Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Get Moving BC (to where?)

Get Moving BC, an astro-roots group with deep connections to the Liberal Party of BC, released a slick press release of their top ten list of transportation needs. (It got in the Langley Times too. Must have been a slow news day.) It looks to me like the list could be straight out of Kevin Falcon’s office. They claim to believe “that the best solution to our current transportation system crisis is a balanced one.”

Lets have a look at their “balanced” transportation top ten list and how it will benefit the majority of residents in the South Fraser. Before we start, I would like to point out that according to the 2004 Translink/Ministry of Transportation Trip Survey that 85% of all trips in the South Fraser stay within the South Fraser, 5% of all trips are Abbotsford bound, and 10% cross over the Fraser River.

Roads for the 90%

Roads for the 10%
-Build a new Pattullo Bridge and the Stormont connecter to connect McBride Boulevard in New Westminster with the newly-improved Highway 1 in Burnaby
-Build the Tree Island bridge to connect the Alex Fraser Bridge and Highway 91A to the Marine-Byrne Road intersection
-Build a new bridge to replace the Massey (Dease Island) tunnel
-Build a new bridge across the Fraser River between the Port Mann Bridge and the Pattullo Bridge

Transit for the 90%
-Increase bus service in underserved parts of the Lower Mainland, such as south of the Fraser River, and integrate communities like Abbotsford and Chilliwack into future regional dedicated Express Bus networks

Transit for the 10%
-Plan ahead for an LRT line across the twinned Port Mann Bridge to 200th Street, and perhaps into Langley, to allow communities south of the Fraser to plan for future density around proposed LRT stations. (Note: The Trans-Canada is a poor choice for a transit corridor, as the majority of the South Fraser population is not along the highway. This is backed up by the Gateway program's own data. A 200th Street rapid transit system that connects from the Interurban to Maple Ridge would be a better idea as far as ridership is concerned.)

Transit for Vancouver
-Build the Evergreen Line with an extension to Port Coquitlam
-Extend the Millennium Line westward along Broadway to UBC

Roads for Vancouver
-Fast track the North Fraser Perimeter Road and encapsulate Front Street for the revitalization of New Westminster’s waterfront and downtown
-Replace the single-lane Bailey bridge between Coquitlam and New Westminster, widen Braid Street through the Braid Industrial area and provide grade separation between the roadway and railway tracks

So it looks like Get Moving BC's top ten doesn’t include any road improvements for the South Fraser, and only bus improvements on the transit front. Doesn’t seem very balanced to me, considering we are already short on buses.

To be fair, I would like to point out what the Government has done for the South Fraser in the last 7 years.

Roads for the 90%
-Highway 10 Widening
-Highway 15 Widening
-Fraser Highway Widening

Roads for the 10%
-Golden Ears Bridge
-Gateway Program

Transit for the 90%

Transit for the 10%

Hmmm, it looks like the Government hasn’t done much for transit either. This isn’t balanced at all.

Now what would we need to do to make the South Fraser Transportation System serve the most amount of people first? Build rapid transit. We have three highway projects near completion already. It’s time to restore the interurban and get rapid transit on King George and 200th Street.

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