Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Westminster Environmental Partners AGM & Sustainable Transportation Forum

As most of you know, I was on the platform last night for the Annual General Meeting of the New Westminster Environmental Partners meeting (NWEP). I'm not sure what the official count was, but by the end of the evening I would guess 60-70 people in attendance.

Stephen Rees did a pretty fair job of recapping what each speaker had to say on a high level and I would refer you here for more details. Addressing some of Stephen's comments, I would say that the NWEP wasn't necessarily trying to get "experts" to speak last night. Rather they seemed to be looking at sustainable transportation through several viewpoints.

I for one never call myself an "expert" on anything, including the consulting work that I've done for the past 30+ years. It's up to others to judge what value they derive from my work. Feedback from the audience was very good and most didn't want to leave at the end of the night. Stephen is an expert on many of these issues, and so I'm certain these meetings will frustrate him, as they can only scratch the surface of the entire realm of deeper, interrelated issues that could always be examined.

The forum did end with a Q & A related to the very issues that Stephen mentioned like the proposed replacement of the Patullo Bridge, the North Fraser Perimeter Road and work on United Blvd. that will all impact New Westminster in a big way. Some of the audience approached me later to talk about how much information they got out of the evening and came with some very comprehensive questions for all of us.

I very much enjoyed hearing from Jerry Dobrovolny, the Director of Transportation for the City of Vancouver (a New Westminster resident and former councillor). It was interesting to hear about his mandate from CoV officials that they NOT increase road capacity despite the widening of Highway 1 and the larger Port Mann Bridge that is soon to be delivered. He said the city controls signaling and such, they have facts and data on current demand and they will not be changing anything to accommodate more vehicle demand. This makes it imperative for the south of Fraser region to build extensive transportation options into these communities.

Jerry Dobrovolny's presentation included two parts. The first on the controversial Segregated Bike Lanes Project which you can access all the information here and data regarding the Burrard Street Bridge cycle project here.

The second half of Jerry's presentation was related to the 2010 Winter Olympics and data obtained during that time. I can't do the subject justice as he had many facts and figures from this huge event that you can find links to here. He made it clear that although other Host Cities collected data and devised plans BEFORE the games, Vancouver continued collecting data DURING the games with the help of UBC students.

I have an email out to Cllr. Jonathan Cote of New West and hope to post his presentation here later when I hear back from him. Hat's off to the hard working folks at NWEP for an excellent meeting!

My presentation can be viewed here:

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