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Vancouver is moving ahead with a $ 3.8 billion subway extension to UBC



VANCOUVER – The City Council approved a $ 3.8 billion plan to expand the subway line up to the UBC along Broadway Corridor, but promised that there would be no repetition of past mistakes when it comes to cumbersome land speculation and impact on businesses.

Funding is secured and planning is planned to build the Skytrain extension along the Commercial Drive to Arbutus Street, which should be in place by 2025. But British Columbia University, some business groups, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart want to expand it all the way to UBC. Stewart said the line on UBC could be opened by 2030 with the approval of the council.

Passengers drive to Broadway B-Line bus in September 2018. The Vancouver City Council approved the extension of the planned Skytrain route along the Broadway Corridor to the UBC.
Passengers drive to Broadway B-Line bus in September 2018. The Vancouver City Council approved the extension of the planned Skytrain route along the Broadway Corridor to the UBC. (David P. Ball / StarMetro Vancouver)

"It is so important that you and me, when we negotiate with the highest levels of government," Stewart told the advisers when the vote took place.

During the construction of the Canadian line, small businesses fought and Metro Vancouver Regional District highlighted the growing disconnection between high-density condos development near transit stations, which is far from the lower income price range. use transit.

However, some advisors felt that this project would be different.

"I am pleased that … we will ensure that we implement a transit-oriented development right and that we conduct fair transit-oriented development," Coun said. Pete Fry said before the vote on the proposal.

COPE Board. Jean Swanson and NPA Coun. Colleen Hardwick opposed the expansion of UBC. Swanson was concerned that it could squeeze thousands of tenants living in apartment buildings between Arbutus and UBC. "They are all vulnerable when Skytrain goes through," said Swanson.

Hardwick wants to see a transit plan for the whole city, not just one corridor. "We shouldn't put all our eggs in the Broadway basket."

The study commissioned by Vancouver, the calculations of UBC and TransLink, would cost between US $ 3.3 billion and $ 3.8 billion to expand the UBC line compared to an estimated $ 1.7 to $ 3.2 billion for light rail.

Vancouver Transport Planning and Engineering Manager said that the research conducted in 2012 and 2018 shows that Skytrain is the best solution for the crowded Broadway corridor, where express B-line buses are full every morning and evening because students and staff on their way to and from the University . The university, which has quickly built new apartment houses in the Campus land, promises to contribute to the project, although it has not said how much.

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Mayor Kennedy Stewart said that the decision would allow the project to get federal funding. Former city planner Brent Toderian also urged the Council to move quickly to use the provincial and federal government, which has given priority to transit funding.

But one of the former COPE council members and several Westside residents warned the city council against the haste to support Skytrain, raising the fear that the underground line would be too expensive, damaging local businesses, leading to expensive condo towers in lower density neighborhoods, and creating too much greenhouse gas for construction. at a time. They also said that the council should not support Skytrain before the city plan, which is supposed to last for two years, is launched.

"It's shocking that you are asked to make a decision so quickly," said former COPE Council member Anne Roberts, who spoke as a private citizen, not on behalf of the party. "Of course, we want to improve transit to the UBC … But it's your duty as a city council to give yourself the time it takes to take proper care."

Robert and several speakers prefer a light rail transit system.

Toderian is a good quality rail fan, such as the Calgary CTrain system. However, he said that research shows that the street-level rail system will quickly reach the power even if the city considered the second LRT line at 41 to relieve pressure on the Broadway corridor.

"The best tool for work is my favorite transit opportunity," said Toderian. "The numbers are indisputable – Skytrain is the right solution."

While Robert asked for advice on time, Urban Engineer Jerry Dobrovolie said the Vancouver region was moving too slowly to new fast transit projects. The approval of one rapid transit project within ten years is not lagging behind regional growth, said Dobrovolny.

Jen St Denis is a Vancouver reporter covering the price and the city hall. Follow her on Twitter: @jenstden


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