Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for May 3rd, 2007

River Road reopens

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Bridge detail 2007_0503, originally uploaded by Stephen Rees.

The construction of the new Olympic Speed Skating Oval meant that a section of River Road (between No 2 and Hollybridge) has been closed for a while. The new road diverts traffic around the back of the oval, so I went down there this morning to take a gander.

New bridge at Hollybridge Way 2007_0503

Well, first thing is that it is not finished. A new bridge has gone in over the slough next to Hollybridge. This is wide enough for four lanes of traffic and has very wide sidewalks. So they are designing for a lot of people to be coming out of here after events. I suspect that more than this road will have to change to accommodate the crowds.

New road behind Richmond Oval was Van Horne spur sb 2007_0503
The next thing I noticed was that the new road will obviously be four lanes wide one day. The rest of River Road is only two.

It becomes clear from looking at the City web page that the transportation decisions are still being made. There are, for example, a couple of options on how to deal with the interchange at Number Two Road, which may well explain the current unsatisfactory state of the western end, which is clearly intended to be temporary. Unsatisfactory too in the sense that this is the only document you get when you hit the “Transportation” link as though this were the only issue. Not that I doubt that they have not thought about how this is going to work, but as usual, there is not a great deal being made public at this stage.

And this is an illustration from the City Web site of what the road and Oval building will look like. There’s lots of pretty pictures for the river side of the development which will be a park and housing. The interface with the existing transportation network is much less exciting and harder to make pretty and appealing, so I understand why it isn’t there. But it should be.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 3, 2007 at 3:25 pm

‘S’ Stock

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‘S’ Stock, originally uploaded by bloomfpa.

First look at new Underground trains coming to the “cut and cover” District, Met and Circle Lines in London.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 3, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Transportation

Poll: 73% of British Columbians prefer better transit to Gateway

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Poll shows almost three quarters of British Columbians prefer better transit to bridge twinning

Livable Region Coalition Urges Premier to Abandon Bridge Twinning Plan

May 3, 2007

A poll commissioned by the Livable Region Coalition (LRC) shows that 73 per cent of British Columbians would rather spend money on better public transit to fight climate change, than on the province’s controversial Gateway Program.

British Columbians know that better transit, not freeways, helps stop climate change,” said David Fields, campaigner with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation. “I agree with the Premier that we must work together, but so far he is moving in the wrong direction with Gateway and the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge.”

The LRC has put forward a proposal to address climate change and traffic congestion South of Fraser with maximized SkyTrain capacity and bus rapid transit that would open the way for future light rail. The proposal would cost between $300 and $500 million and could be completed in two to three years.

“These results confirm what we have heard across Canada, that the public wants investment in public transit as the foremost means to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in our cities, “ said Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Public feedback from David Suzuki’s recent cross-Canada tour found that building an affordable, sustainable public transit system would be the number one priority for Canadians to fight climate change if they were Prime Minister.

“We have heard from TransLink that in order to meet the Premier’s goal of reducing emissions by 33 per cent by 2020 we must more than double transit ridership. To do this, we must make large investments in transit now,” said Deming Smith, policy manager with Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST). “Bridge twinning and freeway expansion will make conditions worse by inducing more traffic and starving funds from critically needed transit upgrades.”

The poll was conducted by Strategic Communications and fielded from March 15 to 27 with a sample size of 600 people. The margin of error is +/- 4% 19 times out of 20.

Poll Question



Written by Stephen Rees

May 3, 2007 at 12:03 pm

This blog gets noticed

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A couple of stories inspired by this blog will be on other media. A story on the Gateway, global warming and what we can do about it will be on BCIT’s radio station on Monday May 14  on 107.9FM. And the roundabout proposal for Granville and Garden City hit the pages of the Richmond Review today.

God bless Google, that’s what I say.

Stephen Rees, a Richmond resident and former transportation planner with TransLink, first questioned the intersection’s design when he tried navigating it with a bicycle. (Garden City Road is a designated cycling route.)

“You literally can’t get across it on a bike—you can if you’re superman and you’ve got nerves of steel, but for an ordinary human being, forget it.”

Rees believes a roundabout would improve the flow of traffic. Vehicles are forced to slow down and must wait until it’s safe to enter the traffic circle—avoiding major T-bone collisions.

It’s a concept popular in Europe but almost unheard of in Richmond. City planners caution roundabouts can increase conflict between vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists.

Rees also noted the current design takes up an unusual amount of space—area that could be better used as parkland or commercial development to create a better urban environment for pedestrians.

“Designing for people is important, not designing for cars,” he said.

“The thing that you have to do on city streets is you have to make them places that are worth lingering, as opposed to blasting through.”

Written by Stephen Rees

May 3, 2007 at 7:58 am