The City of Richmond is raising a red flag over projections that southbound truck traffic through the Massey Tunnel could spike by 50 per cent by 2014 and triple by 2030.
Concerns were aired this week that the planned Delta Port expansion at Roberts Bank and the proposed giant shopping mall on Tsawwassen First Nations land could bring even more traffic congestion problems to the tunnel, eventually spilling onto local roads.
A city council committee on Wednesday agreed to appeal to port operators, Port Metro Vancouver (PMV), to fastrack any road improvement/traffic management plans it has to accommodate the forecast growth.
The city is also going to urge PMV to expedite its proposed measures to reduce container truck traffic going through the tunnel from Deltaport Canadas largest container terminal.
PMV estimates that about 35 per cent of all Delta Port traffic heads through the tunnel and the majority of that is headed for the Richmond Logistics Hub, a 700-acre development in East Richmond where ships, trucks and trains meet to swap cargoes.
The South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR), scheduled to open in December, is expected to ease some of that traffic using the tunnel.
But, according to many predictions, its not going to be anywhere near enough to impact an already heavily congested artery.
For Richmond, I can see huge truck traffic coming through the tunnel, said Coun. Linda Barnes, chair of the public works committee that approved the requests to PMV.
PMV has downplayed the effect of the mall on the TFN (First Nations) site, but this its apparently going to be equal to or larger than Metrotown.
You cant tell me thats not going to have a significant impact; thats going to be a regional draw.
According to the report, PMV is currently exploring a number of truck congestion reduction measures, including:
*encouraging truck drivers and companies to shift pick-ups and deliveries to off-peak times;
*introducing a dispatch system to reduce the number of empty trips (trips with no container);
*providing designated sites near Delta Port for waiting trucks.
When city staff questioned the author of the PMV report about the congestion, it was suggested that some of the expected queuing could be alleviated by motorists using the Alex Fraser Bridge instead of the tunnel.
The prospect of a completely new crossing, as currently being probed by the provincial government, would further reduce the forecasted snare going in and out of Richmond via the tunnel.
However, the city once again reiterated its opposition to one of the preferred options to the replace the tunnel a crossing in East Richmond, in particular one near No. 8 Road.
Barnes added that such a crossing would fly directly in the face of the citys Official Community Plan and would result in a further loss of agricultural land.
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