Monday, November 10, 2014

Article on transit in Metro Vancouver, and why I co-authored Lead Ahead

Back in the fall of 2013, Paul Hillsdon and I released Leap Ahead, a transit plan for Metro Vancouver. It got the attention of our local governments, the province, and the media. It also caught the attention of Chris Lane.

Chris was completing his masters in journalism at the time. He decided to do his master’s thesis —a feature length article— on the plight of public transit in Metro Vancouver. He recently complete his thesis and it is now available online.

Pachal isn’t a politician or an urban planner, but a 30-year-old broadcast engineer who decided to do what noncommittal politicians were too timid to do, by putting together his own regional transit plan – in his spare time. It’s a fully costed plan to pay for 38 kilometres of SkyTrain and light rail lines, eight new express bus routes, a gondola, and upgrades to the existing network – which he says are all sorely needed.

Chris interviewed me several times between when Leap Ahead was launched, and when his article was completed in April.

In the article, Chris talked about the leadership vacuum in our region when it comes to improving public transit. He also outlined proposed rapid transit lines, and several ways to pay for them. Chris noted the important benefits of transit. He also explained how the transit referendum came into existence due to “one rarely-mentioned part of the election campaign of Christy Clark’s BC Liberals.”

TransLink has an image problem. Chris interviewed anti-TransLink crusader Jordan Bateman, and talked about how the TransLink brand may end up hurting the effort to expand transit in Metro Vancouver.

Chris also outlined how I got involved in advocating for better transit in our region.

Pachal traces his interest in urban planning a few years back to a trip to Portland’s world-famous Powell’s bookstore, which is large enough to have an entire section on urban planning. He was fascinated.

Chris interviewed me and completed a video called “Doing something about it.”

The article is well worth the read; it gives a great overview of the history and present state of transit in Metro Vancouver, and what the future may hold.

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