Just came across this blog this morning from Patrick Johnstone, a New Westminster City Councillor. Worth a read.


“There is a lot going on right now in the transportation file in the Lower Mainland, both good and bad news, and I can hardly keep up, never mind blog about it. So while the local radio stations stoked anger a couple of weeks ago about another TransLink “outrage”, I had something completely different to get angry about: this “Fact Scheet” produced by the provincial government in regards to the Massey Tunnel replacement project:”


Read more:




  1. Stephen Rees also had a go at it.


    The provincial government will now go as far as to publish such lame, unreferenced propaganda to back up their assertion that the profoundly excessive road space and expenditures Massey will bring is good for the economy and won’t hurt the environment no matter how many decades of prior evidence from all over the world proves them wrong.

    Further, TransLink gets all the criticism while the MoT walks on water. This is by design. The BC Libs will not allow the Metro to achieve a modicum of democratic independence no matter how big it gets and how deep the unmet demand for transit goes. TransLink is a very handy outfit for the province. It meets the vital role as deflection bait for the anti-tax pontificators and talk radio flaks to gnaw on, drawing attention away from cabinet policy paid for by highway contractor and fossil fuel lobbyists at $20,000 a plate dinners. And they now have the best government money can buy to address their narrow special interests, a government who will even twist facts into myths on behalf of their friends.

  2. Under a related story published here last week, titled “An America That Makes Sense”, we read that, “Federal policy should refocus on helping these nascent archipelagos prosper, and helping others emerge, in places like Minneapolis and Memphis, collectively forming a lattice of productive metro-regions efficiently connected through better highways, railways and fiber-optic cables: a United City-States of America.”. The ideas are all there regarding stronger cities.

    The Massey replacement is in the same vein. Improved infrastructure to relieve pollution-generating congestion and health damaging frustrations and facilitate rapid access to reasonably priced and more varied housing, beyond the sacred agricultural land preserve.

    Among many other immediate benefits will be simple access for cyclists and other road users, including those taking public transit, to the main Vancouver BC ferry terminal and the main route to the USA.

    1. “Improved infrastructure to relieve pollution-generating congestion”

      When you write unsubstantiated nonsense like that, do you imagine you’re convincing anyone?

    2. it could be a positive step if the project did include simple access for cyclists and pedestrians to the main ferry terminal, and to the US border, to use your examples. At the moment, however, the project scope includes none of those cycling routes. It is restricted to a shared multi use path on the bridge deck, with no connections at either end of the span. How can an organization have a goal of increasing cycling volumes (from the project definition report) and not see the need to connect the bridge to destinations, as is being done the length of the 24 km project route for motor vehicles and transit.

      1. How many cyclists are we talking here ? 10 a day ? 100 ? Get real, please. Yes we need more cycling infrastructure IN THE CITY. Who commutes 40 km by bike ?

        I find this overall analysis and myth busting interesting, though. YES, we need more throughput on and under the river for additional commuters and additional commercial development as Canada’s major port on the Pacific. It strikes me that the 10 myth did not at all address the planned capacity increased in the Fraser River for more jobs and more commerce all the way to New West and Surrey. Why not ? Jobs are not important ?

        It also is strange that the provincial government did not consult adequately with MetroVan or the Mayors Council on Transportation, nor considered a new lower/wider tunnel, nor a third tunnel pipe while upgrading the existing two, nor allow for rapid transit above. Surely all worthy options to address.

        Perhaps the Liberal government pushed this project through too fast as it rightly feared another NDP win in 2017 that would likely nix such projects and stall commerce and economic growth like they did in the 1990’s, and elsewhere in Canada ? What does the NDP’s Leap Manifesto, btw, say about commerce and infrastructure ? All bad ? E-buses only ? Bikes only ? Carrying goods on foot like in Sri Lanka or Bangladesh ? Does the NDP know Canada is an exporting and importing nation and that there is only one major port city on the Pacific ?

        On balance a new 10 lane bridge is better than doing nothing. The bridge will last 100+ years and will be heralded at visionary in 20-25 years. Maybe they will call it the Christy Clarke Bridge then ? The SFPR is already too narrow and congested, btw !

        1. Thomas: “How many cyclists are we talking here ?”

          Good question. The current shuttle (running hourly) can carry 140 cyclists a day through the tunnel. There are also bike racks on the buses running through the tunnel. There are not convenient routes to get to the tunnel. If appropriate bikeways are constructed on each side of the proposed new bridge, how many users a day would we see? The weather is good in that part of the world, the route is flat apart from the bridge ramps, and there are important destinations as draws. Cycling will also avoid the daily toll for commuters destined for just the other side of the new bridge.

