Transportation Gridlock is Endemic in Metro Vancouver

Endemic gridlock, despite a now over $10 billion investment in SkyTrain. Do the same thing again and again, hoping for different results is insane.

After driving into Vancouver yesterday, it has hit home that despite a now over $10 billion spent on SkyTrain light-metro and the Canada line, congestion is getting worse.

After being an advocate for better transportation in the region for now over thirty years, I am still amazed by the “SkyTrain ennui” that prevails in most Metro Vancouver city halls. It is like regional planners and engineers just looked at picture books, instead of reading and learning from recent transit studies published across the pond. The exception is that TransLink is very good at implementing new tax schemes to pay for their questionable transit planning.

In Delta, where I reside, there is much support for a $12 billion, ten lane mega bridge, in the vain hope that it will cure gridlock. It won’t of course because as in all cases, more traffic lanes lead to gridlock at the next choke point, which in this case is the Oak and Knight Street bridges.

Today, trying to get to the airport (YVR) took an extra 20 minutes because of massive congestion at the Oak St. Bridge, backing traffic to number 5 Road! Add three more lanes going to Richmond on a new bridge and the #5 Road interchange will be the next major choke point.

The BC Liberals have left us with a legacy of extremely bad transit planning, with the “White Elephant” Canada Line being the hallmark of Liberal transit incompetence.

The Canada Line, with only 40 metre long station platforms and the ability to operate only 2-car trains, has effectively about one half the capacity of the Expo and Millennium/Evergreen lines.

It is time for some serious talk about regional transit, which means a lot of toes are going to be stepped on.

The major problem to overcome is to stop planning for SkyTrain light-metro and LRT designed as SkyTrain light metro.

We have to think about economy and user friendliness and not capacity and speed. We have to think regionally and not the current multi billion dollar nonsense that passes for transit planning in the region today. We have to think of light rail; converting the Canada line to light-rail; operating light rail on the Arbutus Corridor; we have to think LRT on Broadway and not a SkyTrain subway, from BCIT in Burnaby to UBC and Stanley Park in Vancouver and from White Rock to Vancouver, along the King George in Surrey; we have to think TramTrain from Vancouver to Chilliwack; we have to think 21st century transit planning and not 1970′s transit planning where transit is put in the the air or underground so not to interfere with vehicular traffic.

It can be done, the question is; “do our civic and provincial politicians have the moral fortitude to do it?”

From my perspective, I severely doubt it.

A former 4 lane arterial road with lawned R-o-W.


One Response to “Transportation Gridlock is Endemic in Metro Vancouver”
  1. eric chris says:

    “Like the shapes of bodies frozen by ash in Pompeii – an exaggerated arm movement, or an open mouth breathing onto a window dripping with condensation – many of the people in Michael Wolf’s Tokyo Compression photos appear forced into odd poses. Yet these are unstaged images: the positions adopted simply show the everyday contortion of the subway commute.”

    “$725,000 for one-bedroom [439 square foot] condo at Joyce Station [next to s-train] raises red flags. We were looking for people who were interested in buying to raise their families in this building [developed with the help of TransLink and transit oriented development].”

    “TransLink and its retail partners are planning to soon offer more places to buy those on-the-go items at stations like Main Street-Science World. The station, one of seven slated for $164 million in renovations has incorporated two more retail spaces. TransLink currently rents 10,000 square feet to retailers and brings in $500,000 a year in rent … said Guy Akester, director of real estate for TransLink [dressed to kill and looking dashing].”

    Core sampling along Broadway for TransLink’s next subway in Vancouver is progressing smoothly, I see. Full steam ahead for sky-blimp to make the subway obsolete before the subway is finished.

    As much as I support cycling, the “upgrades” to the Burrard Street Bridge to widen cycling and pedestrian lanes diminish the capacity of the Burrard Street Bridge by about 4,000 people in cars every hour. If Vancouver had built a separate cycling-pedestrian and tram bridge, it would have increased the capacity in and out of Vancouver by 30,000 people every hour (both directions). Oh well, taking vehicle lanes away from cars for cyclists on the Burrard Street Bridge does increase road congestion and that’s always good for TransLink to scream for more funding for subways. It’s not a total loss.