Coté makes city’s Pattullo case to Surrey councillors

If there’s a war of words between New West and Surrey over the future of the Pattullo Bridge, Coun. Jonathan Coté stepped into enemy trenches on Monday. Coté spoke to Surrey’s transportation committee for 30 minutes, then took questions for another half hour.

The visit was part of a tour New West councillors are making to neighbouring cities to explain New West’s position on a future Pattullo.

Coun. Bill Harper also spoke to Richmond city council on Monday. But with New West and Surrey linked by the aging span, each has a huge stake in how TransLink decides to replace it.

“A lot of Surrey councillors are hung up on expanding the capacity of the bridge,” said Coté.

New West favours a tolled four-lane crossing as well as a better link from the South Fraser perimeter road to the Port Mann Bridge.

This could discourage traffic bypassing the tolls on the Port Mann and instead travelling through New West.

This could discourage traffic bypassing the tolls on the Port Mann and instead travelling through New West.

While they may differ on the Pattullo’s future, Coté said the two communities have many common interests. Each aim to create dense city centres. Each wants to pursue more transportation options for its residents. And each agrees rapid transit in Surrey needs expansion.

And, said Coté, “both recognize something must be done with the bridge.”

Coté said he hoped meeting Surrey councillors face to face will help elevate the level of discussion.

“There’s a solution to be found,” said Coté. “But it’s going to take some dialogue.”

It might also take more trips across the Fraser River by members of both city councils.

“Sometimes you need to see the world through other eyes,” said Coté, who got a better sense of Surrey’s traffic challenges as he passed over the SkyTrain bridge.

“We’ve outlined a good case why certain options are acceptable and some are not,” said Coté, who said a bridge that could be expanded sometime in the future might be a workable compromise.

“The ball is in Surrey’s court to show some flexibility.”


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