Ted Murphy  of the Delta Optimist ponders what is going to happen to those plans for the  George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, saying it is on “a death watch”. He also notes that  “many will be rejoicing at the prospect of the $3.5-billion undertaking not moving forward.”
I  am not sure people are “rejoicing” at the prospect of the Massey Bridge being shelved, but anything that will  impact the  sensitive river delta, the agricultural land, and was voted against by every mayor on the Mayors Council  (save one) should have a solid rethink. Are there other locations that this crossing that should be bolstered? Why do we keep throwing our hands in the air about “congestion”? Why are we not encouraging ride share incentives  and rapid transit/bus options? Why are we still not asking the Port of Vancouver to be a good corporate citizen and be part of the solution? But never mind. Back to Mr Murphy.
Should the NDP-Green coalition form a razor-thin majority, it will have the votes needed to kill the massive infrastructure project, which is most definitely the prerogative of the party – or, in this case, parties – in power. Should that happen, the obvious question is: What’s the alternative? What’s being said by opponents doesn’t offer much comfort on that front, let alone make a lot of sense.”
“One of the popular arguments is that building a bridge would just move the morning bottleneck to the Oak Street Bridge. That ignores traffic counts that show almost 60 per cent of vehicles heading northbound through the tunnel on a weekday morning will end their journey in Richmond, never making it as far as one of the three bridges across the north arm of the Fraser.”
“It also conveniently overlooks the fact the Oak Street Bridge has absolutely nothing to do with lengthy southbound lineups for the tube every afternoon. The tunnel is a bottleneck all on its own and a plan needs to be developed to address the situation.”
Why don’t we have a Port Mann tunnel, a Golden Ears tunnel or even one other tunnel in the area? Nearing its 60th birthday, the George Massey Tunnel has struggled to cope with traffic volumes for decades now…and others  (must)  come up with a plan that not only satisfies their supporters, but commuters as well.”


  1. Ted Murphy certainly focuses the mind and dispels that silly myth about shifting the massive bottleneck congestion. Let’s hope Malcolm Brodie will be advised.
    “One of the popular arguments is that building a bridge would just move the morning bottleneck to the Oak Street Bridge. That ignores traffic counts that show almost 60 per cent of vehicles heading northbound through the tunnel on a weekday morning will end their journey in Richmond, never making it as far as one of the three bridges across the north arm of the Fraser.”
    “It also conveniently overlooks the fact the Oak Street Bridge has absolutely nothing to do with lengthy southbound lineups for the tube every afternoon. The tunnel is a bottleneck all on its own and a plan needs to be developed to address the situation.”

    1. I didn’t see any focusing. Or silly myths.
      Let’s consider that expanding the crossing lets 100 vehicles that were, up to that point, sitting waiting (in a bottleneck) now pass through freely. That is 33 for each of the three lanes northbound in the morning. You claim that almost 60 of them are going to Richmond. Questionable, but OK, let’s go with that. That means that more than 40 of them are heading for Vancouver. When they get to the Oak S Bridge, there are just two lanes. An additional 20+ per lane. And since the Oak St Bridge is a choke point now, those additional 20 cars add to it. We just moved the bottleneck. The math isn’t that hard. Claiming that it isn’t as much of a bottleneck doesn’t change that it is still a bottleneck.
      Note that this is before any additional (induced) traffic, and that is the goal, since there are 10 lanes proposed to replace 4.
      The solution isn’t just more lanes. It is moving more people, instead of more vehicles. More lanes may be required, but without a focus on moving people it would be a very poor investment.

      1. Oak and Kight are aging bridges. They too have to be replaced.
        Boundary Road ought to be made a (sunk, noise cancelling) highway connecting Hwy 1 with Richmond Freeway system via a new bridge over north arm of Fraser to have trucks move more freely. ALL tolled, of course. People woudl be happy to pay if they get more flow ! Very happy !!
        And yes, more bike lanes and public transit too. The under-investment in people- and goods-moving infrastructure is quite appaling in MetroVan. We cannot cram more and more people in here and not upgrade this aging infrastructre !

      2. With all due respect, Mr. Leigh, the above is a quotation, not my words but the traffic studies are available and we have read them before. We must also take into account the 91 freeway connection, just north of the Westminster Highway, that draws a substantial volume of traffic east on Highway 91 towards the Knight Street link north and on towards New Westminster.
        Google maps shows that there in fact four major exits between the tunnel exit and the Oak Street bridge.

        1. I was referring to the opening line in your post, not in quotation marks.
          How many of those locations with off ramps also have on ramps? You can’t think of them all as reducing traffic volumes if they are bidirectional.

