Transforming the Edmonton International Airport into a destination

When was the last time you lingered – by choice – at the Edmonton International Airport? In the future, you might.

New EIA Air Traffic Control Tower

Earlier this month I attended a tour of the Edmonton International Airport called Taste of EIA with Sharon and Rebecca. We spent the evening eating, sampling some of what the airport has to offer passengers who aren’t rushing to catch their flight. If you’re more interested in hearing about the food, be sure to check out their posts. I’ll touch on it, but I’m going to focus more on how Taste of EIA fits into the bigger strategy for the airport.

EIA has set an “ambitious goal” of reaching 12 million passengers by 2020, according to its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan (PDF). That is ahead of third party projections of 11 million, but seems achievable if recent increases continue (as of June, numbers for 2015 are slightly behind the same time last year).

EIA Passenger Statistics
Stats via EIA, and do not count fixed base operators (FBO) passengers

You might be tempted to compare EIA to YYC, which surpassed 12 million passengers back in 2007. And while passenger traffic at EIA has been growing quickly, so is passenger traffic in Calgary. It seems unlikely that EIA is going to surpass or even compete with YYC anytime soon, so the strategy needs to be different.

EIA wants to become a destination, by focusing on passengers, creating exceptional customer experiences, and by developing non-aeronautical initiatives. You can see the building blocks coming together to make that happen. There’s the Renaissance Hotel at EIA so you can stay at the airport. There’s “over 60 shops and restaurants” available now to passengers. There’s the extensive parking options to make coming and going easier. And there’s the growing list of services and amenities, like free wi-fi, banking, storage, and plenty of power outlets.

Taste of EIA

So can it work?

I’ll admit I’m the kind of traveler who likes to arrive as close to departure as possible, at least when I’m traveling on my own. I’ve heard my name called for final boarding on a few occasions. My goal is generally to spend as little time as possible in airports – I just want to get in and get out. There have been some exceptions, however. The last time I flew to the US I went early because I knew I could get some work done with free wi-fi, Starbucks, and comfortable seating on the other side of security. I’ve never really thought about going to have a meal first though.

Taste of EIA

On the night we visited for Taste of EIA we ate at three places: Houston Steak & Ribs, Belgian Beer Cafe, and Cookies by George. Definitely the latter is my usual kind of airport stop, a quick coffee and a cookie suit me fine. But if I wanted to linger, I’d consider stopping at Houston, if for no other reason than the view (it looks out on the runways). I didn’t find the food particularly unique, but the sliders were good and came with delicious sweet potato fries. I’d order those again.

Taste of EIA

But will I really choose to go early and eat? I’m not sure. Maybe with Sharon.

I suppose it would help to sign up for EIA Rewards which offers members 25% discounts at the Plaza Premium Lounge and monthly discounts for parking, shopping, and dining. You can also win prizes like free parking or even flights. The program is free to join and is just another way that EIA is working to attract regular patrons to help increase non-aeronautical revenue.

Another way they are hoping to increase revenue is by adopting the “aerotropolis” model of commercial development (just like in Vancouver, Memphis, and Amsterdam).

“EIA is one of two Canadian airports to adopt the ‘aerotropolis’ concept. We are now transforming EIA from an ‘emerging aerotropolis’ to an ‘operational aerotropolis’ through developments such as the Cargo Village and Highway Commercial.”

Think of the aerotropolis model as a mini commercial city, but with the airport as the core. For EIA, it means expansion of the Cargo Village, the development of an office campus, possibly another hotel, light industrial activity, and other retail opportunities. They might even build a pet hotel!

Outlet Collection at Niagara
Walking into Outlet Collection at Niagara

The big project you’ve already heard about is the Highway Commercial, which refers to the proposed, 415,000-square-foot outlet mall that will be built by Ivanhoé Cambridge (the developers behind CrossIron Mills) next to Highway 2. That shopping centre will be serviced by a shuttle from the airport and is slated to open in the fall of 2017. I’m hopeful that it’ll be similar to the Outlet Collection at Niagara in terms of design, with lots of open, outdoor space.

But that’s a future project and of course by being outside the airport it’ll be open to anyone, not just passengers. Still, it could be another reason to spend time and money at EIA. And that’s ultimately what they’re after in the quest to become a destination.

