The Vancouver Sun has started a series of articles on traffic and congestion under the ominous title “Waiting for Solutions…The Getting There Scare”. It is a rather surprising title and has a rather surprising slant-that for you, the Vancouver Sun reader, your commute by car is going to get worse, and that by 2041 there could be an extra 700,000 cars on the road. Never mind that there may also be enhanced transit, higher density dwelling areas close to rapid transit stations and car shares that would mitigate such a commute. This article buys into the rhetoric that the car is king now and forever.
The rest of the series which will be published this week include articles on Cars Vs.Bikes , traffic on the North Shore, How to stay calm while driving, and Driverless Technology. I was looking forward to seeing a well-balanced discussion on transportation, modal splits, and an update on some of the announcements that have just come out from the Mayor’s Council on Transportation. But no,this is motordom’s response on how to keep cars moving to and from the suburbs, questioning the expenditure of gas tax revenue and the slow expansion of car related infrastructure.
“Metro drivers, who paid more than $1 billion in gas taxes in 2015, are asking whether enough is being done to reduce lineups…Motorists contributed $357 million of gas-tax money to TransLink in 2015, subsidizing transit with their wallets. They paid even more by sitting in traffic.Some of that $1 billion could be spent to upgrade traffic lights all over the city; in this day of electronic devices there is no longer any reason for drivers to sit at a red light at an empty intersection”.
Encouraging transit use actually would mean that there would be substantially less cars on the road, and active transportation users also factor into increasing road capacity for vehicles. The Sun quotes a UBC engineer who states that planners should be “modally agnostic” — not favour the bike over the car, but judge individual situations on merit” and that Vancouver may have “overreacted” by favouring bikes too much… It’s a Canadian thing to root for the underdog. Some people treat bikes as a religion. They’re evangelizing it, But cars are in the future for the long term.”
And now for my personal favourite: ““Vancouver planners have a different attitude, which creates conflicts when vehicles from the car-friendly suburbs enter the city” . Kudos to Vancouver’s Director of Transportation Lon LaClaire for responding directly stating “There is only so much you can do with a car. Walking, biking and transit are the transportation modes I really care about. To think this is ideologically driven is kind of crazy.”
The whole article reads as a statement/react piece by frustrated motorists, and is indicative of the single car focus so favoured by the Province in their massive infrastructure overbuilds and their relentless pursuit of a ten lane Massey Bridge. It is a good wake up call that there is still much education that needs to happen at the citizen level, and also a call for a more balanced and researched communication about the future of moving in Metro Vancouver.