Massey: The Psychology of Motordom

Masseyt 2

Massey 1

From CTV News:

A provincial government traffic assessment predicts a congestion nightmare on the Alex Fraser Bridge if a George Massey Tunnel bridge replacement is tolled and pushes drivers to free alternatives.

While the documents predict traffic will improve on the new tolled crossing, the spillover from drivers avoiding the toll will result in tens of thousands more vehicles using the Alex Fraser Bridge in the near future.

“If it looks bad today it will be way worse in the future,” said Langley City Coun. Nathan Pachal. “That means more congestion, more delays to get on the bridge, and more variability on commute times.”

The assessment measures the current traffic on the Alex Fraser Bridge at 107,000 vehicles a day. If no new bridge is built, it’s estimated the growth in the region will push the traffic to 120,000 vehicles a day in 2045.

But with a new, $3.5-billion Massey Bridge in place, the load on the Alex Fraser Bridge would increase to 140,000 cars a day – a 30 per cent increase compared to today.

This is “primarily because of off-peak diversion from the tolled facility to the untolled facility,” the report says.

The B.C. Trucking Association says the Alex Fraser Bridge is already at 90 per cent, and increasing traffic that much more would put it way over capacity.

“If it rises by 30 per cent we’ll be over capacity. Traffic will be extremely slow and if anything happens on the bridge we’re coming to a standstill,” said the association’s Louise Yako.

This is a similar dynamic to what surprised highway planners on the Port Mann Bridge: rather than paying the $3.15 toll to cross the Port Mann Bridge, many drivers opted for the free alternative of the Pattullo Bridge.

That’s one factor that has caused the bridge to report stunning losses: $82.5 million in the fiscal year of 2015-16, according to the Transportation Investment Corporation, which is a crown corporation that operates the span. …

The traffic assessment also pointed out that the Oak Street Bridge traffic has reduced to 2005 levels after commuters were given the option of the parallel Canada Line.

“Since commuters have adjusted to the introduction of the Canada Line, vehicle volumes have adjusted to the introduction of the Canada Line, vehicle volumes on the Oak Street Bridge have been declining year over year, particularly on weekdays,” the report says.

Pachal called a decision to spend $3.5-billion on a bridge that may not recoup its construction cost through tolls “insane.”

He said a plan to charge drivers for the roads they use is the only way to reduce congestion across the board.

“The region’s been calling for a comprehensive road pricing strategy,” he said. “You can’t build your way out of congestion – that’s been shown in city after city in the world.”

And increasing public transit as proposed by Metro Vancouver’s mayors to get people out of their cars should be the first option, he said.

“For $3.5 billion, we get one bridge, or half of the mayors’ transit plan, and I know what I would go for if I had the choice,” he said.


Some observations:

  • Good for CTV News for covering this.  Why not others – and more importantly, why is Massey not being discussed in the context of its regional impacts?  Massey is not a congestion issue; it’s a regional growth issue – and the kind of region we want to build.
  • MOTI continues with the usual ‘predict and provide’ forecasts.  ‘We had this kind of growth in the past; we will predict it will continue on the same path in the future.  Therefore, we must build more of what caused the growth in the first place.’
  • ‘Please ignore that we were wrong about Port Mann – and that factors like tolling are more important than we ever anticipated.’
  • ‘More than that, please ignore the seven- and eight-figure annual deficits on just one of our projects alone.  Above all, do not compare us to TransLink or suggest that there should be a referendum (and a questioning of our competence) on such projects as Massey.’
  • Did MOTI commission any studies on what changing behaviours and technologies are likely to do to their forecasts?  
  • Did MOTI commission any studies on what level of expanded transit might do to the need for a 10-lane bridge as a replacement for Massey?  And once built, will Massey be seen to make transit an unnecessary expenditure, unlikely to serve the kind of car-dependent growth that Massey itself will generate?
  • Is MOTI really suggesting that the Oak Street Bridge will not see an increase in congestion as a consequence of Massey and a widening of Highway 99?  Do they have any plans for an expanded Oak Street or additional bridges to deal with the growth they will generate?  
  • What do they anticipate will happen to the traffic once it reaches Vancouver?
  • Why is not any of this part of the review they’re currently conducting?
  • Finally, why Nathan Pachal, a recently-elected councillor in the City of Langley, about the only one doing the research and getting it to the media?


111 thoughts on “Massey: The Psychology of Motordom”

  1. Thomas Beyer said:

    Why not toll all bridges ?

    Where is the TV report about massive delays at Lionsgate bridge, and missing 3 lanes there ?

    Where’s the TV report about the lack of subways on the northshore, to the northshore, to UBC in light of a massive plan to build out Jericho lands ?


  2. Thomas Beyer said:

    Rather than lamenting a new bridge, perhaps we ought to lament lack of tolls and lack of timely Patullo Bridge upgrade ?

    Car and truck use is far too cheap, and that is why it is overused. If we had a $10 rush hour toll, and a $5 non-rush hour toll people would use the bridges less and shift behavior to off hours.

    No wonder I don’t watch TV anymore. It is such sensational drivel and garbage usually. CTV now has massive competition from CBC as it shows the Olympics.

    Meanwhile, on Annacis Island:

    We pack more and more people into Metrovan, plus exports and imports are expanding to/from Asia, yet the transit and road infrastructure doesn’t keep pace. Why is that ? We obviously need investment into both !


    • Jeff, are you saying there is no benefit to society from increased individual mobility? No society has ever grown by slowing down, as much as the Hollyhockers would have one believe the opposite.


      • Jeff Leigh said:

        Not saying that at all. I just think that societal benefits should be tallied up against societal costs, and individual benefits against individual costs.

        I also don’t think that single occupant motor vehicles hold the monopoly on individual freedom.


  3. Interesting to see that the provincial government traffic assessment for the Massey Tunnel has around 80,000 vehicles going through a day, as opposed to 34 bikes on the busiest days – Wednesdays.

    79,966 vehicles and 34 bicycles.

    There certainly is a little way to go before bikes are serious contenders across this point along the river.


    • Jeff Leigh said:

      How many vehicles go across each day on a trailer? That is the number to compare to the current bicycle volume.


      • Bicycles are not permitted to be ridden through the tunnel. It’s officially known as the Bike Shuttle. The volume drops to 11 bikes a day in November.

        Cyclists are clamouring for the new bridge. Numbers are expected to go up, maybe even into triple digits – on a sunny day.


      • Jeff Leigh said:

        That’s right, bikes are not permitted to be ridden through the tunnel. They have to be carried on a trailer (the ones you are counting) or in a vehicle. So why would you compare that volume to the volume of vehicles driving through the tunnel? Again, how many vehicles were carried through the tunnel on a trailer? That would be a direct comparison. It is your point, so show us the data.

        Not sure who is clamouring for a new bridge.

        The Lions Gate Bridge is showing 60,000 bike trips per month. 2400 some days. Tell us why you think this bridge, if it is built, will be significantly different in terms of bicycle trips than that crossing.


        • We know that cyclists are a wealthy demographic. We hear that in regard to easing the concerns of businesses when anther bike lane goes in. What do think is reasonable to consider as a bike toll on the new bridge?

          As we know, the shuttle is free, as is the Canada Line bike bridge but we need to build funds for more bike lanes. Should we be charging a couple of dollars per crossing?


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          I don’t think we have discussed people on bikes being a wealthy demographic. We have discussed that people who bike typically have more money available to spend in shops than people who spend money on a vehicle, whatever their demographic.

