Homeless in Vancouver: Is TransLink-owned property in 1400 block West Broadway for a SkyTrain station?

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      I have more circumstantial evidence pointing to where I think a subway station will be located in the 1400 block of West Broadway. And now that the last piece of the financing puzzle is apparently in place to begin building the Millennium Line SkyTrain Broadway extension, this sort of speculation is a whole lot less speculative.

      We know that of the six stations planned, one of them will be near Granville Street but neither TransLink nor the City of Vancouver have indicated an exact location.

      Since 2016 I have put forward two properties on the north side of the 1400 block of West Broadway—1441 and 1431, which the City of Vancouver has owned since 2015—as the likeliest site for the SkyTrain station near Granville.

      Now I learn that right next door to the properties owned by the city are two properties owned by TransLink, or, as a Colliers International PDF sales brochure for 1451 West Broadway puts it:

      The City of Vancouver owns the neighboring 100 feet to the east while Translink owns the 75 feet east of the City properties.

      The width of 1441 and 1431 is 100 feet (30.48 metres). And 75 feet (22.86 metres) further east equals the width of 1421 and 1409.

      Colliers’ PDF sales brochure does not refer to 1451 West Broadway as being located next door to the site of a future Broadway subway station but an image in another of Colliers’ online sales brochures—for 2331 South Granville Street—explicitly highlights 1441 and 1431 West Broadway as a “future rapid transit station.”

      Finally we know how taxing the Broadway subway work will be

      Promotional image for a real estate sales brochure showing 1431–1441 West Broadway as a “future rapid transit station.”
      Colliers International

      The subway under Vancouver’s West Broadway is one of the big ticket items on a long wish list of  improvements and extensions to all aspects of the Metro Vancouver transportation infrastructure—from roads and bridges, to buses, light rail and even cycling paths—which TransLink, the Metro region’s transportation authority, hopes to complete over the next decade.

      The price tag for phase two of TransLink’s 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transportation is something on the order of $7 billion (including operating costs), with the Canadian government and the province of British Columbia each agreeing to carry about 65 percent of the cost, leaving 35 percent to be raised by municipalities of the Metro region and through transit fares.

      And on March 16, Metro Vancouver Mayors and the B.C. government finally agreed how the Metro region will finance its share ($2.5 billion).

      Reportedly, the regional financing methods will include:

      • An increase in transit fares of two percent over two years beginning in 2020.
      • Increase of TransLink’s regional sales tax on all off-street parking from 21 to 24 percent.
      • Property tax increase of $5.50 per average household each year, beginning in 2019.
      • A levy of $600 per unit on certain new residential developments.
      • Plus $2.5 million from “a variety of transit-related commercial opportunities.”

      This should mean that everything is in place, funding-wise, for actual work to begin on phase two projects, including the Millennium Line SkyTrain Broadway extension.

      The ultimate purpose of the Millennium Line extension—tunnel and all—is to move students and others, speedily and without the current surface congestion, along a route of some 11 kilometres between the Vancouver Community College (VCC) in East Vancouver and the University of British Columbia (UBC) on the western tip of Point Grey.

      However, though the project will start at the VCC campus in East Vancouver, it is only funded to go as far west as Arbutus Street—a total distance of about 4.64 kilometres, or about 42 percent of the required distance to UBC.

      Assuming that work begins promptly in 2019, TransLink is optimistic that (barring complications) this phase of the Millennium Line extension could be completed by 2025.

      The Metro Vancouver transportation authority is then hopeful that “a future phase of investment will connect rapid transit all the way to UBC’s Point Grey campus.” 

      Update: I read that 1465 West Broadway—the site of the one lowrise on the north side of the 1400 block that is not for sale or apparently slated to become a SkyTrain station—was rented between 1912 and 1913 as studio space by B.C.-born painter and writer Emily Carr, one of Canada’s most important artists.