A Liveable Region Coalition Initiative
The Livable Region Coalition's (LRC) Response to Falcon's plan
1. Widening the freeway and twinning the bridge will not solve the congestion problem.
Road building is typically presented as a solution to traffic congestion,but experience demonstrates that new and wider freeways merely attract more traffic. Widened roads attract drivers who previously used alternative routes, traveled at other times or used different modes of transport. Additional development is stimulated and is likely to be car-dependent. People begin to travel further and more frequently until the widened highway is once again congested.
In the case of the Alex Fraser Bridge, new capacity was filled within months and further widening was quickly undertaken. Today the bridge is among the most congested in the region. Can we expect that the No. 1 freeway will be widened even further and more bridges built as a result of the additional traffic?
2. It will have negative concequences for our livable region, particularly in the Fraser Valley.
With easier access to the Fraser Valley, the pressure on the Agricultural Land Reserve and on our remaining green space will be intensified. There will also be an increase in traffic funneled onto municipal streets adjoining the freeway. How will the additional traffic affect neighbourhoods and business districts ? Inevitably the cost of mitigating the impact on local neighbourhoods will be borne by the local taxpayers.
Advocates for expansion argue that free flowing traffic will generate less emissions, but it is unlikely that this traffic will flow freely for very long. Eventually the widened road will become congested again, but now we'll have 8 lanes of congested highway with now double the pollution. Why fight the battle to stop an energy plant like Sumas II only to see the air quality gains lost on our own roads?
3. There are more affordable and effective alternatives.
Short distance trips by single occupant vehicles make up a significant proportion of traffic volume on the No. 1 highway and Port Mann bridge. Expanding general purpose road capacity would clearly encourage more of these short haul trips. Please see our alternatives sections for more proposed solutions:
4. The decision lacks transparency.
It is clear that the proposals being studied by the province and championed by Minister Falcon are based on the assumption of the continued dominance of the automobile and trucks. To date, Minister Falcon has been dismissive of regional concerns about the impact and implications of these projects in Lower Mainland communities.