The port Mann bridge/Highway 1 was promised to be costing $1.5Billion, to be financed by toll:

  • Price has skyrocketed at more than $3.3 Billion, while the government has divided per 2 the toll.
  • The project has been initiated with forecast of 150,000 averaged daily trip. The Province has quietly revised its number to 120,000 as of today [2] , which is still greater than the current traffic seen on the bridge which is free!

It looks like the Toll revenue will not be even enough to cover the interest of the debt! [1]

The bike lanes or lack of:

The Province promised this [3]

At King Edward Street, there will be bike lanes on both sides of the road, as well as a multi-user path on the west side of King Edward Street and bike lanes on the new King Edward Street Overpass connecting Lougheed Highway to United Boulevard.

The Province delivered that:

According to the Province, there are bike lanes on both side of this street (King Edward, connecting to the Lougheed ones

In case of the benefit of doubt was buying Indulgence toward the Province. Pass a certain point, to believe a single word of the province require either an heavy dose of naivety or stupidity….and we can’t help on such beatitude toward the Province actions…and still…

The province promised this:

The Province had promised a rapid bus along the Highway one, with a transit hub at Carvolth, and another one in the vicinity of 160st

For the Surrey transit Hub, the Province delivered that:

The province delivered this in the Surrey backyard – Apparently, some people there believe it is suitable for a transit hub (???)

Thought that was happening in the Surrey backyard, Surrey transit advocates seem to have been surprised by the fact that Translink considers this HOV exit nearly useless [5]:

  • Passenger can’t safely wait on those ramps, which have no sidewalks, and no room to stop a bus without blocking the traffic
  • There is basically no decent connection with the rest of the network, no park&ride, no decent pedestrian access,…nothing

The Surrey Mayor, Diane Watts fainted to discover the problem (?) and was quick to put the onus of it on Translink. But Surrey just pay for its beatitude toward the Provincial government. Jeff Nagel has published a email from the BC transportation ministry [4]:

Q: Who decided not to build the park and ride/transit exchange at 156th Street?

A: TransLink was in discussions with several partners including the provincial government, City of Surrey and private developers on an agreement for commercial and residential development in the 156th Street area; a transit exchange would have been part of this development. No agreement was reached and development plans did not materialize.

The exchange was dependent on TransLink taking the lead position in acquiring necessary municipal and stakeholder approvals. Subsequently, TransLink intended to have the transit exchange as part of a proposed development…
that did not proceed.

Since that time TransLink has consulted extensively with elected officials, stakeholders and the public resulting in revisions to their plan.

The Hwy 1 project provides ramps for transit and HOV vehicles that allows TransLink direct access to the transit/HOV lanes. We anticipate TransLink will continue improve transit services in the region.

Q: How much money was saved by not building the transit exchange?
A: The park and ride facility was never budgeted for, so there is no cost available.

Q: How much did it cost to build the HOV lane at 156th Street – if there are no buses to use it, isn’t it a waste of money?

The on-ramps provide access to HOV lanes for all vehicles that have a minimum of two people in the vehicle.
Motorists at the 152nd Street interchange in Surrey experience extensive delays accessing Highway 1 during peak periods; the new interchange at 156th and the greater capacity of the Port Mann Bridge will ease that congestion.

The 156th intersection cost between $25 and $30 million dollars and was a partnership between Port Mann Highway 1 project and the City of Surrey.
It provides a new connection across the highway to serve this rapidly growing city, and will alleviate congestion at other intersections in the city.

Q. Why does the TICorp website promote transit access via HOV lane if there isn’t going to be any transit?

There will be transit buses using the 156th Street interchange. There will be a bus from Carvoth Park and Ride to the Surrey Central Station that will use the on-and-off HOV ramps at 156th Streets starting December 3. The #509 Walnut Grove and #590 Langley South buses access the 156 ramp.

In short:

    A restaurant sell you a 3 courses menu, but you get only two courses. If you complain about it, the restaurant’s owner wwill direct you to the cook, because himself he never intend to deliver the menu anyway…That is what the Province says

Every aspect of the Port Mann bridge project seems rotten from the root

The concept of HOV lane is in itself backward – it says that a family going to vacation, is more important than timely goods delivery- that is a $3.3 Billion economic non-sense. HOV lanes make sense to optimize an existing road infrastructure, but on new one, it should be at minimum HOT lane, and more ideally a wholly tolled freeway, on the model of the Toronto’s ETR407 (where tolls are set to grant free flow).

In any case:

  • who says HOV lanes, says car pooling.
  • who says car pooling, says car-pool parkings

Where are those car-pool parkings?

May be facilitated by Internet, car pooling has gained serious steam lately in Europe, and when infrastructure is not there- that is basically everywhere-, you will see most of the European freeway interchange approaches, surrounding important cities, looking like below:

Toll freeway/high gas price encourage car pooling, But Car poolers, meeting near freeway interchanges, need room to park their cars ! (top France - left UK (M5 near Bristol), right Germany (A8 near Munich

In fact, anarchic car pool parking has became an endemic European problem, a problem the various level of authorities address, by developing parking solution gathering the car-pooler need:

to address car pooler need, “organized” car pool parking are currently developed about everywhere in Europe.

Needless to say, the Province seems to not have put a single thought on how to develop car-pooling here. There is some good reason to it:

The Province is not interested by measure able to reduce car traffic: it needs to justify a posteriori an over sized road infrastructure:

  • car pooling is discouraged
  • bare lip service is paid to transit

What is delivered is not what has been promised by the Provincial Government…and still cost twice more than announced: Should we be surprised?

I will eventually write a post on the bus #555: As a primer, I think the service is good, frequency seems more than appropriate, so there is little grief toward Translink on it.

[1] see also Port Mann tolls will “pay all costs” of $3.3 billion project, Fraseropolis, Feb 24, 20112

[2] Traffic Forecast Review, Steer Davies Gleave, September 2011

[3] as retrieved on November 25, 2012

[4] No stops in Surrey for Port Mann express buses, Jeff Nagel, Surrey Leader, Nov 21, 2012.

[5] See Civic Surrey and Skytrain for Surrey


The scramble intersection has been officially opened with much fanfare on November 15th, by Mayor Malcolm Brodie [3]

The pedestrian scramble sit at Moncton and Number 1 intersection, in Steveston

But, the real story is not so much the pedestrian scramble than the new traffic light which will have certainly consummed the bulk of the $600,000 budget allocated to this intersection “improvement[1].

The good

  • It is a raised intersection, usually signalling to the motorist it is entering in a pedestrian oriented environment
  • The treatment of the crosswalks and bollards shows careful attention intended to rise the profile of this intersection

Good attention has been given to some details. Notice the ropes as the main theme for the treatment of the improvments

The Bad

  • Not much consideration has been given to Wheelchairs and strollers, and the implementation of the traffic signals impedes seriously their movement on the sidewalk
  • The opportunity to improve the pedestrian experience, this by installing bulges, narrowing the roadway has not been taken.
  • When come the signal to reduce the motorist "confusion", all the good intentions are lost, and here it is basically not really possible for a wheelchair to stay on the sidewalk (left picture). The pedestrian realm could have extended on the parking lane (using a bulge): it didn't (right)

    The real story
    Before the traffic light, and its adjoined pedestrian scramble, it was a 4 ways stop:

    • both pedestrian and vehicular traffic could become fairly heavy in some summers week-end, but nothing comparable to what we can witness in Granville Island at anytime.
    • And like in Granville Island, most of the vehicular traffic is generated by parking lookers, and so most of the traffic is turning either right or left at the intersection…

    The consequence of the last observation is that right and left turn traffic can be impeded by the pedestrian traffic…The Richmond traffic engineers will have found, that blocking all pedestrians movement during vehicular movement was the best thing to do…and here is the rational for the scramble.

    It is sold to the public as follow: The previous configuration (4 ways stop), where politeness’rules applied (i.e. like in Granville island), was judged “confusing” by the Richmond traffic engineers [1].


    If you believe that the lack of rules for pedestrian is creating congestion in Granville and makes it unsafe, you will cheer for the Richmond’s “traffic improvement” as a step in the right direction.

    …On the other side, if you believe in the shared space concept followed by a growing number of European towns, noticeably because “When you don’t exactly know who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users” and “You automatically reduce your speed, you have contact with other people and you take greater care[2], you will eventualy consider that the roadwork at Number 1 and Moncton, is much closer to a 600K waste than an improvement…

    [1] No.1 Road and Moncton Street Intersection and Surrounding pedestrian crosswalk improvments Victor Wei, Transportation department, April 21, 2011, Richmond CA. Notice that this lst reference states that “based on the pedestrians and vehicles traffic volumes, a a traffic signal is warranted at this intersection” without substanciating those “volumes”. A reference is done to a mysterious study (Stevenson Village Traffic and parking improvement, Victor Wei, Transportation department, August 31, 2009) which didn’t provide any substance either.
    Pedestrian Crosswalk Improvement Project, Communication from Richmond CityHall, 2011.

    [2]European Towns Remove Traffic Signs to Make Streets Safer, Deutsche Welle, August 27, 2006

    [3] Beside numerous news report, there is generally a strong advocacy for scramble interest in some circle, like at vpsn, and, eventually via spacing Vancouver, you will find some opinion in the Vancouver Openfile blog (which in our viewpoint is misleaded by the fact it seems to fail to make the difference between Yonge and Dundas in Toronto center and the “Steveston village” context in Richmond) or InSteveston and a more critical appreciation by a Richmond’s blogger


    Congestion in Vancouver

    The cost of congestion in greater Vancouver has been priced at up to $1.3 Billion per year in 2002 [1] (for matter of comparison, all combined motorist gas taxes will raise less than $800 million in metro Vancouver in 2011 [8]). Thought the Congestion numbers could look high, it is eventually not high enough to justify to invest billions of $ in new road infrastructures, which are not the most efficient allocation of capital to address congestion issues observed usually no more than 4 hrs a day.

    The discussion below, grounded on a previous article as well as traffic data [6], starts of the viewpoint of what it takes to alleviate the congestion in Metro Vancouver using a road pricing model. From this conclusion, we have 2 questions to answer:

    • What is the most efficient road pricing model? that is what is the one involving the less overhead cost and still achieving its goal to reduce the congestion?
    • What is the better use of the money raised by a road pricing model?

    Thought that in the context of Vancouver, road pricing schemes are mostly invoked to address Translink woes, it shouldn’t be the primary goal:

    • The cost of a congestion toll should not be designed to match the Translink deficit

    The primary goal should be to get the most efficient use of a scarce, because expensive to create, resource: space on our Transportation network.

    The allocation of the proceeding of a congestion toll needs to be seen through this lens:

    • What is the more efficient use of this transportation revenue stream?

    It could not be always the case, but as mentioned in introduction, the general level of congestion in Vancouver-mostly due to SOV- and the general cost of new road infrastructure, suggests it is better to invest it in the Public Transit network. This to provide alternative and efficient transportation means, able to effectively keep the level of the congestion charge under control. This option could be revisited overtime if necessary.

    Pricing model

    It could be discussed at length about what could be the better road pricing scheme for Vancouver:

    • Area charge (London)
    • “ideal” Road pricing (all road are priced according a complex formula and complex tracking of vehicles thru GPS…)
    • Cordon pricing (Stockholm)

    The today municipal politicians mood, is to not oppose to the road pricing idea, but it is to rationalize the inaction toward it:

    Anything other that the “ideal” road pricing is not “fair” to the motorists

    They could be right, assuming the generalized economic gain largely offset the implementation and operating cost of the proposed model. Considering the overwhelming complexity of implementation of such a model, and the limited amount of congestion in the lower mainland, which limit the potential revenues, it is probably wrong headed:

    The model could be fair to the individual motorists, but could be unfair to the general interest: It could cost more to operate than the general economic gain it allows

    ..and if there is a drawback to the model followed by London, it is this: the operating cost of its pricing scheme absorb largely the economic gain expected of better traffic conditions [7].

    Considering the Vancouver topography and the choke points responsible for most of the lower mainland congestion, the equivalent of a “cordon pricing” on the bridges seems the natural way to go.

    It is probably the best one from a benefit/cost perspective. Due to the relatively insulated location of Vancouver, we consider an all “transponder” technology (on the model of Singapore), this to limit the operation cost.

    Cordon pricing Model for Vancouver

    Below, is a list of the Vancouver area bridge with their number of lanes, where toll gantries could take place, to give an idea of the required gantries investment

    Bridge Number of lanes Estimated annual revenue (M)
    George Massey Tunnel 4 38
    Arthur Laing Bridge 4 7
    Oak Street Bridge 4 7
    Knight Street Bridge 4 10
    Queensborough Bridge 4 7
    Alex Fraser Bridge 6 48
    Pattullo Bridge 6 14
    Port Mann Bridge 10
    Lions Gate Bridge 3 15
    Second Narrows Bridge 6 15
    Cambie Street Bridge 6 0
    Granville Street Bridge 8 0
    Burrard Street Bridge 5 0

    Cost: $25 Millions/year

    If we consider all or part of the bridges above, we can easily see than the gantries investment is pretty limited, and should be apriori lower than in the Stockholm case, and is estimated at $100 millions. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, the geographical location of Vancouver make worthy of consideration the outfitting of at least all lower mainland vehicles (they are around 1.5 millions) with a transponder. Here we consider the outfitting of all of the 2.5 millions vehicles registered in BC:

    • Transponder investment: ~$30 millions (2 million of on board sticker at $1.6 + 500,000 exterior unit at $8)

    The total initial capital cost of the system can be conservatively fixed at lower than $150 million. Assuming an all transponder based scheme, the maintenance and operating cost couldn’t be higher than the one in Singapore, and is estimated around $10 millions/year. the cost to operate the system is summarized below

    Capital cost (M)
    Gantries $100
    Transponder $30
    Annual cost cost (M)
    capital Amortization (15years) $15
    Operating & Maintenance (15years) $10

    Revenue, ~$150 million annually

    Traffic on Main bridge of the greater Vancouver area. Toll could be in effect once traffic reach max capacity of the bridge (red line), this is 4hr or less per day. in yellow example of toll fare for some bridges (see (6) for more detail)

    It is probably the greater unknown of such a scheme. Based on traffic counting [6], and pricing modelization of a previous study [9], the estimated revenue per bridge is given in the above picture, and achieved by charging bridge crossing an average of 4hrs per weekday only…letting plenty of opportunities for people to move across the region free of charge.

