Sandor Gyarmati with the Delta Optimist reported on  rookie MLA Liberal Ian Paton being called out on his continuing positional diatribe about the Massey Crossing. Mr. Paton also famously double dipped by keeping his position as a councillor with the City of Delta when he became  a rookie MLA, saying he was doing the right thing for both subsets of constituents.

Instead of collaborating with the  Mayors’ Council on alternatives to the Massey Crossing, Mr. Paton positionally  went out and stuck signs in 2017 by the tunnel entrance blaming the congestion on the NDP government in power. Of course there is back story to that too. Paton’s  signs are placed on property owned by Ron Toigo of White Spot fame, who got that property fast tracked and rezoned at Delta Council for a casino in 2018, which will take full advantage of the over fifteen percent of Delta population that is senior.

But back to Mr. Paton. He and another Liberal MLA rookie,Richmond-Queensborough’s Jas Johal  have been telling media that the proposed oversized multi-billion dollar bridge that was planned for the Massey crossing was dismissed because of politics from the current NDP provincial government, and that no new crossing would be available for over a decade.

In a very unusual step, Premier John Horgan made the following statement:

“To Mr. Paton, I’m disappointed. As a new member who is respected in the community, I would expect him to be less partisan and more focused on solutions. Mr. Johal has made a business out of making stuff up and he continues down that course. I’ve got nothing but contempt for his approach to politics. I think Ian understands we need to work together to solve the problems, not just here with respect to congestion at Massey, but a whole range of other issues. We’re not about politics at all, we’re about solutions for people and that’s been our focus from the beginning”.

“The Liberals just want to do politics all the time. The reason they were unsuccessful in the last election is because it was always about politics. They never talked about the issues that mattered to people, and that’s what we’ve been doing since we were elected. The notion that they dictated what was the best solution for congestion at Massey without doing any consultation led to the problem we had in the first place.”

That statement of the Premier points to documentation provided by the previous Liberal Provincial government leapfrogging over potential tunnel solutions and somehow landing on a ten lane multi-billion dollar bridge that would impact the sensitive Fraser River and estuary, and  lead to congestion on the Richmond side of the bridge. Last week as the tunnel celebrated 60 years of existence, the Premier indicated that consensus with  the Mayors’ Council on a tunnel twinning project that would have six lanes for vehicles and two lanes for public transit meant the new crossing could be expedited. Transport Canada has a National Corridors Fund and it is hoped that such funding could be accessed for a deep bored tunnel.

The Provincial government has a 2020 deadline for the final decision on the type of new crossing for this location. No word yet if that deadline will be move up with the Mayors’ Council agreeing on a tunnelled approach.

Comments

  1. I love watching Jas ‘Put me in coach’ Johal frothing at the mouth over every issue he comments on.

  2. The twin tunnel has to also have bike lanes and pedestrian lanes. Part of the congestion includes not being able to bike or walk

    1. Absolutely agree. But it isn’t just related to the proposed tunnel.

      With the previous Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, the roads leading to the proposed bridge were planned to be improved on both sides of the bridge, over a length of 24 km (Oak St Bridge to Hwy 91 interchange). However, improved cycling infrastructure was only included for the bridge deck itself, around 3.5 km. The rest was to be left to municipalities to resolve. This despite an MoTI policy requiring that all of their new road projects include active transportation considerations.

      After much discussion, a working group was set up by the Ministry with reps from the design team, MoTI, Translink, the impacted municipalities, and cycling advocates. A preferred route was agreed. Then the project was stopped.

      It is sincerely hoped that any new project will include as a requirement that MoTI policies about active transportation will apply to the full project scope, and not just to a bridge or tunnel span. That would avoid the challenge we have today on the Port Mann, with a wide multi use path on one side of the bridge but a lack of connectivity on the Coquitlam side. Fixing it later is more complicated, and more expensive.

      The BC Government is currently developing a provincial Active Transportation Strategy, and also a provincial Active Transportation Design Guide. We need to see those reflected in projects such as this one.

  3. Bicycles have no place on major highways, because they endanger themselves, as well as those driving motor vehicles. Besides there are other modes of getting around the Massey Tunnel, they’re called surface streets.

