It’s really important to move folks (including Vancouver Council) to thinking about carbon emission reduction from a regional perspective. I’ve been thinking about potential ideas to address GHGs, air quality and the need for transit funds:
1. MetroVan ClimateCare
Bring back AirCare but rebrand it as MetroVan ClimateCare (with annual exhaust and emissions checks and licensing fees linked to vehicle type, size, electrification, etc.). Have the Province empower Metro Vancouver to manage and coordinate this. It can still address the same co-benefits and the proposed license fees can be earmarked to the 21 municipalities on a per capita basis (though some funds would be retained for transit). ClimateCare would also address the growing issue of noise pollution on vehicles, particularly the modification of cars for sound effects which is slipping under the radar because AirCare is gone.
2. Lead By Example
Ensure that all government fleets are electrified as soon as possible and ensure that all Uber and Lyft or ridehail licensees are (by a given date) electric or hybrid (at least) along with taxis and those ever elusive rental car fleets . (To date, I know of no electric rental cars available in British Columbia).
3. Review Singapore’s COE (Certificate of Entitlement) & ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) Systems
As others have proposed emulate the island-city-state of Singapore by creating an electronic road pricing system in the ‘insular’ MetroVan or even Lower Mainland airshed. Along with Electronic Road Pricing a Certificate of Entitlement (i.e. license) would enable regulating emissions at the vehicular level and could be linked to the ClimateCare idea. The Electronic Road Pricing also auto-pays charges for public parking lots. You can take a look at Singapore’s system here.
4. Transit Self-Financing
Provide massive core funding to Translink so that it can build out its proposed network of skytrain, LRT, BRT and so forth, but also encourage more rail-based regional transit up the Valley and to Whistler along existing corridors.
This would require not only funding from the above mechanisms (e.g. ERP, COE, ClimateCare) but also secure core funding from BC and Ottawa. Another approach would be to support the ability for Translink to work with non-profit, public, co-op and co-housing developers at transit hubs including Skytrain and transit loops to above/beside hub projects that support 75% real pro public affordable housing and also independent owner operated small businesses (vs. franchise capital). Transit hubs could truly be community hubs instead of condos with SUV(suburban/sports utility vehicle) hubs.
5. Incentivize Car Free Movement
Governments and Unions should Incentivize transit, walking, and biking. Free transit should be seen as an employee benefit offered instead of free parking by unions and governments. Provincial taxes could be reduced for non-vehicle owners or those who have transit passes, or are members of ride sharing coops.
These are some ideas ‘driven’ by the work of others and around the globe.
David Sadoway is on faculty and is an instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He previously wrote in Viewpoint Vancouver about Stanley Park and “automobile bubble” privilege, and has been thinking about the importance of limiting carbon emissions on a regional level. He’s adding into the conversation about Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Parking Plan and the two proposed annual fees, one for curbside parking, and the other for parking a “gas rich” vehicle curbside.