    The Impact on the transportation system

    While some part of the peak hour traffic will shift toward off-peak, a significant part of it will shift to Transit. For this reason, one could expect:

    • a lowered revenue from Gas and parking tax : we estimate this in the tune of $20 millions loss for Translink
    • a significant demand increase for Transit : based on the Stockholm experience, the congestion charge could be responsible for an increase of 10% in Transit usage [2]

    Whether there is an impediment to the implementation to a road pricing scheme, it is not as much the implementation cost or the effectiveness to reduce the congestion than the capability of the transit network to absorb the modal shift involved by a congestion pricing scheme.

    In that aspect, the relatively low public transit usage in the Vancouver region, compared to other jurisdictions which have introduced a road pricing scheme, creates certainly some challenges for Translink:

    For that reason, as well as political acceptance, a significant Translink service extension could be required, and that means the $70 million moving forward plan, could be only a starting point in transit increase.

    On the other hand, the congestion reduction will help to increase the buses productivity, while that the increased demand will improve the fare-box revenue.

    With a congestion charge, this bus could be probably travelling twice faster, and offering twice the frequency – so dramatically improving the service to transit customers- this for virtually the same operating cost. Same could apply to the truck industry.

    In Brief

    After deducting operating cost and infrastructure amortization, as well as accounting the lost revenue in gas tax, the congestion charge could generate a revenue of $100 millions/year for the Translink coffers.

    The lost of gas revenue affects also the Provincial and Federal Government, but one can fairly assume that this is more than offsetted by lower healthcare cost, due to accident reduction, reduction of greenhouse gas emission as well as more active living style associated to public transit use…

    From it $70 millions could be already earmarked for Translink extension program as stated in its “moving forward plan”, but due to the effect of the congestion charge, such plan could prove much cheaper to implement.

    That lefts extra money to address other woes in the transportation network, like on Broadway.

    When to build new road infrastructure?

    After good but reasonable alternative transit has been provided and the toll price need to be at a price point considered too high to alleviate congestion: it is time to question the need for new infrastructure…But when the revenue of the congestion toll could not even cover the debt service of a new infrastructure: it indicates not only there is no need for that, but that it is a bad investment if the matter is to address the congestion. That is eventually what illustrates the table above.

    The Pattullo bridge congestion toll needs to be priced at a point where it raises “only” $14 million to alleviate the Congestion on it: the debt service of a new $1 billion bridge could be anywhere north of $50 million…

    Where Translink stands?

    • Mayors of Metro Vancouver have already spent money on road pricing studies [4]. They are apparently not publicly available, but it is not like there is no material around.
    • Some mayors of the region have explicitly called on a road pricing scheme, which is also supported by a host of influential people, like the Translink commissioner Martin Crilly or former premier Mike Harcourt and Dale Parker [5], as well as organization like the Surrey Board of Trade
    • Mayors of Metro Vancouver have explicitly expressed the request to fund transit on transportation based revenue source only

    Considering this favorable environment for a road pricing scheme.

    • Why Translink has been unable to come with nothing better than a $0.02/l gas tax?

    It seems the main obstacle to a road pricing implementation strategy is now Translink itself: it should have at least put on the table such an option as a base for discussion.

    That could help to clarify all the points raised in this blog, eventually debunks some myths …but unfortunately it is not the route chosen by Translink so far…

    [1] this number could look suspicious, since pretty much at odd with the one provided by Statistic Canada, but it is the one used by our government to justify investment in road infrastructure ( Canada pacific’s gateway ) which not only include time lost in congestion but also extra burnt fuel and cost of GHG, so it is only fair to use the same metric.

    [2] The introduction of the congestion charge in Stockholm has translated in an increase of 5% of transit usage ( Transport planning in the Stockholm Region, Hans Hede, METREX International workshop, Moscow, June 2006 ), but the modal split was already at 30% for public Transit. It is at 16.5% in metro Vancouver.

    [3] That is at least the opinion expressed by the Mayor of Richmond.

    [4] GVRD votes to continue study of road tolls, The Province, February 25, 2007

    [5] Opportunity for Metro Vancouver transit foundation is now, Mike Harcourt and Dale parker, Vancouver Sun December 7, 2010

    [6] Traffic to downtown and traffic on Metro Vancouver’s bridge

    [7] The London congestion charge: a tentative economic appraisal, R. Prud’homme and J.P. Bocarejo, Transport Policy Volume 12, Issue 3, May 2005, Pages 279-287

    [8] 29.06c provincial tax including 15c Translink tax + 10c federal tax per liter. number from Ministry of Finance Tax Bulletin as in June 2011

    [9] From Freeway to feeway: Congestion pricing policies for BC’s Fraser River crossing, Peter Wightman, Simon Fraser University, 2008

    check Translink proposals B1 or B2

    but first, some reports of the April 30th workshop (material and report can be found here),

    The big Picture

    Does New Westminster will accept the waterfront vision proposed by traffic engineers...Vancouver has said 'no thanks' 40 year ago

    Translink tried to provide the bigger picture in which the United Boulevard Extension (UBE) takes relevance under a favorable light. Not surprisingly they had hard time to conceal the fact it calls for a 4 lanes freeway solution along the New Westminster waterfront, and that is not stranger to the fierce opposition of the New Westminster folks to the UBE [4].

    Needless to say, Translik has been less than convincing at providing rational for the NFPR and impact of the UBE on New Westminster traffic and livalibility, and this opinion has been well reflected by the intervention of one participant which has been received by long and warm applause of the audience.

    Not surprisingly, to support the “big picture”, Translink recommends some variation on option B

    Option B family

    Translink came with 3 variations B1, B2, and one curiously titled E3 based on the option B1

    UBE extension Option B1 and B2

    The option B1 highlights the fact that 2 4-lanes highways are merging in one, south of Braid street. When you question the consultants on hand about the congestion consequence of it, the answer is

    the “model” said it works well

    Sure, we believe that traffic engineers didn’t aim at creating congestion, but usually when you design a funnel like in option B1, it is typically what happens! why it will be not the case for UBE?

    Transit in Option B family

    Braid station is the natural skytrain station for the area, where buses connect…Option B prevents road access to UBE from braid station. plain in simple:

    • Efficient transit service to extended United boulevard is not possible

    Why an agency which is also a transit agency even consider such transit hostile option is beyond comprehension.

