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Letter: Now is the time for LRT on the North Shore

We already have buses, now we need to think bigger, writes Coun. Sharon Thompson of the District of West Vancouver
GettyImages-1265182931 - web
Light Rail Transit cars make their way down George Street, in Sydney, Australia.

Dear Editor:

Re: North Shore Bus Rapid Transit a Top Priority in TransLink's 10-Year Plan (April 20 news story) and North Shore Residents Split on Bus Rapid Transit Plan, Poll Finds (NSN reader poll results posted May 9).

Bold transportation solutions for the North Shore needs to be our No. 1 priority.

TransLink is recommending Bus Rapid Transit from Metro Town to Park Royal as a long-term solution, yet recent academic research indicates that North Shore densities and demand support a Light Rail Transit. Investment in BRT now would eliminate the possibility to do Light Rail for decades and the bus system put in place would not be compatible or adaptable for future light rail use or alignment. An economic study suggests LRT could take 50,000 cars off the bridges weekdays.

The North Shore already has an extensive bus service and the B-Line was recently installed providing rapid bus opportunities between Park Royal and Phibbs Exchange. When the B-Line [RapidBus] was proposed, these articulated buses were to run on diesel and have no wifi. Imagine an ecofriendly and user-friendly, reliable system that would link us directly to SkyTrain in Metro Vancouver and potentially rail up the Sea to Sky corridor.

This past term, local governments have been hyper focused on bold and plentiful housing solutions to achieve affordability on the North Shore so we can attract caregivers, teachers, first responders and other valued employees into our communities. Affordability will always be a challenge because of our highly desirable properties along with access to world-class recreation and top performing schools. Our top priority needs to be transportation and accessibility.

You may hear sceptics and politicians tell you this cannot be done or we are not a priority. I understand differently. If we are going to transform how we grow, how we get around our neighbourhoods and connect with Metro; if we are going to grow in a healthy way without destroying all the things we value in our communities, we need to be bold in our ideas about transit now.

Coun. Sharon Thompson
District of West Vancouver

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