Stephen Rees's blog

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

“Gateway to Gridlock”

with 19 comments

Stuart Ramsey writes to me that a four-page newspaper pull-out, produced by the City of Burnaby will be appearing this week in the Burnaby Now and the Burnaby News Leader, as the result of a Council motion to “prepare a statement with respect to the City’s position on the Gateway Program for publication in local newspapers.”

I have uploaded the pdf file here (burnaby-2008-05-29-gateway-newspaper-pull-out)  (if you are not a resident of Burnaby) as it seems to me that many people will be interested in the City’s position.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 30, 2008 at 9:53 am

Posted in Gateway

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19 Responses

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  1. Stephen, the Vancouver Foundation is inviting citizens to rate Metro Vancouver communities with a survey they will send to volunteers who sign up. I have volunteered and know several others who have done the same.

    My sense is that attitudes are changing faster and for the better towards transit and the environment, and I hope that’s reflected in these surveys. Just checking their info I find it very interesting that the per capita rate of car ownership in Surrey is 14% compared to only 4% in Vancouver, but Surrey’s population isn’t that far behind Vancouver’s.

    Here’s the link. I encourage your readers to participate.


    May 30, 2008 at 11:19 am

  2. […] for by the City of Burnaby and outlines their reasons for opposing the Gateway project.  Go to Stephen’s post here and take a look at the pdf […]

  3. Burnaby seems to complain about anything that doesn’t serve its own purposes (i.e Highway 1 Port Mann, Evergreen Line, etc.) – it seems to be the most selfish of any of the municipalities. Commuter (and general) traffic through Burnaby is a consequence of geography – just like Vancouver complains about Richmond and South of Fraser traffic through Vancouver – Burnaby needs to accept that fact.

    In addition, Burnaby has also fostered dispersed car-oriented commuting patterns with its business parks @ Glen Lyon, Big Bend, BCIT Discovery Parks and Still Creek (the latter both adjacent to Highway 1). Even office projects in Lake City encourage dispersed commuting patterns – even though its near Skytrain, since Skytrain is not convenient for all workers.

    Ron C.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:29 pm

  4. Ron C. said, Burnaby seems to complain about anything that doesn’t serve its own purposes.

    I don’t live in Burnaby but I believe it is a progressive municipality. Recently I attended a seminar which included the CFO of Burnaby who explained the measures they were taking to reduce the impact of their buildings on our environment. The steps were significant.
    The newspaper insert made a point of including the community groups opposing the project, including the Suzuki Foundation.
    You are less likely to see a similar newspaper supplement in, for example Langley, as expansion of the highway is seen as a benefit to the long haul commuters across the river.
    This isn’t a case of Burnaby whining. If I lived there I’d be pleased that they took the initiative.


    May 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm

  5. Heres’ a link to an article already published in tomorrow’s press in Perth, Australia ( they’re a day ahead!) about a local politician who acted very courageously to implement rail transit in the face of serious criticism when car dependency was increasing radically, and when the term ‘peak oil’ wasn’t heard of. Today they praise her. It seems most other politicians capitulated to big oil.

    We need visionary leaders more than ever.


    May 30, 2008 at 4:18 pm

  6. But likewise, you don’t see other municipalities vehemently opposing projects that benefit municipalities other than themselves. i.e. Surrey or Langley aren’t opposing the Canada Line, Evergreen Line or the Pitt River Bridge Project (i.e. on the basis of using up scarce funding).
    It’s like New Westminster and Coquitlam bickering about access over the Braid Street Bridge or Burnaby and New Westminster opposing transit-oriented development on the former Crane Canada site (physically within Coquitlam) because the “Coquitlam” residents may use transportation or amenities infrastructure located in Burnaby or New Westminster.
    It boils down to petty municipal politics rather than REGIONAL thinking.

    Ron C.

    May 30, 2008 at 6:38 pm

  7. I think Kevin Falken owes us all an explanation of the basic assumptions that lead him to a decision to proceed with this megaproject.

    Hopefully, the price and scarcity of liquid fuels will become apparent to the parties involved before more resources are squandered. Mention of the Alberta/Saskatchewan tar sands will not win any arguments either.

    Greg A

    May 30, 2008 at 7:41 pm

  8. Ron C., I would argue that the Gateway project, in the long term, pretty much benefits no one but road builders, real estate developers, land owners in the Fraser Valley, and the BC Liberal Party. If the City of Burnaby believed that widening Hwy 1 within its city limits would have lasting benefits to other municipalities, I doubt they would be “vehemently” opposed.


