Just a quick update on the controversial United Boulevard Extension plans for you: The Buzzer’s Jhenifer Pabillano took many of the questions and criticisms raised in your comments here, on the New Westminster Environmental Partners website and on NWEP President Pat Johnstone’s blog, Green New West (great commentary btw, Pat) to TransLink’s Director of Roads Sany Zein. In a lengthy blog post on The Buzzer, Sany provides TransLink’s perspective on the following questions:
- What is the United Boulevard Extension and why is it considered a priority for the region?
- Why is TransLink interested in this road project – shouldn’t TransLink be investing only in transit projects?
- Why is it such a high priority?
- What are the potential benefits of this project?
- There are four options currently presented for the United Boulevard Extension. Will we only consider the one option (the T option) that New Westminster council has endorsed? Why would we even consider the other three options we have presented?
- Could you address the concerns raised about the public consultation session held in New Westminster on November 18?
- When is the actual deadline for the federal money to go away? How does that work?
- What happens next?
- There may be property acquisition needed as part of this project. Can you talk about the process involved with that?
- How does this project fit into the big picture of the North Fraser Perimeter Road?
- How much is this going to cost?
Read Jhenifer’s interview with Sany on the Buzzer blog for the answers.
I remain skeptical that the UBE is good for New West, and wish that TransLink would focus its efforts on building the Evergreen Line rather than invest more on widening roads in and around Coquitlam. Still, I have to say I am impressed that TransLink has taken the time to respond directly to New Westminster’s concerns, both by adding another public consultation session (Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Justice Institute of British Columbia) and through the Buzzer blog.
No matter how this turns out, I’m proud of the citizens of New West for pressing for answers to their questions. Too often apathy is our worst enemy. I’m proud of the folk of New West for showing up to those consultation sessions and speaking up online and through other channels so that City Council and TransLink could hear and consider their concerns.