Future of the Pattullo Bridge - The City's Perspective
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.
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.