The Canada Line went into service just about 10 years ago, as a rapid transit connection between the City of Vancouver’s downtown and the international airport in Richmond.
My sister Morna has shared a link to a one-hour video record of interurban trams in Vancouver and Burnaby, dating from 1950 and 1951.
A brief history on the TransLink website states that these self-propelled street railway cars were “like streetcars, only larger and more powerful.” The video speaks to a time when the pace of life was slower. The area that is today’s Metrotown (at about 20 minutes) appears semi-rural.
From 2011 until last year, city government in Surrey (population 500,000) worked diligently on a plan for light rail transit. This would be the first at-grade LRT system in British Columbia; similar systems are in service in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa. By 2018, $1.65 billion in funding from regional, provincial and federal sources was in place, with construction teams to be selected in 2019.
But a new municipal government elected in October 2018 moved quickly to kill the Surrey LRT scheme. LRT, according to an active group of opponents, was too slow, and it would get in the way of cars and trucks. SkyTrain moves more people over longer distances, and it has big city prestige. Continue reading
TransLink’s service levels are increasing rapidly, and a new funding plan should allow continued expansion — for a while.
The Metro Vancouver transit authority’s latest performance report, published on June 21, shows that with added service, boardings across the system — bus, SeaBus, and SkyTrain — increased by 5.7 per cent through 2017 to a record 407 million. This was the biggest jump in ridership among major urban areas in North America (see the chart at the bottom of this post.) Continue reading
My thanks to Kamloops-based planner Adam Fitch. He invited me to join him on a May 4 “Jane’s Walk” to consider a cheaper alternative to the Broadway Extension rapid transit project.
Fitch’s proposal would take advantage of a corridor owned by the City of Vancouver, and would avoid most of the tunneling costs associated with the Broadway scheme. It’s an entertaining concept, but it won’t get built, largely because it won’t take people where they want to go.
Over the past 20 years, British Columbia and local governments have failed to agree on a long-term transit funding formula for Metro Vancouver.
The regional transit authority (TransLink) sits in a governmental neutral zone, neither provincial nor local, and it suffers for a lack of political champions. Continue reading
British Columbia’s Liberal government took a surprising step late last week with a rapid transit announcement that exceeded most expectations.
The Province will match the federal government’s $2.2 billion pledge toward Phase 2 of the 10-year transportation plan put forward in 2016 by the Metro Vancouver Mayors Council. This phase includes construction of a Clark Street to Arbutus SkyTrain extension in Vancouver, and the Newton-Guildford light rail line in Surrey. Continue reading