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

Transportation forum planned

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Paul J. Henderson, Chilliwack Times

Monday, January 21, 2008

Supporters of public transportation in the Fraser Valley unhappy with the recent $14 billion provincial government transit plan have organized a forum to be held tomorrow to discuss the matter.

One of the forum organizers suggested the recent funding announcement, while attractive on the surface, does little for residents this side of the Port Mann Bridge.

“There is a glaring absence of anything substantial for the area south of the Fraser,” commented Daniel van der Kroon via e-mail. “In a region where the number of cars is eerily close to the number of people, what is really needed is cost-effective rapid transit (such as on-the-ground rail to Chilliwack) that anticipates growth before it is shaped by the automobile rather than after the region has become entirely car dependent.”

In a recent exchange on a radio talk show, another organizer of the event John Vissers, said Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon essentially dismissed the transit needs of Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

“When I asked [Falcon] on radio why the Fraser Valley, home to over a quarter million people, and growing rapidly, was left out of the new Transportation Plan, he remarked ‘well, 250,000 people is just not enough to spend transit dollars on.'”

In a news release announcing the forum, organizers suggest the recent announcement of funding dollars does little to address expanded transit services in the Fraser Valley, which “are critical components in creating a sustainable region.”

The UCFV environment club is the host of the event entitled “Gateway Debate: A public form on sustainable transportation for the Fraser Valley.”

The meeting will feature a panel of interested parties including John van Dongen, MLA for Abbotsford-Clayburn and Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations, who will discuss the provincial plan. This will be followed by an open microphone question-and-answer session.

Other panelists include: Stephen Rees, transportation economist and regional planner; Nathan Pachal of the Valley Transportation Advisory Committee; Jim Houlahan, vice president of Canadian Auto Workers Union Local 111; and David Fields of the Society Promoting Ecological Conservation.

The forum will be held Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in room B101 (Lecture Hall) at the Abbotsford UCFV campus, 33844 King Rd.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 22, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Railway

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