LETTER: 'People movers' needed
There’s no doubt a solution is needed to deal with daily congestion occurring at the George Massey tunnel, especially as more and more motorists are commuting from south of the Fraser. The current congestion will be compounded further by the mega developments that will take place on TFN and elsewhere as agricultural land is sacrificed for industrial development.
Extra buses and new bicycle lanes, though nice, do not accommodate enough people to solve the problem of congestion at the tunnel. Recall that during the recent TAP (Tsawwassen Area Plan) hearings we learned that some 8,000 residents leave this area by car on a daily basis. If all of these motorists were to opt for public transit, there would not be enough buses to handle them. Furthermore, TransLink would lose its large share of fuel taxes on which it relies to operate.
An environmentally friendly concept was proposed some time ago by Malcolm Johnston, an advocate for light rail. One has only to look at the BART in San Francisco to see how efficient a people moving system can be—especially a system that prevents total dependence on automobiles and freeways.
The folks who developed the BART made plans long before heavy congestion took place. They had a vision and were willing to spend the time making this vision become reality.
A new electrified South of the Fraser passenger rail system could carry commuters all the way from Langley to Bridgeport Canada Line station. A new transit tunnel beneath the Fraser River built with modern tunnel boring machine technology would cause an absolute minimum of farmland loss, and almost no disruption of surface traffic.
In my view the current TransLink administration is dysfunctional. Motorists who have no option but to drive to work should not have to bear the brunt of transit. This cost should be borne by all taxpayers (including businesses) but only after all has been done to stop waste within TransLink.
During the TAP group discussions, transportation came to the forefront as a major concern for those in Tsawwassen. It was even suggested that solutions to getting around needed to be found before more housing development was considered. Surely it is time that regional and provincial governments develop a vision for the future transportation needs of taxpayers and commuters, not just for big business, for industry and for Port Metro Vancouver.