from Stephen Quinn in today’s Globe and Mail

’Twas a week before Christmas, a depressing year-ender,

Metro mayors had just heard from Peter Fassbender

They had asked for the power to plan transportation,

But were left with the usual humiliation.

“TransLink is great as it is!” said the minister,

Though his hidden agenda bordered on sinister.

“We want more transit, road pricing and density,

We don’t get the province’s auto propensity.”

“For decades we’ve had a great plan in the works,

But one that is always derailed by these jerks.”

Yes, the very same week they had sent mayors packing,

The province announced something other than fracking.

A giant new bridge, seven lanes of new traffic,

It came with a really cool CGI graphic.

And the price tag for this? Only 3.5 billion,

Give or take overruns, what’s another few million?

“The cost will be covered by tolls,” said Todd Stone,

“The rest of the cost from a sizable loan.”

“And we’re hoping the feds will step up and be seen,

If I can convince them that highways are green.”

And the groundbreaking for this historic erection?

Some time around the next B.C. election.

Meanwhile, 45 hundred klics north,

Santa was pacing the floor back and forth.

“With Arctic ice melting and polar bears croaking,

What are those guys down in Vancouver smoking?”

“Do they really think a new bridge is the answer?

It’s like fighting a tumour by injecting more cancer.”

Santa knew what it meant to live climate change,

He found public apathy decidedly strange.

“You can’t build your way out of traffic congestion,

You’d have to be daft to even make the suggestion.”

“Why can’t they see greenhouse gas is the culprit,

Should I have to keep preaching from my now-thawing pulpit?”

He rigged up his reindeer and prepared them to fly,

Yes, a week early, but he needed to try,

To convince politicians they’d better change course,

That a fossil-fuel future they shouldn’t endorse.

On his sleigh he took flight, just after dark,

He plotted a course straight to see Christy Clark.

The Premier was nestled, all snug in her bed,

While visions of LNG danced in her head.

When Santa arrived as he does with a clatter,

She found herself facing a more serious matter.

“Shush,” Santa said. “Yes, I am the real thing,

I’m just here to talk, I don’t have any bling.

“I sent you an e-mail. Didn’t you read it?

Oh wait, let me guess, did you triple delete it?”

“Very funny,” said Christy. “You don’t get this town.

I make sure now I never write anything down.”

“Well the gist of it was,” Santa said to the Preem,

“That the future you’re plotting is not very green.”

“Now I know what you’ve said, but I judge by your actions,

And so far they’ve given me no satisfaction.”

“A referendum on transit, then a new 10-lane span?

Forgive me for saying, but that just doesn’t scan.”

“And I get your motives, the votes you might win,

But your us-and-them politics is wearing quite thin.”

“To toll the main routes? To the south of the Fraser,

Here, why don’t I hand you this political razor.”

“You don’t need a psychic, or exotic soothsayer.

Why don’t you just listen to your own mayors?”

His logic was sound, his arguments clear,

But it was something the Premier did not want to hear.

“I’ll give it some thought,” she said with a yawn.

Then rolled over and counted the hours till dawn.

“She’s not even listening,” Santa said with a sneer,

Then whistled and shouted and called his reindeer.

Then a week later, on Christmas Eve night,

Santa crept back to Christy’s – he was making things right.

A big lump of coal, he left at her feet,

And handwritten note that she couldn’t delete.

“Please take this coal as a single small token,

A reminder to you that something is broken.”

“It’s not meant as a threat, there’s no need to report it,

But if I know you well, you’ll try to export it.”

Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver.


  1. I am so disappointed in Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender. I like them both as people but am becoming increasingly concerned with their political agendas. They really are harming our region by promoting ‘motordom’ over transit. And please don’t tell me they are just responding to the wishes of the public. That’s not what leaders are supposed to do.
    I hope that more people will take the lead from Stephen Quinn and publicly speak out. Otherwise I fear that many of us will also become political, and bring in a government that wants to build LRTs and rapid bus lanes rather than 10 lane toll bridges.
    And while I’m on the topic of tolls, will Gordon Campbell please speak out and acknowledge that his policy of ensuring there are always non-tolled options was wrong. Better to toll everything a modest amount than create the absurd situation we have now.
    Ps how’s that Golden Ears tolled bridge working out?

    1. Did not understand this comment mageller:
      I hope that more people will take the lead from Stephen Quinn and publicly speak out. [Otherwise I fear that many of us will also become political, and bring in a government that wants to build LRTs and rapid bus lanes rather than 10 lane toll bridges.]
      I DO want to see more transit …

      1. Michael I wrote my comment without reference to your comment. I was speaking on behalf longstanding Liberals like myself, who could well become persuaded to support the NDP if we don’t see a stronger commitment from this govt towards transit, addressing climate change, and more sensible leadership.

        1. Got it .. the way it was phrased suggested that the 10 lane toll bridge was the preferred option 😉
          It IS perplexing that a government with a clear majority would resort to such reprehensible design-approve-defend tactics.

          1. BTW mageller I too have the same political affiliation quandry. I don’t have membership with any party but I have to be guided by principled leadership and governance. It is really shocking what is happening to BC.

        2. Trying to stop climate change via green energy or carbon taxes is a massive tax grab, with vastly reduced economic growth and increase in poverty worldwide. Worldwide socialism really. It is warming. Get used to it. Canada benefits through longer growing seasons, less heating requirements in the winter, more ice free ports and less death by freezing. Bring it on.
          More transit will happening if the mayors and councils do their bit by taxing new developments more, taxing housing more, taxing parking more and/or curtailing costs more (especially that 70%+ of their $5B+ budgets that is salaries and benefits).
          I see this leadership as very sensible on economic growth, holding the line on taxation, carbon taxes and investment.
          An NDP government would AGAIN like in the 1990s ruin the BC economy as we see right now in AB, and saw in MB and ON and SK earlier. The only better alternative to the (slightly right of center) Liberals would be a conservative government but that is unlikely here in BC.
          In time we will get road tolls or congestion charges in MetroVan and we can funnel some of that to transit. Will the mayors/councils to their bit though ? We don’t even have Uber yet, a great addition to public transit.

