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
Damien Otis
Where were these commentators during the extensive public consultation Translink held?
17
13
Rating: +4
Owen Marmorek
Oh, come on. Burnaby has more SkyTrain stations per capita than anyone, give other cities a chance!
24
14
Rating: +10
Natty
I think Corrigan has a point. The focus should be on creating greater transit opportunities for people who live further out but insist on commuting into downtown. It's a shame so much money was spent on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges, when some sort of train or light rail option should have been explored.
14
12
Rating: +2
@DC
How about Metro Vancouver taking over transit? What does TransLink do, anyways?
13
13
Rating: 0
Morty
"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, [y]ou know, while the rest of the region is in a Ford Focus."

Burnaby has to recognize that it's part of a region, and that Vancouver alone is three times bigger. The reason Vancouver has to get what it wants is because Vancouver, not the suburbs, is where the current need for transit is most acute. Only Vancouver has the density to support continued expansion of SkyTrain (or an underground equivalent). The rest of the region has to accept that and stop demanding things out of some misguided sense of entitlement.
24
14
Rating: +10
Bored
he's completely right. broadway needs no subway at all.
separate bus lanes or a tram service each way could easily be accomplished. reduce traffic on broadway and give priority to mass transit/cyclists and pedestrians. easy to do. not expensive either.
25
13
Rating: +12
Anonymous
Corrigan is clueless. Burnaby residents would benefit greatly from rapid transit to UBC. It is time he stops being so negative and works with others to make this important project happen.
12
14
Rating: -2
anon
I don't understand Corrigan's remark. It seems to me like SkyTrain serves the rest of the region more than it serves CoV, given that surely it's mostly used by commuters living outside of but working or studying in CoV. Or am I missing something? As a current Vancouver resident, I'm better served by trolley buses, and improved bus services generally, than these massive rapid transit expansions.

And extending Millenium Line to the far east and west of the region serves quite a number of cities, with Burnaby smack dab in the middle. In fact, if I were working in central broadway, a single SkyTrain ride all the way out to Coquitlam sure makes me more likely to live - and vote - further east. I would think that kind of thing benefits the whole region.
14
10
Rating: +4
tedward
There's no growth in Vancouver, vancouver is in decline...suburbs have all the growth
and who's going to pay for another Canada line
12
13
Rating: -1
Dan V
First priority is to remove all the sulfur particulate matter generated by those loud, cumbersome B-line busses
12
12
Rating: 0
Stephen Rees
"U.S. locations such as Minneapolis and Minnesota."

Minneapolis is a major city within the state of Minnesota
4
10
Rating: -6
Esteban Casagrande
What Broadway and Kingsway both need is a MetroBus like what Mexico City and Bogota have.
Dedicated bus lanes in the left hand lanes and no parking allowed in the curb lane.
Very cheap to set up compared to subways and street level rail lines.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico_City_Metrob%C3%BAs
And we say we are a developed country.....
This will also bring more activity to some parts of the Kingsway Corridor. The line could go from New West all the way to Main Street skytrain station.
9
13
Rating: -4
ursa minor
@ Stephen Rees - it would also be 'Minnesota' as an extension to the Hiawatha Line is planned for St. Paul. However, St. Paul officials, unlike Burnaby's, understood that Minneapolis, with MSP, MOA and the University of Minnesota was the priority rather than hijacking the process.
9
9
Rating: 0
Ronni
Is Derek Corrigan stupid or does he think the residents of Burnaby are stupid? The westward extension of the Millennium Line would greatly benefit the residents of Burnaby. I commute along Broadway and so do MANY people throughout the region, especially Burnaby. Why is Derek Corrigan trying to make our lives harder? He accuses Vancouver not recognising they're part of a region. Does he not realize that Burnaby is part of a region and that the residents of Burnaby need to commute outside of Burnaby? The fact is a significant portion of people throughout the region need to commute along the Broadway corridor.

I definitely won't be voting for a mayor who is stupid or thinks his residents are stupid.
9
14
Rating: -5
Burnaby is dead
Burnaby Mayor is always opposed to everything. He doesn't see the big picture. A single train line from UBC to Coquitlam will benefit 4 cities. Burnaby has benefited greatly from development around Brentwood, Metrotown, and Lougheed. He should quit as mayor.
7
9
Rating: -2
CX
Non-stop bickering and negativity from Derrick Corrigan and others. People are unable to separate fact from fiction, and this is increasingly resembling the U.S. debate over raising taxes. Staunch opposition with little justification. Red herring arguments left and right. Logical fallacies falling out of the sky.

If only we could rely on EXPERTS who make it their life's work to study these things and make informed recommendations. Somehow the internet has made everybody an expert, completely nullifying thorough analysis and expertise of the the real experts.
8
7
Rating: +1
Kimster
Corrigan is a typical old guard NDPer: he is against everything on general principles. He was also against the Canada Line, which is now running close to capacity. The real irony is there are more Skytrain stations in his jurisdiction than anywhere else in the Lower Mainland.
10
10
Rating: 0
Rapid
Really Corrigan. Being against rapid transit on Broadway is one thing, but: "It’s just not on the radar at all" .... uh, it's been pinging loudly on the radar for 30 years! is your head in the sand?
10
11
Rating: -1
James G
I can't claim expertise but from my observation of what happens in San Francisco, be prepared for blowback if Vancouver opts for surface light rail. The MUNI system they have links bus lines to trams which go underground for most of downtown and on some routes, then above ground and in the midst of traffic. The cost is cheap enough for the rider at $2 but even someone trying to park on a street in a faraway neighbourhood can block one tram, then delay another and this failure cascades further along the line until sometimes another train simply sits fully populated underground for as much as 15 minutes. These delays are so frequent that the blowback is that a large number of residents have given up on public transit altogether and reverted to their private vehicles. Those riders that are on MUNI trams rail against them loudly and often. If they could identify a municipal leader from their past who loudly proclaimed that a true subway wasn't required, they would likely burn him in effigy. Yes, real solutions to environmental and transportaion issues are costly. They are also worth doing.
12
8
Rating: +4
PaulD
Corrigan is a prime example of why myopic mayors don't belong anywhere near transportation boards.
9
11
Rating: -2

Pages

Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.