Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says he understands many of New Westminster's concerns about the United Boulevard Extension and will work with that city's council to come up with a solution after TransLink bowed out this week from recommending an option.
"We're just going to do everything we can to discuss with New Westminster and TransLink to come up with a reasonable solution," vowed Stewart, stressing that giving up on $65 million in federal funding is not an option because the connection is needed to eliminate a choke point that is a significant impediment to goods movement in the region.
"If we let the money go, that's not a solution, it's not," Stewart said.
His comments came after TransLink released a statement that no acceptable option could be found that would meet with approval from New Westminster residents.
The option that arose out of the public meetings with Sapperton residents would have seen the United Boulevard connection moved closer to Highway 1, but an independent analysis found it would worsen traffic delays and greenhouse gas emissions, compared to the current access level rail crossing at Braid Street and Brunette Avenue.
On Thursday, TransLink said it was up to New Westminster and Coquitlam councils to decide whether to proceed on the project.
The transportation authority had proposed an overpass that would connect Brunette Avenue to the south and United Boulevard to the east, using the 'dip' in the Millennium SkyTrain Line guideway that had been built in anticipation of the UBE. This design would reduce queuing, delays, congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, and would result in improved safety and eliminate most train whistle noise, TransLink stated in a press release.
However, Sapperton residents didn't support the plan.