A letter writer argues replacing the inadequate George Massey Tunnel should be a top priority for regional planners and the federal and provincial governments.

Massey Tunnel needs replacement

Federal and provincial infrastructure funds should go to Metro Vancouver.

British Columbia should be attempting to impress the world by making its main economic engine – the Metro Vancouver region – hospitable and attractive, from a long-term perspective, to prospective corporate and individual investors.

Not replacing the obsolete and outrageously lacking – in terms of vehicle capacity – George Massey Tunnel will continue to have exactly the opposite effect.

Provincial and federal politicians and officials should be collaborating to expeditiously replace the George Massey Tunnel with an architectural and engineering award winner – a cutting-edge bridge that has sufficient vehicle and bicycle capacity to comfortably meet the region’s needs to at least 2060.

Another top priority for B.C. and federal government representatives should be identifying a legitimate “rapid transit” technology that must be used by the extensive commuter rail network that is proposed for Surrey and Langley (if it is to be eligible for federal/provincial funding).

The cheap-as-possible, human-driven “buses-on-rails (on already over-crowded roadways) technology that several of Surrey’s less farsighted politicians are recommending would automatically  be disqualified by such a process.

For many years, when compared to most of Metro Vancouver’s 20 other member municipalities, the city of Vancouver has had a disproportionately enormous rapid transit infrastructure. But, unlike Surrey and Langley, Vancouver has negligible available land to accommodate future  population growth and large industrial developments.

City of Vancouver has 44 square miles and a population of 642,000.

The City of Surrey has 122 square miles and a population of 526,000.

The Township of Langley has 119 square miles and a population of 144,600.

While it is unarguable that improvements are needed to the existing bus services along already highly developed, densely populated Broadway in the city of Vancouver, before building or even suggesting the building of a subway under this street, transit planners and politicians should first implement dedicated “rapid bus only” lanes there – and for at least 18 months formally assess the adequacy of such a system.

Federal transportation infrastructure monies for B.C. should be targeted mainly at Metro Vancouver’s member municipalities other than the city of Vancouver, with the top priorities being:

a) Rapidly replacing the reprehensibly inadequate George Massey Tunnel; and

b) Enabling the development of a rail-based, above-the-roadway rapid transit network in Surrey and Langley.

 

Roderick V. Louis

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