The Fall 2012 Crane Survey, published by Deloitte, is an examination of development projects in Metro Vancouver that are shaping the region. It’s available to read and download here.
While most of the report outlines various new retail, residential and industrial construction around the region, there is a surprising tone of advocacy for sustainable funding for transit. Surprising, because even a global financial consulting firm can make the link between market demand for real estate and transit accessibility. Take page one for example:
“Rapid transit is proving to be a game changer…
The demand has now been clearly demonstrated for rapid transit but TransLink continues to struggle to not only finance new capital projects but also in some cases to maintain existing service levels.
Moving forward, if the transit system is to continue to expand, there needs to be more certainty in funding for TransLink to build these improvements and more clarity regarding how municipalities capture a share of the land value increases if we are to capitalize on this uprising in support for mixed use transit oriented development. This will be a key factor in the sustainable growth of our region.”
Further still, the report questions the continued investment in highway expansion, namely the Gateway Program. This one, for example, directed at the Highway 1 expansion:
“Will the reduced commute times further encourage lower density development in the Fraser Valley that goes against current goals of encouraging more sustainable compact development?”
I expect this message will get louder in the future, particularly in the absence of new funding mechanisms for transit and leadership from senior levels of government (i.e. the Province). The report acknowledges that demand for transit is having a major influence on the location and type of real estate development in Metro Vancouver. This isn’t surprising given transit ridership is at an unprecedented high and residential developments next to rapid transit stations are selling out in hours.
But what seems to be happening is a realization beyond the “usual” advocates that people want transit, and the politicians that can facilitate investment in transit are doing nothing.