New Westminster mayor Jonathan Cote says roads are full

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      The mayor of New Westminster says it would take a while to feel the effects of a “no” vote in the upcoming transit and transportation plebiscite. In a phone interview with the Straight, Jonathan Cote predicted the consequences would be felt slowly over time as the regional population grows by a million people during the next 25 years.

      “If we think of the traditional forms of car ownership that we’ve seen in the past and put all of those 600,000-plus cars into our transportation system, it’s only going to see an increase in congestion across all of the roads,” Cote said.

      Cote, who obtained an SFU master’s degree specializing in urban transportation, is firmly on the “yes” side. He pointed out that there are more than 400,000 vehicles a day travelling through New Westminster, which covers only 15.6 square kilometres.

      “New Westminster’s road network is already full,” Cote said. “I can’t imagine trying to move another 100,000 vehicles through our road network or any road network in Metro Vancouver.”

      He said that if the mayors’ $7.5-billion plan comes to fruition during the next 10 years, 70 percent of Metro Vancouver residents will live within a five-minute walking distance of a SkyTrain or light-rail station or a stop for frequent buses.

      “I think that’s going to fundamentally change the way our region looks at transportation and how our region gets around,” he stated.

      The mayors’ recommendations include a new tolled four-lane Pattullo Bridge to connect New Westminster to North Surrey.

      Cote said he has been advocating for a long time for the region to look at imposing lower tolls but distributing them more evenly across the region. As things stand now, only motorists crossing the Golden Ears Bridge and the Port Mann Bridge must pay for use of the road. Many drivers from south of the Fraser River have switched to using the Pattullo Bridge and Alex Fraser Bridge to avoid tolls. There are also no tolls on the two North Shore bridges, the Oak Street Bridge, the George Massey Tunnel, or three bridges crossing False Creek.

      “In New Westminster, we’ve seen some very detrimental impacts since the toll has been put on the Port Mann, as a lot of that traffic that really should be on our highway network has been diverted onto a local road network in New Westminster that can’t handle that type of capacity,” Cote said. “I think we need to start looking at tools, recognizing they are needed to be able to fund major road projects and bridges. But can we do it smarter so we’re actually not causing negative impacts on our transportation system and use them to really reduce congestion and shift people to sustainable forms of transportation?”

      Comments

      9 Comments

      I see more BS

      Mar 11, 2015 at 11:58am

      Here is a solution to the pressure from growth: don't grow. I don't care about how long people choose to commute to work based upon what they are willing to pay for housing. I don't care what mayors, bureaucrats, developers and others who will profit from a "yes" vote claim the result will be if we vote "no." Their scare tactics are the same crap we get from Harpo and the cabal about those scary "other people" and only the most conditioned and washed minds fall for the threats of doom.

      Until the budget for transit is handled by a responsible corporation I am opposed to giving them any more money. I use transit daily and the threats of cuts meaningless when their actual service staffing levels are set largely by union contract. It is the useless managers and memo pushers who make Translink an expensive boondoggle and until they are gone the budget of Translink should be reduced not increased.

      Blergh

      Mar 11, 2015 at 12:21pm

      Don't grow? Sorry, out of our hands as long as federal monetary policy remains the same. The only way cities can finance themselves is through debt, and that requires continual growth to support. It is a vicious,unbalanced cycle, but what's to be done? Nothing to be done.

      The doom is already here, depending on disposition and how long one has been in Vancouver. This is not the same place it was in the 1980s, and it is only going to get worse, presuming one thinks row houses, 3-4 story apartment complexes are about as high as we should go, except in the downtown core and a few historic commercial buildings like the Lee Building.

      Voting no won't make any of this better, and if no is seen by the province as an excuse for zero transit funding growth, then it will be pretty much a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

      Says Who?

      Mar 11, 2015 at 2:33pm

      Who says that population growth here is inevitable? This country imports over 500,000 or more people EVERY YEAR, 90% of them from India, China, and the Philippines. This doesn't benefit Canada in anyway, and creates the basis for more pollution, congestion, fewer jobs, and lower pay for existing jobs.

      Stop all immigration for the next 50 years and let's get this domestic mess sorted out. Before it's too late.

      Evil Eye

      Mar 12, 2015 at 4:48pm

      The proposed transit plans will not reduce congestion, especially in New Westminster. Suck it up baby, New West council OK'ed all those highrise and condo's. You have created your own congestion, but want others to pay for your transit improvements.

      Don L Pike

      Mar 13, 2015 at 8:23pm

      We need better roads for the future auto traffic, not subways to UBC. It is and always will be the roadways that transfer the goods and supply s to our retail and wholesale outlets. Mayor Moonbeam and his followers should wakeup to the knowledge that these goods are foremost to our well being and they will not be delivered by bus or sky train. The auto-mobile is not going away. even though Moonbeam might like to dream about that day. We had a chance in the sixties to make better roadways but at the time the government said that we did not want to look like Seattle. Poor thinking then, even poorer now.

      James Blatchford

      Mar 14, 2015 at 1:24pm

      Don L Pike - what's it like being the only person that thinks a freeway to downtown was ever a good idea? What's your position on a flat earth?

      James Blatchford

      Mar 14, 2015 at 2:26pm

      Personally, I've never understood how the citizenry in New Westminster tolerates the thru traffic on their streets. Why they haven't taken to baraccading the roads is a mystery.

      Evil Eye is dead wrong on the high rises and condo's creating this situation...just another red herring in the mix.

      25 9Rating: +16

      Gerry Pomanski

      Mar 19, 2015 at 3:44pm

      So the mayors answer is another tax?? Going to the public trough, he should look at his city budget increase rather than support another tax

      James Somerville

      Mar 23, 2015 at 10:49am

      So Mayor Cote obtained a MA in Urban Transportation? And one of his solutions to congestion is to replace an aging 4-lane bridge with a new 4-lane bridge? No doubt the new Patullo Bridge will have wider lanes but wider lanes does not, in itself, increase the carrying capacity of vehicular traffic.

      Your solution to congestion appears to be to "toll all the bridges" but all that will do is reduce the disposable income of families. If the Mayors' Committee was sincere in the concept of "user pay". it would be recommending a transportation tax on businesses which, according to John Winters (Chamber of Commerce) will greatly benefit from reduced congestion.

      With your solution to address congestion not only adding 0.5% to the Provincial Tax, but also have the specter of road and bridge tolls hanging over the heads of anyone with a motor vehicle, you have certainly earned three NO votes from our family.

      If the plebiscite carries the 'Yes' vote, this will be only the beginning of higher taxes, assessments and tolls and create an even larger bureaucracy in the name of TransLink which has demonstrated it is incompetent in making sound financial decision. The 0.5% is only the beginning - think YVR Departure Tax which was imposed for specific improvements. The improvements have long since been completed and has the Departure Tax disappeared?