Expected commuter crush on SkyTrain didn’t happen
When I first heard this story yesterday evening on the CBC tv news my initial reaction was that the system wide ban on cyclists on SkyTrain was an over reaction. But reading further in this story and reflecting on the CBC vox pops it seems that drivers in this region are indeed very reluctant to give up their cars and not a few professed ignorance to the closure of the Patullo.
Meanwhile, commuters crossing the Fraser River Tuesday morning faced long delays as the Pattullo Bridge remains closed.
The Port Mann Bridge was backed up to 200th St. in Langley at 7:30 a.m. because of the extra traffic load.
There were also long delays on the Alex Fraser Bridge and George Massey Tunnel because of the fire that forced the closure of the Pattullo Bridge on Sunday.
But again it was the roads leading up to these crossings that saw the worst congestion. It is the back up from the intersections that represents the “storage capacity” of the system.
Unsurprisingly there was also a press statement from Get Paving BC – their solution to every problem is to call for more roads and bridges. And Jordan Bateman honestly thinks that having additional capacity beyond current demand would actually be useful in providing some kind of safety margin in the event of closures in the future. Which of course is utter nonsense unless we build a few new bridges but keep them closed – and only open them when an incident forces the closure of another crossing. I cannot see that as being popular or affordable – or even defensible. The pressure to open more bridges is understandable but utterly misguided, because traffic expands to fill the space available.
What Monday demonstrated was that it takes time for the message to sink in. Everyone thinks that some one else will adjust so they don’t have to. The recognition that one’s own preferred routine has to be disrupted comes slowly because it is not palatable. And often once you have committed to a route – especially a controlled access freeway there is not much in the way of alternative immediately available. Recently Steveston Highway – where I live – was closed ddue to powerlines being down – and I happened to be one of the drivers diverted by that. The long and circutouis route via Dyke Road was only familiar to me becuase that is one I use when I want to go for a bike ride with no particular destination in mind. And that is much shorter because on a bike I can use the Horseshoe Slough trail. If I had known that the highway was going to be closed I would have planned accordingly but a uniformed police officer tells you “you can go left or left” there is nothing else you can do.
I suspect that on Monday those that did know said to themselves “how bad can it be?” and then found out. The coming days will show how adaptable we are.