11 Dec DVA Position on the Transportation Referendum
As an organization focused on the business of enhancing the downtown for all its communities, the Downtown Vancouver Association (DVA) brings together people from many backgrounds in order to “connect the dots” on key urban issues. With this in mind, during the autumn of 2014, the DVA hosted 8 MetroCore Quilting Roundtables to explore the prospect for a shared vision of transportation between the diverse range of business and professional interests represented within Vancouver’s Metrocore. At the centre of these aspirations for mobility and their obstacles is the outcome of the Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Referendum.
This outcome is important for the DVA, as the MetroCore area faces increasing challenges to mobility regarding traffic capacity and congestion, for people and goods movement. The livability and economic health of the Metro Vancouver region—including its central MetroCore —depends on comprehensive transportation infrastructure, however it is funded.
The shared understanding from those roundtables is that transportation—and particularly public transit—is fundamental to the well-being and economic vitality of the Metrocore, the city, and the region as a whole. Based on this, the DVA has developed the following position statement to guide our advocacy strategy for the Metro Vancouver Transit Referendum.
Downtown Vancouver Association Position on the Transportation and Transit Referendum
Our premise is that mobility—like water—is essential infrastructure to sustain urban society. It should not be viewed as being one of many equal choices on the menu of public good, competing for funds with health care, affordable housing, jobs training, education, economic incentives, emergency services and public safety. It is the central organizing element that, in tandem with complementary land use, shapes the efficiency and effectiveness of all the other contributors to the common good.
Mobility is first and foremost about people, their access to goods and services, and connection with each other. To properly function it has a pre-requisite to be joyful as well as efficient. The alignment of Metro Vancouver planning and TransLink planning has enabled the confluence of the Mayors Council’s Vision for an integrative mobility structure for the region. This covers all movement modes, road, rail and active transportation. It has the validation as being the consensus of our elected municipal officials.
Thus the principle of mobility is now matched with the practicality of a comprehensive structured plan. It is not driven by a special interest group, geographical turf, nor political ideology. It has been developed by the broadest consensus on the needs of 2.4 million people who must plan for the arrival of at least another 1 million in the coming decades, as well as work together to sustain, if not improve, the amenity of life we currently enjoy.
There will be plenty to argue about with respect to funding formulas and implementation strategies. But those arguments are a luxury we can only afford if we commit to act together to affirm the vision. Support for the referendum is not just about accountable efficiency, it is also about our aspiration for joy. The amenity of our infrastructure—well planned and thoughtfully carried out— makes the quality of each trip and each destination that much more worth the effort.
The alternative—failure to act together—is misery for all of us.
DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER ASSOCIATION
We hope that this position statement helps to inform the upcoming campaign and stimulate a discussion among all of us with an interest in Vancouver’s MetroCore.