          MoTI policy states “Our goal to integrate bicycling on the province’s highways by providing safe, accessible and convenient bicycle facilities and by supporting and encouraging cycling.” Sounds good. Especially the part about provisions for cyclists being included on all new and upgraded provincial highways. Seems this project is not planning on doing that for the 24 km length of the project, but hopefully that will be addressed.

          Until it is, and especially considering your concern over how many cyclists will benefit from this new bridge, it seems disingenuous for Eric to claim that the sidewalk of the bridge is an immediate benefit for cyclists.

        2. Lots of people can commute 40km by bike, especially when a large amount of the commute is on relatively flat ground. It’d probably take less time to cover that distance by bike on a decent route than a lot of other people already take by car. ie: I’d expect someone who commutes by bike regularly to be able to do 40km in about 75 minutes.

        3. A 30-40 km commute is quite doable for anyone using an e-bike. And a lot of the current tunnel trips end in Richmond, so that is an even shorter commute from Tsawwassen of Ladner. In Germany about 15% of trips are made by bike. In the Netherlands, about 30% of trips are by bike and there is no good reason that we cannot achieve the same numbers in Metro Vancouver – especially in Delta and Richmond.

        4. Mentioning Massey Tunnel and bikes in the same sentence is a joke, guys. It is a nice after-thought. This tunnel is primarily about ENABLING COMMERCE south of the Fraser River, in Delta, in Surrey and to a lesser degree in Richmond and New West. And perhaps eventually to V Island.

          The new bridge will get bike lanes, so relax: all is good. E-bikes make sense, once gasoline in $3 to $5/liter .. but even then it is for a small SMALL minority of people in that part of MetroVan. Holland and Germany bike stats will show you fairly short commutes in even flat terrain in a well developed bike network. It may make a scenic weekend outing. But commuting from Tsawwassen to Richmond or Vancouver by bike ? Seriously ? 10 people max/day. Maybe 100. Compared to 20,000+ vehicles !

          [ I can only imagine the howls I get on this from the bikers .. ]

          Truckers, mothers with 2 kids and daily commuters rarely blog here, btw. Think about them, to, please. Any good from the US probably came through this tunnel, or on a boat to one of the 30+ MetroVan ports. This is about COMMERCE guys. About jobs and reducing congestion. And allowing folks to escape the urban jungle that not everyone loves.

    3. Transit delay has never been an issue due to transit lanes and queue jumping. Congestion could easily be relieved by tolling the tunnel and increasing bus service. Unfortunately, a new bridge will almost certainly increase motor vehicle volumes throughout the region and especially on the streets of Richmond and Vancouver. If this were carefully analyzed, we would probably find that congestion and pollution will increase after the bridge is in place. So for 3.5 billion, we will be no further ahead.

      1. A little narrow a view Arno ? Ports are EXPANDING .. and MetroVan is GROWING by at least 1M people .. likely more ! Bridge will be tolled, will it not .. unlike our wasteful Quebec/federal Brethren that d not toll the very expensive Champlain bridge in Montreal !

        We need MORE bridge / tunnel capacity AND more rapid transit. Just more buses and cycling lanes won’t cut it.

        Likely we will get more DeltaPort like expansions too .. both off Delta into the shallow marshlands as well as along the Fraser ! Loads of room for industrial and residential expansion here along the Fraser River, perhaps even a bridge to Vancouver Island to bring some massive port expansion capabilities in South Vancouver Island !

        1. Problem with the bridge to Van Island idea is that it’s not really feasible to the south island, even if you wanted to run a freeway down Galiano and onto Saltspring (imagine the protests!!! Clayoquot redux). It’s probably doable further north, like near the Comox Valley, but that just isn’t where the island’s population centres are nor is there a real road connection on the mainland side. Could you imagine if they built the bridge and it actually took longer to get from Van to Vic by car than it does via the existing ferries? It’s a total pipe dream and I just can’t imagine it ever being worth the cost.

          As for the Massey bridge, i get that Metro is expanding, but is it really going to expand that much in….Ladner?? And is traffic really going to increase to the Tsawassen ferry terminal? Don’t you think it’s more likely that the Duke Point run gets nixed and the opposite is true? Car travel across the Salish Sea has not been increasing.

