The greatest single loss due to insufficient TransLink funding (or more directly, the failure of Provincial will to authorize what regional leaders are prepared to support in the way of new funding) is not the Evergreen Line, or the extension of the Millennium Line to Arbutus or UBC, or the docking of the third SeaBus – or any of the single big projects proposed.

It’s the lack of progress on the Frequent Transit Network – a system that would rely heavily on expanded bus service. This is what would make such a difference for those South of the Fraser, for residents in the fastest growing part of our region.

I was reminded of the FTN vision when I read this interview with Matthew Yglesias, an Amercian blogger who comments frequently on urban affairs.  And while much of the interview is more relevant to the States than to us, this is one thing that surely applies:

Q. Asked to allocate a billion dollars in funds on anything that falls under the rubric of urban affairs, what would you prioritize?

Better buses! It’s rare that you have a policy issue that can be solved by throwing more money at the problem, but the technology to make bus service more frequent and equip buses with GPS systems that provide real-time schedule updates to bus stops exists and operates in many parts of the world. We should be installing it in our major cities.


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  2. Frankly, Burnaby has similar examples of business park developments that should never have been built, in particular along the Fraser River and around Highway 1 and Willington. As much as it makes transit more costly, it hardly makes there no point to improving transit. If we give up on transit wherever there’s a bad urban form today, well, there’s not much incentive to change the urban form, as high quality transit can spur better development.

  3. “Improving transit leads to improved urban design”.

    That is very wrong and the Surrey example I gave, to be built 800meter of a skytrain station is another painfull proof of the inanity of this statement.

    And to add insult to injury, this development in its sea of parking lot paving currently open greenspace is for government purpose, fully 100% paid by taxpayer (including the new road to access the development)

    I don’t have example of other GVRD community served by Skytrain behaving worse than Surrey.

    In true: People claiming that “Improving transit leads to improved urban design” are just people looking for rational for “urban design” inaction…

  4. I don’t have example of other GVRD community served by Skytrain behaving worse than Surrey.

    This really is the core of the attitude expressed by Vancouver and Burnaby civic “leaders”, and it’s really just municipal rivalry and political gamesmanship. I was delighted that another poster pointed to Burnaby developments like “Big Bend” astride Marine Way. If that same project, … some of which is on excluded ALR land, … were to be built in Surrey, or Langley, or Ridge-Meadows the Burnaby leadership, elected and appointed, would be crying foul, citing faithlessness towards the LRSP, and chanting “peak oil” and “auto dependence”.

    But, when there’s a whack of DCCs in it for Burnaby City Hall, and a stream of commercial property taxes to follow, all of a sudden the project is just great.

    I would like to know where the map in the article comes from? Is this a Translink illustration? Some parts of the FTN use new or U/C bridges, including Pitt River, Golden Ears and Port Mann. Can it be that this element of the FTN is not too far removed from Sutton Brown’s 1950s vision of dedicated bus lanes on freeways?

  5. People claiming that “Improving transit leads to improved urban design” are just people looking for rational for “urban design” inaction…

    Absolutely true Voony

  6. The RCMP e-division is particularily bad urban form, particularily because it could easily have been transit/pedestrian friendly (although maybe that is the point and they did not want public access) but there are many other examples including in Vancouver of poor urban form.
    That said I tend to be more familiar with Surrey than Vancouver and the continued expansion of strip malls and business parks along major arteries (that could be transit friendly) continues to astound me. Surrey definetively is trailing Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, New West, Port Moody and Coquitlam in urban planning (or at least in implementing urban planning). Although better development is starting at Surrey Central good grief Skytrain has been there for 20 years.

  7. Bringing back and oldie. Yeah, Surrey has a long way to go. But have a walk around 29th Avenue or Nanaimo station and tell me Vancouver is so fantastic.

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