Letter: Your tube could be Eco Tube or even Todd Tube

Dear Editor,

Re: “Tunnel twin more expensive, less safe: Stone,” Letters, Oct. 26.

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With last week’s letter from B.C. transport minister Todd Stone, I gained new respect for the City of Richmond. 

Mr. Stone told us that his surrogates involved with the Massey Project have met with the city “111 times.” But, clearly, he hasn’t heeded anything said.

His project remains a 1950s reaction to a 2016 opportunity, which his letter called “the worst bottleneck in the province.” 

The city, with firm support from Metro Vancouver and its staff experts, keeps pointing out it’s no solution to shift the bottleneck north — or pour twice as much traffic into it.

A few months ago, the Metro Vancouver board rejected the province’s mega-bridge plan. What’s more, the region’s mayors were almost unanimous, and they have provided clear advice, but the province refuses to follow it. 

Regardless, Stone’s letter ends with a promise to “continue to incorporate local advice.”

Richmond suggests adding a two-lane tube to the tunnel to enable a rapid transit lane each way. (That concept assumes the province would also finish the half-done seismic retrofit and add refurbishing.) Once a BC Liberal concept, it’s now pretty much a consensus concept, with wide support from informed citizens.

My Digging Deep column (Oct. 12), which prompted Mr. Stone to write, is consistent with that concept, but his letter ignores it.

Under the guise of a response, he argues against a tunnel that would somehow cost more than the bridge. But I’m not advocating for that kind of extremely large and expensive tunnel, anyway. 

In fact, it’s not even possible in the Massey corridor, unless the existing tunnel is removed. That kind of mega-tunnel is just a straw man, posing as an alternative option so the mega-bridge seems less bad.

Let’s get back to the “twinned” Massey Tunnel, an actual alternative to the proposed mega-bridge. 

In this scenario, the refurbished four-lane “Legacy Tube” would be flanked by a new two-lane “twin” tube. I’d call it the “Green Tube” because of gentle impact on nature.

(Or it could be called the Eco Tube, with “Eco” meaning “Economical” and “Ecological”. Or the Todd Tube, if he ever listens.)

Tube-name game aside, the true alternative would also require related transit action such as a big increase in Canada Line capacity. 

While getting people to their destinations via pleasant and efficient trips, it would then be as useful for a liveable region as the misfit bridge is harmful.

Also, it would save billions.

For now, we need Minister Stone to keep his recent promise to us and “incorporate local advice.” As a first step, he could acknowledge and consider the genuine alternative. 

To the City of Richmond, best of luck in this surreal encounter.

Jim Wright

Richmond

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