EDITORIAL: Tunnel visions

It’s a headline that makes many congestion-weary North Shore residents’ hearts beat rapidly: Province to Study Rapid Transit Line.

We are dazzled at the thought of an express ride downtown and we welcome this study with open arms.

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But we have to greet the announcement with a dose of skepticism to temper the happy fantasy.

Burrard Inlet is 70 metres deep at its midpoint and more than three kilometres across. It could be a technical nightmare.

We might find our population is still too small and slow-growing to justify top-of-the-line infrastructure.

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation might look at the price tag and laugh us out of the room. And who can say if the senior levels of government of the day will have an interest in funding transit projects of this scope in the future?

Local opposition may undermine the project, as it did with West Van and the B-Line. But we’ll never know the answer to any of these questions without this study.

And regardless of what it finds, we know this: the status quo isn’t acceptable today and it will be disastrous in the future.

Our greenhouse gas emissions are too many and our lanes of traffic too few for the current population and workforce, let alone a growing one.

If you want to lure people out of their cars, you have to give them an attractive alternative – and it doesn’t get more attractive than an electric train, unencumbered by stalls and collisions on the bridge.

For now, we have no idea where this train is going.

We’re just glad to be aboard.

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