This is how the Canada Line and Broadway Subway will connect at Broadway-City Hall Station

Sep 19 2019, 11:44 pm

When SkyTrain’s Millennium Line Broadway Extension opens in 2025, passengers at Broadway-City Hall Station will be able to seamlessly connect between the platforms of the existing SkyTrain Canada Line and the new Millennium Line extension.

A significant underground multi-pathway system is planned for this station, which will overnight become a regional transit interchange hub and one of TransLink’s busiest SkyTrain stations.

The Broadway Extension replaces the portion of the existing 99 B-Line running between Commercial-Broadway Station and Arbutus Street. With the new subway, passengers will remain inside the station — and within the fare-paid zone — for their transfer between the north-south train line and the new east-west train line.

And the extent of the integration will be truly impressive, providing the capacity needed to handle the extraordinary level of foot traffic for the transfers expected between the two SkyTrain services. There will be three separate and direct pathways to reach the Millennium Line, with each linking the services by vertical circulation (staircases, escalators, and elevators).

These three paths will lead to an underground concourse level, where there will more more staircases, escalators, and elevators that lead to the Millennium Line platforms.

The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provided Daily Hive with the following details on how passengers can connect to and from the existing Canada Line to the extended Millennium Line:

Path 1: Direct access to the Millennium Line from the fare gates

The Millennium Line extension will use the same street entrance that the existing Canada Line station entrance uses, located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Cambie Street and Broadway.

There will be a direct connection past the fare gates, with a new vertical circulation portal located to the left at the end of this entrance hall. A wall that is currently covered with advertising will be knocked down for the staircase and escalators leading down to the concourse level of the Millennium Line.

Canada Line Broadway-City Hall Station

The east wall covered with advertising at the very end of the Canada Line’s Broadway-City Hall Station entrance hall – on the same level as the fare gates – will be punctured for a new portal leading to the Millennium Line platforms. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

The ground-level space required for this expansion will be on city-owned land. As a matter of fact, the City of Vancouver owns the entire city block, set to become a new Vancouver City Hall campus.

Path 2: Direct access from the Canada Line’s northbound platform

The walls at the bottom of the Canada Line escalator and staircase that lead to the northbound platform (trains toward Waterfront Station) will be knocked out for a new portal for the staircase and escalators that go down to the Millennium Line concourse level.

Canada Line Broadway-City Hall Station

Landing area at the bottom of the escalator and staircase of the Canada Line’s north bound direction. The walls depicted will be punctured for a new portal that leads to the Millennium Line platforms. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Path 3: Direct access from the Canada Line’s southbound platform

Mirroring the northbound platform, the walls at the bottom of the escalator and staircase of the Canada Line that go down to the southbound platform (trains toward YVR Airport/Richmond-Brighouse) will also be knocked out for a new portal for the staircase and escalators leading to the new concourse level.

Canada Line Broadway-City Hall Station

Landing area at the bottom of the escalator and staircase of the Canada Line’s southbound direction. The walls depicted will be punctured for a new portal that leads to the Millennium Line platforms. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

These pathway networks of staircases and escalators are supplemented by a number of elevators to ensure all four platforms of the expanded station are fully accessible.

Broadway-City Hall Station will be a new major hub

The amount of foot traffic interchange activity between the two lines at Broadway-City Hall Station can be likened to what is currently experienced at Commercial-Broadway Station as a result of the transfers between the Expo Line and Millennium Line.

A large number of passengers that currently use east-west bus routes crossing through Vancouver and Burnaby are expected to switch to the Millennium Line, with many reaching the new SkyTrain extension by transferring through the Canada Line.

Many more people will, of course, use the Canada Line and Millennium Line to reach destinations along the Central Broadway Corridor and UBC; there will still be a 99 B-Line service, but truncated to only run between Arbutus Station and the UBC campus.

Residents in East Vancouver, Burnaby, and others living further east in the region will find it far more convenient to use the Millennium Line to get to destinations along the Cambie Corridor, Richmond, and the airport, via the Canada Line. The same can be said for those living along the Cambie Corridor and Richmond, as well as air passengers arriving at the airport, who are looking for ways to reach the region’s eastern communities.

Broadway Subway SkyTrain route map

June 2019 route and station map of the Broadway Subway. (BC Ministry of Transportation)

Additionally, the Millennium Line extension also provides both Millennium Line and Expo Line origin riders with a new way to get to downtown by using the Canada Line, especially if they want to get to Yaletown, for example. The travel time on the Broadway Extension between Commercial-Broadway Station and Broadway-City Hall Station is only about six minutes.

This network ridership multiplier effect will be even more significant when the Millennium Line is fully extended to the UBC campus sometime after 2025.

In the meantime, the travel time between VCC-Clark Station and the new western terminus station at Arbutus Street will be 11 minutes. For those traveling from the new Arbutus Station in Vancouver to Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station in Coquitlam, an end-to-end one-train ride on the future Millennium Line routing requiring zero transfers is about 47 minutes.

TransLink forecasts 140,000 passengers per day will use the extension to Arbutus Street upon opening. With the use of longer and more frequent trains, the Millennium Line’s capacity will be increased to 7,100 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd), which is a capacity increase of 255% over the existing 99 B-Line.

b-line routes

The 99 B-Line’s existing eastbound stop outside Broadway-City Hall Station entrance. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Like the Expo Line, the ultimate future capacity of the Millennium Line is 25,000 pphpd. In contrast, the ultimate future capacity of the Canada Line is 15,000 pphpd; currently, the Canada Line’s peak capacity is running at about 6,000 pphpd, and this will increase to over 8,000 pphpd when all 24 new additional train cars (12 two-car trains) go into service in January 2020.

It is currently unknown whether the Canada Line platforms at Broadway-City Hall Station will be extended from their current length of 40 metres to the full-buildout design length of 50 metres to accommodate the integration work and the higher passenger flows. More specifics on the details of all six new subway stations for the Millennium Line will be announced after the middle of 2020, when the provincial government concludes its bidding process with the selection of a contractor.

Canada Line Broadway-City Hall Station

Existing street entrance and fare gate area of the Canada Line’s Broadway-City Hall Station. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

But despite being a major hub station, a decision has been made to not provide the expanded Broadway-City Hall Station with an additional secondary street entrance, instead relying only on the existing street entrance originally built for the Canada Line.

The Ministry explains there will be less foot traffic entering and exiting the station into the street as all connections between services will be underground, unlike today’s configuration with passengers leaving the station to reach the 99 B-Line.

SkyTrain Commercial-Broadway Station

New expansion of SkyTrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station, taken January 29, 2019. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

With 4.7 million annual boardings, Broadway-City Hall Station is currently ranked as the 11th busiest SkyTrain station — marginally behind Main-Street Science World Station and Joyce-Collingwood Station.

Commercial-Broadway Station, the third busiest SkyTrain station with 8.14 million annual boardings, will see less foot traffic without the 99 B-Line, but this could be offset by an increase in the volume of passengers utilizing the Expo Line to reach the new destinations and opportunities conveniently provided by the Millennium Line extension.

The recent completion of Commercial-Broadway Station’s $60-million upgrade with a new fifth platform for the Expo Line’s inbound direction (trains toward Waterfront Station) and new pedestrian overpass, linking to the Millennium Line platforms, strategically accounts for this scenario.


Westbound bus stop for the 99 B-Line UBC express bus at Commercial-Broadway Station. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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