    2. Or the Port Mann which is costing drivers and taxpayers a fortune. I don’t expect this will help them politically either. Blowing $3.5 billion in a couple of ridings won’t help them much. Instead of building it, they could invest $40 million in every riding in the Province which would probably get them far more votes.

    3. Perhaps the lack of traffic on TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge contributed to the referendum loss.
      “The Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (TransLink) Board of Directors today authorized TransLink to sign a master municipal agreement …
      The five-party agreement, which took several years to negotiate, details the roles and responsibilities of TransLink and each municipality relative to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Golden Ears Bridge.”
      When these new bridges have a toll attached there’s a natural reduction in traffic. Added expenses affect travel as they do any other discretionary expenditure. The market rules, just the same as high gas prices because of TransLink taxes, reduces consumption and diverts purchases elsewhere. Some of us have electric cars, like Tesla’s, which avoid TransLink gas taxes that way.
      Reduced travel means less income from travellers due to tolls and taxes, which is partly the objective. Did TransLink seriously think everyone would keep driving just the same if they got permission to slap on a massive gas tax? That only works in the rarified consumer world of luxury goods, where the prices are somewhat irrelevant. Like the Tesla or a Rolex.
      Once the Massey crossing bridge is operational the volume of traffic may well decline. The transit across it will flow more smoothly and some might even cycle across. This is partly the objective in building it, same as the Port Mann. Reduced traffic congestion and smoothly flowing traffic. Less pollution too.
      Who is going to dictate what the Tsawwassen Band does on their land? It seems perfectly understandable that they decided to build a shopping mall. BC Ferries located a busy ferry terminal close by. The ALR land in Vancouver south and Richmond obviously means that home builders will seek sites further south, thereby creating a growing market for a facility like this massive mall. Many employees of this mall will certainly come from Vancouver and Richmond. I wonder how TransLink is configuring the bus service?

      1. Eric, Are you in any way employed or involved in this Hwy 99 and Massey Bridge project? We all need a little disclosure.
        Until there is full project disclosure, including the scoping documents and related provincial government communication on the same, we (collectively) are not going to have a fulsome and constructive exchange.
        It is shameful that the province obstructs regional transit funding while expanding highway capacity.
        To your points of ‘building our way out of congestion with more auto capacity, I have two words: “triple convergence”.
        An excerpt from the expert, Anthony Downs with the Brookings Institute.

        “The Principle of Triple Convergence
        The least understood aspect of peak-hour traffic congestion is the principle of triple convergence, which I discussed in the original version of Stuck in Traffic (Brookings/Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1992). This phenomenon occurs because traffic flows in any region’s overall transportation networks form almost automatically self-adjusting relationships among different routes, times, and modes. For example, a major commuting expressway might be so heavily congested each morning that traffic crawls for at least thirty minutes. If that expressway’s capacity were doubled overnight, the next day’s traffic would flow rapidly because the same number of drivers would have twice as much road space. But soon word would spread that this particular highway was no longer congested. Drivers who had once used that road before and after the peak hour to avoid congestion would shift back into the peak period. Other drivers who had been using alternative routes would shift onto this more convenient expressway. Even some commuters who had been using the subway or trains would start driving on this road during peak periods. Within a short time, this triple convergence onto the expanded road during peak hours would make the road as congested as it was before its expansion.
        Experience shows that if a road is part of a larger transportation network within a region, peak-hour congestion cannot be eliminated for long on a congested road by expanding that road’s capacity.”

        1. I’m not involved in the bridge, or any other traffic or infrastructure project in any way whatsoever. I have no financial interest in anything to do with transportation either. However, I work and I drive. I am in business and have to lug around up to 50kg of equipment all over place.
          I understand the reality of expanded roadway infrastructure expanding traffic. One does’t need to be a scientist to see that the traffic around Toronto or Los Angeles has grown as the freeways have expanded. The same can be said for the Telepherique around Paris or the M25 around London. I’ve crawled into Paris at 8am along the Telepherique and been stationery on the M25 and I’ve been stuck in an endless stream of conveyor-belt like traffic in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Seattle, etc. I have taken buses and trains and trams all over the world, as a commuter and as a visitor. I’ve taken subways in Toronto, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Athens, Paris, Lisbon, London, Chicago, Tokyo, Hong Kong, etc., etc.
          People moan about the Liberals not investing in transit, yet the Liberals vocally supported and offered one-third financing to anything the mayors came up with. As did the Conservatives who promised $2.5 billion over 10 years. How is it that some people cannot see that the massive and overwhelming loss of the Mayors’ Plan referendum was not about a piddling .5% sales tax but because of the way TransLink operates and the attitude they project?
          The mayors only supported the Canada Line after voting down a few times.
          We have the ALR, so growth is either up, close to Vancouver, or out. Since it has to be mostly out, then people need the means and infrastructure to get around. A 60 year old little tunnel doesn’t work.
          It’s the same as the ancient and small connections around the north end of the Second Narrows Bridge doesn’t either. This is why it’s getting a complete overhaul. I don’t hear any plan to run a rail line up and around there yet it’s very busy all around, from Taylor Way around the streets of N. Van’s Keith Road, over to and through the Cassiar tunnel, every day. So vehicles are the only real means of getting around. Same can be said for the Lions Gate crossing. That bridge hasn’t really changed for almost 70 years.
          Triple convergence may well be a natural phenomenon, so is the need to get around. Vancouver is nice little town on the ocean, with pretty little mountains. There aren’t many people living here and there isn’t much industry, even compared with other Canadian cities. There are three little subway lines, one with just two cars at a time, just like those funny little spur lines that seem to go everywhere in the Netherlands. If the Mayors hadn’t complained and resisted when it was planned, the Canada Line might have built with the capacity to easily stretch out south to the river and beyond. Coulda been a contender.
          Meanwhile we’ll have to opt for alternatives, like a nice Tesla. The new Tesla SUV looks like a winner.
          By the way. How do you like the Lloyds building, in context, of course? It doesn’t make the statement that the Pompidou does but that is more of a destination building.

          1. Triple deleted emails and public records on disposable post-it notes pass as better management for a $3.5B fossil fuel project? Better than Translink which has some of the highest transit mode splits in North America. The Province’s behaviour on this file is shocking – what do they have to hide?

