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.