A survey on the Evergreen Line
Mike Clay is a Port Moody Councillor who has a web site, on which he has been running a survey of opinions on the Evergreen Line. One of my readers wrote to me and asked me to draw it to your attention, and hoped it would provoke some discussion.
I will kick things off by noting that the response rate is very low – 104 total. Of those, only 35 say they come from Port Moody and another 30 from the rest of the TriCities. The other thing that needs to be said is that this is a self selected sample: people who knew about the web page and its survey and could be bothered to go there and complete it. So in no sense can it be said to be representative of the opinions of those in the area. And it is quite easy, if you put your mind to it, to work out ways in which one individual could answer more than once.
I have commented here before on the Evergreen Line and the group which has been pushing for SkyTrain rather than light rail. So the link will take you there and I won’t cover the same ground again. And I have also noted that Port Moody is a bit of an anomaly in the suburbs as it has got transit oriented development – and could get more – but so far has only a B-Line and the last stop inbound on the West Coast Express.
What is also instructive is the extent of the comments that were posted at the open ended questions in each section – which again shows that those who did respond have a much higher level of commitment than the “average punter” type interviews – usually people who are not skilled enough to avoid market researchers who phone them at suppertime.
The real problem for the TriCities was that the provincial government decided to proceed with the Canada Line – and I have also written about how that decision was rammed through. At that time the completion of the LRSP “T Line” – essentially Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam Centre at one end and VCC to the west (and no one now agrees how far west it would have gone) at the other – was supposed to be the first priority. After all the original idea of developing the North East Sector was that it would be transit oriented, but there has never been and still is not adequate transit service in that area. So the traffic congestion through the area was entirely predictable. Especially around the interchanges at the north end of the Port Mann Bridge.
It now makes it very hard for me to answer the question put me earlier in the week by a journalist on my priority list for LRT in the region in future. We should have built both the Evergreen Line and the Broadway Line extension from VCC by now. But equally with the province determined to expand Highway #1, something to directly link North Surrey to Coquitlam is also essential, as well as rail for the Valley. Now if the sort of money being spent on Gateway were devoted instead to electric trains/trams, especially on existing tracks, we could actually build quite a lot of this. But asked to prioritize between them and I am afraid I had to duck. But I did make it clear that electric trains in general are to be preferred over highways.