          Fact is, the Alex Fraser bridge is a reasonable substitute for a ton of trips, especially towards the U.S.A. Why can’t we just throw a toll on the existing tunnel as a way to deal with congestion?

          And how much sense does it make to expand capacity to Ladner if you aren’t going to do the same on the Oak Street Bridge? And if you do that, then where do all those cars go? Marine, Oak?

        2. Port goods are mainly for distant destinations, so why not focus more on rail? We could start by eliminating the huge subsidy provided to trucking. As for a road to the island, why not provide more passenger ferries? There is a new service starting next year out of Vancouver, but a passenger ferry with bike storage options between Bridgeport Station in Richmond and Victoria/Nanaimo would be a great option which would also reduce a lot of the Tsawwassen ferry traffic. How about rail to Ladner Tsawwwassen and also to South Surrey/Whiterock. These projects would be truly visionary. All these options would reduce motor vehicle traffic which is the total opposite of what a 12 lane bridge would achieve.

        3. How many OVERSIZED money-LOSING bridges will it take to make you HAPPY, Thomas?
          You clearly haven’t figured out that we live on a finite planet either.

        4. Four, Ron: this one, Patullo Bridge, the extension of Boundary Road south to Richmond. Plus a wider Lionsgate bridge.

          It will be tolled. Relax. It might even be free to (the 10 daily) bikes.

          We can’t just cram in more people into MetroVan and not build more road and rapid transit infrastructure. MetroVan has utterly failed in that. Where is the subway under Marine Drive in N-Van and W-Van ? Where is the UBC loop (under Broadway to UBC, then onto/under 41st) ? Where is the Canada Line extension to S-Richmond and Steveston ? Where is the subway under Granville or Burrard south ? Given these utter infrastructure and planning failures it is no wonder people flee to the cheaper and more leafy suburbs. Hike land transfer and property taxes, especially to non-income paying non-residents and monetize the foreign investment and immigration boom here. Tax incomes less and properties far FAR more and we’d have all the money we need to get this built. But no, we have our hand out to the feds for local infrastructure. Weird !

  3. Thomas: “Mentioning Massey Tunnel and bikes in the same sentence is a joke, guys. It is a nice after-thought. This tunnel is primarily about ENABLING COMMERCE south of the Fraser River, in Delta, in Surrey and to a lesser degree in Richmond and New West.”

    Let’s see what the project definition report and business case say about that. Trucks represent less than 5% of the current rush hour volume. Passenger vehicles are at 95%. Buses don’t even register. So I would say that your claim that this is all about commerce (and your related claims about port traffic, freight, etc) is 95% incorrect.

    It is about single occupant vehicles commuting greater distances. And if we tolled the tunnel now, and improved transit service, we could make more room in the existing corridor for that important commercial traffic. Just don’t try and say this is for the trucks. It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

        1. Pretty convincing report. Thank you Jeff. That 170% growth in truck traffic over the next few years is striking.

          Is there any way the project can be expedited?

        2. Good to see people finally get critical of the Province litterature.

          Patrick, Thanks for the link too but you can also fairly assume the consultation material you refer in your post is wrong too, as stated in this Stephen rees blog:

          for the transit share you refer, the real numbers are stated in this post:

          I have explained that to the MOTi people, so I feel personal satisfaction, that the project definition corrected this information (on the line of the above link).

          More generally, people should rather refer to the 2009 study (linked in the above post): I think this one present much more trustable information

    1. Way back when, the single occupant passenger vehicle traffic on the old Port Mann rang in at 71%. All private cars was and still is probably similar to your stats.

    2. Commerce is not only about trucks. It is about new ports, loading facilities, factories and warehouses and for thousands of people to get there. A car is the only realistic option in a spread out region around the Fraser River. Hey, the car might be three wheeled, electric or eventually an AV but still a SOV or perhaps Uber enabled car sharing. 1M more people in MetroVan need more roads, and yes, more transit too !

      This tunnel is almost sixty years old. A tolled bridge will last over 100. Perhaps eight lanes would have been sufficient but the incremental cost from 8 to 10 is peanuts. Dong nothing is not an option either and the anti-industry MetroVan council had their head in the sand as to what people want. Hence the provincial – MetroVan disconnect.

      Only one NDP province remaining as of today in Canada. In Alberta. Weird, eh ?

      1. Commerce is not only about trucks.

        But commercial truck traffic is exactly the point the province is basing its excuses on to build an unreasonably huge bridge and sink the provincial debt a couple of notches further into the mud, just as it did the Port Mann.