          We could talk about a bike toll. But first we should bring the spend on cycling infrastructure up to a representative proportion compared to our spending on motor vehicle infrastructure. There is a long way to go. Then once we accomplished that, we could look at our mode share targets and decide which mode needs taxing more and which doesn’t, to achieve the published targets. Next, we could take a holistic view and look at the costs and benefits to society relating to each mode, things like health care costs for example. Add that in. Once we do all that, you should bring up your bike toll idea.


        • Jeff, You should check out the HUB cycling web site.

          Quote “…Here are studies that show people cycling end up spending more money in shops than their driving counterparts. ” Tell that to McArthur Glen and Tsawwassen Mills.

          Remember that those “mode share targets” you talk about are your targets and the TransLink and Mayors’ Council targets. Since the financial plan concocted to realize the Plan was thoroughly rejected by the populace perhaps it’s time to revise the Plan. This has to include the financing, as well as other aspects of the now completely unrealistic and unrealizable Plan.

          In a democracy a total rejection of an issue that is brought to a vote cannot mean that the vote is ignored and everything stays the same.

          The insistence of transit and bike infrastructure proponents to forge ahead with grandiose plans that were rejected is increasingly being seen as anti-democratic, as well as a slap in the face to the people that took the trouble to vote.

          The people de-facto called for a wholesale rewriting of the Plan and the financing for it. Organizations that ignore this, risk further condemnation by the citizenry.

          We cannot expect another vote on just what the public of the region would like, including which aspects they favour. This would be too much to ask and too risky for the militant proponents and their massive PR network.

          Even His Happiness Justin has made it perfectly clear that the required second tranche in funding for transit will not be forthcoming until after plans have been refined and, importantly, a second federal Liberal mandate has been confirmed. This means 2019 before even a possible go-ahead, as long as the money is still sloshing around.

          Now, then, we are looking at 2020 before any possible contracts are tendered, so more like 2021 for any first ground breaking and 2026 for the earliest of any new rail line or extension. In that ten years we can expect another 300,000 people in Metro Vancouver and, as we know, the big growth is coming to Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond, etc., with less to Vancouver. Even if the 66% of commuters that drive a vehicle, plus the trades people, is reduced to 50%, we are still looking at another 150,000 vehicles commuting to work in 2026.


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Eric says “You should check out the HUB cycling web site.”

          Thanks, I am familiar with the site, and the studies. You should read them. They refer to spending, not earnings. One might conclude that because they aren’t spending money on automobiles and running costs to the same extent as drivers are, that people who shop by bike have more money available to spend in shops, other than gas stations and car dealerships, of course. Do you have earnings studies?

          You will recall that we voted on a sales tax, not a transportation plan. Also, you appear to be blurring CoV and Metro plans.

          Don’t worry about mode share targets if that is a bridge too far for you. First, just answer the point about proportional spend. After that, we can get into the health care system cost benefits.


        • Adanac said:

          Wealthy demographic? Well, I suppose some could be wealthy but I would say many rely on their bike as the only transportation that they can afford.


        • Jeff; let’s keep within the guidelines and be brief. Anyone who thinks the CoV and Metro plans differ is deluded. Many of the same people work on or are directors of both organizations. One has a 2040 Plan, the other a 2041 Plan. It’s all family.

          We voted on this: “Do you support a 0.5% Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, to be dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan?”

          I think we can assume accurately that most people read the question and understood that they were not too concerned with a penny more for a cup of coffee. It was all dedicated to the Plan.


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Eric: you have at various times claimed that the referendum was on additional taxes (ie costs), Translink leadership, and the strategic plan. It is hard to keep up with the spin.

          Briefly, still no response on proportional spend by mode share?


        • Sorry for the delay Jeff. My number crunchers left out the $55 million to buy the Arbutus Super Cycle Speedway and, of course, the tons of asphalt our buddies at Engineering are laying down. The numbers are being revised and updated. I think the new Beatty Bike Lanes were included, not sure whether the new stretch along SW Marine Drive has been included. Can you give us a ballpark figure on that and the Burrard Street and Burrard Bridge lanes too, please? It’s a moving target, so to speak.


        • Eric, since Arbutus is to be walking/cycling/streetcar, we can take 1/3 the purchase cost for cycling. The temporary path is to be multi-use. If you are concerned about use of asphalt, you should advocate for closing down roads and removing surface parking SW Marine is a small part of a major road rebuild. Burrard Birdge bike lanes cost $0 since they are upgrades from general traffic lanes. Safety upgrades at intersections at either end is mostly because of death and injury inflicted by car drivers, so we can add this to the car subsidy. The city spends peanuts on cycling as compared to walking and driving. The rest of the region spends much less. Yet 7% of trips by CoV residents are by bike with less than 50% by car. The benefits achieved by the meager investment are huge: improved mobility, reduced motor vehicle congestion, less noise, less pollution, improved health. This is a money tree for transportation compared to the black hole for our taxes which is automobile transportation.


        • Eric, further to the above, CoV estimates that the cost savings for the Broadway Subway will be about $40 million due to not having to build a support structure for the railway crossing strong enough to support a heavy train. Also, with some development adjacent to the corridor, CoV will probably be ahead in the end, so you can get your number crunchers to subtract the $55 million from your calculations or even $55 million/3 for the cycling component. Further to your concern for use of asphalt – I know how you hate the tar sands and don’t want to see their product used in green CoV – you may want to advocate for reduced asphalt use in parks – take Kits Beach and Haddon Parks as an example. I estimate that the current multi-use walking/cycling path takes about 3900 sq m of asphalt so you can take 1/2 of that for cycling. The car parks and roads in the parks take over 10,000 sq m of asphalt. Then there are the tennis courts, basketball courts, paved walking paths. Why are people so obsessed about a paved multi-use path on the Arbutus Corridor?


        • Arno; You make a strong case and the numbers are impressive. It makes one wonder why the CoV doesn’t just go ahead and put in 1st class bike lanes all along Broadway, and Kingsway too. This is obviously not a cost but an financial benefit. A profitable investment. An earner. No expense is too great.

          Alberta is struggling now so this is a good time to buy millions of tons of asphalt. Let’s let Alberta know that here in BC we want their tar and bitumen and lots of it because we are paving as fast as we can. Let’s tell Fort Mac in no uncertain terms that here in Vancouver we want them to keep on drilling and to keep on pumping! Yay!


      • Adanac said:

        There would be more than now. People want to get their bikes to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal so they can bike on the Gulf Islands and the Lochside Trail but what deters many is that the tunnel shuttle runs at very sparse intervals and the bus only carries two bikes. If you could ride all the way (on nice paths) to Tsawwassen then many more would.


        • Thomas Beyer said:

          Mentioning Massey Bridge and bike in the same sentence or thread is ludicrous. This bridge is to enhance commerce first and foremost and secondly to enhance vehicle flow. Bikes is an after thought given the distance from any major urban center.

          Keep in mind there are very few bridges over the Fraser, and many are already congested we really ought to ask: where else should there be bridges (or tunnels) ?

          All crossings in MetroVan are major bottlenecks and we need to make MANY crossings wider, incl. LionsGate, Second Narrows, Boundary Road extension south, Massey, Patullo and maybe build three or 4 more. All tolled, of course.

          Lionsgate bridge for example was built in the 1930’s and now 80 years later it still is the same bridge. It is utter insult to W-Van and N-Van residents and all those that like to go to the north shore once in a while !


