TransLink and The Sun Sing The Same Old Transit Blues

The Vancouver Sun is back shilling for TransLink and ‘road-pricing’; too bad, because TransLink seems to be wanting to do the same old expensive and unworkable transit planning, which has failed in the past; expecting different results this time. Not going to happen.

Throwing more money at TransLink will not bring change, only higher wage packets for TransLink’s ponderous bureaucracy. What is needed is a change of transit philosophy. TransLink is still enthralled with the SkyTrain & density routine, when a customer based, light rail transit philosophy is needed instead. The dated Skytrain (light-metro) philosophy mostly benefits SNC Lavalin, Bombardier Inc. and developers, not the transit customer!

All Translink is doing is setting up the taxpayer for a wild roller-coaster tax ride that has no end.

Metro Vancouver transit options not meeting demand, some say

Cities facing a ai???shape or serveai??i?? dilemma

Read more:

When Coquitlam began developing Burke Mountain four years ago, it had big plans for a transit-oriented community.

Homes with one-car garages were packed tightly together on streets so narrow that parking was only allowed on one side. New families moving in were promised they could walk, take transit or share a car to get to work, school or other destinations.

But there was a huge flaw in the cityai??i??s otherwise sustainable plan: The buses never made it to Burke Mountain, and now those narrow streets are overrun with cars.

It is a situation being faced across Metro Vancouver, not only in fast-growing areas such as Surrey and Coquitlam, but in transit-rich cities like Vancouver that are consciously building denser communities in the belief that transit options will be there when they are needed.

Yet many communities are still waiting for even a single bus, as TransLink struggles to come up with the money required to expand the system.

ai???This is the ai???shape or serveai??i?? dilemma,ai??? said Gordon Price of Simon Fraser Universityai??i??s urban planning and sustainable community development program. ai???In other words, should you invest in transit where it can serve people (currently), or do you put the transit in to (help) shape growth? If you have limited service, you shouldnai??i??t run empty buses in a

TransLink often waits until there are enough potential passengers in an area before adding buses or rapid transit, noting it must have the ridership numbers to be cost-effective.

But in many cases, providing transit options early has triggered development growth across Metro, particularly along the Millennium and Expo SkyTrain lines and Canada Line.

Burnabyai??i??s Brentwood Town Centre, on the Millennium Line, is experiencing rapid development, while Vancouverai??i??s Oakridge neighbourhood, located along the Canada Line, is also designated for much higher density.

But other cities are experiencing the reverse. Surreyai??i??s Clayton Heights, with its maze of cookie-cutter townhouses, is also a prime candidate for transit services, but options are still fairly limited.

Simon Cunningham, who lives in nearby Cloverdale, said it takes him 45 minutes to drive to work in Metrotown, but the trip would take at least 15 minutes longer using transit.

ai???It takes me just as long to take a bus and SkyTrain as it does to drive to Metrotown,ai??? said Cunningham, a public relations officer at Metro Vancouver. ai???If it was easier and a shorter time, Iai??i??d do it for

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said Morgan Crossing, in South Surrey, could also use a bus for its growing population.

ai???Weai??i??re seeing it in every single community. You put the density in and now we need the connections,ai??? Watts said. ai???I had hoped weai??i??d be further down the road, but now itai??i??s delayed even

Metro mayors complain they are repeatedly hamstrung by TransLinkai??i??s chronic funding woes, and are calling for more control over how money is raised and spent in the region.

One of those financing options, they say, is road pricing, which could include everything from tolls on roads and bridges, a vehicle tax, or a charge per distance travelled.

This would serve not only commuter traffic, Watts said, but also the trucks that are shipping goods and rely on the roads to get around.

TransLink has thrown its support behind the municipalities, and maintains it is working with them to reach the goals of the regional growth strategy, which calls for denser communities built around rapid transit stops or bus loops.

Bob Paddon, TransLinkai??i??s executive vice-president of strategic planning, told the Metro board last week that the transportation authority wants to see trip distances and travel times reduced by one-third, with the number of trips by transit, cycling and walking rising from 27 per cent today to 50 per cent by 2040.

The goal is to be able to deal with another million people expected to live within Metro Vancouver in the next 30 years, with all of them criss-crossing the region to get to jobs, particularly south of the Fraser and in the Tri-Cities.

North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, chairman of the mayorsai??i?? council on regional transportation, said that while municipalities embrace the same principles, ai???our ability for transit to supply what we need is

The situation has led to significant pushback in Lynn Valley against density, he said, ai???because theyai??i??re saying, ai???You canai??i??t guarantee us more busesai??i??.ai???

A few years ago, Port Moody temporarily postponed development in its city centre when planning for the Evergreen Line was delayed.

On Burke Mountain, the first bus is finally expected to arrive this fall, but it will likely only touch the edge of a community that was established four years ago ai??i?? running from the Town Centre to Coast Meridian and David Drive and into Port Coquitlam ai??i?? with no access to the newer developments a kilometre-and-a-half away.

City officials say that could have a huge impact on the neighbourhood, which already has 3,000 residents and expects a total of 30,000 when it is eventually built out.

ai???Itai??i??s meant to be served by transit,ai??? Mayor Richard Stewart said. ai???Weai??i??re looking at, potentially, a year from now when we get a bus. Those are the demand-shaping years ai??i?? in the first two months after you move into a new home, you either demand transit or you drive a

Coun. Craig Hodge, who lives on Burke Mountain, said the communityai??i??s streets are ai???literally bumper to bumper. Once (those residents) come home, those streets are all

The same can be said even for some established areas across the region. Vancouverai??i??s transportation plan assumes it will have the same number of cars moving around the city 30 years from now as it does today, with the population growth managed by increased walking, cycling or transit.

Yet the city is already struggling to serve its transit needs along the Broadway corridor, with many riders left stranded by full buses. At the same time, First Avenue around Commercial is seeing increased traffic congestion, said Coun. Geoff Meggs, likely because some east-west commuters will not have transit options until the Evergreen Line arrives.

ai???First Avenue is really rough. Itai??i??s noisy and intense and wasnai??i??t really built for this kind of traffic,ai??? Meggs said. ai???Thereai??i??s certainly a lot of pressure there.

ai???Whatai??i??s been missing in the debate is that most people will be using all types of transit, but will use their car as the first option. Not having access to any other form of transportation makes it more likely people will want to

Sarah Ross, director of strategy and planning development for TransLink, wouldnai??i??t speak specifically about areas like Burke Mountain, but said the transportation authority tries to work with municipalities to determine specifically where the growth is going and identify transit needs for each area.

ai???We have to make sure we have some level of assurance that the services we put out will be well used,ai??? she said. ai???We always have limited resources, and we have a big region with very different

But Stewart warns that the region is already at a tipping point. If the referendum on road pricing fails, which is likely, he said, the public will face even higher costs because without transit, more roads will have to be built.

ai???The whole system will crash,ai??? he said. ai???We could build wider roads and lots of parking and let (Burke Mountain) become a car-dependent neighbourhood. But we made the decision that weai??i??re going to try to create a livable region.

ai???We have an important decision to make. Itai??i??s not a choice of spending or not spending. Itai??i??s a choice of spending on transit or (spending) a lot more on


2 Responses to “TransLink and The Sun Sing The Same Old Transit Blues”
  1. Keith says:

    Part of the development charges should have been earmarked for sustainable transit . . . should be standard package to development fees. Unfortunately, it seems that monies are needed elsewhere and they can’t seem to get enough . . .

  2. eric chris says:

    Amazingly, the Vancouver Sun allowed Elizabeth Murphy to trash sky train in favour of trolley buses or LRT: