When building a major piece of highway infrastructure, always say it’s being done for transit.  Just don’t promise to fund it.

Here’s provincial Minister of Transportation Todd Stone at the Surrey Board of Trade at a luncheon November 21:

Stone announced that the 54-year-old George Massey Tunnel will be replaced with a bridge, which is in the design stage.

“If we want to provide rapid transit south of the Fraser, into Delta, we can’t do it with the existing tunnel. So we plan to build a new bridge to improve access and drive time for motorists,” Stone revealed.

“We’re taking steps to ease congestion until then. In partnership with Surrey, we’re working on improving traffic flow across the border. We’re also working with Surrey on a full interchange at Highway 99 and 16th Avenue.”

Stone doesn’t make clear why transit can’t be improved now within the existing tunnel.  At the moment, buses carry as much as 26 percent of the users with 1 percent of the vehicles.

However, if the Province immediately doubled that to see the consequences, it might threaten the rationale for the bridge.  And the Project, of course, does not have a mandate for transit.  Motordom never does.

 

Massey

Comments

  1. It is worth remembering that Kevin Falcon cancelled the replacement of the Massey Tunnel back in 2007 or 2008 and replaced it with shoulder bus lanes.

    Traffic almost always flows smoothly on highway bridge decks and in tunnels (unlike on urban bridges where the intersections at each end are the lowest capacity ‘bottleneck’. The congestion happens at the merge zone before the tunnel where weaving reduces capacity per lane. There is no need to replace the tunnel in order to have much much better transit through the Massey Tunnel.

    For Immediate Release

    2008TRAN0087-001671

    Nov. 4, 2008

    Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

    CONTRACTOR CHOSEN FOR HIGHWAY 99 SHOULDER BUS LANE

    RICHMOND – A contractor has been chosen to build the Highway 99 shoulder bus lane that will lead to transit service improvements along that corridor, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon announced today.

    Jacob Bros. Construction Ltd. of Victoria has been awarded a $4.7-million contract to construct a four-metre wide shoulder for bus use only, northbound on Highway 99 from Westminster Highway to Bridgeport Road in Richmond. Other improvements include widening the Bridgeport Road off-ramp and the northbound CNR overhead as well as creating transit accommodation measures at Bridgeport Road and Sea Island Way. Construction is expected to begin in November.

    “This dedicated bus lane will improve transit travel times and reduce CO2 emissions by allowing buses to bypass heavy traffic on Highway 99,” said Falcon. “It also creates the capacity needed for new bus services, and will be an important connection to the Canada Line.”

    The new shoulder bus lane will be used by current northbound transit service. Warning signals at on-ramps along the approximately three-km route will be automatically activated to provide priority for bus transit. The bus-only lane will also be used by RapidBus BC service, once in operation, to link up with the Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station.

    “This will greatly improve transit options for Richmond residents,” said Richmond East MLA Linda Reid. “Many of us are looking for practical ways to reduce carbon emissions, and one of the best ways is to take transit. Improving infrastructure leads to more convenient and efficient transit service, making it easier for people to leave their cars at home.”

    The Province is working with TransLink to improve service along Highway 99 in both directions between White Rock and the Canada Line’s Bridgeport Station in Richmond. Commuters will enjoy faster bus trips and an efficient connection with the new Canada Line, which opens in fall of 2009.

    http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2008TRAN0087-001671.htm

  2. The “year-round shuttle service” for bicycles thru the Deas Island Tunnel is a joke. It runs year-round on weekdays, so you’d think it would be great for bike commuters living in Delta and working in Richmond or Vancouver, but it shuts down at about 6:30 pm, so no riding home if you have to work late. It only runs on weekends thru the summer, but still with the same hours, so if you need to take the ferry back from the Island, plan on getting on a 4 pm ferry (at Swartz Bay) at the latest. The 5 pm ferry will get you to Tsawwassen at 6:35 pm, too late to catch the shuttle!

    What’s also funny is the stereotypical “government bureaucrat” attitude of the shuttle operators. The driver sits in the truck dong nothing until almost exactly the time to leave. No extra trips even if there is time or volume. The taxpayers are evidently paying a guy to just site there for half an hour or more at a time and do nothing, then make the 5-minute drive thru the tunnel laden with up to about 8 bicycles (unless there are tandems or trailers or recumbents that need to get across. Oh, and one more thing: I am a government bureaucrat, and neither I nor any of my co-workers sit around for half an hour or more doing nothing until it’s time to do five minutes of work! We do provide value for taxpayer dollars, so I am by no means trying to slight government bureaucrats! I believe Main Road, which runs the shuttle, is a private contractor. I do not know what their contracting arrangements are for the shuttle.)

    Solutions? Simple. Cancel the shuttle contract; it is wasteful and inefficient. Instead, institute a fare-free zone for cyclists only between the stops closest to the DI Tunnel. This gives cyclists year-round (weekends included) access that integrates with ferry schedules. Cyclists can also pay to continue beyond the first stop after the tunnel, should they be running late or wanting to avoid the rain, and of course the Zone starts at the termination of the free segment.

    Downsides: this discriminates against cyclists who cannot fit their bikes onto the standard bus bike rack (tandems, bikes with trailers, recumbents). Only two cyclists can be accommodated at a time (but there would be multiple buses going thru the tunnel, contrary to the one-hour minimum wait with the current shuttle should it be at capacity). But this says more about the facilities available on the buses. Racks capable of holding 3 or maybe 4 bikes can be installed. If the bus is not crowded, tandems, trailers, or recumbents can be brought onto the bus (it’s only for one stop).

    With what the Translink CEO is getting paid, I’m surprised this has not already been instituted. Just what are we paying for?

  3. This whole exercise is embarrassing, tragic, and frustrating. How in the world, knowing what we know about transportation in 2013, could government officials advocate for increasing car capacity? When does it end?

    How many more people need to cram into buses before Todd Stone realises they are useful and in demand?

    How much more money do we need to spend on car infrastructure before Todd Stone realises it’s the most expensive way for people to get around the region?

    How many more people need to be killed in collisions with cars, and from disease from their pollution, before Todd Stone realises they are unacceptably dangerous?

    What is it going to take?

  4. I just want to know what rapid transit Todd Stone is talking about.. Last I checked, the only plans for extending rapid transit in the region were Surrey’s LRT/Skytrain and Broadway’s UBC line, or did I miss something?

      1. None of this is really clear. The province has just spent tens of millions so RapidBus BC service could run through the existing tunnel (but then blocked the funding to run the service). It just seems like spin on the assumption we have no memories of past govt statements and promises (and don’t know how to use google).

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