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While the Mayor of Delta rues on CBC news that the unsustainable, overbuilt, multi-billion dollar Massey Bridge may not be constructed due to the potential change in Provincial leadership, all the other Mayors in the Metro area are welcoming the chance for a rethink.  As reporter Bal Brach noted “Many Metro Vancouver mayors spoke out against the project last summer, saying the bridge was “car-oriented” and diverting money from public transit and other transportation priorities…New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté said he hopes the next government will focus on the priorities outlined by the Mayors’ Council — including improvements to the Pattullo Bridge.”
Despite the fact that the Pattullo Bridge had reached the end of its life expectancy, Provincial interests allowed the Massey Tunnel replacement project to  forge ahead of the Patullo. The Richmond News reporter Graeme Wood states that while the Provincial Ministry of Transportation process to award the $3.5 billion dollar contract for the Massey Bridge is underway, no construction projects for the unsustainable bridge will be signed.
If the BC Green Party and BC NDP do form the government, they can scrap the bridge and consider all alternatives. While NDP leader John Horgan wanted to reassess the Massey Tunnel/Bridge before the Provincial election campaign, “all four Richmond NDP candidates said they would prefer a twinned tunnel. Green candidate Michael Wolfe favoured adding an LRT line to Surrey, along the corridor.” The Mayor of Richmond has also come out in favour of twinning the existing tunnel, expanding transit, or banning truck traffic at tunnel at peak hours.
The understanding being worked out between the BC Green Party and the BC NDP includes language “to immediately improve transit and transportation infrastructure” and to work with “the Mayors’ Council consultation process to find a more fair and equitable way of funding transit for the long-term.”
While two contracts worth $17.3 million dollars have been awarded for site preparation at the bridge, approvals will be needed for further work to continue. It is indeed a new day with fresh eyes looking at sustainable transportation movement as if accessibility and regionalism really mattered. Can a tunnelled vision be far behind?
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Comments

  1. I’d consider an 8 Lane tunnel to be almost equivalent. What’s the point in all the groaning and derision if an NDP Gov’t comes up with almost the same solution, but with a marginally smaller crossing.
    The consultation may well end up just like Vision Vancouver’s. Largely cosmetic, so they can say they consulted.

    1. After the annual $200 million subsidy for the Port Mann there probably will not be a budget for a a new bridge or tunnel. They could hardly charge a toll on the Massey after making to Port Mann FREE

  2. Sandy , its not about cars , its about the FEds wanting to dredge for a new port. Did you know that? The cannot have the tunnel for the port. So hence the new bridge. We all know that this bridge would just lead to congestion at Oak street bridge.
    Its about the FEds port and the economy it will bring.
    -deleted as per editorial policy-

  3. Maybe with new provincial leadership we can get a road pricing model that will solve our congestion issues without wasting billions.

    1. after having suppressed the toll on existing bridge?
      There is obviously no intention for the NDP to introduce road pricing,
      with the new government,
      * we will be farther of the a road pricing scheme, than now.
      * Translink will have $100M$ revenue less a year (Golden Ears+future Pattullo earnmarked revenue)
      * It will be a new and probably free road crossing on the Fraser.
      …But well since it will be a NDP/Green crossing, I guess we should be all cheering isn’it?

      1. Maybe the unemployed resource workers in the Interior and the North will be happy to pay more taxes so that the Lower Mainland can have an expanded new Pattullo bridge and a new commuter rail network.

        1. Great idea Ron. Where shall we house them, given that selling a house in Ft. St John as it closes down will not net much cash?

