Mission

To catalyze discussion about public transit in Saskatoon and encourage change!

How We’re Going to Do That

In no particular order, some guiding ideas and principles for this project:

  • Community-Based Knowledge: Public transit is rooted in our community – the whole community! – so Better Transit YXE needs to be too. We want to engage with regular riders, those who are car-dependent, the young, the old, residents from the west side and east side, core and suburbs, since we all have experiences, knowledge, and ideas to bring forward.
  • Back to (Transit) Fundamentals: Forget the bus versus train debate: What do we want to get out of our transit system? What are the tradeoffs between coverage-based and ridership-based approaches? How do geographic choke-points, like bridges, affect transit planning? What is the relationship between frequency, speed, and capacity? Let’s go beyond the headlines and shouting points and instead learn more about the factors that go into a good system.
  • Light, Quick, Cheap: The Better Block project is an inspiration for more than just our name. Instead of spending time to raise funds or advocate for policy change, we would rather demonstrate what a better system could look like and spark some conversations. After all, if a small group of individuals with practically no budget can make a small difference, imagine what a city could do!
  • Partnerships: We’re not the only ones working in Saskatoon to improve transit and make it easier for everyone to get around – when there’s an opportunity for meaningful collaboration, let’s work together!
  • Mapping: Let’s face it, we’re map nerds. Whether we use online tools or table-sized maps and some coloured string, we think creating, playing around with, and analyzing maps can provide some useful insights (and provide some fun times to boot!).
  • Place-Making: Transit is more than just a means to get from point A to point B. Bus stops, transit hubs, and the buses themselves are all spaces that we spend part of our lives in. How do these elements connect with other places like sidewalks, businesses, services, and public spaces? What can be done to make them enjoyable spaces in their own right? Keep an eye out for Light, Quick, and Cheap improvements to transit infrastructure near you!
  • Fun: Transit is important business, but we don’t want to be serious all the time. What can we do to make the ride more enjoyable? If a bus driver in Toronto can make his riders smile through impossible trivia questions, we should be able to come up with something at least as good here!
  • Saskatoon-based: If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re located in Saskatoon :). There are many discussions, both officially and informally, taking place in this growing city about the directions we should take. Through our work, we hope to make sure that creating a better transit system is included in those conversations.

Who Are We?

Shannon McAvoy

Shannon McAvoy:

Shannon is in her fourth year of Regional and Urban Planning at the University of Saskatchewan. Shannon is doing the Environmental stream of the RUP program and is a 3M National Student Fellow. Ever since selling her car last year Shannon is increasingly interested in a better transit system, better bike lanes and more walkable communities. Shannon also thinks that the best 10 second of her days is the time between seeing her bus on the horizon and boarding the long awaited, warm bus!

Brian Hoessler

Brian Hoessler

Although he grew up in the suburbs of Winnipeg, Brian’s first memory of transit was riding the SkyTrain in Vancouver on a family trip. His experiences as a strap-hanger since then have included rides in Victoria, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa, New York City, Washington (DC), Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Barbados, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Cologne, Heidelberg, Munich, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and of course, Saskatoon. Brian works as a consultant helping build the capacity of non-profit organizations through his own company, Strong Roots Consulting. In his spare time, he enjoys playing trombone in the Saskatoon Community Band, exploring his new(ish) hometown of Saskatoon, and planning what city’s transit system to visit next (Portland, Oregon and Berlin are high on his list!).

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