    Option E family

    Translink proposes 2 options. The difference between them is just the alignment of the United Boulevard. Below is the option E2 which suggests a United boulevard alignment similar to the one originally proposed here. Not surprisingly we think it is the best one Translink has put forward so far

    Option E2 choose a road alignment north of the Brunette river, as suggested in option F and G, but still multiply unecessarily the number of intersection on brunette

    family E is dismissed by Translink and its consultant Delcan, because it “increases” the level of congestion. Why?

    too closely spaced traffic signaled intersection on brunette avenue

    So why not the option below?

    Option G2

    Option G2 is conceptually similar to option E2, except a redesign of he Brunette interchange ramps prevent the introduction of an extra intersection

    the Delcan consultant on hand suggested that the traffic on hwy 1 east bound exit ramps could be too heavy to be handled by a single Hwy 1 east ramp exit like suggested in G2. There is no available number to back up this suggestion…and MOT seems to think otherwise, since the exit ramp suppression as presented in G2 is what it is suggesting too [1].

    That said the option G2 is nothing else that the previously presented option G , but with a traditional intersection instead of a roundabout.

    Why not a roundabout?

    …Following my post about it, I was eager to get some feedback.

    To this question I and others have raised with several representatives, the answer can be very variable according to the interlocutor on hand…

    A Delcan representative noticing that the Province and ICBC push for more roundabouts, explains:

    -“We have think of it for option E, but could need to be an elevated structure” [because the thinking is in the context of the intersection above a railyard as layed out in option E]
    -yes but what about the roundabout at Brunette Interchange?
    -It could need to be multi lanes! …people are not used to it !

    A third party:

    -“Brunette interchange is MOT juridiction, it will slow down the project!”

    A Translink representative

    -“people drive differently here, roundabout will not work”

    I was pleased that the solution has been considered and the suggestion heard but the arguments opposed sounds to relate to what Jarret Walker (whose is currently consulting for Translink), call the lowest level of “spectrum of authorities”, that is:

    • My feeling says it will not work
    • Our feeling says it will not work
    • it will not work because our culture

    multi-lane roundabout are popular all over Europe, now in Asia too…it is hard to grasp why they could not work in BC…since at the end of the day it is question of “geometry” and here lie probably the real reason why the roundabout solution is not considered favorably by Delcan/Translink.

    The political (or psychological reason).

    • The Delcan team working on the UBE project could not have the expertise to design large roundabout…and they don’t want loose the project to another team or consultant [3]

    but more importantly, and that is also why the more traditional option G2 is not even on the table:

    • Having the UBE extension encroaching the MOT juridiction could probably signify to Translink the lost of the project management to the Province ministry [2].

    That means that to foster their interests (psychological reason), both Delcan and Translink teams could be willing to work at a substandard solution, even if that is done at the expense of the general public interest.

    Let’shope it will be not the case…

    [1] Brunette Avenue to North Road, fall 2010. the original design was including a fly-over, but the latest solution suggested by the MOT is the suppression plain and simple of one of the 2 Hwy ramp exits.

    [2] As noticed in the letter ‘Road to the future is not the United Boulevard Extension of the NFPR‘ (New Westminster News leader, April 12th) , all non-road-building options have been dismissed for similar reason too.: Mr Zein, the road building engineer responsible of the project scope/definition is poised to be also the responsible for its construction too.

    [3] Indeed, the roundabout design is a very important actor to its efficiency, and if somewhat North American roundabout are less efficient than european ones, it is not a question of driver but of design…and there is effectively only limited experience, and incidentally expertise, with large or interchange roundabout in North America.

    [4] You will find some more elaborated thoughts on the challenges raised by a 4 lanes highway on the New Westminster Waterfront at GreenNewWest

    Translink came up with numerous new options for the United Boulevard Extension in New westminster BC…Basically none of them, expect may be one, sound acceptable…


    You can claim explore lot of options, by coming with rendering like the above, but Translink should keep serious…. Patrick Jonhston at Greenwest did a review of all the options. Of it, it appears that the option E seems the less damageable, assuming we need to extend the United Boulevard to Brunette.

    The apriori less damagable option is not free of flaw, it suppose an extended elevated way to cross large railway yard, and interfere with the Brunette interchange

    Assuming option E is the best so far Translink has put on table and considering

    • it creates a new intersection in close vicinity of he Brunette interchange
    • It requires crossing extensive rail-yard

    It is time for Translink to consider to merge the intersection with the Brunette interchange… and that is what roundabout are for. so below two options Translink should have put on the table but didn’t for unexplained reason.

    Option F: roundabout interchange

    In the concept above, taking less land than the current interchange, all traffic lights are removed

    • it is a free flow interchange.
    • It has higher capacity than the current interchange [5]

    But it is also [5]

    • Safer than the current interchange which is one of the most accident prone intersection in Metro Vancouver [2]
    • providing traffic “passive” calming measure, since the traffic need to slowdown in all case (at the diference of traffic light which invite to speeding to catch them on green…and/or emergency breaking on Amber)

    Not surprising, due to the above, the roundabout interchange has been overly developed in Europe in the last two decades, but you can see some in the USA too.

    a 6 legs roundabout interchange (Porte de Vannes, Nantes, France) (photo Google satellite)

    The concept above, while having a foot print smaller than the existing interchange, supposes the construction of 2 new curved overpasses on the Highway 1. It could be considered too costly…Let’s go to a simpler version of it:

    Option G: “half” Dumbbell interchange

    a roundabout on the south side of the brunette interchange, distribute all the traffic. The entry ramp on Hy 1 East bound pas below the UBE, where a bridge is anyway required to cross the railtrack

    In the later concept, the roundabout size is limited by some constraints like the Brunette river, but still can offer a radius larger than the current exit ramps on Highway one. This “Dumbbell” interchange concept requiring less civil engineering is quite popular in Europe, but you don’t need to go that far to observe it:

    • Thought it is still not yet at par with the best European realization, the Blaine interchange on the I5 just south of the Border is probably one of the best example you can observe on the continent, and show encouraging move from the WSDOT. Why they have retrofitted the interchange like it?
    “The roundabouts will help improve safety and mobility at the interchange for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists”.

    Yes, roundabout do all of that, so why Translink suggests only inferior “old school” solution is a mistery.

    The Province Agenda

    The original design of the Brunette interchange was a 3 levels interchanges with a fly-over…that has obviously no place in an urban environment, but what can you expect from of our MOT [3]?

    The initial design from the MOT for the brunette Interchange is ignoring the urban nature of the Brunette Avenue

    The province could have hold-off on this insanity only due to the uncertainty involved by the United Boulevard Extension, which could be resolved and could try to achieve same goal [3] . But the project shows that for the province , when it is time to build roads, money is not an object, and very certainly the suggested design F and G presented here shows that you can achieve overall much better outcome that the disjointed approaches pursued on on side, by MOT, and the other, Translink…

    …That is, it is time for Translink to become a bit more serious on its UBE concepts.

