Stephen Rees's blog

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

Gateway should have been “newsmaker of the year’

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I am going to publish here a piece that Dave Fields wrote for the Vancouver Courier. It will be on the LRC website soon, but I thought it worthwhile to bring to your attention

Hi All- So Homelessness took the Courier’s Newsmaker of the Year. Carmen and I both submitted Gateway of course, below is my full submission from the web edition. I will add to it for a year end piece for the blog.

Happy Solstice!

Dave

If Vancouver is to be a flagship city for sustainability then we must
look at projects like Gateway through a carbon lens to evaluate them in
terms of our carbon budget, not just as P3’s. Priority should be given
to projects that meet or exceed green targets as well as meeting other
project goals, like moving people and goods for instance.
The premier has yet to reconcile Gateway with his legislated green
targets. It’s a kind of denial really. A double vision in conflict.
Choosing instead to hype the transit portion of the Evil Twin, which
will not reduce car traffic at all, according to Gateway Program
figures. A lot of marketed faith is being invested into the California
emissions standards but the numbers just don’t bear that out, according
to the Pembina Institute’s Mind the Gap report. A transit first approach
to transportation in our region will help correct the balance of our
network which sees single-occupancy vehicle rates as high as 90 per cent.
The premier should give thought to reconciling Gateway with his green
commitments over his Hawaiian holidays because it is through Gateway and
the Green Budget primarily that his new green cred will be tested.
Vancouver city council stands firmly against freeway expansion and is
now challenged to make good on transportation policy through the
so-called Eco-Density initiative. We must come to understand, however,
that what is bad for the region is also bad for Vancouver.
2007 has been a breakthrough year for the campaign for better transit,
not freeways. We have seen closer analysis of the greenhouse gas
emissions impacts from Gateway and SPEC, City of Burnaby and Metro
Vancouver all agree that the car centred project will increase road
source emissions by four per cent above a business-as-usual scenario. No
analysis has been done of the emissions from land use because the
province won’t recognize the fact that freeways cause sprawl. A
province-wide poll of 500 people found that 73 per cent support
prioritizing transit over building freeways to tackle climate change.
There must be similar results regionally because the NDP came out in
support of a transit first approach at the UBCM in September.
It is a heated topic everywhere, it seems like it is always being
discussed on talk radio and has even split newsrooms, evidenced by Pete
McMartin’s three articles in the Sun this fall. Letters fill local
papers and it has gained national attention as well. For what it is
worth, I have over 430 articles, letters and editorials collected over
the year.
New groups are sprouting up over the region and in Vancouver calling for
better transit like more rapid bus and rail instead of car heavy road
building. The Livable Region Coalition is becoming a source of news on
regional livability and green issues, its new blog, started less than a
year ago, is now getting over 35,000 hits a month. A Langley
businessman, Jim Leuba, teamed up with SPEC this year to run a $50 000
advertising campaign calling for transit first; through dozens of
outreach efforts over the year, thousands of people have gotten to know
the issue and the transit option.
Climate change and transportation are the two hottest issues in
Vancouver and they both come together in the Gateway Program-the
twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and freeway expansion. Green targets
have been legislated but not reconciled with the freeway building
megaproject and the port expansion. In no other project is so much at
stake. The debate between transit first and road building has been
taking place everywhere, even dividing newsrooms, while the popular
movement continues to grow. Vancouver faces pressure from the province
as it addresses future sustainability planning, putting Eco-Density and
freeway expansion at odds. This issue is red hot, look for things to
come to a boil in 2008 as the premier’s new green cred is put to the test.
-David Fields, SPEC

Written by Stephen Rees

December 22, 2007 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Gateway

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