New West transportation ‘Twonsultation:’ tell us what you think

Faced with a surplus of transportation issues and a dearth of public consultation, New Westminster folk are turning to digital channels to make our voices heard. As Ruth Seeley wrote yesterday, TransLink has held public meetings to collect citizen  input that will shape the 10-year Lower Mainland transportation plan coming in 2010. Ten of theseRead More

Faced with a surplus of transportation issues and a dearth of public consultation, New Westminster folk are turning to digital channels to make our voices heard.

As Ruth Seeley wrote yesterday, TransLink has held public meetings to collect citizen  input that will shape the 10-year Lower Mainland transportation plan coming in 2010. Ten of these meetings have been held, including some in the surrounding communities of Surrey, Burnaby and Coquitlam, but New Westminster – the transportation network bull’s eye of the Lower Mainland – didn’t qualify as a “central” enough location to win its own consultation. In fact, so far as TransLink CEO Ken Hardie was aware, New West has never been the site of a public meeting about Lower Mainland transportation issues.

As a small community with five SkyTrain stations, two major bridges and several roads choked with pass-through traffic from Coquitlam, Surrey and Burnaby, we feel New Westminster’s voice ought to be heard.

Ruth asked Ken to consider New West as a site for future consultations, and he indicated he was open to the idea … but we are an impatient lot. As private emails and IMs flew back and forth sharing our pet transportation wish lists following Ruth’s post, we decided to hold our own mini-“Twonsultation” on Twitter.

Here’s the response we got last night:

Twitter response to New West transportation Twonsultation: What would improve transporation in New West? A related question: Should the Patullo Bridge be rebuilt on the same site in New West or moved over to Coquitlam?
Twitter response to New West transportation "Twonsultation:" What would improve transporation in New West? A related question: Should the Patullo Bridge be rebuilt on the same site in New West or moved over to Coquitlam?

What do you think? Share your ideas on New West’s transportation pain points – and what should be done about them, and we’ll pass them on to TransLink Director of Communications Ken Hardie with a request to include New Westminster’s POV along with the feedback from their other community consultations.

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Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a Montreal-based writer and original founder of Tenth to the Fraser. She really likes to write letters by hand.

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4 comments

  1. I think the Patullo should stay but be made into a three-lane bridge, with the middle lane used to handle rush-hour traffic (into NW in the am; into Surrey in the pm).

  2. That's a neat idea – it wouldn't be anywhere near as terrifying if it was more like Lions Gate and if it's going to be replaced it might just as well be twinned.

  3. I was once for twinning the Patullo, but now I think we need something more sustainable. After seeing what absolute lack of improvement adding a single lane to the Port Mann bridge did, I'm off the idea of adding more lanes to already clogged bridges.

    I second the streetcar idea for more dependable uptown/downtown transportation. San Fran seems to have thrived despite it's hills.

    All this talk about how New West roadways and traffic arteries has me wondering if there's some way to drive home the "centrality" of New Westminster in the lower Mainland – so people like Ken Hardle no longer view us as only relevant as "east of Vancouver, North of the Fraser." When your community is treated by the rest of the region as if it is a major highway to Everywhere Else, while Burnaby actually HAS a freeway… I'd say that puts a pretty fine point on it – New Westminster has pretty significant issues that are different than Burnaby, and should be considered separately – regardless of time constraints.

    #rant rant. Full disclosure: This from a former New Westie and current East Van resident.

  4. I think your point is very valid though, Jocelyn. The challenge in New West is that you have political will to make Columbia Street and the area around the Quay the focal point of the community and its gathering place for public celebrations and commerce. When that's the plan for a city, you have to have easy access via transit, car, bicycle, and foot traffic, as well as ample parking. And you can't also then have it be a major commuter route.

    At one point when I was living in Toronto there was quite ferocious political will to turn the Toronto Islands into the city's amusement park. Aside from the brutal tactics employed to try to get residents off the Islands, I was appalled at the notion of everyone converging on a single part of town for recreation. It's wrong once a city gets beyond a certain size, just as work business units become unwieldy once you've got more than 10 or so people in them. Which is what makes the whole urban planning process both so interesting and so challenging. In my next life I think that's what I'll be. 😉

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