          2. M4M; you disappoint us with such a limpid response. You asked, I answered. You can do millions of studies and spend millions of taxpayer dollars but drive through the tunnel a couple of times in morning, or the afternoon and the proof that a new bridge is needed is blatant. It’s not rocket science and a few extra buses are nothing but a joke.
            The replacement of the tunnel has been considered for many years. The Port Mann became the priority and that has now been accomplished. Congestion and pollution and GHGs are all down. Now the next crossing is up for a renewal.
            As long as promoters of TransLink suggest that roads are nasty, then their support will stay in the low 30’s percentile. Roads are essential. The imagination that it must be one or the other is infantile and obstinately idealistic.
            If we’re all driving Teslas, as one of your supporters above is proudly doing, then how is it a fossil fuel project?
            One minute they are demanding that the Premier lead, make decisions and avoid plebiscites. When this happens they are pissed off because it’s not exactly the decision they would have made.
            It’s ideology driven, therefore it’s value is reduced to the special interest group from whence it originates.

        2. You may be an experieicned world traveller, Eric, but every transport example you cited is anecdotal and context-free. LA, London and Paris? –They are spending the equivalent of a hundred billion dollars on transit, mostly underground rail, no referenda required. They justified the expenditure on sound planning and research.
          You write like you have much experience in transportation planning, yet I bet you don’t understand what “induced traffic” is. Michael M. linked to a Brookings Institute study. Why don’t you write to the author and explain your contentions? Or to professional transportation planners like Jeff Kenworthy, Jarrett Walker or Stephen Rees? Please be sure to share the results of your discussions with us.
          Your conjecture on land use seems to justify the massively over-engineered Massey Bridge, even without the ALR getting carved up for plastic subdivisions. However, that is probably one of the several intended consequences of the project, because so many of the donors to the BC Liberals are real estate and development types who specialize in low density suburban projects that are heavily subsized by projects like Massey. And let’s not forget the road contractors. But we’ll never know because the documentation was triple-deleted to keep the public in the dark.
          You also don’t seem to grasp the financing. The BC debt now tops $60 billion. About ten B of that stems from capital road projects in the Metro within the last ten years alone. Then there are the perpetual annual operating costs, something that always increases over time, but is rarely acknowledged. Transit, by comparison, recovers half its operating costs through the farebox.
          I’ll agree that the Massey tunnel needs replacement if only for siesmic issues. But with 10 lanes? That’s bloody ridiculous and wasteful. I’d say preferably four lanes, six at best with two devoted to transit, and forget any expansion to the freeway network beyond the access ramps and improved HOV lanes.

      2. Eric, you do not know what you’re talking about.
        The total taxes in a litre of gas add up to 44.28 cents. Today’s local price hovers around $1.22 a litre, so roughly 1/3rd is taxes and 2/3rds is oil comany charges.
        Moreover, taxes are a planned and well-advertized flat rate whereas the price at the pump is a whimsical justification for gouging dreamed up in petroleum company boardrooms on a daily basis.
        So, the “high” price of fuel is not due to TransLink or other taxes. You might not have noticed, but the world price of oil has plunged to its lowest level in a decade, yet the price at the pump here in Vancouver rarely follows in as close a lockstep heading down as when the world price goes up. Then its practically instananeous.
        This is just another example of why we need to break our dependence on oil.

        1. gasoline was 80 cents in Edmonton last week when I was there. Plenty of bigger trucks.
          The break from oil is green wishful thinking, espoused by big government ready to tax you even further or by rich socialists, accompanied by poverty should we chose to go down that path. Only rich green guys with their $100,000 Teslas can afford to live without gasoline, but even they jet off to Hawaii or Palm Springs or Europe in a jet. Such hypocrisy by Al Gore, Elizabeth May, UN chief, heads of governments, Maurice Strong, Naomi Klein or other socialists.
          Chose to live in your tiny condo and bike to work, a choice rich young people have c/o taxes and social programs (transit, healthcare, education, police, ..) derived from oil & gas revenues by the tens of billions annually in Canada.
          Yes we can have more e-cars and more public transit in dense cities, and yes, eventually we have road tolls or congestion surcharges, but not everyone likes to live n a shoebox in the sky. Some actually prefer a yard and a drive to work.
          Oil demand is still climbing worldwide, less in the developed world. Will peak around 100-120 millions barrel of oil DAILY, then a slow slow decline, and a decline as a share of overall energy mix. Oil has no alternative as a fairly inexpensive high density viable long distance fuel, fertilizer compound or as ingredient to 10,000+ products used daily by BILLIONS of people.
          Taxing oil or CO2 more is just like another GST or PST: everything will get more expensive. Where is the tax relief if we start heavily down the CO2 taxation ? Lower GST ? Lower PST ? Lower income taxes ?

          1. @Thomas: Why do you keep repeating that a tax on carbon is just like any other tax. In BC it is certainly not. All revenues from carbon “tax” are returned in the form of lower income and corporate taxes. You should either challenge my statement or stop misleading people re carbon “tax”

        2. I didn’t know you were a geologist, Thomas.
          You may wish to look up david Hughes’ latest reports on fracked US shale gas and tight rock oil. According to his independent analysis of production data and geology, he determined that the Eagle Ford play has peaked. All hte sweet spots have been tapped. Only lower quality and harder to get at (i.e. expensive) reserves are left. He also looked at the other four US shale plays, including the Bakken, and estimates they will peak a few years either side of 2020.
          This is significant because US fracking caused a glut just as China’s searing economic growth halved to a still usustainable 7%, and the Suadis are merely holding their spigot open. Ergo a temporary oversupply and low prices. Once the glut eases, prices will rise, but the demand cannot possibly follow China’s previous 14% growth rate, so it’s highly debatable that 120 million BPD will ever be realized.

          1. Awesome. Can’t wait for $70-80 oil to kick start Canada’s economy again. Until then: a vast sea of red ink !

          2. It may climb a lot higher than that in the ’20s. In fact, it could hit a ceiling and demand will react by going own again because oil wil be unaffordable, not because of any carbon tax which, as always, forms a minor part of the price.
            This will probably inspire yet more demand for renewables and transit, and the price of oil will go down again.
            Up. Down. Up again. Down again. Some kickstart. Some economy.