    Translink is holding a workshop on Saturday, April 30, 2011, let them know what you think

    [1] Washington State DOT, Blaine interchange

    [2] Metro Vancouver’s most dangerous intersections, Chad Skelton, VancouverSun, September 12, 2010

    [3] This video from the Gateway agency explain that the Brunette interchange improvement combined with the King Edward overpass are aimed to improve access to the United Boulevard.

    [4] cap Horn and Brunette avenue Interchange Pre-Design Consultation. Port Mann brigde/ Highway 1

    [5] numerous study support those assertions also stated in wikipedia. for North america, Roundabouts Increase Interchange Capacity, L. Ourston and G.A. hall

    as you could now, Translink has decided to funnel more traffic into New Westminster, by planning the extension of United Boulevard to Sapperton, and is planning 2 workshops, one tonight: you will find all backgrounder information on the Translink buzzer blog.

    While cities around the world are reconquering their waterfront for the good of their citizen, Translink has a very different plot for New Westminster. credit Photo (5)

    You will also find reasons why this project makes no good sense at the local blog TentotheFraser and NWEP… and you will find the case against the United boulevard extension very well articulated in a letter to Editor to the local News Westminster leader [6].

    we will not reiterate the very compelling reasons against the case but just focus on the Translink arguments.

    Traffic projection

    First, we have to keep in mind that

    • Translink has grossly over estimated vehicular traffic on the Golden Ears Bridge…the cost of this mistake is $30 to $40 million shortfall in revenue…. ironically the exact amount required to fund the Evergreen line
    • Translink has under estimated the ridership on the Canada line, since we are 2 to 3 years ahead of the projection

    That said in despite of a model biased in favor of cars, Translink has hard time to show an increase in traffic in the near future on the United Boulevard, the given explanation is

    Existing traffic volumes at some points are the same as 2015 traffic volumes. Some reasons for this may be: (i) the road is already at capacity (ii) while overall traffic volume is growing, other transportation improvements such as Highway 1 and South Fraser Perimeter Road have come on line and influenced some trips.

    That is: the other investments already done in the region are sufficient to address the traffic growth!

    The traffic growth itself should be questioned. The whole Gateway program has been justified by traffic Armageddon by 2010 which has so far failed to materialize. below is a graph using the 1989 to 2003 data of the gateway office [1] completed by the 2010 ones [2]

    Overall, on the years 2003 to 2010 the traffic has kept stable. Notice how the Port Mann bridge traffic has significantly decrased in conjunction with the opening of the Golden Ears bridge

    • Not unexpected, the traffic increase on the Golden Ears bridge is in fact achieved in quasi totality at the expense of the Port Mann Bridge. That illustrates it was no latent unfulfilled demand as long as the full cost of the trip is expected to be paid by the user
    • When the (free) offer exceeds the demand, it is an invitation to use it: that is well illustrated with the Alex Fraser Bridge, where the demand growth has a continuous pace not witnessed in other part of the region: that is typically how urban sprawl occurs

    Those mistakes on the traffic projection has been done in the past…be on the unnecessary replacement project of the Lions gate bridge or other road projects in town On the topic, one will especially refer to a report of 1962 devising on the need of rapid transit in Vancouver which was foreseeing

    • Exponential growth fo vehicular traffic
    • Stagnation of Transit ridership

    …but Vancouver didn’t build freeway: Then the traffic prediction has proven totally wrong and the choice to not build freeway can be justified a posteriori…Whether Vancouver had build freway, we could have been mired in Seattle style grid lock…but making the traffic prediction true. The lesson of it is that in matter of transportation, offer drive the demand.

    Last month, Dr. Kee Yeon Hwang, was in town to explain nothing different to Translink as quoted by its buzzer blog

    …adding capacity doesn’t make things better. Sometimes it contributes to worsening traffic.
    I saw that many links encourages more routes. Once we got rid of some roads, that might reduce people’s willingness to travel downtown by car.

    In despite of clear evidence from Seoul, and elsewhere, demonstrating the accuracy of this judgement,Translink stubbornly continues to force feed more road to New Westminster…

    Is it to make sure their traffic projection are proven right that they have axed bus route in new Westminster?

    Traffic safety

    Since the United Boulevard can’t be justified by Traffic projection, Translink has decided to justify the project by the amount of “collision” as provided by ICBC.

    Reducing the number of collisions is may be a nice initiative, but what is certainly more important is reducing the number of injuries and fatalities. It could be a paradox but they are different things, and some time it is better to have lot of fender-benders than fewer but more severe collision.

    That has been well understood in Europe since now for around 2 decades:

    • Encouraging car traffic by increasing capacity and encouraging speeding is the wrong way to go!

    Some other strategies based on road calming are now largely developed in western Europe, and road safety has increased dramatically in Europe this last 10 years. In comparison no significant progress has been done in Canada which could now be considered as a dangerous country according to nowadays European standard [7]

    Still in despite of evidence now proven by the fact that Western European roads-where aggressive traffic calming are widespread- are now much safer, Translink view of safety is still anchored in the 60s culture of freeway expansion:

    • “Safety Goal” is Reduction of collision rate, not reduction of fatalities and injuries

    …a policy which has failed to improve road safety in the last 10 years or so.

    Goods Movement

    That is the last reason invoked to justify more roads. Again the numbers provided by Translink are unconvincing.

    • Around 40 trucks per hour per direction peak time use the United Boulevard
    • That is roughly 5 to 10% of the total traffic

    Goods movement is important but clearly truck traffic alone is not able to justify the investment…If you want to improve the truck traffic, you still can resort to some solution dissuading cars to use the Bailey bridge, that is transforming the United Boulevard as a cul de sac for car.

    A cartrap, as here seen on a busway in cambridge UK, allow to discriminate traffic between SOV and heavy truck

    The New Westminster leader explains in an editorial [3] that “barges to get containers up river, [are] much more expensive than trucking”…Not sure where they get this assessment. We have seen little study on it, and the only one we can refer for the region beg to differs [4]:

    Short-sea container shipping, for selected terminal locations and routes
    and with sufficient volume, offers price competitiveness with trucking and
    some competitive advantages (likely to expand dramatically over time) in
    the areas of delivery time and delivery time reliability. These advantages
    occur because of road network congestion as well as deep-sea terminal
    flow issues, gate congestion, reservation limitations and operating hour
    limitations. All of these factors impact on truck transfer delivery time and
    costs but do not affect a short-sea operation with on-dock marshalling
    • It is important to note that this conclusion is reached without injection of taxpayer money, what is far of to be the case for the road option hugely subsidized by the tax payer
    • It is not less important to note that addressing road congestion address only one element among other affecting the effectiveness of shipping from/to port, when a short sea shipping option could be more holistic

    Clearly the New Westminster Leader editorial board is either ill informed or purposely misleads its readers to push the road builders agenda.

