Cars are not going away tomorrow, so the city should make life easier for drivers by creating counter-flow traffic lanes during rush hours on its major commuter routes, says Vancouver's main challenger to Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Non-Partisan Association mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe, deliberately contrasting his approach with what he called Mr. Robertson's ideological war against cars, said his party would do a quick study to see which city streets might be the best candidates for counter-flow lanes.
Such lanes are used on the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver and the Massey tunnel, between Richmond and Delta, to switch traffic flow in a lane during rush hour so that commuters going in the peak direction have extra road room.
"We spend too much time in traffic. We need to get this city moving again," said Mr. LaPointe, calling Vancouver's traffic the worst in North America. "Sometimes a car is the only option that works. When cars are stuck in traffic, they take time away from families."
He declined to say which of the city's major east-west commuter routes, such as Hastings, First Avenue, or Broadway, and north-south arteries, Cambie, Oak, or Granville, might be considered.
Mr. LaPointe said the NPA would also work to get more frequent rapid-bus service on Broadway and an "affordable" Broadway subway built.
The estimated bill for that planned extension of the Millennium Line from Clark to Arbutus is about $2-billion.
So far, there is no guaranteed funding, just as there is no guaranteed funding for any of the $7.5-billion worth of regional transit improvements that Lower Mainland mayors put forward in a 10-year plan in June.
The province has said the region needs to hold a referendum on how to come up with the money for the local contribution to that plan and one has now been scheduled for the spring of 2015. Neither B.C. nor Ottawa has committed to contribute to the mayors' 10-year plan at this point.
As he has done many times in the campaign, Mr. LaPointe said that Mr. Robertson's relationships with the provincial and federal governments are so bad that he'll never be able to get the kind of dollars it takes to build a subway.
He has not offered specifics on that, except to say that Mr. Robertson's anti-Kinder Morgan pipeline stand is not winning him any friends with other levels of government.
Mr. Robertson reiterated that anti-tanker position again Tuesday in a presentation at the Vancouver Board of Trade.
The mayor said he is proud of the city's resource industry, which built the province, and of the port, but that supporting an expanded Kinder Morgan pipeline and more tankers in the harbour is the wrong direction for the city.
"This doesn't fit with the city's trajectory right now," said the mayor, who attracted a crowd of about 150 to his talk, close to the same number who came out to hear Mr. LaPointe outline his platform last week.
Mr. Robertson repeatedly said that tech jobs are where economic growth is happening in cities around the world and in Vancouver.
"The world is paying attention to technology cities. We're now one of those hot cities."
He also outlined his view, at distinct odds with Mr. LaPointe's, of how the city should promote mobility: by working to reduce car use even more.
"We're approaching that goal of over half the city walking, biking and taking transit. Cars will be less than 50 per cent in a few short years," said the mayor. And, he added, that's a good thing.
"We can't add more cars to downtown."