Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vecchiato's Voice - April 25, 2007 - Deltaport Opposition Opinion

I have attempted to avoid the Gateway debate, mostly because I made a decision when I was 26 that I would never commute more than 30 minutes (this was south of San Francisco). However, my husband does renovations, and his tool-laden van must go to Richmond, Vancouver, or Burnaby, depending on the project.

When I first started working in San Francisco, I took BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), which took me the 30 miles from my hometown of Lafayette in the East Bay; in a flash of an eye, I was passing through Oakland, then under the Bay, and disembarking right in the Financial District. Rapid is the key word here.

Last month, I went to the Gateway and Deltaport Opposition Rally at Delta Community Hall. I did this partially because Pierre Rovtar died in February, and was passionately against Gateway. The arguments against both projects are numerous, and include increased emissions, not only from cars, but from marine vessels. Accordingly to "Gateway to Global Warming," a singer container ship belches more pollution than 2,0000 diesel trucks. Someone asked, "What about the new jobs that will be created by expansion?" However, the truth is, Canada has a trade deficit with China, and the incoming ships will just increase that deficit.

In regard to Gateway, previous promises were given about congestion being alleviated for 7 years with the construction of the Alex Fraser Bridge; in truth, "it was congested within nine months and has remained that way." Ultimately, too, with both projects, there is farmland and green space loss, expropriation of private property, and continued reliance on the automobile that will result from both projects. The concerns about Burns Bog should be taken seriously. Author Bill Burns penned a book "Discover Burns Bog," explaining the vast amount of carbon dioxide a peat bog can absorb. In short, the bog was referred to as "the lungs of Vancouver."

What about solutions? A group of active citizens under the umbrella of VALTAC are pushing for revival of the interurban rail as a transit solution, and I like people offering solutions. Ideally, surveying commuters to see what percentage would use rapid transit would, perhaps, demonstrate a need for transit, not increased highways. The Lower Mainland has been slower in developing than most North American cities and suburbs. As it will be showcased in 2010, progressive decisions such as less sprawl and better public (and rapid) transit should be a futuristic vision. The present plans seem to be a Gateway to the Past.

If you want to hear the other side of the Gateway/Deltaport story, access it on the following link. Riding pubic transit is cool and very urban chic. Different worlds come and go, and the intermingling with the rest of humanity makes our lives richer. Then, of course, there are people who really like to drive. I suppose I'm not one of them.

No comments:

Post a Comment