Carline transit comment a sign of Vancouver's weakening regional position

Post by Mike Klassen in

37 comments

express
The Fraser Valley, not Vancouver, will be on the fast track if Metro decides

Last week Metro Vancouver chief administrative officer Johnny "Cash" Carline weighed into the growing debate on where the regional transit authority Translink should devote limited capital dollars after Evergreen Line to expand its network. According to a Vancouver Sun report from last week –

The recommendation, included in Metro's new 2040 Shape our Future draft regional growth strategy, suggests TransLink give priority to connecting Surrey city centre to other growth neighbourhoods following completion of the long-awaited Evergreen Line, which will link Port Moody, Coquitlam and Burnaby.

Only after Surrey gets improved transit should TransLink consider extending rapid transit along the Broadway corridor, the draft strategy says.

We've discussed several times before Vancouver's waning influence within the region. Vancouver has virtually no support within the Metro Vancouver board of directors except on minor issues. On the waste incineration question, for example, Vancouver has taken a "go it alone" approach to their policy. It's unthinkable that if this were a couple decades back and Vancouver Mayor Gordon Campbell was still GVRD Chair that the top bureaucrats would turn its back on the region's biggest city.

However, under Mayor Gregor Robertson's comparatively unfocused and weak leadership, Metro Vancouver has no problem giving the Coov the big kiss off. Couple this with Robertson's inept handling of the Bombardier Streetcar line, and you've got a political double-whammy.

Mayor Gregor claims that his goal is to make Vancouver the greenest city this side of Mars. He will accomplish that how? It appears by getting us onto bikes, and not rapid transit.

Now, it should be pointed out that Metro Vancouver will not have ultimate decision-making authority on the matter of where rapid transit goes. That call goes to Translink, with the Ministry of Transportation having the most influence in the end. There's also the Council of Mayors, which as part of Translink's governance structure must approve annual budgets and has a dominant role to play in approving any supplemental funding.

Not getting some kind of improved transit out to UBC and onto the Broadway corridor (low densities will make putting Skytrain unlikely past Arbutus, but a rapid bus network will supplement the route from there) will be problematic for the City and the university in the long term. An amazing twenty-five percent of Vancouver's economy is held within the Broadway corridor. For the sake of jobs and stable growth for the City, it's imperative that we drive ahead with plans for rapid transit.

Vancouver needs a true advocate for improved rapid transit, not just someone with their hand out all the time like Robertson. Michael Geller, a prospective mayoral candidate, even made the suggestion today on the Bill Good Show that Surrey deserves to be "first in line" over the city we both live in. With the greatest respect to the efforts of the City of Surrey and Mayor Dianne Watts, you would be in effect rewarding bad behaviour by putting rapid transit into comparatively low density Surrey and Langley over Vancouver.

What I think should be emphasized in outlying town centres is so-called BRT (bus rapid transit), with dedicated bus lanes and high frequency lines to link bus networks. With the billions poured into auto-dependent transportation infrastructure along Highway 1 and Fraser River crossing improvements, it's time to turn the emphasis back to the part of the region where rapid transit makes most economic sense.

What perturbs those who understand the politics at the regional level is that Gregor Robertson and his Happy Visioneers are just not building any bridges within the region. They've arguably poisoned the well between Vancouver and other cities and municipalities more than its ever been, if the back chatter I've been hearing is true.

Vancouver's "go it alone" approach doesn't only apply to Metro Vancouver issues. Gregor Robertson is in China at this moment supposedly promoting the City's economy at the exact same time the Province of BC is also conducting an economic mission to China with other regional leaders. $120,000 of Vancouver's taxpayer dosh are going toward the Mayor's trip, which had modest coordination with the Province's delegation. Perhaps it would have had a greater impact if Vancouver would have openly collaborated with the City of Burnaby, the Provincial Government and others to carry the "open for business" sign to China.

We don't need another self-promoting and costly photo op for a local elected official overseas (we've criticized several of these junkets by Metro mayors in the past), and no progress on real efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, like improving transit in our city. It's time for Vancouver to advocate harder for the UBC Line.

- post by Mike

37 Comments

Geller what are you thinking? You want to run as the NPA's mayoral candidate and you are advocating for rapid transit in Surrey. Have you lost your senses? Why don't you take a crowded 99 B line before you advocate for more transit in low density Surrey. You call yourself a civic planning guru? Give your head a shake.