In the meantime, there are plenty of shops and restaurants at EIA for you to experience. If you give yourself the time to do so, of course!

You can see more photos from Taste of EIA here.

Edmonton needs to keep pushing for LRT funding

With major funding announcements over the last few weeks for public transit in Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary, many Edmontonians are wondering when our election handout will appear. Some are even suggesting that Edmonton is being shortchanged by the federal government when comparing previous funding commitments to the most recent ones. Mayor Iveson tweeted “no worries” and promised that City Council is “not done asking” for more LRT funding.

Einstein's Train
Photo by Mark Iocchelli

Let’s recap the funding announcements

The total cost of Stage 1 of the Valley Line LRT (Mill Woods to Downtown) is about $1.8 billion, with $800 million coming from the City, $600 million coming from the Province, and $400 million coming from the federal government.

The first federal contribution of $250 million from P3 Canada was made back in March 2013. Nearly a year later, the new Building Canada Fund was introduced which is expected to cover the additional $150 million needed from the federal government. Then in March 2014, the Province committed its $600 million contribution to the project. It consists of $250 million in GreenTRIP funding, $200 million in an interest-free loan, and $150 million to match the federal government’s Building Canada contribution.

In April 2015, the federal government unveiled its budget, called Economic Action Plan 2015. The budget included a new Public Transit Fund that would provide $750 million over two years starting in 2017-2018, and $1 billion annually thereafter.

“Large cities in Canada depend on public transit infrastructure to facilitate the mobility of people and goods and support economic development. Strong and efficient public transit networks help get people to their jobs, students to class and all citizens out in their community to see family and friends. Public transit also helps to reduce overall urban congestion, which helps to get goods to markets faster and supports productive and growing cities.”

Further details were released in June:

“In order to be eligible for support under the PTF, projects must have a minimum of $1 billion in total estimated eligible costs. Federal contributions under the fund will be up to one-third of the total eligible costs and will lever the expertise, ingenuity, and financing of the private sector and alternative funding mechanisms.”

They also announced that federal support provided through the P3 Canada Fund “will increase from 25 to 33.3 per cent of eligible project costs on a go forward basis.” This is why some feel that Edmonton is being shortchanged compared to other cities – the funding commitments we received were made before this change took place.

At the same time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the federal government would contribute one third of the costs of Toronto’s SmartTrack proposal, which equates to about $2.6 billion.

On July 22, the federal government announced a pledge of $1 billion from the new Public Transit Fund for Ottawa’s “Stage 2″ plan. Like Edmonton’s plans, the $3 billion project anticipates each level of government covering a third of the cost.

And then most recently, on July 24, a $1.53 billion contribution to Calgary’s $4.6 billion Green Line LRT was announced, also from the new Public Transit Fund, and again covering one third of the total cost.

Public Transit Fund: strings attached

Canadians should be disappointed that it takes an election to prioritize funding for public transit. City Councils across the country have made it clear that public transit infrastructure is critical for dealing with growth and congestion. According to the Canadian Urban Transit Association, $3 of economic activity is generated for every $1 spent on transit. And they say that from 2006 to 2013, public transit ridership increased by 21% in Canada.

Are the Conservatives just trying to buy votes? “The sudden spending announcements across the country merely highlight the total inadequacy of funding for public projects in non-election years,” said Joel French, Director of Communications and Campaigns for Public Interest Alberta, in a statement yesterday. “Rather than reducing our cities to the role of simply hoping for electioneering handouts, we absolutely must fund our urban centres in ways that will allow them to meet the growing needs of city residents in a fair, just and sustainable manner.” Some say it’s this sporadic approach to funding public transit that has caused Canada to fall behind on public transit.

Another concern is that the Public Transit Fund is being administered by P3 Canada. That means that any public transit project funded through the program will need to be a P3, whether it suits the project and context or not. Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has previously stated that “the real problem is that the only dedicated federal funding at this moment is through P3 Canada” and felt that a P3 didn’t make sense for Calgary’s transit expansion plans. Evidently that’s no longer the case.

And you can’t blame him – he’s going to take what he can get. Whether we like it or not, the Valley Line LRT extension here in Edmonton will be a P3 project because that’s the only way we could secure the required federal funding.

