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Moving Forward with transit in Metro Vancouver: an update on TransLink’s 2011 base plan and supplemental plans

Moving Forward with transit in Metro Vancouver: an update on TransLink’s 2011 base plan and supplemental plans

Tomorrow, is our annual base plan presentation to the public. This year, TransLink has some proposals for the future of transit in Metro Vancouver, and the supplemental plan called ‘Moving Forward’ lays out exactly what is being planned and why. It’s all part of TransLink’s 10-year transportation and financial plan.

People have a lot of questions for TransLink these days, so it’s great timing that the base plan and ‘Moving Forward’ supplemental presentation is tomorrow, Tuesday, July 19th at 7 p.m., and it’s open to the public! It will be broadcast over the Internet as a webinar and, you can also phone in your questions (1.888.396.8046) for TransLink CEO, Ian Jarvis, and program and plan development manager, Geoff Cross. Here’s some info on what it’s all about:

‘Moving Forward’ backgrounder


In October 2010, following extensive public consultation, TransLink proposed a supplemental plan entitled Moving Forward to the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation for their approval. Consultation on the plan was conducted through webinars, online forms and Transportation Fairs, which were interactive and informative “drop-in” sessions held around Metro Vancouver. TransLink received nearly 1,000 questionnaires, 2,150 comments as well as input from more than 2,200 members of the TransLink Listens online panel.

The Moving Forward plan received strong endorsement both from stakeholders and members of the public, who were very clear about the level of transportation service they expect and how they were prepared to pay for it. More than 80 per cent of people consulted felt that the improvements to our bus schedule, SeaBus schedule, SkyTrain stations, Major Road Network, Bike Capital Program and other improvements outlined in the Moving Forward plan were important to the Metro Vancouver region, while 75 per cent of respondents told TransLink that the Evergreen Line was important to help the Metro Vancouver region reach TransLink’s Transport 2040 goals.

The plan, which includes significant improvements to Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, was put aside temporarily due to a lack of funding, but is now being revisited in light of an Agreement between the provincial government and Mayors’ Council on a formula that will secure the sustainable funding necessary for the improvements, if approved, to go ahead. The agreement stipulates that the Mayors’ Council will address the questions of funding through a proposal to raise $44 million annually by increasing the gas tax beginning in 2012 and another $29 million through means to be decided by the mayors and to begin in 2013.

Moving Forward reflects TransLink’s vision, which is to “create a better place to live built on transportation excellence,” but more importantly, the plan is based on public input and feedback about their transportation priorities for their region. Here are the benefits TransLink believes Moving Forward can provide.

Regional

  • Approximately 7 per cent increase in conventional service hours, including a 415,000-hour annual increase in bus and SeaBus service, by 2014 with approximately half of those hours bound for South of Fraser.
  • A nearly 9 per cent increase in total transit service hours, including 138,000 new annual rapid transit hours, with the launch of Evergreen Line.
  • A nearly 10 per cent increase in transit boardings by 2021, representing more than 40 million rides per year.
  • The number of vehicles kilometres travelled per capita would decline by 2014, reversing historic trends.
  • Major Road Network funding would be increased by $10 million per year, and Bike Capital Program funding would be increased by $3 million per year, allowing the region to keep up with muti-modal network needs and improve safety.

South of the Fraser

  • More than 200,000 additional transit service hours – nearly twice as many as during the last service expansion in 2009
  • King George Boulevard B-Line bus service, connecting White Rock Centre to Guildford via Surrey Central
  • Highway 1 RapidBus from Langley to Lougheed SkyTrain Station via the new Port Mann Bridge (when completed)
  • White Rock to Langley bus service
  • Upgrades to Surrey Central SkyTrain Station

Vancouver, Burnaby & New Westminster

  • More bus service along U-Pass BC routes, including perennial trouble spots, #41, #43 #49 and #145.
  • Upgrades to Main Street, Metrotown and New Westminster Stations to improve customer accessibility and station capacity.

North Shore

  • SeaBus increased to service every 15 minutes, all day, 7 days a week.
  • Improved service on Marine Drive to Downtown, SeaBus and Lonsdale Ave.

Tri-Cities

  • The Evergreen Line expected to be operational after successful bidding and a four year construction period.
  • Strategic investments in additional bus service to accommodate higher demand once the Evergreen Line is launched.
  • Increased capacity and more frequent service on core routes, such as the #160 and #701.

Revisiting Moving Forward coincides with our annual Base Plan planning and consultation process, which is about to get underway. While Moving Forward includes proposed transit improvements that address our future transportation needs, the Base Plan outlines our strategy to continue maintaining our current services while working within our existing funding framework. Both Moving Forward and the Base Plan will be consulted on with the public and key stakeholders in the coming weeks.

Additional feedback on Moving Forward and input on TransLink’s 2012 Base Plan will be gathered through an online questionnaire, and via a webinar scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 19. TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis and Geoff Cross, TransLink Program Manager, Plan Development, will field questions and comments via email and telephone.

Following the consultation period, a report on the consultation will be prepared and sent to the Board of Directors in late July or early August, along with the Base Plan (a budget focused on maintaining the existing system in a state of good repair, within the current approved funding framework) and Moving Forward.

The Base and Supplemental plans, along with the Consultation Report will be sent to the TransLink Commissioner. He will review the materials and determine whether the funding solutions and plan assumptions are reasonable.

Once the Commissioner’s Report has been received, most likely in early September, the Moving Forward plan will be sent to the Mayors’ Council – as requested by them – for approval. Should the Mayors’ Council approve the plan, Hon. Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, stated earlier this month that he will in turn introduce legislation this fall, enabling the 2-cent-per-litre increase to the motor fuel levy, effective April 2012. The Mayors’ Council and the Province will work together, with the support of TransLink, the public and key stakeholders to come up with a new plan for sustainable transportation funding by early 2013.

Map of proposed projects
Map of proposed projects

What now?

If you really want to ask TransLink about funding and transportation, here is your chance to do it. Take some time to read over the base plan, supplemental ‘Moving Forward’ plan and accompanying documents here. And remember, the webinar is tomorrow, so you’ll need to pre-register so you can ask questions or you can participate by phone (1.888.396.8046) if you’re away from your computer.

What are your thoughts on ‘Moving Forward’ ?

Are these improvements important to you? Would they improve your travel? I’d love to get the conversation started on this before the webinar!