Congestion Everywhere, No Releif in Sight!

As predicted in 1980!

There are affordable solutions, but they would embarrass the MoT, the City of Vancouver and academics, especially at SFU.

An ever growing population, means more traffic and until the government ensures an attractive and affordable alternative to the car, which because of SkyTrain will not get in the foreseeable future, gridlock and endemic congestion will remain.

Hint #1: Building more traffic lanes never solves congestion, but it is a political solution, especially around election time.

Hint #2: This will happen in Richmond to Vancouver bridges when the massive $3.5 billion Massey tunnel replacement bridge is built.

North Van the new Port Mann? North Shore bridges at ‘tipping point’

Published on: December 16, 2016

Traffic is bad all over Metro Vancouver, but the worst spot to emerge in the last several years is the bridgehead at the Second Narrows in North Vancouver.

Municipal leaders were told in 2015 that the North Shoreai??i??s woes coincided preciselyAi??with the expansion of the Port Mann Bridge to 10 lanes in 2012.

ai???We noticed a blip since the Port Mann bridge was completed and that really opened up a corridor on the approaches to the Second Narrows ai??i?? Itai??i??s quite significant,ai??? Jason Jardine, of the Parsons consulting firm and a consultant to the provincial ministry of highways, told council.

He suggested a ai???tipping pointai??? may have been reached, when even a small amount of extra traffic causes blockage.

ai???We can get a certain amount of traffic through a bottleneck and then when things fail, they fail very abruptly,ai??? he said. ai???We have been close to that tipping point for many

It seems like the daily jams ai??i?? albeit not all the same vehicles ai??i?? at the Port Mann for the last few decades simply moved a few dozen kilometres up Highway 1 to the interchanges by the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.

Gavin Joyce, North Vancouver Districtai??i??s general manager of engineering, said it is a ai???very awkward

ai???You canai??i??t get any more vehicles through,ai??? says Joyce. ai???You can see the

North Vancouver District Coun. Lisa Muri takes in the traffic moving at a snailai??i??s pace at the bottom of ai???The Cut,ai??i?? heading northwest off the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing. ai???Itai??i??s going to get much worse,ai??i?? she says of increasing congestion ai??i??Ai??and itai??i??s not all due to vehicular traffic.
North Vancouver District Coun. Lisa Muri takes in the traffic moving at a snailai??i??s pace at the bottom of ai???The Cut,ai??i?? heading northwest off the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing. ai???Itai??i??s going to get much worse,ai??i?? she says of increasing congestion ai??i??Ai??and itai??i??s not all due to vehicular traffic. Mark van Manen / PNG

Perhaps we should have seen it coming. Highway 1 was upgraded to eight lanes, while the North Shoreai??i??s section of road is just four. It was like squeezing a big pipe into a smaller one.

Life plans have been altered as a result. Some residents have reduced the number of times they go out. Eric Andersen, who lives in the eastern part of the district on MountAi??Seymour, has given up driving in the afternoons.

ai???Itai??i??s not worth my while. I donai??i??t want to be anywhere near Highway No. 1 after 2 p.m. Chances are Iai??i??m going to sit in traffic and steam,ai??? saysAi??Andersen, president of the Blueridge Community Association. ai???What used to take 20 minutes now takes one-and-a-half hours. Itai??i??s

Professional drivers ai??i?? truck drivers, couriers and the like ai??i?? withAi??the latest gadgets are daily tracking the flow of traffic.

ai???There is a button in the vehicle for traffic conditions,ai??? saysAi??one courier. ai???It tells me exactly how far traffic is backed up: vehicles are moving at 18 kilometresAi??per hour for 7.3 kilometres. It is that

Impeded flows have been noted at TransLink, which is responsible for regional transportation planning.

ai???The North Shore is one of the highest incidents of change we have seen,ai??? saysAi??Geoff Cross, vice-president of planning. ai???It doesnai??i??t take a lot of additional cars for that to happenai??? ai??i??Ai??about 3,000 more vehicles a day between 2005 and 2015.

North Vancouver District Coun. Lisa Muri, for one, believes development has outpaced the ability of roads and transit to keep up. A district report notes 10,000 new building units are expected by 2030, and 20,000 additional people.

