Tag Archives: Transit

North Vancouver says goodbye to bus depot

West Van buses are garaged in North Vancouver, North Vancouver will be garaged in Burnaby.  Makes sense?

from the North Shore News today:

It’s the last stop for the North Vancouver Transit Centre.

Starting this weekend, TransLink is decommissioning the bus depot on Third Street at St. Davids Avenue and moving the buses to the Burnaby Transit Centre.

The decision, which TransLink first announced in 2012, has been fought over the years by the City and District of North Vancouver councils and UNIFOR Local 111, the union representing the drivers.

All three lobbied heavily for the transit authority to find a new location on the North Shore so, in the event of an earthquake shutting down the bridges, the North Shore would still have a fleet of buses available.

“We did an extensive search of alternatives that included building a new facility on the North Shore; however, current estimates put the cost at $100 million – something TransLink cannot presently afford,” said Chris Bryan, TransLink spokesman.

In 2012, TransLink estimated consolidating the Third Street depot with the Burnaby one would save $20 million over 10 years, eliminating the need for costly upgrades.

In the event of a catastrophe, West Vancouver’s Blue Buses, which are marshalled at a facility off Lloyd Avenue can be pressed into service, Bryan added.

Bus drivers will have to make their way to the Burnaby depot at about 5:30 a.m. to start the morning run and deadhead back at night, but residents who ride transit shouldn’t notice any difference in service, Bryan said.

Neighbours around the depot, however, are welcoming the change. The depot has prompted complaints over noise and diesel fumes since it opened in the early 1940s.

“There’s a celebration that’s going to occur when it closes,” said Jeff Murl, a Fourth Street resident who lives across from the depot.

Murl said he purchased his home knowing the depot was there, but found it to be an even more disruptive neighbour than he thought possible.

“On Sunday at 1 p.m. in the winter, they would just turn on all the buses and idle them for like 45 minutes. There were 20 buses just shaking my house,” he said.

This was in contravention of the city’s anti-idling bylaw, he noted.

“That was pretty annoying,” he said.

The yard was also a source of light pollution thanks to one large spotlight.

“I’m hoping they turn that off when they leave – last one out, turn the lights off would be a good way of doing it.”

What will happen with the site is now an open question.

“As far as its future life goes, our real estate division is going to take a look at that property and see what its best use and what the best option is for the future. At this point, we haven’t made any decisions,” Bryan said. “We always seek to derive best possible value for the properties we have when we decommission so we can return the best possible outcome for taxpayers.”

The city’s official community plan foresees medium-density mixed-use commercial/residential development on the site with a maximum floor space ratio of 2.5 and a maximum height of four storeys.

In 2015, the land was assessed at $5,089,500.

Murl said he’s not bothered by the thought of a four-storey building along Third Street, especially if it includes some kind of grocery store, but he’d like to see some of the land on the north side of the property reserved for community use.

“For me, ultimately, I’d love to see it turned into something that benefits the neighbourhood.

“Everything on Third is going to be sold to the highest bidder, real estate, maxed-out zoning, all that kind of stuff,” he said.

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/north-vancouver-says-goodbye-to-bus-depot-1.2334045#sthash.CNOZQ81e.dpuf

 

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Insufficient Transportation Infrastructure (updated)

The letter  writer has provided the following update today (Aug 29):

Carol Reimer I gathered some facts about how long it currently takes me to use my car vs transit. I live in Central Lonsdale where transit is supposed to be pretty good. We have an Aunt in a Care Home in Coquitlam: 23 min by car vs 1 hr 24 min by transit with 3 transfers. We have friends who live in Surrey: 34 min by car vs 1 hr 54 min by transit with 3 transfers. We have friends who live on the Westside: 35 min by car vs 1 hr 15 min by transit. Our son lives off of Commercial Drive: 20 min by car vs 1 hr by transit. My friend lives near Indian River Park on the North Shore: 17 min by car vs 49 min on transit with a 14 minute walk up-hill from Deep Cove. If I visit all of these people in a week, I save 8 hours and 26 minutes by driving versus transit. I am NOT going to ride a bike to these places from the North Shore.

Transportation planners need to look at what real people are doing. City Councils need to put a hold on increasing density until the infrastructure issues are sorted out. The huge investment in bicycle lanes should have been put into mass transit.