Terri, since you asked, I am not advocating for more transit in low density Surrey. I am advocating for more transit South of the river, in order to create a higher density Surrey. I would suggest that you read the Vancouver Sun article to better understand why Johnny Carline and I support this postion. http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/editorials/Metro+Vancouver+pushes+rapid+transit+Surrey/3480197/story.html

Let me add that while this might delay a SkyTrain line out to UBC, it does not preclude improved bus service to UBC. I agree that there is a need for a higher level of service since the UBC U-Pass program has often resulted in a Pass-U condition.

On the CKNW show, I suggested that higher capacity bus systems, such as that introduced in Curitiba where the platform becomes the fare paid zone, could provide a new transit choice in the region.

As a final comment, one of the reasons why I don't believe Vancouver deserves another line just yet is the terrible job our planners and politicians have done when it comes to promoting higher density development around our existing transit stations. Just take a look at some of the stations in East Vancouver and tell me this isn't so.

Unfortunately, based on my experience with proposals for higher density development on the West Side of Vancouver, I expect the same sad result along any new line out to UBC.

But I would be happy to be proven wrong.

@Michael, you make good points on the lack of planned density around stations, although Vancouver did get pushed into the Skytrain route in the years preceding Expo along an existing right of way through single-family neighbourhoods. The effort to densify the area around Joyce Station should be commended, and more work must be done around 29th & Nanaimo stations.

It's my feeling that a Skytrain line all the way to UBC is not probable with existing low density patterns west of Arbutus. It's just not feasible to add high density out that way without significant resistance from communities. However, rapid transit to Arbutus should be a high priority, with a rapid bus network possibly picking up the connections out to the campus from there.

Previous reports from Translink highlighted the huge financial losses underused bus routes incur. I suggest that in order to justify more rapid transit in Surrey & Langley (and not necessarily the "at grade" option Mayor Watts has spoken up for) there has to be a stronger commitment from cities to move away from car-dependent development. Surrey is making good strides, but there is a long way to go in other places - for example, across the river in Pitt Meadows & Maple Ridge.

"Gregor Robertson is in China at this moment supposedly promoting the City's economy at the exact same time the Province of BC is also conducting an economic mission to China with other regional leaders!"

I had mentioned on the "enemies list" thread two company heads I know on the trade mission.

I'll be chatting with them when they are back as I'm curious why they are on the Green Capital mission instead of the province's mission since there is a provincial tax credit they benefit from, while in regards to the city, their offices just happen to be within Vancouver borders.

Well guys, sorry to let the actually policies get in the way of a narrative but the Metro Vancouver position on rapid transit priorities is a far bit more nuanced than what was claimed in the Vancouver Sun article. As surprising as it may seem, the MSM doesn't always get it exactly right. Hope you were sitting down for that one.

From http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/Regional%20Planning%20Committee/5.1_Attachment-RGS-Draft-RPL-%20September_3_2010-Additional_item.pdf page 50

Priority 1 of course for rapid transit is the Evergreen Line and so it should be.

Priority 2: Connecting Surrey Metro Centre to one or more of the following Urban Centres south of the Fraser River: Fleetwood Municipal Town Centre, Guildford Municipal Town Centre, Newton Municipal Town Centre, and Langley Regional City Centre, and connecting the central Broadway area in the Metro Core to the existing rapid transit network serving the eastern and southern parts of the region.


So Central Broadway is still a number 2 priority, the same as Surrey extensions. This is the same as it has been for the last couple of decades and does not reflect any change in Metro Vancouver policy. The extension from Central Broadway to UBC appeared rather out of the blue in the Provincial Transit Plan. I personally think it is a great idea but so are the Surrey Extensions. Lets wait for the current studies which I assume will include business cases before jumping to any conclusions. I am pretty sure the business case will be really strong for the extension to Central Broadway (likely Arbutus) and relatively strong for the extension to UBC. Some extensions in Surrey will likely be justified as well and with funding coming from all levels of government and all corners of the region, I expect there will be a strong case for them going ahead as well.

At any rate, the region must work together for accelerated expansion of the rapid transit system and the levels of funding needed to make it happen instead of fighting over which gets done first.

Except, Richard, that I can't think of any prior time in the history of rapid transit in the region when more than one major project at a time was built out.

