Public Transit Chain Reaction

Oliver and I have settled into a comfortable pattern of taking the bus home from Stars for Life every weekday afternoon: I catch the 3:45 p.m. bus up, and we catch the 4:30 p.m. bus back.

The Route № 2 bus, which I catch up to Stars for Life, is frequently late, but generally only by a few minutes.

Today, though, there was a chain reaction that caused a longer delay than is usual: we hit the Wall of Public Servants leaving Charlottetown out North River Road.

In the normal course of affairs it’s smooth sailing for Route № 2, as there’s little traffic on North River Road at 3:48 p.m. Tack on a 5 or 6 minute delay, however, and suddenly it’s quitting time downtown for a glut of provincial and federal public servants, and North River Road fills up from Kirkwood Drive to Capital Drive and then inches along. Which delays the bus even more.

The irony here is that if more public servants took the bus, the bus wouldn’t be late. So more public servants would take the bus.

Chain reactions work in two directions.

Bolstering my Bolstr Bag

In January 2018 I replaced my venerable Marimekko Cash & Carry Shoulder Bag with a Bolstr EDC bag.

The Bolstr has much to recommend it, and I happily carried it on my shoulder for over a year.

Until this spring when the magnetic closure on the front flap separated from the bag.

As I store my mobile phone under that front flap. having it flap around was untenable, and I had to pull the Marimekko out of retirement until I could have the Bolstr repaired.

The nub of the issue–literally–was this clasp:

Bolstr magnetic clasp

This piece was attached to the flap; it’s actually two parts that screw into each other, with a piece of fabric–a piece of fabric that ended up giving way–sandwiched between them.

I didn’t know that they screwed together, and it wasn’t until I learned this today, via email from Bolstr HQ, that I realized that I could probably fix the problem myself.

What it came down to was needing to bolster (ha!) the flap to better accommodate the clasp; for this I used a two squares of leather originally acquired to make a brake for my letterpress.

On the inside of the flap the repair looks like this (I used orange cotton twine that I purchased from The Bookmark earlier this year to do the sewing); you can see the female side of the magnetic clasp under the flap.

The fix for my Bolstr bag clasp.

On the other side of the flap the only evidence of the fix is some bright orange stitching (I tucked the other half of the “leather sandwich” inside the flap rather than on the outside:

My Bolstr Bag

The fix is satisfyingly sturdy, and I’ve put the Marimekko back into storage and started carrying the Bolstr again.

I used the opportunity to resurrect my watercolour sketching practice; the Marimekko didn’t have room for my portable watercolour set nor my water brush, and so I’d been sketching only in black and white and grey for several months.

It’s nice to have the colours of the rainbow back at my disposal. I marked the occasion by sketching my sketchbook.

A notebook inside a notebook

The Summer of ‘69

My family spent the summer of 1969, as we did most summers in the late 1960s and early 1970s, “in the field” with my father. His work as a nearshore sedimentologist, with a particular interest the Great Lakes, meant that each summer we would decamp to a new location on Lake Ontario, or Lake Erie, or Lake Huron, generally to a provincial park. I remember those summers for their park rangers and salamanders and beaches and forests and tents and trailers.

On July 20, 1969—fifty years ago today—we were, by my mother’s recollection, on the shore of Lake Ontario near Cobourg. My father’s log from that day picks up the story:

Retired around 7 PM with the small TV set and watched moon walking using a VW battery and converter.

While I have memories before July 20, 1969, none are as crystal clear and vivid as that one: the family gathered around a tiny TV set, the picture–perhaps because it was running off a VW battery–smaller than it was supposed to be. I’m not sure I was old enough, at three, to comprehend the enormity of what was happening, but I’m certain that I picked up on my parents’ excitement. And, of course, that we were allowed to stay up much, much later than usual.

According to my parents, there were no family photos taken on that particular day, but here are some that my mother sent of me and brother Mike (just two years old himself) and our father in that summer of 1969.

Me and brother Mike and Dad in the summer of 1969

My next palpable memories, at least those involving the USA and television, were of the daily updates from Vietnam, and then of Nixon resigning.

But, man, that night in July 1969 was pretty amazing.

Last Minute Notices

I expect that the cadence of the reading of this blog does not lend itself to last minute notices of things, but just in case:

  • It’s Pen Night tonight and I’m hosting at my print shop in St. Paul’s Parish Hall, 101 Prince Street at 7:00 p.m. If you’re curious and/or passionate about fountain pens and—one night only!—want to see my letterpress in action, consider yourself invited.
  • It’s Free Root Beer Day at A&W. Go to A&W and they’ll give you a free root beer.

That is all.

How many electric vehicles are there on Prince Edward Island?

In the April 2019 provincial general election, all four of the political parties on Prince Edward Island had planks in their platforms related to electric vehicles.

The PC Party pledged to “develop a solar energy rebate and electric vehicle incentive program” and to “add more electric vehicles to the government fleet as replacements are required.” The Green Party to “develop a program to support the installation of electric vehicle chargers in homes and workplace,” to “create a purchase incentive for electric vehicles,” and to “transition the provincial fleet to electric vehicles.” The Liberal Party promised to “invest in new public electric vehicle charging stations and provide tax rebates for the purchase and installation of home charging stations” and the NDP to offer “increased incentives to encourage people to purchase electric or other low-pollution vehicles.”

All of which raises the question: how many electric vehicles are there on Prince Edward Island right now?

I asked the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, and here are the counts, by fuel type, for calendar year 2019 to date:

Gas/Propane 2 0.00%
Gas/Natural Gas 3 0.00%
Butane 3 0.00%
PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electric) 7 0.01%
Propane 10 0.01%
Gas/Alcohol 17 0.02%
Electric 33 0.05%
Diesel/Butane 65 0.09%
Other 110 0.15%
Hybrid — Electric/Gas 403 0.56%
Diesel 4,708 6.55%
Gas 66,511 92.54%
TOTAL 71,872 100.00%

Aggregated by fuel technology–fossil fuel (gas, diesel, butane, etc.), hybrid (like a Toyota Prius, which doesn’t plug-in, and a Kia Nero, which does) and battery electric (like a Tesla, Nissan LEAF or Chevy Bolt), the dominance of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles on the Island is ”why even bother making a pie chart” clear:

Fossil Fuel 71,429
Hybrid 410
Electric 33

I’m pretty sure I know personally at least a third of the electric vehicle owners on Prince Edward Island.

The province’s Climate Change Action Plan–which is actual policy, not platform–has two actions related to electric vehicle adoption:

12. Government will design and install a province-wide electric vehicle charging network to meet the needs of both residents and visitors to Prince Edward Island.

14. Government will increase the use of electric vehicles in its light-duty vehicle fleet.

That plan commits Islanders to lowering our carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from 1.8 megatonnes per year to 1.4 megatonnes per year; this has been further amended to 1.2 megatonnes per year

So, in other words, we have 11 years to stop emitting 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

These two Climate Action Plan moves related to electric vehicles were to be responsible for 20,000 tonnes of that; that’s 5% under the original targets, so under the new target we’ll need to increase that to 30,000 tonnes.

According to the EPA, the typical passenger vehicle emits 4.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, meaning that our commitment, if it were to come only from electric vehicle adoption (and generously assuming 100% zero carbon charging), will require 6,521 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.

Right now we have 33.

There was no electric vehicle incentive program announced in the June 25, 2019 Provincial Budget.