We have received the following copy of a letter to the Editor, North Shore News (not yet published):

Good Morning!
For the North Shore News letters section:
I’ve been listening carefully to the announcements from ICBC about their requested rate increase and I’m not at all surprised by one of the causes since we are experiencing more and more traffic congestion EVERY day.  And now we have clear evidence from ICBC that this congestion is causing “a perfect storm” of more claims, more accidents, more injuries and higher costs.
.
 “It’s hard to put our finger on why — the vehicle population is on the rise, over 3 million for the first time to 3.1 million, up about 10 per cent since 2011, more vehicles on the road and we know they are driving more … the actual amount of gas consumption is up despite cars being more efficient, it’s up 11 per cent in the last three years.”    (from Mark Blucher, ICBC CEO)
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Since 2011, most Lower Mainland areas have invested heavily in bicycle infrastructure and Folks, it’s simply not making enough of a difference to prevent a significant increase in public harm on our roads.  

At the same time our City Councils are ignoring the facts and continuing on with increasing density in our neighbourhoods
without the required  vehicle transportation infrastructure to support it.

 

Add to that the belief that if the buildings don’t provide sufficient parking, people won’t drive!  Ludicrous!

 
It’s obviously not working!  City Councils need to consider the facts.  Their beliefs  and the resulting decisions cost the BC public
 inconvenience, more accidents and more harm.  However, these
 costs are  NOT being considered when the developers come to call and  provide contributions to city politicians who support increased density beyond the capacity of our infrastructure.
 
More shameful is the public hearing process for new developments where the public input is completely ignored.   And most of the public input is about the lack of infrastructure to support the ever increasing amount of development.  All we can do it put our minds to the next election. Unfortunately we are going to have to live with the public harm that is being caused by today’s decisions.
 
Carol Reimer
CNV resident

Updated: Vancouver-area mayors are fed up, want relief from TransLink

Mayor Mussatto is quoted today as saying he will no longer take part in the Mayor’s Council.  Voices comment:  Councillor Keating has been the permanent delegate to the Mayor’s Council for some time, so is the Mayor speaking for Councillor Keating?

from The Globe and Mail today, Francis Bula: 

Vancouver-area mayors are fed up, want relief from TransLink.

At least one Vancouver-area mayor says he will no longer participate in the TransLink Mayors’ Council – and most of his peers are warning they will do the same if they don’t see changes that give them more control over the region’s transit system by the end of the year.

The mayors’ increasingly public frustration with TransLink is part of the continuing fallout from the disastrous transit plebiscite results announced almost two weeks ago, which saw 62 per cent of local residents reject a sales tax increase that would have helped pay for transit expansions.

Premier Christy Clark had asked the mayors to put the issue to a vote. Almost all local mayors were part of the Yes campaign, pitching a 10-year plan they were required to develop in a few months last year – despite having no authority over transit planning or spending for almost a decade.

“Personally, I’m done,” said Darrell Mussatto, the mayor of North Vancouver. “The Mayors’ Council is just legitimizing a dysfunctional system. We really are at a crossroads here.”

Mayor Nicole Read of Maple Ridge, one of the few mayors who advocated for a No vote, is not quite there – but almost.

“If I had to make the decision today, I would say no [to staying on the Mayors’ Council],” said Ms. Read, though she plans to reluctantly attend meetings to see what the team comes up with.

Coquitlam’s Richard Stewart says he’s willing to stay on until Transportation Minister Todd Stone indicates whether the province is willing to make any changes. But he’s also pessimistic about participating in TransLink.

“Someone’s going to have to convince me we’re heading toward reforming the governance to allow the region appropriate control over transportation planning,” Mr. Stewart said. “If that doesn’t happen, I’m out. This is really dysfunctional public-policy control.”

A group of mayors and councillors voted unanimously last week to examine advocating for transit planning at Metro Vancouver, where they have some control.

“I am here to hang on until December,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote, who initiated the motion. “I think it’s wise for the mayors to wait and see if the province is generally going to come to the table.”

But if that doesn’t happen, “the mayors might disband the Mayors’ Council,” he said.

Mr. Cote and Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker said Metro Vancouver has a lot of resources that could help local politicians have a voice in transit planning.

