help battle enemies and reach new places. Hollow Knight is available today on the Nintendo eShop.

A free demo of Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler will be available for download on the Nintendo eShop for the Switch on June 14th, 2018.

For the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate content, click here.

Source: YouTube

The battle continues with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with massive playable roster

During this morning’s Nintendo Direct for E3 2018, Masahiro Sakurai, a director at Sora Ltd., introduced the latest title in the Super Smash Bros. franchise: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.


Read the rest of this article…

Pirates of Caribbean returns to Kingdom Hearts III

At the Sony E3 Conference Monday evening, another teaser for Kingdom Hearts III was unveiled, this time focusing on the Pirates of the Caribbean world.

Captain Jack Sparrow is back, teaming up with Sora, Donald and Goofy, who, like in other worlds (e.g. Toy Story, Monsters, Inc.) now don era appropriate buccaneer attire. Sora also wields a new keyblade, now much different from the Follow the Wind in Kingdom Hearts II. Scenes in the video are replicated from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, the third film in the franchise, where Captain Barbossa, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swan journey to Davey Jones’ Locker to save a “dead” Captain Sparrow. Also revealed is a new battle function where Sora captain’s a full-on pirate ship and goes head-to-head in an all out sea battle, cannon’s blazing. Sora now can hitch rides on flying Heartless and skim colourful rainbow clouds over the deep blue sea.

Following the nautical clips were recaps of the Frozen, Tangled and Monsters, Inc. worlds and a reveal of some familiar Organization XIII members — Xigbar, Larxene, Axel and Xehanort. Kairi and Riku round out the end of the video, in their updated wardrobes.

Kingdom Hearts III has a release date of January 29th, 2019 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Source: YouTube

Shonen Jump heroes and villains to appear in Jump Force

E3 has unofficially started and Bandai Namco has jumped on trailer release train with a teaser of a new game with everyone’s favourite Shonen Jump heroes and villains: Jump Force.

The video opens with short scenes from manga series Naruto, One Piece and Dragon Ball, before focusing on a battle-scarred metropolis with Naruto Uzumaki, Monkey D. Luffy and Goku preparing to fight Frieza. At the end of the teaser, Light Yagami and the shinigami Ryuk from Death Note survey the devastation.

Jump Force is expected to launch in 2019 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Source: YouTube

Disney’s Frozen appears in new Kingdom Hearts III trailer

With a little over day to go before E3 actually kicks off, Square Enix has been busy releasing more details about Kingdom Hearts III; there was the official launch date last night (it’s January 29th, 2019) and now a new teaser featuring Disney’s Frozen.

Sora, Donald and Goofy journey to Arendelle shortly after Queen Elsa condemns the Scandinavian nation to eternal winter. After seeing the queen dash across the fjord, they meet Anna, Krisftoff, Sven and Olaf trudging through the newly fallen snow to find Elsa. Sora can now snowboard thanks to Goofy’s shield, which is large enough to hold himself, Goofy and Donald for quick trips down the mountainside. Elsa’s abominable snow beast, Marshmallow, also makes his début, adding to the throngs of Heartless created by the darkness.

In addition to the frozen world of Arendelle, the video includes scenes from the worlds of Tangled, Monsters, Inc., and Hercules. Of course, at the end, Aqua briefly appears, her now yellow eyes, glaring at us as the Kingdom Hearts III logo fades in.

Source: YouTube

Kingdom Hearts III to release January 29, 2019

After years of waiting, Square Enix has unveiled the release date for Kingdom Hearts III as January 29th, 2019. This date was at the closure of the Kingdom Hearts orchestra early Saturday evening advance of E3 which opens next week.

Square Enix had previously mentioned that they would announce the launch date during E3 and that it would hit store shelves sometime in 2018.

Kingdom Hearts III will be available on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Source: Instagram

 

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