Our back yard borders the historic Burr farm, separated only by Crescent Slough. This land has been successfully farmed by one pioneering family for well in excess of 100 years. We enjoy the changing landscape of crop farming and the timeless view of the North Shore mountains.
The only scar on the horizon is Highway 99 and endless vehicular traffic as it plunges into and exits the George Massey Tunnel. This crossing had its critics at the outset in the 1950s and remains a major focus today.
Delta commuters remain largely vehicle dependant as public transit is directed to larger population centres. Destination times can vary greatly dependant on time, weather and driver error.
There are numerous suggestions to improve visibility in the tunnel and Victoria has been approached many times to white tile the grungy cement walls to no avail. Make no mistake, the greatest factor is human error.
Besides evident congestion, there is a lack of courtesy and unsafe lane changes. Have we forgotten, or do we simply ignore, the single solid line in the tunnel that prohibits lane changes?
It's ironic that in the years following the opening of the tunnel, the RCMP had a major presence and detachment head office at the north end. There were regular radar checks to slow speeders and check for lane changes. It now seems the control of the tunnel is left to the "honour system" and drivers are to police themselves.
We can agree there is the inevitability of congestion at both ends of the tunnel at peak times. The tunnel will soon be 53 years old and traffic planners could never have anticipated the explosive growth south and east of the Fraser River.
With the exception of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, governments only respond to traffic when there is a crisis. There is no way to expand the existing tunnel. The Steveston Highway overpass can and should be redesigned and a second northbound exit lane to Richmond would alleviate the backup into the tunnel.
Digressing for a moment, you should note all crossings of the Fraser River were "tolled" when opened and remained in place until the "commuter" had paid the capital costs. This included the tunnel and Oak Street Bridge as well as the Pattullo and Lions Gate bridges. Any suggestion to "re-toll" the existing crossings should be strongly resisted.
It is simply not acceptable to improve congestion at the tunnel without addressing the Oak Street Bridge and its backup.
Traffic issues have always had a profile and have never been greater than now. Victoria has offloaded all trucking through Delta to Vancouver Island, compounded by exponential trucking growth to service Delta's expanding port system.
The impact of large development in Surrey will have a major affect on commute times for struggling Delta drivers.
Somewhere out there is a liveable community plan that is in great jeopardy because of unsolved traffic issues. As outrageously expensive as it is, the SFPR is not a solution to the relentless traffic spurred by unchecked growth.
And a good night to you, Phil.
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