Synopsis of the Issues
The BC provincial government is planning to widen the #1 Highway to at least eight lanes between Vancouver and Langley. Early announcement indicate that the expansion will likely come to McGill Street in East Vancouver and to 216 Street in Langley and involve twinning the Port Mann Bridge. The estimated cost of this project is at least $1.4-billion. The #1 Highway expansion is part of a larger "Gateway Program" involving two other road projects in the Lower Mainland. The overall cost of the Gateway Program is estimated at between $3- to 5-billion.
Provincial Minister of Transportation Kevin Falcon announced in June 2004 that the #1 Highway expansion would be accelerated. Minister Falcon has made it clear that he has no intention to ask residents of the Lower Mainland whether they support the project or not.
On 10 February 2005 The Province newspaper quoted Falcon as saying:
"We're very open to how it gets done but the question of whether it gets done, we've moved beyond that." (Kevin Falcon, Provincial Minister of Transportation)
No public consultations on the #1 Highway expansion have taken place.
Citizens Concerned with Highway Expansion is a coalition of individuals who object to this project. We believe it will have a net negative impact on the Lower Mainland. Why?
*A work in progress...more links and more information on its way*
If the expansion project is so obviously bad, why does Kevin Falcon - not to mention Gordon Campbell or the business interests in the Gateway Council - want it so badly?
There's no surprise here...we've compiled a list of Kevin Falcon's supporters, and they include developers, car dealerships and real estate interests.
(a quick reference guide for sorting through some of Falcon's more blatantly fallacious statements)
Falcon's claim that widening Hwy I and twinning PM2 will reduce emissions is false. it only takes a tiny increase in vehicles to nullify reductions from improved traffic flow. More lanes will bring more congestion and pollution to streets and neighbourhoods throughout Greater Vancouver.
Falcon's claim that congestion makes it "virtually impossible for buses to utilize the Port Mann" is false. TransLink has called for queue-jumper lanes that would allow buses to use the bridge and keep on schedule but he refuses to implement them.
Falcon says that little of the Port Mann traffic is destined for Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster, yet he refuses to drop plans to widen Highway 1 in those cities-- despite opposition from their councils.
Falcon says that to remind drivers to slow down as they approach city streets he will "Implement shrubs" alongside the widened exits. Who does he think he's kidding?