Re: Massey Tunnel replacement.
At first glance, the premier’s announcement for a new bridge sounds good, but when one studies the offer of a new bridge, a lot of disturbing questions surface.
The Massey Tunnel does not need to be replaced, as it just had a large and expensive seismic upgrade. In fact one could lay another tube next to the tunnel to expand vehicle and transit capacity at a much lower cost.
It seems that lobbyists for the port authority have convinced the premier to get rid of the tunnel so they can deepen the river to allow massive bulk carriers to reach Surrey docks to load coal and oil. But wasn’t the Robert’s Bank super-port created so massive bulk carriers did not need to travel up the Fraser, saving time, large pilotage fees and taxpayer dollars for regular comprehensive dredging?
What about the extra traffic the 10-lane bridge will dump into Richmond? The tunnel, having only four lanes, provided passive traffic calming, regulating the flow of traffic. All the new bridge will do is move gridlock to the next choke points, the Knight and Oak Street bridges.
There is no mention of easing congestion on the lonely Queensborough bridge, which is older than the Massey Tunnel and is at capacity almost all day. Unless there is a new bridge to Vancouver, gridlock will be endemic on the 99 and 91 highways in Richmond and New Westminster.
The proposed bridge makes a farce of improving transit south of the river as the Liberal government is investing in “rubber on asphalt” with single occupancy cars, leaving transit mainly for the poor, the elderly, and students.
The hypocrisy associated with the bridge knows no bounds, with many mayors wanting a referendum for the bridge, yet decrying one for TransLink funding, but on the whole stating referendums are not really democratic. What are regional mayors and the premier afraid of, an outbreak of true democracy?
The timing of the proposed bridge is designed to give leverage to the South Delta Liberal candidate in the 2017 election.
The proposed crossing, which will be tolled, is all about pleasing political friends, winning elections, and leaving legacies, not improving traffic flows or improving regional transit.
Use the tunnel for rail
The Massey Tunnel would be ideal for a commuter rail linking the Richmond SkyTrain with South Surrey and Langley.
A light rail route linking the South Fraser region with Richmond would make the best use of the Massey Tunnel and would utilize the existing infrastructure of the old Interurban commuter railway.
Linking Surrey light rail to Richmond would vastly increase ridership on South Fraser light rail and ensure its success.