Stephen Rees's blog

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

Apply gas tax where it will work

with one comment

The Chilliwack Times manages to get itself into a froth over a recent LRC/Suzuki Foundation poll question which included the words “rapid transit out to UBC”.

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.

At least the Times is now talking about real transit options – and no longer saying we must have highway expansion becuase that is the only thing that will work out here. And of course the official position, as stated by Chillwack’s Mayor is that they do not want to be connected to other communities by rapid transit, they want to continue to be self reliant. Currently most people live and work close to home there and that is in itself worthwhile, and ought not (he says) be diluted by encouraging longer distance commuting. He may of course be a lone voice, but given his position and the undoubted virtues of his position, it does make for a harder sell for groups like VALTAC and Rail for the Valley.

I was not one of those who drafted the question, but it seems obvious to me that the intention was to draw on the current provincial government’s stated intentions. To build the Highway #1expansion and Port Mann twinning first and then turn their attention to transit – and their stated priority is the tube tunnel under Broadway. As I think I have made clear, this is not a sensible choice in transportation terms, but reflects the political realty that Gordon Campbell thinks his constituency comes first.

It was the clever boys in Vancouver and Victoria who killed the Interurban transit system that served a far less densely populated Fraser Valley half a century ago.

It’s long past time to correct that mistake.

Well reviving the interurban is certainly one option – but not necessarily the only one. Especially given the indirect routing and lack of dense nodes near the eastern section. And the general consensus at the time passenger service ended was that the BCER was losing money and ridership and was no longer necessary in a region with rapidly growing car ownership and a nice new freeway.

And if the Times really wants to make a difference to current policies it should be telling its readers to stop voting for the BC Liberals. Some of those valley seats are the safest in the province. Because it is not the “clever boys in Vancouver” who are calling the shots but the idiots you lot elected to Victoria!

Written by Stephen Rees

May 28, 2008 at 10:00 am

One Response

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  1. I am not in favour of a gas tax (world oil prices have already applied a gas tax!)

    As for twinning and highway expansion -I am adimitly apposed!

    Those who want the bridge twinned are putting their commute in the hands of private toll companies. The way it stands now the tolls will cost a single driver about 2000.00 a year—If transit gets popular over the bridge (because of 2.00 a liter fuel) and car and truck traffic decline you can bet those tolls will cost a single driver 4000.00 to 5000.00 a year in tolls—Just look what ferries cost.

    Campbell and Falcon are going to ram this through !

    So for all you who wants this project (lol) your gonna get it —Traffic disruptions for half a decade and no transit either until its done, and who knows by the time gateway is done gas maybe 3.00 a liter, —–Also if transit is suceesful on the port mann (it could be now if they wanted) and people use it ,you can bet the tolls will be double and or triple their projections! And there would be no one to complain to because we will no longer own the bridge, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.—————————signed…………………………..The toll-tarian goverment

    grant g

    May 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm

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