        2. Except that the Knight street link is already backed up by the Alex Fraser. It can’t handle more either.
          What is wrong with working on policies that create more jobs closer to home? Suburbanites love bashing Vancouver but way too many of them then go on to degrade Vancouver’s environment by carrying their little bodies into town alone in a multi-tonne vehicle. It’s actually a disgrace.

        3. No Mr. Leigh, you said and I referred to, your statement, “You claim that almost 60 …”. Not my words.

        4. Fair enough. You posted a claim, but didn’t make that claim yourself.
          Then you posted “but the traffic studies are available, and we have read them..”. Is that the royal we? Eric liked to do that too. Regardless, do you believe the figure or not? Is this just a distraction? Why are you focusing on the word “you” and ignoring all of the issues the number raises? How about on ramps matching off ramps? I see that you raised off ramps yourself.

  2. One of the major issues is that almost no mayor wants any tunnel or bridge expansion there. Yet, most approve of major condo construction projects and then lament traffic jams and congestion. Worst is the North Shore which has worse and worse bottlenecks but no highway nor transit expansion. The 2040 vision doesn’t even call for a train to the North Shore.
    Second worst is probably the Broad/UBC line that ends at Arbutus despite massive developments planned at Jericho lands, UEL and UBC.
    We can’t cram 1M or more people here into MetroVan without upgrading both road and public transit network
    Deleted as per editorial policy

    1. The solution is never going to come strictly from expanding infrastructure. Much of it must come from reducing the distances people need to travel in the first place.
      Mixed use.
      Condos don’t generate more traffic. The lack of mixed-use neighbourhoods does.
      Meanwhile, we have more than enough road capacity to move everyone, even with today’s transportation demand, if we could offer better, faster, more frequent bus services and connections. It shouldn’t take 3 times longer (or even twice as long) to travel by transit. Take away that excuse.
      If the suburbs could start generating more jobs in their town centres and not in sprawling office dumps (aka business parks) we could actually reduce demand as it would get just that much easier and convenient to service it with transit.
      As long as many people continue to enjoy being trapped in congestion (and enjoy bitching about it) we’re not going to make the land use decisions we need to. Just throwing more and more money at transportation whether roads or subways is not going to be a wise use of resources. This is something Thomas just doesn’t seem to be able to understand.

    2. Thomas, the downtown population was doubled through building twice as many condos. Traffic went down markedly. Why is that?

      1. Alex, the Statistics Canada Report released in February this year shows a growth in North Vancouver of 9.76%, 10.6% in Surrey and 12.58% in Langley – yet only 4.64% in Vancouver.
        CBC News detailed this far larger growth, outside of the city of Vancouver, with the largest growth south of the Massey:

        1. Some people WANT but do not NEED more bridges & tunnels. They want everyone else to pay for them so they can drive SOV s instead of car pooling or transit

        2. That growth in town centres is the regional growth strategy. It needs to be accompanied by jobs, and infrastructure that supports working and living in the same location, not more long distance commuting.

        3. deleted as per editorial policy
          The mantra seems to be “Vote for me. I’ll give you candy and free roads & bridges”. Why is that ?

        4. So you would like to see land rezoned industrial, within the town centres?
          Even those that love to and live downtown Vancouver are increasing called to commute further out to the industrial lands, where they work.
          Think of Edgemont Village. Growing fast, with a fully leased new commercial/retail building and a couple of high-rises going up. Delaney’s and Artigiano are in there. There’s no industrial land around except down by the docks. Surrey Central is somewhat similar with the industrial land along the river all being snapped up by the SFPR. South Surrey and parts of Langley exploding with growth. The industrial areas are distant from any residences. 242nd 192nd, far out places like that are now growing. Some of these areas have no bus service at all.

    1. I see no alternative here, such as an 8 lane tunnel or a smaller bridge. Just the usual BS of “There is a need to improve sustainable transportation options throughout the region by adding capacity for more efficient public transit, HOV lanes, cycling and pedestrians,” added Mussatto.
      That is INSUFFICIENT. Just words. We need ACTION ie more infrastructure. Why not say ” we need at least 8 lanes, one of which is HOV per side”. It is the usual delay tactics using weasel words
      Deleted as per editorial policy

      1. Weasel words? By your math a new 8-lane freeway should have been built downtown because they doubled the population. But traffic actually decreased. For decades 40% of West End residents do not own cars.
        It’s revealing that it’s impossible for Beyernomics to account for that.