There’s a lot more LRT left to build

While the Public Transit Fund is a step in the right direction, it’s not the solution to Canada’s transit infrastructure needs. Cities across the country have plans for LRT that will require billions of dollars of investment and they need to be able to plan for that.

South Campus LRT
Photo by Mark Iocchelli

Here in Edmonton, the Valley Line LRT is just one part of the long-term LRT Network Plan which will require significant investment over the next 35 years. A full build-out is going to be required if our population forecasts prove to be accurate, with 2.2 million people living in the Edmonton region by 2044 and daily ridership of nearly 500,000 passengers.

I hope the federal government does top up its contributions to the Valley Line LRT, bringing their portion to the same one-third that other major cities are now getting. But even if they do, we’re not done. We need to keep pushing for stable LRT funding.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #165

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Global Edmonton Weather Team
Global Edmonton’s weather team as of today

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for 7/26/2015

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

yeg stormy (1 of 1)
yeg stormy, photo by Paul

Upcoming Events

Edmonton K-Days Exhibition - 2015
Edmonton K-Days Exhibition, photo by IQRemix

Highlights from the 2015 Growth Monitoring Report

The City of Edmonton released its annual Growth Monitoring Report recently, known as Our Growing City. At 90 pages it’s full of information. Here are some things I wanted to highlight!

Upward, Inward, Outward?

growth

The report (and associated infographic) likes to talk about how Edmonton is growing up, in, and out. But is it really?

Several key initiatives demonstrate how this vision guides Edmonton’s growth. The Quarters Downtown, West Rossdale, Blatchford, downtown redevelopment, and Transit Oriented Development are helping our central neighbourhoods and areas along Edmonton’s expanding LRT routes grow “upward.” Ongoing efforts to enable infill opportunities in our mature and established neighbourhoods help the city grow “inward,” and the construction of new neighbourhoods in developing areas enables our city to grow “outward.”

The truth is that developing neighbourhoods, the “outward” part of growth, account for the majority of residential development. The report states that as in 2013, “developing neighbourhoods accounted for 83% of all residential growth” last year. Our city continues to grow out much more quickly than up or in.

You can see the neighbourhood classifications on a map here.

Core neighbourhoods accounted for 8% of all growth in 2014 while mature neighbourhoods accounted for just 6%. “This is an increase of 18% from 2013 unit growth (704 units),” the report says. “It is, however, a relatively low proportion of city-wide growth due to strong increases in newer neighbourhoods.” Established neighourhoods accounted for 3% of all new units.

Nine of the top ten fastest growing neighbourhoods over the last five years are in the south.

The fastest growing are Summerside, The Hamptons, and Windermere.

The only potential bright spot here is that recent NSPs tend to plan more dense communities and “contain a more balanced range of dwelling types” than they have in the past. Here’s a look at the density map:

low density residential lot supply by subsector

You can see that the new areas around the edge may actually be more dense than existing communities in mature and established neighbourhoods. If we don’t do anything to increase the density of those areas, that is.

Demographic Shifts

As of June 30, 2014 the Edmonton CMA had 1,328,290 residents, up 3.3% over the same time in 2013. We’re the second fastest growing CMA in the country after Calgary. And we’re comparatively young.

The Edmonton CMA is comparatively much younger than major Canadian city regions with a median age of 36 years.

Most other cities have a media age of 39-40 years. Our city’s largest cohort is 25-39 years of age, followed by the 49-65 age group.

dwelling unit density by neighbourhood

You might think with all of those young people that we’d have more families. And maybe we do, but not in established parts of the city.

A demographic shift is occurring in mature and established areas of the city. The population is ageing and households are decreasing in size. There will be a significant increase in lone person and two person households.

It’s a complicated issue, but ageing in place means that young families are pushed to the developing areas (as shown in the above map), which means we have to build new schools, recreation facilities, etc. It means we continue to grow outward.

Regional Competition

In 2014, 71% of all housing starts in the Edmonton region occurred within the city, which is better than the 10 year average of 66% (our high was 94% in 1982 and our low was 53% in 1996). But remember, the bulk of our growth is happening in developing areas, and that often means single-detached homes.

neighbourhood summary

Our share of regional single-detached housing starts over the last 10 years has averaged 59%. We don’t have much competition when it comes to folks wanting to live in condos or apartments. But for single family homes, there are lots of options just outside Edmonton’s boundaries. And this is a problem because surrounding communities don’t build communities that are as dense as the ones Edmonton is building.

