NIMBY protestors in your backyard

Last week, Richmond city councilors Bill McNulty and Harold Steves promised street protests if Vancouver's transportation authority didn't ground plans to elevate the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver rapid transit line running through their community. And now it seems the two politicians, who are concerned the elevated line will be an eyesore, will be keeping that promise.

In an email sent out yesterday afternoon and leaked to Public Eye, Mr. Steves, a former Barrett administration MLA, announced, "We are organizing a demonstration along the RAV line on No. 3 Road for Monday...Our intent is to stop a bus to show (a) that the proposed elevated system will not even serve all of downtown Richmond, or (b) that an effective at grade system with separate transit lanes has already been designed for the B-line and at grade LRT." That email, copied below, is also being distributed by former Green mayoral, provincial and federal election candidate Stephen Kronstein.


Greetings, all.

The email below is from Richmond City councillor Harold Steves, regarding a demonstration about the RAV line, set for this Monday, 2pm. If you need to know more about the issue, contact Mr. Steves by the phone number he lists below.

Stephen Kronstein
Richmond, BC

-----Original Message-----
From: Harold Steves
Subject: RAV Demonstration
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 14:03:38 -0800 (PST)

Hi Everyone,

We are organizing a demonstration along the RAV line on No. 3 Road for Monday (Nov. 29).

We will meet at the Richmond News parking lot, 5731 No. 3 Rd. at 2 P.M. then (a)walk a block south to the bus stop at Saba Road which is the last stop for the
proposed elevated RAV line or (b) north to the end of the B-line separated bus lane at Ackroyd Road.

Our intent is to stop a bus to show (a) that the proposed elevated system will not even serve all of downtown Richmond, or (b) that an effective at grade system with separate transit lanes has already been designed for the B-line and at grade LRT.

I will have signs prepared stating "at grade only" Bill Mcnulty and I are both contacting supporters. It would be good to have some people come early to ride on the bus.

Please let me know if you can come by e-mail or phone. Please ask other people to join us.


It certainly would be a tragedy if a the beautiful view of the strip malls along No. 3 Road were obscured by a raised transit system that the residents of Richmond are barely contributing too.

Harold Steeves is a jack ass.


The article below is a bit dated - I wrote it in December - but I think it provides an insightful comparison of three arguments regarding the RAV-line, as provided by two Richmond city councillors and a transportation consultant.


By Stephen Kronstein
Dec. 10, 2004

Choosing a route for the Richmond section of the RAV line has moved to the front of the debate since an elevated system has been approved.

Some on Richmond's council want to have the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver Rapid Transit project moved from No. 3 Road to Minoru Boulevard, said Coun. Harold Steves.

"If we put an elevated system on Minoru, then we can put a ground-level system on 3 Road" one block east, said Steves.

This is important because with an elevated system the stations will be quite far apart and unable to serve the No. 3 Road business front. Most people will be using the line to get from Richmond to Downtown Vancouver.

But with a ground-level system stations can be more frequent, which would help to better serve the local traffic, said Steves.

In comparison, the Expo line at Metrotown was built one block south of Kingsway, which is the area with the greater residential density. For this reason, it has a larger ridership now than it would if it had been built on the main business front, explained Steves.

On the other hand, Richmond Coun. Rob Howard has been a proponent of the elevated No. 3 Road proposal from the start.

Over the past 30 years, about a dozen studies have focused on Richmond's No. 3 Road and Vancouver's Cambie Street, demonstrating that these corridors are most deserving of a mass transit system, said Howard.

"And you can either do it by elevating it, you can do it by tunnelling it - which is not an option in Richmond because of our high water table - or you can put it at-grade, but build fences and barriers around it," which would be unsafe, congestive and confusing to traffic, explained Howard.

Despite Howard's first choice for a No. 3 Road line, he was the bridge-builder on council who first suggested the Minoru option. Due to a majority on council having an aversion to an elevated No. 3 Road route, he made the suggestion in hopes of saving the project, he said.

But the Minoru option has not been anywhere near as studied as the No. 3 Road option, cautioned Howard.

And yet another view is that of Mark Miller, who is an expert in mass-transit systems and the president of Vimarc Consulting Services Inc., which provides consultation for major transportation projects.

Miller disagrees with both Howard and Steves, recommending that the line in Richmond rather go down Garden City Road.

"If you're going to run elevated, I would say that Garden City is the way to go," said Miller.

For one thing, at "Garden City there's more room to expand the roadway and have a clean construction area," as opposed to the either No. 3 Road or Minoru Boulevard, noted Miller.

In particular, No. 3 Road construction will be a lot more time-consuming then it's ever been for any other existing route in the Lower Mainland, explained Miller. "It'll be a mayhem."

And keep in mind that "it's not commerce that rides transit, it's people," said Miller. "No. 3 Road is high-value commercial; you don't have a lot of room for park-and-ride."

In contrast, the Garden City area is much more practical for complementary development than either of the other two options, suggested Miller.

For example, the more affordable property around the Garden City strip, including the large empty federal lands at Westminster Highway, could more easily be developed into an integrated focal point, suggested Miller.

And the area is already home to Kwantlen University College, Lansdowne Mall, a section of high-volume residential apartment buildings and a number of strip-malls.

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