Not only is TransLink ordering a dozen additional two-car car trains for the Canada Line, it is also providing the busy stations in downtown Vancouver with an accessibility upgrade.
TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews told Daily Hive that the upgrades include new escalators at Waterfront Station, Vancouver City Centre Station, and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station.
Construction is anticipated to start in early-2019.
She was unable to specify the exact locations of the new, additional escalators, which will provide much-needed vertical foot traffic circulation capacity within the stations. More details about all of the station upgrades will be announced at a later time.
However, we do know that spaces were built into all three stations to allow for the future installation of additional escalators. Here are the locations:
A partially pre-built void space allows for an additional escalator between the CPR building interior’s grand hall and the Canada Line station’s north concourse. The space is next to the staircase, and an ATM is located within its bottom landing area.
The existing, lone up escalator between the platform level and concourse level of Vancouver City Centre Station has been a major choke point on the system since the Canada Line’s opening.
Perhaps this problem is due to poor placement, as this vertical pathway with both an escalator and stairway is not only closest to the fare gates but it is also located in the middle of the platform below.
The other vertical pathway was only built with a staircase, and it is located on the southern end of the platform and further away from the fare gates on the concourse level. There is a void space to the east of this staircase that is designed for an additional escalator.
There is space next to the existing up escalator for an additional escalator.
For the additional escalators at Vancouver City Centre Station and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, there is a trade off.
While it will improve accessibility and passenger flows, it will reduce the available platform floor waiting area for passengers, and this could be particularly challenging for Vancouver City Centre Station. And given that the new escalators will likely have to be installed piece by piece, the construction timeline could be lengthy.
At the same time, these improvements to accessibility and passenger flows within the stations are needed ahead of the Canada Line’s rail system capacity increase starting in 2020, when the influx of new trains increase capacity from the existing 6,100 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) to over 8,000 pphpd. Trains on the mainline starting in downtown will be arriving every 2 mins 30 secs instead of the current 3 mins 20 secs.
TransLink is already undergoing a major escalator replacement project for the Expo Line, which includes the $14.5-million replacement of the original super-tall escalators at Granville Station.
Sometime this fall, the public transit authority will open Commercial-Broadway Station’s new fifth platform, built for the Expo Line’s inbound direction into downtown. This new platform is served by two elevators and four escalators.
For most of the Canada Line’s vertical circulation points, only up escalators were built into the stations upon opening in 2009, likely as a cost-cutting measure.
However, for all of the Evergreen Extension’s stations, a new standard of including up and down escalators for every vertical circulation point was adopted, and the City of Vancouver wants this practice continued for every new station on the Broadway Extension.