Attention drivers: cars play key long-term role in 2040 transport plan

Here they come: the e-mails from freaked-out drivers who have heard that the proposed Draft Transportation Plan for 2040 will seek to have at least two-thirds of all trips by foot, bike or transit in 30 years.

They don’t know that we were at 40 percent in 2008 and should be at 50 percent by 2020. Worst of all, they don’t realize that the plan proposes to achieve that goal through growing trips by foot, bike and transit, not by forcing people out of their cars at gunpoint.

In fact, the number of trips by car in 2040 would be only slightly below the number today, roughly declining at one percent a year just like it has for the last 15 years. In absolute numbers, car trips would be pretty steady, but their share of the total would be much lower.

But let’s take a look in the mailbag.

“I’d like to know what is your personal problem with drivers?” writes one correspondent. “Ever since you’ve been in office, you have personally done everything you can to make life HELL for drivers, to do everything you can to cause traffic, and to contribute to Vancouver having the WORST Traffic in all of Canada, and second in North America.

“I have lived and studied in Europe. I didn’t have a car or needed a car to get around, because there was a Metro station every couple of blocks and with such infrastructure, you could consider such extreme plans, but in Metro Vancouver? Are you kidding me?

“You cannot put the cart before the horse, we MUST FIRST have a proper fast transit system, before any of this non-sense can be even considered, after data gathering of cars vs. public transit usage, and the actual needs of the city and not political motives of the councilors . . . I am all for more bike lanes, pedestrian ways but only if it doesn’t restrict drivers . There is absolutely no other city in the world that is restricting their streets to create more traffic like our city.”

Sir, please read the report. You will find much to agree with.

Memo to drivers: stay calm. Automobiles will always be one of the choices — maybe electric automobiles, but automobiles nonetheless.