        1. What works in downtown Vancouver does NOT work elsewhere where it is less dense. People want yards AND SPACE .. and that is why they move by the ten’s of thousands to Langley, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Tsawwassen etc .. because it is cheaper and more airy !
          As such, we need politicians to state “Look guys, all this road & bridge work costs a lot of money .. and if you demand because you like cheaper housing in the burbs you (and not someone else) will have to pay for it .. such as tolls ” .. and NOT “Oh, sure, let’s cancel all bridge tolls” .. and then go on their day and continue the congestion due to inaction !!!!

        1. The West End and other areas of Vancouver, such as False Creek North and South and, of course, Point Grey are increasingly resort areas.
          All fine and lovely. All super for the fit and sporty. Free parking at the free charging stations for the Tesla owners too. It’s croissants and electrolyte loaded power drinks. Copenhagen on the Pacific. Yay, bro!
          Meanwhile, there is a massive cohort that keeps the engine running. These are the people that need roads and bridges, notwithstanding the grandiose plans for utopia by a conceited few.

        2. There is, of course, zero evidence that the engine isn’t running even as MV traffic has fallen. Quite the opposite in fact.
          “People need roads and bridges”. Gosh, aren’t you clever Eric. Has anyone denied that?
          What you don’t seem to understand is that it’s better for everyone if everyone has options to get unnecessary MV traffic off our roads.
          Cheaper, more resilient, lighter footprint, lower energy demand.
          What is it you like so much about inefficiency and increasing costs to the taxpayer?

        3. Just yesterday, Ron, when asking a friend if his day was going well, he first mentioned that he had to struggle with the congestion and pollution when meeting friends visiting from Europe, in the afternoon at YVR. I suppose they could have traveled by taxi, bus and train and then back again with all the luggage. It would have only been about triple the time and ten times the cost.
          Maybe we need a new international airport in Langley and another one in North Vancouver.

        4. Someone who complains about congestion and pollution, while sitting in traffic in a vehicle most likely powered by an internal combustion engine, needs to look in the mirror. Your friend is traffic. Too many proponents of motordom seem to think that other people are traffic, while they themselves are immune from change.

        5. @aka Johnny, I’ll bet your friend wished all those other drivers had options so there would be a lot less congestion.

        6. How would you travel to the airport to meet a family coming over with sufficient luggage for an extended vacation? On the bus?

        7. Skytrain works well, depending on the trip origin. Especially if one has chosen to live in a denser urban centre like Vancouver.
          Coming back with luggage, use a taxi. That just cut the number of trips involved in shuttling the guest by half, as the taxi can pick up another fare.
          Or, just drive. But don’t complain about it. Put some energy into advocating for improved transit. Even if it doesn’t help your friend on that specific trip, it removes vehicles from the road and makes more space for those who need to drive.

        8. Maybe ask your friend’s European guests what they think of the quality of transit here.
          I never take a car to the airport – here or in Europe. I carry my luggage on the train, or sometimes on my bike. And I rarely ever travel by air for less than five weeks. With help from friends meeting at the airport it shouldn’t be difficult to carry luggage. If it is, then transit isn’t an option.
          That means we should concentrate on better transit, since, apparently, driving is an option already.

        9. Bob, You know that the idea is that if they close the street to traffic then by some magic the traffic will find another way, which just might include buses. Same on Knight Street. It’s very difficult to actually see anyone working on Knight but half the street is closed. It’s a way of saying to drivers, go take a hike!

        10. Eric/Johnny/Anon: You forgot parking at the airport. And vehicle running costs. And vehicle ownership costs.
          Living downtown, it is 35 minutes from leaving home to the YVR check in area, including walking to the Skytrain. $2.10 currently, off peak, and free to come back within the transfer time if just meeting someone. 5$ add fare for YVR. And despite what Thomas thinks, some of us have a backyard. Mine is called David Lam Park.
          If it is so wonderful and lovely cruising through the farmland, you just need to explain that to your friend Then he won’t complain any more.

        11. “A good chunk of that traffic from YVR is from the city’s very poor planning on upgrades to SW Marine Drive. A two year project and yet they still had to close the whole stretch from Granville to 41st?! Why not have done it in two phases”
          It is being done in two phases. There are two 5 month road closures over two summers, when UBC is out. Seems like pretty detailed planning to me. It is a sewer replacement. You think that would be straightforward in the rainy season?

    2. Thomas said: “no mayor wants any tunnel or bridge expansion there …”
      The Mayors said: “We recognize the necessity to enhance the movement of people and goods on Highway 99…”
      See the difference, Thomas?
      You have been going on lately about ‘fearmongering’ in respect of the KM pipeline expansion proposal. And here you are fearmongering. Look in the mirror.

Comments are closed.