Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan slams Broadway SkyTrain line talk

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      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.



      Damien Otis

      Nov 28, 2012 at 5:52pm

      Where were these commentators during the extensive public consultation Translink held?

      Owen Marmorek

      Nov 28, 2012 at 8:13pm

      Oh, come on. Burnaby has more SkyTrain stations per capita than anyone, give other cities a chance!


      Nov 28, 2012 at 9:04pm

      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.


      Nov 29, 2012 at 12:07am

      How about Metro Vancouver taking over transit? What does TransLink do, anyways?


      Nov 29, 2012 at 12:13am

      "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.


      Nov 29, 2012 at 1:06am

      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.

      Nov 29, 2012 at 1:26am

      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.


      Nov 29, 2012 at 2:08am

      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.


      Nov 29, 2012 at 7:51am

      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

      Dan V

      Nov 29, 2012 at 9:08am

      First priority is to remove all the sulfur particulate matter generated by those loud, cumbersome B-line busses