Mr. Becker made an additional motion, also supported, recommending that staff develop new options for managing regional transit that mayors could present to the province.

“We need to take the initiative,” he said.

The mayors are considering whether to hold a Mayors’ Council meeting before the scheduled one in September, so they can get an early start on deciding whether they should continue to participate.

When TransLink was created in 2000 with the aim of giving the region control over transit planning and spending, a board of 12 mayors had control over the agency.

After they balked several times before approving the construction of the Canada Line, then-transportation minister Kevin Falcon had the legislation rewritten in 2007 to put an appointed board in charge.

The mayors’ powers were reduced to minor approvals, along with the ability to say yes or no to tax increases greater than 3 per cent a year.

Over the years, they were often surprised and dismayed by TransLink board decisions – as in the case of installing fare gates – which sometimes appeared to be guided by the provincial government.

Last year, the mayors got the right to have two representatives on the board, so at least there would be more direct communication between TransLink and the region’s politicians.

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Spin city – transit plebiscite

New article by Elizabeth Murphy, published in Common Ground and quoting in part:

Scratching the surface of the plebiscite

by Elizabeth Murphy

aerial view of city

• We must look beyond sound bites coming from the multi-million dollar, publically funded Yes campaign for the transportation plebiscite. The evidence shows that the plan for the Broadway Corridor is more about implementing Metrotown-scale development than it is about transporting people.

With foreign capital taps wide open into local real estate and development, Vancouver is demonstrating the kind of deregulated extraction capitalism opposed by Naomi Klein in her latest book, This Changes Everything.

Manipulated growth projections are used to justify development we do not need. This is leading to overbuilding of about 2,000 units per four-year census period. By 2011, this amounted to a total of 22,000 unoccupied units. The point is not how do we force these expensive new units to be rented out, but why do we permit overbuilding?

Like the 1950s and 1960s neighbourhood clearing and urban renewal highway projects, this current tower oriented redevelopment of established neighbourhoods will prove to be a mistake.

Affordable older housing stock is being demolished to be replaced by tiny-unit, expensive cookie cutter condo towers or new monster houses. These are not affordable or viable options for most people or families in Vancouver. Increased development pressure will increase rents and the cost of home ownership.

Link to full article here:   Spin city – transit plebiscite.

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Plan B for transit needed

Voices comment:  letter to the North Shore News with a suggestion we totally agree with.  We have long advocated that the new growth must contribute to livability.  In our first delegation to Council in May 2012 we said:

We ask that Council develop some reasonable policies and guidelines with respect to density bonusing, like those in West Vancouver and Vancouver, so that the public knows that the city is getting fair value for additional density and so that developers are not able to avoid paying less than their share.’

We know that we (the City) is not receiving fair value for the current growth.  There have been far too many lost opportunities for community amenities.   Link to our inaugural delegation is here:

 https://nvcityvoices.wordpress.com/council/delegation-to-council-may-2812/.  Maybe we need a reminder about how far we have come (or not).

Link to News letter is here:   Plan B for transit needed.

North Vancouver – Dear Editor: Thank you for printing the letter Slap Developers with a Cost Charge to Help Pay for Transit (mailbox, Jan. 28), and thanks to letter-writer Don Bryant for his idea. I agree. Politicians may need a backup plan if the transit referendum fails.

There is an ongoing dilemma of how to balance growth with transportation, so we believe development cost charges are a fair and equitable way to collect fees to pay for downstream improvements which are a direct result of development. This is also easier for the majority of people to swallow, since they equate growth with increasing demand for transit.

There is a growing discontent with development – growth – as Bryant pointed out. Developers are just doing their job – developing housing, etc. – but the growth needs to be accompanied with transit improvements, otherwise commuters become frustrated, and it will become an election issue, as witnessed in North Vancouver in November.

Bryant has proposed a solution which will up the costs for developers, but the alternative is even less attractive to them, namely stopping growth. All it takes is pressure from the mayors, through Metro, to get the province to revise the Local Government Act enabling municipalities to collect DCCs for transit.

Are you listening, mayors and local MLAs? Maybe this is the “Plan B” the mayor is looking for.

Alex Jamieson

North Vancouver

– See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/letters/plan-b-for-transit-needed-the-entire-thing-should-1.1778243#.dpuf