The MTP Begins

Thursday night is the first open house for New Westminster’s Master Transportation Plan. The first meeting will mostly talk about the process to come over the next 12-18 months, and there will be more public consultation, so don’t go in expecting to hear a lot of answers… but do expect to hear lots of questions, and be prepared to ask them!

The part I am looking forward to is the first bits of data coming from the City’s traffic measuring and public surveys. it will be interesting if the problems we perceive are the same as the problems shown by traffic counts and other data collected by the City and their consultants.

As for the path ahead, the new President of the NWEP, Reena Meijer-Drees does a great job getting Grant Granger at the NewsLeader updated on what the vision that group has for the future of transportation in the City. This is a great start. 

 There was also a great short article in the March Walrus Magazine (I suspect you non-subscribers will have to wait a month or so until you can read it on-line, or pick it up at the Library) talking about Luc Ferrandez, the Mayor of the Montreal’s Plateau borough. Being both a cyclist and and a believer in contemporary urbanism, he has been turning one of the most storied and historic neighbourhoods into a pedestrian-friendly paradise of wide sidewalks and green spaces.

Limited in his powers by a Metropolitan Government that oversees all major transportation infrastructure, and facing opposition from neighboring communities whose denizens want to commute through the Plateau unfettered by his neighbourhood traffic calming, Ferrandez is unapologetic. How unapologetic?

“I accept that some people think I’m the Devil. For them, the Plateau doesn’t exist. It is just a place to be driven through. I don’t give a shit about those people. They’ve abandoned the idea that humans can live together”.

Oh, to have the candor of Québécois politicians. However, when speaking about his vision for his neighbourhood, he sounds inspired:

“The Plateau is an Italian cathedral. It’s a forest. It’s something to protect, something sacred. I don’t want it to become a place where people come to live in a condo behind triple-glazed windows for a couple of years. This has to be a place where people can be comfortable walking to the bakery, walking to school, walking of the park – where they want to stay and raise a family”.

Will anyone stand up and say they want anything less for British Columbia’s most historic City?

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