Friday, December 9, 2022

December 8th TransLink Mayors’ Council Meeting: How to Build Bus Rapid Transit

I attended yesterday’s Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting. The Mayors’ Council is one of the governance bodies of TransLink. The agenda was reasonably light.

Mayors' Council

The first item was an update from TransLink on “Delivering Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities.” I’ve posted on this in the past, but the big push will be to expand bus service, RapidBus, and Bus Rapid Transit. The key difference between RapidBus and Bus Rapid Transit is that Bus Rapid Transit runs in fully dedicated bus-only lanes along its entire route.

Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities for Transit. Select map to enlarge.

Some mayors were concerned that Bus Rapid Transit requires reallocating street travel lanes from mixed traffic to bus-only, and how politically that would be possible. Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke noted that they have already added some bus-only lanes on King George Boulevard. She didn’t seem too concerned about being able to add both north and southbound bus-only lanes along the whole corridor. I noted that when you think about streets and how to best move the most amount of people instead of vehicles (whether cars, trucks, buses, or bikes,) it changes how we think about road space. I said that in Langley City, we added bus-only lanes in our Downtown after working with the business community, TransLink, the general public and the City’s Engineering staff to ensure that there was support. I stated that if it is possible to build bus-only lanes in the South of Fraser, it would be possible in the rest of the region to support fast and convented Bus Rapid Transit service.

Other items in the update included:

  • Finding a path to stable funding to build out Transport 2050
  • Planning the phasing for expanding bus service in the region
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions within TransLink’s own operations
  • Working with the province and Metro Vancouver Regional District to reduce emissions from cars, SUVs and pickups
  • Moving forward with the business cases to build rapid transit on the North Shore, to UBC, and the SFU Gondola
  • Building out the regional cycling network
  • Moving forward with regional and interregional transit service planning (i.e. rail service to Chilliwack)
  • Figuring out the future of mobility, such as Mobility-as-a-Service

The next item on the agenda was the meeting format. The Mayors’ Council decided to meet in person for all Mayors’ Council meetings and have committee meetings via videoconference. The chair will bring this back to review in March to see if this needs to be adjusted.

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