Vancouver City Council today voted against a motion by COPE Cllr David Cadman to hear from the public before engineers begin upgrading the Granville Bridge to accommodate heavy diesel trucks and highway buses.
Cadman is concerned that if Granville becomes a major truck route, local residents, pedestrians, cyclists and storefronts will be subjected to excessive noise, traffic congestion and high levels of toxic diesel particulates.
"We should hear from the public before ramming through a plan to put transport trucks and highway buses through residential neighbourhoods along Granville and adjacent to the Granville bridge on-ramps," said Cadman. "The city’s transportation plan doesn’t call for a truck route on that bridge. Nor do we have any reports or studies on what the impact of a truck route will be in terms of health and livability in high-density neighbourhoods near South Granville and the north side of False Creek."
At today’s meeting, city councillors deferred a decision on spending $330,000 for initial engineering studies until their April 29 meeting in order to get more information. The public, however, will not be allowed to speak to the issue at the April 29 meeting.
"This appears to be a way of getting the infamous ‘Granville Highway ‘ through the back door," said Cadman.
In the late 1990’s local residents and small business operators cited traffic congestion and noise as they opposed a plan to turn a lane of Granville St into a fast bus route. Now, according to Cadman, they may see heavy trucks and highway buses speeding from Marine Drive along Granville and into the downtown core.
In their report to Council, city engineers say strengthening the Granville Bridge’s Hemlock, Fir, Howe and Seymour on-ramps for heavy trucks and buses "will address the existing deficiencies and allow the City to add another truck and bus crossing across False Creek."
Engineers also want to fast track the work in "a timely manner (that) will provide greater flexibility in
transportation planning related to the Olympics."
According to the Canadian Cancer Society and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, "diesel engine exhaust is a probable cancer-causing substance."
Diesel exhaust contains harmful substances, including particulate matter (fine particles), sulphur oxides, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Small particles, less than 2.5 micrometers in size, are thought to be the most harmful to human health because they can penetrate lung tissue more deeply.
Concerned citizens can contact Mayor Sam Sullivan and City Council by calling 604-873-7621, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see the Engineering Dept. report go to: http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20080415/documents/tt2complete.pdf