Does the decisive No vote in the referendum mean the end of our regional vision – one that aimed to provide a rapid-transit network joining regional town centres so that it would be possible to live in dense, walkable communities throughout Metro while having fast access to other centres across the region, especially for jobs?
Elizabeth Murphy in a Sun op-ed argues that the defeat of the referendum was a good thing because it meant the rejection of that regional vision.
The 62 per cent No vote result in the transit plebiscite was not simply a rejection of the sales tax or a renunciation of TransLink; it was, more important, a rejection of the plan generally. …
The plan was also rejected in Vancouver. Although it had the biggest ticket item, the Broadway subway, putting most of the resources into only one corridor, with the huge tower development that would follow, is a mistaken direction that needs to be reconsidered.
Rather than a few mega-project corridors, we need to look at the transit network as a whole. If the transit resources were more broadly distributed using more affordable technology, benefits would be achieved throughout the region. …
Improving service on all arterial routes would achieve much broader benefits at a significantly lower cost. The most cost-effective electric technology is the trolley bus. Most of the infrastructure exists already in the city. It could be expanded and improved as a clean, quiet transit system. Some areas would also support streetcars since the city was originally designed for streetcars.
Perhaps it is time to ensure there is enough electric transit capacity to support what we already have zoned rather than planning for more development than is sustainable.
So, no more upzoning, no more density – certainly no more towers in Vancouver. No more rapid-transit lines, especially along Broadway – just more trolleys. And for the region, the old interurban lines – upscaled versions of the trolleybus along abandoned rights-of-way.
Prediction: Vancouver becomes a disconnected island of super-affluence, the population pressures are shifted to the suburbs, along with the traffic congestion and overcrowding on the transit system. Jobs continue to cluster in downtown, along Broadway and at UBC, without sufficient transportation capacity to serve them. There is no regional consensus, or funding. Nor a willingness of west-side neighbourhoods to rezone, not even for the Jericho lands.
And so long as there has to be a plebiscite for any new transit funding in the region, no change in the status quo.