McKenzie interchange a short-term solution

Building more free access to roads only increases traffic

Re: McKenzie interchange

Will the rebuilding of the McKenzie Avenue/Trans Canada Highway intersection improve the severe rush hour congestion for those from the West Shore wishing to access the city centre and the Pat Bay highway? Will  the “20 minutes to town” mantra ever be a reality in rush hour? Not likely. The growth of traffic from the West Shore is sure to continue to outstrip the capabilities of the Trans Canada corridor, McKenzie fix or not. The fix is short-term. Other cities are looking longer term.

Calgary, for example, has severe rush hour congestion and recently won federal funding to extend light rail service. Fortunately for Calgary, traffic planning does not involve 13 separate jurisdictions.

The recent Ecofiscal Commission report on traffic congestion in Canada suggests that cities consider “congestion charging,” such as high occupancy toll lanes. I-405 in Seattle has already introduced this type of toll. Meanwhile, citizens here are asked to consider only the details of a short-term fix.

What are the prospects for reducing congestion in the long run? At the moment they are not good unless light rail, diamond lanes (HOV) and congestion charging are considered in comprehensive transportation planning for a region of some 350,000 people.

As a recent California department of transportation report concluded, building more free access to roads simply generates more traffic. You can’t beat congestion that way, it says. They should know! Who will make plans in this fragmented region that face up to this fact?

John Olson

Colwood