Federal funding for new North Shore traffic study will support case for rapid transit

Aug 20 2019, 8:42 pm

Another analysis of the North Shore’s traffic congestion woes will be made with the assistance of new funding from the federal government.

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It was announced today that the City of North Vancouver will receive $250,000 from the federal government’s Western Economic Diversification Canada program to help support the municipality’s economic development goals through analyzing traffic congestion and recommending strategies to help alleviate the issues.

Congestion and the lack of alternatives within the City of North Vancouver and the wider North Shore area currently severely inhibit economic functions and growth.

“Unfortunately, traffic congestion has become a daily fact of life for too many people,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, the MP for North Vancouver, in a statement.

“While the federal, provincial and municipal governments are presently implementing a number of short and medium term measures to assist in addressing congestion issues, we need to be looking to longer term, more fulsome opportunities.”

Apart from the introduction of SeaBus in 1977, connections and capacity across Burrard Inlet have not changed since 1960, despite the growth in population and employment, and increasing traffic to Squamish and Whistler through the Lions Gate Bridge, Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, and the North Shore municipalities.

Second Narrows Bridge

Ironworkers Memorial Bridge at the Second Narrows between Vancouver and North Vancouver. (Shutterstock)

The latest federal-backed study will run parallel with the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project (INSTPP), which involved all three North Shore municipal governments, TransLink, and the Port of Vancouver, and provided a number of recommendations in its 2018 report, including the study of fixed-link rapid transit.

“For years, the fabled ‘third crossing’ has graced the lips of many North Shore residents as they battled congestion and imagined alternative ways to travel across the Burrard Inlet,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale and the chair of the INSTPP Steering Committee.

“Through the collaborative work of INSTPP, serious steps are finally being taken by senior levels of government in partnership with local governments.”

The new study will also complement the BC government’s North Shore fixed-link rapid transit study, in partnership with the City of Vancouver, the North Shore municipalities, and TransLink. This rapid transit study, announced this past May, will examine the feasibility of extending SkyTrain from Vancouver to the North Shore.

By focusing on the economic impacts of existing congestion and the opportunities as a result of new rapid transit, it will not duplicate the work of INSTPP and the fixed-link rapid transit study.

Findings from this City of North Vancouver study will be used to help develop a business case for options such as rapid transit to the North Shore, which will be presented to TransLink as part of its Transport 2050 engagement towards creating a new 30-year transit expansion plan.

“The development of a business case for solutions such as rapid transit done through the work being funded today, can help us take meaningful steps to improving mobility and bolstering economic development on the North Shore,” continued Wilkinson.

Linda Buchanan, the mayor of the City of North Vancouver, also added: “We’re excited to see the federal government continue to invest in developing solutions to our transportation challenges here on the North Shore.”

“As we continue to build on the work of INSTPP and look for new ways to address congestion, this significant contribution will complement this work and allow us to build an economic case for more transit investment on the North Shore.”

north shore

Renovations to Lonsdale SeaBus terminal in North Vancouver. (TransLink)

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