Pattullo Closure Debrief

Well, there has been a lot said about the recent Pattullo bridge closure, so I'm not going to sum it all up here.

I've just got to say that Translink emerged as the winner. Faced with a possible PR catastrophe, someone made the brilliant decision to tell the public to expect the worst - and then surprise everyone with a sudden solution. Anyone in any kind of service business knows it is far better to shock a client with a hasty delivery than it is to surprise with an unexpected delay.

I'm sure there were half a million relieved people this morning (all 79,000 who cross the bridge daily, plus everyone else who drives across the Fraser daily across the other bridges), as it was re-opened.

So, what did we learn from the madness, besides the fact that there is probably a market after all for a tolled crossing to replace the Pattullo?

I feel that, by exaggerating the problems the region currently faces, this event really showed where the planning weaknesses to date have been, and should be seen as a demonstration of an unfortunately possible future. This just shows that the area is terribly under-served by public transit, possibly due to the fact there are now at least as many inter-suburban trips made as there are suburb-to-Vancouver trips.

I found it disheartening to hear that the expected crush of new transit users didn't materialize, though by all accounts there were more people taking the trains. What would be the cause for this -- I can't believe that, given the choice, people would not go for taking transit and saving time and removing the stress associated with sitting in traffic. Though I suppose there are many who already make that decision every day already, and an exacerbation of the problem just increases the annoyance, but doesn't force a change of habit.

>> photo by gordmckenna