The Evergreen Line and the future of Skytrain

During the recent panic around transportation funding in Metro Vancouver, the authorities assured us that construction of the long-awaited Evergreen rapid transit line will proceed.  Preliminary work — street widenings, electrical ducts — is now underway, and a contractor is to be selected soon for principal construction,  scheduled to begin in autumn 2012.

But while the 11-kilometre line appears to have achieved untouchable status in the  balance of regional politics, there are persistent voices in the blogosphere who say the project is wrong, wrong, wrong, because it’s based on Skytrain — the obtrusive technology previously used in three other Vancouver-area projects, and hardly anywhere else in the world.  In deliberations over the Evergreen Line around 2006, local mayors seemed to be leaning toward light rail transit, until the provincial government declared force majeure and imposed Skytrain.  The same dynamic had played out, less dramatically, with the Millenium and Canada lines earlier on. Continue reading

TransLink and the Evergreen Line: Let’s make a deal

TransLink, aka the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, moves about 600,000 transit passengers on the average day in Metro Vancouver.  Forgiving the occasional breakdown, the corporation seems to have most of its technical issues sorted out.

But on the softer side – politics and financing – the outlook is uncertain.  TransLink’s operates as a unified agency in a fractured region.  Its funding requests are subject to approval by a council of 21 municipal mayors – and yes, this includes Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island and Lions Bay – plus a first nations chief.  If the mayors happen to agree on something, their decision is subject to further approval by the provincial government.  Continue reading