    May 30, 2008 at 8:03 pm

  9. I used the Gateway to Gridlock name over two years ago on Rafe Mair’s blog. I wonder if I should have registered the name. The arguments still remain the same.

    Malcolm J.

    May 30, 2008 at 8:35 pm

  10. This is not the first time I’ve heard people suggest Burnaby is hypocritical for opposing Gateway whilst having a legacy of less sustainable development. Would you, for example, hold your mother or father responsible for a mistake your great-grandparent made? Of course not. We also assume that politicians don’t change, and if they do, they’re wishy-washy or “flip-flopping” (can’t remember where I read this recently… it might have been here!). Let us be supportive of Burnaby’s justified opposition to Gateway; Mayor Corrigan is well-informed and I’m very happy to see a municipality step up to battle!

    Thanks for the PDF, Stephen!

    Erika Rathje

    May 30, 2008 at 11:06 pm

  11. At least the Burnaby insert admits there are benefits to part of the plan; currently the Willingdon interchange is the #1 accident spot in the Lower Mainland, if not the province, and the proposal to remove the current partial cloverleaf looks like the answer to ellliminate the weaving. They lose me when they start on about reducing the ‘livablity’ when at the same time they propose to turn north Willingdon into a virtual freeway by placing a median through all the intersections, a la Aurora Ave (old Hwy 99) in Seattle, north of the Ship Canal.

    I have two radical proposals as alternatives to the Port Mann twinnig:

    #1, ban alll non HOV3+ traffic from the 152nd St on ramp; SOVs and HOV2s should be forced to use the 160th st/ 104th Ave a couple of km to the east

    #2; better utilization of the 5th lane on the Port Mann. We spent milliions of dollars in the late 90s to move the emergency sidewalks to squeeze in a 5th lane; but it’s only useful in the PM rush. Why not counterflow it, like the Lion’s Gate? I’m sure that MotTH would argue that you can’t do that on an 80 km/h freeway, so reduce the limit to 60, traffic doesn’t move much faster than that in “rush hour” as it is. And while I was opposed to BC’s Photo Radar plan back in the day (and could there possiby have been a worse implentation plan?); i believe that a focussed PR on certain sections of road only, like the Port Mann or the Patullo, could actually gain public support. Make it obvious, a big sign over all the lanes; 60 km/h strictly enforced, or make it an unusual number that catches the eye, 65 km/h… no 64 km/h (40 mph) for our American friends, and make the fines for this zone progressive; don’t be too punative at first , the first fine is $40, then $80, then $160,then $320….; if people know that their fine will grow exponentially they’ll soon learn to keep it under 64 km/h

    David Banks

    May 31, 2008 at 12:31 am

  12. Corrigan is the only one with the jam to stand up to falcon and campbell,Corrigan stood his ground and voted against the canada line three times! Why,because he wanted the evergreen line to be built first.

    The evergreen line which falcon annouced was to be built but theres still a funding problem and mark my words and Corrigans that the evergreen won`t start until after the election(another stall)—It WON`T HAPPEN UNDER CAMPBELL

    My bet is that the puttella and port mann will both be twinned and tolled at the same time(The port mann private toll company does not want a toll free escape route)

    BURNABY-COQUITLAM–NEW WESTMINSTER are going to be affected the most by these twinnings ,more and more car traffic plowing through on their way to somewhere else.

    Corrigan knows that CAMPBELL and FALCON are nothing but liars.

    Just what has CAMPBELL built to benifit bcers—-sea to sky highway p3 ( 3.6 billion dollars)—Canada line p3 ( 2.7 billion dollars)–Both items built for the olympics.

    Surrey memerial hospital delayed another 2 years—5000 long term care beds (2001 promise) still 4500 short—childrens hospital (hold a raffle)

    When are bcers going to wake up to the CAMPBELL fraud?
    The 4 billion dollar surplus from 2007 (1.25 billion went to the previous years budget in what they call a supplimental budget so the surplus was only 2.75 billion)
    300 million subsidy to the banks(down to 2.45 billion)
    330 million subsidy to oil and gas (down to 2.1 billion )
    200 million for art center-2million india gate–70 million to musqueam and tawassen indian bands (1.8 billion)
    400 million for evergreen line (they borrowed that money from translink for the canada line,so they really have given nothing for the evergreen line merely replaced borrowed money without interest) -(down to 1.4 billion)
    200million part funding for childrens hospital (down to 1.2 billion)
    460 million for the 100dollar bribe for bcers(down 700 million)
    3 million for part funding for a detox -rehab center in the interior
    The remainder spent on olympics,vanoc,and advertising.

