Gregor Robertson insists a SkyTrain-like project along Broadway is in the national interest

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      The latest newsletter from Mayor Gregor Robertson's office is touting the yet-to-be-built Broadway subway as "one of the most urgently-needed major transit investments anywhere in Canada".

      The newsletter also states: "It’s a nationally-significant project that will help Vancouver’s economy continue to grow as a leading global hub for innovation—will you help spread the word?"

      Robertson delivered a similar message at a meeting of Canadian big-city mayors last month, calling it a nationally significant project.

      A year ago when he publicly backed the project at a news conference with UBC president Stephen Toope, Robertson called the Broadway subway a "regional need".

      UBC has declared that it would like the line to go from the Commercial-Broadway Station to the Point Grey campus.

      However, a City of Vancouver planning document concerning land near False Creek Flats suggests that any rapid-transit line will extend from the VCC-Clark Station along Great Northern Way. 

      "The future extension of the Millennium Line SkyTrain is proposed through the site, including a station at the northeast corner of Great Northern Way and Thornton St.," the city stated. "The future line is anticipated to extend along the northern edge of the site and enter a bored tunnel before turning south to meet the next proposed station at Main and Broadway."

      TransLink has prepared several options for enhancing transit along the Broadway corridor to UBC.

      Street-level light-rail transit to UBC via Broadway, West 10th Avenue, and University Boulevard is estimated to cost $1.1 billion.

      If this were partially tunnelled, the cost could rise to $1.8 billion.

      This option would allow for about 160,000 daily boardings.

      Rail-rapid transit and light-rapid transit in combination would cost $2.7 billion. Under this scenario, the rail would run from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street, with street-level light-rail transit operating from the Main Street–Science World Station to UBC. This option would offer the most daily boardings: 350,000.

      The mainly tunnelled route with SkyTrain-like technology from VCC-Clark via Great Northern Way to Broadway, along West 10th Avenue, and to University Boulevard would cost $3 billion and allow for 320,000 daily boardings.

      This more expensive option is forecast to increase the number of new daily transit trips to 54,000, which is significantly more than the other two options.

      Meanwhile, Surrey council is pushing for a three-pronged street-level light-rail line connecting Surrey Centre with Guildford, Langley, and Newton. Its preferred option is estimated to cost $2.18 billion.

      With a federal election looming next year, Surrey and Vancouver politicians are trying to line up federal government support for rapid-transit projects in their cities.

      Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberal government, which may decide the issue, has only four MLAs in Vancouver compared to five in Surrey and two in Langley.




      Mar 8, 2014 at 12:27am

      Mayor Robertson has more than doubled the size of the city's PR department and spent over $100,000 on outside PR consultants. He arranged a lease for Hootsuite that is beyond absurd, where taxpayers are paying more for renovations than they are getting in rent and the property can be purchased for below the assessed value. Mayor Robertson backed a "garage farm" that has gone bankrupt and still backs Bixi's involvement in the bikes hate program, experiencing yet another delay. Mayor Robertson supports a plan that will give developers freedom to build 4 storey structures within 300 metres of arterial roads and 6 storey structures within 500 metres of designated shopping areas. Friendly developers, like those involved in the Oakridge proposal, will get special consideration and will go as high as 40 storeys that we are aware of at this time.

      The entire Cambie corridor will be a windfall for donors to Vision. The Pearson lands on Cambie between 57th & 59th will see new towers and a Canada Line station while the closure of Langara Golf Course will see some greenspace lost as the western half of the course is turned over to friends of Vision. The sell off won't be hinted at until after the November election and will be spun as a necessary alternative to raising taxes. Make no mistake people: behind the vigorous and effective propaganda campaigns Vision are more pro-development than every NPA mayor since Tom Campbell.

      Every neighbourhood plan has two complete presentations: one for the public and the other for developers and Vision hacks. The Grandview-Woodlands plans are shockingly incomplete as presented to the public, leaving out plans for Oakridge style redevelopment around Broadway & Commercial but without a rooftop park. They anticipate a westward expansion of transit and will allow towers within 500 metres of existing & planned skytrain stations. Even under the current "densification" plans there would be 6 storey buildings along Commercial from 14th north to at least Venables and along Broadway about 750 metres either side of Commercial.

      Broadway will be insane, zoned for 6 storeys from east of Fraser to Arbutus and beyond. Every neighbourhood shopping area from one block to dozens overlapping will be zoned for 6 storeys, and for donors various bonuses will give them 10 storeys without much effort and 20 with some hard lobbying, at $25,000 per plate.

      SPY vs SPY

      Mar 8, 2014 at 8:28am

      One more time

      UBC is the largest Single work place destination in Western Canada - 75,000 people commute to UBC every day.

      The UBC Endowment Lands used to belong to UBC until Premier Billy Shazam Van Der Zlam took them away, when UBC President Strangway (in the 1980's) said he wanted to build housing for 40,000 students ON FREE LAND UBC OWNED.