  2. Hmm…so the Province won’t pony up and pay for a portion of comprehensive transit in the region without a referendum….but they will without consultation pony up for a new bridge to provide access to the sensitive river delta to increase/enhance an industrial agenda on a threatened portion of the ALR? And to facilitate traffic to a shopping mall? Why does this sound like a bad novel from the 1970’s?
    Funny the outside lights on the “TSAW MILL” mega mall development finally turned on at the same time as the Provincial bridge announcement. Coincidence?

    1. It won’t increase traffic to the mall. If anything, the toll on the bridge will decrease traffic. With plenty of shopping opportunities to the north of the river, not many people are going going to pay $7 in tolls to shop in that mall. This overbuild bridge will be a failure from pretty much every point of view, even those we may not agree with.

  3. I am so very glad we still have a few politicians left in this country that hold a line on spending and taxation. A big thank you to Peter Fassbender and Christy Clarke to not caving to the overspending and financially utterly irresponsible mayors and councils of MetroVan.
    Yes we need more transit infrastructure, especially rapid transit ( and not more wobbly buses ) but we also need more road and bridge capacity. Unless mayors find money in their own $5B+ budgets, for example by outsourcing more or holding the line on salaries & benefits of their vastly overpaid staff, or by raising property taxes, or by charging for parking on the many clogged residential roads the province should not willy nilly hand over billions to more transit. Mayors and councils need to find a way to work with a financially responsible provincial government to co-fund necessary transit improvements. Only if they show such restraint and willingness to do their bit will the province co-fund required projects.
    A good poem, that rhymes well, but of course it is utter fiction & wishful thinking !
    Merry Christmas !

    1. Perhaps you should do an analysis on the life cycle financing and operating costs revolving around the private partner on this project and compare it to the financing and operating costs of a public tender.

  4. Since the format becomes almost unreadable I’m writing again my response to M4M:
    M4M; you disappoint us with such a limpid response. You asked, I answered. You can do millions of studies and spend millions of taxpayer dollars but drive through the tunnel a couple of times in morning, or the afternoon and the proof that a new bridge is needed is blatant. It’s not rocket science and a few extra buses are nothing but a joke.
    The replacement of the tunnel has been considered for many years. The Port Mann became the priority and that has now been accomplished. Congestion and pollution and GHGs are all down. Now the next crossing is up for a renewal.
    As long as promoters of TransLink suggest that roads are nasty, then their support will stay in the low 30’s percentile. Roads are essential. The imagination that it must be one or the other is infantile and obstinately idealistic.
    If we’re all driving Teslas, as one of your supporters above is proudly doing, then how is it a fossil fuel project?
    One minute they are demanding that the Premier lead, make decisions and avoid plebiscites. When this happens they are pissed off because it’s not exactly the decision they would have made.
    It’s ideology driven, therefore it’s value is reduced to the special interest group from whence it originates.

    1. [the format is fine on larger screens]
      Don’t get me wrong, I understand roads are a legitimate of our mobility (I cycle, take transit, and drive – in that order of frequency) but many more smart people are questioning the scope, cost, and consequences of this highway and bridge expansion which is divorced from a properly regional systemic movement framework.

      1. And you never answered what does the Provincial government have to hide? Triple deleting emails and resorting to post it notes for secret communication? It sounds something like what the Hells Angels do – secret meetings where questions and answers are written on blackboards and erased to avoid surveillance. For a $3.5B project?

        1. Neither am I in government, so I cannot assist you.
          Bob Mackin has similar difficulties obtaining information from Vancouver City Hall, perhaps he might have some idea.
          As I have said, many commenters call for the Premier to act. They say that is what she was elected to do. Well, she doing so on this file.

          1. And acting very selectively, favouring files that are close to BC Liberal donors, hypocritically cuddling up to pollution and sprawl while espousing action on climate change, passing off transit to mob rule while holding asphalt protectively close to her heart ….

    2. Eric, in a previous post (I’m not going to reply to that directly, because of formatting), you say that tolling a bridge results in natural reduction in traffic. I agree with you there. So why build 10 lanes for the Massey Bridge? Surely 8 lanes or less would be sufficient, given the reduction in traffic anticipated due to tolls. Maybe a reduced scope would mean it would actually pay for itself, unlike the overbuilt port mann.

  5. Right now the Massey Tunnel has three lanes available in one direction during rush hours. Therefore, the opposite direction at those times is reduced to one lane.
    So, build a new bridge with a dedicated lane for buses, another for HOV traffic, then add the three, as there is now, one-way, for rush hour traffic. Double the number you get.
    Add another for pedestrians and cyclists, and you’re up to eleven, or, if the last group get opposing directional lanes you’re up to twelve.
    Perhaps we should let them know they should consider twelve lanes.
    Stephen Quinn shows that he never goes through the tunnel by saying that it has three lanes. Ten minus four is six. Six new lanes, with four for HOV and buses.
    Remember too that the $3.5 billion figure includes multiple interchange upgrades all the way up to Bridgeport, by the airport. Including a far more efficient and comprehensive HOV system. Currently there is no HOV system northbound from the tunnel and only a short one southbound from Westminster to the tunnel.
    It’s going to be a joy to cycle from Vancouver down and over the bridge and the restored and environmentally improved Deas Slough, then on to the migratory flats of Boundary Bay and the Reifel Bird Santuary. It will, for the first time in history, bring these important North American nature reserves within easy reach of those who chose to cycle from all over greater Vancouver. Ornithology is increasing popular as a recreational interest worldwide. The demographic of these aficionados is also desirable from a tourist perspective for any city or region. They have substantial disposable income and will be welcome in the hotels and restaurants as well as the cultural attractions of Vancouver. Tourism Vancouver will be watching.

    1. Indeed, this bridge is not mainly about better public transit. It is about goods and people movement, in a growing region with 30+ ports and soon 4M+ people and likely 6M+ by 2100. Perhaps 10% or likely less is on public transit daily and 1% or more likely 0.1% or less for bikes or walkers. Cycling out there is mainly about recreation. It has nothing to do with transit. Only diehard 20 somethings will cycle 30km one way, daily, rain or shine .. and most of those don’t live south of the river. As such the ped and bike path is for optics, to appease the green conscience, for the 1 or 2 dozen daily bikers or walkers, and the weekend recreational crowd. A nice touch. Should we toll bikes, too, btw ?
      Plus 10 lanes is immaterially more expensive than 8. SFPR soon will be too narrow, and this bridge in 2040 will be called visionary. Where is the 8 lane double decker Lionsgate bridge plan ?

