Opinion: Moving forward with North Shore rapid transit is worth celebrating
Written for Daily Hive Urbanized by Linda BuchananMayor of the City of North Vancouver.
We all know the frustration of being stuck in traffic. For those who live, work and play on the North Shore, traffic has become part of everyday life. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be.
That’s why last week’s decision was a big step forward for those who have been asking for a solution to our worsening congestion problems. TransLink’s Council of Mayors has officially adopted Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities – an implementation plan that prioritizes a rapid transit connection between Park Royal and Metrotown.
While there are many great new projects and services to highlight in this new plan, such as hundreds of miles of new active transportation infrastructure and increased SeaBus service, for me the crown jewel is providing a fully separate rapid transit connection on entrance as soon as possible.
This new rapid transit link will be fast and reliable and will present an extremely competitive alternative to traveling by car. It will take 50,000 cars off the road every day. This means getting to work or school more efficiently, reducing community carbon pollution, and improving economic productivity.
In a relatively short time, the North Shore Connects partners, which are the City of North Vancouver, the Squamish Nation, the District of West Vancouver, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the District of North Vancouver, were able to make our case with the region. that this particular investment in rapid transit cannot wait.
People have been talking about it for a long time. But speaking is not acting.
Recognizing that this is a very complex and restricted corridor, TransLink will immediately begin the planning work required to advance a bus rapid transit (BRT) option so that construction can begin in years zero to five.
Unlike RapidBus services, a BRT connection would include traffic separation and signal priority, boarding efficiencies to minimize the time the bus remains stationary, and dedicated vehicles that allow for high passenger capacity to create fast, frequent and highly reliable service.
While the North Shore BRT is planned and built, TransLink will complete the technical planning studies necessary to confirm the ultimate travel technology for this connection – whether light rail, BRT, SkyTrain or a combination – as well as alignment, terminal locations and grade separation, including options for a dedicated Burrard Inlet transit crossing.
To those who remain skeptical about this investment, I ask: what is the alternative?
We cannot wave a magic wand and turn back time to start this work earlier. Nor can we wait any longer to engage in more discussion. We need to understand the cost of doing nothing. Delaying this investment further would mean that by 2050, our region would lose $750 million from our economy each year due to lost productivity and inefficiencies. We cannot afford to delay rapid transit through the inlet.
I hope people will join me in celebrating that we have secured a commitment to advance rapid transit on the Inlet. We all want to spend less time moving and more time living. Transportation 2050: Ten-Year Priorities puts us on the right track to make it a reality for people across the region, especially those on the North Shore.