Additional Translink Open House on UBE December 7th

Seems Translink is listening. Here’s an email we received earlier today from Ken Hardie: As promised, we have scheduled an additional session for New Westminster residents to look at options for the United Boulevard Extension.advertisement It will be at the Justice Institute on Tuesday, December 7th from 6 to 8:30 pm.  Unlike the session weRead More

Seems Translink is listening. Here’s an email we received earlier today from Ken Hardie:

As promised, we have scheduled an additional session for New Westminster residents to look at options for the United Boulevard Extension.

It will be at the Justice Institute on Tuesday, December 7th from 6 to 8:30 pm.  Unlike the session we held there last week, the one on the 7th will include a presentation and open-mike session in the theatre, that will provide a better opportunity for people to get the background on each of the options and a better forum for questions and answers.

TransLink has received New Westminster Council’s motion asking that only option A – the ‘T Intersection’ be discussed.  We understand the reasons for Council’s position, and will be going forward with a discussion on all options because of our obligation to exercise due diligence on behalf of taxpayers across Metro Vancouver.  Option A is the most expensive of the four and, while it will work, is not as effective as the others in moving traffic smoothly.

Please, mark your calendars, folks. Please be heard. Please get active and make your opinion known. The only way to shape your community is to be a part of it. Also, don’t forget to write our Mayor and Council. Letters count.

Jen Arbo

Jen Arbo is the editor and co-publisher of Tenth to the Fraser. She's been writing for the site since 2007 and lives in Sapperton with her family. A project manager at heart, she also operates Hyack Interactive, a digital communications company. Find her on Twitter or Instagram.

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25 comments

  1. I think I will attend this one and let my opinion be known loud and clear to our friends at TransLink.

    "Mr. Hardie, Translink has done the cities of New Westminster and Coquitlam a great service by coming to the table with our councils request for funding. Lets see this project through with fiscal responsibility and efficient traffic management for all concerned stakeholders."

  2. When I spoke to TransLink's roads director earlier this week he said that they'll be presenting some numbers as to what they expect the traffic flows to be after the project's completion. I live in the West End near 6th Ave and was worried when they upgraded the Queensborough interchange that the clog on 6th would just get worse. They predicted about a 50 % drop in traffic there and its proven to be pretty accurate.
    Chris @ the NewsLeader

    1. But they've really messed up 20th St.
      Fixing a problem in one spot by making it worse in another is not a solution in my mind. But we did spend alot of money.

      1. Agreed. The original plan, if I recall correctly, was to block 6th Ave off from the bridge, and make it link only with 20th. I believe that would have made it possible for 20th traffic to flow straight onto the bridge without a light, which I think would have made 20th a lot better.

  3. I wonder if the communication department at city hall will provide Translink a proper local Stake holder invitee list this time? It sure got messed up at the last go around!

  4. Chris, They were right! 6th Avenue has less traffic now, A no brainer when they cut off access East and West bound to/from Burnaby off 6th. Have you sat on 8th Ave, 10th Ave, Royal Ave and Front Street during rush hour?
    All these plans for UBE are useless until they deal with with intercity congestion. The only benefit is to Coquitlam by replacing the Baily Bridge, which will allow increased congestion in New West. and benefit Coquitlams developement at Fraser Mills.

    On the other side of the coin. We in the City of New West unfortunately have to travel outside of New West to shop. We are not known as a "Business Friendly" city. Businesses are expected to support socialist agenda's and tolerate negative policies and excessive taxes to pay for these agenda's. Let's make it tough for outsiders to come to New West they say. To hell with failing businesses.
    The playing field will be levelled come Nov 2011.

    1. Hi John: I can't speak for some of the arteries, but when I drive to work I take Eighth Avenue to 20th Street, and my impression is that it's lighter traffic today than it was in 2006. Don't know why. As for 20th at the end of the day, it seems relatively unchanged from before the upgrades to the interchange.
      I'd be curious to see what other people in the area would say.

      1. Chris, I have lived on 8th avenue for the past seven years and I can state without any hesitation that 8th avenue traffic has easily tripled in that time period. Most dramatically since the Queensboro bridge construction.

  5. Could it be on the city communication manager failed to properly notify translink of the local stake holder list on the 1st city/translink meeting because they were looking for a slam dunk?

  6. Dino, I don't know the full story, but I wouldn't be so quick to try to pin blame with the city. TransLink would have set the parameters to narrow the stakeholders list to just a few for the initial meeting. Remember that there were two public meetings advertised by the city that followed the first one at the Westminster Club. That first meeting was intended to be a small group, with further opportunities for other concerned citizens to learn about the project and share their feedback later on. As I understand it, the city is not gung-ho for this project. They are looking for a number of concessions from TransLink before council will consider approving it. Frankly, public anger over the UBE can only help the city to push for a better solution from TransLink

    1. You have it right Briana. I have a colleague at the city who said that staff is quite frustrated with the TransLink process. These are TransLink's meetings after all. I think that the open house meetings were advertised by TransLink not the city. The attacks on city staff seem personal.

  7. Normal operating procedure would be for Translink to request that the city provide and identify the local stake holder list, Translink would not have the local knowledge. The ball was dropped on this – who dropped it?

  8. Building freeways (or the like) in the hopes of reducing traffic congestion is like buying a longer belt to solve obesity. But a longer belt does not cost $175 million.

    So of course they 'dropped the ball' when it came to consultation with stakeholders. This project in indefensible on a local, regional or global basis. The only thing the people who want this could hope for is that nobody would notice.

