Vancouver’s Transit Trajectory: Densify the Core, or Extend Out?

Vancouver Rapid Transit Plans

» Proposed extensions to the SkyTrain network could have it reaching to the University of British Columbia or southeast into Surrey.

Of all North American cities over the last few decades, Vancouver has pursued the most steady expansion program for its rail rapid transit system, called SkyTrain. The system, whose first line opened in 1985, was extended with new lines in 2002 and 2009 — and the Province of British Columbia is soon to begin building a fourth alignment. The region’s population has taken to the network, riding at a rate of about 350,000 trips a day, pretty good for a service district of about 1.5 million people. The question for regional planners, faced with limited funds, is where to stretch rail lines next.

Based on recent news, the choice may be to spend on building new rail rapid transit lines out into the suburbs south of the

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Can Vancouver Afford to Abandon SkyTrain for Its Broadway Route?

» Vancouver’s plans for a Broadway rapid transit line could come in the form of SkyTrain rapid transit or light rail.

With 40,000 students and almost 10,000 employees shoehorned into the tight space between the Strait of Georgia and the City of Vancouver, the University of British Columbia (UBC) is made for rapid transit. It’s an ideal terminus for a major public transportation line, with thousands of transit-friendly people ready to line up to commute to other parts of the region.

Indeed, the existing buses connecting UBC to the rest of Vancouver are jam-packed along their routes, with up to 100,000 riders making the link daily. The University has been envisioned as the eventual destination of one of the region’s rail lines since the automated SkyTrain Expo Line first opened its doors in 1985. With the active and pedestrian-heavy Broadway corridor serving as the connecting spine and

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Despite Extraordinary Ridership, Vancouver’s New Canada Line is Suffering

» Public-private partnerships have their costs.

It was originally supposed to open twelve days from now, but Vancouver’s Canada Line has already racked up millions of rides since it commenced operations in mid-August — and it’s now carrying almost 100,000 people a day on average. The 12-mile automated light metro, which was built at a cost of C$2 billion, was one of the first major works of transit infrastructure built with the help of a public-private partnership (PPP) in North America. The deal, which allows a company called InTransit BC to contribute about C$700 million to the project in exchange for the right to operate the line, was designed to lower costs for the taxpayer and bring the supposed efficiencies of the private sector into what has typically been seen as an exclusively government-controlled market.

The on-budget delivery of the project three months ahead of time was immediately hailed by

Continue reading Despite Extraordinary Ridership, Vancouver’s New Canada Line is Suffering »

Vancouver Opens Canada Line -- Months Ahead of Schedule

» 12 mile, C$2 billion project connects Waterfront with airport and Richmond.

Four months before originally envisioned, Vancouver’s TransLink inaugurates service today on the new Canada Line, an automated light metro. If preliminary expectations prove accurate, the corridor will attract more than 100,000 riders a day, making it one of North America’s most-frequented rapid transit routes. The project will make possible quick rides downtown from Vancouver’s central neighborhoods, its airport, and suburban Richmond.

Its successful completion bodes well for the use of public-private partnerships to build new transit lines, a model refined for the Canada Line.

Vancouver has two existing rapid transit lines, the Expo and Millennium SkyTrain lines, which together form the continent’s only automated main line transit system. Though the Canada Line uses a different propulsion and track technology, it too is driverless, an innovation that reduces costs and allows higher train frequencies.

The corridor features 16 stations, with stops

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Vancouver's TransLink Faces Serious Funding Gap

» Meeting long-term transport needs will require a major new governmental commitment, as well as new financing options like central-city tolling.

This week, metro Vancouver’s TransLink presented three options for the region’s elected officials: with an infusion of new cash, the transit authority could dramatically improve service and expand rapid transit along three new corridors; it could maintain the status quo and cut bus service by 40%; or, it could do something in between. Politicians in the region’s cities and in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, have until October 31st to make up their minds. They’ll either have to find significant new funding sources or face dramatic cuts in transit service.

Though Vancouver is currently building a new rapid transit project called the Canada Line and is investing in a downtown streetcar project in time for the 2010 Olympics, the picture isn’t all rosy. TransLink faces a $4.6

Continue reading Vancouver's TransLink Faces Serious Funding Gap »

The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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