Light-rail proposal misses the most populated areas

Adam Fitch’s proposed light-rail line would undoubtedly cost less [“Light rail and B-Line combo better than Broadway SkyTrain?”, April 30]. In my opinion, though, his proposal fails several tests of good urban-transit planning.

Fitch apparently believes that a rapid-transit option to B-Line buses should exist primarily to move UBC riders to and from the SkyTrain. Otherwise, why would he promote a light-rail route that avoids every big east-west traffic generator between Commercial Drive and the UBC campus?

Especially disturbing is the omission of Vancouver General Hospital and other medical facilities in its area. Are we to expect patients coming for tests and day treatments to hobble at least four blocks up a steep hill to the nearest VGH facility?

Avoiding prohibitive subsidies when providing frequent rapid-transit service requires high usage. This, in turn, depends on serving high-density residential and commercial areas.

Nevertheless, as one example, we are being asked to support a route that manages to go all the way from Arbutus Street to UBC via what may be the least densely populated area of Vancouver.

Fitch is quite right that we should seriously consider options such as an aboveground route along Great Northern Way. That could save significant money, without a loss of traffic.

On the other hand, please let’s not be so concerned about saving and avoiding hard political decisions in the short term that we destroy the long-term viability of the project.

> Don Nadeau / Vancouver


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May 7, 2014 at 9:03am

Gregor Robertson himself stated when he proposed that a skytrain line to UBC would be "in the interest of the entire country" that the primary reason is to move people to UBC. Let's face it, the majority of problems along the Broadway corridor are due to people going to and from UBC pretty much all day long.

I think I would rather take this much cheaper and fast to build light rail proposal, then keep the buses that run anyway, rather than a very expensive skytrain line which will take years to build.

If you can take out the people going to UBC from the normal route, the buses will have no problem operating normally.


May 7, 2014 at 11:21am

I live in Turkey half the year, and Canada the other half of the year. In Istanbul, there are a broad range of co-existing, mixed modes of transportation serving the city's needs extremely well: metro, tram, SeaBus-like ferries, rapid busses, funiculars, shuttle buses, regular buses, taxies, car pool cabs, and even a cable car---all of which are turnstiled, dirt cheap, and well-maintained by one transit authority as well as the municipal and (I think) federal governments. Generally speaking, practicality, cost, and neighbourhood demographics and geography dictates what is used and how many lines exist. Fantastic system, great harmony, and 20 million or so people get where they need to go without thinking twice. I don't see why Vancouver should spend years debating something rather than just shutting up and doing it. We've waited 24 years in the making for the Evergreen Line to be built. Surrey, Langley, and the rest of the boonies are rapidly developing yet still dependant on cars and wide/long roads. The LRT tram system we had for the Olympics worked wonders and but was scrapped despite the price tag we paid for its two weeks of runnning. I just don't get it. Other cities function fine and dandy on mixed transportation systems, however, just shut up, get it done, make sure people pay to use the system, lower the fares, give cities more room to run and design their own systems (i.e. the busses in West Van), and make sure every district of the GVRD is satisfied. We're a growing city, if we don't plan now, we're fucked later! Hell, it only took us until Expo 86 just to have our first rapid transit line built. We're slow here and very impractical!