It should be a couple of interesting weeks, and if I don’t post too often, I have some good excuses. I have said this before, but believe me, this time I am really busy.
I have both the Royal City Curling Club AGM next week (my report is written, but I may need to prep a speech and be prepared to be peppered by questions on my role as Ice & House Committee Chair) and the Environmental Managers Association of BC AGM and Awards Luncheon is also next week (I am expecting to return to the board as a VP at that event). There is also the Westminster Pier Park Grand Opening coming up, and I did my volunteer training for that yesterday. I also have an Emergency Advisory Committee meeting tomorrow evening. Don’t forget the first Royal City Farmers Market of the year is this Thursday (great fundraiser, by the way!).
Bonus last-minute panic-causing addition:
Sapperton Day is also this Sunday! See us at the NWEP Booth talkin’ transportation and Pattullo!
Although these are keeping be busy, there are two upcoming events I want to talk about here:
Tomorrow (fortunately, after the EAC meeting), there will be a Forum on the Future of the Pattullo Bridge at the River Market. Although the list of presenters is interesting, I can’t shake the feeling that this is a bit of a smoke screen.
The topic for discussion is what to do with the Pattullo Bridge after TransLink builds the new 6-lane bridge. There are some interesting ideas, including keeping it as some sort of linear parkway or re-purposing as development space. Having visited the original HighLine last year, I agree it is a compelling piece of urban infrastructure, and the impact on the part of Chelsea where it was built is undeniably positive. It is getting so every developer building an elevated walkway in every City in North America is putting a few trees on it and saying it is “a HighLine like design”.
|HighLine, the type sample.|
I’m interested to see what learned people have to say about this type of use for the Pattullo, but I can’t help but thinking about all of the people in this town turning themselves inside-out over a much less ambitious waterfront park very close to the Pattullo. I also wonder why, if TransLink is so convinced the bridge is in immediate peril of collapse, we are entertaining fixing it for a recreation or development space. So although I enjoy speculative thinking about the future of the City as much as anyone, let’s not take our eye off the ball here. The livability of our City is not currently threatened by a lack of elevated or waterfront park space, it is threatened by the risk of increased traffic resulting from a 6-lane Pattullo.
Ultimately, I think the best use for a refurbished Pattullo Bridge is as a transportation corridor with 4 lanes and improved pedestrian and bike facilities, or even three lanes with a counter-flow middle lane. If it can be fixed, I can’t imagine a better use for it than the one it currently serves.
Which brings me to the second event of note. Next Tuesday is a N.E.X.T.NewWest event featuring some random blogivator talking about the Pattullo Bridge.
|In my natural envrionment: hiding behind beer.|
I am going to give a very brief background of the Pattullo situation and talk a bit about the community open houses I attended and the City’s approach to the TransLink process. I will also have some interesting data to present about aspects of the plan, and then present a bunch of opinion about where the City should be going with its transportation system, and how the Pattullo fits into that.
It should be fun and informative, as N.E.X.T. is exactly the group of “New” New Westminster business leaders whom I was whinging about being too silent in the discussion of the Pattullo up to now. My only goal for the evening will be to convince as many of them as possible that they should be getting involved in the discussion, and not let these decisions be made without their important voice. I also hope to make a few of them laugh… with me, as opposed to at me. But I’ll take it either way.
I hope to see lots of folks at both of these events, as they demonstrate one of the strengths of New Westminster – a community coming together to discuss an issue from various different angles. The more voices we have, the more likely TransLink will listen to us.