Securing major public transit improvements through densification

By District Staff on Friday, Apr 21, 2017

At the end of January, we joined our provincial and federal colleagues to announce joint funding for improvements to the Highway 1 interchange around Lynn Creek. It’s a significant investment in roadway improvements.

However, while this will ease some congestion by allowing east-west travel across the District to happen independently of the highway and bridgehead traffic, it will not solve all our traffic woes.

If we really want to manage traffic, we need a 'modal shift.'

The causes of traffic on the North Shore

Many factors influence traffic on the North Shore.

Whether it’s through traffic from the Sea-to-Sky corridor and the ferry terminal, or an accident on the cut or the highway, or a stall on one of the bridges, active construction projects, or infrastructure being replaced, it all contributes to the delays and backups we’re experiencing.

And sometimes, fairly small issues are causing much larger traffic impacts than one would usually expect.

So when it comes to congestion, making upgrades to our thoroughfares and managing road use is important, but it will only take us so far.

Making a 'modal shift' to improve traffic

If we really want to get ahead of the congestion problem in our growing region, we also need what’s called ‘modal shift’, and that means, among other things, making serious and significant investments in transit infrastructure.

And, to secure serious investment in transit, we have to meet Translink’s density thresholds to justify new service.

This is one reason why we’re concentrating our growth in town centres, instead of allowing it to sprawl up the mountainside as low-density single family homes. 

Keeping local delays to a minimum during densification

We actively manage the impacts generated by construction and infrastructure projects in town centres — and throughout the District — through our Traffic Management Office.

This small, dedicated team was formed in 2014, and is responsible for overseeing and coordinating all activity on District roads to do what we can to keep local delays and congestion to a minimum.

Our team is tasked with protecting the interests of residents while ensuring that approved construction and critical infrastructure projects move ahead.

The Traffic Management Team uses a permitting system to track and schedule all of the third-party activity on our roads. Anyone wishing to use or occupy a roadway, lane of traffic, parking lane, alley, sidewalk or boulevard must get a permit.

And the team can ensure that work is completed in a particular way, at a particular time, or delayed altogether if there are other projects already underway nearby.

Because we don’t operate in a traffic vacuum, the team also liaises regularly with neighbouring municipalities, First Nations, the Province, Metro Vancouver, Port Metro Vancouver, Provincial Ministries, and utilities such as BC Hydro, Fortis, Shaw and Telus, all of which need to access their infrastructure next to, above and under our roads.

It may not be obvious on the surface of things that the District is actively managing traffic and planning ahead, we are indeed doing so, every day.

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