Written by Leanne Buck, Bunt & Associates
On June 21st, approximately 35 individuals began their morning hearing about the learning outcomes of SFU’s Next Generation Transportation Certificate program. This event led by Gordon Price, Director of SFU’s City Program was held in a cozy kitchen turned café setting at the office of Bunt & Associates in downtown Vancouver. With shifting politics, demographics, and technology being the topics at the heart of the program, Gordon segued to moderate a high quality conversation with Councilor Mathew Bond (District of North Vancouver), Ted Mildon (Oxford Properties), and Tom Lancaster (Metro Vancouver).
First question posed – “What is the biggest transportation change you have seen in the last five years?” The responses cultivated interesting discussion – from positivity surrounding an increase in bike lanes tempered with definite safety concerns in some areas due the influx of cyclists, to rapid congestion challenges of the North Shore despite no significant population increase, and to traffic and congestion cited as a good thing because it forces people out of their cars. We immediately were listening to an open and frank discussion.
Shifting politics – we heard opinions related to ineffective land use plans, political will required to drive change, the need to respect all citizens, and that education leads to reform. The controversial Massey Bridge project was touched on…a topic on its own worthy of another kitchen conversation.
How will technology impact transportation? Quick answer – it already has and will continue to do so. From discussion about handy mobility apps to careful consideration of managing autonomous vehicles in the region (have to be car-share to work) and not relying on technology as the answer to our woes; we need to make conscience and fully informed choices related to the outcome of implementation. We need to consider the human element.
How can we reduce/manage congestion? Opinions related to congestion charges, tax incentives, relocating business, and the need to consider overall affordability (home prices plus congestion charges). Furthermore, transportation choices were talked about – high speed rail versus frequent bus service and the observation that there is very little talk about express trains. The longer we wait, the more pressure there will be on key corridors.
This conversation is by no means over. It will be through high quality discussions like this and continuing to educate individuals in both the private and public sector through programs like SFU’s Next Generation Transportation Certificate that the radical can be explored and ideals shifted for the ultimate outcome of providing a truly livable region for the next generation.
ULI BC would like thank our speakers and moderator, along with Bunt & Associates for hosting us! We also would like to thank Ted Mildon and Chuck We of Oxford Properties for providing us with a tour of Oxford Place, specifically the amazing bicycle facilities, thanks both! And please feel free to check out some pictures from the morning’s session on our Facebook page here.