Community forum to discuss future of Pattullo Bridge planned for June 6th

Have your say on major transportation infrastructure in Surrey & New Westminster

If you’ve crossed the ageing Pattullo Bridge at any point over the last decade, you’ve probably asked yourself what is going to happen with this vital piece of public infrastructure in the future. It’s a good question that has taken on added importance now that TransLink and the City of New Westminster have started their public consultation about its future.

While most of the discussion has been about what the new bridge will look like and where it will be placed, there has been little talk about what to do with the current structure built in 1937.

Will it simply be torn down like the old Port Mann bridge as part of a renewal process? Or will it serve a new purpose as a carbon-friendly pedestrian/bike way linking downtown New Westminster to Surrey?

Rather than simply standing back and watching the process, New Westminster resident Keith Mackenzie and I decided to take matters into our own hands. We are planning a public forum on June 6th to discuss what could be done with the old bridge, assuming a new one will be constructed further upstream.

We’ve assembled a thoughtful panel of visionaries and city officials to discuss what future possibilities for the current bridge might be. In order to get the dialogue going, our guest speakers will address everything from the feasibility of whether the Pattullo Bridge should be refurbished – to whether it could be converted to a major tourist attraction for the region.

Here are the event details:

Date:     Wednesday, June 6th

Time:    7-9 pm

Location: River Market at Westminster Quay – Go up the escalators and turn left. A big thanks to La Perla Ballroom for hosting the event! There is plenty of parking available onsite, but the New Westminster SkyTrain station is literally next door!

Format: Brief presentations followed by lots of time for questions and answers

Guest Speakers

Gordon Price (Director, The City Program at SFU): Gord is a regular lecturer on transportation and land use for the City of Portland, Oregon and Portland State University. He has written several extensive essays on Vancouver and transportation issues – The Deceptive City, Local Politician's Guide to Urban Transportation – and has been published in numerous journals, including those of the American and Canadian Planning Associations. Price writes a monthly column for Business in Vancouver on civic issues, and conducts tours and seminars on the development of Vancouver. He also publishes an electronic magazine on urban issues, with a focus on Vancouver, called "Price Tags”. Price has held a number of elected positions. He was a six term Vancouver City Councillor, and a past Metro Vancouver Board Director. He was appointed to the first board of the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (now Translink) in 1999. He currently its on the Boards of the Sightline Institute and the International Centre for Sustainable Cities.

Gord is also a featured writer on City Caucus.

Prof. Anthony Perl (Simon Fraser University): His current research crosses disciplinary and national boundaries to explore the policy decisions that affect transportation, cities and the environment.

He has also analyzed: institutional dynamics of public policy; the role of policy consultants, and; the relationship between energy policy and climate change. His findings have been published in numerous political science, environmental, urban and transportation journals. He has received awards for outstanding papers presented at the World Conference on Transport Research and the Canadian Transportation Research Forum.

Jerry Behl (City of New Westminster): Transportation Engineer.

TransLink: We asked if they wanted to participate, but they respectfully declined. They have asked that we keep them informed regarding the outcomes of our dialogue.

This event is considered non-partisan and is simply being organized two New Westminster residents hoping public officials make a community-based decision when it comes to the future of the current Pattullo Bridge.

Hopefully you can mark your calendar, spread the word and plan to there to participate in the dialogue.

If you have any questions about the forum please send your email to  We also want to thank our speakers for attending as well as the River Market at Westminster Quay for hosting the event. Hope to see you there!

For more information about the Pattullo Bridge community forum, check out this website.

– post by Daniel

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  • Richard

    Great idea! The image looks fantastic.

  • Thought of The Night

    “Call me “Carbon Friendly” one more time… common… say it to my face… One. More. Time!”

    Not my beef, but I couldn’t just walk by without stopping for a second.
    How many of you are familiar with the Milgram Experiment. By a show of hands… don’t be shy…
    Milgram Experiment is a study about obedience to authority.

    Par example:
    The Hornby/ Burrard Bridge/ Dunsmuir Bike Lanes are such an experiment.
    The powers that be in Vancouver tried to see how far they could go, by asking some good hearted people to harm others because they told them so.
    Telling them that’s ok, pain is good for them!
    Check it out for yourselves!

    Now, getting back to the Pattullo Bridge… “Carbon Friendly”, oh, stop it! Too funny! You can plant Amsterdam Tulips if you want, line up the walkways with rhododendrons, grow vegetables on the side… you’re missing the point.
    A bridge it will stay a bridge, whatever you do to it.
    If it’s over… water, it only complicate things.
    You wouldn’t eat a yogurt that’s two days over the expiry date, now, would you?
    I didn’t think so.