        2. Then its time to diversify the economy of the Interior and North.
          When I read or hear the word “resources” I immediately think of the lack of value-added economic activity in these traditional 19th Century industries. ‘Hewers of wood’ cannot remain a viable employment strategy much longer seeing that previous governments have allowed the high-grading of everything but the boreal forest, and the mass export of raw logs from Vancouver Island. There are promising mining operations notably in important metals and rare earths, but thermal coal operations should be shut down for being a major contributor to climate change.
          There is a huge potential for wind and base load geothermal power in these parts of the province. These renewables create thousands of well-paying permanent jobs and have the capacity to power regional concentrated industrial centres with emissions-free electricity. Lower emission steel and concrete-making utilizing clean electricity as energy sources are possible; why not conduct R&D to obtain BC patents in things like this? Oil & gas, mining and forestry are at the bottom end of the value to BC’s GDP as currently exploited.
          There is no reason why Interior and northern cities cannot learn from the big city and seriously promote tech, IT and growth in intellectual property. Why can’t four or five of BC’s major institutions (including UNBC) host more innovation labs with government and industry? It may be laughable now, but what would hold Kelowna down to become a major financial centre, other than our insecurity about resources? Brain power is the ultimate renewable resource.
          The rise of a Green-NDP alliance will force this issue, if it lasts. At least the ideas are germinating. Diversifying the economy cannot be anything but good.

        3. All good ideas Alex. I am very excited that John Horgan will soon be up in Prince George touting the imminent arrival of Goldman Sachs and Deutche Bank and will be looking for workers for their high paying positions in arbitrage. -deleted as per editorial policy-

        4. The “unemployed resource workers” were never employed in great numbers in the overly-hyped LNG industry. If you care about the north and interior, Johnny, you might want to do some research on the target markets for LNG, on the geological limitations of the resource, and the extraordinary decline rates. Hint: look for reports by independent geologists who have examined actual production data and the characteristics of the rock that is being fracked.
          Shale gas and tight oil have been called a “retirement party” by knowledgeable researchers for a reason while reacting to the industry hype.

        5. Careful Thomas. Some of us have decades as working class stiffs. And your comments, pink references and all, are easily interpreted as a lament for democracy. Jayzus, they haven’t even called the legislature back yet and the propaganda hacks are in full tilt.

      2. Voony, road pricing can take on many forms. Charging by the km driven is one.
        Other revenue options rejected by the Libs could well come back for consideration. A graduated vehicle levy on your ICBC coverage per registered weight and length (preferably with commercial vehicles getting a discount because they are important to the economy) could be reconsidered. A flat $1 charge on all vehicles crossing all bridges would be another. Though that would technically break Horgan’s pledge, it really lightens the load in concentrated locations and spreads the pain across the region.

        1. Right now commercial vehicles pay more for ICBC coverage than those used for pleasure. Are you suggesting this policy will be reversed?

        2. Yes, when VKmT is used as a measuring stick. Commercial vehicles serve a common good. Pleasure and SOV commuter driving harms society in many ways and form the largest piece of the pie by far. I have previously suggested the same commercial vehicle discounts for bridge tolls.

        3. Insurance premiums should cover the risk associated with driving to pay for future claims.
          If you want to collect road pricing through the already established icbc payment process, fine, but don’t call that part insurance.
          The insurance aspect of a commercial vehicle (likely higher than typical commuter vehicle) is totally independent of the utility to society aspect which could have a lower $/VkmT

  4. Road pricing will not be coming soon. The NDP won in all surrounding ridings to the Port Mann Bridge after the NDP leader promised to remove all toll charges.
    Last night Global tv featured a few voters, all saying they voted for the tolls to be removed “forever”. Sneaking back with road pricing would not be accepted without outrage.
    Checking odometers for charges was mentioned in the tv clip. Imagine how that could work for visitors from out of town. How about if you drive to see friends in Revelstoke. Your odometer will be examined at the ‘new’ Aldergrove checkpoint , on leaving and coming back to Metro.

