Andy Shen: Coquitlam needs more efficient and effective transit

By Andy Shen

One of the most important issues in Coquitlam is that of transportation, especially the Evergreen Line. TransLink is working hard to serve the community, but has not served it enough.

In Coquitlam, we have multiple forms of transportation. We have the passenger trains, public buses, bike lanes, roads, and streets. Taking into account data from Canada’s 2006 census, the city’s engineering and public works department has reported that 14.7 percent of Coquitlam uses public transit. Meanwhile, 66 percent of residents take their personal conveyances (cars) to get to work. For Coquitlam to compete with other nearby cities, our transportation infrastructure needs to become more efficient and effective.

The time it takes to leave and arrive at Lougheed Town Centre Station to ride the SkyTrain is considerable depending upon where one lives. For example, it takes me approximately 50 minutes to get from where I live to the SkyTrain. Of that, I spend 14 minutes on the community shuttle and 20 minutes on the 97 B-Line from Newport Village with approximately 14 minutes of transferring done in between. Also, since I am a Westwood Plateau resident I have noted there are four main bus routes in service and they are the C27, C28, C29, and the 179. On these routes, buses arrive every 30 minutes to once an hour; this discourages people from utilizing public transportation more frequently.

Since the City of Coquitlam’s development of Burke Mountain, a new artery route called the Davis Avenue Connector was built, allowing residents to drive around Coquitlam without going through Port Coquitlam to reach their destination.

Unfortunately public transport services have not adapted to the changes in the area as of yet in terms of efficient re-routing of services. On Burke Mountain, the ratio is one bus route to every 4,000 residents. For instance, route C38 transports residents to Port Coquitlam. To get from Burke Mountain to Douglas College or even Coquitlam City Hall, they could take an eight-minute car ride through the David Avenue Connector, 54 minutes worth of walking, or the alternative is they would have to spend an hour minimum on public transportation. Seniors who live on Burke Mountain should not have to walk or sit for an hour to pay their property tax or get to town centre.

In regard to future transportation planning, a capital project that TransLink is working on is the Evergreen Line. It would take residents from Coquitlam Town Centre or Douglas College to Lougheed Town Centre in about 13 minutes rather then the conventional 40-minute bus ride.

In building this project, the capital needed is $1.4 billion for this SkyTrain extension, and so far TransLink has allocated $400 million, the provincial government is committing $400 million, and the federal government has committed $350 million. The financing of the Evergreen project comes to a total of $1.15 billion between all governments and organizations, with a shortfall of $0.25 billion for its completion.

The discussion of building the SkyTrain to Coquitlam began back in the ’80s during the Expo years. As a concerned citizen who takes public transport regularly, I would push to see the Evergreen Line completed. SkyTrain will help smooth commuter flow without causing further congestion of our roads. The province has committed itself to complete the Evergreen by the end of 2013.

There are plans for route redesigns in the region at the Evergreen Line Project Office. Being the only candidate that does not own an automobile and public transport as a means of conveyance, I would like to unite and represent transit riders in the region and help create a more efficient system. I would work together with my colleagues to implement a five-year plan to increase transit ridership and carpooling to 50 percent and, over 10 years, a reduction of greenhouse gases from car exhaust by 10 percent.

The Simon Fraser Student Society, the undergraduate student union at SFU, has an advocacy committee that I currently sit on as an at-large member. One of our recent projects was the “More Buses Now” campaign. The purpose of the awareness campaign was to highlight the deficient service of the 145 and other transit routes to and from SFU.

I can be the voice of transportation responsibility for the City of Coquitlam as a candidate who is passionate about our environment.

Andy Shen is running for Coquitlam city council in the May 15 by-election.

Comments (20) Add New Comment
not another Everscam sob story
Andy, the Everscam Line has not been built because most people realize that if you choose to live out in Coquitlam for cheaper housing while working in Vancouver, you have nobody to blame but yourself. Canada is big country and you don't have to live in the Lower Mainland to eek out a meager existence.

Don't come here without a good paying job or $1 million in the bank. Saskatoon is looking for people and housing is inexpensive. Have you thought of moving there or somewhere else?