        • @Thomas

          I would prefer for us to properly price the use of transportation then figure out which form of transportation needs expansion.


        • In the latest design (I believe) of the Massey Bridge, cycling isn’t included. Neither is transit. There’s a place for walking though on the sides. It’s mostly for motor vehicles.
          So basically the same things missing from almost all the other bridges out there.

          If they would devote some of it’s width as a dedicated transit corridor (BRT or Skytrain) and if they wide protected cycle lanes on it (along with low grade ramps) then they wouldn’t have so much opposition to it.
          But I doubt that they even care if there’s opposition. They want to bring in big ships and that’s that. They can’t imagine that anyone in any sizeable number even takes transit or bikes.


        • Thomas Beyer said:

          I bet many folks in W-Van would happily pay $10/crossing if there weren’t lineups. So yes, toll them until the traffic flows ! And add capacity where needed, obviously, too as the population of most cities served by various bridges is 100-200% bigger than when the bridges (or the tunnel) were built !


        • Adanac:

          There will be dedicated lanes:

          Improved transit – dedicated transit/HOV lanes between Bridgeport Road in Richmond and Highway 91 in Delta, new transit-only ramps at Bridgeport Road to improve access to Canada Line, and integrated transit stops at the Steveston Highway and Highway 17A interchanges.

          Improved cycling and pedestrian access – with a new multi-use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians that will provide safe and convenient access between Delta and Richmond and connect to the existing network at River Road in Delta and Steveston Highway in Richmond.


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Eric: transit/HOV lanes, yes. But how about funding for the equipment to run on them? Or are they just empty lanes? I don’t mind that the company that will be awarded the bridge project doesn’t provide buses. But the provincial government needs to step up and fund transit alternatives along this corridor.

          MUPs/sidewalks, sure. But how can they be safe and convenient when they don’t connect? The short section of River Road doesn’t connect to any network, and Steveston Hwy doesn’t even have bike lanes. The bridge sidewalks are currently dead ends. There is time to fix this, though.


        • Jeff; We know the entire province is providing the funding for the bridge and all the necessary transit and bike lanes and paths on it. It’s up to the municipalities and TransLink to do their part. Both the federal government and the province recently came forward with millions for the transit vehicles. TransLink have also come forward with millions for the Canada Line bicycle bridge. The province has also promised millions more for more buses, etc.

          Have you been in touch with Richmond about the Steveston Hwy deficiencies you see?


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Eric: we haven’t seen any promises to buy transit equipment for lanes across a bridge that hasn’t been built yet.

          The Canada Line multi use path (not bicycle bridge, you’re spinning again) was opened in 2009. Time for a new example.

          Richmond, and Delta, are well aware of the lack of connectivity. Remember that it is a Provincial project, that it extends for 24 km, and that MoTI has a policy to include cycling infrastructure on all their road projects. If you think Richmond should be responsible for paying gaps in an MoTI project, should they pay for Hwy 99 improvements as well?


        • Jeff; TransLink is the correct authority to direct buses and their routes. The province doesn’t do that. If TransLink expects any new route to be viable then they purchase equipment to service it.

          The CoV wouldn’t want the province designing and building their bike lanes. Are you suggesting they should in Richmond and Delta?


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Eric: Translink is the correct authority, the province has the control over the funding. Until the province provides the funding, it is not reasonable for them (or their spokespeople) to claim transit benefits as part of the proposed Massey Tunnel replacement bridge.

          Certainly the province should design, and pay for, cycling infrastructure on the routes they are responsible for. Reference the recent upgrades to the cycling and multi use paths along the Stanley Park Causeway, another section of Hwy 99. Designed and paid for by the province. Within the City of Vancouver. It is a straightforward concept, with clear precedence. Especially when MoTI policy requires it.


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Eric: “If Translink expects any new route to be viable…”

          But you have claimed transit benefits for the project. You now appear to be doubting the viability, despite your promotion of the business case for the project.


        • ” any new route …” Jeff. Is the new bridge considered to be a new route that deserves new articulated buses, or will the existing bus inventory be employed?

          I guess it all depends on whether Translink will be running more buses too. Which will be the most attractive route too. There will be many to chose from.

          Tsawwassen Mills is hiring 4,000 employees. Can they all come from Tsawwassen and South Delta? I doubt it. A good transit service will be welcomed.

          There are also all the other growing municipalities to the south, as well as the ferry terminal.

          Going north is YVR with 23,000 employees. We know that many of these come from Delta, Ladner and Surrey, as well as Richmond. This translates to more employees at the airport than at UBC and SFU combined! Imagine if one wants to travel from Newton to YVR for work. It’s an hour and 45 minutes, once you’re on the bus. So door to door is around two and a half hours. It’s no wonder that the 91 and the Alex Fraser Bridge is crowded with commuters. If they catch it right it’s 40 minutes in their own car.

          South Surrey is projected to grow over the next 20 years by around 50,000, no wonder all those new schools are being built. Much of the traffic goes along the 99 corridor.

          Stephen Reese probably knows whether Translink has a surplus of buses, or if they need to buy new ones.


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Eric; It was your claim, above, that there would be improved transit because of the new transit lanes. Recall that there already are queue jumper lanes for buses. The only way more lanes would improve transit is if you put more buses on them. If it is the same number of buses, they could use today’s lanes.

          So now you can’t show evidence of any more buses, hence no improved transit.

          We have now debunked your claimed benefits for transit (here), bike lanes (not connected at either end) and it being all about trucks (well, 95% debunked, since there are 5% trucks during rush hours).

          Are we now agreed that it is just for commuter vehicles?


        • I was copying from the government documents, as you probably know. Yes, there will be improved transit and, as we all know, it’s Translink through the Coast Mountain Bus Company that decides what and which buses.

          The queue jumper lanes aren’t much good, like today, when there was a crash inside the tunnel. Nothing was getting through at one time. Traffic southbound was congested all the back to the Oak Street Bridge.

          With the new bridge we won’t have to be concerned about many impediments to the smooth flow of buses. Although they benefit from queue-jumper lanes, buses must still merge with the general traffic through the Tunnel, since there is not enough space in the Tunnel to support dedicated transit/HOV lanes. Bus traffic is estimated to increase by 125% over the coming years. Small vehicles by 55%.

          So no debunking because it’s not true. Remember too that truck traffic is projected to increase by 2045 by 170%. These are categorized as big multi-wheeled trucks.That’s not chump change.

          And, of course, bikes will have a lane for themselves and the rare pedestrian, instead of the shuttle that is used today.

          Nowhere is there any published measurement of the lowly commercial vehicle, the tradesperson carrying tools and equipment. The labourer, the appliance repairer, the installer, the cleaners and the fitters and all the other professionals that keep our society running. They too are a substantial component of tunnel traffic.

          They are not commuters on a regular route with just a bag or a briefcase. They go where needed and often to a different locale. They are the ones that overwhelmingly support and look forward to the new bridge, along with bus travellers, truckers and cyclists.

          Not to ignore either: An important additional consideration is that Highway 99 carries a signficant amount of B.C.’s tourism traffic, accessing destinations such as BC Ferries, YVR, Whistler, the Canada- U.S. border, and Port Metro Vancouver’s cruise ship terminals. For northbound afternoon traffic, delays are highest in July and August – the season of greatest tourist and vacation traffic demand. For example, in recent years, August peak hour delays have ranged from 30 to 45 minutes.

          We will build it; and they will come.


