Posts Tagged ‘pattullo’

The Pattullo Bridge – and what we can do with it – has been a hot topic in the Lower Mainland and particularly New Westminster lately. New Westminster itself, long a central hub of transportation for the entire region thanks to its geographically central location, stands to be impacted hugely by whatever happens with the Pattullo.

In addition to the community forum that Daniel Fontaine and myself are holding on Thursday, June 6 at the River Market in the New Westminster Quay, there has been a lot of noise over the bridge – and not all of that comes from the 18-wheeler semis that rumble over the concrete on a minute-by-minute basis.

For instance:

New Westminster school trustees David Phelan and Jonina Campbell have officially stated their opposition to TransLink’s proposed six-lane replacement in a letter to the New Westminster News Leader May 10, quoting directly from the New Westminster Children’s Charter that “to lead active and healthy lives all children need to live in safe and livable neighbourhoods and that all children need their community to maintain a natural, healthy and sustainable environment”.

Christina Myers of the Royal City Record came clean with a confessional that she is a regular user of the Pattullo Bridge, and urges New Westers to rethink their hasty judgement of the proposed replacement of the bridge. The bridge is useful to both New Westminster and the region, and like it or not, New West is indeed a central hub of transportation in the region. Lose the bridge, and you lose the visitors to the city. Myers, herself, cites numerous examples in her confessional – she meets people after work in downtown New West, she visits Army & Navy on a regular basis, and is a regular purchaser of bridesmaid dresses on Columbia Street. In short, people like Ms. Myers bring money into the city.

In fact, many businesses in Surrey are alarmed at New Westminster residents’ staunch opposition to having any kind of a bridge over the Fraser heading right into Sapperton. They’re urging residents to reconsider, saying that the Pattullo offers a key trade route that can’t be simply thrown away.

Another New Westminster school trustee, Casey Cook, reposted an article from the Vancouver Sun on residents tired of the congestion on the city’s roads and the continuing efforts – via forums and the like – to relieve the city of the rampaging hordes of four-wheelers through the main arteries of the city. Sounds familiar? If you didn’t know it was published sixteen years ago, you wouldn’t know it from the stark similarities to today’s ongoing debate.

This brings a few thoughts to mind. Does this mean that nothing ever changes in New Westminster?

Not necessarily.

We’re facing a very unique situation in the city where people no longer simply live in clusters of neighbourhoods in Queens Park, Sapperton and the West End. We’re now in an era where building condos along Main Street-type corridors such as Columbia Street and 6th Street has become the norm, and more and more young people are moving here from Vancouver, driven out by Lotus Land’s astronomical real estate prices.

With these young people and new condos, we’re bound to see a lot more children – in fact, two new schools were approved for the city at a time where the city of Vancouver is struggling to keep its own schools alive – and a lot more foot traffic on the streets. We’re also seeing the new pier park opening very, very soon, and Plaza 88 and a revitalized River Market contributing to a huge increase in pedestrian traffic. The opposition to the six-lane Pattullo by Phelan and Campbell is a testament to this concern.

Where there’s foot traffic, there’s bound to be opposition to the idea of Royal Avenue, Columbia Street, 6th Avenue and Front Street continuing to be major arteries – hell, practically highways – for people commuting through.

That’s very fair. It may be worthwhile to consider other options on what we can do with the existing Pattullo. It doesn’t necessarily have to be torn down and a new bridge put in place. That’s what the community forum on June 6 is all about – we want to encourage dialogue on what we can do with something that already exists and is still in fairly decent shape. The Pattullo isn’t by any means in tip-top shape, but it’s no lemon either.

What do you think? We’re open to any and all ideas. Let’s start thinking. And talking.


Looks like there’s a lot of opposition to TransLink’s proposal to build a new six-lane bridge to replace the aging Pattullo. It’s true that oppositional forces are louder than supportive forces, but still, it’s a statement.

For the record, TransLink’s initial proposal consisted of two separate designs – both virtually identical and different only in that one is slightly upstream and the other slightly downstream from the existing bridge.

One may even suggest that this is a smaller version of what’s happening over at the Port Mann crossing – a larger super-bridge being built right next to the old bridge. And New Westers don’t like that very much.

The City of New Westminster has made it clear to TransLink that they’re also not happy with the transit body’s consultation process thus far, and held an information session of their own on May 3. If that session was any indication of the larger sentiments of New Westminster residents, it’s clear that people here would happily see the existing Pattullo fall into the Fraser and be washed away, and no new bridge to take its place.

A final decision on the bridge is likely a long time away, but according to the Royal City Record, TransLink has held off on holding stakeholder meetings on the Pattullo until June, after it’s had a chance to review the results of New Westminster’s info sessions.

Another opportunity arises as well. A community forum on what we can do with the existing Pattullo Bridge – short of demolishing it – will take place at the River Market on June 6. Two SFU urban visionaries, Gordon Price and Anthony Perl, will be there, as well as a transportation engineer from the City of New Westminster, Jerry Behl. An invitation to TransLink to take part in this was respectfully declined, but TransLink representative Drew Snider did express his sincere interest in the results of that forum.

We’d like to see you there at the forum, especially if you have some creative ideas on what we can do with the existing bridge. And we’re looking at every possibility, within reason. More information here and at our Facebook page.

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