For the first time ever, City of Vancouver staff are stating that they are envisioning the possibility of street-level light rail transit on 41st Avenue.
But don’t count on it happening anytime soon, of course.
In an email to Daily Hive, the city says that upgrades are being considered for 41st Avenue to retain the space for the potential of running “surface rail” along this arterial street. However, this is “meant to be inclusive of extremely long-term planning.”
The proposed construction work revolves around removing the existing tunnel connecting Oakridge Centre’s parkade with 41st Avenue as part of the massive redevelopment of the shopping centre. The tunnel is an exit for vehicles travelling between the parkade and the westbound direction of 41st Avenue.
The development team – Westbank and QuadReal Property Group – is required to fill in and cover up the existing tunnel under the ‘Tunnel Removal Agreement.’ The municipal government will cover the first $1.5-million cost of the tunnel removal, with any additional cost borne by the developers.
At this time, such an LRT project is not part of the regional transit plan or Vancouver’s transit plan, and the city’s current plan is to support TransLink with its implementation of the new 41st Avenue B-Line between UBC and Joyce-Collingwood Station.
The 41st Avenue service is one of the four new B-Line routes will be operational by the end of 2019. Historically, B-Line services in Metro Vancouver have been precursors to rail rapid transit.
Over the longer term, the City has plans to build a streetcar system on the Arbutus Greenway.