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Letter: Highway 1 corridor needs trains, not lanes

Long-term congestion in Metro Vancouver won't be served by attracting more cars, this writer says.
The long-term solution for Highway 1 traffic isn't adding more lanes, this writer says — it's adding rail.

The Editor:

I'm writing to provide comments on the Highway 1 Corridor Improvement Program. I would like to express concern with the misguided approach to resolving congestion along the corridor. While additional lanes may provide temporary, short-term congestion relief, there are better ways to provide a longer term and more sustainable solution that better addresses all the project objectives in a better way than adding lanes.

I would like to strongly voice my position that a rail connection along the Highway 1 corridor should be prioritized over any roadway expansion efforts. I would like to specifically address that rail would provide a more scalable solution in "planning for community growth" (objective 2) and a faster travel option to better satisfy objective 1: "move people faster." Rail transportation also addresses all other project objectives better than highway widening.

Although SkyTrain has been proven successful in densely populated urban areas of our region, SkyTrain cannot feasibly be expanded all the way to Chilliwack. This would incur travel times longer than driving and be prohibitively expensive to construct rather than exploring cheaper, faster regional rail technology.

Noting what appears to be a shortsighted foregone conclusion, the proposed mobility hubs, rest areas and active transportation improvements must be designed to accommodate future rail along the Highway 1 corridor. With the arrival of this widening, the Highway 1 corridor, and indeed all other corridors, will be subject to costly iterative widening "improvements" for decades to come until decongestion pricing, alternative transportation solutions or other transportation demand measures are advanced in earnest.

Ian Dewar McPherson

📢 SOUND OFF: Do you agree? Should trains be used to ease congestion and serve commuters through the Highway 1 corridor? What solutions would you like to see for long-term growth? Send us a letter.