Thursday, June 18, 2009

West Coast Express

Well, a friend of mine and I decided to try out the West Coast Express and new Golden Ears Bridge this morning. Though taking the 502 and SkyTrain from Langley Centre is way faster, it’s always fun to be 10 minutes late for work and try out new things. I had some observations from the trip.

First the Langley side of the Golden Ears Bridge is definitely less freeway-like and more multi-modal. TransLink was even smart enough to build a queue jumper lane for buses to bypass the eventual congestion at the approaches of the bridge. This is the same kind of lane that is on the George Massey Tunnel, and for some reason was not practical for the Port Mann Bridge. The Maple Meadows side of the bridge was definitely more freeway like, but the design geometries of the road reminded me more of the parkways of the early 20th century and an improvement compared to the standard issue wide-shoulder, all asphalt MoT roads that our province is so fond of. It doesn't make you want to drive 100km/h. Anyway, I find it funny that the Golden Ears is billed as a “Goods Movement Bridge,” I saw one “Goods Movement” vehicle. The rest of the users of the bridge were the evil single occupancy vehicle.

My WCE ticket cost me $13 for a return trip because I got a discount for having a normal TransLink pass. The West Coast Express is a great (pricey) service, with its on-board washrooms and coffee bars, and I hope they can expand the services for people on the north side of the river. It reminds me of a tiny-town version of Caltrain in the San Francisco Bay Area that runs all day, every day. I hope we can get to that level of service.

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