Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan slams Broadway SkyTrain line talk

A recommendation from Vancouver city staff for a tunnelled SkyTrain as the best mode of rapid transit along the Broadway corridor is drawing criticism from one municipal leader in the region.

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan asserts Vancouver city hall is “dreaming in technicolour” with regard to the $2.8-billion proposal. He said he “cannot imagine” the rest of Metro Vancouver’s municipalities identifying the subway as a priority.

“It’s just not on the radar at all in order to try and accomplish that,” Corrigan told the Straight by phone. “TransLink is in massive debt with huge operating deficits, and Vancouver continues to talk about spending more money on massive infrastructure.”

Vancouver council heard a presentation from city transportation director Jerry Dobrovolny on November 27. Dobrovolny said an underground rapid-transit line to UBC is the best approach to accommodate the transit needs along Broadway and avoid “tremendous” impacts anticipated with a street-level light-rail line, including turn restrictions and the removal of over 90 percent of parking spaces.

City staff stressed that about half of the over 100,000 commuters travelling the street daily come from outside Vancouver—a fact that Vision councillor Geoff Meggs says indicates that citizens in every municipality in the region would benefit from a subway line in the corridor.

Corrigan noted he recognizes that Vancouver needs to have a good internal transportation system, but argued it has to be “reasonable” about its place within the broader picture.

“Vancouver has to recognize that they’re part of a region, and the region is bigger than their needs, and that there isn’t a way in which, well, not only does Vancouver get what it wants, but it gets it in a Cadillac form,” he said. “You know, while the rest of the region is in a Ford Focus.”

Patrick Condon, a professor with UBC’s School of Landscape Architecture, also questioned the likelihood of Vancouver securing the funding for the nearly $3-billion subway line.

“I think if the province was going to hand the City of Vancouver $3 billion tomorrow, sure, go for it. But I don’t think that’s at all even remotely likely, is my sense,” he said in a phone interview.

Condon added that lower-cost surface light-rail systems have succeeded in some European cities, and in U.S. locations such as Minneapolis and Minnesota.

In Dobrovolny’s presentation to city council, he maintained that a street-level light-rail system would not have sufficient capacity to meet transit needs along the Broadway corridor, which is expected to see a higher than projected growth in passengers.

TransLink is currently in the midst of conducting a study that will identify potential options for rapid transit on the corridor, which will be followed by a "regional dialogue" with local municipalities on the issue.

Comments (32) Add New Comment
Jacob Wolpert
"...there isn’t a way in which, well, not only does Vancouver get what it wants, but it gets it in a Cadillac form" [Corrigan} said. "You know, while the rest of the region is in a Ford Focus.”

Says the mayor of a suburb with a barely 250k population currently served by not one but TWO of those "Cadillac" mass transit lines. That's some serious spin, even for a politician.
Rating: +7
Maybe Corrigan should explain why a shi+hole like Burnaby gets Skytrain, while a major destination like UBC doesn't deserve it.
Rating: -5
if trollies do it can't longer trams?
I don't for the life of me understand how operating trams is any different from operating tollies? Can someone enlighten me?

It seems awfully simple to replace 40 seat tollies with 250 seat trams. Won't that help right now? It is going to take until 2022 for a SkyTrain tunel to get built. These things don't just happen over night.

Get some trams on the roads and quit the dumb politics.
Rating: +2
how many people are at UBC from April to September....0??? 1??
Rating: -2
I am surprised by the negative comments. I don't think this is about opposing or supporting the skytrain along the Broadway. Do you guys seriously think that it is a great idea to spend 3 billion dollars while there are much cheaper alternatives? Do you know how many teachers losing their jobs just because of a couple million $ cuts on the Vancouver schoolboard budget? Any idea about the number of homeless people in Vancouver? You want to see house prices jumping from 1.5M to 3M along Broadway? Do you know how many jobs can be created for a little investment?

There are 3 billion ways to spend the 3 billion dollars. It would be pure madness to spend it on skytrain along Broadway. However, I accept this is slightly better than spending $400M of public funds on BC Place's roof :)
Rating: -5
Thein Ternet
@tedward Yeah, they just shut it down in the summer like it's an elementary school. Oh wait...
Rating: -1
I am for Public mass Transit and Trains but at what cost and debt to us?

So how much of our disposal incomes are we going to have to give to Translink for this $3 billion Debt?

After all we are all going to have to pay for it.

@CA...The BC Place Roof cost $565+ Million & its a leaky tarp roof :).

* There are also tens of Billions in off balance sheet debt at BC Hydro like Enron that we all are on the hook for courtesy of the Fiberals.

* Are we going to go into more debt ala Greece?
Rating: -6
Evil Eye
I see the SkyTrain Lobby is out in full force.

Just for the record, light rail made SkyTrain obsolete about 2 decades ago, no builds with SkyTrain anymore.

The American Federal government gives handsome grants for subway construction due to heavy lobbying from major engineering corporations (they get about 20% on consulting fees and the more expensive the transit project, the more money they get.) As for subways themselves, they tend to be white elephants for many transit authorities because the maintenance costs for subways is ruinous. Many German transit authorities today are ruing the subways of yesterday because the monies needed to maintain and renew them are bankrupting them.

Unless one has traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd on a subway line, be prepared for higher taxes and user fees.

For the cost of a $2.8 billion Broadway SkyTrain subway, we could build 30 km of LRT (more for a simple streetcar) in both Vancouver and Surrey and LRT from Vancouver to Chilliwack, which would carry far more transit customers than a SkyTrain subway.
Rating: +1
James Blatchford
Apparently Enbridge offered to build the tunnel for free...from Hardisty, Alberta.
Rating: -4
Car Free Commuter
"Vancouver has to recognize that they’re part of a region"

Corrigan should recognize that a Broadway line will benefit the entire region. Does he think that the 99 B-Line is patronized only by residents of the City of Vancouver? And when Corrigan and his council were fighting the widening of highway 1, did they themselves recognize that Burnaby too is but one part of a region?
Rating: +1
I agree with Derek Corrigan 100 %. There is no way Vancouver receives 1 peeny more for infrastructure until the rest of the GVRD has their problems addressed. Surrey and Langley are extremely under served by Translink. The very first comsideration should be a Light Rail option from KG Station to Willowbrook Mall. Then a spur line From KG Station to 24th ave and KG Hwy. Until these two lines are built Vancouver doesn`t get a cent.
Rating: -1
postman pat
just add MORE buses, more often!

Rating: -1


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