Stephen Rees's blog

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

The message seems to be getting through

with 8 comments

The LRC has been running polling questions on the issue of the bridge twinning freeway widening gateway progran since 2005. the graph bekow shows that some progress in moving opinion has been made.

I expect that there will be more on the LRC blog when this appears [I am using a WP feature to delay publication until Wednesday]

VANCOUVER – A new poll shows 69 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents support redirecting money away from road expansion projects toward a better public transit system.

The Synovate poll, conducted for the David Suzuki Foundation and the Livable Region Coalition, also showed 60 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents would choose rapid transit to Coquitlam, expanded bus and rapid transit service in Surrey and rapid transit out to UBC over twinning the Port Mann Bridge and widening Highway 1.

“The poll clearly shows there is a real need and a desire for better public transit across the Lower Mainland,” said Ian Bruce, a climate change specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation. “Investing in public transit will help make our transit system faster, more convenient and more direct. Widening highways and bridges simply puts more cars on the road, and makes the current traffic congestion problems worse.”

The poll comes at a time when drivers in the Lower Mainland are seeking relief from painful prices at the gas pumps. It also comes during a push by the provincial government to cut B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions 33 per cent by 2020.

But, in direct contrast with its plan to go green, the province wants to twin the Port Mann Bridge and widen Highway 1.

Experience from around the world has shown that building more highways can actually lead to longer commutes, more sprawl and more time spent in cars, and eventually worsens traffic congestion instead of relieving it.

“Public transit is a critical part of a long-term sustainable growth strategy,” said David Fields of the Livable Region Coalition. “Investing in public transit will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, ease road congestion, reduce commuting time and municipal infrastructure costs.”

Written by Stephen Rees

May 7, 2008 at 9:00 am

Posted in Transportation

8 Responses

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  1. Do you happen to have a copy of the exact question asked in each of those surveys over those years. I can’t imagine that a swing that large happened that quickly, I suspect the wording of the question had a larger impact.

    Joe Just Joe

    May 7, 2008 at 11:21 am

  2. No I don’t, but you can check with the Livable Region Coalition. Since the intent of a tracking question is to see how we are doing I am almost certian that the question is the same each time

    Stephen Rees

    May 7, 2008 at 4:26 pm

  3. wording of 2008 survey here:

    Click to access TransitFirstPoll.pdf


    May 7, 2008 at 11:44 pm

  4. Oh, do I hate the term ‘rapid transit’, because this is elite-speak for SkyTrain. Rapid Transit is one of the greatest weasel words today as transit becomes more ‘rapid’, when there fewer stations or stops per route km.

    I’m sorry, but the polls use of the term ‘rapid transit’ makes the poll next to useless.

    It is SkyTrain, a.k.a. rapid transit, that has got us in this mess in the first place.

    Malcolm J.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:33 am

  5. I agree that “rapid transit” would lead to higher figures than, say, “rapid bus”.

    Ron C.

    May 8, 2008 at 12:44 pm

  6. Interesting results for Question #1… checking the last page of that PDF, even Surrey is about even on widening vs. transit. Only the Langley-Aldergrove region still strongly supports widening. All other regions oppose the widening & twinning.

    Question #2 about redirecting funding to public transit was worded in a bit of a leading way though.


    May 8, 2008 at 8:24 pm

  7. Remember that Surrey is a self-contained City – the number of residents that commute over the Port Mann is probably a minority of the overall population on a percentage basis. And you certainly don;t need to cross the Port Mann to shop – except for IKEA!

    Ron C.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:29 pm

  8. […] The poll actually came out on May 7, so the opinion writer has had a while to find something to get offended about. And readers puzzled by the reference in this piece who rely on the paper version would be hard pressed to find out the actual context. Which of course was much more about the priority of highway expansion against transit than voting for UBC over Langley. […]

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