After more than three years of construction, a major capacity overhaul to SkyTrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station is set to fully open this Saturday, February 2.
Media were provided with an early preview of the station expansion this morning, while crews were in the process of completing remaining finishing touches.
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The project — billed as the largest SkyTrain station upgrade ever — centred around the construction of a new fifth platform for the Expo Line’s inbound direction towards downtown, on a small expropriated parcel of Safeway store property.
On the northern end of this new platform, there is a new additional wide pedestrian overpass that provides another way to reach the 99 B-Line westbound bus stop and Millennium Line platforms on the north side of the street.
When inbound Expo Line trains stop at the station, doors on both sides of the car will open, allowing passengers to embark and disembark from all car doors.
But to maximize the station’s new circulation and capacity design, Sany Zein, the Vice President of Infrastructure Management and Engineering at TransLink, said an upcoming campaign will aim to encourage riders to exit to their left (old centre platform) for transfers to the 99 B-Line and the right (new platform) for transfers to the Millennium Line.
“Whichever door you use, you can can get to all the destinations,” he said. “It is just a bit more direct for the Millennium Line through the new platform and the B-Line through the old platform.”
Future passenger flows
The side with a new platform includes an expanded ticketing concourse area, with the platform level accessed by two escalators, one staircase, and one elevator.
The new platform is also the first station on the Expo/Millennium Line system to receive new real-time next train electronic countdown signs; two of these double-sided electronic signs will be installed at every Expo Line and Millennium Line station by early-2020.
Pigeon mitigation elements have also been installed, including netting along the rooftop gap between the old and new platforms and spikes in areas the birds have been spotted congregating.
Other upgrades to the station include new in-station retail spaces, replacement of old metal mesh panels with glass panels, improved lighting, and a new major secure bike parkade with a capacity to hold over 70 bikes.
On the north end of the new pedestrian overpass, there are two escalators, one staircase, and one elevator that land over a widened Grandview Cut overpass that leads to the Millennium Line platforms.
This is the second upgrade performed for Commercial-Broadway Station in the last 15 years, as a smaller upgrade resulting in a new 10th Avenue entrance and other improvements were completed in time for the 2010 Olympics.
The latest work on the station cost $81 million, up from the original budget of $60 million in 2014.
However, the station capacity upgrades are necessary to not only address existing overcrowding levels but also to keep up with demand. Ridership has increased as a result of the Millennium Line’s Evergreen Extension, and it will surge in 2025 when the Broadway Extension to Arbutus Street opens and replaces the 99 B-Line.
Longer and more frequent trains will be dumping more passengers into the station very soon.
Zein says there are no plans at this time to build a sixth platform on the laneway on the west side of the Expo Line platforms that would allow all-door boarding for outbound Expo Line trains.
Currently, about 200,000 passengers pass through the station — the region’s busiest transit hub — on a daily basis, including 31,000 people transferring between the Expo Line and Millennium Line and another 20,000 transferring between both SkyTrain lines and the 99 B-Line.