And itai??i??sAi??not just the district thatAi??is expanding. Towers are slated all over the North Shore, including villages and town centres at Park Royal, Lower Capilano, Lower Lynn, Upper Lynn, Maplewood, Edgemont, Harbourside and Lonsdale.

ai???Itai??i??s going to get much worse,ai??? saysAi??Muri.

The problem is more than just highway expansion and the fact the Lions Gate Bridge is at capacity as well. North Vancouverai??i??s 50-year-old interchanges at the Second Narrows canai??i??t keep pace with the high-speed ones on the south side, built at a cost of $3.3 billion along with the new Port Mann. Some North Van on-ramps are so constricted that vehicles must crawl along to admit newcomers, cloggingAi??the whole system.

The municipality shares responsibility for the mess: Highway 1 has been used as a local road for decades, and secondary routes werenai??i??t developed to the extent needed to shield residents from gridlock.

Those looking for civic politiciansai??i?? excuses need look no farther than the mountains, which offer up road-eating terrain. Rivers and hills constantly get in the way, spoiling plans for a grid system like the ones thatAi??can be found elsewhere in the metropolis. The number of east-west and north-south connections can be counted on a few fingers.

ai???Itai??i??s a real challenge,ai??? Joyce says.

The opening of the new Port Mann Bridge (above) four years ago coincided with more traffic jams at the Second Narrows crossing in North Vancouver.
The opening of the new Port Mann Bridge, above, four years ago coincided with more traffic jams at the Second Narrows crossing in North Vancouver. Stuart McCall/North Light / B.C. Ministry of Transportation

North Vancouverai??i??s experience has implications farther south for the proposed $3-billion Massey Tunnel replacement project on the Fraser River, as politicians in Richmond and Vancouver believe traffic jams will be transferred to the Knight and Oak StreetAi??bridges and their surrounding neighbourhoods.

ai???Widening capacity in one area will shift the problem somewhere else,ai??? saysAi??Andrew McCurran, TransLinkai??i??s director of strategic planning.

Help is on the way in North Vancouver from three levels of government: A total of $150 million is earmarked over seven years to upgrade two interchanges and add a third at Mountain Highway.

Longer on-ramps will lead to faster flows, and the Keith Road bridges thatAi??feed the system will be expanded from two lanes to four.

But the fundamental problem will remain: Eight lanes on the south side of Highway 1 and four on the north side. There is no money to expand the traffic-constricting highway bridges over Lynn Creek, saysAi??Joyce; and a much-needed, intra-municipal bridge over lower Lynn Creek is not funded either.

He saysAi??the district is ai???working very hardai??? on funding to provide more substantial upgrades.

ai???I donai??i??t know where itai??i??s going to land,ai??? Joyce says.

Former B.C. highways minister Kevin Falcon saysAi??the Second Narrows was never meant to have ai???this kind of

ai???There is a tremendous amount of catching up to do,ai??? he says. ai???The truckers deserve a medal for getting

Adding traffic capacity is a bit like enlarging blood vessels as a body growsAi??ai??i?? the additional size is needed to accommodate more traffic. District council was recently told that building nothing should not be an option because an expanding society depends on moving ever more people. There is always congestion, but the difference is more vehicles are getting through.

North Vancouver resident Andersen is not optimistic about current plans to address the problem.

ai???I would stick it out for a year or two, if I knew plans were afoot to fix it. But I donai??i??t see any long-term fixes,ai??? he says.

The remedy is a third crossing, since both the Lions Gate and Second Narrows bridges are at capacity. But there is little support for another crossing on either side of Burrard Inlet.

Gordon Price, former director of Simon Fraser Universityai??i??sAi??city program, saysAi??Vancouver is not willing to admit 4,000 vehicles an hour onto downtown streets; North Van residents fear that bridge-building would mean even more people coming to their forested slopes.

Muri saysAi??development should be held back to give time for road-building and bus routes to catch up. But her views wonai??i??t likely be heeded because sheai??i??s in the minority on council.

Population on the North Shore and Lions Bay is predicted to increase by 35 per cent from 2006 to 2041, adding almost 63,000 residents, and the Sea to Sky corridor will accommodate more people as well.

ai???Itai??i??s too much, too fast,ai??? she says.

Source: BCStats



One Response to “Congestion Everywhere, No Releif in Sight!”
  1. tory says:

    Nice article within an article. So what is this affordable solution for the north shore you speak of?