Re Massey: Time to “incorporate local advice”?

With the recent Richmond News letter from BC transport minister Todd Stone (Oct. 25), I gained new admiration for the City of Richmond. Mr. Stone told us that his surrogates in the Massey Project have met with the city “111 times.” But the letter showed he hadn’t heeded.

His project remains stuck in a 1950s reaction to a 2016 opportunity, which his letter called “the worst bottleneck in the province.” The city, with firm support from Metro Vancouver and its staff experts, keeps pointing out it’s no solution to shift the bottleneck north—or pour twice as much traffic into it.

A few months ago, the Metro Vancouver board rejected the province’s mega-bridge plan. What’s more, the region’s mayors were almost unanimous, and they provided clear advice that the province is not following. Yet the Stone letter ends with a promise to “continue to incorporate local advice.”

massey-twinRichmond suggests adding a two-lane tube to the tunnel to enable a rapid transit lane each way. (That concept assumes the province would also finish the half-done seismic retrofit and add near-due refurbishing.) Once a BC Liberal concept, it’s now pretty much a consensus concept, with wide support from informed citizens.

My previous article titled “Is the Christy Clark Bridge the best way”  prompted Mr. Stone to write his letter. My article is consistent with the concept I’ve just described, but his letter ignores it. Similarly, the Massey Project has found ways to keep ignoring that alternative for years.

The Stone letter showed one of those ways. Under the guise of a response, it argued against a tunnel that would somehow cost more than the bridge. But sky-high tunnel expense only applies to the project’s 10-lane tunnel-gone-wild “option,” which no one seems to like.

That unloved mega-tunnel “option” is not even possible in the Massey corridor unless the existing tunnel gets removed first. The mega-tunnel is really just a straw man, posing as the alternative option so the mega-bridge seems less bad.

massey-twinLet’s get back to the “twinned” Massey Tunnel, an actual alternative to the proposed mega-bridge. As depicted at right, the refurbished four-lane Legacy Tube would be flanked by a new two-lane “twin” tube. It’s the green line I’ve labeled “Green Tube” because of gentle impact on nature.

(Or should it be called the Eco Tube, with “Eco” meaning “Economical” and “Ecological”?)

Tube-name game aside, the true alternative would also require related transit action such as a big increase in Canada Line capacity. While getting people to their destinations via pleasant and efficient trips, it would then be as useful for a liveable region as the misfit bridge is harmful.

Also, it would save billions.

For now, we need Minister Stone to keep his recent promise to us and “incorporate local advice.” As first steps, he could acknowledge the genuine alternative and consider it.

To the City of Richmond, best of luck in this surreal encounter.

_______

This article also appeared as “Your tube could be Eco Tube . . .” in the Richmond News of Nov. 2, 2016.

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