      1. “It (the Massey Bridge] is about goods and people movement…”
        Oh, that old chestnut.
        When the exact phrase from the same playbook was used a decade ago to justify the bloated monster bridge called Port Mann, the actual traffic measurements indicated that 71% of the traffic consisted of single occupant cars, not commercial vehicles or buses.
        It also ignores the existing and potentially huge increase in port commercial activity and movements of goods by rail.
        The 10 proposed lanes certainly are excessive, and that waste will be carried through for several freeway km in both directions. It is completely unjustified economically. The commercial traffic will never justify it no matter how successful the Roberts Bank superport container terminal expansion becomes. The Libs may have something else up their sleeves.

    2. Eric:”Stephen Quinn shows that he never goes through the tunnel by saying that it has three lanes. Ten minus four is six. Six new lanes, with four for HOV and buses”
      You noted that the new bridge is proposed to have 10 vehicle lanes and one multiuse path, making eleven. Seems that Mr Quinn can subtract 4 from 11 and get 7.
      It is two lanes for HOV and buses. They share. From 2 vehicle lanes to 4, or 3 to 6 if they used a counterflow system. And since HOVs and buses come out of the current
      lanes, the plan is to more than double the capacity for cars.

  6. @Eric comments
    Eric since you support this 3.5 billion road project let me ask you a question based on this:
    “PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts a reduction of traffic accidents by a factor of 10 and it concludes that the fleet of vehicles in the United States may collapse from 245 million to just 2.4 million.[126]”
    You can get that from here:
    Since PWC predicts a massive drop in the need for cars do we still need this bridge considering its expense and it wont be operational until at least 2022.

  7. @N
    The study you refer to is now a couple of years old. As we well know, science fiction concepts tend to look like crazy dreams quite soon after they are predicted. We all remember flying cars, coming soon.
    The same author of your article is quoted in this new study that is only a mere three weeks old. Now the expectation is actually MORE vehicles.
    “A newly released report predicts that the number of vehicle miles driven by Americans each year will climb by 1 trillion by 2050.
    The analysis by auditing firm KPMG, however, added that due to potential technological advances, the increase could end up becoming much larger.
    Although the country’s population will increase during that span, that growth only accounts for 500 billion of the additional miles.
    KPMG analysts attributed the remainder to the likely explosion of self-driving vehicles and their potential use as shuttle services.
    Self-driving taxis would likely return those otherwise unable to drive — children and the elderly — to the road.
    The report adds that trips by empty autonomous shuttles between passengers could push the number of additional miles to up to 4 trillion.
    That would more than double the 3.1 trillion miles driven by U.S. vehicles in 2014.
    Gary Silberg, the automotive industry leader for the firm, questioned whether already declining infrastructure will be able to handle all the additional traffic.
    He also warned that urban planners and policymakers should immediately begin considering the potential ramifications.
    “In many ways we may be way underestimating this phenomenon,” Silberg told The Washington Post.
    No big study needed by me and I can promise you that there will be more extraordinary predictions coming soon. The author of the 2013 study seems to be adjusting his estimates in the opposite direction by a substantial magnitude!
    I hope this answers your question.

    1. Missing in your analysis is the price of oil for which 97% of transportation fuels depend on. The price has been historically volatile. The $148 / barrel price peak in 2008 was the straw that broke the camel’s back and precipitated a number of connected economic weaknesses. The rest is history.
      Now the geological evidence and production rate analysis by independent professionals states that the first of five US shale plays (Eagle Ford) has peaked after six short years, even during this period of <$40 / barrel prices.
      The other four are expected to follow and be in serious decline by the late teens and early 20s.
      What this will inevitably lead to is a constrained supply and higher prices following today's supply glut and lower prices, which has recently stimulated an increase in VMT in North America and demand. Just before that VMT were decreasing because of high oil prices.
      It's a nausea-inducing roller coaster, and your snapshot "analysis" takes place in a downward price and upward demand cycle, which will reverse itself once again soon enough.
      Also ignored in your commentary is net energy. More expense and energy is used to exploit ever more difficult fossil fuel reserves, and both affect the economy.
      The sooner we get off oil and build more efficient cities based on conservation, renewables and transit the better.

    2. Eric: You are quoting Silberg from KPMG in regards to the potential increase in VMT with autonomous cars. But you are quoting very selectively. The same author has forecast that highway vehicle lane capacity could increase by up to 500% due to the same technology. You suggest that we will need more vehicle lanes while your source is writing that we will need fewer. He suggests converting unused vehicle lanes to bike lanes, something that will fit well with your plan to attract cycling birdwatchers to Delta over the new bridge. There could be a lot of lanes available for them. Too bad about the steep grade that results from the higher bridge needing to accommodate larger ships.

      1. In the above link, see Implications for Investment, and Reduced Need for New Infrastructure.
        Not the author I would use to try and justify greatly expanding the number of highway lanes.

    1. There is the risk that self-driving cars are in reality a part of the flavour-of-the-month techie’s deamscape.
      What is not addressed is the cost of maintaining their support systems, namely public roads. Today’s vast road infrastructure is costly to maintain, and dealing with the environmental consequences of continuing to use exorbitant levels of energy on a per capita basis can be profound.
      This is why urban transit is so important. It has the capacity to shift transport to far more efficient means, use far less per capita energy and resources to move people, and free up roadspace for commercial traffic and land for more valuable uses like housing.

      1. Individual transportation options are as old as mankind. First, the horse or horse drawn carriage for those who could afford it. Then the one cylinder carriage for those that could afford it. Then the four cylinder mass produced option. Or the moped or golf cart sized scooter or motorcycle, used by tens of millions today in Asia. Then the e-car. Then the e-bike. Then the s-car.
        Not everybody loves to share space, at inconvenient times or incovenient routes or inconveniently slow speeds with many many stops. Many, most perhaps prefer an individual vehicle that they can use whenever they want, wherever they want it, in all weather conditions , alone or with four people in it. Owned or rented, self driving or control by a human.
        As such public transit will never satisfy all transportation requirements outside very dense urban centers.
        Will we see road tolls: of course, as more and more vehicles are electric or hybrid or fuel efficient.
        The most important word in the Enlish language ?
        Public transit AND individual transportation choices will be with us for millennia. We can debate the % of each and the pricing of each, of course.