  4. What is the TransLink Mayors’ Council doing at the center of this? The Mayors’ Council has no planning staff, no significant climate policy, and a VERY limited mandate set by the provincial government. The Metro Vancouver Regional District is the body that has the capacity to look into this and take a position for the region.

  5. The real reason the 10 lane bridge was proposed was to deepen the channel to allow Cape Max oilers and colliers to load Montana coal and Bracken Oil at Surrey Docks. This was proposed to provide cheaper freight rates because of the direct access to Surrey docks by the Burlington Norther Santa Fe Railway.

    By doing so, it would save “wheelage” charges paid to the BC Railway which owns the line from Coleport Junction to the Roberts Bank Super Port.

    As the Port commission refused to pay for added dredging and other costs, the decision was made not to ship oil and coal from Surrey, thus the need for the bridge disappeared.

    if a new bridge or tunnel is built, a reciprocal bridge or tunnel must be built to handle the excess traffic flows crossing the North Arm of the Fraser River to Vancouver/Burnaby.

    Current planning is to turn Highway 99 into a giant parking lot as the Oak, Knight and Queensborough bridges are at capacity during the peak hours.

    As it stands, the tunnel acts as a traffic calmer during peak hours, limiting traffic flows in and out of Richmond/Vancouver.

    The capacity constipated Canada line needs now around $2 billion in rehab and capacity increase before any thought expansion is considered. As the Canada line is a faux P-3 the operating consortium, lead by SNC Lavalin will do nothing until the 35 year concession ends, leaving Translink and the GVRD with a massive rehab bill.

    I predict traffic chaos will reign supreme until the 2040’s and beyond!

    1. The gross underinvestment into roads and public transit is indeed astounding, not just south of Fraser but also north of / across Burrard Inlet into North-Van and West-Van.

      Knight and Oak street bridges need widening as does Lionsgate bridge. We also could use an extension of Boundary Road over Fraser River connecting it with Hwy 91, easing traffic through NewWest.

      Why do folks elect such politicians on city and provincial level ? Why the hesitation to invest into infrastructure in a growing economy with growing ports to growing Asia and rest of Canada, and an in-migration region ?

      1. So we widen all those bridges. And then? Where is the traffic going to go?

        Georgia Street, for example, is already at a standstill at peak times. Do we tear down a row of 40 storey buildings to widen it? Do we widen roads through the residential neighbourhoods of the West End and Coal Harbour? Or do we tear out those pesky sidewalks so we can add car lanes?

        The same applies, to a lesser extent, for widening the Oak and Knight street bridges. And how do you “ease traffic” through New West? Don’t you mean making the residents of New West pay the price for everybody else’s excessive driving?

        The answer is not wider roads. The answer is better public transit and more complete communities where more people can do more trips on foot or bike.

        1. The answer is BOTH.

          More truck traffic from ever busier ports doesn’t use ebikes or public transit. More folks living in Fraser Valley don’t use buses or non-existing trains either.

          Lions gate bridge, for example, was built in the 1930s, over 80 years ago, to accommodate 1/10th the northshore population of today. NVan groaning under traffic, and soon W 4th and Broadway once Jericho land gets built. Massey Tunnel built in the 1960s and too congested for at least a decade. Patullo bridge widening far too timid.

          Etc etc etc

          1. Until you can answer where the traffic will go, repeating your demand for wider bridges and tunnels is pointless. Vancouver has seen significant growth in population and jobs while motor vehicle traffic has been declining, Learn and emulate.

            As truck traffic is likely to increase it’s all the more reason people need to drive less.

            Poor transit is a good reason to demand better transit – not to make excuses for more driving. But you have to be realistic too. If you want good transit you have to live in reasonably dense communities.

  6. The best answer to relieving congestion in the Hwy 99 Corridor is to increase capacity, but not so much that the roadways in Vancouver’s surrounding municipalities are overwhelmed. As observed the back-up on the existing system is frequently over 5 km. This means a huge reliance on more effective use of the available capacity: more folks using rapid/public transit and more folks in each vehicle. It’s understood that there’s a provincial priority for active transportation, as well as that trips longer that 5 km tend to require motors.

    1. H O V priority at choke points would be more effective use of available capacity——- incentive for more folks in each vehicle

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