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Oct 13,2011 Tri City News

By Diane Strandberg - The Tri-City News
Published: October 13, 2011 5:00 PM

Port Moody council isn’t ready to take back the Murray-Clarke corridor from TransLink without first talking about some other options.

On Tuesday, a trio of councillors agreed that a meeting should be held with TransLink to see if anything could be done to reduce traffic gridlock now that the long-planned Murray-Clarke Connector is no longer on the immediate horizon.

TransLink will be asked to participate in a “visioning exercise” with council to see if pedestrian, cyclist, transit and commuter improvements can be made to boost the “people-moving” capacity of the corridor.

“We still have not spoken to TransLink,” said Coun. Mike Clay, who suggested a meeting be held to see what could be done to improve the corridor, including diverting the traffic elsewhere.

“Tell us where the cars are supposed to go,” he added.

The decision to meet with TransLink comes on the heels of a report showing that removing the corridor, including Guildford Way, from the Major Road Network would leave the city on the hook for maintaining and improving the route.

According to the report, it could cost taxpayers nearly $500,000, annualized over 33 years, to take over the route — the equivalent of a 1.86% tax increase. One of the biggest cash outlays would be a full upgrade of the Moody Street overpass at the end of its lifespan in 2044, estimated at $4.2 million.

The report also offers several scenarios for closing off the route to traffic from outside the city but acknowledges minor tweaks would do little to reduce traffic along the corridor while removing the Moody Street overpass altogether would send cars to other roads, including St. Johns, while also boosting transit use.

Coun. Diana Dilworth, who voted in favour of meeting with TransLink along with Coun. Gerry Nuttall, said more buses and other options should be explored for reducing traffic along the corridor. “There’s got to be an in-between other than taking it back.”

But the city’s mayor is doubtful a meeting will accomplish anything. Joe Trasolini said the city should play “hardball” with TransLink. “You either treat it as an inter-municipal road by giving us an overpass or you give it up,” Trasolini said.

TransLink has backed off on plans to build the connector, stating in a business case that the economic benefits wouldn’t justify the estimated $69 million cost.

Coun. Bob Elliott also disagreed that a meeting would accomplish anything and voted against it.

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