February 14, 2017

Back to the Massey Bridge- Because it's the 21st Century

From Price Tags commentator Alex Botta:

Posted in


If you love this region and have a view to its future please subscribe, donate, or become a Patron.

Share on


  1. Well, at least there’s the silver lining that this bridge, like the NJ Turnpike referenced above, will be exorbitantly tolled; and accompanied therefore with tolls also on the Alex Fraser and Pattullo bridges.

  2. I hate to be the bearer of good news, but there could be a change of government in the May provincial election. At which point the bridge will likely be delayed at least four years, which should be enough to kill off such a ridiculous boondoggle.

      1. Comment deleted as per editorial policy.
        Don’t know what “good news” comes out of an (extremely unlikely May 2017) NDP election besides higher taxes, less investments into BC and an even bigger government.

    1. When interviewed the leader of the opposition would only suggest that the new bridge is not, for him, a priority. That is just an equivocal comment because he understands that most people want the new bridge and the increased transit and cycling options and reduced traffic congestion and pollution it will bring, as well as the thousands of good union jobs.
      Curved roads, (such as those in the photo above) that blend merging traffic are far cleaner, more efficient and safer than ancient intersections with traffic lights and traffic all squeezing across and around each other. Imagine if train tracks were designed like that.

      1. “Everybody” that is except for 20 mayors and their planning staff.
        A lot of people bought into motordom. Not surprising they want more. Just like junkies.

  3. In fact, we are the only region in the entire country that does not have an integrated freeway network and as a result, business people like me and many, many others suffer in needless traffic every day. You don’t have to pay the extra costs associated with this but all the rest of us do. Not sure what “world” you live in but here in the “real” world, we need proper highway systems. As it is, we are the laughing stock of the nation. It’s embarrassing that our mayor still rides a bicycle at his age! Try venturing out of your imaginary world sometime and listen to what everyone is saying – generally the first topic that comes up is traffic and how bad it it. The next is that it’s getting worse because of the out-of-touch planners like yourself who only focus on bike lanes when car sales keep increasing every year. You can’t ignore that forever. Your policies may be great in a place like Spuzzum but they do not work in a large city.
    *commenter in North Vancouver*

    1. There may be motor vehicle congestion, but research consistently shows that building more highways and freeways simply provides temporary relief and then makes things worse through induced demand. The only solutions that work are either road pricing or providing transportation choice. By providing improved transit and cycling, some of those drivers that are ahead of you will be more inclined to stop driving and leave room on the roads for people who must drive.
      With regard to the mayor of Vancouver cycling, what does age have to do with it? By improving the cycling network, the city has encouraged 10% of residents to commute by bike. Imagine if all these people drove to work instead. I fail to see how anyone could object to having more people getting around by bike.

        1. MV traffic has been declining into downtown Vancouver for 20 years. It has peaked and dropped slightly into the broader city proper. It grows in the car oriented suburbs.
          Most cities in Europe have passed peak “vehicle miles traveled”.
          Traffic doesn’t grow with growth of cities. It grows with growth of highways.

        2. Even Atlanta – the freeway capital of the USA has thrown in the towel. After decades of building ever more freeways in an effort to reduce congestion, they have finally decided to stop the madness and focus on transit and even cycling. Ditto for LA. Unfortunately, there are some in BC that still have the 60th freeway madness in their brains. The proposed bridge will simply move the congestion point to Vancouver bridges and will increase congestion in Richmond and Vancouver.

    2. Embarrassing? What is this, 1985? Times have changed. Bikes are an adult thing again. Mayors around the world who cycle are looked up to as being part of the future.
      Highways have no place in a city. Most cities around the world regret ever putting them in. US President Eisenhower said that highways should have been stopped at city limits and never have gone through them. This wasn’t his intent.
      Car sales have been decreasing since 2004.
      The City is working hard to make things better for drivers all over town. Look at Burrard and Pacific. Burrard and Cornwall. Knight and Marine. The upcoming Georgia ramp which will work better for driving than the current viaducts.
      To say that the inclusion of transit, cycling and walking infrastructure means that they’re not paying improving things for driving is just plain wrong.

    3. FREEWAY::. As a business person (1) Do you support market driven road user fees ? (2) Does your business have market driven pricing ?.

    4. FreewayWanker: what a shrill ninny – after mindlessly commuting since 1978, no wonder you’re so disturbed. So, you’re now in your sixties – and you just can’t stand it anymore. We better get a rush on a bridge for you, so you can enjoy it before you croak.
      What kind of moronic business are you in btw? What kind of vehicle do you use to perpetrate your commute? Why are you embarassed that the mayor rides a bike? If Vancouver is the nation’s laughing stock, why does everyone want to live here? What have you got against Spuzzum?

    5. @ freewaydriver
      This is not about transportation per se. It’s about how we choose to build our cities. The transportation system is the frame upon which the city is hung.
      Freeway madness is not how we achieved a downtown with a population a bit less than the Massey-connected Ladner, Tsawwassen, White Rock and South Surrey combined. It also has about 1,000 times the economic output. Yet traffic in downtown has decreased.
      How is that possible? Easy. Transit, walking and bikes, which now occupy a 50% share of all urban mobility in Vancouver. Love of asphalt will decrease the quality of life in our cities. This is a measureable, verifiable fact.

