Christopher Cheung and pal Jeremy Nuttall in the Tyee record their thoughts on the newly-opened Evergreen line and the changes underway around it.  It’s a broad look at the effects of rapid transit on mostly car-dependent suburbs.  The interviewees range from look-ahead mayors to travelling families.

Trains bring change, not just in colonial histories, but as new transit lines connect regions today. Trains bring development along their routes, and rising real estate prices. Trains bring new people to existing communities who think they are new. Trains mean cars can be left at home and trains bring in new workers that are only a commute away. . . .

Photo by Christopher Cheung

. . . .  I think about a recent CBC interview with the mayors of the two cities on the transit route that highlighted the hopes and concerns.
Port Moody’s Mike Clay: “We’re losing the suburban feel. The suburbs are becoming more urban. We’re all sort of in this together.”
Coquitlam’s Richard Stewart: “We know that this region is going to get another million people in the next 25 years and we have to be able to get as much [as] possible near to SkyTrain lines, near rapid transit systems, near transit hubs, so that we can minimize the 600,000 cars that a million people would produce


  1. This preoccupation with buzzing people all over town, in very expensive gadgetry, is a very bad idea.
    To say the least a waste of billions that could be spent on more socially relevant amenities: i.e. coalessing developments into more compact relationships to avoid the necessity of wasting those billions on fancy trinkets buzzing around on pre-determined axes that still requires Momma, in her gas-guzzler, pick up the kids and wait for daddie at supper time.
    The first decades of my life were spent in the UK. Even back then it was not unusual to see a half built ship’s hull looming at the end of the street: daddie’s work place two minutes walk away!
    Yes, yes yes, noise and air polution! I know but we are technologically a long way from that!
    PT, despite energetically promothing cycling, has studiously ignored this side of the debate: walk to work planning! This is a TX solution deserving of debate before engaging in more shovelling of money down the pit but it seems PT readers cannot cope with so many alternative solutions all at once. Too bad!
    Of course decision makers have hitched their wagon to yet another antedeluvian, dazzle the voter, epic waste of money,debt, that will be out of date by the time commuters know its there.
    Evidently our elected representatives are in love with debt!

    1. Walk to work planning……………. we see plenty of that in Vancouver. The interesting question however is; What are the jobs that attract all the commuters anyway? It strikes me that many of those jobs involve the building of the city, its infrastructure, its buildings and the maintenance of all that in one way or another. Mass transit does not serve the needs of the vast majority of these folks.

    2. Building walkable communities. An excellent idea many of us have promoted for decades. However, it tends to weaken when you are stuck in a bad job close to home, or have an attractive job offer outside of the community, or you must look after a parent elsewhere or the kids need a better school. Then democracy and freedom in mobility is key.
      Many of us believe that freedom of mobility is best realized with public transit instead of private transport — which in fact ironically wouldn’t exist without massive investments in public infrastructure. But the decision makers have over 75 years ensured a long struggle as our once streetcar -linked villages morphed into car-addicted suburbs and blew the budgets in doing so as the result of their ignorance.
      The cost of building walkable towns today will therein require a great social transformation. That will not be as easy as merely waving a planner’s pen.

  2. . . . many of those jobs involve the building of the city . . .” even an empty city owned for the convenience of foreign investment! I get your point Jolson but how do you know that!
    And how is that a long term solution?
    Let us make a realistic take on Vancouver circa 2017. Realistically the town is half empty. Vancouver is living an unrealistic cocoon of wishful thinquing. The suburbs, more realistically described as uncontrollable sprawl, have sprialled out of control planning-wise and beyond Vancouver’s pocket book:and free of vital signs. There should be something grossly humiliating about living in a city for the amenity of foreigners who have no intention of contributing to the city.
    . . . a city of culturally interrelated villages.

    1. There is no long term solution because we have turned city building into our primary industry. We are good at it and we have produced a world class product that is in high demand. Let’s recognize our abilities and build some new cities from the ground up using current best design practices.

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