Opinion: UDI on Transit Roundtable Discussions
October 26, 2016
We are all in agreement – density and transit belong together. The BC Government’s recent roundtable discussions resulted in a strong consensus regarding the impact and role of transit in enabling liveable communities in Metro Vancouver. “UDI has long been a supporter of increased transit funding and policies that enable transit-oriented development” says Anne McMullin, President of UDI.
Walkable and mixed-use urban environments can enhance the character of neighbourhoods, create housing and employment diversity, and promote an increase in transit ridership. UDI agrees with the roundtable that land-use planning must occur in conjunction with rapid transit investments to support these types of neighbourhoods.
New transit expansion in Metro Vancouver will provide for more sustainable modes of transportation and it can help to facilitate new employment and housing options for residents and employers. UDI agrees with the roundtable’s suggestions that new development, where there are appropriate density levels, should help to fund transit expansion through the use of development charges. Leveraging the value of land around transit nodes is a critical component to funding new transit investments and improving housing affordability. “We look forward to having further discussions on how this will be implemented” says McMullin.
Community planning and robust community engagement must be at the forefront of new transit and land use planning strategies in Metro Vancouver. Engaging the public early in the process, and determining suitable density levels to support transit, needs to occur. Given Metro Vancouver’s affordability challenges, effective communication and transparency between citizens, governments, and developers is critical. Key stakeholders must work together to ensure that new transit investments will stimulate new jobs and new housing opportunities.
UDI applauds the BC Government for convening this roundtable discussion. It is important that all stakeholders continue to remain engaged in this conversation in order to achieve meaningful progress.