    A Multi billions dollars road

    It is important to note that the road lobby is often advancing a piece at a time to avoid to disclose too openly the true cost of road building…but the United Boulevard Extension doesn’t make sense outside a fully completed NFPR…That is certainly a multi billions dollars investment.

    The tragedy of transit and other alternative options to mitigate traffic in New Westminster is they are not measured against the full cost of the NFPR, but only against the cost of the United Boulevard extension.

    • Measuring all the option on an equal foot is something Translink seems not prepared to do…but let see what the workshop will teach us.

    [1] Gateway Program definition report

    [2] Number from MOT, see Bridg traffic post

    [3] Why we need to build the United Boulevard Extension New Westminster Leader, April 7th 2010.

    [4] Greater Vancouver Short Sea Container Shipping Study Novacorp International/JWD Group, Vancouver, January 2005

    [5] Pat Johnstone from TenToTheFraser

    [6] Road to the future is not the United Boulevard Extension of the NFPR, Andrew Feltham, New Westminster leader, April 12, 2011

    [7] Road safety evolution in EU, July 2010, European Commission

    I have been first intrigued by a “rapid transit map” dating of the 1970, but it was more than a map: Below an extensive Verbatim of “Beat the Traffic Rush”, The case for rapid Transit, Alderman Harry Rankin, 1971

    Do the people of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities want a freeway system which will:

    • Crisscross and divide up residential areas with ugly structures of concrete and steel?
    • Funnel all automobile traffic from north, east and south into the narrow peninsula that comprise Downtown Vancouver?
    • Create unprecedented and impossible traffic congestion and traffic jams?
    • Pollute our air to the danger point until it becomes as bad here as in Los Angeles?
    • Saddle our citizens with an enormous debt which will burden homeowners with huge boost in taxes, and tenants with still higher rents


    • Bring people instead of cars into Vancouver’s downtown area and to place of employment?
    • Move people quickly and efficiently at low fares, saving time and money for transit users?
    • Keep down debt and taxes?
    • Reduce air pollution?

    Do we want to see a rapid transit system in the Greater Vancouver region which will:

    Provide frequent and efficient service between municipalities and within each municipality so that everyone will have far greater freedom and ease of movement?

    We can have one or the other.

    We won’t have both.

    Which one we get- freeway or rapid transit—is not only important for the reasons given above. The undeniable fact is that the kind of transportation system we end up with will decisively shape the nature of the growth and development of our cities and municipalities for decades to come.

    Our future is very much at stake in the choice and decisions that will be made.

    You can help decide what that choice will be.


    Rush hour TRAFFIC

    Population by the year 2000 will have doubled

    1970 2000
    1,000,000 2,000,000

    Metropolitan employment employement will have more than doubled

    1970 2000
    375,000 850,000

    Downtown employment will increase by at least 50% and possibly double

    1970 2000
    93,000 143,000-205,000

    The number of morning rush hour commuter trips into downtown will increase accordingly.

    1970 2000
    39,000 61,000 – 88,000

    Many of these rush hour commuters will need public transit, for those roads into downtown will have limited capacity.

    1969 2000
    15,700 29,000-56,000

    (From brochure By GVRD)

    Freeways Are Already Here!

    We will have to make a choice very soon because powerful interests are at work endeavoring to impose a freeway system on the Greater Vancouver area. The city of Vancouver is the local point. Here freeway plans are already well advanced-more so can most people realize. Vancouver City Council is trying to sneak in a freeway system piecemeal, one section at a time. This way the total effect will not be felt at once. People will not know what is happening. The freeways sections are being planned and build in such a ways that each completed section logically demands another.
    This is of concern not only to Vancouver. While Vancouver cannot build freeways its own boundaries, yet once these freeways are built in Vancouver you can be sure they will not abruptly end at city boundaries. They will be extended into adjacent municipalities. Then we’ll all be saddled with freeways whether we like or not.

    Vancouver Transportation Study

    Vancouver Freeway recommended Plan in 1968 (click on it to get a better view)

    The essential aspects of the freeways scheme were outlined in the Vancouver Transportation study, 1968, prepared for Vancouver city Council by BBQ&D of San Francisco. It called for:

    • A New Georgia viaduct
    • An East-West freeway continuing east from the Georgia viaduct along Union and Prior streets and connecting up with Highway 401
    • A north-south freeway in the Ontario and Quebec street corridor, also linked up with the Georgia viaduct.
    • A third crossing of Burrard inlet (called Brockton crossing and located just east of Stanley park).
    • A waterfront highway from the Brockton crossing to the north-south freeway, and going through the CPR’s Project 200.
    • A Taylor expressway going along the North shore of False creek where the CPR is planning another West End-type of apartment jungle.

    The Vancouver Transportation Study studiously ignored the question of rapid transit. It stated that the city of Vancouver and B.C. Hydro agreed that no provision for rapid transit was required in the freeway system except for a 60 foot median strip in the centre of the east-west freeway from Gore Avenue eastward “for possible future grade separated rapid transit facilities in this corridor.”

    The Vancouver Transportation Study has never been officially adopted by the Council. Yet a majority of Council is trying to implement the report piece by piece.
    The citizens of Vancouver met this report with open hostility.
    The Chinese community vigorously protested the connection between the north-south freeway and the Waterfront Highway which would go along Carrall Street and cutup Chinatown. Council had to drop this plan and consider a connection along Gore street.

    The resident of the East End rose up in arms against the east-west freeway which would go through the heart of their area, cut their district in half and compel the expropriation (and removal of destruction) of about 1,200 homes. So Council had to drop this scheme too.

    But Council didn’t give up by any means. It went ahead with plans to replace the Georgia Viaduct, shelving some of the other sections for the time being. But what it built was much more than just a replacement. What we have now is a two pronged viaduct designed as the hub of a downtown freeway system. The Vancouver Transportation Study admitted (page 25) that “the Georgia viaduct replacement is in effect a western extension of the east-west freeway”. There is now sits awaiting decisions about connector links at each end.

    Compelled by to drop its Union-Prior corridor route for an East-west freeway, Council’s next step was to set up a Liaison Group included aldermen Wilson, Broome, Rankin, city officials, a team of consultants responsible for selecting a route, and representatives of five community organizations from the East End.
    The study team of consultants has selected a new route that would go in a south-easterly direction form the East End of Georgia Vaiduct, avoiding the densely populated areas, and linking up with Highway 401 in the vicinity of boundary Road and the Grandview Highway. A conservative estimate places the number of homes that would have to be demolished at between 90 and 105. However, this does not take into consideration the construction of ramps that would bring this figure closer to 200. It is significant that the connector link they have selected makes no provision whatsoever for rapid transit.

    The community representatives on this Liaison Group have given their views on the new alternative route. They have turned it down flatly.
    “While the $60 million freeway route now being proposed by the consultants is less reprehensible thean the Union-Prior corridor earlier considered” they said in a statement to Council signed also by Alderman Rankin “it is still a freeway, and freeways our citizens don’t need and don’t want.” They then proposed that council drop all its plans and get busy on a rapid transit system.

