March 17, 2015

VOTE YES!

I rarely get political/overly sweary here on my blog. I usually talk about family things. Babies, dogs, vacation time. But right now I’m terrified and annoyed about something happening in my region.

So I have to take pause to say this, in bold, curse-ridden caps: VOTE YES ON THE FUCKING TRANSLINK PLEBISCITE, HOLY SHIT, PLEASE, FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND.  

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has been doing, unfortunately, a good job of making people believe that the requested funds will be mismanaged by Translink, and therefore, it’s all just a bad idea. Jason Bateman is an idiot. He just wants to win. I don’t think he genuinely cares about facts.

The naysayers seem to think that the expanse in transit options, if funding is approved, will only be good for Vancouverites (ie, me). While it will fund a new subway line for the Broadway corridor, it will expand options for folks living south of the Fraser River. Which is a damned good thing, cause guess what? A MILLION PEOPLE are expected to move into the region in the coming couple decades. A MILLION. In a highly populous country, maybe that’s just ‘another Wednesday’, but around here, that’s a big fuckin’ deal.  And guess what? Those people are going to work ALL OVER the Lower mainland. Including the Broadway corridor, by the way.

So that Broadway corridor, let’s just focus on it for a second.

Did you know that this relatively puny section of real estate has the
second largest employee base IN THE ENTIRE PROVINCE? One little stretch of road, say around 10 km, is so jam packed with offices and places of business that it has more jobs and population than any other city or town in the region, save downtown Vancouver itself (which has plenty of transit options and a heck of a lot more space). Put that in your infographic generating machine and see what the visual looks like.  And what serves that corridor for transit currently?

The most unbelievably, armpit-smelly-crowded- together-with-strangers bus system, evah, basically.

500,000. What does this number represent? That’s not the number of riders that get ON the bus. That’s the number of people who get PASSED by a bus, every year, on the Broadway corridor, cause so fuckin’ many people want a goddamn ride to work! HALF A MILLION PISSED OFF COMMUTERS! That’s tant amount to, like, nine out of every  10 residents in Vancouver getting passed up for a bus ride. The B-line express bus route was jammed to capacity the day it launched, and that was in 1996. Almost 20 years later and it’s an exercise in frustration trying to catch a B-line during rush hour. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 55,000 people ride that single B-line route every weekday. EVERY. DAY. That’s like most of the entire city of Vernon, say, lined up to catch a single bus route to and from work. It’s just goofy.

Enough about the Broadway corridor. My head hurts thinking about the stupidity of saying no to this project alone. Let’s move back out from the core of Vancouver.

If you say no to funding the strategy, you are saying no to a new Patullo bridge. I barely drive, and I barely ever cross that bridge. I HATE THAT BRIDGE. Disaster scenario nightmares run through my head every time I see it; cars tumbling into the water as the old relic sighs its last and buckles from the sheer boredom having to have stood there for so long.

If you vote no, you are saying no to MASSIVE improvements in bus service. New light rail for Surrey and Langley. More sea busses to the North shore. More trains on all the existing services, more community shuttles and handydarts for seniors and those living with disability. You are saying no to greener transportation and more bike routes.

“Yeah yeah yeah, but it’s gonna cost ME! The TAXPAYER!” Yeah, it will. Primarily cause awseome shit like this ISN'T FREE. But it's only going to cost, like, $125 bucks a YEAR. Seriously, per household, it has been costed out to something like 35 cents a day. For some, a struggle, I understand that. But for many, many people, I think you can handle the cost.  

If money is not your motivator, then how about social cost? How about some psychology? Do you want to be a less healthy, more miserable old shit than you already are, 10 years from now? This article suggests you will be, all because you’re too fuckin’ stubborn / short sighted to say ‘yes’ today to something that won’t show up for three, five, seven  years down the road. 

By most measures, a “No” result in the plebiscite will make the average person poorer, sicker, less free, more frustrated and, yes, less happy”.

SOUNDS AWESOME! NOT!

You think someone else will fund this stuff if we don’t do it ourselves? Don’t kid yourselves. The province, as but one example, is WAY more interested in natural resource investment and infrastructure than this. Yeah, they’ll help hold the money for this project and distribute it if ‘yes’ wins (Listen to what Peter Ladner says about this on a CBC interview from March 16th, ANOTHER reason to not bother listening to the  rhetoric about Translink mismanagement). But if ‘no’s wins, I doubt the province will want to spend a dime on the lower mainland.  They have their heads showed so far up their LNG asses they may never see daylight.

Unfortunately for them, this region is the economic engine of the province. Always has been, always will be, even with LNG money lining all our pockets! If the province wants to spend its money on resource development over the health and sustainability of the lower mainland, they should also remember that stat about how many people work on the Broadway corridor. A recent article shows that there are about
47,000 resource sector jobs in BC.  That means there are more people working in that 10 km stretch of Broadway than in the entire resource sector in B.C...

…OK, I’m getting sidetracked… point is, we NEED to make investments ourselves in our future of roads and bridges and transit, as it’s a very real possibility that no one else will.

I want to have options ten years from now for even further expansion, instead of looking back and saying ‘well, now we’re screwed. Sure wish we voted yes back in 2015. Now it’ll cost double just to get to the basics’.

I want my kids to grow up in a region that has the environment in mind.

I want my cycle into work to be safe and enjoyable, and I want others in the region to feel encouraged to ride, too.

I want to be able to think about using the Broadway corridor again, rather than avoiding it like the black-fuckin'-plague because it’s such a snarl the way it is now, for busses and drivers alike, and will only be moreso without changes.

So for these reasons, and more, I am voting YES.

I hope everyone else can look past the horrible, single-minded 'Translink sucks' focused smear campaign of the CTF, can look past the relatively paltry personal price tag, and can look far enough into the future to see a more enjoyable, stress-reduced commute to work.
The way things are, well, #THISSUCKYVR, and I want change. And you should too.




Just… vote yes. Yes?
Yes. 
Post a Comment