Post-Plebiscite Thoughts and Readings

Well, if you haven’t heard by now, the results of the Transportation and Transit Plebiscite were 38.32% Yes and 61.68% No. The results are personally disappointing, but not at all surprising.

Gary Mason at The Globe and Mail talks of how the plebiscite was doomed from the beginning.

More than $6-million was spent – no, wasted – by TransLink and a coalition of the willing to underwrite a campaign the public had no interest in supporting. Plebiscite strategists such as Mr. Schlackman could only roll their eyes at the pitiful amount of time the provincial government gave the mayors to try to sell their $7.5-billion vision. In the U.S., transit proponents often have campaign runways that stretch up to two years. The mayors had a few months.

I think his last sentence in the article sums up how I feel about how this plebiscite.

All this plebiscite did was demonstrate what happens when a province’s political leadership abdicates its responsibility to govern.

Although I do believe that a No vote does set us back in transportation in the region, I think there might be some good that could come out of the result.

Voony on his blog talks about how Zurich is a good example of how things can turn around.

In the 70’s, in Zurich, like in Vancouver, the voters have say “NO” to a grand and expensive Transit plan, and still Zurich has became the posterchild of efficient Transit.

Voony pushes for some changes that can be made now by mayors or TransLink. He suggests cities could do more to give transit priority in traffic. He also says TransLink could start to cull the number of bus stops, thus increasing the speed of certain bus routes.

The Vancouver Sun features an article on integrating TransLink more into Metro Vancouver’s control and run it like another utility. Metro Vancouver already controls our water and sewage systems for the whole region. Why not put transit and transportation under that umbrella?

From this point forward, I think we need to frame our thinking around the issues better. It’s not just a tax issue or a TransLink issue or even a transit issue. The discussion should be about land use and transportation and the kind of region we want to live in. It’s just how do we get that message out there over all the noise?

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