Many Lower Mainland commuters know how busy North Vancouver roads can be.
Over the past number of years, the area has become one of the busiest despite a recent $130 million upgrade to the upper-level highway.
North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto is proposing a futuristic option: a rapid transit tunnel under the Burrard Inlet.
Mussatto says more drastic measures need to be taken in order to reduce the amount of congestion seen on the North Shore.
“What’s happening now will not work long-term… we have to do something.”
Mussatto says many forget the Lions Gate and Iron Workers Memorial bridges serve more than just the North Shore but act as a gateway to Squamish and Whistler.
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To make sure all of these communities are served to the fullest, he says we need to look at the bigger picture.
“We have to start looking at alternatives, for people to have the option, for people coming to work. There are more people coming on the North Shore than leaving, that’s a change.”
Another current form of transportation from Vancouver to North Vancouver is the SeaBus.
First operating in 1977, it runs every 15 minutes and every 30 during off-peak times.
Although Mussatto says he is trying to improve this, down the road it won’t be cost efficient.
“If we’re looking ten years out, would it be cheaper for us to look at a fixed link by doing a tunnel? Or do we continue with the SeaBuses, that really only carry about 300 hundreds or so passengers per vessel. Is that enough for the region to grow?
Mussatto says he has spoken to TransLink’s CEO about how to best invest in transportation.
“What should we be doing to make the right policy decision, not the best political decision for us in this election cycle, but what’s the best policy decision for us long term.”
Looking to the future
He says with his community at about 18,000 and growing, long-term needs must be identified, then managed.
“If we really want to have a livable region where were reducing our GHG’s and having a community that isn’t just a bunch of highways and roads but where we have a more pedestrian friendly community we have to look at transportation.”
“We need to ask those questions to make better decisions.”
Mussatto realizes this is very much a proposal, but he wants to look at its feasibility and whether it could be the best way to taxpayers’ money in the long term.