Zoning & Annexation

boundary history

The report states that the Edmonton region is expected to grow to just under 2.2 million by 2044, with the city itself reaching 1.4 million people by that time. Looking further to 2064 our city’s population is expected to grow to 2.1 million. All those people are going to have to live somewhere, so “approximately 270,000 new housing units” are required to handle the anticipated growth.

This is why the City is pursuing annexation.

“The City of Edmonton is quickly running out of room to accommodate anticipated growth. This is especially true for industrial lands but is also true for residential developments.”

We’re only “quickly” running out of room because our growth pattern hasn’t changed much. There is room to grow inward:

Edmonton’s core, mature and established neighbourhoods share a total of 180 ha of vacant land, with the distribution of this land varying widely amongst them. In total, 1,343 vacant lots have been identified within the central core, mature and established neighbourhoods.

That vacant land could house an additional 3,287 dwelling units and potentially 7,725 people, based on existing zoning. If we re-zoned land and consolidated some lots the potential could be even higher. Not enough for all of the anticipated growth, but more than we’re on track to house centrally.

For the last decade or so, a 2:1 ratio of residential to industrial/commercial land area has continued in Edmonton.

“Without annexation, Edmonton will exhaust its industrial supply of land in 10 years and its residential in 12 to 17 years. The proposed annexation ensures that both industrial and residential land inventories meet the policy target of maintaining a minimum 30-year supply.”

The need for more industrial land is what’s really driving the two currently proposed annexations, in Leduc County and Sturgeon County.

In Edmonton the current proportion of zoned land uses is roughly 32% residential, 3% commercial, 12% industrial, 7% institutional and 9% parks and open space, special “direct control” zones account for 4% of land uses, Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC) 6% and 27% agriculture.

That’s a big drop in agricultural and reserve land, which was at 37% previously. “For the past decade Edmonton has been converting an average of 1,000 hectares of agriculture and reserve zoned land into urban zones.”

More Information

You can learn much more about Edmonton’s growth at the City’s website.

There are also some useful data sets in the open data catalogue. Here are a few that are relevant (but there are dozens):

What else did you find interesting in the report?

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #164

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Slide the City
Virgin Radio at Slide the City

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for 7/19/2015

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

100 Fountains
100 Fountains, photo by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

Slide The City - Edmonton
Slide The City, photo by IQRemix

Highlights from the 2015 Grand Taste Tour

Last weekend I accompanied Sharon on the 2015 Grand Taste Tour, “an interactive educational experience” hosted by Taste Alberta and the 124 Grand Market. As Sharon is a Gastropost adviser, we were fortunate to attend as guests of Taste Alberta. I know she’ll be posting a more complete write-up soon, but for now I wanted to share some highlights.

2015 Grand Taste Tour
The Taste Alberta crew, photo by Linda

There were two variants to the tour: the bee tour which stopped at Wolf Willow Honey and the dairy tour which visited Breveliet Dairy. Both tours also got to see Tofield Meat Packers and Irvings Farm Fresh. As we had toured Bles Wold Dairy in the past, we decided to go with the bee tour.

It was neat to see the bees and hives and to taste the different variants of honey but overall I was a bit underwhelmed. I would have appreciated some more information and guidance during the tasting, for one thing. That said, Doug Chalmers was an encyclopedia of information and it was great learning from him how the bees do their thing! You can buy Wolf Willow Honey at Duchess Provisions.

Wolf Willow Honey
Sharon tasting the honey

Wolf Willow Honey
Bees!

Wolf Willow Honey
Doug Chalmers teaching us about bees

Our next stop was Tofield Packers. It’s a relatively small facility but is the one that Irvings Farm Fresh uses. I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to see the processing part of the process. We walked through and saw where the animals are led in, one-by-one, to the kill floor. Next was the aging rooms where the carcasses were hanging, followed by the freezers and the smoker.

Tofield Meat Packers
Tofield Packers

Tofield Meat Packers
Cattle and pigs

Tofield Meat Packers
It was about -25 C in this room!

Sharon and I have been buying Irvings Farm Fresh products for years now and have always wanted to visit the farm. When the Grand Taste Tour came up it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally do so! The berkshire pigs looked just as happy as we imagined they would, with lots of space and mud to enjoy.

