Saturday, February 5, 2011

29 +12 in 15, plus CSI

Recently, BeemerGirl made a post about riding 9 miles to work and missing all 13 stop lights . And Troubadour also commented that he usually missed his stop lights too. Thus I thought that it would be easy for me to count the number of stop lights I encounter whilst travelling to work. They are doing a lot of road maintenance around town and my main route has been closed for a few months due to sewer maintenance. I have no choice but to go the long way round which takes longer. There are no freeways within Vancouver City Limits. We have what they call the Lougheed highway but there are signal lights every mile or so, crosswalks and manual push button lights on demand. These push button controlled lights are usually flashing green until a pedestrian wants to cross the street, then they push a button on the pole and the light turns red for us. Many times I am the only vehicle for a mile in each direction and someone pushes the button to cross and I have to make my stop. I sometimes have to shake my head and wonder why they just don't wait until I pass .

So I started my plan on Monday morning and started counting the signal lights. I took the slow route taking 41st Avenue then Eastbound on Kingsway. Now my brain doesn't function at full speed at 7am in the morning. One, Two then a problem, there was a manual controlled green flashing light. so now it was two-dash-one, then another flashing light, now two-dash-two, then a regular light 3-dash-two and so on until as I continued on my way


As I approach the Metrotown area there are signal lights (or manual controlled lights) at nearly every block and you encounter a maze of RED. There were as many manual as regular automatically controlled lights

(about 1/2 hour before sunrise, Metrotown, Burnaby, BC)

13-dash-5, 14-dash-6, 14-dash-7 and before I get to work I have lost count. I was having a problem keeping the numbers straight and I was counting the next light as I approached it, and when I passed under the light I think I double counted. Not to worry, I thought I would just forget it and count again on Tuesday.

So Tuesday comes around and I had a better plan. I would count the light as I passed under the light rather than as I saw it. This would eliminate my double counts. Brilliant I thought. But somehow as I made my way to work I was paying attention to traffic and again, forgot to count some lights. So now my count got moved to Wednesday. I also got my map out and imagined my route along the way and tried to put in the stop lights. No problem but I was having trouble imagining the manually controlled ones.

I can't believe that such a simple chore as to counting signal lights was so hard. I mean if BeemerGirl can do it, so can I. I'm not going to lose concentration today. I'm now up to Wednesday and I start counting again. Today I am going to count out loud so my sieve of a brain can keep everything straight. I pass my first light and count ONE. Then I repeat One, one, one until I get under the next light, then it is two, two , two and so on until I get to light three. All seems to be going well until I get to work and can't be sure what the final count was. I was thinking that I should have a pad and pen and make stroke lines of manual and automatic as I make my way to work.

Well, Thursday has come and I start counting again and decide that whatever the count, this was going to be it. I am not positively sure but here is the official, unofficial count (ie: subject to verification) My commute is around 15 miles and I have 29 signal lights, and approx 12 manual pedestrian controlled lights, for a grand total of 41 lights. Here in Vancouver you miss as many manual lights as automatic ones as pedestrians are stupid.

On Friday I take the faster route along Lougheed Highway. Unofficially there are 19 auto lights and about 10 manual ones.


The Weekend has finally arrived and while I was getting my 'Strom ready to meet my friends for breakfast, I hear on the radio that there has been a shooting near the end of our lane, and that Oak Street (a major arterial street) has been closed from 41st to 33rd avenue. I walk to the end of our block and look south


there is a police cruiser stopping all the traffic at 41st avenue. Then I turn to my right and look north. They've got CSI yellow tape spread everywhere


There is no traffic, but our street is barracaded


I notice the tape on the first light standard and I don't think I am supposed to cross that line, but I walk on the street where there is no tape and slowly make my way towards the intersection


There are a few people around guarding the intsection and others gathering evidence. I don't think I am supposed to take photos but I do anyway whilst no one is looking at me. I am trying to look incognito


I heard on the news that it was a person 30 years old whom is well-known by the police as belonging to a gang and that it was a targeted "hit". Witnesses say there was a hail of gunfire around 4am and then a bang as his car hit another parked on the street, then careened over the sidewalk.


