Road improvements are coming
By Matthew Hoekstra – Richmond Review – January 30, 2008
Well, the good news here is that the tunnel is not likely to be enlarged any time soon, but it does look like the Steveston Highway overpass will get looked at. And Richmond’s daft notion of a new interchange on #99 at Blundell has been replaced by a Highway 91 interchange at Nelson Road. This is for the port related development on the north bank of the South Arm.
And then the Minister talked about transit
Drawing applause from the crowd, Falcon reiterated his commitment to turnstiles at all rapid transit stations in the region. Turnstiles make people pay for transit they use and provide a sense of safety.
“You never want to underestimate the importance of that. Whether it be the Netherlands or in Paris or in London, there’s no question that commuters, particularly women, feel safer when they’re in a controlled environment, where not every single aggressive panhandler or nut that feels like wandering into a station can do so and harass the patrons.
“Believe it or not, criminals are not the smartest people in the world. They generally won’t pay three to five bucks to go into a station and harass people. That’s a good thing.”
So now its agressive panhandlers and nuts we worry about. Not fare evaders costing us revenue, notice. Which seems to me to be tacit acceptance that gates are not going to pay for themselves. He seems to have stopped talking about how he “knows” fare evasion is higher than Translink admits.
It is also probably significant that he is no longer talking about actual safety – as opposed to perceived safety. If I was Minister of Transport, I think what would grab my attention more is not how safe some people feel or don’t feel, but what the data tells us about injuries and deaths. I might also look at property damage and losses too. Because while that will probably not get me a standing ovation at a Richmond Chamber of Commerce breakfast, it might give me some ideas on what the best rate of return on an increment of $100m might buy me. I suspect that it would look like a road traffic law enforcement program. There is a very good letter about a recent four day crackdown by Richmond RCMP in the same paper edition that does not appear on line. 250 violations were ticketed – 123 were speeding, 10 for driving without a licence. The letter writer suggests that more than 4 days is needed.
And if “nuts and panhandlers” are a problem, spending $100m on housing for the homeless, and more care for those tipped out of institutions might make a lot more sense. Since those problems were largely created by provincial government cuts to essential social welfare programs. But of course to a BC Liberal a crack down on fare evasion or a campaign to keep beggars and homeless people off SkyTrain looks so much more attractive than wondering why we have those social problems in the first place.