The other night, I went to a townhall meeting with TransLink where they presented their Transport 2040 strategy.
Now, at the risk of sounding forgiving, you have to realize that they’ve been given a nearly impossible task. On January 1, 2008, some new legislation kicked in that said they had to have a plan of some sort by August 1, 2008. That’s an awfully short time to develop a comprehensive, 30 year plan. So what you’ll see on this link is a strategic plan – broad brush strokes that point the way to some future.
That being said, after the meeting (and there were a LOT of angry people there – more on that later), and I said to some guy that I thought the whole plan was a load of horseshit.
I live in an area that’s not well-served by public transit. There’s the WestCoast Express which runs only during peak hours. The result of that is this morning was a mad dash in time for last train to get me downtown. I’d planned to go into work late and I did – I got there at 9:15am. There’s the 701 to Coquitlam Station which is an “express” bus – with 30 stops. There are numerous community shuttles – which are unreliable. One 16 year old at the meeting told a story of how she waited for 45 minutes for a shuttle – late at night that never came.
There is little transit east of 200th Street. And Maple Ridge is supposed to be a city centre.
There were a lot of angry people at that meeting. TransLink wasn’t even going to come to Maple Ridge (probably because they knew there was nothing in that plan for Maple Ridge) until the Mayor asked them to come. They looked sufficiently chastised, especially when they were asked no more than 4 times if they’d taken transit out to the meeting (of course not? are you crazy? THEY IS HI POWERED EXECUATIVES!)
But none of that really fazed me – its part of the reality of living here. And I love this town.
What got me what what the accountant guy said:
To me, this isn’t a plan, because its not financially sustainable.
Well, no shit, Sherlock. And yet you want to keep increasing my property and fuel taxes, and we don’t get any benefit from it?
- investing $24M in cycling and $29M in WestCoast Express over the next 10 years (do YOU see a discrepancy here?)
- West Van has half the population of Maple Ridge and twice the bus service to downtown Vancouver (I guess that’s what money can buy you)
- people out here want to take transit but can’t; its offensive that TransLink believes all that’s needed is a behavioural shift (FOR SHAME. It goes without saying that in order for people to change their behaviour, you have to give them the resources to do so)
- for what it costs to build one kilometer of underground skytrain (an oxymoron, really), you can build a line of light rail from Maple Ridge to Mission.
Did you know that there’s no bus service from Maple Ridge to Mission? And that people in Abbotsford have to go to Mission, then the WestCoast Express to get downtown?
So kudos to Mayor Robson for getting TransLink out here. And more kudos to him for wanting to get Maple Ridge out of TransLink. I can tell you which Mayoral candidate out here will get my vote in November.
Oh and a couple of days later, I found out another interesting thing: TransLink didn’t ask any municipalities for input until the strategy had been created – they weren’t considered stakeholders.
This is crossposted over at WetCoast Women where Nicole also rants sometimes.