Monday, January 31, 2011

Road Pricing and Bridges

This weekend I was at a friend’s birthday party on Saturday and a potluck on Sunday and wouldn’t you know it but the topic of transportation came up (and I wasn’t even the one bringing it up.) On Saturday, we ended up talking about how people pay for government services and the whole group of us (mostly middle-aged truck loving Walnut Grove types) agreed that pricing roads to reduce congestion was a good idea and something that they would be willing to pay to help reduce congestion and pay for public transit. Of course someone brought up the congestion charge in London and another person talked about how road tolling in many Asian countries worked well. Many of the people at the birthday party were looking forward to the new bus rapid transit system between 200th Street and the SkyTrain in Burnaby. I know this was only anecdotal, but with the right information, I think citizens in our region are ready to have a mature conversation about how we pay for transportation and how we reduce congestion.

On Sunday, I was getting a ride back from a potluck in downtown Vancouver to Langley from a friend that lives in Seattle. I told him about the new 12-lane Port Mann Bridge. This car loving motorist said that it was great that they where building this bridge, but where will all the cars go when they leave the highway. This is a very good question as no municipalities are expanding their roads to handle the larger peak volume of traffic as the old Port Mann Bridge’s metering effect will be gone. It will be interesting to see what effect the $3 one-way toll will have on managing traffic. Anyway that was my weekend, how was yours?

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