Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tunnel in Vancouver moving along

Vancouver is currently undertaking a tunnelling project running from Vancouver's waterfront towards the airport. The process and equipment is probably a lot like the potential tunnel in Ottawa's core, with one big difference: Ottawa has the support of the big businesses in the core. As a story in the Globe and Mail, some Vancouver businesses are upset with the process:
"The Premier said the project was on budget and “ahead of schedule, so every time you're ahead of schedule you're in better shape for the long term.”

"But the project also has caused considerable controversy for the section that runs underground along Cambie Street, east of the downtown, because it has disrupted many businesses."

Maybe it's still the honeymoon phase of the planning, and the Downtown Coalition could certainly change it's tune when the actual digging is underway, but for now they seem happy. That Coalition is also composed of large businesses, so remains unknown what small business owners think about the tunnel.

Speaking of commuters in Vancouver, Clive Doucet wrote longingly about the transit infratructure in Vancouver in a special column for the Citizen in February (titled "What we're missing out on"), and about how it has meant good things for the reduction of car use.

"The statistics confirm what your eyes see on Vancouver's friendly, lively streets. Car ownership hasn't increased in 12 years in spite of the city's population growing by 40,000 and those who own cars are driving 30 per cent fewer kilometres. At the same time, pedestrian trips have doubled, and transit use has tripled.


"There's no transit ideology here. It's what works best - do it. And Vancouverites do."

Is the recent willingness of council to pay a premium for proactive long-term solutions to Ottawa's transit problems the start of a new 'transit ideology' of simply doing what works for the city?

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