Transit Stories: Javier wants transit for his son and for the future

March 2, 2015

Javier Pacheco-Raguz lives in New Westminster and works as a Planning Analyst for TransLink.

I get to work by SkyTrain. I live right next to New Westminster SkyTrain, which is two stations away from the office.

What I see in the Mayors’ Council plan is fundamentally a more assured future for our family. As my wife and I age we will become even more dependent on transit. And my son will need more access to transit to have choices and better opportunities of study and work.

Public transit allows me to be at my office quickly and be on time to pick up my son after school. Without transit we will be forced to use a car and create more congestion on the roads for the people who need to drive. This would add stress to our lives, and I know we would exercise less.

For my family, because we live right next to rapid transit, most of our daily activities are enabled by transit. From dropping our son to school, to going to work and even getting our work done—my wife uses transit to visit her clients—we rely on our public transit system to make our lives work. My son is crazy about the SkyTrain and buses and enjoys very much his rides on transit. I genuinely worry that without a plan and funding in place and with a million more people coming to the region in the next 25-30 years this vital service won’t function for him. If we don’t invest in it now public transit won’t be appropriately accessible for our kids.

Transit is a critical component of accessing opportunities to work. Unfortunately, newcomers to Canada often cannot afford to rent in the areas well served by transit and therefore miss opportunities to get jobs, have restricted access healthcare and/or have a harder time getting their children to school. These challenges can have knock-on effects to our economy: people who otherwise could work struggle to get a job due to transit access.

As a planner, I know that all the activity that drives our economy needs to be supported by adequate transportation. The costs associated with poor road networks, choked and clogged connectors (like bridges and tunnels) and inadequate transit are huge in terms of work-hours lost, pollution and health issues. It’s often hard to quantify these costs in a way that makes them easy for people to see. But they are there and cause major losses to cities that do not have appropriate responses to issues related to goods and people movement within their metropolitan regions.

Even if you aren’t thinking of voting Yes because you think transit as it is works for you now, do it for the future of our region, our families and ourselves. Think about the people who made that same decision some 30 years ago when SkyTrain was conceived and you now benefit from the results. 30 years from now, the people who are moving to this region and the ones living here now will thank you. I really believe this is part of our duty as a community that cares about all of its members.