Maple Ridge council wants to make sure that RapidBus will be rapid, that Golden Ears Way will be twinned and that an Albion stop for the West Coast Express is included before it rubber stamps the new area transport plan.
Council at its Oct. 8 workshop, asked TransLink for more details on those before it endorses the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge Area Transport Plan.
Mayor Mike Morden said last week that council wants Golden Ears Way twinned from the north end of Golden Ears Bridge to 210th Street. Currently, three lanes are funneling into one lane from the bridge to 210th Street and 128th Avenue. That’s creating traffic jams, leading motorists to rat run through suburbs and causing complaints from the public.
“That’s an absolute deal-breaker for this council … if we can’t get that done …” Morden said at workshop. The road allowance and room is already there, he added. That would also require amending the P3 agreement under which the Golden Ears Bridge was built.
“We’re asking TransLink to tell us clearly, how they’re going to address those pieces,” Morden said last week.
“We just want to know how TransLink is going to resolve this, because that’s a major mandate of TransLink, is to reduce congestion.”
Morden also wants a West Coast Express station in Albion near 240th Street to be included. “It still needs to be planned for. It needs to be on those maps,” even if there’s no park and ride, he added.
“Evidence is very clear that the secondary consequences of this congestion is creating basically mayhem on side streets.
“We get complaints from the public every day. These are things that we want to know, how they’re going to get solved and what it’s going to take,” Morden said.
Council also wanted to know how the RapidBus, which runs from Haney Place Mall to Coquitlam Centre, will be able to carry people without being bogged down in traffic. The new service starts up this Jan. 6.
Coun. Gordy Robson questioned if the RapidBus would be any faster than a regular bus.
But TransLink planner Sarah Ross said that the RapidBus will have a quicker service time than other buses and will have transit priority, such as through queue jumping at traffic lights.
“We feel quite confident this will improve transit times on the RapidBus compare to what customers have today,” she said.
Robson also wanted TransLink to partner with the city in building a park-and-ride facility in the downtown, an idea he proposed in 2017. But Ross said that TransLink has no budget for building park-and-ride facilities although it is looking at such projects throughout the region.
Morden also wanted long-term mass transit corridors mapped throughout Maple Ridge from west to east included in TransLink’s long-term 2050 plan. Those routes also should be included into Maple Ridge’s official community plan. “That needs to be planned and on the ground and in our OCP today, so that we don’t have to do property acquisitions.”
He added that if a West Coast Express station is not built in Albion, that it’s more important to plan out mass transit routes. He expects in the future that the RapidBus will extend to the eastern suburbs and serve as a precursor to rapid transit. Stations, park and ride and corridors must all be planned for in advance, he said.
MP Dan Ruimy said in 2017 that in the long-term future increased freight demands on the CP Rail track, may require a separate commuter rail system.
However, Ross said that TransLink is committed to the West Coast Express and is buying two more locomotives.
She said that the commuter train system carries up to 6,000 people a day. “That kind of demand can’t be absorbed by any of our other systems,” she said.
“The demand is there, it’s strong. We have a whole bunch of constraints that we’re working with but we are committed to that service and looking at how we’re going to expand it and to provide more capacity.”
Pitt Meadows has already endorsed the transport plan.