    • Eric, do we justify the cost of a new bridge by counting the number of people currently swimming across a gap? For the best part of a century, we have had quite decent networks for motor vehicles and transit, however there are still huge gaps in the cycling network. Until these gaps are fixed by building safe and convenient cycling infrastructure, the full potential of cycling will not be realized.

      In terms of tolls for bike riders, please see:
      Each km driven in Metro Vancouver costs society $0.55 while each km cycled contributes $0.15 to society. Transit is somewhere in between. Investing in cycling will get more people cycling. This is like a money tree for transportation. Why would you want to restrict this by imposing tolls?


      • Arno, Why does the Vancouver City plan, adopted by council, specifically only target motor vehicles to finance its overall: pedestrian, cycling and transit plan?

        “Transportation 2040 – Actions
        T 6.1.1.
        Continue working with funding partners to expand stable, equitable funding sources to meet transit demand and achieve ridership goals. Potential sources include (but are not limited to):
        a. increased fuel taxes;
        b. a regional carbon tax;
        c. vehicle registration fees; and
        d. regional road pricing.
        Favour options that do not increase property taxes and that encourage sustainable modes.

        While fares are an important part of TransLink’s revenue stream, they do not—and should not be expected to— cover all costs of transit. ”

        Why should the tradesperson, who needs a vehicle for work, be penalized financially, to subsidize a transit user. Are they not both equally holy?

        If the answer is that the worker carrying heavy equipment should be subsidized by taxation deductions from other levels of government, then we are simply creating a wider gap in what people need to earn because the tradesperson has to earn more through higher prices to everyone, to be able to pay the higher costs.

        Should we not be trying to lessen the gap between the higher and the lower income groups?


      • The problem with the kind of study you quote is that they tar car useage with only “costs” and do not enumerate the “benefits”. If there were no benefits to car use then you would hardly expect the overwhelming majority of the populace to lay out the yearly investment, would you?


        • But there is still a huge cost to society which everyone must to pay for.. I maintain that automobile transportation is probably the biggest social program in Canada.


        • Arno; Automobile and other vehicles were introduced to remedy a serious pollution problem.

          Did you read about the manure crisis of 1894?

          Reliance upon equine transportation produced unpleasant consequences in respect: urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, and traffic accidents. The main problem, however, was manure. A horse produces between 7 and 15 kilos of manure daily. In New York in 1900, the population of 100,000 horses produced nearly 1,200 metric tons of horse manure per day, which all had to be swept up and disposed of. In addition, each horse produces nearly a litre of urine per day, which also ended up on the streets.

          Land had to be dedicated to grow food for horses, instead of people.

          More here:


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          Bob, are you comparing social costs with individual benefits?


        • “Automobile and other vehicles were introduced to remedy a serious pollution problem.”

          LOLing. That’s some big-time historical revisionism going on there!

          Here’s a fact sheet for children to help clear up the misconception.


        • The First International Urban Planning Conference.

          Chris; Don’t poo poo the environmental benefits of the internal combustion engine. The first item on the agenda of the first urban planning conference was horse poop.

          “IN 1898, DELEGATES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE gathered in New York City for the world’s first international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by horse manure. ”

          If you think a little rise in the level of the oceans is something to worry about, then consider what people in the late 19th Century were projecting.

          “In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950 every street in the city would be buried nine feet deep in horse manure.”

          Vicious Killers.

          “As difficult as it may be to believe given their low speeds, horse-drawn vehicles were far deadlier than their modern counterparts. In New York in 1900, 200 persons were killed by horses and horse-drawn vehicles. This contrasts with 344 auto-related fatalities in New York in 2003; given the modern city’s greater population, this means the fatality rate per capita in the horse era was roughly 75 percent higher than today. Data from Chicago show that in 1916 there were 16.9 horse-related fatalities for each 10,000 horse-drawn vehicles; this is nearly seven times the city’s fatality rate per auto in 1997.”

          Click to access Access%2030%20-%2002%20-%20Horse%20Power.pdf


        • Good read. Certainly highlights a problem we no longer have, and for which private motoring no longer represents a solution, esp. with the potentials we have for less polluting transportation. Don’t forget to include the last line of your referenced quote.

          “But with determination and inventiveness, perhaps one day the environmental consequences of the private car will be as dim a memory as the horse
          pollution crisis of the nineteenth century”

          Gonna go out on a limb and suggest more cars and more lanes of roadway isn’t what constitutes determination and inventiveness.


        • Anonymous said:

          Are we discussing whether we need the Massey bridge because otherwise we would have a horse manure problem?


        • Bob, the only cost benefit I can think of for commuting by car is possibly decreased trip time. (Though Thomas might want to factor in a benefit of less wobbliness than buses). This study does factor in the time cost of all modes, so this possible car benefit is factored in. Probably not factored in is the amount of work time used to pay for the car and all associated costs – this can easily be 25% of someone’s salary, thus 25% or their work time. Probably not factored in to benefits of walking and cycling is the time bonus of getting exercise at the same time as transportation. I maintain that by cycling, one actually makes time, while driving always takes time.


  4. Cost benefit analyses and allocation of resources – how to compute?

    Some might poo poo manure, while in India it is scooped up as a resource (mostly, unfortunately, for fuel) while still steaming. Historically, it has also been used in Hindu kitchens, spread by hand over the floor, after which it dries to a hard, reputedly antiseptic surface (source: Time-Life Books – Cooking of India, p.11). The author states that her grandmother resurfaced the floor after every meal. Look out granite counters.

    Motor vehicles punish us with pollution, noise, economic hardship, crippling traumas, and death. The countervail must be monumental – or is the problem ego and lack of vision.

    We are brainwashed by the massive motor industrial complex, just as tobacco companies pimped their products. Millennials are less sucked into this vortex.

    At the very least, motor vehicle advertising must be treated just like cigarettes.

    More importantly, motorists should pay per km travelled; tolled to their senses – just like a taxi – no more mindless cruising or “super commutes” because Joe Blow lives far from work. These motorists are like invading Mongols degrading our neighbourhoods.


  5. Anonymous said:

    Thomas, hop on the Seabus and come to the North Shore. Bring your bike, take a bus at the Quay, or get a car2go or Evo car.

    BTW 30% of persons crossing the Lions Gate Bridge are in buses. This is an older figure. The share might be even higher now.


    • Thomas Beyer said:

      Love to hike more on the north shore. But to get there from UBC is an ordeal of 1.75h to 2h one way until you’re at the trail head with public transit. Even with the LG delays it is 60-75 minutes “only”. A subway/LRT to UBC would be a game changer, as would be a north shore subway from downtown, and then under Marine Drive and up Lonsdale. 2050 ? 2075 ?

      Yes I use car2Go a lot, or Evo as car2Go’s car is such a wobbly basic vehicle. Can’t wait for Uber and BMW’s ReachNow ( ) to come to Vancouver for slightly more comfort! In the mean time I invested here: for a game chnager in Vancouver. Trial at UBC starts this fall with a dozen to 20 vehicles and into Vancouver with 200+ vehicles in 2017 (if they can raise enough money) ! I will report back once ready here at UBC.


      • It takes 1 hour by ebike from UBC to the North Shore (not just to Lions Gate Bridge, but halfway through North Van).


      • Thomas, would you be happy if they built a subway from your home to everywhere you want to go? Your pleading for subways to everywhere appear to be just that.
        Maybe, just maybe, if you love to hike more on the north shore you’ve chosen to live in the wrong place.


        • Thomas Beyer said:

          I love the beaches and far more sunshine @ UBC more …

          e-bike is an option for fair weather indeed ..


  6. Anonymous said:

    Interesting discussion, but please know that the Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894 is an internet myth. A few tests for those who may be skeptical: a) find any reference to it prior to Sep 2004, b) find an actual name, date, or proceedings for the alleged 1898 conference, c) find an actual name and date for the alleged Times quote.

    In reality America’s First National Conference on City Planning as occurred in Washington, DC, in 1909. Britain’s first urban planning conference was the Town Planning Conference, held in London in October, 1910.


    • A Load of Cr*p

      Horse power

      Fifty-thousand horses were required to keep Victorian London’s public transport running. According to one writer of the time, these horses ate their way through a quarter of a million acres of foodstuff per year, and deposited 1000 tonnes of dung on the roads every day. The disposal of large quantities of horse droppings was a major problem. Dung could make the roads hazardous and unpleasant when wet. Crossing sweepers made meagre earnings clearing a path for pedestrians to cross and dung carts collected and deposited droppings on vast dung heaps in the poorer parts of town each day.

      To keep a single bus or tram on the road for 12 hours each day a team of 12 horses was required, each one harnessed for 3 to 4 hours and travelling about 15 miles. The horses needed to be fed, watered, stabled and groomed, and tended by blacksmiths and vets. Caring for the horses represented up to 55% of operating costs and was even greater if feed prices rose (such as following a poor harvest). The LGOC spent about £20 000 each year on horseshoes alone.

      In the latter part of the nineteenth century, operators looked for an alternative to the horse that would be both cheaper and more efficient. The electrification of the trams and the arrival of the motor bus in London just before the First World War caused the gradual demise of the working horse on London’s streets.

      ©2010 London Transport Museum & Transport for London


      • We’ve gone from the Horse Manure Crisis being the reason for cars (not) to using a London Museum blurb to validate a claim about NYC?

        Welcome to the new normal (again) Eric! 🙂


        • Some of us realize that New York, London and even Paris were large cities , at the same time, and all had thousands of horses on the roads for transportation.

          The advent of the automobile brought about environmental benefits.

          As Anne Norton Greene wrote in her 2008 Harvard University Press book (336pp), Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America; “In the Transition from animal to automotive power, Progressivism was a catalyst, through its critique of animal power. Its rhetoric about American Society emphasized a particular set of values and concerns. The key words of this rhetoric were “sanitation,” “efficiency,” “order,” “safety,” and monopoly. These were the terms in which urban Progressives argued against horses. Starting in the 1890s, Progressives identified urban horses as the cause of a host of social ills and prescribed adoption of the automobile as a solution.

          ” …density in 1900 of 446 horses per square mile, horses could generate as much as 5 tons of manure per square mile per day. The city of Philadelphia, with 129 square miles and a horse density of 394 in each, received 500 tons per day. Horse manure littered city streets, and along with other kinds of dirt was churned and pounded into a carpet that turned into muck in damp weather and dust in dry weather.

          Urban stables had already been the targets of cleanup campaigns and legislation during nineteenth-century epidemics of cholera and other diseases. Proponents of the new “germ” theories also saw manure as a source of disease …”

          The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seal depicted an angel descending to stop a teamster from beating his horse.

          The same disgust was felt in France.

          This reminds us that the internal combustion engine vehicle was originally seen as a en environmental blessing, for cleanliness, less disease and a relief to the cruelty exacted on horses.


  7. In 1895,[12] George E. Waring was brought to New York City, where sanitary conditions had become intolerable. Horses were leaving an estimated 2.5 million pounds of manure and 60,000 gallons of urine on the streets every day.[12] Horse carcasses rotted in the streets. Garbage piles reached a foot or two deep,[12][13] cleared only haphazardly by “ragtag army of the unemployed.”[12]

    Waring began by securing a law requiring horses and carts to be stabled overnight, instead of being left on the street.[12] He established a Street Cleaning Department, a white-uniformed corps of workers wearing pith helmets and pushing wheeled carts tasked with cleaning up city streets .[12] Waring’s men cleared a shin-deep accumulation of waste across the city. Horse carcasses were removed from the streets and sold for glue; horse manure was sold for fertilizer.[12] Other refuse was sent to dumps along the waterfront.[12] Waring’s crew even removed snow, packing it into trucks and dumping it into the rivers.[12]

    The success of Waring’s efforts was quick, dramatic and much appreciated by New York citizens. A parade was held for the sanitation works in 1896.

    New York 1893.


    • Interesting. So now we have a similar problem in that the excessive use of fossil fuels is filling the air with CO2; our planet is warming quickly and climate is becoming more intense. Luckily the mayors of progressive cities and the leaders of progressive countries are tackling the problem as we speak. However, much more needs to be done or we will be up to our galoshes not in horse manure but in ocean water as it floods the lowlands.

      That is why promoting the automobile over transit, walking and cycling is like those of a past era continuing to promote the horse when improved technologies were available.

      The big problem with humanity is that we use new technologies to address current problems but then use the new technology until way after its best before date. Also, some of the best solutions to the horse problem were the electric streetcar and the electric automobile. Unfortunately, the gasoline engine ruled and we are only now realizing the unfortunate consequences.


    • I don’t think anyone is disputing the fact horses poop a lot Eric. It’s your claim that automobiles were ‘introduced’ to combat the issue that seems like quite a stretch.

      Nonetheless, if we are jumping in the Way-Back machine, I think the take-away from that trip into the past is not that motoring was a panacea for manure, or that we should continue down the road of SOV reliance, but what might have been if the money spent on facilitating private vehicles had been spent on creating and expanding public transit.

      Suppose we concede your point and agree that cars saved us from living amongst huge piles of crap? Are you trying to tell us that we should continue on that path today? What does that scenario look like? Actually, don’t. It’s far too nice a day to contemplate that nightmare.

      Political leadership isn’t pandering to popular opinion, esp. when we can see it leads to bigger problems down the road. We need people in public office willing to take a stand for tomorrow’s citizens, instead of being willing to sacrifice their economic and environmental health for today’s votes.


      • Chris Keam: “Political leadership isn’t pandering to popular opinion .”

        Quite right. The people of the democratic world need far more leaders that are utterly and completely sanctimonious. The last thing they need is for their leaders to indulge their desires.

        That’s what elections are all about. Voting into office people that disagree with your wants, needs and wishes.

        Those living in dictatorships already have the joy and benefits of being ruled by leaders that do not pander to the peoples’ intentions. Rulers that ignore popular opinion are always the one’s that history remembers.

        By the way Chris, horses don’t poop a lot, they are just large.


      • Thomas Beyer said:

        An individual vehicle (be it a car, an e-car, a Vespa or a bike) means freedom. Free to chose when to ride, with whom to ride, at what temperature to ride, in what comfort level to ride, when to stop, how long to stop. Public transit as a “one size fits all” solution is just not feasible for all. For some only. Many value their freedom and are willing to pay for it. Many chose not to pay $2.10 for a 30 minute bus ride but chose to pay $15 to ride at their own pace, in their own vehicle with music blaring, top down (or up), A/C on or not, in style with luxury leather seats, or with cheap plastic ones. THEIR choice. Never ever forget that.

        Why live ? So I can chose !


        • Adanac said:

          I agree. This is why my position is one of having choices. In the past we were given one choice. Now people have demanded more choices are getting a few of them. This is good and some of the newly re-introduced things should not be seen to threaten what was once the only choice. It should be seen as accompanying it.


        • Thomas Beyer said:

          Indeed we have choices, and many people chose NOT to use public transit as it is
          a) very slow
          b) often very uncomfortable (too dirty, too many folks, too hot, too smelly, ..)
          c) inconvenient (i.e. too many changes, wait in the rain for 15 minutes for the next bus, etc.)

          Time is money and only if RAPID transit is introduced into the mix will more people switch ! Some people will never use it.


        • d) Impractical: they need their tools and equipment for their trade with them.

          e) They don’t live within reasonable walking distance of even a bus stop.

          f) Their work schedule includes night times when transit is unavailable.

          g) Their work day can include multiple destinations that cannot be accomplished by buses, in one day.



        • Adanac said:

          Well, I have seen tradespeople on the bus with their tools.

          Again, this is why we have choices. It all depends on the trip being planned. Factors such as versatility of movement, price, time, parking, etc. are all factors in any decision.


        • Yes. The plumber with the oxy/acetylene tanks. The arborist with his chainsaw. The cleaners with all their mops and brooms, buckets and a vacuum cleaner. The carpenter with his skill saw, his hammers and a table saw. The roofer with his blow torch and propane tanks. The window cleaner with his 30′ ladder. The gardener with his spades, mower and pruning saw. The painter and his 10 gallons of paint – and his step ladder. …


        • When it comes to transportation, few things would benefit the average tradesperson stuck in traffic more than being one of those people who use transit and free up road space for those who have no other option but to utilize a motor vehicle due to work realities. To decry their fate and do nothing about it… well, that’s just bad manners. Which transit routes did you say you use Eric?

          More than a few self-propelled tradespeople in the world for what it’s worth, and roofs, windows, gardens, and plumbing all pre-date the personal automobile, so it’s clear there’s possibilities that can be examined.


        • I’m a trades worker, so I carry around over 70kg where ever I have to go, in my vehicle. I keep a low profile so as to discourage theft. All is hidden which makes some cyclists think I’m a commuter.

          Not even the bike repair man takes transit.


        • You might hide the tools but I’d recognize the red neck.


        • Just curious. Do you believe that someone is going to force you to take your tools on transit or will take away your van?

          I ask because this is what it sounds like.


        • I generally drive sedans on the highway and road systems, this includes bridges and tunnels.

          Where traffic bottlenecks occur we expect the administrators to ameliorate the situation with road design modifications, which may include expansion of the roadway, even to the point of construction of supplementary roadways, or bridges or tunnels.

          The crossing of the Fraser River along the Vancouver-Blaine Highway 99 is a case in point.

          Due to chronic daily congestion, support for alterations of the highway at this point where it crosses the river is understandably very high amongst the local population; as repeatedly demonstrated by opinion polling companies.

          Opposition to the plan for a new bridge at this location is coming from supporters of transit, as well as some that hope that vehicular traffic will somehow evaporate, even though the regions to the south are growing faster than just about all the rest of the region.

          It is incidental that there is no plan or suggestion that Translink, or Metro Vancouver, run a rail service along this corridor, due to the impracticality related to the extensive routing, long distances and that an entirely new supplementary network would be required. Whether there is rapid transit across the river at Deas Island, or not, the increase in vehicular traffic requires a bridge that will serve the region. The governing administrators are calling for sufficient strength of the new bridge to be capable of supporting rapid-rail transit in the future, should this be eventually chosen by Translink, or their successor. This naturally increases the cost of the project, from planing to final construction but it also means that all modes of transport will be the beneficiaries.


        • Adanac said:

          I see now. So nobody is out to take your van away or force you into another mode. You just want more room because of all the competition there is now. It makes sense to me.

          I just want transit, walking and cycling parts to be enshrined in the design from the beginning. History shows us many examples of bridges or tunnels or streets that were proposed as being complete, have those things removed at some point in the project. The worry that it will be a monomodal bridge is justified.


        • Transit, including the possibility of a future rail line, is enshrined in the new design.

          It has to be expected that the cost of the new bridge will be very high if rail transit is in the bridges’ future.

          I wonder that if the small minority of opponents keep on complaining then the project might be cut back in scope and costs, so that the new bridge is under-built and will not be able to support rail transit.

          (Insights West poll showed a majority in favour. VanCity Buzz Poll shows 64.96% in favour and 24.66% opposed)

          Right now certain vocal spokespeople are constantly using their PR machines to oppose the construction of the bridge. It’s become a public relations and sound-bite game.

          Even some opportunistic NDPers are now trying to convince people that the project must be cut back in scope. For the opposition NDP, Clark’s new Fraser River mega-bridge is not about reducing traffic jams, it’s about getting re-elected.

          “It’s all politics,” said NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena. Interesting to note that Claire Trevena, the NDP transportation critic, lives in Campbell River, way up north on Vancouver Island, where the important issues on her web site are parking access to the Campbell River hospital, high speed internet for remote communities and BC Ferries. Claire is an ex BBC and CBC Toronto broadcaster. One has to wonder if she has ever actually passed through the Massey Tunnel.

          Are golf carts allowed in the Tunnel?


        • Thomas Beyer said:

          Is she lobbying for e-ferries and tripling the costs of crossing to V Island, too ? Or just no jets ?


    • Thomas Beyer said:

      Ditto with wood, coal and whale oil before that. Europe was once a massive forest. They fell it, or 80%+ of it to heat their homes. Eventually they discovered a new wonder fuel: coal. That was was used instead in such large numbers that air pollution became a problem. Hence the term “smog” which is a London invention of combining fog and smoke. Coal was then abandoned for natural gas which is many cases is still used today.

      Ditto, here in BC, and elsewhere, whale oil was also used to heat homes until natural oil was discovered not even 100 years. As we all know, whales were essentially killed in such large numbers, including here in BC that many species became extinct or almost extinct.

      So, one technology is used to replace another, and one benefit of the new technology creates other problems down the road (wood, coal, whale oil, oil, natural gas ..). Still today coal, gas and oil is used for MOST of electric power generation as it has such high energy density.

      Here is a picture of energy density by various technologies and it shows why oil, gas and coal still plays such a significant role today and will be so hard to replace, especially for transportation:

      A great book about all this is “The end of energy obesity” by Peter Tertzakian who is probably Canada’s premier energy economist. He sat on Rachel Notley’s panel for the oil & gas royalty review.


    • Anonymous said:

      No argument from me that manure was a huge problem. But the Wikipedia snippet Eric has provided about George Waring is more indirect evidence that the alleged 1898 urban planning conference never happened. Waring solves the NYC manure problem in 1896 and the alleged conference in 1898 disbands due to no solutions?

      This is clearly a side issue to the main discussion on this page, but there was no 1898 conference, and no Times quote about street buried in manure. It’s an amazingly successful internet myth invented by Stephen Davies in Sep 2004.


  8. Jolson said:

    Motordom is a conspiracy by the inland high ground cities to flood the low land cities and thus control the future well-being of places like Detroit, maybe.


    • Thomas Beyer said:

    • Jeff Leigh said:

      “The sea levels are rising?”

      Yes. Whether you look at the tidal gauges over a longer period,

      or the satellite record over a more recent period.

      You could get your science info from a business magazine, which might just have a political agenda, or you could go directly to a science organization, in this case NASA.

      Any more easy questions?


      • Thomas Beyer said:

        I note: they are rising, and have been rising well before Al Gore invented man made global warming.

        I also not no faster rise the last few years than perhaps 200 years ago in these charts (if they are accurate.)

        The solution ? Bike more ? Higher dykes ? Less construction in low lying flat lands ? Higher property taxes in Richmond and Delta to pay for it ? Or an expectations that all BCers have to pay for a life style choice of living in Richmond ? Or merely continued spending, debt creation and of course high civil servants’ salaries, benefits and pensions, and more of them ? You see these problems are related as we cannot afford to pay for both.


        • Al Gore’s pronouncements are irrelevant. All that counts is the science. Might we agree the Smithsonian is a fairly reputable source?

          “Today, sea level is 6 to 8 inches (15-20 centimeters) higher on average than it was in 1900. That’s a pretty big change: for the previous 2,000 years, sea level hadn’t changed much at all. The rate of sea level rise has also increased over time. Between 1900 and 1990 studies show that sea level rose between 1.2 millimeters and 1.7 millimeters per year on average. By 2000, that rate had increased to about 3.2 millimeters per year and the rate in 2016 is estimated at 3.4 millimeters per year. Sea level is expected to rise even more quickly by the end of the century.

          Scientists agree that the changes in climate that we are seeing today are largely caused by human activity, and it’s climate change that drives sea level rise. Sea level started rising in the late 1800s, soon after we started burning coal, gas and other fossil fuels for energy.”


        • Thomas Beyer said:

          20 cm per century ?

          Maybe, if no mini-ice age starts before then, or no volcano explosion covers the sky with ash for cooler temperatures for a few years or if predictions are not as accurate as thought, or El Nino, or warmer air starts to absorb more moisture and creates more clouds for cooling, or … Here is a link to the climategate emails, btw:

          But hey, 20cm is “catastrophic” .. let’s spend a few billion on its study and then a few hundred billion to mitigate it, just in case. Tax them citizens and build a large research and civil servants’ apparatus to collect taxes, discuss how to spend it, spend some of it, spend more money on more civil servants to supervise spending .. brilliant scheme.

          20 cm a century .. no need for alarm :

          btw: I still think we ought to create more land in the Fraser River and ocean flats as housing affordability TODAY due to lack of land is a far bigger issue than 20 com – 30 cm higher ocean levels in a century !


        • You’re evading the point Thomas. You claimed sea levels aren’t rising. You tried to deflect with a jab at Gore. You said the rate of rise wasn’t increasing. Now you are reduced to hyperbole, sarcasm, and a seeming disregard for the people who will live here in a hundred years.

          What we DO know is that your claims are erroneous so often that you’ve pretty much destroyed any reason to consider you a credible commentator — and that when called on it you try to avoid a simple ‘regret the error’ or mea culpa through ridiculing the people who are getting it right.


        • Was Ford making cars 10,000 years ago?

          I guess they were. Nasty people. Quick, let’s ban cars before we all drown!


        • The 10 maps contained in the GIF above show the movement of sea level at 1,000-year intervals leading up today:



        • Thomas Beyer said:

          Ah sarcasm, my friend. I asked “they are rising?” and then I stated “I note, they are rising”. So what is wrong with this commentary ?

          So yes it is rising by 20 cm a century. Hardly catastrophic. Plus they have been rising before Ford and them evil home heating Europeans started chopping down trees (and then coal, and then oil or gas) to keep warm.

          I asked YOU a question, and you didn’t answer: “Should folks in Richmond pay for their higher dam, or do we expect all BCers to pay for it ?” Or only car users and asphalt bicycle tires using bikers ?


        • Your question appears to be directed to Jeff, as it was posted two hours before I even entered the conversation, in response to his comments.


        • Jeff Leigh said:


          Al Gore didn’t invent anthropogenic global warming. You would have to look 100 years earlier for when it was first identified as an issue. Read up on it.

          Yes, the rate is changing. You could determine that by doing a change point analysis on the data on the NASA site, or you could read up. You can’t size it up from an armchair and call it science.

          The solution? Pretty big question, but let’s start with the first rule of holes. When you are in one, you don’t keep digging (or even worse, dig faster) and hope for divine intervention. You stop digging. So, let’s get a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and wean ourselves off of oil. Natural gas too, in case you were wondering. We doesn’t mean just BC, it means Canada, North America, and the ROW. Then, since we have already locked in significant warming due to greenhouse gas emissions to date, we can start talking about mitigation. Whatever it costs, it won’t be as much as waiting to fix it later. We should use the precautionary principle as our guide through this journey.

          I don’t understand your debt concern. While debt should be a concern, this statement isn’t consistent with your oft-requested plan to build subways everywhere, regardless of the ridership projections.

          Why would you worry about an ice age? Yes, we should be cooling, but we have reversed that and then some. Volcanos? Short term impact. El Nino? Doesn’t make heat, just redistributes it. Look up global energy balance. Climategate? Seriously? I thought only the extreme cranks considered that to be an issue. Every single investigation found no wrong doing. Mindless distraction.

          Should folks in Richmond pay for higher dikes? We are going to have much bigger problems than Richmond. If we look to the flood plain insurance claims out of Calgary, after the flooding, many of the payouts included clauses that essentially gave homeowners and others two options. Take the money and rebuild, but never again will there be another payment, or take the money and rebuild elsewhere. Might have application here.


        • Seriously?! He brought up Climategate? Jeff, you have way too much patience. Why do you bother with someone in such deep denial. He isn’t going to change.


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          RV: Yes, so I have been told. I have no expectation that these two posters will learn something or change their minds on this topic. But I am not posting for them. The posts are for the bystanders who may be taken in by the snake oil both Thomas and Eric are selling. That is less and less likely as time goes by, and the nonsensical nature of the claims becomes even more evident. We wouldn’t have seen something like the J.K.Rowling tweet a few years ago.


        • We are so reassured, now that we learn that Tweet from J.K.Rowling is, de facto, a peer review affirmation of planetary and universal confirmation of a hoax.

          I prostrate myself in reverence to such wisdom.

          But, on the other hand:

          The Geological Society of America

          Received 22 December 2014.
          Revision received 24 March 2015.
          Accepted 26 March 2015.

          Coral Islands Defy Sea Level Rise.

          “The geological stability and existence of low-lying atoll nations is threatened by sea-level rise and climate change. Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (~5.1 ± 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ~0.30 ± 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. We analyzed six time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 yr at 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll to determine their physical response to recent sea-level rise. Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level. Results suggest a more optimistic prognosis for the habitability of atoll nations and demonstrate the importance of resolving recent rates and styles of island change to inform adaptation strategies.”

          There is a rising tide dispelling the myth of tides rising.


        • Wow, I hope your quality control as a tradesperson is better than that of a link-anator. The excerpt above clearly reinforces the facts of sea level rise, its acceleration, and the need to address (adaptation strategies) this reality. No myth to rising sea levels.

          “The model depicts a delicate balance: if the combination of sea level change and island sinking deepens the water faster than the coral can grow, the reef will drown; if the coral grows faster than the water deepens, the coral growth will catch up with the sea surface, then slow down as the reef is exposed to eroding waves at sea level.”


        • Jeff Leigh said:

          References to sea level rise being a myth are nonsense. Eric even posted a link in his post which refuted his conclusion.

          Two points about applying the lessons of coral atolls to the rest of the world. First, we need to figure out if all the impacted areas in the ROW are built on coral. Then, given that coral atolls don’t grow in all directions, and that local inhabitants deal with that by picking up and moving, we need to consider the impacts of sea level rise on developed urban areas, which aren’t quite as easy to pick up and move.


