I ask it today in the Langley Times:
More Fraser bridges urged Get Moving B.C. lobby group offers up transportation wish list
By Jeff Nagel – Langley Times – December 28, 2007
With the new Golden Ears bridge linking Langley and Maple Ridge under construction, a Lower Mainland transportation lobby group is calling for more Fraser River crossings ….
[Get Moving B.C.] wants the province to build the Tree Island Bridge to connect Highway 91 directly to Marine Way at Byrne Road.
That would create a straight route for Vancouver-bound traffic heading over the Alex Fraser Bridge that now dog legs either east or west via the Queensborough or Knight Street bridges.
SFU City Program director Gordon Price said he wouldn’t be surprised if the transportation ministry does pursue more Fraser crossings after Gateway is built….
“What these guys want to do is continue locking people in to their cars and trucks,” he said of Get Moving’s wish list. “What you’re building is a complete freeway web.”
He also asks how such an expansion can be reconciled with the premier’s goal to slash B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions one third by 2021.
“What are the places they want us to be more like? Is it Calgary or Phoenix or where?”
I would like us to be more like Portland (rated the #1 most sustainable city in the US in nearly every poll): with plenty of bridge lanes, light rail and excellent bus service; none of which is stopped by a Berlin Wall of a river. And following Portland’s example of continuing to invest in all three: roads, rail, and buses.
Nice finesse, Jordan, and I appreciate the attempt to argue for a ‘balanced’ transportation system. But the Portland described in the report is the consequence of a generation of road-and-bridge building that would not likely be duplicated today. They would not, for instance, run I-5 down the east bank of the Willamette, nor build some of their bridges, like the Morrison, as extensions of the freeways. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they removed lanes from some of them in the future, as they did the expressway that ran down the west bank.
Today, Portland doesn’t build new roads and bridges or replace old ones without first establishing that transit – whether streetcar or light rail – will be budgeted into the project, and will shape the land-use that accompanies the infrastructure.
Langley is doing nothing of the sort. In fact, the message is clear: the Province is building roads and bridges – big ones – and not budgeting seriously for transit that will make a difference in shaping land use. You’d be nuts to move to Langley without a car or truck, since there will be no other option from now to the foreseeable future.