Not a Glass Act

Recycle-get this...

Recycle-get this… (Photo credit: practicalowl)

We want to make it easier to recycle after all.

You have these big bins that are easy to roll to the street with everything going into just three bins. Everything organic goes into the first bin; metal, plastic, paper, and cardboard go into the second bin; and everything else goes into the third bin. Oh, what was that about glass? Oh, we used to put that in the second bin, but they don’t allow us to do that anymore.

English: glass and plastic (bottles) recycling...

English: glass and plastic (bottles) recycling in Poland Polski: powtórne przetwarzanie szkła i butelek plastikowych – segregacja odpadów (Szymbark, woj. pomorskie) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems that was inconvenient for them. They say it contaminated the paper and plastic. Now they say they want us to keep the glass separate from the other recycling. They say we can take it to special depots at grocery stores and transfer stations. In interviews of a number of people they say it wasn’t so bad in places where they have done it for years. Of course these are people who were depositing their glass in the special bins for glass. They were the people of course who have no problem getting to these special depots.

Recycle for Greater Manchester

Recycle for Greater Manchester (Photo credit: The Laird of Oldham)

Something the bureaucrats forget is that there is a large segment of the population who do not have access to cars — they are the people that take public transit to get places. Of course there are many people taking public transit that have cars at home, but there are many who don’t.

There will always be people who won’t take an extra step to do things. A little extra work and they won’t become involved in a project like recycling — they will just toss the glass bottles and jars into that third bin for general garbage. It’s a shame that many of them actually have cars and it wouldn’t be too much trouble to take a bag of jars and bottles to a recycling depot.

Glass jars

Glass jars (Photo credit: dliban)

On the other hand there will be people that have problems getting to the depots. These people without cars will end up with jars and bottles stacking up; perhaps tossing them into the general garbage bin. Many will be poor people and some of them will be disabled people.

Consider their alternative — washing their garbage and taking it on public transit to a transfer station or recycling depot at the grocery store. Perhaps it’s not too much to take glass bottles and jars back to the grocery store, people already do with their empty bottles — but I know of many people who don’t take back their empty bottles even though there is a deposit on them. Instead they donate them to charity or to people who pick them up off the street.

Oakridge Place Shopping Center, Metairie Road,...

Oakridge Place Shopping Center, Metairie Road, Metairie, Louisiana. Grocery store, view from parking lot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think quite often the bureaucrats that make the decisions forget about the people who don’t have cars. Those bureaucrats probably have their own cars. A few might take public transit, but I believe they’re in the minority and I believe that they have access to cars if they wish.

The problem is more widespread than just this recycling issue. I’ve noticed quite often with parking lot designs that while it seems the designs are good for pedestrians at first glance — this is only true for people coming from parked cars into the establishment. For people coming off the street the design is not quite as good.

You often find the pedestrian entrances to the establishment from the street are less than desirable. As a pedestrian I have often found myself going very far out of my way to get the pedestrian entrance. They are distances that if you were in a car are not very long, however on foot they’re quite large. It all seems geared to people who have parked their cars and are going to the establishment.

Road Construction

Road Construction (Photo credit: ahhyeah)

Shopping centres are just a nuisance. It gets very dangerous sometimes around construction sites. Building construction sites often rip up sidewalks and create large obstacles for pedestrians. They require you to walk on the opposite side of the street from the side that you require. If the city blocks are short and there are pedestrian crossings nearby it is not too bad — however if the blocks are quite long or if not every block has a pedestrian crossing and the street is busy with traffic, it can be not only inconvenient, but dangerous.

Car Park

Car Park (Photo credit: chrisinplymouth)

In fact sometimes they leave no options at all for the pedestrian and they are left to figure out their own way to merge with traffic and get to the destination. Sometimes it’s not too bad on a dry sunny day, but if you get any precipitation the mud, gravel, and water can make for an adventurous walk. And then there are the issues for people who are not on foot. I have seen where they’ve made it nearly impossible — make that impossible for a person in a wheelchair or mobility scooter to pass. For that matter there are people with baby carriages, strollers, and grocery carts. Not everyone drives or rides. Not everyone has two sound feet.

