The City of New Westminster Announces Position on the Future of the Pattullo Bridge
New Westminster, BC – The City of New Westminster has announced that a new, tolled 4-lane bridge option best addresses the TransLink identified problem statement on future development of the Pattullo Bridge. The City’s position on a preferred solution closely aligns with its official policy of working towards the principle of no new added capacity in the transportation system for vehicles passing through the city.
Following the recent Provincial announcement on new directions for transportation funding and governance in the Lower Mainland, the Pattullo Bridge Review community consultation on remaining options has been postponed and the TransLink Mayors Council has been asked to prepare a 30-year investment plan for the region. As the future of the Pattullo Bridge will have a high priority in this plan, the City considers it important that all community, regional and provincial stakeholders are aware of the City’s position.
“The Pattullo Bridge connection is a crucial part of the local transportation network but its rehabilitation or replacement must be done in a way that is consistent with City and regional policy objectives,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “In particular, we need to make it clear that any solution offered does not bring more traffic into our City’s street network, which is already at capacity”.
Current use of the Pattullo Bridge as “the free alternative” to the recently tolled Port Mann Bridge is significantly affecting the livability of New Westminster. The introduction of tolls on the Port Mann Bridge have led to a significant increase of traffic, including truck traffic, over the Pattullo bridge, on major arterial and local streets, as drivers seek to find faster ways to avoid congestion. Traffic on the bridge has increased by 6,000 trips per day and has been accompanied by a 75% growth in truck traffic on Royal Avenue.
Given the city’s established historic and dense urban context, it is the City’s view that a new tolled 4-lane bridge, built to urban arterial standards and incorporating excellent pedestrian and cycling facilities, would meet all of the city’s and the region’s needs. Tolls on a 4-lane bridge are essential not only to finance the new bridge, but also as an integral measure to lower demand for car travel over the bridge, and in effect, promote the use of alternative transportation modes. New Westminster’s position is that unnecessary money spent on the bridge would restrict the ability to fund other much needed transit projects, such as Surrey’s Light Rail Transit. New Westminster is strongly supportive of reallocating capital cost savings of a new 4-lane bridge towards other much needed rapid transit projects that better address the needs of the region’s priorities.
A direct link connecting the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) in a time- and cost-efficient manner to Highway 1 and the Port Mann Bridge is another important part of the solution. This will optimize efficiencies by utilizing existing and new transportation corridors, promote regional truck traffic where significant investments have been made and recognizing where capacity is available.
The City could also support a new 4-lane bridge between Surrey and Coquitlam combined with a 2- or 3-lane rehabilitation of the Pattullo Bridge. This option responds to a number of concerns within the community regarding through traffic, particularly truck traffic, but this option also adds additional capacity across the Fraser River, which would encourage more overall traffic. This option may be worthy of further consideration in the future if it can be shown to address the region’s long-range land use and transportation goals.
A backgrounder on the City’s position, as well as the full position paper is available at newwestcity.ca.