Falcon shot out of sky for container remark

In an article you quote Kevin Falcon as saying Eric Doherty “has never addressed the fact that you cannot put container trucks on top of buses” [“Falcon claims Gateway critic misses the mark”, Jan. 24-31].

The following quotation is taken from a City of Burnaby report dated February 2006: “The very name ”˜Gateway Program’ emphasizes the role of Vancouver as a gateway for the overseas movement of goods and people. The competitiveness of Vancouver as a ”˜gateway’ has often been given as a key reason for PMH1 [the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and the widening of Highway 1] and the other projects. However, very little long-distance freight travels by road. Of all the peak-hour truck trips on our roads, only a small minority begin or end their trips outside the Lower Mainland. Trucking is primarily a means of local goods movement, with longer trips relying more on rail.”

There is in fact very little container-truck traffic on the Port Mann Bridge, and even less that is travelling to and from the port. Most of the containers handled in Greater Vancouver by trucks are for local destinations, including the major distribution centres for companies such as the Bay and Canadian Tire. And even these forward most of their cargo to the rest of Canada by train as well.

The claim that the bridge twinning and highway expansion are needed to support the Port of Vancouver is simply untrue, and has only been advanced to disguise its true motive, which is to promote low-density suburban sprawl contrary to the region’s adopted growth strategy

> Stephen Rees / Richmond

Kevin Falcon’s somewhat antagonistic and very simplistic arguments supporting the Gateway Program are at best disingenuous.

Having sat on the East Vancouver Port Lands Working Group for several years, I learned firsthand about goods movement in the Lower Mainland directly from Port of Vancouver and transportation officials. According to those responsible, the vast majority of containers (and goods in general) that move to and from the Port of Vancouver through the Lower Mainland travel via rail.

Railways are working together and sharing rights of way to improve and expand capacity. Local deliveries utilize truck transport and area highways. This could be expedited by using existing rail corridors for transit and taking non-goods vehicle traffic off roads.

The provincial Gateway Program’s 1950s vision appears to be more payback for those industries that support the provincial Liberal party politically rather than truly improving livability and transportation in the region.

> Blair Petrie / Vancouver