In the midst of a Lower Mainland transportation plebiscite, TransLink has given walking papers to two transit experts.
The Georgia Straight has learned that the director of strategic planning and policy, Tamim Raad, and the director of systems planning and research, Brian Mills, are on the way out.
This comes less than three months after the board of directors replaced CEO Ian Jarvis with interim CEO Doug Allen.
The Straight has asked TransLink media relations for a comment. Nobody has responded as of this writing.
Raad and Mills are both UBC graduates and each reported to recently appointed vice president of transportation strategy, Tim Savoie.
Savoie, former director of planning and development services in Port Moody, has extensive experience as a municipal planner. However, he does not have nearly as much experience in dealing with transit as Mills or Raad.
Mills has been involved in this work for 27 years and led TransLink's long-term vision and strategy document, Transport 2040.
Raad has been with TransLink for 16 years. In February, he told the Georgia Straight that the regional transportation authority's goal was to create a "frequent-wide transit network" serving 70 percent of the population.
“You head out your door—in Surrey, say—and walk a few blocks," he explained. "You don’t need a schedule. A bus comes every 15 minutes. Average wait: seven-and-a-half minutes. That’s the plan.”
Last year, Raad told the Vancouver Sun that TransLink "thinks a light rail line from Commercial to UBC is workable". The Vision Vancouver–controlled council has adamantly demanded a more expensive subway. This was included in the suite of projects supported by the Mayor's Council and put before voters in the plebiscite.
Even if the plebiscite passes, the provincial and federal governments will each have to kick in nearly $700 million to build the subway. If it's constructed, trains would travel underground from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street.