Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

It’s More Than Haggis

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September 18, 2014

I keep day dreaming about taking my daughter to a casting agency, to have her cast in the part of a young Brianna Randall for season 2 of Outlander. I know, I’m crazy and should lose my parenting license 😉 But a girl can dream, can’t she? It’s highly unlikely to happen anyway, considering a) her hair isn’t red (but it could be dyed), b) she doesn’t have a Bostonian accent (but she’s a kid), c) the second season will likely be filmed in the US (but it could be filmed in NS!), and d) do I really want to turn her into a mini- female Justin Bieber? Maybe it’s time I took a break from watching/reading for a while?

Not that I’m really getting my fill or anything. I am getting uber-frustrated with the network showing Outlander here in Canada. They keep changing up the airtime – how is a girl supposed to plan! I know, first world problems.

I have been following Diana Gabaldon’s facebook page daily, and today I read an interesting fan post that Diana shared on her page, and felt compelled to share it here too:

” Please – those who do not live in Scotland or truly understand the history, romanticize what is happening with a TV show or a 18th century sectarian rebellion. Modern Scotland is part of a free country already…we are not subjugated or oppressed.

This decision will be freely made about our future, not a mythologized past. Many people are seriously considering to vote yes or no. Their decision with have nothing to do with Outlander or other National entities seeking to project their political agenda on our vote.

Like many people in Scotland I will respect the outcome. Thanks for the support….. –Tim Wight”

Just like there is more to Canada than moose and igloos, there is more Scotland than fields of heather and dinners of haggis. The human brain is an interesting thing, how we allow ourselves to fantasize and be swayed by the interpretations of others, rather than finding out for ourselves.

I have had no real opinion on the Scottish referendum, other than I think the outcome will resemble that of the Quebec referendum here in Canada back in ’95. I haven’t been to Scotland, though I would love to go (I missed my chance when I was 16 due to an unfortunate encounter with some fresh cheese. But that’s a post for another day).

Tonight, on the eve of the Scottish referendum, I took a bus downtown to the Bus Stop Theatre to give my opinion on something I’d like to think I know a little more about – the Halifax transit system.

A couple of years ago I participated in public consultations organized by It’s More than Buses and Fusion Halifax (Week # 3) . I hadn’t heard too much about them recently, but this evening they planned to unveil a new transit map.

I arrived at the Bus Stop Theatre a bit out of breath – ironically the only bus that would get me there on time left me with a 15 minute walk and I was afraid I would be late. I entered and made my way through a small crowd to the back of the building, where there was a dim room with stadium seating and a narrow stage at the front. I selected a seat near the back and waited. And waited. And waited. The room began to fill up, and within 10 minutes it was standing room only. The lights dimmed further; the air was warm and humid, with a hint of patchouli.

A few moments later there was an announcement about drinks, and then the MC took to the stage to explain how the evening would unfold. Following this, a young well-dressed man with a child who appeared to be about the same age as my own (and equally energetic) took to the stage for the feature presentation.

During this presentation I learned that there are 23 different bus routes along Barrington Street at any given moment; an average of one bus every three minutes. However each bus only contains an average of nine passengers, because each bus is going in completely different directions, none of which are particularly useful to the 50 000 people that work in a 3.5 km radius.

It’s More than Buses has a message for Halifax Transit – don’t give up. Their proposal is based on Fast, Frequent, Reliable and User-Friendly transit system with the goals of increasing ridership and getting folks from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.

They showed the “old” Halifax Transit map – quite a work of art, but not particularly helpful.

Then the moment we had all been waiting for – the new map was unveiled to a thunderous applause.

The new system is based on a transfer system – feeder buses running on 15-30 minute schedules meet at hubs, where riders switch to a bus with 10 minute frequency to take them to the downtown core.

I applaud the efforts of this group (a group I am proud to say I participated in, however briefly), and I hope for the sake of all riders that Halifax Transit will take them seriously.

The new map is a heck of a lot easier to follow, and I like the idea of increasing “transit priority” traffic areas. I would like to think that it would increase ridership simply because of the ease of use.

But I would be willing to wager that at least 25% of Halifax bus users will use transit regardless of what design it follows, because they have no choice. If you can’t afford a car and/or can’t walk to where you need to go (school, work) then the bus is your only option.

This has me thinking about a future challenge for myself – picking up food at the market for The Loaded Ladle, an organization which serves free, local food to anyone who needs a meal on Dalhousie’s campus. But that is also a post for another day.

In the meantime, I leave you with this video about It’s More than Buses – have a look, decide for yourself, and let them know what you think:


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