One definition of lunacy is doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. By this definition, current planning for the Evergreen Line is starting to look more and more deranged, and the poor taxpayer could be looking at a repeat of the costly planning mistakes made with some of the earlier SkyTrain designs.

In 2002 the Millennium 99 B-Line SkyTrain alignment was constructed in isolation of future traffic planning and infrastructure considerations for the Braid/Brunette/United area.

As a result, the taxpayer will now have to bear additional costs to accommodate road improvements associated with the North Fraser Perimeter Road system. The lunacy is that the future local transportation needs were well known when the Millennium Line was planned but they were ignored in the political rush to get it built.

So what has this got to do with the Evergreen Line (EGL)?

I believe the same mistake is about to be made again. ALRT planners are working with outdated information and ignoring well-known local transportation needs in Port Moody. This was first acknowledged to me by consultants at the Environmental Assessment Public Open House on July 8 in Port Moody.

Today’s EGL proposal shows a portal exiting east from under the Barnet highway.  But this has been planned according to a 2000Port Moody OCP that Council has already identified as inappropriate for future transportation planning, and around a line on that map for a future Murray Clarke Connector which was drawn before the Evergreen Line was even coming through Port Moody!.

The lesson should have been learned by now from the corner we dug ourselves into at Braid/Brunette/United, and the extra money this is costing taxpayers today.

There should be responsible and integrated planning for the Evergreen Line and a connector from Murray to the Barnet Highway. To do any less is an affront to the taxpayer.

I believe there are not only major cost savings to planning these two vital projects in tandem, but there are potentially real environmental savings from building them at the same time. Perhaps consideration should be given to building one above the other.

Such optional strategies would make a Port Moody transit station in the far west even more practical, something that both public opinion polls and Port Moody Council have said is a priority. Traffic could be optimally planned so that the road system and the transit system work together to aid the revitalization of Moody Centre.

By stepping back and learning from past mistakes, the EGL could truly deliver on our Government  MLA, Minister of Economic Development and Small Business Iain Black’s promise of economic and environmental responsibility. Lunacy is not an option.

Evergreen Line – Déjà vu?

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