It is because of that nasty matter of available money.

While capital funds are relatively easy to obtain to build infrastructure and obtain trains and buses (via programs from the Feds and the province), operating funds, largely coming from fare collection and a few other legislated revenue streams, are not.

For example, this year, TL just met its operating obligations---and that after a supplement of $130 million the previous year. Just to keep what they have running.

So, to add more than one new system at a time---before ridership can be built/established (either by available bodies or the chance to densify an area), seems a bit like buying a new jet plane---it's great to have it, but you won't the money left over for fuel to run the darn thing.

Until other long-term funding opportunities (tolling? road pricing? property taxes? another level of sustained funding from senior governments?) are agreed on by the parties (Metro, the prov, TL), I don't see how more than project at time could be started.

Regardless of duelling transit plans or the overall importance of getting the regional system system built, at this point, there's only so much moola to go around.

Surrey is growing by leaps and bounds. Within this decade, it will become the largest city in the province. How long do you think they will put up with paying the most for transit in the region, yet getting the least amount of service?

It's petty regionalism like this that makes amalgamation a very attractive option.

What, more buses for Surrey so they can ride around half empty while us in Vancouver are standing room only. Are you freakin crazy. This makes no sense.

The fact remains that Surrey pays much more than Vancouver for transit in both fares and taxes, and yet they receive the least amount of service. They need rapid transit far more than Broadway corridor. Most transit experts agree.

And as for "half-filled buses"? You haven't been to Surrey lately.

@ Reality First

If Surrey's system could better service the area, you would have more people getting onto the buses.

A big problem in Surrey is the frequency of buses on routes.

When the bus you need runs once every 50 min and perhaps the driver is running early so you end up missing it - well, it doesn't motivate people to continue their use.

And it is the same in Maple Ridge. I have two elderly parents. I cringe when they get behind the wheel of their car - but in order for them to do simple errands such as doctors appointments, they are required to drive. The system out there sucks to put it nicely. And sadly, I weigh out which is worse, them driving or standing stranded somewhere.


Mike,
I've witnessed Vancouver's diminishing influence at Metro Vancouver over a long period of time. It really started after COPE took control of city hall. Larry Campbell was very disengaged from regional issues apart from his unwavering support for the Canada Line. David Cadman and Anne Roberts tried to carry the flag for the city on regional issues, but they were consistently outflanked by the very wily Surrey delegation, then led by Doug McCallum and Marvin Hunt.

They formed an alliance with directors from Richmond (Brodie and Kichi Kumagai) and brought in votes from Coquitlam and the North Shore to control the board.

In 2005, the NPA directors didn't make any real headway. Burnaby's influence increased as Mayor Corrigan worked with Lois Jackson and others. Peter Ladner was unable to get elected as chair.

This has continued with Vision Vancouver. The city has less than 30 percent of the population in the region now, so on a weighted vote, it's pretty easy to sideline Vancouver.

In addition, directors in the other cities feel that Vancouver gets all the goodies from the federal and provincial governments, including a new roof at B.C. Place, the Olympics, and possibly a new art gallery.

The suburban politicians have had enough. I'm not sure that any Vancouver politician could reverse it.

The days when Vancouver was the tail wagging the dog are over. Nevertheless, Lynne Kennedy, Gordon Price, Jennifer Clarke, and George Puil were probably far more adept at forming alliances with other politicians in the region than anyone who has come since with the possible exception of Suzanne Anton.

Geoff Meggs is a bit of a magician in bringing people on-side to his view in Vancouver. I've often wondered why Vision hasn't made far more use of him at the regional level. He sits on the housing committee. Maybe his peers don't want him getting those generous per diem allowances.

Vision also kept COPE's David Cadman off the regional board even though he worked for the GVRD for 19 years. He knows the place inside-out. This is another reason why the city's voice has been marginalized at Metro Vancouver.

Charlie Smith
www.straight.com

Geoff Meggs is also on the Labour Relations Bureau at Metro Vancouver. I should have mentioned that as well.

Charlie Smith

Charlie, very apt comments. There are , indeed, a million stories in the naked Metro. :-)

Reality First, while I agree that while Surrey is not yet getting its bang for the buck for the transit dollars it has put in, this has more to do with the cost of running transit in a populous, but NOT yet density-driven area.