    More at http://www.straight.com/article-358636/vancouver/

  9. A past councilor mentioned that the overpass was to be a right (east) turn only option from Coquitlam and not the "T" option that is being proposed and supported by the current council.
    It's an interesting option as this would take traffic back to the highway and not into New Westminster. If the goal is to move traffic perhaps an on ramp to take traffic into Coquitlam and an off ramp to take traffic away from our city. This way they could put the ramps further away from the residents of Sapperton. If we have to live with something perhaps this option may be considered – thoughts anyone?

    1. James,
      I’m not sure this solves any problems, other than reducing the local impact on Sapperton. Of course, none of the proposed solutions really solve any problems. They won’t reduce traffic congestion, they won’t reduce idling trucks, they won’t improve the situation for the Braid industrial area. They certainly won’t reduce greenhouse gasses, encourage pedestrians and cyclists, or make our City more liveable.

      So my thought would be: why do we “have to live with something” here at all? Why are we feeling forced to spend our own tax money to build something that makes our City worse? Someone has to demonstrate what benefit New Westminster receives from this project.

      A minor edit to your post: the current T-option is not “being proposed and supported by the current Council”. TransLink is proposing the option, and Council has not yet voted to support it. The Mayor has made comments that sound like he is leaning towards supporting it, as has Bill Harper. The other councillors appear to be less supportive at this time, but we have not heard from some of them.

      1. Thanks for sharing Patrick. It should be noted that this particular area is heavily congested and will only get more dangerous. The potential for a major incident is highly plausible given the amount of industrial traffic and the rail crossing. I concur that proposing better ways for residents to get around is optimal but we need to acknowledge that goods have to be delivered and tradespeople with equipment need to get to our homes and businesses. To simply say no in my opinion is not acting responsible in an effort to solicit ideas be they good or bad for this intersection. If you have ever been stuck in traffic there you would soon realize the benefit to residents that live in New Westminster. Last night for example it took an hour just to "get out" of New Westminster city limits – there was gridlock everywhere.

        It is my experience when you open the door to dialogue along comes an option that can surprise even the most experienced planner.

        On the edit we have been lead to believe that council made some progress on this option back in July when Coquitlam and New Westminster meet behind closed doors to discuss the UBC. I find it disingenuous for our elected officials to be acting as if they were completely surprised. Lets remember that our Mayor sits and is paid to be on the Translink board as other mayors do. If the papers are recording correctly Mayor and council have all expressed that option A (the T) is the only one they will even consider/support depending on the time of day it seems.

        With our city on the move its time to get traffic on the move and we need to look at "all" the options and create some of our own including telling the feds we need more time and like you said reminding them these are our tax dollars! At the very least open up the process and let "everyone" have a fresh look at alternatives.

        1. "To simply say no in my opinion is not acting responsible"

          Thank you Mr. Crosty !

          "we need to look at "all" the options"

          I couldn't agree more, and I would also like to point out, the money is not just New Westminsters tax dollars, but all of British Columbia. We have a greater responsibility to make prudent fiscal decisions for all the tax payers of the province. How will it received by the rest of BC when it's reported that New Westminster's council decided the most expensive and least efficient design was picked due to a "donnybrook".

          You can't please all the people all the time.

        2. We should not be so quick to equate congestion with danger. One does not cause the other. If our goal is to facilitate the “free flow” of trucks, that means higher overall speeds, which does correlate directly with increased danger. I am not arguing for congestion here, but if you want a safer road, congestion is one way to get it.

          The movement of goods will be facilitated if we get the cars out of their way. This overpass is being build to accommodate the 10,000 future residents of Fraser Mills as much as it is to move trucks. Look at the Bailey bridge today: 20% trucks? 10% during rush hour? It isn’t the bridge in the trucks’ way, it is the cars.

        3. James, I have been stuck in traffic. Just yesterday I was stuck in traffic at Stewardson trying to get to the Queensborough bridge. I still don’t see the benefit to the people of New Westminster of bringing more lanes of traffic to one of our borders, with no changes within our borders to accommodate it. I have been asking for someone to explain the benefit to New Westminster for three weeks now, and no-one can.

          I would argue to say yes at this time is the irresponsible move, the only thing worse would be to say “hmmm. maybe…”, which seems to be the way they are leaning. There are much more pressing transportation projects than need taxpayers’ money. Let’s wait to see what the SFPR and the new Highway 1 do to truck traffic in New West, and in the meantime, develop a transportation strategy for our City. Then we will be in a better position to spend tax money responsibly on realistic transportation projects that address real problems.

  10. When I first heard about this project, I (perhaps naively) assumed that more bus routes, or more frequent buses on current routes, would be a main emphasis. What appears to be the case is that this project is for the benefit of more transport trucks through New West, which (if what I understand is accurate) is disappointing.

    I would be very interested to see whether or not this project could be turned into a way to promote public transit, rather than just as a means of having more transport trucks trundling their way through our city.

    1. I asked a TransLink staff member at the last open house if TransLink had considered any other way of reducing traffic congestion in the Brunnette Corridor other than to build more roads. I reminded them that there was an underutilized SkyTrain Line, a planned Evergreen Line, and a major rail corridor completely parallel to United and Brunnette.

      They replied that they had not considered any other solution; only to build more roads.

      Since when did Kevin Falcon start working for TransLink?

  11. I see the New westminster city communication people have finally copied the Coquitlam city website example and posted a notice on the upcoming translink public meeting. There would not have been as many bad feelings if this would have been done in the beginning.

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