In 1910, Vancouver had one of North America’s most advanced electric train networks. The old interurban line ran for 114 miles,to Chilliwack in the heart of the Fraser Valley. It also serviced the sleepy village of Steveston to the south. This technological wonder was abandoned when British Columbians turned to the automobile, in the 1950s. A 4.6 mile segment of the route through Surrey was recently brought back to life as part of living museum project. So I went riding Vancouver’s old interurban.
Porterville, California, is about to make transportation history. The little Californian city only receives an average of 13 inches of rain a year, which makes it particularly vulnerable to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from vehicles, agriculture, and other sources. Thanks to a determined city hall, the number of Stage 1 smog alerts declined from 100% per year, in the 1970s, to almost zero. On December 7, the California Air Resources Board awarded $9.5-million to replace its’ entire bus fleet. By January, 2018, Porterville should have North America’s first 100% electric municipal bus system.
Good news for those concerned with the state of our province’s aging transportation system. The Federal, provincial and municipal governments are partnering to provide a total of $900 million for BC’s aging infrastructure.