Land-use issues are something to keep an eye on as transit projects are built out. Vancouver has density = more people who will be within a short distance of grabbing that train or hopping a rapid bus. Which means, theoretically, more fare collection which supports the continuous operating cost needs of the system.

In fact, save for peak periods, bus -riding drops off rapidly in Surrey. I think Michael Geller mentioned the concept of "shuttle buses", which might be defined as smaller buses,with more frequency. This could cut the costs of things like fuel consumption while proviing service as the area continues to grow.

Watch for more density in Surrey(towers, larger scale multi-family dwellings) closer to Skytrain lines in order to support more interrurban transit options for outlying areas.

You might want to check out http://www.humantransit.org/. Jarret Walker is an international authority on transit planing and has many lively debates on these issues there. Read his stuff on the "geometry' of transit planning.

Which means, theoretically, more fare collection which supports the continuous operating cost needs of the system.

************

Just to point out - a 2008 study conducted by PWC showed that Translink lost $9.4 million in revenue due to fare evasion for that year.

Last week as a test a runner, a cyclist and a bus rider raced to see who could get from one campus of Kwantlen College to the next (a typical requirement for students taking mixed course loads). The RUNNER beat the bus rider by almost 15 minutes over a 13 mile distance!

The communities south of the Fraser are eventually going to tire of paying for more service in Vancouver while seeing little or no service in the Valley. Translink has recognized this fact in their latest plan and that is a good thing. As for the complainers going to UBC, if you miss a bus because it is full then you may have to wait as little as three minutes for the next bus. A three bus wait (which has the riders moaning) holds you back for as little as 15 minutes. Miss the connection to go to Kwantlen (because of a couple missed lights) and the next bus doesn't come for 50 minutes!

Living in the burbs really sucks doesn't it. The dream of a white picket fence and lovely neighbours isn't all what it's cracked up to be. People who choose to live in low density single family homes to live the "dream" should wake up to the fact it's a freaking nightmare. Long commutes, you don't know your neighbours, poor transit etc...

Do you really think taxpayers should be funding every 10 min bus service in Maple Ridge? I can't stop laughing, you've got to be kidding. Meanwhile thousands, and I mean thousands, of people line up every day hoping and praying to get on a BLine bus in Vancouver. To no avail as they are all PACKED to the rafters. Give your head a shake.

Quick question - how many people currently commute to Vancouver for work purposes?

Maple Ridge was voted number 5 (out of 10) for economic investment (Top Investment City in Canada) with Surrey taking the number 4 spot.

Vancouver didn't make the list.

Maple Ridge is also slated for 400 new businesses over the next couple of year.

Surrey, especially around the City Central area is densifying and quickly. The last stop along that line - King George, has four new towers under construction. That whole area from Gateway to King George is new development.

So to arrogantly state that neither of these areas deserve their fare share of the transit pie, is a statement that lacks insight.

It has zip to do with white picket fences and blah, blah, blah, whatever.

Many people in these areas commute, and as they pay into the 'pot' that services all - they should see something for their dollars.

And FYI - I live in Vancouver - but unlike yourself, I don't suffer tunnel vision.

TransLink is completly disfunctional - no matter what Vancouver or any other municipality does. If the Evergreen Line isn't enough proof what is?

Vancouver should go it alone and start with P3 streetcar line from Granville Island to Science World through Chinatown and Downtown.

In addition to leaving TransLink in the dust, the line would probably pay for itself within fiirst decade of operation and be a real demonstration of green leadership. I am sure all Vancouver parties would agree on that.

If Mayor Robertson-Meggs applied half the energy to this as bike lanes he might even get my vote back.

While I admit the chastisement from Terri did cause me some discomfort, I am very pleased to read the subsequent comments and discussion. Special thanks to Richard for producing the full report, and Charlie for the history lesson.

As 'the Angry Taxpayer' correctly noted, in addition to improved rapid bus systems, I also believe we need more extensive use of 'shuttle buses' to serve neighbourhoods which cannot be economically served by larger buses. I know....the labour costs are too high...so let's review how best to address this challenge.

