Monday, October 26, 2009

Myth and Truth

I happened to be flipping through the newspapers sitting in the front of my apartment this morning and I came across an article in the Langley Times about TransLink and Langley City Council. As you are probably aware, the region’s mayors voted to keep TransLink on life support until a more stable funding source can be found.

Not too many things upset me, but when I hear a myth repeated as truth is really grinds-my-gears. This myth is two-fold. 1.) The South of the Fraser does not have the density to support rapid transit and/or frequent transit, and 2.) you must have density before building transit.

Stats Canada and the City of Surrey have proven that both Langley City and urban Surrey have densities higher than communities like Burnaby (I don’t have the stats for the urban areas of the Township). Also, many cities build transit with new development to encourage transit usage. The Portland region built their light rail system "to the fields" to encourage transit usage as the area develops. If you build density before transit, you end up with the issues that Port Moody and many of the North-East Sector communities are having. Transit and development must go hand in hand if we want to build sustainable communities. Anyway, here are some of the comments from Councillor Storteboom from the City.
Councillor Rudy Storteboom “congratulated” the transit authority on managing to exist for 10 years with no stable source of funding.

“This is a business model that’s not working. You keep coming to ask for more money, and we’re not getting any service,” Storteboom chastised Ian Jarvis, TransLink’s vice-president of finance and corporate services.

“Your Power Point is generic. Langley City wants to be at the table. We’re only an afterthought, even in a presentation like this.

“Are you taking the bus home tonight?” Storteboom asked the TransLink reps.

“No,” replied Jarvis.

“No. It doesn’t work here,” said Storteboom.

While Jarvis agreed that Langley, parts of Surrey and South Surrey don’t enjoy the same service levels as Vancouver, he said that’s because the population density levels don’t warrant it.

1 comment:

Jamoo said...

There's an example of this in Edmonton.

Edmonton's (terrible) LRT system runs from the University, across the river into downtown, northeast past Commonwealth Stadium (Eskimos) and Rexall Place (Oilers), before eventually terminating in residential NE Edmonton.

Many students live downtown or near Whyte Avenue to be close to school. Many, many more have found apartments in the deep NE - quite a distance from school - because it affords easy access to the LRT without the high rent associated with Whyte Avenue. Because of this, many townhouses, apartment buildings, and low rises have sprung up around the line.