    No money has been paid towards the 8 billion in p3s –That debt has been put on our bc credit cards.
    Do you notice the pattern of part funding for needy projects and payment in full to CAMPBELLS freinds and also we owe more know than we did in 2001 —Also none of these p3s have been paid for yet.———————————–signed………………………………hocus pocus abra cadabra

    grant g

    June 1, 2008 at 11:43 am

  13. Why is it that no-one can spell Pattullo? Including me – now corrected see The Canadian Encyclopedia

    Stephen Rees

    June 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm



    grant g

    June 1, 2008 at 1:30 pm


    grant g

    June 1, 2008 at 1:34 pm

  16. Is it Pattullo or Patullo? I think it is Pattullo. Anyway, Grant has started using capitals at the start of sentences, and uses fewer phrases in place of sentences.

    On another note, Pattullo was I think the best premier British Columbia ever had. I think most people visiting this forum would agree that he was better than WAC Bennett, the 1950s and 1960s premier who Falcon wants to replicate (ie build highways, when the Ministry of Highways took 40% of the provincial budget). Pattullo was the last Liberal premier, and lost the leadership when the Coalition formed. That set-up is pretty well what is in place today.


    June 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm

  17. I am just going to call it the killer bridge.

    Graeme just what are you trying to say? Sure my form and grammer suck but would you want everyone to post in a corporate bland sterile fashion?
    I am just a little voice with a big heart who tries to comment in colour and if my passion or derangement shows then I must be doing something right.———————————–signed…………………………….THE RAIN MAN

    grant g

    June 1, 2008 at 6:14 pm

  18. Getting back to Burnaby, while it is true it has and continues to support car-dependent business parks, it also has and continues to support (even more so) rapid increases in density around its four major “town centres” which are heavily oriented to the SkyTrain service. Burnaby has also responded with significant expenditures on new and proposed public amentities within the town centres, like libraries and swimming pools.

    Gateway will bring an outdated and now discredited Los Angeles-scale 1950s feeway to Burnaby. The project is not merely limited to the addition of two freeway lanes the entire length of the city, but the rebuilding of the freeway interchanges and the connecting arterials to increase their capacity. This will have an obvious impact on adjacent neighbourhoods in all four quadrants of the city.

    Much has been written in this and other blogs on the false premises Gateway is being built on. But not a lot has been written on the financial affects Gateway’s “justifications” will have on SOF communities — the project supporters — as time progresses.

    Adding $5,000 a year in PM2 tolls to the radically increasing cost of owning cars in an age of radically higher fuel prices will illuminate the folly of a government that ignores all evidence to the contrary and purposely increases car dependency and suburban sprawl, therein sacrificing their own constituent’s well-being to benefit the government’s freeway and subdivision-building political supporters.


    June 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

  19. A little more conjecture on this.

    Should Thomas Homer-Dixon’s prediction come true that the price of oil may hit $300/barrel within two years, where does that leave people who curently commute more than 50 km a day by car over the bridge? Add $200 / week in tolls to $300 / week fill ups plus $100 a week in increased food prices — all juist as the PM2 opens — and you’ve got a recipe for much suburban wailing and gnashing of teeth, including possibly much higher numbers of calls to build decent SOF transit … not now, but yesterday.

    Faced with such increases in household expenditures, what are the alternatives people may seek?

    Find a toll-free bridge for one. But Golden Ears and possibly a new Puttullo will have tolls too. Buying smaller more fuel-efficient cars will make some car sales staff very happy. But as far as anyone knows even a Smart Car would pay the same toll as a Navigator, and it still requires the existance of asphalt, something communities must decrease in order to become more energy efficient and socially beneficial.

    Driving less will become, I predict, a more attractive alternative the higher oil prices go. Many may decide to move closer to work / schools / shopping / social life. The Boomers will also be retiring en masse which will probably result in increased sales of condos and smaller houses in denser communities, and a devaluation in housing in the most car-dependent communities, the very areas that are currently being flogged as a “cheaper” alternative to the big bad city.

    There could be a measureable decrease in bridge traffic even before the bugs are worked out of the tolling equipment and the interest on the construction financing gets knocked up a few points to counter oil-driven inflation. Therein toll income for the P3 private partner may decrease (or remain plateaued) and the pressure to subsidize the consortium that built and maintains the bridge increases.

    Food for thought.


    June 2, 2008 at 11:44 am

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