The answer may lie in some of the systems found elsewhere around the world...privately operated shuttle systems, and shared taxis, etc. Indeed, as discussed on Bill Good's Show, we need to consider taxis as part of the public transit system. I would be happy to see them given access to bus lanes in some places. I would also like to see changes in regulations so that a Surrey taxi can pick up a fare in Vancouver and take the passenger to Surrey, rather than have to return empty, which is what happens at the moment far too often. (And we claim to want to be the Greenest City in the World!)

So I still stand by my comment that we need to improve transit in Surrey and other places south of the river before extending SkyTrain or another form of rapid transit to UBC. And for those of you who are wondering whether there's a place for streetcars, check this out http://pricetags.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/streetcars-the-missing-link/

Raj,

What you fail to recognize is that if Vancouver tried to "go it alone" their transit system would go bankrupt in six months.

Since Translink was created the service in Vancouver has been heavily subidized by the taxpayers of Surrey, Langley, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and North Vancouver. Service levels in Vancouver greatly exceed the funding from Vancouver. Anyone who thinks Vancouver is getting a raw deal from Translink should spend a few minutes looking at teh numbers...you will never complain again!

Stop and take a breath Mike. Many of us who no longer live in Vancouver see the wisdom in extending the line east from Surrey's new downtown. With or without Mayor Moonbeam, the center of Metro is indeed migrating east from Vancouver's downtown peninsula. Metro has grown beyond a single downtown focus. Check what has happened in Toronto, San Francisco, and Seattle to see how growth creates new urban centers. It is happening here too.

I decided to pass on this story - because it isn't one. Johnny Carline's opinion doesn't actually count for anything. Come to that, neither does Translink's. Neither Metro nor SoCoBriTCA has the slightest influence over the decision where and of what kind the next rapid transit project in this region will occur. That decision is going to be made by Gordon Campbell - as long as he remains Premier. And the present news is that he intends to stay on for at least the next three years.

My prediction is that we will not see any new RT project in this region start in the life of this government - and that includes the Evergreen Line. Because the completion of the Port Mann replacement/widening Highway 1/building the SFPR simply sucks the air out of everything else. Then the Patullo replacement is going to be advanced.

Translink's only big decision was to proceed with the Golden Ears Bridge to replace the Albion Ferry. Not because that was a really important regional priority but because it could be funded by road tolls. That, it seems to me, sets the tone for the next Big Thing for Translink. It won't be transit.

The fact is that the current state of transit has started a drive south of the Fraser, with the revelation that you can cross Kwantlen campuses faster jogging than by bus (which is disgraceful). So many of Gregor's followers have sniped at their suburban colleagues "Why don't you live where you work?"....ignoring that most of Vancouver is out of bounds to families, let alone most young singles looking to own something so modest as a bachelor condo.

What will happen to Vancouver when the majority starts asking businesses "Why don't you move to the suburbs where we live?".

Businesses move in the long run. It nearly killed New York in the 70s. Detroit pretty much died of it too. If you make it hard, expensive and dangerous to travel, people find other options for work. And the cities and citizens who live in then suffer.

That's starting to happen here now. There is already the start of a drive in Surrey to pull out of Translink and the GVRD, if something isn't done soon about transit and Vancouverism. After all, most municipalities in Canada run their own transit. There's already been a municipal study in Surrey looking at the merits and low cost of LRT.. And municipalities have BDC's that are looking at opportunities to draw businesses away from neighbouring cities.

Vancouver has a chance to nip this in the bud by not being so petty and looking at the region as a whole. But if they continue to push the Broadway
corridor, they may fall victim to the faults of so many cities past.

You're right Bob?. The region is changing. Vancouver today does not have the position it has historically. But, to argue that Vancouver should have a 'special' status in regional affairs is off base.

No one will win the argument over which region / line should have priority because, in truth, they are all priorities in themselves. What Vancouver & other Metro cities as well as Metro & Translink need to be doing is working even harder & smarter to change the tax / funding structures so more money is available for cities to 'green' themselves, particularly in transit. Our survival depends on it. And, transit is also the catalist for densification & sustainable neighbourhoods.

What's right for the Metro in the long run is what's right for Vancouver as well as the other cities in the region. That is an objective elected reps from all cities must take to Metro.

Translink has made some smart moves re: UBC access. The Broadway corridor is not the only route. They have added express buses @ Marine, 49th, 41st & added lines from False Creek, etc. [others may be more precise]. All of these feed off the Canada Line. Wise transportation planning decentralizes rather than concentrates services in circumstances such as that one.