        1. What I believe we are in agreement is that its more important that we get the public transit first and individual transport second and funding should reflect that.

      2. We have had 3/4 of a century with a religious devotion top persoanal transport. It was freedom at first, then everyone wanted a car, then two, then three, and they wanted the taxpayer to build all the support infrastructure.
        Now that infrastructure is crumbling and debt-ridden governments are loath to replace it 1:1. We also have the troublesome externalities regarding overdependence on one energy source, the environmental consequences, and the horrible land use impositions on cities, which of course the taxpayers are still expected to remediate.
        It’s not hard to conclude that we cannot afford to underpin personal transport with public funds to the same level as we have in the past. Ergo, streetcar suburbs here we come.

  8. @Jeff, You are, as I previously mentioned, looking at a study from 2012. Their November 2015 report has them revising things.
    “We are floored by how much the pace of change has accelerated in just one year. When we look at focus groups and our modeling, we understand why.
    Two roads to the same place: An increasing desire for mobility options
    Two generations will largely drive consumer demand in the future, the millennials and the “baby boomers plus”— those ranging in age from 45 to 75 years. Both groups are changing their behaviors but in wildly different ways. The boomers are moving into cities and holding onto their cars, at least for now. Millennials’ income and debt levels restrict their buying power and reduce their brand loyalty. The boomers and millennials share one interest, however: They already like mobility-on-demand services. We think their like is going to turn into love.”
    They go on:
    “Our modeling tells us something far more exciting. It turns out that these small changes among the oldest and youngest demographic groups will likely produce large increases in personal miles traveled (PMT) by 2050: approximately 500 billion more PMT annually. Once we factor in population growth, that increase in personal miles soars to nearly one trillion additional miles per year.”
    As I have said, predictions can quickly change.
    “When we first calculated these figures, we were astonished. Then we looked at our assumptions and realized that the number is likely to be far larger. Our figures reflect only the United States, but the increasing demand for mobility options will be global. ”
    Consider this quote from your reference at KPMG.
    “One thing is for sure.
    Those additional personal miles traveled offer a golden opportunity for the auto industry. They represent an additional trillion miles of new mobility options and the potential for new business models to satisfy them. ”
    Ride Sharing services will eventually come to old fashioned Vancouver. Gregor will try and ignore it but only for a while longer. Maybe one of his eco-brothers will pony up and he can give the taxi companies their money back, along with the bad news that their cartel-party is over. Uber, and others, will become integrated within the personal transportation mix, as will autonomous cars. These will be connected to all the Apps we all need, as well as those people just want. Apple and Tesla products will blend with Google navigation and connectivity.
    With autonomous cars physical ability and age will not need consideration, therefore more people will be in more cars, needing more roadways and wider bridges.
    As Andrew Coyne said at SFU, transit will have to become even more efficient, attractive, clean and comfortable, to draw users to want to use it. This differs from the idea that some people have, which often seems to be that people MUST use it.

    1. Eric you are forgetting that both the KPMG study and PWC study both predict massive decreases in road use by factors of 100 (PWC) or 500% (KPMG) with driverless cars.

  9. Eric, the studies are not contradictory. You continue to focus on urban VMT, and the number of potential autonomous vehicles, while ignoring the forecast increase in highway efficiency that more than counteracts the increased VMT. The studies say narrower bridges, due to not having to accommodate human driving errors, not wider bridges. All of this points to the proposed Massey Tunnel replacement bridge being more of a white elephant
    You are also ignoring the combined effects of these coming changes. Some people commute by car because they occasionally need a car at their destination. Fair enough. If they had a shared pool of cars available at their destination, they could be more likely to take a train or subway from the suburbs.

    1. Good ideas Jeff. Let’s work on this. We need a train in to Vancouver from Langley, White Rock, South Surrey, North and South Delta and Tsawwassen.
      Where do you think the shared pool of cars should be located? Oakridge or further up? False Creek by the Cambie Bridge could work.
      I figure around 100 km of track, when we include Langley and the Ferry Terminal. How much do you figure?

      1. Glad you agree car use will plummet as stated in the studies which would mean the massey tunnel replacement is a white elephant.

      2. The shared vehicles should be distributed around the city. They should use street parking, and have priority for that parking. Building parking lots is so last century
        As to how much rail, let’s start by seeing what 3.5 billion would buy us, since that is the number in play
        But the first step is agreeing not to build a ten lane bridge. The mandate is to improve the movement of goods and people. Every SOV that gets shifted to transit creates more room for trucks. And the best way to move people is rapid transit, or BRT in the interim as you build user volume.
        Combined ride tickets with car share and a transit ride. Change the current counterflow lane to HOV and bus now. So many things could be done. Lots of options. But again, first we have to agree not to build a ten lane bridge.

  10. Don’t jump, I know I’ve said this before, to conclusions. I strongly support the building of the bridge. The explosive growth south of the Fraser is only increasing. In fact, the realtor association just reported that prices are climbing in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board region faster than Vancouver, that starts just south of Delta.
    We must have a dedicated bicycle lane and a pedestrian path, as well as a bus lane across the river at that point. We should have the transit too.
    The bridge is decided, we now need to work on the transit component.
    Based on the anticipated and present demand it certainly looks like around 100 km of rail. Do you think we should extend the little Canada Line down No 3 road. I’m not sure a 2 car train coming in from Langley with a half a dozen stops is sufficient capacity for the run up and into Vancouver. It does, if course, mean that all the current Canada Line stations have to be expanded for longer trains and there must be some double-tracking laid somewhere.
    We know TransLink has planning going out to 2040, what route is the commuter train expected to take? Will it go to South Surrey, Morgan Crossing and Langley with spur lines off to North Delta, Tsawwassen and White Rock, or is it just one big long loop?
    You suggested train so we must stick to that. No Bus Rapid Transit as an interm half-measure. That won’t attract enough people, even when we all know paying the fare on a TransLink bus is only an optional suggestion.
    As you also said, if they have a car available at their destination, it would be more attractive. Absolutely, but at the destination can’t mean scattered around the streets. The car has to be there, waiting, like an airport rental. Steps away, under cover, even if only partial. Do you TransLink getting into the car-share business or should this go out to tender?