Irvings Farm Fresh
Berkshire pigs

Irvings Farm Fresh
Happy pigs in the mud

Irvings Farm Fresh
Alan and Sharon

In between touring the farm and lunch we had a butchery demo from Elyse Chatterton. She’s incredibly engaging and did a masterful job of showing us a variety of pork cuts in just a few minutes, even explaining the difference in how things are done in England and here in Canada.

Irvings Farm Fresh
Elyse showing us how it’s done

Irvings Farm Fresh
She had a very captive audience

The “lunch” at the end of the day was unreal. Prepared by Daniel Costa and his Corso 32/Bar Bricco team, it was more like a full dinner complete with eight dishes! A meal like that would have easily cost as much as the ticket to attend the entire tour, so it absolutely made the Grand Taste Tour feel like a good deal.

2015 Grand Taste Tour
The most amazing spring pea & mint with crostini

2015 Grand Taste Tour
We couldn’t get enough of the delicious risotto

2015 Grand Taste Tour
Kirsta with the chefs

It was a great day. Awesome job Kirsta and the rest of the 124 Grand Market team!

2015 Grand Taste Tour
The group that worked so hard to make the day happen

You can check out more photos from the tour here and keep an eye on Sharon’s blog for her write-up!

Making my workspace more ergonomic with a standing desk

I spend a lot of time at my desk. Many of us do these days, with software eating the world and all. That’s why I’ve put some effort (and money) into creating a more ergonomic workspace. I’ve focused on three main areas for this: the keyboard and mouse, the chair, and the desk itself. Fortunately it wasn’t pain or discomfort that prompted these changes and hopefully by making them proactively I’ll remain pain and discomfort free!

Ikea Bekant Sit/Stand Desk

Keyboard & Mouse

I started with the keyboard and mouse, which I have written about previously. I went with the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard, which you can get on Amazon for just over $100. An ergonomic keyboard definitely takes some getting used to, but I would never go back now. I do end up typing quite a bit on my Surface Pro keyboard when I’m not at home, but after a while I definitely find myself missing the Sculpt Keyboard. If I’m going to do a serious amount of typing, such as when I’m writing a blog post, I try to make sure I’m using it. It may not be the most ergonomic keyboard you can get, but it does tick a lot of the boxes for an ergonomic setup like the palm rest, split design, and natural arc. The mouse too has the thumb scoop and height to ensure your wrist is in a more comfortable position. Overall I’ve been very happy with this setup.

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop

Chair

The next thing I decided to improve was my chair. For years I had been using a pretty basic office chair from Staples. It worked fine and did have a curved back which offered some support but after years of abuse it was starting to show its age. It was time to replace it anyway, so getting a more ergonomic one just made sense.

I read quite a bit about office chairs (or “task chairs”) and the different factors you should look for. I very quickly realized that if I wanted to, I could spend thousands of dollars on a chair! I decided my budget was going to be quite a bit less than that, hopefully below $500. I read a lot of reviews, but this one from The Wirecutter had a big impact on my decision. Their recommendation was the Steelcase Leap, but at around $1000 it was a bit too rich for me. Fortunately they also had a strong recommendation for a less expensive chair: the Ikea Markus Swivel chair which you can get for about $229. Here’s what they wrote:

“I don’t think the Markus would be a bad choice for someone who would never consider paying $800 for a chair, no way no how. It definitely never felt like my chair the way the Leap or the Embody did, in large part due to that limited adjustability. And I strongly believe that most people would find the Leap or the Embody far more comfortable than the Markus, in an immediate sense and over time. But in terms of the ergonomic criteria mentioned by the experts above, the Markus will be sound for most, except perhaps the tallest users.”

I’m definitely not the tallest person so that didn’t worry me. And it does have less adjustability than other, more expensive chairs; you can’t adjust the lumbar support, the head rest, or the depth of the seat pan. But other than that, it more than meets my criteria for an ergonomic chair. I’ve been extremely happy with it! I particularly like the mesh back and how thin it is. I didn’t think I’d like the headrest, but after months of use I’m sold.

