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Editorial: There's a new bridge to the North Shore Kevin Falcon wants to sell you

Building another bridge across the Second Narrows is popular politics. But it’s unlikely to provide a permanent fix to North Shore gridlock, and presents many practical challenges.
An uncommonly light traffic day on the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing in May 2021. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

Liberal leader Kevin Falcon promotes himself as a person who ‘gets things done.’

As a North Shore resident, Falcon knows that sitting in bridge traffic is one of the surest routes to frustration known to local voters.

So at a recent roundtable discussion, Falcon wasted little time promising a replacement for the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

The bridge is so old it’s literally falling apart, Falcon said, scoring points off a large pothole that recently opened up in the bridge, causing more traffic woes.

To win back North Shore ridings the Liberals lost, promising a new bridge is superb politics.

But the casual way Falcon tossed that out as imminently doable is disingenuous. And the scale of logistics and finances involved should have everyone’s BS detectors on high alert.

Falcon criticized B.C. Premier David Eby, saying Eby has "suddenly woken up" to the housing crisis after a term as housing minister.

The same might be said of Falcon, who was Liberal transportation minister for five years, between 2004 and 2009. We note that no new bridges to the North Shore were built during that time.

The reasons are many. Among them, the eye-watering cost of a bridge to serve a small population and complicated logistics of traffic flowing on and off any new bridge.

Building a new bridge would just move the traffic bottleneck slightly further south to the Cassiar Tunnel. Fixing traffic by creating more traffic has rarely been shown to work.

In promoting a new bridge, Falcon offers an old answer to a modern problem.

More realistic solutions involve improving transit to make it more desirable, and building affordable housing to cut down on the number of people who need to commute across the bridge.

That’s probably not what anyone spinning their wheels in gridlock really wants to hear.

But if you believe there’s a simple solution to our traffic troubles, there’s a bridge across Burrard Inlet we’d like to sell you.

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.