“Gateway Program a balanced solution”
Kevin Falcon, Special to the Sun
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2007
There a lies, damn lies and then there is the Gateway Program.
I am not going to reproduce all of this propaganda but, as expected, the little wooden headed puppet’s nose is getting longer by the minute.
we are acting now to reduce congestion, improve the movement of people and goods and provide access to key economic gateways.
Nothing will actually happen on the ground for several years. So congestion will continue unabated until then, as there is no strategy for transportation demand management (TDM). For one thing there are no resources available right now and costs of existing projects keep shooting up because of pressure on both labour and materials. A sensible response to this situation might be to introduce measures now that would make better use of existing resources: but that would mean resorting to common sense.
After the doubled bridge and new highway lanes are opened, the existing bottleneck will still be there – more lanes leading up to the bridges than lanes on them – so congestion will return. There is to be no congestion pricing – just a fixed toll – and that means getting the best rate of return for the P3 partner, who has therefore no interest in reducing demand, because that will cut into revenue. That is a different calculation from how do you get the best use of the infrastructure – which is not about moving vehicles, but people and goods. And there will be no toll on the freeway itself, so there is no restraint on the traffic making short trips along the freeway but not crossing the river – in other words, most of it. So we can expect to see traffic growing rapidly until the new capacity is more than fully occupied. That does not mean “reduce congestion” that means “increase congestion” which has happened in every region that has tried to cure congestion by building freeways.
the Gateway Project will implement key transit and cycling options that are currently impossible with today’s congested conditions and inadequate infrastructure.
Twaddle. Completely untrue. Go to the MoTH web site and have a look at the web cams trained on the Bridge. Gosh, that sure looks like moving traffic to me. The congestion is at the on ramps and their merge sections onto the freeway before the bridge. None of which are fitted with ramp metering.
Cycling options – well I will leave that for the experts but I would think from my observation that cyclists would actually do better if the traffic were not moving – they seem to be able to squeeze through really well when the traffic stalls elsewhere. “Congested conditions” actually favour bikes, on the whole.
When the twinned Port Mann Bridge opens in 2013
Note that the Environmental Assessment has not even been completed yet, let alone approval given, but then Kevin knows that is a slam dunk. (Actually no EA in BC has ever said “No” to any development, though some no hopers were withdrawn mid process.) No matter that it is wholly inadequate, ignores what we all know (generated traffic, land use impacts) and is totally unrealistic in its traffic forecasts. You might think he would at least use language that pretends to honour the EA process, since we are still expected to respond to what is presented as “consultation”. Of course, what he has really done is admit that the consultation is in fact a sham and always has been. Since this is “a done deal” as he and his master have said in public more than once.
Initiatives like this stem from our recognition that getting people out of their cars and onto public transit is key to resolving congestion in the long run.
Your “recognition” might be a bit more credible if you were actually ordering more buses now – and putting up the money for the Evergreen Line instead of flannelling on about a “business case”. Not that there is a business case for the Gateway. How does doubling the size of the freeway from Vancouver to Langley actually get anyone out of a car? Your commitment to public transit is a few million dollars in six years time, but your commitment to road building is in the billions. How does that get to be termed “balanced”? Especially since you have starved transit for funding for years, and are now determined to get property taxes raised to pay for the modest expansions you will allow?
NDP Opposition says “No” to the Gateway Program … but is unable to offer commuters any coherent alternative.
The alternative has been on the Livable Region web page for a while now