A Tale of Three Letters

Malcolm Johnston, local transit advocate and long time thorn in the side of TransLink, is offering his views of the pre civic election hype regarding the oten announced Massey Tunnel replacement.

The one issue that puzzles Zwei is the idea that a bridge will carry more traffic than a tunnel, if both have equal traffic lanes, the carrying capacity of both would be the same.

That politicians are selling the idea that the new tunnel will solve local transit issues, which is tantamount of gifting the public with false information because despite the new tunnel extra lanes and increased capacity, the Oak and Knight Street bridges will still only offer the same four lanes northbound and four lanes southbound. Steveston and New Westminster Hwy’s will still have only two lanes in each direction and are gridlocked (as Zwei found out recently) in peak hours.

The problem with bus service is that customers want their direct bus service back to Vancouver and not to be forcibly transferred to the Canada Line in a very inconvenient way.

So this begs the question, asked in the letter from Mr. Johnston:

Where is the extra traffic going to go?

Massey 1

Letters: Hype and hoopla about nothing

The fake news and the alternative facts concerning the bridge or tunnel constantly spewed by the BC Liberals, the NDP and local mayors is breathtaking
Letter to the editor Mar 24, 2022 7:00 PM


The hype and hoopla with the re-announcement of a new tunnel, replacing the perfectly good Massey Tunnel, shows a complete failure in regional transportation planning and a complete omission of any thought to Global Warming.

The Massey Tunnel replacement was a BC Liberal initiative, to build a bridge to replace the current tunnel, thus allowing Cape Max. tankers and colliers to Surrey Docks to load dirty Montana coal and Braken oil, transported by the BN&SF Railway, saving wheelage charges paid, for using BC Rail’s Delta Supper Port line.

The fake news and the alternative facts concerning the bridge or tunnel constantly spewed by the BC Liberals, the NDP and local mayors is breathtaking

What will a $4 billion tunnel do? Create more congestion and more gridlock

Any time savings made will soon be lost as more traffic will use Highway 99 and with Richmond roads now gridlocked in peak hours and no new crossing servicing North of the Fraser, will turn this major highway into a $4 billion parking lot.

Studies show that increasing a highway’s capacity in urban areas, generates more traffic, leading to continued congestion and gridlock.

Contrary to the “pork pies” being sold by MLA’s and mayors, no rapid transit will ever use the new bridge or tunnel.

The Canada Line will not be expanded and Bus Rapid Transit or BRT is nothing more than a political gimmick, to build more highways.

Global warming; the heat dome; and last November’s destructive monsoon, sent a blunt message to our politicians that we must change and sadly the message has fallen on deaf ears. Our elected officials, still believing that higher taxes will cure global warming, continue with good old BC “black top politicas” and Translink is still planning for obsolete, 1980 transit solutions for 2022.

This witch’s brew of rubber on asphalt planning will lead the region to a financial & transportation fiasco within the next decade.

Malcolm Johnston

followed by…….

Letters: If you have a better solution, let’s hear it

The reality that opening the new tunnel in 2025 (I think) will cause gridlock somewhere else on the #99 raises another issue
Letter to the editor Mar 31,


Re: Hype and Hoopla about Nothing – letter from Malcolm Johnston (online, March 24).

Mr. Johnston appears to be making the point that the replacement of the Massey Tunnel with more lanes of traffic will simply cause even more gridlock elsewhere along the #99.

I can’t be sure, but that seems to be the purpose of his letter.

I have always thought that any expansion project is meant to cater for suppressed demand, or forecast demand if the planners get it right. When a new wing is built on a hospital, it usually fills up very quickly. Is this because more people are getting sick? Probably not.  More likely, some of the population has not been able to receive the hospitalization they deserve quickly enough until the extension is commissioned. Does the fact that the extension fills up so quickly mean that it shouldn’t have been built? Not at all.

The same with any arterial road expansion. The planners know there is suppressed demand and future demand waiting for the expansion. The fact that it attracts a whole lot of additional traffic is proof of this, and, I must say, justifies the expansion project very quickly. I’m sure the new Massey Tunnel will be a case in point.

The reality that opening the new tunnel in 2025 (I think) will cause gridlock somewhere else on the #99 raises another issue. No expansion project can keep lockstep pace with increasing demand. Projects by their nature are “lumpy” and not perfectly incremental, so the planners have to go with the expansion project that will bring the most public convenience per dollar, and then keep planning the next expansion accordingly.

If Mr. Johnston knows of a way to expand arterial roads incrementally according to incremental demand, he should let the Roads Department know right away instead of writing letters about “black top politicas” and fake “fake news”.

Chris Stanton

A printed rebuttal


Letters: Playing a fool’s game

The daily congestion at the Massey Tunnel, should have been a win for TransLink
Letter to the editor

Mr. Stanton’s letter, replying to my letter (which appeared on-line last week), seeks an answer.

The simple belief, adding more road-space will solve congestion, is a fool’s game as it will just attract more vehicles, creating greater congestion and gridlock at choke points.

The gridlock on Highway 1 from the North Shore to Abbotsford, during peak hours, is daily proof that adding more road-space does not cure congestion.

The failure of TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit, to provide user-friendly transit for South of the Fraser, is more than an embarrassment, it is a show of incompetence. The empty buses now plying city streets are alarm bells no one is listening to.

The daily congestion at the Massey Tunnel, should have been a win for TransLink to provide a successful user-friendly transit service, but TransLink is not up to the task and taking the car is the only real solution.

All TransLink seems capable of is planning for stale, dated 1970 transit solutions for 2022 and beyond. Multi-billion dollar light metro schemes are being built for land speculation and land development, rather than providing a good public transit alternative.

With ample fake news and alternative facts, to hide current incompetence, politicians play the good old “rubber on asphalt” political game, building more roads, bigger bridges and tunnels for more cars, creating more pollution, at a critical time that we are supposed to be reducing greenhouse gasses.

The sad fact is, gridlock is good for reducing pollution, as it should force the government to look at other solutions, but in B.C., that is not happening as both the NDP and Liberal governments seem to do the same thing over and over again, ever hoping for different results

Malcolm Johnston


One Response to “A Tale of Three Letters”
  1. Cedar says:

    BC liberal plan was to build a new 10 lane bridge. NDP plan is to build new 8 lane tunnel. 10 lanes can carry more traffic than 8 lanes. If they wanted to save money, could just build a new 4 lane tunnel beside the old one.

Leave A Comment