    Council’s unofficial plan is now to connect the west-end of Georgia Viaduct via Georgia and Dunsmuir streets with a new freeway crossing of Burrard Inlet, Council has opted for a tunnel rather than a abridge. Ottawa has offered to pay the cost of the tunnel, but only on condition that its contribution will be recovered in tolls. The provincial government has pledged $27 million for tunnel approaches.

    But a third crossing, whether a bridge or a tunnel, is not the urgent need its promoters represent it to be. All survey show that the bulk of the traffic entering Vancouver comes from the east and south, not from the North Shore. In fact traffic the traffic volume to and from the south and eats is approximately the volume of traffic to and from the North Shore. But because Liberal politicians promised another crossing to North and West Vancouver business interests, and because of pressure from freeways promoters, plans for the crossing are being pushed ahead.
    Other planned sections of the freeway system scheduled to come before Council sooner or later are links which will connect Burrard and Granville bridge with Georgia viaduct and with the third crossing, the north-south freeway, along the Quebec Ontario street corridor, a Waterfront Highway, and the Taylor Expressway.
    Then our half a billion dollar eyesore and traffic congester would be complete—fro a few years, that is, when inevitably there would be a demand for still more freeways. Once caught up in the freeway cycle, there’s no escape.
    That’s the plan that is being implemented piecemeal. It is still in its initial stages, but every completed section makes other sections more certain. If we are going to stop it at all, the timer is now before it has a chance to go much further.

    Adverse Effects of Freeways

    The adverse effects of freeways are obvious and numerous. If you want to see Vancouver would be like in five or ten years from now if it gives through with its freeways plans, just look at Seattle and Los Angeles.
    Freeways are an eyesore which will artificially divide up cities and municipalities.
    It is fundamentally wrong to siphon all traffic into the narrow neck of land (bottleneck would be a better word) which constitutes Vancouver’s Downtown area.

    More and more of our choice land in Vancouver’s Downtown would have to be taken over a great expense and used for parking lot, and many city streets widened to serve the freeway system. Freeways will further aggravate the lopsided growth of Vancouver where far too much development is going into the Downtown area.
    Since the freeway system would be spread over the whole Lower mainland, all its citizens would be saddled with enormous debts and increases in property taxes.

    The experience of all cities which have freeway systems clearly proves that freeways solve nothing. They contribute to the very problem which they are supposed to solve—Traffic congestion. And the accident and death toll from the hundreds of thousands of cars on our freeways systems will continue to mount, as will the already too high insurance rates.

    Who Wants Freeways?

    Why then, are freeways being promoted by Vancouver city council?

    The answer is that powerful special interests want them. They are the business interest who stand to profit directly from them. First among them are the big real estate interest and devlopers. The CPR has project 200 – the complex of hotels, apartment and offices – which includes 5,000 parking stalls to be linked to the freeway. The CPR is also building a huge apartment complex on the north shore of false creek; Taylor expressway was designed to service this area. The Bronfman interests, Eatons, and the Toronto Dominion Bank want traffic directed to Block 42-52. Near Stanly Park the Four Seasons and Bayshore Inn interest want the freeway to serve them.

    Then there are the car manufacturers and the oil interests who push for freeways everywhere and the big construction firms looking for lucrative multi-million dollar contracts.

    These are the private interests that want the government and the public to spend half a billion dollars on freeways just to serve them! No matter where you live in the Lower Mainland – these selfish interests are determined that you must foot the bill for freeway to enhance theirs profits.

    No wonder the citizens of the Lower Mainland in increasing numbers are saying NO! We’re not going to subsidize the freeways with our hard-earned dollars and pensions!
    The majority of our citizens are already opposed to freeways and their number is growing constantly. They include a wide variety of community organizations, ratepayer and tenant groups, trade unions, anti pollution groups, and increasing number of city planners and aldermen—in fact, citizens from almost every walk of life.
    For the most part the groups and individuals opposing freeways are also supporting rapid transit. They look upon it as the only realistic alternative. It’s a view I wholeheartedly share.

    We can’t ignore the fact that the number of motor vehicles is growing twice as fast as the population in the Vancouver region. If we don’t take control of the situation now, the demands of the car will soon control us completely!

    The phoney “Balanced Transportation System” theory

    Some politicians and municipal officials, feeling the pressure of the opposition to freeways and the support for rapid transit, have come out with a “compromise”. They say we we don’t need to choose freeways or rapid transit, and that we can have both. This argument they clothe in the fine and sounding phrase, “a balanced transportation system”.

    I want to say without equivocation or hesitation that this is a lot of nonsense. It doesn’t come from people who don’t know better. It come from people deliberately trying to mislead and deceive the public. It is coming from people who are busy promoting freeways while doing nothing about rapid transit.

    The reason we can’t and won’t have both freeways and rapid transit in the Lower Mainland isn’t only because we can’t afford both. The cost would be staggering. Even more important is the fact that freeways and rapid transit serve opposing purposes and interests that can’t be reconciled.

    Isn’t the fact that Vancouver city council is building freeways while just paying lip mservice (and hardly even that) to rapid transit proof enough that it has made a choice? It isn’t building any “balanced transportation system” — it is building freeways!

    What Is Rapid Transit

    Perhaps at this point it would be worthwhile to go into the whole question of rapid transit more deeply.
    What do we mean by rapid transit?

    As the term is usually used, it means any form of public transportation operated over its own exclusive track or roadway and separated from other traffic.

    Examples of rapid transit are the subways of Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris and Moscow; the elevated trains of Berlin and New York; the one-mile monorail in Seattle; and an exclusive bus roadway in Washington D.C.
    Rapid transit systems are often supplemented by others from of rapid transportation including commuter trains, express buses, ferries and hovercraft.

    In the Lower Mainland we could use all of the above or any combination of them, to suit our special needs. What we’re after is a good travel system that will get people where they want to go, when they want to go and at low cost.

    Rapid transit us designed primarily to move people, rather tha cars, swiftly, efficiently and economically, to and from work, to and from the Downtown area of Vancouver, from one point to another within a city or municipality, and from one city or municipality to another.
    Let me add that advocating rapid transit does not imply that we don’t need or shouldn’t use cars any more or that traffic roads don’t need improvement. All that rapid transit is trying to do is to eliminate unnecessary car trips. People will continue to use cars for shopping, visiting family trips and the like, and adequate roads and parking facilities must be available. But wherever it is not essential to go by car, rapid transit should offer a cheaper, faster and more comfortable service. In fact it must be made so advantageous that people will use it whenever they can.


    Rapid Transit Study

    Rapid Transit Study, GVRD, 1970 (extract of Harris Rankin case for rapid transit) ((click on the picture to get a better view)

    The Greater Vancouver Area Rapid Transit Study of September 1970 was prepared for the Joint Transportation Committee of the greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) and BC Hydro and Power Authority. (the regional district, by way includes West Vancouver, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver district, Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Burnaby, New Westminster, White Rock, Surrey, Lions Bay, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Fraser Mills, plus three electoral areas, Ioco-Buntzen bay, University Endowment Lands and Bowen Island.)
    It proposed a rapid transit network consisting of four main corridors to be completed by 1990.

