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The Transit Referendum – What kind of Future Do We Want?


Blog by Team Aragon | March 16th, 2015


Team Aragon knows Real Estate and we know that transportation, just like schools, plays a big part in the choices people make when buying real estate. We are no experts when it comes to transportation but we do feel that as a community, we need to start talking about our future and what we need from our leaders. We asked our friend Tim Barton who is a Senior Trasportation planner, a Port Moody resident, and an all-around good guy to write an article about the upcoming referendum regarding our public transit future, here is what Mr. Barton had to say:

The Transit Referendum – What kind of Future Do We Want?

By Tim Barton, Senior Transportation Planner at Bunt & Associates.

My wife and I moved to Vancouver seven years ago. We were drawn to the beautiful natural setting, the friendly people, great neighbourhoods and better economic opportunities.

We currently live in Port Moody with our two young children. My wife uses the car every day to take our son to school whilst I take the West Coast Express to work.

Our current transportation system is actually fairly impressive compared with many other cities and regions, although some aspects urgently need upgrading. But, it is a system under increasing strain. A million more people are due to move into this region by 2040. If we don't invest in our transportation system now, everyone will find it harder to move around the region and access jobs and services. Buses, SkyTrain, West Coast Express, bike lanes, roads — they all need investment and expansion to accommodate existing and new residents.

The option on the table to address this is the 0.5% sales tax increase to fund the Mayor's Council Plan. For the Tri-Cities specifically, the main benefits are set to be: increased West Coast Express capacity; New B-Line service from Coquitlam Centre to both Maple Ridge and Langley; Improved and expanded night bus service; and, Upgrades and expansion to transit exchanges including Coquitlam Central Exchange and Port Coquitlam Bus Exchange. (Get more details at www.bettertransit.info.)

We're faced with a choice which will influence how the region develops over the next decade. If the the decision is 'yes' it will help us all preserve and enhance what we love about this region and what brought my family here seven years ago:

 

  • Voting yes is a vote for cleaner air and a healthier environment.
  • Voting yes is a vote for growing the economy through better access to education and jobs.
  • Voting yes is a vote for stronger and more resilient communities.
  • Voting yes is a vote for a higher quality urban environment.
  • Voting yes is a vote for greater happiness! (If you don't believe me, read this: http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/13/the-psychology-of-no-vancouver-residents-poised-to-make-a-decision-that-will-corrode-their-happiness/)

So please, take time to read up on the issues. It's easy to adopt a knee jerk reaction. Give your 'slow brain' a chance to think through it all and come to an informed decision.

Tim Barton, March 2015.

p.s. I know many people see this as a referendum on TransLink rather than transportation investment. TransLink is not perfect, but please remember that TransLink is not on the ballot. Voting no is not a vote to reform TransLink so it magically finds hundreds of millions of dollars to fund these investments without new money. Voting no sends us on an uncertain course that at the very least delays these needed improvements by many years. Is the referendum the perfect way to invest in the region's future? Perhaps not. But it is the only plan on the table and it is a good one. I believe we should grab the opportunity with both hands.