I suggest that you and others like you move where you can afford to live. TransLink and the regional transit sprawl which TransLink is mindlessly creating is not sustainable and is stupid. If you like commuting hours every day, move to Toronto where you can be happy and dumb.
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mezzanine
Keep up the effort! I hope Coquitlam does get Evergreen soon and better bus service. Good luck with your campaign! :-)
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Matt Booja
re: not another Everscam sob story

Come on dude, he is a student. Which students do you know that have lots of money?

Last I heard the 'average' salary in BC was about $22/hour, or less than $50k per year.

I don't see how people making that kind of money can afford $1 million dollar houses in the city center.

Also, who do you think will pump your gas, or be your cashier at the grocery store? Are they millionaires? They have to live somewhere....

Get a clue.....
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Evil Eye

You have been caught in the SkyTrain trap. What the Evergreen Line will do is suck monies from the bus system and if the bus route doesn't feed the Everscam Line, they will be discontinued. SkyTrain, does not, good transit make.


The reasons for building a SkyTrain Evergreen Line have been discredited by American transit expert Gerald Fox.


http://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2008/12/26/can-translinks-business-cases-be-trusted/

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RodSmelser
=== >>> not another Everscam sob story

You post, while stated in rather undiplomatic language, pretty much sums up the attitudes of most Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and North Shore residents, and expresses very well the attitudes of their local political leaders and major municipal bureaucrats.


Besides Matt's rejoinder, there's one really juicy part of your attitude that I would like to draw attention to, besides its obvious arrogance, and that's it's quite intentional mendacity:


"... you choose to live out in Coquitlam for cheaper housing while working in Vancouver, you have nobody to blame but yourself...."

"I suggest that you and others like you move where you can afford to live."


He HAS chosen to live where he can afford, yet that violates the first demand you placed upon him! What you put forward is an obvious game of heads you win, tails he loses. And that, of course, is your entire game from the get-go, just as it is for the people you represent so well. All the sustainability vs sprawl talk is just pure, raw BS, a deliberate smoke screen to hide an incredibly avaricious political scam.


I am wondering about one thing. How many people do you really think you are fooling with this kind of material? Don't you think it's getting just a bit threadbare?

Rod Smelser
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Anonymous
Whether you commute to Vancouver from Coquitlam or not is not even the point of the story. Even taking transit from one side of Coquitlam to the other can be over an hour. A trip that would take the Evergreen Line 14 minutes to make, or maybe 20 in your car.

Whether the Evergreen Line is built or not isn't the issue. It's TransLink's inability to look beyond Burnaby, Vancouver, Richmond, and improve services where the growth is occuring. Keep up with the density and provide more services or people won't use the system and we're stuck with congestion and no chance of GHG reduction.
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PeterK
Andy Shen is nothing but a self serving politicans. He routinely removes peoples posts from his Facebook pages which go against his view points and ask him questions that make him look in a bad light.

I'm amused that he actually cares about this issue, maybe he's finally found something that people aren't going to rail against him for? I wish him luck, but I really hope never makes it on council.
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JacksonMazera
Everscam Line? are you kidding me, we need the Evergreen Line, the only people who have posted here that oppose Evergreen are obliviously not from Coquitlam and obliviously know that we don't have an adequate system here. I think the notion that anger about Evergreen "sums up the attitudes of most Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and North Shore residents" is stupid, I lived in North Van for 3 year, I never opposed Evergreen, I'm willing to pay a little more for a greener future. As far as the idea that Andy should "live where he can afford to" hes a student... he's not going to move to West Van, cause he can't afford it. Stop being ignorant pricks and start contributing to society
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green or scam furture?
@JacksonM, are you paying for a Green future or a scam future where developers and politicians are benefiting while you are ruining your life commuting hours every day without any time to exercise or enjoy it? Think about it.

Who exactly is paying for the Everscam Line, anyhow? Two of three dollars for transit is paid for by businesses, drivers and homeowners. Transit is heavily subsidized. The more transit that we have, the more taxes have to go up to pay for unsustainable regional transit sprawl. Live and work in your community.

