Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Surrey Residents “Cancel” Gateway

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Surrey Residents “Cancel” Gateway, originally uploaded by Rob__.

As part of the International Day of Action on the Climate Crisis, residents of Surrey, BC modified a sign advertising the Gateway program. The Gateway program is a highway expansion program that will increase ghg emissions in the sector that is already highest for this region.

Surrey Citizens Spoof Province on Global Day of Action on Climate Crisis

SURREY: Jim Shook, an engineering contractor and concerned Surrey resident, took on the unusual role today of speaking at a press conference organized in front of a large Ministry of Transportation sign which had been altered to say that the Gateway Project had been canceled due to concerns related to Global Warming.

Shook’s only prior public speaking experience was at his brother’s wedding last summer but according to Shook, “The hypocrisy of this government going ahead with this project and at the same time as claiming they are taking action to prevent the climate crisis is just too crazy not to do something about it.”

Shook was among the local area residents who joined efforts today with a broad-based network of Lower Mainland activists who used the website www.gatewaysuck.org and its mailing list to orchestrate this surprise “announcement” of the cancellation of Gateway, timed to coincide with the Global Day of Action on Climate Crisis.

Gatewaysucks.org spokesperson Carmen Mills explained the reasons for the spoof action: “Gordon Campbell says he wants to address the climate crisis and get BC to ‘live smart’ – so cancelling Gateway is our friendly suggestion, to help him get it right.”

The sign was altered bye placing a swatch over the  Ministry of Transportation’s sign announcing the construction of the  South Fraser Perimeter Road. The hacked sign announced that funding for the  project had been “diverted to transit improvement”” by “Live Smarter BC,” a parody of the BC Government’s climate change initiative entitled Live Smart BC. The sign also featured a website address, www.LiveSmarterBC.ca, which mimics the actual government site.

“The Gateway Project is really where the rubber hits the road, in terms of the government’s commitment to reducing green house gas emissions,” said Shook. “It will be impossible for the government to meet its commitments if Gateway goes ahead.” He added, “Gateway won’t even ease our traffic problems, or help people south of the Fraser –
it will actually make congestion worse, with a huge cost to the taxpayer and ultimately to our environment.”

According to a poll done by the David Suzuki foundation, 69% of Metro Vancouver residents support redirecting money away from road expansion projects toward a better public transit system.

The Provincial government has selected a contractor for the Port Mann/Highway 1 component of the proposed Gateway project but they have yet to sign a contract. No contractor has been selected for the new South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) freeway project. Many critics are saying that the economic downturn makes the private financing required for Gateway increasingly unstable, and the demand for port expansion has disappeared – therefore, a key rationale for the project no longer exists.

Carmen Mills added, “Transit is a win-win deal – we can reduce emissions and congestion while creating far more jobs than we would by building highways. TransLink says that transit service and ridership must be doubled to meet the province’s climate commitments. But they are seriously underfunded and may have to cut service. It doesn’t make any sense for us to go forward with Gateway.” Mills predicts escalating citizen action throughout the region in the near future if the government does not begin to reconsider Gateway immediately.
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For more information including print-ready photos and video footage visit www.gatewaysucks.org

Written by Stephen Rees

December 7, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Transportation

4 Responses

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  1. So what’s this “South Fraser PerCANCELLEDoad” I keep hearing about?

    badfreeway

    December 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm

  2. Previous posts of mine on this blog about rapid transit shows that I am a strong public transit advocate. I have been living in Vancouver for about 28 years and still don’t have/ don’t want a car YET I don’t believe that the freeways are monsters destroying our civilization. I grew up in a well know European country that had no freeways then. I got my first car when my first job required me to drive a lot daily between the office, clients homes, suppliers stores and various building sites. Many of the MAJOR roads had only 3 lanes: 1 in each direction, the 3rd one in the center was used to overtake cars, meaning that at times you had another car coming towards you in the same lane. Did I mention that there were no speed limit then? “Normal” roads were barely large enough for 2 cars, twisted like a nest of snakes, and were shared with tractors and farm animals that loved to appear out of nowhere in a blind curve. The downtown area of many towns was a bottleneck for hours a day as all roads went to/or near the centre on the way towards the next town. Indeed the small town of Millau in France was famous until 4 years ago for its bottlenecks. In the summer it took several hours to cross it! The main reason why so many European towns have big pleasant pedestrian areas is because, starting in the 1960s, freeways and ring roads were built to take the through traffic that had no business in a town well away from it. I know that this is not a popular view here but I have seen big and small towns in France, England, Spain, Italy etc. when these countries had no freeways, or only a couple at best, and the benefits these towns got from freeways are obvious (check Millau Viaduc in Wikipedia by the way).

    Red frog

    December 7, 2008 at 7:16 pm

  3. Speaking strictly on the SFPR: Surrey and Delta have no downtown, yet they are already encircled and divided by freeways, with transit that everybody knows is inadequate.

    If you dig a little deeper I’m sure you’ll find that the South Fraser Freeway is going to do anything but “improve” the communities it plans to bulldoze through.

    badfreeway

    December 8, 2008 at 12:38 am

  4. You know, I really don’t give the people of Surrey enough credit. 3 cheers for a smart spoof.

    Todd Sieling

    December 8, 2008 at 8:26 am


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