In a few weeks, B.C. will be officially opening the widest bridge in the world.  Which will connect to a widened Trans-Canada Highway.  Which will connect to an at-the-moment under-utilized Golden Ears Crossing.  Connecting to the Pitt River Bridge, then in turn to the vast new Cape Horn Interchange, linking to pieces of the North Fraser Perimeter Road, across from the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road – just part of the multi-billion expansion of road-based infrastructure.

All justified as necessary for the economic health and growth of our economy, to reduce congestion, to improve our quality of life.  Etc.

So, please help explain this:

TransLink has released a very important document that lays out our plan for the next three years of transit in Metro Vancouver. Our draft 2013 Base Plan is a blueprint for transit planning, funding and servicing.

TransLink will not proceed with:

  • Implementing approximately 306,000 hours of planned  increases of bus service hours
  • Expanded SeaBus service to provide 15-minute service on Sundays and holidays in fall, winter and spring
  • Restoring original funding for cycling programs and the Major Road Network
  • Ten-minute, off-peak frequency on the Highway 1 Rapid Bus service
  • The White Rock Centre extension on the King George Boulevard B-Line service

Yes, the Evergreen Line and Rapidbus on Highway 1 goes ahead – both priorities of Province – along with a partial B-line on King George and some (but not all) upgrades to SkyTrain stations, plus additional hours on congested routes.  Reality: the news will be dominated by the cutbacks that TransLink will be compelled to make in order to offset declining revenues and the failure of decision-makers to even discuss new revenue sources.

It’s not for lack of resources in this province – as the road-based list above indicates.  Remember, even TransLink is still proceeding on the design of a six-lane bridge to replace the Pattullo.  However, when it comes to transit:  “Over the next three years, we will live within our means and only deliver those services for which we have the necessary funding,” said Nancy Olewiler, the TransLink board’s chair.  (More details here.)

We have made a decision: we don’t want to spend the money on transit and other options while doubling down on a transportation vision that was relevant a half-century ago and may not be even in the next decade.   The next generation, however, will be paying for both the infrastructure we decided to build for us and the lack of options for them.

Comments

  1. As someone living in one of the areas being neglected (White Rock) who would be first in line should had they actually provided Bline service as has been promised a decade now I have motivation to come up with a solution.

    I understand there’s a bunch of farmland one has to go through to get to South Surrey/White Rock much like there’s a big distance factor in providing the Langley Port Mann Bus or a potential King George to Willowbrook express bus.

    As such, so long as this service was provided, I would have no objection to paying for it. I would therefore suggest putting in a fourth zone for transit with a four zone one way ticket costing about 7 bucks and a month pass for 190 or so. Zone four would be South Surrey/White Rock and the Langleys.

    There. I figured out what I want and helped come up with a way to pay for it that would directly hit my pocketbook. It might cost more but with tolls on the way having Bline service would make transit very competitive with driving for a heck of a lot of people. I know I would take it even at the higher cost.

  2. This region seems to need to prove itself in some dreadful way with “The Widest Bridge in the World” appellation every so often. As the Granville Street Bridge was, at 8 lanes, back in the 1950s. I wonder if there will be excess capacity on the new bridge as there has been all this time on the Granville one? If so, what would be the amortized value of such unused infrastructure? On the other hand, if this new bridge does get used to full capacity, mainly with SOVs, the induced traffic and suburban sprawl syndrome will be ratcheted up significantly. A lose/lose either way.

    1. If the bridge gets full to capacity not only will there be a real call for transit but a source to pay for it will be there too as the bridge would be making a huge profit in those situations.

      As well, as the screen line moves down the Fraser (Putello’s next) you come closer to having a demand management system in place for traffic since it wouldn’t be a huge difference to change the rates during different times of day especially if it was done by taking some of the profit and using it to create cheaper rates off peak.

      As well, with a toll in place, the main consideration in people choosing to live in Langely and what not, cost savings, are partially negated by the tolls since that would have to come into the calculations.

      So for the freeway haters it might be loose/loose but one would think you could see the positives that have been achieved.

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