Tuesday, June 5, 2012

BC Transportation Summit 1950, er 2012

Yesterday and today the BC Chamber of Commerce is hosting a transportation summit on what they are calling "BC’s gateway strategy and future development". When I look at the list of speakers at the conference, it certainly seems that this event is focusing on moving goods. One of the panels that concerned me is called "Integrating BC's Transport Network". When I think of an integrated transportation system, I think of a system that moves goods and people in the most efficient way possible. This means the provisioning of walking facilities, cycling lanes, transit service, freight-rail, and roads. But, the list of speakers which includes the BC Road Builders leads me to believe that the panel will be about building more and bigger road which will of course impact the livable of Metro Vancouver.

Looking at the conference, it still seems like they are planning for a transportation system that is based on the 1950’s model of cheap fuel and limitless expansion which is odd as the BC Chamber of Commerce policy manual says "numerous studies, along with empirical evidence from around the world, clearly demonstrate that simply building new roads and other infrastructure in the absence of demand management techniques, including quality public transit options, will not alleviate congestion in the long run." It is a shame that some business leaders aren’t hearing about this research.

The irony of the whole thing is that the event is being held at the Hotel Vancouver in a part of our region with no freeways. If the 1950’s road builders had their way, the Hotel Vancouver would be an off-ramp.

Roads are an important part of the transportation puzzle, but more important is a diverse transportation system that can move people and goods in the most efficient way possible.

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