Seattle and Vancouver B.C. have much in common. Both have wonderful scenery, a growing economy, an influx of newcomers and major traffic congestion that can make commuting a nightmare.
In Vancouver, traffic is so bad that the 2016 TomTom traffic index survey rated the city as the most congested in Canada followed by Toronto and Montreal.
It is not likely to ease anytime soon as more than 38,000 people are moving to the Metro Vancouver area annually. The traffic impact goes beyond the difficult daily commute — it affects the area’s economy, workforce, housing, affordability, livability and public health.
What can be done to address the traffic concerns now and in the future? The Canadian members of KCTS 9’s Community Advisory Board decided that it was important to take up that question and much more. In early November, they organized a community forum at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Center titled Our Transportation Challenge: The Good, the Bad and the Bike Lanes? It featured exhibits of electric cars, the latest examples of top-notch road bikes for commuting and information about Metro Vancouver bicycle organizations.
More importantly, the forum included a lively discussion with a panel of prominent Canadians actively involved in transportation issues in the Metro Vancouver area. The panel featured Mayor Greg Moore of the city of Port Coquitlam and the chair of Metro Vancouver, the regional governing body that serves more than 2 million residents; Erin O’Melinn, the executive director of HUB Cycling; Geoff Cross, vice president of planning and policy for Translink, the regional transportation network for Metro Vancouver that includes public transit, roads and bridges; and urban planner Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University.
More than 175 people showed up for the panel discussion and weighed in with a variety of questions, concerns and suggestions about how to improve Metro Vancouver’s traffic congestion and ultimately its highly valued quality of life.
The son of Mexican immigrants, Enrique Cerna was born and raised in the Yakima Valley. Enrique joined KCTS 9 in January, 1995. He has anchored current affairs programs, moderated statewide political debates, produced and reported stories for national PBS programs in addition to local documentaries on social and juvenile justice, the environment and Latinos in Washington State.
Enrique has earned nine Northwest Emmy Awards and numerous other honors. In June, 2013, he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter’s Silver Circle for his work as a television professional.More stories by Enrique Cerna