Stephen Rees's blog

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

Golden Ears Bridge is halfway done

with 4 comments


This was a prominent story on last night’s Global TV news too. Kevin Falcon making sure that he emphasized his role as an observer and allowing Dale Parker to field the questions about tolls. Falcon also made a song and dance about pedestrians and cyclists but I doubt you will see many people struggling across a long, high level bridge on a daily basis.

“It’s a question of catching up . . . to make sure that British Columbia, and the Lower Mainland in particular, [has] the infrastructure it needs and deserves, so that we can go forward recognizing the population is going to grow by a million people in the next 25 years.”

The infrastructure it needs and deserves is transit not highways. The LRSP and Transport 2021 did not identify the Albion Ferry as being the highest priority for replacement. Nor was suburb to suburb car commuting seen as the greatest need. Yet this bridge is going to encourage many more trips between Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on one side to Langley and Surrey on the other. And I confidently expect more car oriented development on both sides as a result. Falcon keeps saying there is not enough population to justify transit – but apparently there is enough, or going to be enough, to justify a massive bridge.

By the way the height of the bridge is also worth noting. The air draft under the span was insisted on by the federal government – to maintain the navigability of the river. This is the same government that also refuses to allow dredging in the same reach because it would interfere with fish habitat. Of course any vessel with a need for a high air draft will also need more water under its keel. But no one ever accused the feds of consistency or logic in their decision making.

The reason the Golden Ears Bridge came to the top of the list of capital projects after the province’s refusal to collect the vehicle levy was that it could be financed by tolls. Not that is was needed – or even very important. It was just important to be seen to be doing something. No other merits in terms of the region’s future pattern of development – or even of its transportation system – were ever considered. The ferry needed to be replaced, because of the number of sailing waits at peak periods and the lack of space for a new ferry landing. The south dock of the Albion Ferry being on First Nation’s territory. A larger ferry and a different crossing were never examined, once the willingness of (free) ferry users to pay $2.85 to avoid a long wait was established.

Golden Ears Bridge construction

Photo by Doug Murray

Written by Stephen Rees

April 6, 2008 at 7:57 am

4 Responses

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  1. mr.rees —you are correct!—campbell,falcon,carole taylor- they talk about a shift,people must change habits ,or pay ——-yet here these dinosaurs won`t change! chasing traffic, all we will do is create diffrent choke points! one accident,one stall ,a car out of gas,someone over heats—-how about a little snow or ice! welcome to a multi billion dollar parking lot! just look at bejing,china — they can`t build roads fast enough, gridlock city —-its never worked ,more bridge,roads ,more traffis signed………………………………………………….how come only my pant legs are wet if its raining

    grant g

    April 6, 2008 at 9:10 am

  2. The Golden Ears Bridge IS in the LRSP (along with the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the North Fraser Perimeter Road)

    Click to access map.pdf

    Ron C.

    April 6, 2008 at 7:45 pm

  3. No that is not what is says. It just talks about a connection with a buslane/priority and HOV. It is like the use of the term ICTS – carefully neutral. Go to Transport 2021, on which this diagram is based and you will see that it is the lowest priority. It could easily have been a bigger or more frequent ferry and still satisfied the plan. What the LRSP was designed to discourage was lots more longer distance commuting – and growth outside of the GCA. The Golden Ears Bridge will defeat both of those objectives – and has already destroyed one farm that will be very hard to replace

    Also the Plan talks about how bridges act as a way of controlling movement. It would be technically feasible to build several bridges across the North Arm to link the major north south routes of Richmond and Vancouver. But we haven’t done it and no-one – so far as I know – seriously thinks we should

    Stephen Rees

    April 6, 2008 at 8:40 pm

  4. I’m a little late to this party but I think it’s absurd for Translink to even be involved in building bridges at all (apart from transit-only bridges). It shows they have no interest in achieving any kind of meaningful mode-shift away from cars to transit nor of being fiscally responsible. With this project it is impossible to reconcile the objectives of being fiscally responsible and getting people out of cars and into transit. They collect more money from private vehicles than bus passengers crossing the bridge. Thus they should put up posters in the buses encouraging people to drive their cars across instead. It would help their bottom line.

    Chris S.

    December 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm

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