Category — Traffic
Metro Vancouver Mayors are poring over the transcript of this week’s Legislature exchange between Transportation Minister Todd Stone and George Heyman, the opposition critic and NDP MLA for Fairview.
The takeaway: no breaking stories in this debate during estimates, but confirmation of some important developments in the continuing transit funding saga, including funding for a Pattullo Bridge replacement and a willingness to implement road pricing if it’s approved by voters.
April 4, 2014
Urban Futures survey shows massive and growing support for public transit investment to tackle congestion
Do Metro mayors face a tough sell on the upcoming transit referendum, as Ken Cameron suggests in this Tyee review of the new Urban Futures survey? Or is public opinion waiting for elected officials to catch up?
In fact, as Cameron notes in his analysis, this massive 2012 review of Metro public opinion found support for transit investment growing very significantly since the last survey was conducted in 1990. The relevant chart is on page 46 here.
Not so reassuring: the declining anxiety about the housing supply.
March 26, 2014
The impending upgrade of the 32 year-old Main St. Science World Skytrain station, the first built in the entire system, will mean an upheaval for users of the busy hub, which will be partially closed for many months.
It’s a reminder of how old the original system is getting, how well it has served the region and how much more investment is required to serve the one million additional residents expected in Metro Vancouver in the next 30 years.
Since the first track went up, Skytrain Expo Line and Millennium Line ridership has risen to 77.8 million trips in 2014. The Canada Line will account to another 41 million trips. Buses and shuttles handle 238 million trips, with overcrowding and pass-ups commonplace.
With 500,000 new residents arriving in the region in the next 10 years, more investment is clearly needed.
For about six months starting March 30, construction will require shortening of first one platform and then the other, making the platform too short for four or six-car trains. This will force Translink to serve the shorter platform with a shuttle between Waterfront and Commercial-Broadway.
Depending on the stage of the rebuilding project, travellers heading to Main St. will have to get off the through train at another station and change to the Train2Main shuttle to complete their trip, adding up to 10 minutes to the journey.
But when the work is done, Main St. Science World will be ready, I hope, to receive the increased ridership to come from the Evergreen Line.
Too bad, we can’t say the same for the Broadway Corridor west of Commercial-Broadway, where many of the Evergreen travellers will be headed. Yes, Skytrain has come a long way, but has a lot further to go.
March 13, 2014
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