A still from video of Labour Day weekend traffic posted on Facebook by Chilliwack city councillor Jason Lum. A still from video of Labour Day weekend traffic posted on Facebook by Chilliwack city councillor Jason Lum.

VIDEO: Fraser Valley MLA renews call for Highway 1 widening to six lanes

BC Liberal plan to expand out to Whatcom Road in Abbotsford was shelved by NDP government

After a Labour Day weekend that saw hundreds of people stuck in holiday traffic, Chilliwack MLA John Martin is once again renewing the call to expand Highway 1 to six lanes all the way out to Chilliwack.

“One of the big reasons we’ve got transportation and moving problems in the Eastern Fraser Valley is we don’t have our six lanes of highway,” Martin said in a video he posted on his Facebook page.

He said the highway was built in 1961 and was great for that day and age, but the time has long come to increase capacity.

“It’s no longer adequate, we need six lanes.”

In a BC Liberal caucus communications column, Martin said the story of heavy holiday traffic on long weekends repeats itself on a regular basis, but it’s not just long weekends.

“Outside of busy weekends, many people in Chilliwack commute to support their families while others drive the highway transporting goods to points west,” he wrote. “No matter the day, Highway One is far busier than those who built it in 1961 would have ever imagined.”

(See below for his full column.)

Martin said as part of the former BC Liberal government’s BC on the Move plan, six-lane expansion of Highway 1 was planned not to Chilliwack, but at least out to Whatcom Road.

• READ MORE: Highway 1 widening from Langley to Abbotsford pledged

That plan was shelved when the NDP took office with a decision made to study whether or not expansion is the right option.

“You don’t need to study it,” Martin said in his video. “It’s like studying to see if rotting fish smell. We know we have a problem.”

Martin’s call is for drivers to write, email or call Transportation Minister Claire Trevena to tell her we need six lanes on Highway 1 out to Chilliwack.

The issue of highway capacity in the Fraser Valley is not a new one with mayors in the area often lobbying the provincial and federal governments for funding to get it done.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz was part of a group of mayors earlier this year calling for exactly that, stating that she hears frequently about the issue from constituents.

“They’re frustrated with driving, they’re frustrated with spending time away from their family and their home and losing time to enjoy a peaceful lifestyle while they’re bumper to bumper on the highway,” she said in a CBC report in January.

Not everyone, however, agrees and some experts in planning saying more lanes will not ease congestion.

The high cost of making Highway 1 six lanes would be a waste, according to Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s former planning director.

“If your goal is to have more people drive, then widening the highway will achieve that goal; if the goal is to lessen congestion, widening the highway will fail at that goal and it will be a very expensive failure,” Toderian said in an interview with the Abbotsford News in 2017.

Toderian said there is no avoiding the phenomenon known as “induced demand”: build it and they will come.

It’s a counter-intuitive concept, but Toderian says there’s good evidence for it.

At least one study, published in 2011 by economists Gilles Duranton and Matthew Turner, appears to back him up. They found that when U.S. cities expanded freeways, traffic increased and congestion did not improve.

• READ MORE: Multi-million dollar Highway 1 expansion won’t ease congestion, expert says

But for Martin and those stuck on those two lanes on a daily commute or a holiday weekend or just doing their job in transportation, expansion is a long-awaited need.

– with files from the Abbotsford News


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Chilliwack MLA John Martin wants drivers users to contact Transportation Minister Claire Trevena to demand that Highway 1 be expanded to six lanes out to Chilliwack.

Just Posted

Brookswood’s Forsyth back to Langley for basketball meet

The Bobcat alumnus and her team will take on last year’s champs Notre Dame.

Student entrepreneurs spotlighted at Fort Langley event

Take part in a talk on problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking and social responsibility.

Historic Fort Langley remembers James Douglas and Louis Riel

Annual weekend events draw hundreds to site

Aldergrove hairdressers go wild and crazy

Students show off skills they’ve learned in the career program at ACSS

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed maternity nurse

11 years sought for Burnaby man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

Manslaughter sentencing hearing started Monday in Chilliwack for Ryan Armstrong

Most Read