Thornthwaite: North Shore Traffic Report Builds on BC Liberal Government Transportation, Transit and Infrastructure Projects

MLA Jane Thornthwaite in Victoria May 17, 2018. Photography by John Lehmann

“I’d like to thank all the elected officials, municipal staff, Translink, as well as other key stakeholders, who worked together to produce the INSTPP report. After reading the report, it is clear that most of the information builds off of transit and transportation projects, as well as the Mayors’ plan, that the previous BC Liberal Government approved and funded over the last several years, collaboratively, and with relevant partners.

I have been supportive of the Mayor’s 10-Year Plan since its inception, however, I do believe portions that benefit North Vancouver currently in Phase Three need to be moved to Phase Two. The report also recommends many of the initiatives I have advocated for, including expedited accident clearing, an express bus connecting the Phibbs Exchange to the Skytrain network, and more accommodations for cycling and walking.

However, the project that will make the most difference in the day-to-day lives of the North Shore residents is the $198-million Lower Lynn Interchange Project, first approved in 2015 and given additional funding in 2016.  It includes the Mountain Highway, Fern Street, and Dollarton interchanges, plus redevelopment of Phibbs Exchange. This project was one that I heavily advocated for and worked closely with various provincial, federal, and municipal counterparts. With construction of the first phase well underway, many on the North Shore can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Undoubtedly this is one of the most significant infrastructure projects on the North Shore in many years.

While rapid transit on the Lonsdale corridor was mentioned, I remain an advocate for an east-west Skytrain line, with a connection over to Burnaby by the Ironworkers memorial Bridge. If the Marine-Phibbs Exchange B-Line is to be a success, then no doubt Skytrain could be as well, in the future. I do not wish to shut the door on the idea of an east-west Skytrain in North Vancouver. As we have seen with other Skytrain lines throughout the region, if you build it, people will ride.

We should look to expand our rail transit network not only regionally, but province-wide, with a 30 year plan. Many North Shore residents identify housing development as a major problem impacting traffic. Any future plans should be done within the context of a regional housing plan. People are looking for a long-term vision with a commitment that the steps along the way will be fully funded and last well beyond the next election cycle.

The report is stated as being collaborative, but I do note that the participation of the other North Shore MLAs was seriously compromised due to not being included as members of the INSTPP Steering Committee (comprised of all the region’s mayors, MPs and Lonsdale MLA). Going forward, the constituents of all MLAs deserve to have a voice at the INSTPP table.

 

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