NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) It’s a familiar sight for those of us who call the North Shore home: cars and trucks lined up as far as the eye can see during rush hour. Around 50 or 60 people turned out to North Vancouver’s John Braithwaite Community Centre on Saturday for a town hall that looked at problems and possible solutions.
It doesn’t take a professional engineer to figure out the North Shore has some work to do when it comes to easing traffic congestion, but it just so happens one is running for the NDP in the riding of North Vancouver-Lonsdale, largely on this issue. Bowinn Ma hosted and moderated Saturday’s “Traffic Sucks!” forum. The 32-year-old knows the issue well, having spent several years commuting between her job at YVR and her home on the North Shore.
Ma says housing affordability is a key factor. “The majority of the traffic congestion that we’re seeing out here on the North Shore is actually coming into the city in the morning and out of the city in the evening,” she explains. “What that tells us is that it’s people who are coming on to the North Shore to work but they can’t [afford to] live here.”
She is running against two term BC Liberal MLA Naomi Yamamoto. Ma says the Clark government has been taking voters on the North Shore for granted far too long. “We haven’t seen highway upgrades or interchange upgrades for quite a while,” she says. “Now, we do have the Lower Lynn Valley highway upgrades coming up, but it will be 2021 before that project completes. By then, it will be too little too late. I’d argue it’s too little too late right now.”
In fact, Ma’s town hall was held on the same day the provincial Ministry of Transportation held a second open house on improvements planned to Highway 1 in Lower Lynn to Deep Cove.
The event also heard from Ruth Armstrong, the Recording Secretary for Unifor Local 111, which represents 3,700 transit operators in Metro Vancouver. She claims 200 vehicles were added to local roads when TransLink shuttered its transit depot in North Vancouver and transferred those assets to a facility in Burnaby.
Ma insists her event was non-partisan in nature, but claims no BC Liberals accepted her invitation. “Maybe they were stuck in traffic,” she quips.