    1. Eric: “We must have a dedicated bicycle lane and a pedestrian path, as well as a bus lane across the river at that point.”
      Looks like you’ll be disappointed in this proposed bridge that you strongly support. No dedicated bike lane or pedestrian path. Just a single multiuse path. A big climb up, and a high speed descent down the other side.
      If the tunnel needs to be replaced by a bridge for automobiles, it would make more sense to keep the tunnel, and use one side for transit, the other for walking and cycling, separated. No big climb required, and no additional travel distance back to the start of the ramps from the riverfront paths.
      If you want to see the rapid transit routes included in the Translink 2040 plan, they are all shown there. Supported by population trends, commercial traffic trends, and so on. But no 10 lane bridge.

  11. Come on Jeff don’t get lazy and start backtracking otherwise nothing will get done.
    The new Massey Bridge is clearly marked and noted on two maps in the Mayors 2040 Plan, on pages 5 and 15.
    As you said, we need a train or a subway in from the suburbs. Do you think this should be before Broadway? There are tons of buses already on Broadway and UBC closes down for months at time.

    1. It shouldn’t be one or the other. We need a comprehensive transportation plan with funding and to stick to it. This piece meal funding leads to exactly the kind of thing you’re doing, pitting one project vs another. It’s all important, it should all get done.

    2. Eric: “The new Massey Bridge is clearly marked and noted on two maps in the Mayors 2040 Plan”
      It is clearly noted as being done by others, aka piecemeal. I agree with Don, we need a comprehensive plan.
      But you arent looking at the Translink 2040 plan, you are looking at the Mayors Council 10 year plan. If you want to see more details of the Translink 2040 plan, take a look at it. It includes future rapid transit routes, which was your original question.

      1. There is even yet another 2040 Plan, I was looking at one developed for the City of Vancouver. No wonder the ideas are different. Vancouver only thinks about itself.
        What a great business writing plans is.
        One plan tells us that Delta, Surrey and White Rock will soon have a larger population than Vancouver. Another plan offers them a few buses and a train that only goes into Surrey.
        It is not unusual in Canada to see so many administrations just thinking of themselves. We have the Federal Government, the Provincial Government, the Regional Metro Government and the City Governments, agreement is obviously only an occasional thing.
        Gregor in Vancouver wants his subway under Broadway, stopping somewhere in Point Grey. Next door in Burnaby Mayor Corrigan won’t support the Mayors’ Plan, over in Surrey they say they are not waiting and proceeding with a Light Rail, etc, etc. Back at TransLink they are kicking fat cats out the door as though it’s past closing time.
        The province moves ahead with a decision on a new bridge. A handful of malcontents cry out.

        1. Eric, every city has to coordinate transportation. I want you to talk a bit about Vancouver’s particular long term success with non-car modes of travel. Educate us a little if you would?

          1. You can’t really comment on Vancouver’s leadership and Greater Vancouver’s successes in regional transportation planning can you Eric? I don’t think you have it in you.
            You instead prefer to play a not-so-subtle politics of urban/suburban division and support a triple-level-email-deleting provincial government that ignores triple-convergence; frustrates coordinated regional transit planning; and is bent on a 10 lane expansion of freeways for primarily for cars – gas, diesel, electric or otherwise – infrastructure hungry machines that promote and support dispersed settlement patterns which further exacerbate the need for more highways. It’s a structured structuring structure Eric: you get what you plan for, and the Province is planning for more cars.
            In contrast, Vancouver has been a leader in Transit Planning since the BCER in the late 1890s with the expansion and articulation of city-and-region shaping transportation systems based on the dual logic of pedestrian mobility and electric streetcar mass transit systems only 3 years after the City was incorporated in 1886.
            Vancouver operates on the premise that the best transportation plans begin with great land use plans. It is the only city in North America that rejected a freeway, opting instead for dense liveable neighbourhoods of propinquity throughout its central core. It’s the City that brought you Greenpeace; Habitat ’76; and later Expo 86 – the “World Transportation and Communication Exhibition” which gave use the Expo Skytrain Line and later the Millennium and Canada Lines which extend out to other municipalities.
            Vancouver remains one of the world’s most livable cities. it has one of the highest transit and cycle modes in North America and is about the only city on the continent that has doubled its downtown population while holding flat vehicle miles traveled. It has more people who want to use and support transit – a place where existing demand surpasses the capacity of articulated rapid bus systems and truly warrants new investment (the Broadway B line for example).
            Time for coordinated regional transit planning and transparency in government. I am not a NDP card holder and I think from the comments of my Liberal member friends, the Premier may be in some big trouble on this. Now if I were the Federal Environment Minister or the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, I would be very concerned by the shambles that the Provincial Government has made of regional planning and the appalling public record on this file . I might properly tie federal contributions to transparent democratic processes, a new Regional Transit Funding System, and agreements with Metro Vancouver mayors.

  12. I agree with Don, it shouldn’t be one or the other it must be both. I also agree with Jeff that we need fast rail service to the growing suburbs and we are pleased to see TransLink including fast-rail to the southern region in the 2040 Plan.
    We expect that the north shore will also be getting fast commuter rail in the very near future. It certainly needs it. The congestion between Upper and Lower Lonsdale all the way over to Keith Road and down through the Cassiar Connector us becoming unacceptable.
    Jeff, is there anyone still employed at TransLink that is doing anything about this, or were they all fired? One thing I do know is that there’s some expensive art works being thrown together for the new Evergreen stations and bus services are being cut.
    Ten year, twenty year and thirty year studies are fun but what’s actually happening?
    Maybe it really is time to start to offer some services out to tender.

