Tuesday, April 8, 2008

If I had 3+ Billion Dollars…

…for transportation, this is what I would do. First (and you don’t need too much money for this), I would make Translink report to a democratically elected GVRD or Metro Vancouver. We could base this on the Portland model. It’s not prefect, but it’s a great start as it gives our region a direct say in something that is very important to our daily lives. I would hand over all of the provincially controlled roads to the new GVRD, in addition to the roads they already look after. I would also insure they get the proper funding to maintain the roads. Again, this is to give the public control over their future. I would put all the major projects that are not under construction on hold, and engaged the population in transportation charrettes. In a charrettes, you combine input from the public and experts. This always results in excellent plans. They are excellent because the public knows what's going on in their local communities, and usually have creative solutions to making things better that many experts would never think of. The experts have the ability to work with the public to guide their thoughts into a workable plan.

Based on what I’ve heard, and the couple of charrettes I’ve been at, I think the future might look something like this…

On the people movement side… I would add quality bus service right away to the South Fraser. This includes King George, Fraser Highway, 104th, and 200th. I would also add bus service from Surrey to the Tri-Cities right away. All this is doable on the cheap. PS, buses could go over the Port Mann today with the help of something called a queue-jumper lane. At the same time, I would start construction on a King George Highway/104th/Evergreen Line LRT from White Rock to Douglas College in Coquitlam. This would help with the 30% of traffic that goes from Surrey to Coquitlam. It would also provide a north/south backbone for Surrey. I would twin the Port Mann Bridge for different reasons. I would twin it to allow the proceeding LRT line to be built. I would also use that bridge to extend the HOV lanes to 200th Street. We could also look at things like variable tolling during peak hours. I would build the Interurban line in three phases: Scott Road to Trinity Western University, then to Abbotsford, and finally to Chilliwack. This Interurban line would be the west/east backbone for the Valley. Finally, I would extend either LRT (or SkyTrain) to UBC.

On the freight side… I would replace the 100+-year-old rail bridge at New Westminster, so the rail companies could stop sending trains through Langley City. This would be cheaper then building the currently proposed overpasses. On the trucking side, the people in Delta have great ideas for truck traffic that doesn’t involve wiping out entire neighborhoods and destroying Burn’s Bog.

Again, I think the public has been left out of the planning process for too long. It’s our region and we should have a real voice.

2 comments:

erika said...

You make it sound so easy, Nathan. I'm curious to know how long it would take to build LRT down Fraser Hwy, let's say just to Langley City (all the way to Aldergrove would be nice...)?

SkyTrain to UBC seems to be a political decision rather than a rational one. But LRT would definitely solve the bus issue and bring great things to the route.

Btw, thanks for the link to my blog! (thirteen cent pinball) Paul just told me about this one; I'll be sure to add it to my site, too.

Nathan Pachal said...

No trouble for linking to your blog. As far as light rail, and I think the Interurban alignment is better than fraser highway :-), I would take about 2 years to get a simple system running on the Interurban as there is still rail there, or about 4 years with a full electric system. That's if money was drop today of course...