  4. Re: “The City is working hard to make things better for drivers all over town.” I called city staff on this a while back. Their idea of “improvements” are adding more stop lights, pedestrian crossings, speed bumps… anything that impedes traffic flow. And in case you aren’t aware… They removed two lanes from the Burrard Bridge for cyclists. They plan to plant grass and trees in the center of the Granville Bridge, basically removing active traffic lanes (because they think 8 lanes are too much). They want to remove two lanes of service from the Cambie St. Bridge (presumably for cyclists). They want to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts. They reduced the speed limit on Hastings St. They just voted to increase parking fees for the West End. There is only one filling station left downtown. Cyclists still don’t have to buy a license (so you can track them when they break the law) nor do they have to pay insurance, but drivers do. And on it goes… You’ll have to explain how all these things are “improvements” for drivers.

    1. – Re upgrading general traffic lanes to bike lanes on BB: There was huge opposition to upgrading of southbound lane in 2009 but there was negligible effect of crossing times. Note that it is the traffic lights at each end that cases delays, not the number of lanes. Lions Gate Bridge still carries more traffic on 3 lanes than BB does in 5. When council addresses the motion to upgrade the northbound lane to cycling and give the sidewalk back to pedestrians, no one spoke in opposition and the Downtown Vancouver Business improvement Assn. quickly praised the council decision as they knew that this would be good for business. Note that now almost 1.5 million bike trips are made over the BB every year and this is bound to increase dramatically. Imagine if these people switched to driving cars.
      – Re Granville Bridge: This is way over capacity. Upgrading 2 lanes to active transportation will have zero effect on motor vehicle crossing times.
      – Re reduced speed on Hastings. Would you rather have the alternate which is more people killed by motor vehicles? Surely driving a little slower is not the end of the world.
      – Re bicycle license: People riding bikes are not immune to receiving traffic violation tickets. City used to have bike licensing but stopped this in the 1970s due to high cost and lack of benefits. Toronto looked at this on three occasions and dismissed the idea each time. Please inform me if you find any jurisdiction in the world which has a bicycle licensing program which is cost effective.
      – Re insurance: People riding bikes are as responsible for their actions as anyone else and have to pay if they cause damage or injury to another person. The reason that drivers are forced to have insurance is due to the incredible damage that a motor vehicle can inflict.
      We should be happy that the city is making cycling a viable transportation option since already 10% of commute trips by Vancouver residents are by bike. Imagine if all these people drove to work instead. We should all be praising the city for encouraging more people to ride bikes.

    2. Oh pity the poor motorist who has to suffer the indignity of having to share space with others who aren’t able to get in on their gravy train.

    3. I ride a bike. I also drive a car. I have insurance for both vehicles and a drivers license. If I need a bike license will I need a walking license too? Will pedestrians display a license so I can track them down when they break the law?

    4. @ Eric / Anon
      Pedestrian-activated crosswalk signals save lives. A side effect is momentarily impeded traffic. And you have a problem with that?

  5. Someone mentioned that MV traffic into downtown has been decreasing for the past 20 years… why then does it take even longer now to get through town than it did 20 years ago? Is someone fudging the numbers?

    1. Because those stats are suspect. Like you, I have been observing firsthand traffic flowing from Richmond into Vancouver over the last 30 years and it hasn’t decreased.

      1. Observing firsthand from one point in one point in time is not the same as automated traffic counters distributed all over downtown over wider periods.

  6. For those who think there is no traffic issue in Vancouver, just read the papers (if you aren’t out in this mess every day). The National Post reported “Vancouver traffic congestion worse than in Toronto or even Los Angeles: report”. It goes on to state that traffic reports show that Vancouver has the highest traffic congestion in the entire country. Another National Post headline reads: “Vancouver traffic worst in Canada, study says”. It goes on to state “Vancouver is the most traffic-congested city in Canada and the second most congested in North America — behind only Los Angeles”. The Vancouver Sun reports: “Choke points in Vancouver include entrance roads to bridges such as the Knight Street, Oak and Lions Gate bridges, as well as downtown roads such as Georgia, Dunsmuir and Seymour, he said.” Another headline: “Jesse Kline: Vancouver’s traffic headaches result from poor city planning. Not sure which Vancouver you are talking about… maybe it’s the one south of the border.

    1. Correction: the report lumps the city in with the Metro.
      Downtown Vancouver has experienced decreased traffic since the late 90s at the same time the population there doubled. Pretty magical, eh?
      So, your antidote to the devil incarnate — congestion — is to build more road space to accommodate even more congestion. Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

  7. As John Tory stated not too long ago: “Great cities around the world have great highway systems!” Cities like Vancouver that have no freeway system are choking in their own traffic. Don’t believe me… just take a look down on the city from the hills of West Vancouver at all the smog from the idling cars, cars that have no where to go because there is no integrated expressway system. We have invested almost exclusively in transit since 1986 and the result is that we are the most congested place in the country. Not something to be proud of.

