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Letters: 'Let's get going' on a third crossing for North Shore

‘More lanes mean fewer shutdowns,’ writes one reader. ‘A new bridge will only move the traffic problem to the Cassiar Tunnel,’ writes another.
Traffic crosses over the Lions Gate Bridge from North and West Vancouver. The Canadian Press / Darryl Dyck

Re: Editorial: There’s a New Bridge to the North Shore Kevin Falcon Wants to Sell You

Dear Editor:

Your editorial of Jan. 18 entitled Asphalt Politics needs a rethink.

The North Shore is the only region in Metro Vancouver to have no new bridges built to reflect current needs. Richmond had a number of new water crossings built, Surrey/Delta/Langley have had the Alex Fraser Bridge, a new Port Mann, and a replacement for the Pattullo. Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge used to be served by a two-lane bridge, they now have two new bridges with 14 lanes.

Here on the North Shore, we still have the same nine lanes on two bridges we had 65 years ago! This despite the tremendous growth on the North Shore, Sunshine Coast and the Sea to Sky corridor. Rapid transit will never meet our needs or be efficient as our population is spread out and all the goods and services for these areas as well as most of Vancouver Island need to come through here. Buses are a good transportation solution but to be effective they need to move around without bottlenecks.

Your comment about a new bridge just moving traffic down to the tunnel is not accurate. The tunnel was designed with seven lanes at the south end of the bridge to accept traffic. Speaking of design, when I was mayor [of West Vancouver, for two terms, stepping down in 2018], I had detailed blueprints in my office done in 1992 by the province for a new eight- or 10-lane bridge to enlarge or replace the Second Narrows, as they had already identified the need.

We have to face reality and plan to address our old and inadequate bridges. People need to get to and from the North Shore with minimal delays. Ambulances need to get people to cardiac centres like St. Paul’s. Tradespeople and those that work here should not have a commuting nightmare. It is time the North Shore received the political attention for transportation that other areas have enjoyed.

Michael Smith
West Vancouver

Dear Editor:

Your comments were bang on in that a new bridge will only move the traffic problem to the Cassiar Tunnel. It seem common sensical that a rapid transit, LRT or Canada Line type of train connecting to the existing subway lines is the only real solution to getting workers who live up the valley, on and off the North Shore.

Alasdair Douglas
District of North Vancouver

Dear Editor:

I’m responding to your editorial regarding a new bridge to the North Shore. I’ve lived on the North Shore since 1962 and other than the new Upper Levels in 1973, have witnessed the shrinking of roadways while traffic volume has increased at least 20 times. The challenge we face is how to provide for traffic that is passing through either to the ferries or Sea to Sky country. A ring road like the M25 in London or the 101 in Phoenix provide an option to avoid the urban areas. This suggests a connection from Burnaby across Indian Arm and north of populated areas with exits to West Vancouver and then to Britannia Beach. The cost of this corridor may make a third crossing look more viable.

The usual response of our elected officials is to take transit or ride a scooter or bicycle. Our topography and demography does not allow walking and biking as a viable option and transit is an exercise of vehicles going where you don’t want to go, travel when you don’t want to go and force you to share space with people you don’t know. There is no easy answer but there have been enough studies in the past that all point to a third crossing as an inevitability. Let’s get going.

Tim Earle
North Vancouver

Dear Editor:

“The eye-watering cost of a bridge to serve a small population” is your editorial’s reason to continue North Shore gridlock. What small population? Squamish/Whistler? BC Ferries? That’s simply bad reporting. North Shore bridges serve much more than the North Shore community. The argument a new bridge simply moves the problem farther downstream is equally wrong. A pothole or a fender bender shuts down the bridge. More lanes mean fewer shutdowns and nothing at all to do with farther downstream.

Go for it, Kev. Boot these guys out and get us an improved crossing.

Robert Thompson
North Vancouver

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