This annual conference is presented by the Association of Consulting Engineers of British Columbia, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and TransLink every year. It brings together transport staff from various disciplines and sectors, typically involving a site tour of a current transportation infrastructure project and some interesting presentations on a topic of the day. Read on to see what was featured in this years conference.
The morning started with tour of the Evergreen Line which is due to open in Summer 2016. We had the opportunity to walk along the tracks and platform around Burquitlam Station.
Following that were a number of presentations in the afternoon. Some things of note included:
- Michael Buda, Interim Executive Director, Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation talked about the transit referendum. The 0.5% sales tax will not be the only source of funding, the new Pattullo Bridge will still be tolled, road pricing is still being considered. The 0.5% tax increase will provide approximately $250 Million per annum funding.
- Gordon Price presented three extraordinary facts. There is a steep drop in young people in Metro Vancouver getting their driving licences, many that do don't own cars. The SkyTrain station at Commercial Broadway see's more passengers than YVR, they came, we need to build it, referring to Broadway SkyTrain. Traffic Volumes in and out of Downtown Vancouver are about the same as in 1965.
- A presentation by BC Transit focussed on their initiatives to involve the communities in all the towns they serve and work with those towns to integrate land use and transit, by providing density along their routes or adapting their routes to the density.
- A presentation by TransLink talked further about the Mayors plan and the work that went into developing it and primarily focussed on the advantages of the Mayors Plan.
- A presentation on Public Private Partnerships outlined some of the projects procured in BC by this method and some of the benefits, primary benefit is reduced risk to the Province, Innovation during the bid and design process was also stated as a significant benefit.
- The final presentation was by TransLink real estate and provide some examples of Transit Orientated Development, citing the Cambie in particular as a particular success story, it sold out in 3.5 hours compared to a period of months typically, and a major part of its sales pitch (and others) is its proximity to the Canada Line. Developers get the benefit of SkyTrain TransLink looking at alternative ways to realise some of that benefit.