EDITORIAL: Have your say on future of tunnel
The Ministry of Transportation once again came to town on Saturday touting its plans to replace the 54-year-old George Massey Tunnel.
The near constant gridlock caused by the relic from the 1950s and its poorly designed approaches costs the local economy millions annually, and local residents minutes and hours of their day, every day. Due to its seismic danger, the tunnel is estimated at having a useful life of just 10 to 15 more years at this point.
The South Arm of the Fraser River needs a new crossing to replace the George Massey Tunnel, that much is obvious.
But a solution that doesn’t put alternative modes of transportation at the forefront - instead of as an afterthought - is no solution at all.
HOV lanes, dedicated rapid bus lanes, pedestrian sidewalks, and cycling access will do more to alleviate local congestion than merely expanding vehicular capacity.
If given a viable, convenient, and cost-effective choice, commuters will more than happily leave their cars at home. Only when that happens will we see the gridlock lessen.
After all, do we want to end up like Houston or Los Angeles, where endless freeways have led to endless congestion?
A new crossing needs to be tolled to curb unnecessary single-passenger vehicle use and help recoup the cost of construction. A portion of this should also be earmarked for improvements to public transportation in the region.
A plan which pays only lip service to public transportation needs is not good enough. We don’t want to end up with the same congestion problem on the new Fraser crossing years down the road, and be a billion dollars poorer for the effort. But that is precisely what will happen if funded public transportation options are not included in the Ministry of Transportation’s chosen option.
• Whatever direction you want the George Massey Tunnel to take, now is the time to have your say. The Ministry of Transportation public consultation process concludes next month, and residents have until April 2 to submit thier feedback. For more information, visit www.masseytunnel.ca
-South Delta Leader