Broadway subway won’t bring big towers, Vancouver mayor says

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      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.”




      May 6, 2014 at 7:30pm

      Gregor, you have zero credibility. No one believes anything you have to say.


      May 6, 2014 at 9:24pm


      Mayor Gregor needs to take his act out on the road---permantly. This is hilarious!


      May 6, 2014 at 9:36pm

      Amazing how the mayor is asking for the public's opinion. Our opinion never seems to matter so why does he bother to ask for it.

      Save Vancouver

      May 6, 2014 at 11:08pm

      Sure Gregor. Just what you told Mount Pleasant, Marpole, Oakridge, Grandview-Woodlands.

      What a bullshi++er.


      May 7, 2014 at 8:57am

      Hahahaha, if you truly believe this, boy do I have a bridge to sell you!


      May 7, 2014 at 9:41am

      It's quite surprising that there aren't more towers on broadway already... but if anything will fertilize their growth, mass transit is that nutrient! Of course, building more towers out at UBC would dramatically reduce the number of commuters along that corridor.... oh wait! There already are big towers out there! But they aren't for students, but rather rich people who would never take transit.


      May 7, 2014 at 10:00am

      The Mayor needs better advisors. A subway is far from being the greenest solution. Modern light rail is. At a fraction of the price, better for communities (more frequent stops) comparable travel time and far better capacity. Say goodbye to West Broadway independent businesses when the subway comes to town.

      Schnitzey Pretzelpants

      May 7, 2014 at 10:58am

      I don't see a continuation of a subway line as being the best solution at all. Skytrain was a bad idea that we're pretty much now stuck with.

      A much needed mass transit system on the Broadway corridor is our opportunity to at least augment our existing systems with a far-better solution: street cars in designated lanes - something akin to Portland, is a far better solution, and furthermore it would allow for expansion of the system to service the downtown core in a few key areas where it could then link up with Sky/Canada Lines.

      What is more, it wouldn't require anywhere near the level of disruption to business and residences when being constructed.


      May 7, 2014 at 11:11am

      TransLink's own ridership figures show that the Broadway bus routes 9, 14, N17 and the 99 carry about 31,570 trips a day, how the hell that translates to 250,000 trips on the subway on opening day?

      Subways are notorious for not and I repeat not attracting the motorist from the var because they are inconvenient, with forced transfers and long distances between stations. Studies have shown that trips 7km and less are faster using surface transit than a subway.

      What the real story is; that after spending $9 billion on three mini-metro lines, we haven't taken a car off the road. In 1994 the mode share for the auto was 57% in the Vancouver metro region and today, 20 years later, the auto mode share remains at 57%.

      A subway is being planned because the planners know of the complete failure of the present transit system to reduce auto use and congestion and are keeping the roads clear for cars! Why bother spend the money.


      May 7, 2014 at 11:41am

      What's wrong with more towers along Broadway?