The Role of Stories in Civil Engineering Drawings

When you read a book, it is common to get caught up in the story, to view the characters, places and events as a “real” world, one that you’ve invested time into. When a story is poorly written, you can poke holes through the plot, there are missing scenes, or someone acts out of character […]


The planners out there might get upset to know that an engineer has crashed their party, then again, who knows, maybe they’ll be happy to have me along. Fifty years ago, Jane Jacobs, an activist, critic, author and urbanist,  wrote the seminal book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. This is the first book to be read […]

A Changed World

Communities around North America are waking up to a changed world. Our expectation for continuous improvement of the systems that support our lifestyles, transportation choices and patterns of housing has been shaken. Budget cuts are forcing communities and governments to reconsider priorities; in Washington State a new user fee was introduced for users of recreation trails, to […]

Transit Resiliency

I am a big advocate of having alternative modes of transport, after all motor vehicles are an expensive* and dirty mode of transport that we have historically given too much influence to in the design of our cities. I believe that the value of a dwelling, particularly in an urban setting, is relative to its […]

Road Load Limits

The BC Ministry of Transportation has recently started a blog, following in the footsteps of others, like, "The Fastlane”, the blog of the US Secretary for Transportation, Ray laHood. One of my favourite recent posts shows the importance of following spring road limits, with these two photos (click on the photos for a link to […]

The Permafrost Thaws

Article corrected 23rd March 2011. An article from Canada’s North this week may have slipped under the radar due to the high profile of the massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear risks that are gripping Japan. Recent studies indicate the permafrost of the southern Arctic is deteriorating at an alarming rate. In some regions of what […]

Public Investment Decisions

As I am headed to Vancouver for a couple of days later this week, I thought today’s post could start with a focus on a controversial transportation project, the Gateway Freeway “mega-project”. The City of New Westminster is smack in the middle of this project and public sentiment seems to be against the project, at […]