Prior to our all candidates’ meeting on Tuesday November 4th, we asked the candidates if they could respond in writing to some questions. We didn’t have time to ask all the questions in the meeting, and so we based the questions that we did ask on the ones we presented in written form. The questions cover the following areas: The Delbrook Recreation Center Site (November 7), Local Government Transparency (November 9), Development Cost Charges and Parks (November 10), Child Care (November 11), and Traffic Congestion (November 12).
Thanks again to all the candidates for taking the time to meet with us on Wednesday night, and to compose thoughtful responses to our questions.
Answers are shown in the same order as candidates are posted on the DNV website, and have been pasted verbatim from the material presented by the candidates, and formatted to fit this page. I apologize in advance for any errors in reformatting these responses for the website, and commit to fixing those errors as soon as I can after they have been pointed out to me.
The Delbrook Community Association does not endorse any of these responses.
Traffic on the entire North Shore continues to get worse with much more congestion and delays than ever before. As residential development continues to ramp up it appears the problems are going to be exponential going forward. Bike lanes and transit will help but the reality of increased overall automobile traffic is a given.
If elected, what options will you consider/promote to facilitate greater flow of traffic within the District of North Vancouver and over to the Vancouver side of Burrard Inlet?
For the past three years I have been the Council Liaison to the MOTI Community Working Group for the Second Narrows Interchanges project. That group has helped the MOTI develop a number of options that will help separate the highway traffic from the east west flow that wants to go to and from the Seymour and Lynn Valley areas. I also have championed these changes at Council which led to the DNV acquiring the Keith Lynn School site (re-purposed Public Assembly land) and the creation of the Keith Road Extension. Next year will see the Keith Road Bridge replaced with a 5 lane bridge that will accommodate better, safer cycling and pedestrian traffic while accommodating the higher traffic volumes we are seeing in the area AND forming a critical link in the east – west flow for Seymour traffic. For more information and a look at a possible configuration of the northern part of the new interchanges please visit my website www.RogerBassam.com.
I support improved transit. I support improved bike lanes if they can be made to co-exist and not detract from vehicle traffic. Most importantly, I support a new east-west road (in the vicinity of the current road system and with a minimal environmental impact) to allow North Vancouverites to travel across the North Shore without recourse to the Trans Canada Highway.
As for crossing Burrard Inlet, in the short term I support the operation of the third Sea Bus. Longer term, I believe we must consider additional crossings.
Current road and highway infrastructure cannot support current demands or sustain any future development, without upgrades which allow for the free flow of East/West traffic on the North Shore and the approaches and exits on the two major bridges. The investment(s) required will require funding contributions from both senior levels of government which will be announced in the near future. In addition, we must negotiate within the region for our fair share of the projected transit investments following next year’s Referendum on the $7.5 Billion Regional Transit Plan. For us that will mean an additional Seabus, more buses, and bike lanes.
Finally we must do all we can to KEEP the Bus Transit Depot on the North Shore.
It has been the main issue so far in the campaign. Our community here in the Edgemont Delbrook area has been the main conduit for detours when the highway is backed up. Ridgewood through to Queens and Lonsdale where never designed to accommodate the traffic on such occasions and it is only getting worse. Now that I have stated the obvious.
There is no one quick easy solution. For event caused traffic issues , such as accidents on the highway. We could work with the emergency people and mostly the police in trying to find ways to mitigate the traffic delays by clearing the scenes more efficiently. I have been on many many of theses accident scenes and I know that there are some efficiencies in the process.
For day to day traffic, we need to put servicing in place con current or prior to development. We need to continue, and I know there is some progress being made , to push other governing bodies to step up to improve highway access and egress.
We need to be better serviced by Translink, in my opinion we are under served for our portion of the Translink cost. public transportation needs to be more accessible and more frequent and remain at a reasonable price. we need to try and have some of the discounts and services for handcart re instated and improved to help with those who are less mobile.
Bike lanes would help but most likely for a small minority.
I offer a transportation platform based on three fundamentals (1) Investing in highways and bridges that are core to economic expansion, business investment and moving people & goods (2) Improved public transit in the form of express buses and Seabus expansion to move people, and (3) Traffic Demand Management of key corridor roads by eliminating street parking during rush hours, co-ordinating traffic lights, removing traffic lights where they serve no purpose and building pedestrian overpasses
There is already much being done by DNV to alleviate the east/west flow of traffic for residents of DNV. Because funding for these enhancements involve not only DNV but Provincial and Federal levels of government, timing of these announcements and initiatives are in the hands of others. Look for a significant announcement from the Provincial government on November 12th. If elected, I will advocate for further pressure to be brought on the Provincial and Federal governments to address Highway 1 issues. I also would advocate for a committee to coordinate with CNV and WVD project builds, traffic flows and timelines so that not all builds/projects are happening at the same time.
We are in discussions with the province to improve the three bridgehead interchanges to improve access and egress and east/ west flow. There will be an announcement next week that this work is starting.
In the short term I would advocate for a further expansion of the Blue Bus Transit Network. In addition, the Translink 10 year plan which is going to referendum next year includes more buses, seabus and improvements to the phibbs exchange and the seabus exchange.