    Same with everything with an expiry day, a bridge has one too! Beyond that date, the bridge is considered unreliable, in need of a retrofit, a liability, in continuous need of monitoring and gruesome maintenance.
    Money, money, money… from where? Bikers and pedestrians?

    The “green” BS is stench-blowing from the East, the most vocal ones are claiming they can grow mushrooms on their assholes, and I do not contradict their claims!
    But, please, this is not New York, where mayor is a Billionaire in need of youthful reassurance. The High Line was nothing but an exercise in futility, it was fun as it lasted. Keeping the street gangs occupied. Symbolism for the masses.

    Let them keep the symbolism in New York, San Francisco… goddammit, in Vancouver.
    Unfortunate people in these cities.
    Don’t take it over the river.
    When it’s time to go, let the bridge go, peacefully, with dignity, let it rest at the bottom of the Fraser.
    He served its purpose. Use your commonsense.

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

    • Higgins

      Apparently, none of you in here are structural engineers or working in bridge construction, or operating a business around the base of Patullo on both sites of the river. Ignorant and chit chatters you are.
      You make some points, Pat and Steven… comparing the High Line with Patullo, is like comparing the Dunsmuir Viaducts with Lion’s Gate bridge, like comparing apples to oranges.
      BTW, while you all hyperventilate over the High line in NYC, why don’t you ask yourselves how much the landlords of the buildings in the vicinity have increased their leases/ rents… Ahem, anyone?
      It’s the same trick they play with the empty lots/ community gardens on top of former gas stations in Vancouver. Someone is cheating on their property taxes! Who would that be?
      As for Patullo… seriously?
      Think High line…
      Where is the business going to come from? What kind of business? How will it get there? Who will it serve in the middle of nowhere? Are you kidding me?

      On June 6th some bored former politicians are going to bring fairy tales to the public and waste some precious time. It never ends.
      Again Glissando Remmy seems to be ahead of the curve, with simple, rational, commonsense thinking.
      Voice of reason as someone said in the past.
      I totally agree.
      Yes, me too I want to hear from you, how are you going to pay for it? I’m waiting.

      • Steve Forth

        Actually it was GR who introduced High Line so I assume your comments are pointed at him. I agree a bridge over a major river is completely different from an elevated train line down town.

        But in regard to High Line, scince you seem to want to talk about it, generally I would think it is a good thing if land lords can increase rents because an area is more economically viable. Are you suggesting otherwise?

        • Thought of The Day

          “All I’m saying is… look at Munich!”

          Steven, you asked:
          “generally I would think it is a good thing if land lords can increase rents because an area is more economically viable. Are you suggesting otherwise?”

          I answer:
          “I’m not only suggesting that the rents/ leases shall remain fixed to an acceptable level… I insist!” 🙂

          Here’s the thing. Increasing the rents/ leases in an emerging/ apparently attractive neighborhood, borders on gentrification cockroach-erism. The numbers are made up from thin air, with no real business plan in place other than that of increasing the landlord’s profit. Period. Let all the schmucks stay in Manhattan – New York.
          That’s how the landlords screwed up SoHo (from an affordability point of view), after it became chic, artzy and cleaned-up from that apre-manufacturing patina.

          My thoughts?
          Go here:

          And read my #9 comment. Munchen’s, a city Hall I understand. Germans, eh?
          Going back to Patullo.
          Patullo is in the nowhere business district/ High Line is in the Downtown NYC business district.
          You’ve already noticed the difference.
          We can as well start talking about aquaculture on the Moon, or introducing Panda bear milk to the masses, dunno, I’ll bet there will be plenty of open minded investors.
          Question stands virginal still…
          Who needs a bit of commonsense when the public forum have been set up already, the location… selected, key note speakers… RSVP-ed… hey, who knows, maybe I’ll bring this printout to the meeting!

          We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

          • Pat Johnstone

            Once again, let us not get facts in Glissy’s way. The Pattullo connects British Columbia’s first downtown to a neighbourood that is promising to become MetroVancouver’s second Dwontown, how is that in the middle of nowhere? Conversely, The Highline is hardly in the business district from a Manhatten point of view. it is a long way from Wall Strteet, or even Times Square or Grand Central. Instead, it is way out west in the warehouse-cum-art-loft region of Chelsea.

  • Steve Forth

    Fantastic idea Daniel, and I hope it goes well.