Buy a bike and cycle when the weather is good and drive when the weather is bad. Taxes will go down and you will get rid of your fat transit gut. Moreover, the corrupt politicians won’t have their Swiss bank accounts loaded up with gold and TransLink stooges won’t be exploiting you with their $300K/yr salary to do a very simple $60K/yr job.
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RodSmelser
=== >>> Jackson Mazera

Jackson, I really wish you were right. I wish it was a stupid thing for me to say that people who live in Vancouver, Burnaby, etc. don't want to see their tax dollars being spent on infrastructure that services the outer reaches of Metro. But I really believe this is the case.


I have heard people I work with, who live in Vancouver and Burnaby, grousing that money being spent "on the burbs" is the reason for Translink's deficit. They tell me that because "you guys don't have the densities, we can't give you transit", etc. And please, notice the tell-tale wording. "We" can't "give you" transit services. As if Translink's resources, raised from taxes collected around the entire Metro Region, somehow became their's to allocate according to some kind of devine right. And they take the same attitude with other transport infrastructure, such as the PMH1 project, even though that's entirely a Fed/Prov matter.


Undoubtedly there are SOME residents of those municipalities who take the same view you have expressed, but I believe you're in the minority. The silent majority takes the view that they are not going to allow "their" tax dollars to be "wasted" providing services to parts of Metro they figure don't deserve it, services that they aren't going to use themselves. OTOH, the notion that tax payers from all across Metro and indeed all across the nation will help pay for the RAV line, and then the underground line to UBC, ... well, these folks are just fine with that idea. Funny about that, eh?


I think you'll find that the municipal leaderships, both the elected politicians, whether from the political right or left, and the senior local bureaucrats are prime exponents of that kind of viewpoint. They have being putting that kind of view forward ever since the early 1990s and the preparation of the Transport 2021 reports and the LRSP. In Vancouver, they've been putting it out since the 1960s and the days of the late Walter Hardwick.

Rod Smelser
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do your voting buttons work?
It seems as if the only votes being allowed are the ones supporting the Everscam Line or comments supporting it. GS, are you censoring votes? My votes don't seem to register?
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transit is ghettoizing the Lower Mainland
Rod, from your previous posts, I gather that you live in Maple Ridge and commute three to four hours daily to your government job, if you can call it that. Your lifestyle is hardly enviable, and I’m not sure what you are doing here.

Wouldn’t you be happier living in Toronto where you can commute hours every day on rapid transit? The majority of people see TransLink for what it is: a corrupt self-serving government run bureaucracy which is bent on expanding its empire by sucking more tax dollars from us under the guise of taking cars off the roads.

According to Statistics Canada, vehicle usage has increased in the Lower Mainland. Transit does not take cars off the roads; transit just attracts more needy people like you to the Lower Mainland and is ghettoizing the Lower Mainland with transit dependent people who can’t make it without transit. Got it?

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RodSmelser
transit is ghettoizing the Lower Mainland

Rod, from your previous posts, I gather that you live in Maple Ridge and commute three to four hours daily to your government job, if you can call it that. Your lifestyle is hardly enviable, and I’m not sure what you are doing here. ...

According to Statistics Canada, vehicle usage has increased in the Lower Mainland. Transit does not take cars off the roads; transit just attracts more needy people like you to the Lower Mainland and is ghettoizing the Lower Mainland with transit dependent people who can’t make it without transit. Got it?
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I know it's foolish to respond to anonymous posters, but I do want to point out that the attitude expressed here is the very one I mentioned. And it's put forward in an extremely aggressive, full-on, toally unapologetic, "creme de la creme" tone. However, I expect that author is not the rich Westside upper-class type he pretends to be, but rather is a lower-middle class employee of some real estate concern, mortgaged beyond belief and living in one of Vancouver's micro-suites, the places advertised for people like himself by '"urbanists" like Gordon Price.


Yes, I do commute about 3 hours per day, total, and that's door to desk, including walks and waits. The actual train ride on the West Coast Express is 45 minutes.


There are people living in the City proper who are commuting by bus about 1.5 hours or more per day, for example, from neighborhoods around UBC to downtown, assuming they take the bus. Is that too long? What is the cutoff line?