Overloaded baby carriage

Overloaded baby carriage (Photo credit: craig1black)

Bureaucrats have to remember that not everyone is as mobile as they are. This is strange considering how locally we have had a number of politicians who have been disabled and even in wheelchairs.

In a day and age when we are trying to encourage people to use public transportation and to remember people who are disabled — we can’t forget them when we plan the other facilities and systems in our cities and towns.

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A Step Back

Ford E-Series photographed in New Westminster,...

Ford E-Series photographed in New Westminster, British Coumbia, Canada. Category:Ford E-Series busesCategory:TransLink (British Columbia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

British Columbia’s Metro Vancouver public transit system is run by Translink; and they announced recently, that they are going to scrap a system by which people entitled to “HandyDART” access — which is a door-to-door minibus service that seniors and disabled folks can book — can  buy coupons to pay for 50% of taxi fares to supplement the service.

HandyDART

HandyDART (Photo credit: paulkimo90)

Translink feels that improvements to the HandyDART service — increasing it to 18 hours a day which includes evening until midnight — as well as the fact that nearly all public transit buses as well as other modes of transit are “accessible”, renders the TaxiSaver program unnecessary. The money saved by scrapping the program will be used to increase usage of taxis used to supplement the HandyDART service. Taxis are used when HandyDART vans aren’t available and using a taxi won’t compromise client care.

They expect to save $1.1 Million over the next 3 years and will be reinvesting $200,000 into the supplementary taxi service. (Facts from The Vancouver Courier)

Columbia Station

Columbia Station (Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd)

This might seem reasonable at first. A person in a wheelchair or using a walker can book a ride on the HandyDART to travel from doorstep to doorstep with an attendant for the price of bus-fare basically. They also can ride any transit bus and all the elevated rapid transit trains — SkyTrain — or cross harbour passenger ferry — Seabus — or the commuter rail — West Coast Express — as they are all “accessable” now. Of course I guess taxis are still an option, though at full price.

English: SeaBus crossing Burrard Inlet. ‪中文(繁體...

English: SeaBus crossing Burrard Inlet. ‪中文(繁體)‬: 海上巴士橫渡布勒内灣。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the other hand…

As I am led to understand, you can only take the bag or two you can carry when on the HandyDART. On public transit of course you might take a two wheeled grocery cart, if you can manage it with your wheelchair, mobility scooter, walker, or cane. Mind you, There is limited space on those accessible buses for scooters and chairs … and strollers, walkers… and once those are taken, there is no more room. The buses I take often have those spots filled. A driver might not take on someone with a grocery cart when someone on board has a baby stroller.

English: TransLink West Coast Express trains a...

English: TransLink West Coast Express trains at Waterfront Station in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even then, a person can only put so much in a two wheeled grocery cart. When you take a taxi you might do two or three weeks grocery shopping. That means only one trip every two or three weeks which makes a difference to a person who can’t get out much.When you are taking the bus things just might not work out — you might not be able to get from here to there.

For instance, you might walk 250 metres to the bus stop and take a bus 500 metres before transferring to another bus. which will take you 1 or 2 more km to where you get off and walk another 250 or so metres to the store. Then you still have to get the groceries before reversing the process on transit — With the groceries in that two wheeled cart. Of course since you can only get 1 week of groceries — if you can fit in a weeks worth or carry that much — you have to do it again each week. This is not so easy when to start with you have health issues and probably stamina issues.

TransLink Bus

TransLink Bus (Photo credit: nathanpachal)

The HandyDART won’t allow you to take enough on to do your groceries You also can’t bring other larger purchases that might fit into a cab. Public transit also just won’t work for many due to stamina issues and the complexity of handling a cart or grocery bags on a bus. Taxis are expensive and the TaxiSavers helped a lot. What else is there really?

Then there is the issue of needing to book the HandyDART in advance. Some things are just not bookable. Also from what I hear, people are unable to book rides because HandyDART is overbooked already. Perhaps the influx of more money might help, but then also there will be more need.

The TaxiSavers only paid half of the Cab-fare. The client paid the other half — so I figure it likely wasn’t abused.

Removing it seems a step back.

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