    Parsing out GR’s comments he has some good points about the useful life of structures and maintenance and renewal costs that will have to be part of any plan.Seems like he doesnot actually know anything about High Line, how it was funded, designed, the economic impact it is having. I walk it every time I am in NYC (too often) and talk to the vendors making money from it and the restaurants galleries and stores that have seen business pick up after it opened. It is a great urban and community space that is bringing together neighborhoods and communities.

    Of course High Line is mostly privately financed. Is there a private financing option imaginable for Pattullo?

  • Pat Johnstone

    I know we are all supposed to ignore the problem Glissy has with facts, all in the name of good humour –ho ho ha ha, If you don’t laugh with the lunatic, you might be the lunatic!

    But “The High Line was nothing but an exercise in futility, it was fun as it lasted.” Is fanciful, and not that funny. The Highline still exists, is massively popular (actually a little crowded when I was there on a chilly morning last November), has been the foundation of a real estate and retail resurgence in that part of Chelsea, and plans are afoot to expand it.

    Funny, my “profile picture” on this site was actually taken on that walk on the Highline.

  • Dave Shirlaw

    The Federal Government is building a new bridge for Montreal. Sad New Westminster isn’t French then we would get one too.

  • I don’t quite get the point of holding this meeting before New Westminister looks at the replace / refurbish options as part of their new transportation plan. Why discuss alternative uses for a bridge that may well be refurbished and used as it is now for another 50 years or longer? Where is the discussion about refurbishing the existing bridge with upgraded sidewalks and bicycle lanes?

    • politics101

      “our guest speakers will address everything from the feasibility of whether the Pattullo Bridge should be refurbished – to whether it could be converted to a major tourist attraction for the region.”

      Guess you missed that in Daniel’s intro

  • Steve Forth

    Thanks Politics 101, seems like a lot of people did not really read what Daniel said. I think a visioning session on all the options, especially the ones we haven’t thought of, makes good sense.

  • greg

    will it serve a new purpose as a carbon-friendly pedestrian/bike way linking downtown New Westminster to Surrey?

    If Surrey and New West had vibrant downtown areas at either side of the bridge this would be a discussion point but realistically New West around Columbia is a dump and not where New West is cleaning things up and all Surrey has on the south end is 3rd rate sleazy car lots, peeler bars and a rundown out of place housing area. Not worth walking or biking to but well worth driving through and stepping on the gas to get through faster.

    I suggest the only discussion Translink wants on the bridge is how quickly can tolls be charged for crossing it.

  • Chris from NW

    I know the High Line gets touted a lot but man it is a beaut – and like Patrick says, well used. A pedestrian/bike re-use of the Pattullo could just be something Surrey might actually get behind. The new Surrey city centre that emerges in old Whalley, linked with a new New West Downtown… parks, culture, livability, could be an amazing synergy there.

  • Pat Johnstone…

    OK, I’ll play, but…

    Question stands virginal still…

    Better go to Street view and enlighten yourself, this bridge holds himself up in rusty rivets, and peeling paint.,+Greater+Vancouver+Regional+District,+British+Columbia&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=116865747241059571905.0004886a365da57564730

    You already don’t have the money for the new bridge, let’s not have the money for the old one, too.
    I am tired entirely of all this symbolic BS merry-go-round. Everyone is an expert when they don’t have a clue of what they are talking about, am I right?


  • Steven Forth

    Somewhat crazy idea – could there be stores, restaurants, galleries etc on a repurposed Patullo Bridge, sort of like a London Bridge. This could cover the costs!

    High Line was almost completely privately funded. Is there a model for private funding here?

    • Ned

      Crazy idea it is, Steven!
      Private investors? As per Glissando said earlier:
      “We can as well start talking about aquaculture on the Moon, or introducing Panda bear milk to the masses, dunno, I’ll bet there will be plenty of open minded investors.” LOL!
      I see a push for a PPP where the private interest gets to keep the profits (if any) and the Public gets the shaft (as always).
      After reading this discussion (you, Gliss and Pat) I did my own digging and guess what?
      Yes! I start appreciating Glissando Remmy’s comments more and more!
      Steven, check your data… London Bridge total length 269m/ 9m (NINE) clearance 9m/ Built in 1973 !
      Patullo bridge length 1221m/ 45.7m (FORTYFIVE.7) clearance/ Built in 1937!
      Do you at least have the courtesy to see the big disparity? Patullo it’s not kids play.

      The bridge should come down when its built life is over. Unless you guys, want to keep the suicide rate for jumpers … steady.

  • gman

    Turn it into a drag strip,I love the smell of Nitros in the morning.