When cheesy City Councillors like Cadman and Deal voted against widening Grandview Hwy, for a total of two blocks, to accommodate HOV lanes coming off the expanded Hwy 1-Grandview interchange. she made it clear that she and people like her don't care to accommodate workers coming into Vancouver from other municipalities where they can afford to live. Their labour services, whether for the City itself or for the School or Health Board, or for thousands of private businesses are needed. But the people themselves are not needed and not wanted if they cannot afford Vancouver prices, or if they are arrogant enough to chose to avoid them. It's quite the attitude, and it's clearly shared by the Mayors of both Vancouver and Burnaby. It speaks to the need for the BC Govt to amalgamate the Metro region.


Rod Smelser
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vote for NDP if you want the Everscam Line
@Rod, I live in Point Grey, do not have a mortgage and cycle to work in 60 minutes round-trip, stress free. Enjoy your 3 hour trip tomorrow. The NDP created TransLink, and I suggest that you vote for the high integrity NDP next election.
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RodSmelser
vote for NDP if you want the Everscam Line

@Rod, I live in Point Grey, do not have a mortgage and cycle to work in 60 minutes round-trip, stress free. Enjoy your 3 hour trip tomorrow. The NDP created TransLink, and I suggest that you vote for the high integrity NDP next election.
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Well, ... perhaps you are one of the "creme de la creme", after all, and a worthy successor to the legacy of Vancouver politics that was started by the late Walter Hardwick. Do you really bicycle to work, or do you take the Benz most days?


I will indeed be voting NDP, since they started the West Coast Express service. I find it to be a fairly enjoyable commute..


Rod Smelser
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sustainable transit or not
@Rod, yes, I cycle 5,000 km/yr, own a sports car but prefer to drive my Honda Civic and vote Green. I also don't mind putting in a few more hours at work to get the job done and am not out the door at 5 pm to catch my train or bus for my long distance commute.

The important thing is that I'm not a lazy government worker who feels that someone else owes me and would rather jump off a bridge than vote NDP. I don't take transit for TransLink to buy tar sands sucking diesel burning buses or trains for TransLink to buy electricity sucking SkyTrains to dam more of our rivers.
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RodSmelser
=== >>> sustainable transit or not

First of all, why do you keep on changing names with each post?


Would it be fair to say that you're among those Green's who's an economic conservative, someone who intensely dislikes organized labour?

Rod Smelser
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North Shore
I thought taking 50 minutes to get downtown from the north shore was bad... but coquitlam has it worse from the sound of this article.

Still, it seems all these suburbs are stuck in the same boat: 30 minutes at the least wait for bus service, only if the route is not lucky enough to have peak operating hour service--every 15 minute bus service for an hour morning and evening.

Yes, suburbia is incredibly inefficient--having suburban sprawl and low-population densities-- but I have a hard time believing bus service capability has been maxed out. If you want people to leave their cars, you have to offer them a reasonable alternative to their transportation. This should be striven for. I think that's what coquitlam residents are doing--which should be reasonable in anyone's eyes. Further, for the residents that have no alternative, we're talking at least two hours of their daily lives, almost every day of their lives, being no small deal to their livelihood.

One thing.. having a million dollars, like that crazy person suggested is no prerequisite for moving to the suburbs and fighting for public transit progression; a society, not a class system please. Just a random thought: I didn't know wealthy Vancouverites smoked rocks and left comments on here...
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Mark 1979
It's the DAVID Avenue connector, not DAVIS. I suggest you learn the basics of the city before running for council! http://www.coquitlam.ca/Business/Developing+Coquitlam/Strategic+Plans/_+...
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Annoyed by Andy Shen
I've always found Andy Shen to be unbearably irritating and entirely clueless. On the several occasions in which I've met him, he's come off as annoying, opportunistic, and self-absorbed (for an unknown reason! Sorry, Andy, you're not as important as you think...)

This piece lacks facts and decent writing. The DAVID Ave connector Mark 1979 pointed out is just one of the many errors Andy has pieced together.

I support the Evergreen Line, but would not ever vote for this guy for anything. I encourage others to do the same.
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