Linking suburban town centres is also smart transit planning. It encourages densification form these centres, as has happened in burnaby & is beginning to happen in Surrey. And, doing so reduces some of the pressure on Vancouver.

I echo your sentiments. I work for a company that was founded in Calgary and when they decided to set up a west coast office made a conscious decision not to set up in Vancouver where all our competitors have their offices. The reason for this location was to allow employees to live within a reasonable distance from work. I am paid a decent middle class wage and am able to afford to live in a house with a backyard for my kids and can walk to work.

I resent the fact that TransLink takes my tax dollars (which show up on my tax bill) and provides virtually no service in my area. Even better was the suggestion a while back to charge us for our parking stalls, which we need since we don't have bus service.

A quick note to Reality First:

You talk about long commutes for the people who don't live in Vancovuer but what you may not realize is that this is not the case anymore. About 5 years ago Langley made the transition and Surrey is almost there. What transition you ask? Well Langley has more jobs than it does people living in the community to fill them. The net flux for work is therefore INTO Langley for work and not out of Langley. Based on demographic proections, Surrey will hit that number sometime in the next 10 years.

It made sense in the days when the suburbs sent their workers to Vancouver for work to subsidize Vancouver's transit. Now that the flux is in the other direction, the basis for this one-way flow of transit dollars has gone away. Hopefully TranLink will get the picture before the communities south of the Fraser give up on TransLink and go back to BC Transit (which still operates in Victoria, Abbotsford, Whistler and most of the rest of the province).

@Blair

From the 'about' section of the Translink website:

"We also share responsibility for the Major Road Network (MRN) and regional cycling with municipalities in Metro Vancouver. We are the first North American transportation authority to be responsible for the planning, financing and managing of all public transit in addition to major regional roads and bridges."

It's not entirely accurate to say Translink provides 'virtually no service' in your area (unless you live outside Metro Vancouver, which I infer isn't the case). Certainly I would share your frustration if you are talking about a lack of transit service, but in the interests of accuracy, Translink is probably providing services to your area.

"I am paid a decent middle class wage and am able to afford to live in a house with a backyard for my kids and can walk to work.

I resent the fact that TransLink takes my tax dollars (which show up on my tax bill) and provides virtually no service in my area. Even better was the suggestion a while back to charge us for our parking stalls, which we need since we don't have bus service."

Judging by your comments, you actually don't 'need' a parking stall.

You are quite right, I do not need a parking stall, but our clients need them since they cannot get to us by bus.

Meanwhile retailers in our area would be expected to pay the tax and pass it on to their customers (us) while none of the storefronts on Broadway who get buses going by every two minutes will pay a penny of parking stall tax while reaping the benefits of the transit system.

Shoppers on Broadway have to pay for parking through meters. Either way there's a cost to customers... and Broadway retailers also have to contend with no parking during one of the peak rush periods in the morning or afternoon, depending which side of the street they are on... and anyway, the parking stall tax didn't materialize, unless I am misunderstanding your previous comments?

Chris,

I'm not sure if you have ever downloaded the TransLink "Major Road Network" map (admittedly TransLink makes this virtually impossible since the download takes 10 minutes with a high speed connection and uses a non-standard .ashx format) but if you did you would discover that the MRN in Langley consists pretty much of Highway 10, the Fraser Highway and 200th Street. Funny thing, the other major road was Glover Road but it was taken out of the MRN when the Albion ferry was removed. As for new infrastructure, our new bridge is tolled. So we actually have less TransLink paid-for infrastructure in 2010 than we had in 2001.

So for our financial input we get almost no bus service and even less road coverage than when TransLink was founded.

Chris, the difference is that shoppers on Broadway can get to and from shopping using transit. Something that is impossible in most of the area South of the Fraser.

As for taxes, we pay TransLink on our property taxes and pay more proportionally in gas tax since we need to use our cars because there is no bus service.

Blair:

Your points are well-made regarding Translink, and I have nothing to add or dispute in that regard. My original contention was that there was a little hyperbole going on in yr comment about virtually no service.

Having said that. Re: this remark - "the difference is that shoppers on Broadway can get to and from shopping using transit. Something that is impossible in most of the area South of the Fraser."

I think it's unrealistic to expect equivalency everywhere in the region. People south of the Fraser also have things we don't get in downtown Vancouver, such as the lower housing costs etc that made it an attractive place to you.

