The long-awaited bus loop for SkyTrain’s Richmond-Brighouse Station fully opened today with the introduction of several additional bus routes that will operate from the new facility.
There was a soft opening of the bus loop in the middle of October when two routes moved into the facility. The new facility, located immediately south of the station entrance, improves passenger convenience for transferring between the train and buses.
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Planning for the facility began in the late 2000s, as a feature to support the bus feeder system into the Canada Line. Construction on the bus loop reached completion earlier this year, but the opening was delayed due to the required construction work of the adjacent The Paramount redevelopment.
“Richmond-Brighouse is a very important transfer point on our system, with nearly 12,000 of our customers using the on-street bus exchange each weekday last year,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement.
“Centrally located in Richmond, this new bus loop improves the customer experience and will be able to serve a growing number of commuters over many years to come.”
A total of six routes are operating from the bus loop, including No. 402 Brighouse Station/Two Road, No. 404 Brighouse Station/Four Road, No. 406 Brighouse Station/Steveston, No. 408 Brighouse Station/Ironwood/Riverport, No. 414 Brighouse Station/Richmond Oval, and the N10 Richmond/Downtown NightBus.
All of the bus stops for these routes were previously located on No. 3 Road, requiring passengers arriving by train to cross the street and walk about a city block’s distance.
The relocated routes into the bus loop frees up space for other routes, currently located at bus stops a distance away, to be relocated closer to the station. The overall approach of reducing the size of the on-street bus exchange will also reduce traffic congestion on No. 3 Road, as buses that stop on the road use up one of the two traffic lanes in each direction.
TransLink has indicated the facility has space to accommodate future bus service expansion, including articulated buses, such as the planned RapidBus to Metrotown Station via the Knight Street Bridge.
The features of the facility include spacious waiting areas with large bus shelters, enhanced lighting, a sheltered HandyDART pick-up location, new bike lockers, new crosswalks across No. 3 Road to improve access between the bus loop and CF Richmond Centre, and other pedestrian connections such as a mid-block crosswalk across the bus loop.
There is also an acoustic wall on the east side of the facility to mitigate headlight glare and noise impacts from buses for the adjacent residences.
According to a City of Richmond report detailing the project’s development permit panel meetings in Summer 2019, the acoustic wall was added to address the concerns of the townhouse residents of the Emporio building to the north, which was completed in 2008 after the bus exchange plans were known.
In contrast, additional acoustic measures were designed into the adjacent Mandarin Residences building, completed in 2015.
Keltic Development’s under-construction The Paramount to the south is also designed with supplemental acoustic considerations, and the ground level of the north side of the building will have retail and restaurant spaces that activate the south side of the bus loop.
The acoustic wall was originally planned to be eight ft in height, but it was later increased to 12 ft to better address resident concerns. A row of trees is planted in front of the acoustic wall.
The report also notes buses can only enter and exit the bus loop from No. 3 Road. A fence on the eastern end of the bus loop blocks access from Buswell Street, but it is movable for emergency vehicles.
Beyond this fence, TransLink owns the 24,000-sq-ft lot at 6411 Buswell Street, which is currently occupied by a 1972-built, three-storey office building. There are no plans for redevelopment at this time.
The bus loop cost $8.5 million to construct, with 50% covered by the federal government, 33% by the provincial government, and 17% by TransLink. The City of Richmond provided an additional $2 million for the design.