Mayor Gregor Robertson and Kirk LaPointe trade barbs over transit plan
Mayor Gregor Robertson addressed reporters at the VCC-Clark SkyTrain station to reinforce Vision Vancouver's commitment to improving the city’s transit system.
Vision's transit system plan involves upgrading bus stops, sustaining enhanced transportation services for seniors and supporting the 10-year TransLink plan in the referendum. This will include the new B-Line services, more night buses and the early stages of the Broadway subway to Arbutus.
“That subway is the single best thing that you can do for our economy and environment, taking 50,000 cars off the road,” said Robertson.
“We will also advocate strongly in support of the referendum. We will not waiver on that one bit, because winning a transit referendum isn’t just about the Broadway subway; it’s about massive improvements to transit across the region.”
Phase one of the Broadway Corridor Rapid Transit Project would be a 5.1 km extension of the Millenium Line SkyTrain from VCC-Clark to Arbutus with a projected cost of $2 billion. The line will eventually route to UBC in the future second phase.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe announced that he would deliver an “affordable, underground Broadway subway” to UBC in addition to creating counterflow lanes on major roads and adding capacity to the 99 B-Line bus route.
Robertson responded by saying NPA’s “lack of understanding when it comes to major issues like transit” puts the city at risk. LaPointe is always “evolving” and changing his mind on the Broadway subway, and he is proposing drastic changes but is weary with the details, added Vision city councillor Geoff Meggs.
“Mr. LaPointe’s plan seems to be to make our main streets more like freeways,” Meggs said in a press release.
The lanes should not be viewed as creating a freeway within the city’s boundaries, LaPointe acknowledged at his news conference, but rather an opportunity to ease congestion during rush hours.
“Gregor Robertson has jacked up parking rates, he’s taken away car lanes and he’s shown no respect for drivers, at all,” LaPointe said. “He doesn’t get the fact that sometimes – sometimes – a car is the only option that works.”
During Vancouver’s first mayoral debate of the election season yesterday, LaPointe also called out Robertson lack of leadership suggesting that he had nothing to show for six years of commitment to the transit plan.
“I could grab your pen and do a sketch on paper and that’s as far as we have gone,” said LaPointe. “You are not doing your job as mayor,” LaPointe told Robertson. “You’ve had six years to get the job done. This was your No. 1 transit priority from day one. How’s priority number 11 going?”