Overall, I think there's good and bad aspects to our transportation system in every area of the region. I don't see how the city of Vancouver is especially privileged in that regard.

Chris,

The topic of the original post and the subsequent discussion is the weakening position of Vancouver in the TransLink planning process. You suggest that equivalency isn't possible within the region, I would argue that we aren't asking for equivalency, we are asking for a minimal service for our financial input. In the last decade the amount of spending north of the Fraser has massively outpaced the spending south of the Fraser but the financial input is gradually moving the other way.

You say: "overall, I think there's good and bad aspects to our transportation system in every area of the region. I don't see how the city of Vancouver is especially privileged in that regard" I have argued that Vancouver is massively privileged and the data (and dollars) appear to support my side of the story.

Hi Blair:

If you have some links or similar I could read to get a better sense of your position I will definitely read up on it.... assuming it won't take up a bunch of your time. I don't expect you to do my homework for me, but if you've already compiled anything, I'd appreciate a chance to check them out.

In a reply here is great, or you can click on my name below to get my email address and email me. While my personal take on the situation is coloured by trying to navigate overcrowded downtown buses, often with a kid in tow, I can recognize that there are significant benefits to the entire region if we can get the significant numbers of people who rely on cars to make better use of increased transit services.

thx,

CK

It's pretty clear that Vancouver has been on the receiving end of a whole lotta TransLink largesse over the years.

Buses
Canada Line
Millennium Line
Expo Line.

All transit ends/begins in Vancouver or can be considered "Vancouvercentric". This may have been wholly supportable 15 or 20m years ago, but the outlying areas are growing. What the outlying areas don't have yet are density going for them, but then, neither did Vancouver until 5 or 10 years ago. Vancouver's mantra has been "If you build it they will come" ---and the same could be said for Surrey. In 1986 the first Skytrain was built from Vancouver to Surrey, without a real thought to density.

I know that the Broadway cooridor is touted as the second busiest corridor in the Metro area. And that CoV is really pushing to have it built out.

However the folks heading west on the Port Mann bridge each morning might disagree ;-)


It is not mine, but I copy the most articulated I have found, this on

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com blog

DealBreaker
10 September 2010 at 18:08 · Reply
Compromise?

Fixing the Broadway corridor is imperative. It is one of the busiest bus corridors on the continent and I challenge anyone who is against Broadway upgrades to try get on the bus at Commercial and Broadway at 8am and see how fun it is.

There also seems to be a consensus that transit in Surrey sucks. It can be debated whether this is because they have been neglected or because they simply do not have the demand for high-order services.

I say, let the studies continue for both areas seeing as no decisions/routes/technologies have been finalized, but let’s work under the assumption that both sides will have to make compromises so that they each get some of the goodies. Why should one area get their ideal option and the other gets nothing? In reality, a compromise might look like this:

For the Broadway corridor: a SkyTrain expansion as far as Arbutus or MacDonald, which still serves the second largest commercial area and one of the densest neighbourhoods of Metro Vancouver. It also fills the gap between the Canada Line and Millennium Line. – a crucial link. Yes, this means that students and rich families in Point Grey will have to take the bus beyond this point or drive, but lets be realistic, the rich families are already driving and students get huge discounts already, why should they get the most expensive and quickest service across a pretty neighbourhood and beautiful park? (I say this as a student myself).

For Surrey: Create a frequent bus service network across the region with dedicated bus lanes (BRT) on key streets like King George Boulevard, Fraser Highway and 104th Ave. Give the City of Surrey a chance to prove they are serious about upzoning/densification and to show the region that they will have the demand for rail, because right now we know they don’t.

Regarding urban growth: yes Surrey is expected to grow the fastest over the next few decades. But they are planning for “business as usual growth” not dense development. Surrey City Centre may be the exception to this, but it already has SkyTrain. If Surrey can actually prove they can fill buses that offer great service, then give them rail once they have dense areas to connect. Vancouver is doing the right thing by allowing density first, it should be rewarded with investment in rail. Surrey wants a dense core for sure, but in the rest of the city they are expanding roads, getting billions in provincial highway funds, encouraging big box retail and single detached housing. Why in the world should we put rail there now to serve a demand that they MIGHT have in 40 years!?

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