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Editorial: It's time for rapid transit for the North Shore

Rapid transit would take 50,000 vehicle crossings per day off our bridges
BIRT Map web
There are two notional rapid transit lines linking the North Shore to Vancouver and Burnaby, which North Shore Connects plans to pursue.

A new study finds a rapid transit line over Burrard Inlet at the Second Narrows would take 50,000 vehicle crossings per day off our bridge. Now, the North Shore’s three municipal governments and two First Nations are banding together as North Shore Connects to make sure that happens. Good.

It is clear now that there is no other way to alleviate our daily congestion, which is trying our patience, our economy and our climate. The pandemic briefly cut traffic on our bridges but the effect was short lived, likely because so many of the jobs on the North Shore – teaching children, caring for the sick, and welding ships together – can’t be done from home. And then there are the thousands of people who stream over the inlet every day, looking for peace and quiet on our mountains and trails.

A traffic-weary North Shore populace may already have run out of patience but a rapid transit line spanning a body of water is a massive undertaking. We have to convince the rest of the region’s mayors that it should be a priority and we must convince senior levels of government to put up billions of dollars. When those discussions start, we can now say we’ve already done our homework.

Make no mistake, rapid transit access would change the North Shore, much like the opening of our two bridges and the launch of the SeaBus once did. But this plan has our enthusiastic endorsement, and it’s time for the rest of the mayors to get on board. The more rapidly, the better.