E&N integral to our transporation future

For many years, our region has suffered from double vision when it comes to our transportation future. One vision is an image of commuter rail on the E&N line, while the other is rapid transit on the Douglas corridor.

These two images came into a single, sharp focus this week with two important decisions. The first decision is a partnership between BC Transit and the Island Corridor Foundation to develop an intra-city transit system business case. This will see the development of a functional plan to bring commuters from as far away as Courtney into downtown Victoria, where they will link into the region’s transit system.

The second decision is the CRD Board directing the Transportation Committee to look into development of a bylaw for a $5.5 million contribution to a rail crossing on the Johnson Street Bridge. When the bylaw is approved, it will secure rail service from Courtney into downtown Victoria.

Commuter rail on the E&N line only works if commuters are connected to the regional transportation network. It’s a network that carries riders from downtown to the west shore and back on a rapid line, and across the lower island to and from UVic and the peninsula. Our transportation future depends on these two integral and integrated systems working in tandem.

Residents deserve a transportation network with frequent and dependable service to get to work, to shop, to schools, and for social purposes. It will help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that we avoid the environmental, social, and economic costs of traffic congestion that plagues so many other urban centres.

This week’s two important decisions are major steps forward in securing that transportation future.