Governance & Politics
September 24, 2018

Triple Tweets — 2018 Vancouver Civic Election

On the emerging election issue of a subway to UBC, we have a few diverging opinions — within the same big tent. I suppose it’s healthy, but it does seem to be less a matter of opinion and more a matter of missing homework.

Then we have Bowinn Ma, MLA, P. Eng., schooling the twitterverse on transportation’s immutable law of induced demand, and its vicious circle of negative effects on city-building. Ms. Ma is BC NDP North Van-Lonsdale MLA. Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink.

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Nathan Pachal is a councilor in Langley City, and a friend of Price Tags.  HERE, he discusses the business case (105-page PDF) just released by TransLink on the Surrey-Newton-Guilford light rail project.  This SNG-LRT is Phase One, with Fraser Highway to Langley to follow as Phase Two.

Transportation nerd quiz:  what percentage of trips that originate South of the Fraser end there? Write down your answer, then read on. Prepare to be astonished.

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We’re reviving a Vancouver-oriented Price Tags Golden Oldie from December 2012 that rings with resonance today, as we enjoy lively and informed debate about when subway and LRT are appropriate.

Given that the VCC-Clark Drive to Arbutus section is funded and underway, the Arbutus to UBC section is getting scrutiny. Given UBC’s involvement and possible financial support, the impending Jericho development and the lengthy low-density section of the proposed line, not to mention Skytrain vs. LRT, it’s fertile ground for thinking.

So many of the topics discussed in 2012 are relevant today, perhaps in a different manner on the Arbutus to UBC section.

The Editors of Price Tags

Bob Ransford discussed the push by the Vancouver Council to get a rapid-transit line down Broadway in his Vancouver Sun column.  Lots of good points.

I sent it off to Human Transit blogger Jarrett Walker to see if he had any counterpoints.  Oh yeah.

So here are the two of them, with Jarrett’s remarks italicized along the way:

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TransLink, UBC and City of Vancouver engineers and planners have told us what they think about the technology for the Broadway to UBC rapid transit line.  There’s no room for more busses on this monster corridor, and LRT has too-low capacity.

This information came out at the July 28 Town Hall meeting mentioned recently in Price Tags along with significant background.

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Metro Vancouver campus commuters and transit-takers, here’s your chance to attend a “Town Hall” presentation and discussion on extending Vancouver’s Skytrain beyond Arbutus Street to UBC’s Point Grey campus.

The event will be hosted by Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra, with participation of representatives from TransLink, UBC, City of Vancouver and West Broadway Business Improvement Association.

Not sure whether to attend? Here’s some background, via an earlier Price Tags post.

If you go, remember — you get your say, you don’t get a veto.

Saturday, July 28, 2018
Registration 12:30 – 1:00 pm
Town Hall: 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Pacific Spirit Church, Memorial Hall (2195 45th Ave at Yew)
Light refreshments will be provided

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They’re back, attacking a favourite target.  In an op-ed in the Sun, director Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Kris Sims says:

Remember when the people of Metro Vancouver overwhelmingly said “No” to a TransLink tax hike in 2015? Bureaucrats and experts had all proclaimed at the time that a sales tax foisted on people to pay for even more TransLink was the right way to go.

Thankfully, there was a referendum and the people rejected the new tax. Now, the politicians have stripped voters of their right to a referendum on transit taxation and want to make us pay anyway.

There is one ballot box they cannot avoid, though. The municipal elections are being held this fall and motorists need to call campaigning politicians and tell them that they will be out of a job unless they cancel this latest gas tax hike.

Why does CTF hate TransLink so much?  What could be driving it?

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TransLink has approved the routes for major new regional bike infrastructure — the Major Bike Network (MBN).

Funding is already approved, and is included in the $9.3B 10-Year Vision as $131M for “Regional Cycling”.  That’s 1.5% of total spending, showing that bike infrastructure is really cheap, and that you can do ambitious stuff, even spending less as a percentage than cycling’s regional mode share (~ 2%).

The plan calls for around 300 km of separated bike lanes, and 2,400 km of bike routes (usually in neighbourhoods with lower traffic).  The MBN will be cost-shared with the municipality.

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Another sign (literally underfoot) of improved responsiveness and service from TransLink.

With approved plans and assured funding, TransLink has been fulfilling some of the promises made as far back as the ill-fated referendum. And that may be contributing to a more receptive response to the decisions made, as recently as last Thursday, to fill the funding gap required for Phase 2 of the $7.3 billion Ten-Year Plan.

It would have been unthinkable a year or so ago that regional politicians, months before an election, would approve the prospect of a gas-tax increase. And yet, most did, and (so far) the coverage has been balanced and blowback moderate.

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