Back to the south side of the Fraser River where there is now a meaty discussion occurring about the Massey Tunnel replacement, and questions arising on how to manage “congestion” in the tunnel prior to any new tunnel replacement. A robust commenter in the Delta Optimist points out that they “regularly use the tunnel in both directions at various times of the day and am never delayed more than a few seconds. Most of the time I barely have to slow down before heading into the tunnel.”How? This individual travels by “motorcycle, taking the #601 bus (public transit is a wonderful thing) or driving with one or more companions. That means I get to use the HOV lane, travel at reasonable speed and merge seamlessly into traffic heading under the river. In case you are not familiar with the term, HOV stands for “high occupancy vehicle.”
HOV was introduced in Canada in Metro Vancouver and Toronto in the early 1990s. In 2010 there were 150 kilometers of HOV lanes in Canada, with 130 kilometers of arterial HOV lanes. They are a great invention and are underused in the Massey Tunnel context. As the Delta Optimist writer states: It is true that during rush hours one can’t help but notice a significant back-up of cars and trucks not using the HOV lane. That is because they are what you might call “low occupancy vehicles” – one person taking up an inordinate amount of road space and burning an unconscionable amount of climate-destroying fossil fuel. This is exactly what we need to discourage: the most inefficient form of human transportation ever created. First, by not facilitating it with irresponsible highway and bridge expansion and secondly by creating efficient and user-friendly public transit alternatives.”
Instead of the Corporation of Delta continues their campaign for a new bridge with no support from other Mayors or the Metro Vancouver region, they could be encouraging and organizing ride share for their citizens, and running campaigns to increase bus usage. This way the municipality could decrease tunnel congestion by promoting ways to have fewer vehicles through the tunnel, and could actively encourage that large truck traffic not use the tunnel during “peak times”. One simple solution is to run Port Metro Vancouver’s port 24 hours a day like every port in North America to alleviate truck and tunnel congestion, and limit trucks in the tunnel at peak hours.
Planetizen writer James Brasuel reviews the futility of widening freeways to lessen congestion, and this also applies to the proposed ten lane Massey Bridge- “the idea of widening freeways to lessen congestion has been “thoroughly debunked…[e]conomists now talk about the ‘Fundamental Law of Road Congestion’–each incremental increase in highway capacity generates a proportionate increase in traffic, with the effect that congestion quickly rebounds to previous levels–accompanied by more sprawl, longer trips and increased pollution.”
You can’t build your way out of congestion. As Lewis Mumford said, ‘No one, it seems pays heed to our own grim experience, which is that the more facilities that are provided for the motor car, the more cars appear”. And that was written 64 years ago.
August 28, 2017