    1. To the extent that we have invested in transit and cycling means that congestion would have been much worse if we hadn’t Unfortunately, the Province has hobbled TransLink for many years to the extent that transit services have been held back. The forced transportation referendum and subsequent no vote has hobbled TransLink even further. How can drivers complain about congestion when they vote down improved transit, roads, bridges and cycling infrastructure which TransLink could have provided. If we want to get around by car, we need to encourage more people to walk, cycle and take transit.

    2. Cities like Vancouver that have no freeway system are choking on their own traffic.
      The freeways pick up out side the city limits, and there the traffic is far worse.

    3. GTA mayor John Tory stated even more recently that he’d be tolling the Gardiner Expressway to cover its maintenance and to put new funds into transit.
      It’s sad that the Ontario premier shut him down without defining how freeway operations costs will be covered or how transit will be accommodated.

  8. Listen up there FreewayWanker – if you didn’t waste so much time commuting you could read about induced demand – the more roads you build, the more motorists you get. Look at what China has been doing – building roads like crazy – nightmarish 50 lane roads.Yet they have traffic jams that last not hours, but days.
    You obviously hate bicycles, but as the sticker says: One Less Car. You want more cars? More roads equals more cars. All the motorists want more roads, bridges, tunnels, overpasses … to make their particular slitty-eyed commute a breeze. It doesn’t work.
    So, take down that poster of Rob Ford, and make some changes in your life. You won’t be so shrill and you might even live longer and happier. Maybe start a business in Delta – blueberries or something.

    1. You must be British – I believe that’s where “wankers” originate from lol… Sounds like your advice is this: I should be told how to get around and I have no choice in how I travel. I’m forced to take the bus or worse yet, hop on a bicycle (something I outgrew when I came of age). Nope – not for me! And you mention China… has communism arrived in Canada? You know – where the government tells you what you should and should not do. I thought we were a free country over here. Shouldn’t we be able to drive if we want to? Cities that have invested in a balanced system (i.e. have respect for highways) have little congestion while cities (like Vancouver) which have only invested in transit and traffic-impeding devices have a lot of congestion. Studies prove this – but I’ll bet you don’t have any of those studies on your shelf.

      1. Cities that have invested in a balanced system (i.e. have respect for highways) have little congestion while cities (like Vancouver) which have invested in transit and traffic-impeding devices have a lot of congestion.
        What drivel.
        You challenge Arnie to produce reports while you make such comments in the complete absence of evidence that investing in roads permanently fixes congestion, and is actually affordable.
        Sixty percent of Mahattanites use the subway. They have removed road space to give to pedestrians in Times Square because they were being knocked into traffic from over-congested sidewalks. There is no land left to build more roads there.
        London and Paris are investing over $50 billion in transit between them. Very little is going into roads.
        Tokyo has more than the population of Canada. The only way that is possible is for the city to have evolved on rail.
        Canada has over-invested so much into underpinning the private car over the last 75 years that it can’t afford to replace such vast crumbling infrastructure today.
        Vancouver has already devoted about 45% of its land to asphalt (30% is publicly-owned). That’s 60 km2. And we have more land upon which to build more roads? What now, 25 m diameter freeway tunnels at $600 million a km?
        Sometimes the mind boggles at these comments.

        1. The Seattle tunnel project was to cost $3.1B for a 2.7km tunnel and associated ramps and was to be completed in 2015. Unfortunately, the boring machine broke down so this project is turning into a black hole for cash what with cost overruns and estimated completion in 2019. Do we really want to duplicate this in our fair city?
          This battle was fought and won in the 1960s by the freeway proponents. Vancouver is now looked upon with envy because we did not get sucked into the freeway madness.

        2. I was thinking about that — Bertha, the Seattle TBM that got stuck. And that tunnel is, is believe only 18 m wide which crimps the always gluttonous road space capacity to about 35,000 cars a day. $1.15B per km. Jayzus. If that was a transit project the critics would burn the transit agency Fat Cats in effigy.

      2. You outgrew a bicycle? When you came of age? How smugly inane you sound.
        Though it’s pointless to try and sway someone so fatuously opinionated – like arguing with a drunk, or a diehard smoker – I’ll try and suggest you look up Janette Sadik-Khan who, as transportation commissioner, transformed New York. She wrote a book called: ‘Streetfight’; she was on TED. She is heroic.
        There are so many more sources from which you could learn, but it’s clear your mind is set in asphalt.

        1. She transformed New York City for the better. Mayor Robertson is following Mayor Bloomberg’s lead in transforming Vancouver to a city where people have real mobility choices. Unfortunately, most other municipalities and the Province are kind of slow to catch on. This is causing grief for Anonymous and many others as that is the only way to improve transportation in an urban setting (outside of road pricing).

Subscribe to Viewpoint Vancouver

Get breaking news and fresh views, direct to your inbox.

Join 7,301 other subscribers

Show your Support

Check our Patreon page for stylish coffee mugs, private city tours, and more – or, make a one-time or recurring donation. Thank you for helping shape this place we love.

Popular Articles

See All

All Articles