I've just accepted a six-month part-time assignment at Vancouver's transit agency TransLink, to help them with a range of policy and planning issues. So I'm getting ready to relocate from Sydney to Vancouver. (As always, you can track my movements under the photo in the next column.)
My assignment at TransLink will be only 60% of fulltime, so I will continue to work part-time through MRCagney, including several projects for clients in Australia/New Zealand.
As always I'm available to provide services on any of the range of issues that this blog covers, including both consulting services and speaking engagements (such as this one). If I can be useful to your transit agency or consultancy, let's talk. From April to at least October 2011, travel costs can be figured from a Vancouver base, so North American clients will no longer need to bear costs of bringing me from Australia.
Australia is very hard to leave, but I look forward to being back in Vancouver, working on one of North America's most livable urban areas.
At this stage, I have no clear plan beyond October 2011. I might return to Australia, or I might settle back in the Northwest or California. It depends on where it seems I can be most useful. One clear possibility is to establish a small west coast consulting firm (or join an existing one while it's still small). But for now, I'm open, and enjoying that.
Welcome back Jarrett 🙂
Congrats! Let us know if/when you end up back in the Bay Area 🙂
Congrats, Jarrett. I hope you have success at TransLink. Maybe you can get them to try some more bus lanes on streets and freeways, and fix that gap in Skytrain with an extension west down Broadway?
Excellent news for Vancouverites. Hope this is a sign that some transit improvements are coming down the pipe.
Welcome back to North America and congrats on the new project!
Lucky us, I hope you will be willing and permitted to share a lot of what you’ll be doing with Translink, but even if not I’m glad your voice is one they will (I presume/hope) listen to well. Dare I hope that some of the local media coverage will begin to grasp and foster debating mobility intelligently rather than technology in the guise of mobility?
Since we’re slated to get smart cards here, a topic I’m interested in is the relationship between fare structures and transit use. Our zones and routes have been geared to commuters, especially to and from downtown. Community shuttles seem to be in demand for access but in practice are often in limited use and so relatively expensive. No wonder, because unless you have a monthly pass, short trips are cost prohibitive.
It’s great to have you here! Again!
A few things off the top of my head:
-as said above, the roll-out of new gates and smart-cards, with a new fare structure away from zones down the road
-the new evergreen skytrain line to the tricities area – it’s all in place (route, mode, environmental assessment done) except for a agonizingly small amount of money (relatively speaking)
-which segways nicely into the war of attrition between the regional mayors group and the provincial government between longer-term funding for translink. the mayors revolted from a straight-up property tax increase, but are not able to agree between a property tax increase, a vehicle levy, road tolls, or trying to get carbon tax money from the prov govt. you will likely hit the ground here running with this battle-royale in full swing (the ruling provincial party recently installed a new premier/governor)
-trying to implement road and highway expansion in the region in a provincially-led plan to improve goods movement (Gateway), while trying to keep a lid on vehicle traffic.
Welcome to our lovely West Coast. If you’re doing any speaking events here, I’ll definately try and make it – I was grieved to miss the last one.
Maybe you can get TransLink thinking about the length between bus stops, as my #8 bus stops every day at Sophia and Broadway and then 20 steps away at Kingsway and Broadway. I hope for lots of fresh ideas and discussions.
Jarrett, congratulations on your assignment in Vancouver — well timed after the bleakest winter months! Your comment about travel costs do bring one thing to mind. Vancouver is obviously much more convenient to the US than Australia, but it is still surprisingly off the beaten path for much of the US. Compare availability and cost of flights, especially direct flights between US cities and Vancouver versus Seattle. Fewer direct flights often for several hundred more dollars. I suppose the pricing follows actual demand, but it still bugs me that I can fly from my home in Minneapolis to Seattle more frequently and much cheaper than essentially the same distance to Vancouver!
And remember–PDX is a short ride on the Cascadia away!
I’m sure Patrick Condon is thrilled. 🙂
Btw, Your blog needs a search feature so people can reference your great posts easier.
Fantastic! Welcome back!
@Dave and Jarrett,
FYI, a large number of canadians fly out of seattle or even more easier for vancouverites – bellingham, washington for the low US domestic fares.
You can save hundreds of $. But then you can’t take the canada line to YVR….:-S
Congratulations! I am sure it will be great benefit to Vancouver.
Fantastic news! Hopefully you can be instrumental in getting the much needed skytrain extended to Broadway and hopefully to UBC! As a Vancouverite, I wholeheartedly welcome you!
Tip for arriving at YVR: buy a book of “Faresaver” tickets at the convenience store on the way out of the airport to avoid the airport surcharge on single-ticket purchases!
Congratulations! Good to have you and your expertise back in North America.
but then you can take the Cascades to Seattle, then the Link Light Rail to SEA… 🙂
Vancouver’s gain will be Sydney’s loss. Thanks for providing a new point of view to Sydney’s professional and public transport debates. You’ve definitely stirred the pot, helped to re-frame the issues and moved the discussion forward.
This is great news! Translink is lucky to have you! Hope they offer something long term.
If there’s one thing that I’d like you to convince Translink to do it’s to mind “the gap!” Fix the gap! That should be your mantra.
Welcome (again) to Vancouver!
Welcome back to Lotus Land Jarrett!
I hope TransLink benefits from your perspective as an involved but detached and experienced observer.
Perhaps their biggest issue is funding. That is the real gap. We live in the absence of adequate senior government involvement in transit financing. I’m not sure what to suggest as to how to rectify that other than to elect the Green Party at all levels, and promote sky-high gasoline prices in order to create public clamour real alternatives.
There is much angst about the Evergreen Line, and it should be built as soon as humanly possible — and not over an average human’s lifespan (see comment above about funding). But extending the Millennium Line to UBC in twin bored tunnels under Broadway should have been given higher priority. Whereas Evergreen is like the left arm of the regional transit system, Broadway/UBC is akin to the right leg and half the pelvis in terms of existing demand and density.
We’re ready … and have been for 30 years.
Congrats Jarrett for your next work.
Also, kudos that you designed your life in a way that you can relocate to different continents easily. Usually, e.g. European life means you are “locked in” to one or two countries plus maybe their neighbours – despite maybe better jobs elsewhere -, except for maybe the youngest working years.