The Burnaby New Democrat's equity proposal isn't the only controversial resolution submitted for debate at the New Democrat convention, which will take place in Vancouver next month. Back in September, party leader Carole James got a black eye for her position on the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge. Speaking at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention, Ms. James said "Let's put in transit now. Will we need a bridge across the river? Yes, I'm certain we'll need a bridge across the river. But not now."
That equivocal statement seemed to be at odds with some members of Ms. James's own caucus, who appear to be more supportive of that twinning project. But now it looks like New Democrats in Vancouver-Kensington - the riding represented by former transportation critic David Chudnovsky - will be giving her an opportunity to revisit the issue. The constituency association has put forward a resolution calling on the party to "publicly opposes the proposed plans to widen the #1 Highway and build a second Port Mann Bridge."
Still, twinning proponent Jordan Bateman - a provincial Liberal executive member and Langley township councillor - doesn't think that resolution will clarify the New Democrat's position on the bridge project. "But the main thing is, take a stand. If you're going to oppose it, oppose it and let the people of the South Fraser region in particular know exactly where your party stands and exactly what a Carole James in the premier's office is going to mean to the interests of the South Fraser."
OPPOSE TWINNING OF PORT MANN BRIDGE
* the BC Liberal government plans to widen the #1 Highway between 200th Street in Langley and McGill Street in East Vancouver as part of The Gateway Transportation Strategy
* this would include building a second Port Mann Bridge and widening the highway to
* the price tag for this expansion would be $1.5 billion
* there has been no public consultation and no consideration of alternatives
* concerns of East Vancouver residents over increased traffic flow into their neighbourhood have not been addressed
* the Livable Region Strategic Plan (LRSP) adopted by the GVRD Board in 1996 includes the major objective of achieving a Compact Metropolitan Region, whereas the #1 Highway capacity expansion encourages urban sprawl
* the LRSP also includes the major objective of increasing transportation choice - with the
aim of encouraging transit use and discouraging the growth in single-occupant vehicle travel
* over two-thirds of vehicles using the #1 Highway during rush hour are single occupancy vehicles
* no public transit bus currently crosses the Port Mann Bridge
* capacity expansion inevitably results in induced demand that causes the same congestion problems that were present prior to the capacity expansion
* the triple convergence principle postulates that capacity expansion on one route will attract users who previously traveled on different routes, at different times, and by different modes
* the Port Mann Bridge was widened in 2001 at a cost of $60 million in order to "reduce congestion on the Lower Mainland's worst traffic bottleneck" according to a 2001/02 Ministry of Transportation report, clearly demonstrates these principles in action
* the health costs resulting from the increased traffic contributing to air quality problems have not been factored into the costs of the project
* "A Long-Range Transportation Plan for Greater Vancouver" by Transport 2021 (a joint project of the GVRD and the Province of BC) noted that "the region's citizens expect their transport system to meet social and environmental goals, such as: to provide transportation equitably to a diverse population (30% of whom are either too young or too old to drive) and to help reduce its negative impacts on the region's livability (e.g. to limit urban sprawl and land consumption, preserve green space, limit congestion and intrusion into local neighbourhoods, and cut air and noise pollution)."
* Transport 2021 also noted "Greater Vancouver has concluded that heavy reliance on the private automobile is unhealthy. The desire for greater choice in mode of transport is a recurring theme in public meetings and opinion polls."
* Transport 2021 also noted "congestion is usually considered an evil; however, allowing congestion to deteriorate for the single-occupant vehicles is a practical method for promoting transit and carpools."
* the BC NDP has avoided taking a stand on this critical issue;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the BC NDP publicly opposes the proposed plans to widen the #1 Highway and build a second Port Mann Bridge.