Eight thoughts on the transit referendum results

  1. Welp.

  2. Thanks Christy Clark for your stunning display of leadership.

  3. Congrats to the ‘no’ side for winning! But the joke’s on you: nobody wins.

  4. Hello to higher property taxes!

  5. Property near SkyTrain stations just got more valuable.

  6. Time to buy stock in Metro Vancouver road-building companies, car dealerships, and auto mechanics.

  7. Chilliwack people? Hey how do you like that smog that we keep blowing your way? HAVE FUN NOW, SUCKERS!

  8. I’m still glad I voted ‘yes’, and would proudly do so again.

Down with the parkade!

For some reason New Westminster’s Front Street Parkade is back in the news. It appears that some people missed the years and years of public debate and consultation about the parkade’s removal and think that now’s the time to re-open that debate.

It isn’t.

The parkade is still a waste of money. The parking isn’t needed. It turns Front Street into a noisy, fume-laden disaster of a road. Visiting businesses on Front Street is, well, something nobody does. You don’t go for a stroll down Front Street like you would down any other street in New Westminster.

And now people want to save it? Hogwash.

Sure, turn it into a park. That sounds like a grand idea. A park that celebrates the disaster fifty feet below. A park commemorating the failed businesses of Front Street, perhaps. A park reminiscing about what Front Street could have been, if only the parkade had been torn down.

No. This nonsense has gone on long enough. Down with the parkade!

Referendum Facts: The Pattullo Bridge

No matter what happens in the upcoming Metro Vancouver transportation referendum, the Pattullo Bridge will be replaced, and it will be tolled.

The Pattullo Bridge went into service in 1937. It was constructed to the standards of the time, which means that today it is too narrow, it’s dangerous, and if an earthquake hits it’s coming down. It’s so dangerous that TransLink closes the central two lanes at night to prevent head-on collisions. Cycling or walking over the bridge is nearly unheard of.

In short, it’s a bridge in dire need of replacement. It will be replaced.

And tolls? In 2008 TransLink announced its replacement would be tolled. That was six years before any hint of a referendum. Tolling the replacement Pattullo is a foregone conclusion. At current traffic levels, a $3 toll would pay off a $900 million bridge in about 30 years, so the tolls would eventually be dropped.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s why voting ‘yes’ in the referendum is important for the areas around the Pattullo Bridge:

1) The 0.5% PST increase will fund its replacement.

2) Along with the big capital projects, bus and SkyTrain service will be improved. This means that transit in Surrey, Langley, Delta, and New Westminster will become more attractive, shifting some driving commuters to transit commuters. This will help to slow the increase in congestion around the Pattullo Bridge.

3) The LRT lines in Surrey and Langley will also help shift people away from cars to transit, as connections with SkyTrain from Surrey to New Westminster, Burnaby, and Vancouver will be easier for commuters to make. This will also help to slow the increase in congestion around the Pattullo Bridge.

And here’s what voting ‘no’ in the referendum will result in, around the Pattullo Bridge:

1) Property tax increases will fund its replacement.

2) Because bus and SkyTrain service is not improved, traffic around the Pattullo Bridge will get worse at a greater rate. In fact, keeping funding levels steady means that bus and SkyTrain service could get worse, as operational costs increase. This could shift transit commuters into cars.

Voting ‘no’ means you get a new Pattullo Bridge, have to pay tolls on it, and traffic gets worse.

Voting ‘yes’ means you get a new Pattullo Bridge, have to pay tolls on it, and traffic gets better. And with improved bus and SkyTrain service (and the Surrey/Langley LRT lines) you might decide to take transit and skip paying the tolls altogether.

Vote ‘yes’, not only for a new Pattullo, but for improved bus and SkyTrain service in Surrey, Delta, and New Westminster, and for less congestion over the Pattullo.

New Westminster Police Department steps up traffic enforcement

During his 2014 campaign, New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Cote promised to “target regular and consistent traffic enforcement to discourage drivers from cutting through local neighbourhoods.” Three days into his term, the effects of this promise were displayed as members of the New Westminster Police Department descended upon the Queens Park neighbourhood to apprehend a driver suspected of ‘rat-running’.

The above picture is courtesy Patrick O’Connor on Twitter, who also reported that a police helicopter was calling out with a bullhorn, warning the public to watch for a suspect on foot.

The truck was abandoned at the intersection of 2nd Street and 4th Avenue, along a common route taken by drivers trying to get onto the busy Pattullo Bridge, instead of sticking to the main arterial routes. The Queens Park neighbourhood is popular for these ‘rat-runners’, with some traffic calming measures already in place. 2nd Street has no speed humps or other measures, making it an ideal street for rat-running. Unluckily for the driver of this truck, this also makes it an ideal location for NWPD enforcement.

This police action is surely the first step towards stopping commuters from using New Westminster neighbourhoods as thoroughfares. Future actions will include deployment of spike strips and increased use of the PIT maneuver.