Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Evergreen Line, SkyTrain, and Affordable Housing

According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, the province will be building the Evergreen Line period, no matter what TransLink says. Remember the Canada Line saga? The big problem is that the province seems to think that there is some hidden money in TransLink to pay for this. It will be interesting to see what the province finds after their audit of TransLink. The new Minister of Transportation Shirley Bond said in the article that:
At that time, her ministry will sit down with the mayors and TransLink to explore options, including raising property and gas taxes and transit fares. She insisted, however, the Evergreen Line would not be built “at the expense” of other B.C. regions.
If the province doesn't want "other BC regions" to pay for transportation in Metro Vancouver, why is the province so closed to giving our region the mean to pay for its own transportation? I would venture to guess that everyone knows that road pricing and/or a vehicle levy are in the future. How long will it take the province to come to terms with that?

In a column in the Vancouver Sun, Bob Ransford – a former real estate developer, makes the link between good transit and affordable housing.
One of the keys to making housing more affordable is transportation.

The cost of housing in communities with a robust range of transportation choices, especially with well-developed public transit systems, is generally lower.
He goes on to say that in Metro Vancouver, our land use planning and transportation planning are disconnected and has some interesting comments about the provincial government:
Regional transportation commissioner Martin Crilley referred to this lack of provincial-regional coordination in his recent public report when he labelled the gulf that exists between provincial and regional transportation planning and financing "a hazard."

It makes you wonder whether the provincial government even thinks about connecting the dots between the cost of housing and the disconnect between land use and transportation planning.

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