More bad news for Vancouver.
According to a new report released this week, Greater Vancouver is the most congested metropolitan area in Canada, and the second-most in North America behind LA.
In fact, on average it takes 30% longer to travel through Greater Vancouver than it should were traffic flowing freely, and during evening rush hour that time grows to 65% longer - which is the last thing we want to hear on these long summer evenings.
The TomTom congestion index study also showed that the average Vancouver driver with a 30-minute commute is delayed 83 hours per year.
What any responsible person amongst us must ask is why everyone is opting to drive in the first place? By 2020, Vancouver aims to be the “Greenest City” in the world with over 50% of trips made by foot, bicycle and public transit, and a reduced average distance driven of 20% per resident from 2007 levels.
So, what’s our problem? It can’t be down to a lack of resources.
The Ministry of Transportation has invested more than $10 billion in transportation and infrastructure since 2001.
Six out of 10 Metro Vancouver residents who currently drive have said they would shift to public transportation if they had the level of service provided during the Olympics, thanks in no small part to the highly successful contribution of the Canada Line.
The city’s controversial separated bike lanes along the Dunsmuir Viaduct, carrying a hefty price tag of $4.1 million, were made permanent only last month. The plan is to have 1,500 bikes at 125 stations, at a cost to the city of about $1.9 million annually for 10 years.
Estimates show that an increase of just 1% in cycling would be equivalent to 16,000 trips a day; thereby reducing congestion on the roads and transit, along with less greenhouse gas emissions.
Anyway, you just have to look at VPD’s latest stats to see why a frightening number of people should be banned from driving altogether, thanks to a depressing 50% hike in drink driver cases over last year.
Coming from Ireland where things tend to run much slower shall we say, Vancouver's public transit system is a blessing. I remember being naively in awe of the mystical sounding “SkyTrain” when I first arrived here, although now it’s a routine part of my daily commute.
While critics point out there’s actually roughly the same amount of traffic in downtown Vancouver as in 1965, even with twice the jobs and more than double the population, it still feels like we’re making excuses.
And the reality is there are none.