      The Shazam Van Der Zalm was not about to let 40,000 basement suites and apartments go vacant while he was Premier - God Save Our Precious Real Estate Speculators and the Doctrine that Real Estate Prices Must Always Rise!!!!

      There was talk about building the Olympic Village at UBC - so that students could have affordable housing - Premier Campbell's response - Not while a friend of mine has $200,000,000.00 worth of Real Estate that's available. Once again - God Bless Real Estate Speculators.

      Spend the $1 Billion to $3 Billion on UBC owned student housing - so that in perpetuity, 40,000 - 60,000 students can live cheaply and never have to commute.

      A Sky Train route as promoted by Double Vission Mayor Robertson - is all about increasing the value of property on West Broadway and making his Frendos and Political Backers RICHER!!

      And that my friend is the WHOLE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      Mar 8, 2014 at 10:23am

      As if Wreck Beach isn't crowded enough! Now all the rest of the dregs will always be there.


      Mar 8, 2014 at 12:04pm

      I'm at the point where I know they will do whatever they want, with or without the support of the citizens of Vancouver. I can't wait until the election, they have been a special kind of corrupt this round and I'm hoping everyone opens their eyes when it's time for new mayor. We don't need a corporate liaison.

      patrick ubc

      Mar 8, 2014 at 12:39pm

      How incredibly silly, subway to UBC is national significance? This mayor truly requires a psychological evaluation.

      Firstly, if you are going to extend rail transit to UBC, you don't want it in a tunnel and you certainly don't want to choose the most expensive route down Broadway. Existing tracks are located on West 6th Avenue for a tram line and West 16th Avenue is an easy run on grass to UBC. This is the logical route.

      Secondly, the demand for rail transit doesn't really exist. You have one transit route which is overloaded (99) to UBC and 12 transit routes which are under used to UBC. Get people on the other routes before spending money on more transit capacity on Broadway.

      Finally, transit both takes people out of cars and puts people into cars. That is, transit frees up road space to make it attractive for people to drive when some people take transit. Transit never reduces road congestion. If it never reduces road congestion, it is a sham and spending billions of dollars for transit in a tunnel is simply milking taxpayers to keep people at TransLink employed.

      Ruth Schofield

      Mar 8, 2014 at 1:07pm

      Sounds like it would be cheaper to fill in the rest of False Creek and turn it into a UBC teaching campus.


      Mar 8, 2014 at 2:06pm

      UBC could do what other universities have done, and build satellite campuses. This would greatly reduce the 'need' in that area, which, by the way, is NOT greater than the needs of the entire South Fraser region that has contributed much and received little.


      Mar 8, 2014 at 2:14pm

      Should put it up Point Grey Road. With no auto traffic it would be an easy install. Could do it at grade :-)

      James G

      Mar 8, 2014 at 3:42pm

      COPE just held a forum this past week on regional transit solutions. From the presentations and discussion, I came to see how much a subway along Broadway would cost the entire system. Even though that corridor has been a traffic bottleneck for decades, this is the wrong way to fix it. The COPE presenters were full of good, practical and costed out good-value ideas.

      This was NOT one of them:

      I propose we create "The VIMBY line". This would be Light Rail, utilizing the already existing tracks along the Arbutus corridor. One Station at Arbutus and West 7th, perhaps called "Eminent Domain Station", a line running south to King Edward and a stop at "Creme de la Creme Station" -- then eastwards along King Edward to the Canada Line connection at Granville, continuing east to Knight to Nanaimo Station Skytrain connection. The westward track leaves Arbutus and West 7th to run west to Macdonald, then goes north along Macdonald to Point Grey Road and "Critical Mass Central Station", west along Point Grey Road, straight through Jericho Park to Blanca and terminating at "U-Pass Validation Check" station.

      Citizens, I give you "The Vimby (Vancouver Is My Back Yard) Line", a cheap tour of the factors that have brought us to the point where the Mayor of our city can pretend this issue to be of national importance.

      SPY vs SPY

      Mar 8, 2014 at 7:07pm

      Some simple math folks - OK - I know none of you expected a math quiz - but here goes

      40,000 students traveling to UBC for say 150 days/year = 6,000,000 return trips

      Now here is the tricky part - that equals 12,000,000 one way trips

      So in 10 years that's 120,000,000 one way trips to UBC - that would not occur if 40,000 units UBC owned student housing were built at UBC

      Let's presume 1 Canadian gallon - 4.5 liters for each one way trip to UBC =

      120,000,000 Imperial Gallons = 540,000,000 Liters - that would be conserved!!

      A Sky Train Line to UBC will enrich all the Property owners anywhere near West Broadway - residential and Commercial. Not to mention the Construction Contractors

      And that my Frendos is the Whole Story here!!