- Increased overall automobile traffic is not a given, it is a choice. Over the past 60-70 years, we have chosen to build a community that is dependent on the automobile for personal mobility. We have spent a vast amount of resources building a complete network of roads, but we have not invested enough resources in building a complete, connected network of walking, cycling and transit facilities. My first transportation priority would be to provide our citizens with a real choice between transportation modes.
- Every person in our community under the age of Sixteen cannot drive a car. Do they not deserve individual mobility, or is it only those citizens who have the age, the wealth and the desire to drive an automobile? We need to place a very high priority on making it safe, easy and convenient for our youth to not only get to school, but have the freedom to move around and participate in our community.
- Current analysis shows that citizens, especially those under the age of 30, are driving less than they used to. They prefer to live in compact, complete communities and are open to walking, biking, transit, and car sharing to meet their mobility needs.
- As our citizens age, they may become less and less able to use their automobiles as their primary form of transport. Redevelopment of the town centres into complete communities, with an emphasis on pedestrian safety and accessibility, can provide an option for those citizens who want to remain in their community, close to the support networks and services they require.
- Investing in additional road capacity would be lowest on my list of transportation priorities, specifically if it is intended to reduce congestion. Studies from across North America have shown that adding road capacity does not reduce congestion, it only encourages more people to drive. In Los Angeles, $1B dollars was spent over the past five years to add an additional lane to the I-405 freeway. Traffic is slower now than it was before. Was that a good use of $1B dollars? With limited government funding, we need to decide on what the most important. Investing our limited funds to continue and lock in the pattern of automobile dependence in our community is not a wise long-term decision.
Transportation in DNV is a disaster and it will get worse. If elected, I will compel a complete rethink of the entire approach. Right now it is shocking that Council does not have even the most basic information to address how this major issue can be solved. Council does not have a clue what to do. Council actually thinks they can build there way out of this mess! Madness is in the air. Read “Transportation, Traffic Congestion and Traffic” at www.lenlaycock.org . Better yet , print it:
Out of control. Trending worse.
Each time a big new development comes along, sensible citizens always ask, ‘How will the District assure this new development does not worsen traffic congestion?’. The question is never effectively addressed. Which brings us to the present. At a recent Council meeting, DNV staff acknowledged they are greatly challenged by these problems.
Proposed solutions include the need to “shift corporate culture”, break down “silos”, add more staff, more traffic fines, and new technology. These are all expensive ‘after the barn door’ reactions to ongoing citizen complaints.
District staff follow the direction set by Council. Within Council there’s continuing momentum for more and wider roads, for ever more automobiles. But in our District, we have finite boundaries of mountains and water. More pavement for more vehicles is not a good solution. That trajectory leads to a bad place – and yet, reading DNV reports on transportation, Council’s preference for building more automobile infrastructure remains the priority. Transit, cycling and walking are referred to as merely “alternative transportation”. Illustrative of this bias is incumbent Councillor Bassam’s financial alignment with developer Tim Horton’s, revealing his preferences for ‘drive thrus’, and idling cars. We get what we design for.
Attending a recent Council meeting, it was eye opening to discover Councillors lack meaningful quantitative and qualitative information about sources of traffic congestion – how much traffic is locally generated, or from neighbouring communities, or just passing through, or where traffic is going, or why. Without well grounded facts, it is not surprising Council has failed come to grips with these problems.
Population growth is inevitable as Vancouver is one of the most desirable places in the world to live and a depository or safe haven for the newly wealthy in emerging nations to invest their money. Vancouver now rates only second to Sydney, Australia, in the cost of real estate. We have an Official Community Plan and a regional strategy of about 1% increase per year over the next 20 years, one of the lowest in the region.
My strategy falls into two components. The first is the number 1 highway which has a number of choke points; the Lions Gate, the Ironworkers and the Capilano River which allows only 2 road crossings. Dealing with the Cut and the Second Narrows Bridgehead, we have in partnership with the Province and the Feds started a fairly major reconfiguration which will make Keith Road and the new 5 lane Keith Bridge a major artery which will allow more traffic to enter the highway seamlessly and also we have entered negotiations to provide a new direct overpass to connect into Seymour. There are plans to provide a new wider Mountain Highway overpass and more entries and exits to the Highway. The Province has future plans to reconfigure the roads around the Bridgehead and Transit will be upgrading the Phibbs Exchange. The Lions Gate Bridge unfortunately cannot be widened further but the connecting roads Capilano and Marine Drive have been upgraded and will be further improved as development occurs and a priority established for more express buses. The other choke point is the Capilano River crossing on the Upper Levels and that will require major work and expenditure by the Province, maybe a new wider bridge crossing.
The other component is local and collector roads. All new major development will be focussed in the designated town centres and accompanying these buildings will be road and transit upgrades financed partly if not completely by the developer. Again unfortunately early residential development in the District will not allow widened roads but we will be encouraging more frequent transit and more bike lanes. We also will be continuing our sustainable approach to maintaining our local roads through our asset management program which is a leader in the Province from a financial perspective.
Above all we do not want to simulate major US Cities in building more roads which has resulted in gridlock , pollution and ugliness.
CONNIE DE BOER
We need to look at phasing large development projects to allow infrastructure to catch up…as well, we are continuing our work with the Ministry of Highways to redesign the 2nd narrows bridgehead in order to alleviate current congestion….working with our neighboring municipalities and partners is crucial in coordinating internal and external traffic issues.