Province Article - 12 April 2005
A group opposed to the $1.4-billion plan to twin the Port Mann Bridge says 60 per cent of vehicles using it are single-occupancy.
"The vast majority of vehicles crossing the Port Mann are actually single-occupancy" David Fields, 34, of Citizens Concerned with Highway Expansion said yesterday.
"We're actually quite alarmed."
The group counted vehicles crossing the bridge on three days in February and March.
In non-rush-hour traffic, 28 percent of vehicles were single occupancy. During the eastbound evening rush-hour 72.6 per sent were SOV.
"If we car-pooled, if we had a bus crossing this bridge every five minutes, we could reduce congestion by upwards of 25 per cent," he said.
Fields is concerned that rising traffic is already affecting the quality of life along East 1st Ave, Commercial Drive and Victoria Drive.
Expanding the Trans-Canada will put more pressure on neighbourhoods.
"you may see a relaxation of congestion for the first little while but it will quickly fill up," he said.
Fields said the government needs to consult the public.
"We don't even know what their whole plan is for highway expansion," he said. "We need consultation with communities."
The proposal to twin the Port Mann and widen Highway 1 is part of a $3-billion roads and bridges plan for the Lower Mainland.
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said the Port Mann project will reduce SOV usage.
"It will allow us to bring back public transiet on that corridor," said Falcon. "Today, you can't possibley run public transit because you could never keep a schedule."
The work will also include a cycling land and extra HOV lanes.
Falcon said that there will be public consultation, starting this fall.
Fields, a former energy campaigner with Greenpeace, cycled to the Port Mann from his home near Commercial Drive yesterday.
"It's an opportunity to get out from behind the wheel of a car," he said. "It's a better way to start your day".