Public washrooms urged for Broadway Subway stations

May 12 2021, 6:59 pm

Accessible public washrooms should be a feature of the stations for SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Broadway Extension upon opening day in 2025, says Green Party city councillor Michael Wiebe.

The nearly-finalized designs for the subway project sets aside space for universally accessible public washrooms at Broadway-City Hall Station and Arbutus Station. These spaces will be outfitted with washrooms by TransLink in the future, when funding is made available for their construction and operation.

The remaining four new stations will have single-occupancy washrooms accessible from public areas of the stations, but only with the assistance of a SkyTrain attendant, similar to the existing procedure on the SkyTrain network.

But in a motion that will be discussed by city council next week, Wiebe writes that all new stations should include universally accessible, public gender-neutral washrooms.

He is also taking issue with the number of elevators in the stations. Only Broadway-City Hall Station and Arbutus Station will have paired elevators reaching every level of the station. The inclusion of a secondary elevator is seen as necessary to provide additional capacity and redundancy whenever elevators are out of service for maintenance.

Oak-VGH Station is the only station designed for the future inclusion of additional elevators.

vgh oak station broadway subway

VGH-Oak Station on the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension (Broadway Subway). (Government of BC)

broadway-city hall station

Broadway-City Hall Station on the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension (Broadway Subway). (Government of BC)

However, all stations will have dual escalators reaching every level — both up and down escalators. This dual escalator standard for both directions began with the Evergreen Extension, and continued with the recent Expo Line station retrofits and the design of the Canada Line’s future Capstan Station.

The inclusion of accessible public washrooms for the new stations has been brought up in the past by city council, the city’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, and the city’s Seniors’ Advisory Committee.

TransLink will operate the subway as a continuous segment of the Millennium Line, but the provincial government is responsible for the design and construction of the project. Site preparation and demolition is currently underway for the start of major station construction activities this summer. Tunnel boring is scheduled to begin next year.

There are plans for public washrooms across the public transit system, eventually. In 2018, TransLink’s Mayors’ Council approved a long-term strategy of implementing public washrooms at transit facilities, starting with high-traffic stations and bus exchanges.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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