Vancouver parties float transit proposals

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      With the Vancouver election less than a month away, candidates are promising to improve public transit in the city.

      While the issue of a Broadway subway has dominated much of the debate so far, some parties have detailed other proposals this week aimed at expanding transit and decreasing traffic congestion.

      At a news conference next to Main Street Station today (October 21), NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe announced his party’s plan to create counterflow lanes on major arterial roads, and to add capacity to the 99 B-Line bus route.

      LaPointe also vowed to maintain the existing bikeway grid, with any new routes involving “more neighbourhood engagement”, and to deliver an “affordable, underground Broadway subway” to UBC.

      “An affordable subway would minimize the impact on the Vancouver taxpayer,” LaPointe said. ““We need a new funding mechanism. We would explore that right away.”

      Vision Vancouver immediately criticized LaPointe’s comments, charging that the mayoral candidate has been issuing conflicting messages on the subway. Vision has made securing a Broadway subway line a central focus of its campaign, calling it the party’s top transportation priority.

      Meanwhile, the Coalition of Progressive Electors has proposed extending a discounted universal transit pass to all Vancouver residents. It is also vowing to get more buses on the road and create priority bus lanes.

      Green councillor Adriane Carr said the best way to deal with congestion is to entice people out of their cars with good alternatives. She believes residents should be engaged in developing a citywide transit plan, including which form of rapid transit should be used to increase capacity out to UBC.

      “I think all the facts and form of development that go along with certain kinds of transit options need to be laid on the table so that people are much more clear about what it means when they say, ‘I want a subway’ or ‘I want an at-grade system’ or ‘I want just much-improved B-Line service,’” she said in a phone interview.

      The Greens are also proposing that the city’s cycling network be completed. Carr noted that in Portland, the existence of an Office of Neighbourhood Involvement allows residents to have direct input on issues like where new bike routes should go.

      “They’re brought in to the resolution, and that’s not what happened in Vancouver, so I think we could really avoid a lot of heartache by asking people to co-create the decision,” she said.

      The Vancouver election takes place November 15.



      ursa minor

      Oct 22, 2014 at 10:58am

      Counterflow lanes make no sense for Vancouver. There are no dominant traffic patterns within the city as there are major employment and retail corridors in every direction.

      The only way to reduce congestion is by reducing the number of cars on the road, which of course, is not an option for the One Percenters in the NPA who wouldn't be caught dead using transit or riding a bike like "the poors".


      Oct 22, 2014 at 12:28pm


      How do you propose to lure drivers out of their cars with transit? Drivers are driving to avoid people like you on transit. Aren’t you being too presumptuous in taking it for granted that I want to sit next to you? Do you really want to sit next to me?

      From a practical point of view, TL could run buses every two minutes on parallel routes to stop funneling everyone down Broadway. I’m sure that students don’t care whether they catch buses operating every two minutes at the Canada Line on West 4th Avenue or catch buses operating every two minutes at the Expo Line on Broadway. What's so special about Broadway?

      Martin Dunphy

      Oct 22, 2014 at 1:10pm


      Misanthropy rules, I guess.


      Oct 22, 2014 at 1:47pm

      @MD, as an engineer with a limited vocabulary, I had to look it up:

      misanthrope (ˈmɪzənˌθrəʊp ) or misanthropist (mɪˈzænθrəpɪst )


      a person who dislikes or distrusts other people or mankind in general

      engineer says: just jerks, is there a noun for people who can't stand jerks? I am fine with most normal people.



      Oct 25, 2014 at 6:57am

      Local residents would throw a hissy fit if they ran buses to UBC down any street other than Broadway.. Otherwise in theory, running some buses down streets parallel to Broadway sounds good in theory. In practice, though, the NIMBYism of the elite crème de la crème would shoot that idea down.

      Public Goods

      Oct 31, 2014 at 11:43am

      On the topic of discounted passes (the example is applicable beyond bridges or transportation):

      "[M]y proffessor in Economics 101 said the ideal price for crossing a bridge built at public expense was zero, provided it had capacity. Setting as low a price as possible means that more people will cross it, and thus the cost per person per crossing will be the lowest, compared to the cost of constructing and operating the bridge. A private company would maximize revenues, but government should maximize usage, he said. That way the public, who paid for the bridge, got the most for its money. This principle, he said, should be applied to all public goods."


      Brendan O’Flaherty, author of the textbook City Economics and an expert on transportation pricing, confirmed my decades-old memories. Using a bus, bridge or subway should be free if there is space or capacity. This isn’t about socialism, it’s about getting maximum use of public resources. The idea of a project paying for its capital and operating costs through direct user fees just leads to inefficient use. “For something that really is a public good, that is nonrivalrous and has no externalities, the price should be zero,” O’Flaherty says. “In general the price should be no higher than the marginal social cost of use, which is approximately nothing, except for pollution and wear and tear on the road."


      [W]e shouldn’t forget there are public values, even in economics, which differ from those applied to private business.

      Excerpts From "The Economic Case for Free Bridges and Roads" by Alex Marshall as reproduced in the Price Tags Blog 31 Oct 2014 -
      First published in Governing at