Mayor Gregor Robertson wants to see Vancouverites rally in support of senior-government funding for a subway along the Broadway corridor.
“It is critical for Vancouver,” Robertson said in a speech to the Urban Land Institute today (May 6).
“Just as people did years ago raise their voices in opposition to an onslaught of freeways right through into the downtown, I think we need to do a similar step of raising our voices to get rapid transit.”
This week, Vision Vancouver released its first video of the election campaign, citing the party’s advocacy for the Broadway subway line.
“It’s something that we need to fight for, and that’s part of why I want to run for another term as mayor,” Robertson told reporters.
During his speech, the mayor referred to a subway along the busy corridor as “the single best thing that we could do for our environment and we can do to livability and [the] economy in Vancouver right now”.
According to a city staff analysis of TransLink statistics cited by Robertson, a Broadway subway would have 250,000 trips on its first day of operation, and 50,000 car trips would be eliminated as people switch to transit.
Currently, about 200,000 people live and work along the corridor, with growth of another 150,000 people expected over the next 30 years.
“It would have dire consequences for our region, and for land use right through the centre of Vancouver, if we don’t have this investment,” said Robertson.
But the mayor noted he doesn't want to see the rapid transit line accompanied by “massive towers” along the route.
“As long as I’m the mayor, we’re not going to see that happen,” he stated. "I think we've got a lot of zoning in place already that's going to lead to lots more growth along Broadway, and at this point accommodating that growth without overwhelming the residents I think is essential."
Green councillor Adriane Carr said that’s not what’s on the books in terms of the growth strategy for the Metro Vancouver region, noting there has been a push for densification along the Canada Line stations.
She added city council hasn’t made a decision on the best form of rapid transit all the way to UBC.
“What I want to see is a public process,” she told the Straight by phone.
“I’m really tired of seeing ideas be sent to the public after being very well developed, and then the public has to react to them…That’s not the way to do planning, and it’s not the way to generate public support for something.”
Robertson’s speech to the Urban Land Institute also touched on issues including community amenity contributions, which the mayor said he is opposed to scaling back.
“They’re not just figures on a spreadsheet,” he stated. “They are the York Theatre on Commercial Drive…the new childcare spaces at Woodward’s or the YWCA, they are a new library in Kensington. There’s a very direct investment that comes from the CACs.”