Notice all those yellow triangular cones on the ground. I would imagine that these are all shell casings. The Police were scouring all over the place looking for more. Later I rode my V-strom around the lane and didn't notice the car which was reported to have bullet holes in it.

somehow I knew that I needed a longer lens so I mounted my Canon 100mm 2.8 onto my T2i in order to get more 'reach' .


I had my camera under my shoulder and nearly hidden. As I was talking to the officer on duty he told me to get on my way as I should not be this close to the scene, before his supervisor noticed me, and I turned around for one final shot


While the rest of the continent is under a blanket of snow, our roads are dry and we have Spring like temperatures again today, nearly 52F

So I did what you were dreaming of, I mounted my mighty V-strom and headed South . . .


  1. "I mean if BeemerGirl can do it, so can I." LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! (I'm still chuckling over that one.)

    Wow, I thought our traffic lights were bad here with them sometimes being installed only hundreds of yards apart. But you and SonjaM have taught me they are everywhere!! (Hint: video your ride to work and then just count the lights as you watch it later... ;) )

    Interesting shots of the crime scene. Scary to see it so close to you!

    Your weather sounds wonderful! Today is supposed to attain an amazing 55F! Roads, here we come!


  2. Bob - When I leave home, the nearest stoplight I can hit is about 30 km (18 miles) away. But after that they're pretty regular, and always red.
    Scary to have a shooting just down the street... perhaps that's part of the tradeoff for having 50 degree weather in February.

  3. I never said I miss the stop lights but the complete opposite, nobody likes riding with me because I am cursed to stop at every light it seems. Now you are aware of all the lights on your commute you will get more and more frustrated everyday.
    My 13 mile one way commute consists of 5 stop signs (2 are out in the middle of nowhere and are generally ignored), 6 traffic lights (4 of them right turns into work/left turns coming homing home) and only one pedestrian crossing.
    I am confused about the shooting in Vancouver, Canadians don't carry guns, are you sure it wasn't a drive by stabbing?

  4. Off the top of my head, I have 8 traffic lights and 5 stop signs, dependent on route choice. My commute home is a different route. I'll figure it's stops some other time...

    Loved the stealth photos of the crime scene. I'm always curious about these things, but I'm way to cowardly to try to get close for photos.

    I'm glad you didn't get arrested and carted off to jail...Mrs. Bobskoot having to post bail...though it would make for an interesting blog post!

    Take care!

  5. Bob,
    I think if I had that many stop lights on a regular basis to count I'd be in the same boat you were in. BeemerGirl's idea of video taping it sounds good!

    Regarding the shooting down the street, I think you should get a "Press Pass". You probably got better shots than the Vancouver newspaper. Nice job! Sorry about the shooting though.

    I like your header!

  6. I consider myself lucky with only 2 lights and one stop sign. I rarely need to stop at either of the lights.

    I was wondering about the "no hand guns in Canada" thing as well...


  7. Dear Bobskoot:

    I have been to Vancouver 4 or 5 times, and regard it as one of North America's most beautiful cities. I am amazed at the poshness of your neighborhood, and the utter brutality of your neighbors. I'd say the time has come for you to invest in a machine gun or a flame-thrower.

    I realize that it is treason to suggest that violent crime has raised its ugly head in Canada, but it is only a matter of time before gangs decide to eliminate the "pink crocs" mob.

    I witnessed an Amish drive-by shooting here... Two buggies slow down, swerve toward each other, and exchange shoo-fly pies at velocity. At some point, an Amish thug will figure out that putting a brick in the baked pie will increase its effectiveness, and the arms race will be on.

    Three traffic lights separate me from the expressway north. Seven keep me from the big highway to the west. At 5pm, It can take 25 minutes to get through those three traffic lights. It can take 40 minutes to cover 11-miles on the expresssway at 8am. Lights or no lights, traffic here is a bitch.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • ®eep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  8. Hahahahahahahaha - that's a brilliant post Bob!

    My nearest traffic light (exluding any temporary ones for road works) is 63 km away and that controls a single lane road bridge. I'm scratching my head after that!!!