    1. The NDP have promised to work with Metro mayors and TransLink, which is a breath of fresh air compared to the arrogant treatment of them by Christy and a least two local ministers. The remaining BC Lib MLAs in the Metro were dead silent on all important issues. The idiotic transit referendum was imposed on just one mode of transport in one location in the province and not on any other, yet the Metro produces half the wealth of BC. The vote became a rage fest on everything but transit funding.
      The province under the Libs took 40% of the tax revenue generated in the Metro, but returned only 33% on transit projects, leaving the Metro to subsidize the provincial share by an additional 7%. Only recently were the Libs shamed by the larger federal contribution to transit and upped it to a one-time 40%. Prior to that the NDP already promised a stable 40%.
      So now, to no one’s surprise but their own, the Libs were virtually wiped out in the big city in the last election. That’s democracy for ya.
      Reading their platforms and hearing their statements in the media, The NDP and Greens offer a far more co-operative relationship with the Metro. Road pricing definitely remains on the table with or without tolls. There are many more options out there to explore that the Libs previously kyboshed, and therein handcuffed local government to the point where the Patullo Bridge is well past its due date. They may have to invest heavily in Gorilla Glue as a temporary measure.

    2. I understood Horgans promise to be to remove “unfair tolls”. That leaves the door open for a rational tolling policy (see the Green platform).

      1. People love it when political parties find ways to reach agreement on areas of common interest. Add in the Mayor’s council to that consensus, and we could see real progress on these issues.
        Third place? You are looking at share of the popular vote. In terms of policies being accepted, it appears to be the Liberals who came in third.

        1. In another way of looking at it, the startling overlap of the Green and NDP platforms made them kissing cousins with a combined share of a titch above 57% of the popular vote.

    3. Imposing a fee on a service which has been granted for free is what Gordon Price called a category shift, and as a seasoned politician, he knows well enough this could amount to political suicide:
      If you agree with the road pricing idea, the last thing you want to is suppressing the existing tolls without putting forward a road pricing alternative first. The NDP has campaigned against tolls altogether, that is de facto killing the road pricing idea for the foreseeable future (*). Period!
      Furthermore, I notice that
      1/The NDP has provided no more clue than Liberals on how they will address the 20% funding gap on major capital project such the Broadway subway or Surrey LRT.
      2/ last time the NDP was in power, it pretty much like the liberal, declined any introduction of new source of revenue (vehicle levy…etc…) proposed by the local governments…
      All the other things about the Province willingness to work with Translink, when its first action will be to entail the Translink operating budget, and ruin the long term regional transportation plan based on road pricing is just blahblah…
      At the end I notice that on the road pricing issue, Green and Liberal was for the preservation of the tolls, so certainly yes, the NDP was in minority on this…and History will retain that the BC Greens will have betrayed their own electoral platform to effectively kill road pricing in the region, and as a consequence, unleash urban sprawl. What a legacy to be proud of!

  5. I’m less concerned with tunnel vs bridge and more concerned with the transportation mode focus of the crossing design.
    The most significant flaw of the current Massey Bridge plan is that at 10 lanes it’s overly car oriented, and will induce significant traffic volumes.
    The new government has an opportunity to work with the Mayors toward a more balanced crossing, with benefits to cyclists, and public transit users. Personally I find the idea of cycling over a bridge a bit more appealing than cycling through a dark, smoggy tunnel.
    Anyone who has been using the ferries must have noticed that the cyclist volumes in the summer have been significantly increasing despite the near complete lack of adequate infrastructure. A cyclist friendly crossing would include the ability to cross on bike and would also support increased cyclist capacity via public transit. Right now the express bus to the Ferries has space for two. A light rail system would be able to accommodate more.
    The final design needs to be able to keep the door open to some sort of future light rail expansion in the area.

    1. Perhaps a new tunnel could be limited to two passageways, one two-laner exclusively for transit, and another well-ventilated, hermetically separated, brightly decorated one-laner for pedestrians and bikes, which could double as an emergency access. Three lanes in total.
      This will effectively cap private cars and commercial trucking at the existing capacity of four lanes, and offer only additional capacity for transit. That will be heresy to Lib-voting suburbanites, but they’ve had their way for 16 years. The NDP-Green coalition can really demonstrate their commitment by offering an extensive south-of-Fraser LRT network, with one line running through the tunnel with multiple connections in both directions. If an LRT network is not part of the deal at the beginning, then a new fleet of comfy highway buses on frequent schedules could work in the meantime.

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