Transportation in Vancouver
December 17, 2008
I left Broadway and Alder at 5:45pm yesterday and arrived for a meeting at the Vancouver Club at 6:25pm. That’s forty minutes to travel 4.0 km which translates into 6.0km per hour in my car! That’s not good enough for a world class city.
Our city planners and civic government have failed Vancouverites in not managing our transportation infrastructure in anticipation of our city’s growth. They seem to have always been in reactive mode and not out ahead of the population curve.
Some will criticize me for not riding my bike, taking the bus or walking. I do bike. In fact, my computer tells me that I have averaged 21.5km/h since December 2006. I do walk and I do on occasion take the bus. But in this circumstance I needed my car. Biking was not an option because I didn’t want to be sweating in my meeting. Walking and the bus were not options because I didn’t have enough time between meetings and I needed to get home expediently to take our new puppy out for a walk.
Traffic has lots of negative consequences including road rage, lost productivity, harm to the environment and, when ambulances can’t get through the bottlenecks, medical consequences. The annual costs of wasted fuel and wasted time are estimated at more than $1500 per traveller in cities like L.A.!
As far back as Julius Caeser’s time, government was dealing with traffic congestion proactively. Indeed, Caesar banned carts during the day in ancient Rome! London, Mexico City and San Francisco and Singapore, France and Australia are examples of jurisdictions that ban cars on certain roads at certain times of the day, issue specific permits permitting specific cars on specific high traffic roads at specific times or just tolls for certain roads. Interestingly, Washington DC deals with congestion by reversing the direction of one way streets in the morning and the afternoon.
Here’s to hoping for civic leadership that produces creative and forward thinking transportation plans for our city.