02 April 2009

One Freeway Bridge or an Entire Light Rail Network

Interesting article here speculates how much urban rail could be bought for the cost of one bridge near Vancouver. We need to be thinking where we make these huge infrastructure investments, because what we choose today will decide the kind of city we live in for the rest of the century. Do we want more roads, wider highways and longer commutes?

The Port Mann bridge over the Fraser river has many similarities to the Brent Spence over the Ohio. They are the exact same age and the replacement cost for each is $3 Billion Dollars:

...For the same money... the government could finance a (124 mile) light rail network that would place a modern, European-style tram within a 10-minute walk for 80 per cent of all residents ...

...If half of the roughly 40 million annual trips anticipated for the new bridge were shifted to such a tram system, it would amount to a reduction of the roughly 10,000 metric tons of GHG per year, a reduction equivalent to taking more than 21,000 cars off ...roads completely....

...while building a bigger Port Mann Bridge reinforced commuting patterns in the region, building a robust light rail network likely would change how development occurs in the region, eventually shortening commutes as businesses elect to locate at various new public transit nodes.

"...Commuting patterns are changing rapidly. ...What is needed is a system that gets us out of the car and serves our emerging complete communities, not guts them," ...

... How we deploy the available billions on transportation infrastructure over the next 10 to 15 years will determine how sustainable this region will or won't be 100 years from now. We simply have to get it right."

UPDATE: Here is a link to the PDF.

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