Friday, January 18, 2008

Price gives transit plan due kudos

Monday morning’s announcement of a $14-Billion Public Transit Plan for the Lower Mainland has been unquestionably well-received by practically everyone in the Lower Mainland. Even notable opponents of the Port Mann Bridge twinning like Gordon Price are giving the transit plan its due kudos.

An article by Jeff Nagel in Thursday’s Burnaby NewsLeader entitled “Former critic lauds province’s transit pledge” quotes Price extensively. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

Premier Gordon Campbell’s massive commitment to expand rapid transit is winning applause from some critics who fought the province’s twinning of the Port Mann Bridge.

SFU City Program director Gordon Price said the decision marks a turning point for the future of the Lower Mainland.

“It’s historic,” Price said. “It takes what was a backlogged and frustrated planning process and has moved it forward at least a generation.”

Instead of transit being an afterthought and neighbourhoods built on the assumption of mostly car travel, he said, Campbell’s vow means commuters can look forward to transit being a viable choice that’s built on “a scale serious enough it can change the direction of the region.”

He said it also clearly puts cities on notice that they must design development around transit corridors and stations and densify their cities to take advantage of it. Price said it still depends on finances and follow through, but said the government deserves credit.

“They’ve backed it up with enough specifics you can take it seriously,”

He predicted Greater Vancouver and cities like Port Moody in particular will be held up as textbook examples of how to reinvent the urban landscape so residents aren’t car-dependent.

“If they can free themselves from at least one car if not two then their range of housing choices broadens,” Price explained. “They become more oriented toward local neighbourhood shopping. It gets you more character in your community. People walk more so they’re healthier. There are less greenhouse gases—it all works together.”

Coupled with the $3 billion Gateway Program, the $14 billion Transit Plan provides a big picture view of what a balanced transportation system looks like and how it’s all going to fit together here in the Lower Mainland.

Carl Congestion

Monday, January 14, 2008

$14 billion for transit

I don't have time to go into this now, but Premier Gordon Campbell has just unveiled a $14 billion plan to improve transit in BC:
* $10.3-billion investment in four new rapid transit lines in Metro Vancouver – the Evergreen Line, the UBC Line, the upgraded Expo Line and the Canada Line (for which $2 billion was previously committed);

* $1.2 billion for a new, cutting-edge energy efficient, high capacity RapidBus BC service along nine major routes in the high-growth urban centres of Kelowna, Victoria and Metro Vancouver; and

* $1.6-billion investment in 1,500 new, clean energy buses and related maintenance infrastructure to provide communities around the province with improved bus service.

This, in conjunction with Gateway, should make a huge difference for the region. As we've been saying all along, the Lower Mainland needs a balanced solution.

I'll be looking forward to seeing the details on the south Fraser improvements.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Here’s to Sputnik!

Everyone knows the Space Age began in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the world’s first artificial satellite. Sputnik’s success was a great milestone in transportation history.

But did you know that last Thursday (January 3rd) marked the 50th Anniversary of Sputnik’s fiery return to Earth?

Back in 1957 Sputnik had the cosmos all to itself for 3 whole months as it merrily orbited the Earth every 96 minutes at a height of 150 miles. Now, 50 years later, it can take that long just to travel from one side of the Port Mann Bridge to the other.

I’ll wager that more than a few frustrated people have found themselves lined up to cross the Port Mann bottleneck wishing they could just launch themselves, and their vehicle, into the air like Sputnik and fly across the gridlock. I know I have.

So, here’s to Sputnik. And here’s to all those who are working to twin the Port Mann Bridge and bring it into the 21st Century.

Carl Congestion