    1. Eric: I don’t think you do agree with me. I didn’t say we need fast rail service to the suburbs now, I said we need rapid transit. That likely means BRT first while we build ridership, followed by some form of rail.
      You have revealed that you didn’t know there was a Translink 2040 plan for Metro. You were so busy criticizing the Mayor’s council plan that you didn’t realize it was but the first step, 10 years towards the 40 year plan. You hate on the Vancouver 2040 Transportation Plan as just being about Vancouver, not acknowledging that it was prepared several years later, and is Vancouver’s contribution towards the regional 2040 plan. We have in front of us evidence of different levels of government cooperating together, and you claim it is an example of redundancy and too many layers.
      How could you be pleased to see Translink planning for rail in the 2040 plan, after having spent months slagging them and the first step towards that plan? You should be sorry that it is less likely to come to fruition. And chastened at having argued from ignorance these past months
      Similarly, how can you seriously claim to expect to see fast commuter rail for the North Shore when you campaigned against funding the organization who wanted to deliver it?
      My other comments have been very well expressed by m4mortenson, just above.
      Merry Christmas to you and your band of malcontents. And also to those who are working to actually try and improve things instead of just complaining

      1. Improving things is great ! More transit and more roads / bridges is great ! A more livable region – including a wide variety of housing choices including leafy suburbs with houses and yards for kids ( as opposed to the loaded word “sprawl” ) – is great too !
        But the funding thereof, WITHIN existing taxation frameworks or the massive annual $5B+ MetroVan budgets is the need here, and not by expanding both salaries & benefits of too many employees nor by taxing the populace more. That to me was the result of the referendum !

        1. You’re quite right Thomas. That’s exactly what the opposition pointed out and that’s what the people voted for. If they ever start collecting bus and SkyTrain fares there’ll be enough money there too as a bonus.

      2. Jeff, you should take it easy on this day and probably on a few others. Give it a rest too, I was referencing the 2040 Plan way before the vote at the start of this year. You really should try and stop displaying anger when you disagree with someone’s opinion. It’s just childish.
        There are already buses going down the 99 and they don’t stop at every intersection overpass, so that just doesn’t cut it if that’s what you hope will build up ridership for a train.
        While you guys are playing with toy trains, more and more studies and bicycles Surrey is going to outgrow you. Maybe we should amalgamate and have a Metro Mayor from the burbs in the big chair at 12th & Cambie.

        1. Eric: “I was referencing the 2040 plan way before the vote at the start of this year”
          This isn’t anger, just puzzlement. From a discussion on May 2015, here on Pricetags, a poster named Eric was arguing against the Mayor’s plan, having just read Appendis F and having become alarmed about ‘social engineering.’ The poster wrote that “the policy objectives are becoming clearer” and wanted to know what those policy objectives were. The poster was provided a link to the Translink 2040 plan (not the Vancouver 2040 Transportation Plan, which may be the source of some confusion)
          When responding to those links, the poster named Eric wrote “I didn’t notice that this 2040 Plan is mentioned at all in the supporting documents of the Mayor’s plan. Then again, I have work to do to feed my family and it’s not like I can drop everything and wade through 150 pages….”
          How do we reconcile these statements? Are there multiple Erics?

          1. Jeff, will you please compile a complete list of studies and plans on transit, population growth, demographics, etc., for the region, say, for the past 15 years. Including those underway or incomplete, if possible. Please include the total costs of all these items, including specific costs expended.
            It will most useful, so that we can see if we’ve all read and digested all the studies existent.
            Don’t forget to include those from the universities like SFU and UBC, etc., as well those from TransLink, Metro (GVRD), The City of Vancouver and other cites and levels of government too, etc., etc., etc, and Sightline Institute as well as any other foreign produced and/or funded documents, including those that Michael Mortensen cites below, if they include Vancouver and the region.
            I realise this could take some time. Be thorough.

  13. M4M; Help me in my difficulty in understanding the glory of the region, vis-a-vis, transit planning when the referendum to expand this magnificent network failed in such spectacular fashion. Both provincial leaders supported this referendum and said so. Almost all the mayors and police chiefs, baby sitters, nurses and teachers, you name it, acme out strongly supporting it. The question on the ballot itself was a ‘push’ question. Only the Pope stayed out of the fray.You say that, “It has more people who want to use and support transit –”. Yet the result was a categorical NO.
    Your parable is touching. Why were lands closer to the core not developed for those decades and the massive growth in the regions was not considered for transit, except buses? This has led to the need fro roads and bridges to these relatively close areas, north, especially east, south and west. All surrounding areas have grown rapidly. The mayors had to be virtually forced by the provincial Liberals to approve the Canada Line, which you now cite as a planners gold-star winner.
    The Federal misters will be considering many items across the country, including the $4.3 billion Champlain Bridge in Montreal that they are paying for and maintaining too. A new bridge facilitating traffic to Canada’s largest container port, as well as Canada’s largest volume coal shipping terminal and to BC Ferries and Canada’s largest ferry terminal, all seems quite expected.
    The provincial government has never said it will not contribute expected funding to the expansion of transit in the Vancouver region. It maintains that position, even after TransLink and the Mayors have utterly lost public support for their little Plan, which collapsed with TransLink firing a succession of people from the very top all the way down to a number of planners. This, my son, is what we call a shambles.

    1. Eric, I am a lot older than I look m’ boy but I’ll take that as a compliment 😉
      Let’s hold a referendum on the 10 lane freeway and give the Region the power to set the date, time and manner of the vote and see what happens.
      Linked up regional land use and transportation planning is what’s needed, not a outdated Provincial Highway Plan. The Liveable Region Strategy together with the ALR has contained sprawl in the region far better than other west coast cities. You’re quick to dismiss (and destroy) 45 years of successful Regional Planning.

  14. I caution you on holding another referendum. Will you promise to get out all those bright sparks warning about heart attacks and dementia if we build another car lane? Please, please do. Your gang didn’t want a referendum before but you all want one now. Oh, boo hoo. Where’s the logic in that? I didn’t yet see any peer reviewed study.
    Now you ignore all comments and push the Sightline Institute, as if this will bolster previous pleads. Yet another non-productive gab-tank with all the usual suspects including those near and dear, along with the obligatory Dontate Button. Bosom buddies of those that write all of those long term studies and plans that still think that oil is going to be running out next week, as well as $500 a barrel, soon. I guess it really is the new religion.
    Have any of you ever actually been outside of that Downtown Bubble? The complete blind spot regarding the growing suburban towns of Vancouver is revealing.
    Without Prejudice:
    Merry Christmas.

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