Broadway will be narrowed to a four-lane road after the subway is built

May 18 2021, 12:50 pm

The design of Broadway will change considerably as a result of the road reconstruction that will accompany SkyTrain’s Millennium Line Broadway Extension to Arbutus.

At each of the five subway station construction sites on Broadway, the arterial roadway will be permanently narrowed from six lanes (three lanes in each direction) to four lanes (two lanes in each direction) to accommodate a so-called Great Street concept that targets street experience improvements for pedestrians, and enhances the retail strip’s vibrancy.

There will be significantly wider sidewalks for pedestrians, plus space for restaurant patios, additional street trees, landscaping, sidewalk lighting, street furniture such as seating, and public art.

broadway subway road design changes

Narrowing of Broadway into a four-lane roadway with turning lanes in key areas. (City of Vancouver)

There are no plans to incorporate east-west bike lanes on Broadway given the limited space and focus for other uses for a true pedestrian-oriented experience, and the existence of east-west bike lanes within very close proximity.

But there will be improvements to accessing parallel bike lanes on the adjacent streets and the north-south cycling routes along the corridor. Other amenities for the new Broadway include bike parking and electric vehicle charging stations.

These public realm changes are being done to the station construction sites, where stretches of roadway will be temporarily replaced by road decks during the subway construction period, allowing traffic to pass through while station construction occurs beneath.

MOUNT PLEASANT STATION

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Broadway road design changes at Mount Pleasant Station. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (City of Vancouver)

BROADWAY-CITY HALL STATION

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Broadway road design changes at Broadway-City Hall Station. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (City of Vancouver)

OAK-VGH STATION

oak-vgh station broadway road design

Broadway road design changes at Oak-VGH Station. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (City of Vancouver)

SOUTH GRANVILLE STATION

south granville station broadway road design

Broadway road design changes at South Granville Station. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (City of Vancouver)

ARBUTUS STATION

arbutus station broadway road design

Broadway road design changes at Arbutus Station. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (City of Vancouver)

Unlike the complete reconstruction of Cambie Street from 2nd Avenue to Marine Drive that was necessary for the Canada Line’s cut-and-cover method of tunnel construction, the Broadway subway’s construction from the surface is comparatively minimal as the project will largely be completed using tunnel boring machines.

A combined total of seven city blocks of Broadway will be narrowed in the redesign that will happen concurrently with subway construction, after the temporary road decks are removed.

The municipal government indicates these first blocks altered by the subway will generally set the standard for the rest of Broadway from Arbutus to Main Street, with other segments of the narrowing and pedestrian-oriented changes occurring incrementally over the long term from private redevelopment, utility upgrades, and other construction works. Until more spans of the new design are complete, most of Broadway’s core will remain as a six-lane roadway.

broadway subway road design changes map

Map of the Broadway subway’s station blocks for road reconstruction. (City of Vancouver)

The new design still maintains Broadway as a critical regional arterial route for people and goods movement, but less capacity is needed with the subway and the removal of the long, frequent 99 B-Line buses.

Upon the opening of the subway, the 99 B-Line route will operate a truncated route from the bus loop at Arbutus Station to UBC.

While there will be far fewer buses on Broadway, new measures will be explored to provide bus transit priority within the four-lane reconfiguration of the street to help ensure bus services continue to be fast and reliable.

Currently, the curbside lanes of Broadway from Arbutus Street to Commercial Drive are already used as bus-only lanes during weekday peak hours.

Urban design considerations have also been given to the emergency exit structures of the subway stations. Instead of the standalone structures built for the Canada Line, the emergency exits on the Broadway subway are designed and positioned in a way that can be integrated into future developments.

broadway corridor Broadway City Hall Crossroads subway construction

Preliminary conceptual artistic rendering of the subway entrance at the Crossroads building at the northwest corner of Broadway and Cambie Street. (City of Vancouver)

The City of Vancouver is currently conducting public consultation on the road design changes to Broadway’s subway station areas. An online survey is open until June 15, 2021.

Feedback will be used to provide finalized roadway designs for the station construction blocks to the provincial government and private contractor in Summer 2021. The road reconstruction is expected to occur in 2024.

If all goes as planned, the Millennium Line extension from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Station will open in 2025.

Broadway’s transformation is a component of the Broadway Plan, which is expected to reach a draft plan stage for city council’s review by the end of this year.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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