    • Arbutus Corridor – Granville and Pender in Vancouver to Centenial Park in Richmond—10.2 miles
    • Granville and Pender to Surrey—13.5 miles
    • Kingsway corridor—Granville and Pender to North Road—10.9 miles. This would go on toward and connect up with other form of fast transit serving Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. It would also serve the PNE and North Vancouver (via second Narrows Bridge)
    • North Shore—Granville and pender across new Burrard crossing to Upper Levels Highway.
      • Link to east via Lonsdale and 21st (North Vancouver)
      • Link to West via 15th Street (West Vancouver)

    It estimates rapid transit passenger volume per peak hour inbound as follows

    1970 2000
    Arbutus 4600 21,200
    Kingsway 9900 18,400
    Hasting 5700 12,900
    North Shore 4500 9800

    At peak periods, trains would run every two or three minutes and at six minute intervals during off-peak periods.

    The study states that the Kingsway Corridor has enough traffic today to warrant its construction immediately, and estimates that it would take 7-10 years to get in operation.

    The Kingsway Corridor would “leave the downtown area by means of an elevated structure parallel to the new Georgia Viaduct and turn south near Main to cross over the CNR yards. It would be underground below Prince Edward, Kingsway and 22nd Avenue to Nanaimo. At this point the line would occupy the BC Hydro right of way between Nanaimo and Willingdon, using open cut construction…Stations on this line could be located near Main, Broadway, Knight, Nanaimo, Renfrew, Central park and Willingdon”.

    It proposes that the rapid transit network be complemented by feeder bus routes and parking lots fro those who wish to park their cars for the day (“park and ride”) and for those who pick up or drop off passengers (“kiss and ride).

    The study also points out that in Montreal and Toronto, 70% of the peak of travel oriented to the central business district is by public transit. This shows the potential for our area.

    How do we Get Rapid Transit?

    This involves several important questions such as

    • Who should be responsible for establishing a rapid transit system in the Lower Mainland?
    • What Practical steps should be taken immediately to implement rapid transit?
    • Who will pay for rapid transit?
    • What political action needs to be taken?

    A Regional Transit Authority

    It will be obvious to all that rapid transit cannot be brought about by each municipality if it is left to do or not do its own thing. It is essentially a regional matter and must be tackled on a regional basis.

    We already have a regional structure in the Greater Vancouver Regional district. Its directing board consists of members appointed by the various municipalities included in the district—15 cities and municipalities plus 3 unorganized districts.
    The GVRD should set up a transit Authority for the whole region with the responsibility and authority, under the direction of the GVRD, to establish a transit system for the region.

    Under no circumstances should the Transit authority become an independent or autonomous body. (we already have one sorry example of this in the PNE in Vancouver. Although all its facilities are publicly owned, its operation has been turned over to a small group of businessmen who use our publicly owned facilities for the benefit of private professional sports promoters who get use of our facilities for next to nothing).

    The Transit Authority must be appointed by and be directly responsible to the GVRD for all its action. Only in this way can public control be maintained. Don’t forget that if and when we get a rapid transit system, the special interests who oppose rapid transit and support freeways would be only too happy to see rapid transit run in trouble.


    Who pays the Shot?

    The first point that should be made is that rapid transit services (and an upgraded bus service, too) should not have to pay their own way through fares. Rapid transit should be regarded as a service, as essential to a community as sewers and water, and the costs should come out of general and special revenues.
    The bulk of the cost to build and subsidize a rapid transit system should not be placed on the property owners and tenants of the municipalities. These costs should be met by grants from senior governments. The fact is that the difficuylt financial situation our cities and muncipalities find themselves in is not of their own making. It is the direct result of a distribution of taxing authority under a British North America Act adopted over a century ago and now completely out of date, and the contributing failure of senior governments to adjust their contributions to municipalities to the changed needs of the times.
    Urban center are growing at an accelerated rate. Today only 7% of our entire population is engaged in farming. It is estimated that by the end of this century, 90% of the population will live in large urban centres. The economic council of Canada predicts that by 1980 one third of all Canadians will be concentrated in three large metropolitan areas- Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Several of our cities already have larger population than several of our provinces.
    Hand in hand with this urban growth has come the demand for all manner of essential services – police and fire protection, street, sidewalks, welfare costs, education, parks. These costs have grown enormously. Yet our municipalities must rely mainly on property taxes to raise the necessary funds. All the other significant means of raising revenue (income and corporations taxes, resources tax, liquor tax, gasoline tax) have been reserved by senior governments. Municipalities must go hat in hand to senior government for grants to meet their rising expenses.
    This situation needs correction and it can only be done by senior governments. Obviously some constitutional changes are needed. In this case of rapid transit though, no constitutional change is required –only the agreement of Victoria and Ottawa that they will pay the bulk of construction and operating costs.
    The provincial government has already committed itself to pay some of the cost. On October 27, 1970, Provincial municipal affairs minister Dan Campbell, stated that “the provincial government is of the opinion that the financial input to the transportation picture in the Greater Vancouver area…should be on the basis of a 37,5% outright grant from the provincial government on a progress-payment basis to the transportation authority; 37,5% outright grant, again on a progress payment, cash payment basis by the federal government and 25% input from the regional district, again on a cash progress-payment basis”.

    The proposal leaves considerable uncertainty since it does not commit the provincial government directly to rapid transit, but only to “transportation” which could include anything and everything. Furthermore, it is conditional on grants from Ottawa and a heavy 25% percent load on the region. However it does acknowledge the need for aid by senior governments and does offer a basis for negotiations.
    In my view we should press for 100% of capital costs to be paid by senior governments, plus a share of the operating costs.
    The rapid transit study proposes a new retail tax, increases in property taxes and increases in gasoline taxes as ways and means to raise whatever money the GVRD must pay for rapid transit. I don’t think much of any of them because they all place the biggest burden on the people least able to pay, working people and low income groups that comprise 80% of the population. As an alternative, I would propose land assembly and assessment of big properties at their true market value.

    Land Assembly

    A profitable means of raising funds for rapid transit is through land assembly. When a rapid transit route –the Kingsway corridor, for example—is definitely agreed upon, the transit authority should acquire substantial sections of land along the route, especially in the vicinity of the transit stations. This land is bound to increase greatly in value due to new attractiveness added to it by the rapid transit corridor and the rezoning upwards that would be necessary. When the transit corridor is completed the Transit Authority could develop this land and sell it to private developers. Million of dollars in revenue could be raised in this way.

    The principle is a sound one. Since the new land value are created by public action, the benefit should accrue to the public and not all go to private real estate speculators and developers as has always been the case in the past. This method has been used in Britain for some time in connection with public housing projects.


    Maps have updated from the scanned original pamphlet (cover pages missing)