Scot knows PT wants to comment on this story from The Sun:
A series of bad crashes and increasing congestion on Highway 1 between Langley and Chilliwack have turned the road into a “nightmare,” in the words of one driver, and have some calling on the government to speed up plans to widen the highway to three lanes in each direction. …
The B.C. government has identified highway widening between Langley and Abbotsford as a priority in its 10-year transportation plan, released in 2015. The project is in the “very early planning states,” said a statement from the Ministry of Transportation, which goes on to say that increasing the lanes from four to six is “critical for safety and congestion relief.”
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he wants to see the widening happen “sooner rather than later.” …
With the population south of the Fraser continuing to increase, Abbotsford is expected to reach 200,000 people in a few years. Rising house prices in Metro Vancouver have sent more families east in search of affordable homes. In a region where public transit is limited, that’s meant more traffic on all roads — but particularly those running east to west, like Highway 1, the Lougheed Highway and Fraser Highway. …
Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce executive director Allan Asaph agreed, saying he hopes the federal government will step up with money as it determines its infrastructure priorities.
“It’s not necessarily the commuter traffic that’s concerning, but the truck traffic,” he explained. “As the Port of Vancouver continues to expand, all those goods have to move from the port to the rest of the country. The primary route for trucks is Highway 1.”
It’s a story with all the earmarks of Motordom:
- A car-dependent part of the region calls for an expansion of highway capacity to solve a problem created by the expansion of highway capacity and auto-dependent urban design.
- Goods movement leads the way, combining the two arguments always used by Motordom: safety and the economy.
- Public transit is dismissed because it’s “limited.” And it’s limited because we keep expanding Motordom.
- No matter how often it’s disproved, there’s still an assumption that expanded highways will solve congestion, and hence improve safety.
- Roads and bridges are always on the top of ‘shovel-ready’ projects when new infrastructure programs are announced. Once money is available, it has to be spent.
But there’s this:
Highway delays and closures are particularly difficult for transport truck drivers who require reliability to meet specific schedules, said Louise Yako, president and CEO of the B.C. Trucking Association.
“The thing that is most problematic is not so much the congestion, because you can plan for that, but the variability,” she said. “If some days it takes one hour and another day it takes three hours — that’s a problem.”
But while the BCTA supports highway widening, there’s a realization that “we won’t be able to build ourselves out of congestion,” said Yako. Earlier this year, the trucking organization called for a regional mobility pricing strategy — essentially a system of tolls to charge people for how much and where they travel.
Which do you think will come first: the highway widening or an actual plan for regional mobility pricing?