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News Update - Vancouver Sun

Fraser Valley conservationists oppose Port Mann twinning, highway widening.

Greater Vancouver - A group of Surrey and Langley conservationists said Wednesday it has joined the LIvable Region Coalition of academics, planning and transit advocates that opposes the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and the widening of the Trans-Canada Highway between Langley and Vancouver.

The 200-member Fraser Valley Conservation Council said it is the first group south of the Fraser River to oppose the project championed by Transportation Minister and Surrey MLA Kevin Falcon and thought to be popular with commuters who live south of the river.

"Before a dime is spent, we want Transportation Minister Falcon to prove to us that the twinning project is the best way to spend $2billion to $5billion of our tax dollars," said Donna Passmore, the group's transportation campaigner.

"There isn't one example in the world where highway expansion has achieved long-term relief to congestion.

"We want the minister to tell us why this will be the exception," Passmore said.

The bridge and highway projects are part of the Gateway Plan, a provincial initiative intended to relieve traffic congestion and allow truck traffic to move more easily.  It also includes new truck routes on both shores of the river and other road and bridge improvements.

Planning and transit advocates say the extra road space would soon be filled with vehicles, creating congestion as bad as, or worse, than before.

The Fraser Valley group, formed in February, said it wants more emphasis on alternative transportation methods and other ways to reduce peak demand on roads.

"Unless we reduce need for single-occumpant vehicle use during peak commute times, what's the point of spending billions of dollars?" Passmore asked.

Vancouver Sun





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