        But of course the factual lack of sufficient truck traffic will be converted into a Myth by the ministry of transportation propaganda meisters and the problem will go away, won’t it?

  4. Wow. The simple fact here is that our government is blatantly lying to us. That’s something that ought to make everyone angry, regardless of what side of the issue you’re on, and it’s something the press needs to do a better job calling the government on.

  5. Who drives through the tunnel? Yesterday morning it took some people a long time. The northbound traffic was backed-up to 80th Street. I’ll bet some opposed have no idea what that means or where that is. In the afternoon at 3:11pm traffic southbound was stopped just south of Westminster and crawling all the way from there. It stopped again right under Blundell. Trucks were going through their gears as they crawled along, yet some people think this doesn’t create any emissions. Some say toll it. What if they do and that doesn’t reduce the delays? Close the tunnel and go back to a ferry?

    The government has been very clear on this project since it was announced four years ago. Consultations have been extensive.

    Jeff Leigh seems concerned that his bike lane will be shared with pedestrians. Yes, Jeff is worried that too many people will be walking across the bridge and this will impede the rapid flow of bikes.

    The vast majority of citizens support the construction of the bridge. The vast majority of citizens also support more transit. The opposition seems to be coming from those angered by the failure of their referendum last year. Had the Mayors’ Plan included real and comprehensive transit expansion to the north shore and the southern communities, instead of just west Broadway to dead-end at Arbutus (for 2 billion bucks!) and had TransLink not been in some a blatant, highly public and vicious self-destruct mode with people at the top being fired (and many, many more unceremoniously kicked out since) while the referendum was being considered, then I believe that a vote to increase the sales tax by even 2% could have been approved.

    The Yes side co-opted just about everyone including all the famous public officials and vocally excited academics, we expected to even see our proctologist on tv shouting off about the virtues of hopping on a bus. Yet, the public overwhelmingly and massively rejected a one-half-of-one-percent little insignificant tax dedicated to TransLink. This has to tell us something when all those interviewed that opposed the Plan said that they support increased transit, particularly fast-rail. Throwing all the blame at one man, Jordan Bateman and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, is flattering, particularly since he had a budget for his campaign that was a minuscule .05% of that compared to the big boys.

    Going on and on opposing essential modernization of the highway system is incorrectly liked to a failed subway, rail and bike infrastructure plan.

    1. Eric, many would support doing something about the congestion. It is the specific choice to build a ten lane bridge, without improved rapid transit in the corridor, when the approach of building more lanes has been shown not to work, many times, around the world, that raises concerns.

      My specific concern with the multi use path on the bridge itself has nothing to do with impeding the flow of bicycles. It has to do with pedestrian safety. Take a 3 m wide shared path. No lines or separation. Provide a scenic view for pedestrians to take in. Even consider building viewpoints. Now add in bicycle traffic. Make it bidirectional, in which case pedestrians will have bikes coming from both sides. Give the bikes over 1 km of descent, a straight run, at 5%. Check yourself what the design speeds should be on that descent. At the bottom of that run, have them mix it up with those pedestrians looking at the view. It is a safety issue.

      1. “Improved transit – dedicated transit/HOV lanes between Bridgeport Road in Richmond and Highway 91 in Delta, new transit-only ramps at Bridgeport Road to improve access to Canada Line, and integrated transit stops at the Steveston Highway and Highway 17A interchanges”

        It’s right there Jeff. Don’t just read the opponents story, read the government material and see how your concern is completely unnecessary.

        If those bikes go too fast there will have to some sort of enforcement, to save injuries. Maybe speed-bumps on the bike paths.

      2. Lanes are not transit. It will be up to Translink to find equipment to put on those lanes when they are built.

        1. Now that TransLink have fired a whole bunch of senior executives there’s loads of spare money just waiting to be spent. Probably enough for a sizable fleet of new buses.

          What was that top guy hauling in? Over four hundred grand, wasn’t it? No wonder Joe Sixpack was peeved.

  6. Heh heh. I love how using a 1950’s solution to urban and regional transportation congestion, a solution that has been proven to be an ineffective money pit for decades, a solution for which economically viable alternatives have been developed and implemented in many industrialized countries, is referred to as “modernization”.

  7. I prefer that we maintain bragging rights that Oak x 70th contains the first set of lights north of the Mexican border.

Leave a Reply to PWCC Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *