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It’s good to see a stimulating discussion on the question of ‘What’s causing traffic congestion on the North Shore.’

Predictably, someone raises the idea of a Third Crossing (in addition to the Lions Gate and Second Narrows Bridges; SeaBus is not counted as a ‘crossing’ – which says a lot.)

M: … the long-term solution must be revisiting a Third Crossing option, which itself can probably only be rapid transit under the inlet. (A looping B-Line around the two bridges might be a stopgap but won’t get most people out of their cars.)

Let’s rule out the prospect of a transit-only Third Crossing.  As Frank Ducote noted: “West Van residents are wealthy and have clout. They will demand more than a bus.”  A bridge or tunnel will almost certainly carry traffic.

So here’s the First Rule when the discussion gets serious:

Any proponent of a Third Crossing must specify the closest major intersections for the entrances and exits of a bridge or tunnel and its associated works.

For instance, if the bridge or tunnel disgorges traffic at Main Street on the Vancouver side, will the affected intersection be Main and Terminal?  Or will there be a flyover or underpass at that intersection – in which case is the next major intersection Main and East 2nd?

And what happens then?

An unobstructed freeway-style lane can deliver up to 2,000 cars per hour.  Having to specify the next place in a corridor where several new lanes of traffic will begin to pile up makes the question of unavoidable congestion, well, unavoidable.  (Notice how MOTI never comes to grips with the impact of a massively expanded Massey crossing and widened Highway 99 on Oak Street.  They want to avoid that question at all costs by pretending it won’t happen – until they’re ready to propose the next major works to solve that problem.)

Third crossingBack to the Third Crossing: eventually the idea evolves to proposing an unobstructed corridor through Vancouver – essentially the freeway proposals of the late 1960s, of which the Third Crossing was a critical component.  Indeed, much of the advocacy for those public works came from political representatives on the North Shore, like Jack Davis – the kind of people who could never understand why people like them and their constituents should be stuck in traffic trying to get to or through Vancouver.

That hasn’t changed.  Which is why any conversation with North Shore advocates requires that they specify where their crossing proposal will land in Vancouver and what will happen then.