Ikea MARKUS Swivel Chair

Of course, sitting properly and getting the benefits of a well-designed chair is easier said than done. I know it’s important to sit as far back in the seat as possible, so that my lower back is against the lumbar support. But even with the ability to recline, I found myself slouching too often. So I added a footrest and that made a huge difference. Now when I’m sitting at the desk, I make sure my feet are up on the footrest and it helps me ensure I’ve got the correct posture. It’s a simple change, but it made a big difference.

Standing Desk

You know what they say: sitting is the new smoking. I didn’t need anyone to tell me that sitting too much is bad, of course. Getting up and walking around has always made me feel better. I tend to pace when I’m on a call and I often try to go for a walk after sitting for a while. It helps to both clear my head and to keep my energy up.

Still, I have long wanted a standing desk. I’ve seen them in other offices and was always immediately jealous. I tried to approximate a standing desk on more than one occasion, using the counter, boxes on a table, whatever. But I wanted the real thing. While I again did a bunch of research on standing desks, I was pretty set on getting the Ikea Bekant Sit/Stand Desk from the moment it was announced. Not only was it electronically adjustable from 22″ to 48″ at the press of a button, it was less than $1000! Just like a good chair, standing desks can cost multiple thousands of dollars. For my first one, I wasn’t prepared to spend that much.

The only problem is that Ikea seems to have been plagued by supply issues. As I write this, the desk I bought isn’t even listed on Ikea Canada’s website anymore (the normal one, not the corner or five-sided which both still appear). For months it appeared but showed no inventory. Eventually I decided to just ask in the store itself and discovered that while the tabletops are available in self-serve, the motorized underframe is only available from the back warehouse. I was able to pay for it at customer service and then just had to wait for a few minutes while it was brought out to me. The frame cost $500 and the tabletop was another $90. That’s an amount I was comfortable spending for my first standing desk!

Mack at the Standing Desk

I’ve had it for about a month now and I love it. And yes, I really do switch between standing and sitting quite a bit.

I had read a few comments online that suggested it was a little wobbly, and while it is indeed less stable than my previous desk, it’s far from an issue. I have it setup right on the carpet and I barely notice it, on a more solid surface I’m sure it would be even less noticeable. The desk is a bit bigger than my previous one, but it feels like it takes up less room because of the open sides.

While the desk itself has a pretty smart design to hide its own cables underneath, I didn’t think about the impact of having a height adjustable desk on my other cords. With my previous desk, I had them zip-tied to try to keep things tidy, but with the standing desk they need to have enough give to allow the desk to move up and down. I still need to think of a better solution to make my setup look cleaner, but it’s fine for now.

I can see how it would be handy to have presets, which is a feature some of the more expensive standing desks offer. But on the other hand it’s great to be able to move the desk up or down ever so slightly too. I can generally adjust the height into my “sitting” and “standing” heights using landmarks (the lightswitch on the wall, the armrests on the chair, etc.). It’s pretty impressive to me how quick moving the desk up and down is.

Ikea Bekant Sit/Stand Desk

I did make two additional changes to try to improve the ergonomics of my standing desk. The first was to add risers to lift the monitors up a bit higher (unfortunately mine are not height adjustable on their own and I’m not ready to replace them yet). Without the risers, I was looking down at the screens too much (don’t let the angle of the photo above fool you). I may raise them higher still, I’m still experimenting with that.

The second was to get an anti-fatigue mat. I went with the Imprint CumulusPro Commercial Grade which was a bit more expensive but was totally worth it. It’s surprising how much of a difference it makes when you’re standing for any length of time! I do of course have to move the mat when I want to switch into sitting mode, but this only takes a few seconds and as a bonus I move it into the kitchen where we’ve also enjoyed using it.

I find myself standing most in the early part of the day which also happens to be when I’m generally on Skype. It’s especially handy now that we have started using video at work so much more. Without the standing desk, I couldn’t pace as I like to do when I need to be on video. Having a standing desk means I can still move around and remain in frame.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about my standing desk is how much Sharon has used it! It’s been weeks since she last used her laptop on the dining room table (her preferred desk). Fortunately the Bekant is large enough at 63″ x 31.5″ that we can both fit comfortably side-by-side with plenty of room to spare.

Overall I’m really happy with my setup right now. I have better posture and I can easily switch between sitting or standing.

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #163

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Ice District
Local media got to check out Ice HQ today

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.