Two letters in the Tri-City News

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Massive transit expansion needed in Metro Vancouver

The Editor,

Re. “Build real rapid rail” (Letters, The Tri-City News, June 5).

I have to second letter writer Barry Waterlow’s suggestion that only a massive rapid rail and SkyTrain expansion could convince commuters to use public transit and reduce the number of vehicles owned. Why wouldn’t comfort and speed matter when travelling long distances?

This is not only necessary for commuters but would encourage better access for businesses wishing to expand beyond Vancouver, be a boon for tourists and is the kind of win-win situation economically that the BC Liberals just can’t seem to grasp as a plus for this province and its environment.

If Premier Gordon Campbell was really as “green” as he tries to appear to be, then this initiative would have been properly funded and earmarked as the priority that it deserves.

Instead, he and Kevin Falcon deemed that expanding roads and bridges to accommodate hoped-for increases in port facility use is more important. But it’s a gamble because if oil continues its price increase as predicted, we may not see the kind of port traffic they optimistically hope for.

Meanwhile, people in the Greater Vancouver region and outlying towns have been at their wits’ ends for years now trying to commute to jobs from more affordable homes in the suburbs but our government is blind and deaf to this problem.

By delaying a much needed expansion in transit options for increased liveability here ā€” buses just don’t cut it for long distance travel, Gord ā€” the government has shown us where their priorities lie and is guaranteeing that as they keep on delaying, it will become far more more expensive to achieve what we so desperately need. Time is of the essence.

Unfortunately, we have voted in a premier with the “mandate” to do as he pleases.

M. Schooff, Port Coquitlam

Building more SkyTrain would be ‘madness’ for TransLink

The Editor,

Re. “You can have a say on future of transportation” (The Tri-City News, June 3).

The TransLink board of amateurs is at it again, holding another phoney public consultation process. It’s a case of TransLink trying to fool the public once again. Please, no more.

The recent $600,000 award to a Cambie Street merchant for negligence, which may be repeated more than 100 times, is due to less than honest public consultation with the Canada Line cut-and-cover subway. The public is tired of TransLink’s spiel.

Much of TransLink’s finical woes are due to the folly of building with the hugely expensive, yet obsolete, SkyTrain light metro system. Bolstered by questionable reports and studies, TransLink blunders on, forgetting the cardinal rule that elevated and/or subway systems need enormous daily traffic flows of 400,000 to 500,000 passengers a day to justify construction or huge subsidies (read: tax increases) must be made.

Hasn’t the TransLink board ever questioned why no one in North America or Europe builds with SkyTrain?

As well, TransLink keeps operating buses on routes that do not have ridership, haemorrhaging taxpayers money.

Isn’t time for independent audits of bus routes and SkyTrain? The estimated $450-million TransLink shortfall is due solely to inept planning, political interference and absolutely zero oversight. The taxpayer is maxed out and fat-cat bureaucrats need to understand this.

For too long, transit has bee treated as a mom-and-apple-pie issue, and politicians and the board believe the more expensive a project is, the better it is. But it hasn’t worked.

Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, is a definition of madness and this seems exactly what TransLink and its board suffers from.

Malcolm Johnston, Light Rail Committee

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One Response to “Two letters in the Tri-City News”

  1. David Says:

    I think the first letter has brought up an interesting point: traveling long distances. I think we need to evaluate why people commute long distances and also decide as a society whether we should be spending a large amount of money enabling such behavior.

    If you work in Richmond does it make sense to look for housing in Coquitlam?
    If someone who works in Richmond chooses to live in Coquitlam should the rest of us be responsible for helping him/her commute?
    Two income families often have jobs in separate municipalities and thus one may have a long commute. Is that an individual problem or one society should be helping with?
    Most people change jobs more frequently than they change homes. This can produce longer commutes. Should public money be spent on helping people stay in their homes and commute long distances?
    We already provide many post-secondary students with subsidized transit fares. Should we go even further and build high speed transit to enable them to live three cities away from campus?

    There is only so much tax payer money to go around and we need to decide how to spend it.

    Zweisystem replies: I tend to agree. The West Coast Express enabled people to move out along the North Shore of the Fraser River to Mission, yet commute to work in downtown Vancouver. It has been said that well over 50% of the WCE customers formerly owned houses more central to Vancouver but with the WCE, sprawled out, so to speak, up the valley. Why should people in other areas begging for better transit subsidies a limited ‘5-in’ – ‘5-out’ commuter rail service that is available to the very few.

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