    • Jeff Leigh said:

      Thomas, sometimes I think about how social media gives voices to the worst examples of denial of science. Then I see Twitter exchanges like this, and am glad that not just science communicators like Katie Mack, but also people without training in science but with a large public following, such as J.K.Rowlings, are participating.


      • “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

        P.T. Barnham


        • “Barnum is also affiliated with the famous quote “There’s a sucker born every minute.” History, unfortunately, has misdirected this quotation. Barnum never did say it. Actually, it was said by his competitor. Here’s the incredible story.”

          More appropriate w/r/t the bridge might be to paraphrase another common expression — ‘if you look around the traffic jam and you can’t spot the patsy….” Sad how many ‘build it and all will be well’ proponents can’t see they’re being played.


        • Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
          H. L. Mencken


        • See my remarks to Thomas above. You both can’t admit an error — and when they are as numerous as you two are prone to produce, the only sensible approach is to consider you an unreliable and erroneous source unless compelling evidence suggests otherwise. Evidence which neither of you have managed to produce IMO.


        • No matter who first coined the phrase, nobody can deny that there is a sucker born, at least, every minute.

          Just go down to Kits Point. People there are selling their homes for anything they can get, before the sea swallows them all up. Everything is dirt cheap. They all believe in Al.


        • When everybody is trying to politely tell you that you’re the sucker in this sad tale Eric, it may pay to listen.


  9. The Psychology of Motordom has evolved into a fecund discussion of feces. This is as it should be – feces are important. Critical. Treat them properly and you have flourishing gardens and clean water. Consider them a waste and you have manure lagoons next to hideous factory feedlots.

    There are good books (like the Big Necessity and Humanure); and Ted has a few talks on the subject – the most recent one on whale poo.

    Farming genius Joel Salatin treats manure as he treats his animals – with a mystical holistic respect. He has integrated pigs, chickens, and cows into the human equation. All of his books are worth reading and he is fascinating to listen to, whether on Ted, Bloomberg, Joe Rogan …

    Without trucking in chemicals and fertilizers his land flourishes; building topsoil and nourishing people in body and spirit.

    What would he think of Vancouver using diesel machinery to collect and transfer leaves to UBC? Insanity.

    Check out the TEDx talk: Everything You Know About Composting is Wrong. Leaves are amazing.

    In the West, many think it perverse that in India cows are considered deities, but lavish love and attention on dogs – picking up their poop – hermetically sealing these nuggets in plastic. Just one dog can supply 5,000 of these trophies during its lifespan – ardent anti-ecology. Arabs generally have no respect for dogs, except for the Saluki.

    In India, after eating a meal off a banana leaf, it is thrown into a bin where it is eaten by a cow which provides religious sustenance, milk, and useful patties. That’s metaphysical ecology.

    The West is appallingly anthropocentric. Which is why getting rid of blackberries is so difficult. You need goats to eat the canes; and pigs to snout out the roots – jobs these hard workers do with pleasure and alacrity – not like a blue collar driving a diesel, getting a pay check and smoke breaks; keen to share his excitement about the latest hockey game.

    The paradigm shift for Western Monkeys, with their fascination for all things mechanized, will be a long time coming.


    • Thomas Beyer said:

      You forget the issue of SCALE. We have 8B people today and we are growing, likely over 10B. Canada might have 100M people by 2100.

      Some things, like organic farming and living off the land works for a few thousand people, but not 2.5M we now have in the Fraser Valley, for example. For that we need mass produced food, clothing or vehicles.

      Some other numbers to ponder are that worldwide we produce 140,000,00 cars ANNUALLY and that we consume roughly 250,000,000 BOE daily (barrels of oil equivalent) DAILY, roughly 100,000,00 real oil and 150,000,000 other energy source such as coal, gas, hydro, wind, solar .. with the only resource flat-lining is coal, and both renewables, oil and natural gas growing to at least 2040:

      The key solution is ENERGY REDUCTION i.e. being more energy efficient, or being less energy obese. A great book about all this is “The end of energy obesity” by Peter Tertzakian who is probably Canada’s premier energy economist. He sat on Rachel Notley’s panel for the oil & gas royalty review. A good read !

      It shows that the critical issue is using less energy per GDP $ or per activity, say getting from A to B, say in a smaller car or more fuel efficient car. For example, the book show that it takes about 6-7 liters of gasoline or energy equivalent to move you from A to B using one liter of gas. The rest is: excess heat generated by the car when burning fuel, pumping gasoline to your car, shipping fuel to gas station, refining it, shipping it to the refinery and getting it out of the ground in the first place. In other words: if you use a smaller or more fuel efficient car to get you from A to B it actually reduces the demand by 6-7 liters overall. The Europeans have figures it out in Germany, Denmark or Switzerland, all affluent countries with very high gasoline prices and thus, far more fuel efficient cars than we have here usually.

      Another example would be flying less to meetings but rather have a 3D skype system in a hologram type conference room facility where almost lifelike facial expressions are beamed across taken from multiple cameras with high speed internet connections. So less meetings, less flying, thus less fuel burned.

      To do that we should raise gasoline prices, say $1 over ten years per liter, by 10 cents a year so people can then decide to get a smaller car, eliminate a second car, buy a hybrid or e-car, use car share or Uber more, or bike or walk more. That would make a real difference.

      ==> So energy efficiency is critical. Not a “back to the land” nirvana from 150 years or “roof top gardens and community gardens are the future”.


      • Your last sentence IS a form of energy efficiency.

        And could you please prove to us that organic farming produces lower yields than destructive agribiz factory farming. It may be more labour intensive but yields per acre are competitive from what I’ve seen. And we could benefit from more people working in clean environmental conditions.


        • Thomas Beyer said:

          Eat Organic, Kill the Planet ?

          “Organic farming is sold as good for the environment. This is correct for a single farm field: organic farming uses less energy, emits less greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide and ammonia and causes less nitrogen leeching than a conventional field. But each organic field yields much, much less. So, to grow the same amount of wheat, spinach or strawberries, you need much more land. That means that average organic produce results in the emission of about as many greenhouse gasses as conventional produce; and about 10 per cent more nitrous oxide, ammonia and acidification. Worse, to produce equivalent quantities, organic farms need to occupy 84 per cent more land – land which can’t be used for forests and genuine nature reserves. For example, to produce the amount of food America does today, but organically, would require increasing its farmland by the size of almost two United Kingdoms. That is the equivalent of eradicating all parklands and wild lands in the lower 48 states.”


        • Look at the author of this article. You can always cherry pick studies to support any opinion. Most studies that criticise organic and support petrochemical farming are backed by fertilizer and pesticide companies. They always fail to mention that industrialized farming kills the soil and locks in the requirement for ever more fertilizers. Farmers in India have been committing suicide by the thousands because they bought into these practices and quickly went bankrupt.


  10. Jeff Leigh said:

    Eric: “Right now certain vocal spokespeople are constantly using their PR machines to oppose the construction of the bridge. It’s become a public relations and sound-bite game”

    By “certain vocal spokespeople,” are you referring to every Metro mayor but one? You remember Metro, the group responsible for growth strategies and regional land use planning? Is it inconvenient when elected officials speaking out about issues they are responsible for are vocal?

    I agree the Massey replacement project is a PR and sound bite game. Led by the provincial government representatives who are championing it.


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