Category — Traffic
The province’s new Massey Bridge replacement for the Massey Tunnel is truly the elephant in the room in regional transportation planning, according to a preliminary Translink assessment, with the capacity to stall or even reduce transit mode share in certain scenarios.
A Translink assessment forwarded to Metro Vancouver’s Transportation Committee was completed before the province confirmed how many lanes would be built, but Translink assumes, not unreasonably, that the number could be six or even eight, compared to the current four lane tunnel. (See the report here at item 5.2)
As Metro staff note, the Translink assessment suggests “a new bridge in 2045 experiences reduced congestion, but the demand approaches capacity. The addition of tolls helps to manage the growth in demand and prolong the capacity of the bridge beyond 2045.
“Transit mode share declines over time whether the tunnel remains or a new untolled bridge is built. With the tunnel, travel speed deteriorates for buses, which makes transit a less desirable choice. Transit mode share falls to 9 percent in 2045.
“With an untolled bridge, the expanded capacity allows for more people to drive and take transit, but transit mode share remains stuck at 9 percent in 2045.
“When tolls are added to the bridge, a transit mode share of 12 percent is achieved due entirely to a decline in people driving or carpooling.”
The challenge for the Translink Mayor’s Council: how to devise a plan to shift mode share to transit, which is the regional goal, while provincial investments head in the other direction.
Then there’s the likelihood, identified in the Metro staff report, that the bridge crossing would increase marine traffic to Fraser Surrey Docks — for coal? other commodities? containers? — effectively reshaping the future location of jobs and goods movement.
March 7, 2014
When I met with Champlain Heights resident Heather McCain yesterday to talk about Translink’s proposed service cuts on the 49 UBC/Metrotown Station bus route, she had just finished telling Vancouver Courier report Sandra Thomas about her remarkable grassroots effort to oppose the proposed change.
Thanks to organizing by her and other women in the community, more than 150 turned out to a Feb. 18 Translink open house to discuss the cuts, more than have turned out to all other “service optimization” community meetings combined.
Service optimization is the name for Translink’s continuing effort to make service more efficient by matching the fleet to the demand. In practice, that means some routes lose and other routes gain as Translink drives to maximize the use of equipment.
On the 49 route, the long-standing jog south to provide service to Champlain Heights mall would be cut out, along with 16 stops, to save about four minutes on the trip to UBC.
The gain would be welcome to students, who experience pass-ups and overcrowding on the route, but a terrible setback to a neighbourhood that was build around the 49 service in the 1970s and 1980s. Translink has yet to decide if the change will go ahead; if it does, it would be effective in September.
I’ll be working with my council colleagues to ensure the community’s voice is heard.
February 26, 2014
Transportation Minister Todd Stone was understandably emphatic yesterday, after meeting with the Translink Mayor’s Council, that Victoria is determined to keep existing provincial toll revenue for itself, although willing to consider new road pricing options for transit like a vehicle levy.
But this recent analysis by Seattle sustainability expert Clark Williams-Derry suggests the Mayors may not have lost much in the argument. Port Mann traffic forecasts have been wrong for a decade as trips over the bridge, now the widest in the world, fail to increase. In fact, they’re falling.
Yes, Victoria says, revenue is down, but is certain to rise! In any case, they’re keeping all of it.
February 15, 2014
Investment in new transit infrastructure across North America will hit a record $80 billion next year, according to a survey by Transport Politic’s Yonah Freemark, including about $1.3 billion for Metro Vancouver’s own Evergreen Line. (In reality, of course, the Evergreen money will be spread over several years,)
“This year, dozens of new lines will open to the public,” Freemark writes, “including light rail lines in Houston, Minneapolis, Edmonton, Dallas, Calgary; heavy rail lines in New York City and outside Washington; and streetcars in Tucson, Atlanta, Seattle, and Washington, among many others. Bus rapid transit — or some variety of it — will see its coming out, with new lines opening in Chicago, Fort Collins, San Diego, Orlando, Los Angeles, and outside Toronto.”
But the Evergreen Line’s opening remains at least two years away and, in the meantime, the operational and political aspects of Metro Vancouver’s transit system are trending negative. Despite the Evergreen investment, service availability is frozen while ridership rises.
Translink’s “service optimization” is jamming more and more riders on the existing fleet, transit operators told a forum organized Thursday by Unifor 111, their union, in New Westminster. And in Victoria, doubts are rampant that the provincial government has a coherent strategy to win November’s referendum on transit funding.
So while spending may break records elsewhere, here in Metro Vancouver the future is cloudy at best.
January 11, 2014