Stop driving kids to school
Living "green" is a big priority in Whistler, and there is a really good school bus system available here to bring kids to all the schools.
For those lucky enough to live within reasonable range, the Valley Trail goes right by the schools and is a great option in season.
With that in mind, it seems unlikely to me that over 60 per cent of the parents at Myrtle Philip Community School need to be dropping their kids off by car in the morning. I am guessing that it is a fairly big detour for many.
If we want to raise a generation that keeps an eye on their individual carbon burn — and uses transit, bikes, and even walks — starting with the bus to school instead of "Mom's taxi" would probably be a good start.
After-school activities do make things more complicated, but carpooling is already common, and apparently the afternoons are less problematic.
Also, kids can actually take the bus to multi-day regular activities if you set it up in advance.
And, hey, wouldn't parents like kids to learn to be organized and get out the door in time for the bus? Another life skill there, too.
You could relax and enjoy your coffee while they travel with neighbourhood kids, and make the bus driver crazy instead of you.
Our family is now lucky enough to live here in Whistler, but when we lived in Quebec, our kids were on the bus at 6:50 a.m. and home after 4 p.m. For high school, it was 5:30 p.m.
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this letter identified the school as Spring Creek, when the writer meant to reference Myrtle Philip school. The letter writer regrets the error.)
Put pedestrian safety first
(Editor's note: This letter appears in this week's RMOW council package)
For decades now, Gondola Way (starting at the bus stop/pedestrian overpass in Creekside) has been one of the most dangerous and (I suspect but have no data) heavily used "pedestrian roads" in Whistler, where pedestrians are in constant danger of being struck by a car.
This road is the only access for hundreds of residents, many of them renters, including some living in employee housing, who have no cars and are forced to risk their lives daily to get to the bus.
Many are stupidly spread out in the roadway, often to find secure footing where the road has been ploughed for cars. Yes, alas, many also wear dark clothing, walk dogs, push strollers, or wear earbuds.
This road is within 100 metres of a neighbourhood commercial centre, a huge underground parking lot, a Gondola lift, ski rental and ticket centre, a regional bus stop and several local bus stops.
Based on steepness, curves, pedestrian traffic, proximity to commercial activity, vehicle volume and population density served, a sidewalk along Gondola Way up to Olive Terrace would seem to be a very high priority in Whistler's "green transportation" plan.
I know — a sidewalk on Gondola Way is not the municipality's responsibility, legally.
But as I understand it, any privately initiated sidewalk would require the unanimous agreement of all the owners of the road — 181 or so owners. I'm sure you'll agree that the likelihood of that happening is about zero, even though in the past there have been unanimous agreements on the need for safer pedestrian access from all the strata councils involved.
So we're left with this dangerous situation on a road that is a public right of way, cleared and maintained by RMOW, where cars are well looked after, but pedestrians not at all: RMOW policy apparently places all public resources on private roads at the service of private automobiles, but none at the service of pedestrians. In fact, the way this road is plowed often impairs pedestrian passage off the pavement. And yet RMOW says it wants people to use cars less, and active modes of transportation more.
I gather that with the laudable exception of the Valley Trail, sidewalk infrastructure is an issue throughout the municipality, where sidewalks even on public roads are an afterthought.
This has to change.
Does Whistler have any policy mechanism comparable to the City of Vancouver's policy on lane improvements, where a majority of adjacent residents are polled, and if in favour, the municipality levies a portion of the improvement costs on tax bills to recover the public investment?
Is it feasible to build an "upper-level" Valley Trail branch through Creekside (Franz's Walk) up Gondola Way and Sundance Place to connect with the Valley Trail to Function Junction, using the public-right-of-way provision on the roads?
Does RMOW have a policy for setting priorities for pedestrian safety improvements? If so, does it allow for any improvements on "private" roads that are public rights of way? If so, what are these priorities, and how does Gondola Way rank?
Does RMOW have any data on pedestrian volumes and/or vehicle accidents on private roads that are also public rights of way, in particular on Gondola Way?
Please consider this input for the budget discussion.
Please address concerns over taxi service
(Editor's note: This letter appears in this week's RMOW council package)
I visited Whistler with a group of friends from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19 and I would like to provide some constructive feedback regarding the taxi services currently available in Whistler.
This feeback is based on our interactions with Whistler Taxi Ltd. and Whistler Resort cabs. I will lead by saying that our experiences with these taxi services were so extremely frustrating, inconvenient, inadequate and unprofessional that I am not sure we would ever consider vacationing in Whistler in the future.
The skiing was fantastic but our experiences with these taxi services overshadowed all of the positives.
I have travelled all over North America from very remote areas to busy cities and I have never encountered anything like what I experienced in Whistler.
We had to call the cab company three to four times every time we needed a taxi because they did not show up within the scheduled timeframe.
They consistently did not show up for over an hour after we initially called then.
Additionally, they frequently sent taxis to the wrong location. This makes it very difficult to arrive at reservations on time or make connections to the bus station, train station and/or airport.
And during all of this, they lied to us multiple times and were completely unsympathetic and unapologetic about their lack of communication and customer service.
I am providing this feedback to you because there are so many easy solutions to this issue (such as Lyft or Uber) that would have made this experience so much better. The taxi created a dark cloud over our entire experience and it could easily have been prevented.
I would challenge Council to seek out some solutions here that would provide a better overall experience for your visitors if you would like them to return.
WSS students head to national math competition
The Whistler Secondary School (WSS) Math Team is so excited to be competing in the Canadian Senior Math Team Competition in April at the University of Waterloo (UW).
This is the first year that the students are travelling all the way to UW to compete with the best in Canada. We are excited to be showcasing the strong academics at WSS and hope to continue to grow our math program.
We have never competed as this level before, so we were surprised and impressed with how the Whistler community has rallied around our fundraising efforts.
We would not be going to this competition without the amazing support of our Whistler community. Thank you so much to: Armchair Books, Beauty by Emily, Blenz, Chateau Whistler Golf Club, Coast Mountain Photography, Colleen Fraser, RMT, Cool As a Moose, Creekbread Restaurant, Crepe Montagne, Crystal Lodge, Dr. Andrea Bologna, Escape Whistler, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Farfalla Salon, Forged Axe Throwing, The Grocery Store/Delish Café, Hunter Gather & Coastal Culture, Ice Kingdom, IGA Whistler, Mogiana Coffee, Nicklaus North, Petcurean, Pique Newsmagazine, Quattro, RBC, RimRock Café, Samurai Sushi, Scandinave Spa, Sidecut, Sportstop Source for Sports, Stonesedge, Surefoot, The Adventure Group, Two River Meats, Vida Spa, Westin Whistler, Whistler Golf Club, Whistler Secondary School and PAC, Whistler Sports Academy, Whistler Sports Legacies, Whistler Tasting Tours, Wildwood Restaurant, Xcess Backcountry and Yogacara Whistler.
Katherine Colpitts, Gina Mollicone-Long and the WSS Math Team