Metro Vancouver raises Massey Tunnel replacement concerns 0
A rendering of what the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge might look like when construction is finished. Construction is anticipated for 2017. (PHOTO MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT)
Victoria’s plans for a new 10-lane bridge to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel could “unleash pent-up travel demand” and encourage commuters to take their own cars instead of transit or carpooling, according to a new Metro Vancouver report.
“Unfettered access could easily result in a congested facility,” Raymond Kan, Metro Vancouver regional planner, said in the report. “Further, an expanded facility may simply move the ‘bottleneck’ further downstream or upstream.”
Just 1% of vehicles going through the George Massey Tunnel carry more than one-in-four commuters.
According to Metro Vancouver, that type of vehicle is a bus. But despite the signs of clear demand for transit, a Delta councillor says bus service has barely grown in his municipality.
Coun. Robert Campbell said Sunday taking the bus through George Massey continues to be a pain that consumes “half a day” compared to the faster option of using a car.
He wasn’t surprised to learn 77% of current traffic in the Massey Tunnel consists of “single-occupant vehicles.”
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said she’s not concerned people would move away from transit, and anticipated that if there were more buses, ridership would also increase.
She was “appalled” to hear criticism from Metro Vancouver about the proposed bridge and added equal tolling for all bridges in the region could solve funding problems for the project.
“One of the reasons we have not seen emphasis put on the Massey Tunnel by TransLink is it’s not their tunnel, so frankly, they don’t care,” Jackson said.
“They are not looking at what’s going on at the very western … alignment of the Lower Mainland.”
According to 2006 figures, 22,000 vehicles use each of Massey Tunnel’s four lanes on a typical day.
Campbell added there’s just one bus service hour for each resident south of the Fraser compared to three times that service north of the river.
“They’ve added a few community buses, but there hasn’t been any increase to the major routes,” he said.
“You’ve got to have rapid bus, you’ve got to have more bus service … (there’s currently) B-Line from the ferry terminal to Richmond and the Canada Line, but there’s more of that that could be done.”