  9. On a normal day it's 45 minutes, 25 miles and 28 stop lights + 3 stop signs. Fortunately I have yet to run into the CSI.

  10. Geez I feel so spoiled with a 3 mile commute that has only 4 stop lights.

    I don't know how you stand the traffic in the lower mainland. We do what we must I guess.

    Great pics of the crime scene too. You were in stealth mode......

  11. One of these days when I'm already feeling depressed . . . and, the ice has melted enough for me to commute to work again, I'm going to count the stoplight and stop signs in my 8 1/2 commute. Until then, I'm in denial.


  12. Zero stop lights here. But then I'm retired.

    Good job on the CSI pics and good job on not being there when the lead was flying!

  13. Those pedestrian-controlled lights flash *GREEN* until someone wanting to cross the street hits the button. It drives me crazy. Every time I go to Vancouver it seems there are more and more of them. It's a good thing I'm not prone to seizures...

    Scootin' Old Skool

  14. Hey Bob:

    I wrote my comment when I was dead tired. I looked at it again this morning in horror. I never meant to imply that I was surprised you lived in an affluent neighborhood... Rather, that crime was spreading out in Vancouver.

    I narrowly escaped a mugging in Vancouver's Chinatown 14 years ago. I was surprised then to learn that Chinatown was a dangerous place. I remember Vancouver as a sprawling, spotlessly clean city, of verdant hedges, green lawns, leafy trees, and happy people. I'm delighted to learn you weren't caught in the crossfire.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  15. Great post... If I plan my ride correctly, I can make it the 7 miles to work and only have one traffic light.

    If I go through that light by myself, it is usually green. If Troubadour is in front of me, it is always red, if Troubadour is behind me, usually green. He has Red light stink all over him. If anyone has any "Red Light Stink Remover" we would all appreciate you send it to Troubadour with haste!

  16. Beemergirl: Traffic is a nightmare here. The city fathers will do anything to make traffic crawl in the hopes that we will take rapid transit. Except that the park and rides are a magnet for thieves and routes are not convenient for me and where I have to travel

    Canajun: You are lucky to be in a more rural area, but I do like the ammenities of a larger centre

    Troubadour: Canadian gun laws are for law abiding citizens like myself. There are no laws for crooks and thieves who are able to obtain guns easily

    BlueKat: don't make me count the stop signs too. I lose count too easily. My brain gets confused easily

    Mike: Thanks, re: Header. That was taken before we took the road through Yakima Canyon. SonjaM and Myself had a large milkshake as it was nearly 100f that day

    We have some streets like Broadway where in some sections there is a signal light at every intersection, for blocks

    Richard: You are lucky to not have too many traffic lights. The Government controls guns for regular citizens but all the crooks have them

  17. Jack: It takes forever to travel anywhere. So much traffic and too many signal lights. It seems like crimes knows no boundaries

    Geoff: I so envious. No traffic lights and lots of twisties. You don't have to rub it in

    682202/GAW: You seem to have a few lights too. My normal commute takes around 40 min, but on the way home it could take an hour or more

    Trobairitz: Your TU250 would be right at home here. You won't even get out of 2nd gear. One day when you are on your way to Kelowna for a family visit, you will see our mess for yourselves. The main drag in Kelowna is also very congested.

    Keith: Sorry to hear that you are "iced-in". We are already half way to Spring and days are getting longer every day.

    Ken: I'm hoping to be retired soon too, but lack of funds is ruining my plan

  18. Orin: what really bugs me about those manually controlled signs are that pedestrians push them when there are no other cars around and I have to stop, wait for them to cross and all the while I am the only car for a mile in each direction.

    also sometimes they push the button before noticing there are no cars around. they cross, but I have to stop for the red light and there is no one around.

    Jack: We are in a quiet area usually devoid of crime. They must be getting the squeeze where they come from

    Rick: by word association, every time I hear the name Rick, I have been Pavlov trained to think "Dim Sum" . now you've made me hungry. We have lots of Dim-Sum up here. Vancouver is known locally as Hongcouver.

    I don't know if your magical powers will work up here. we have too many traffic lights.