New permanent staircase to Waterfront Station's SeaBus terminal opens

Aug 19 2019, 6:04 pm

An expansion and upgrade of the SeaBus terminal at Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver is substantially complete, now that an additional stairwell has been built on the east side of the ferry terminal.

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TransLink’s The Buzzer says the new staircase will open to the public on Tuesday, August 20.

Other completed improvements contained within this $17-million expansion and upgrade include a new elevator and an improved, covered entrance for passengers arriving by bike or the Helijet terminal on Waterfront Road.

seabus waterfront station

New expansion to the SeaBus terminal at Waterfront Station, August 2019. (TransLink)

The new staircase will also serve as an important functional purpose over the coming months, as the current escalators, now over 40 years old, between the covered overpass and terminal, are in need of replacement.

In order to undergo escalator installation work with new replacements that are heavier duty and capable of switching directions to better accommodate peak demand flows, the public transit authority says construction crews will need to close one old escalator set a time.

seabus waterfront station

New expansion to the SeaBus terminal at Waterfront Station, August 2019. (TransLink)

The descending escalators will be replaced first, and when complete will be set to the ascending direction, allowing crews to work on the old ascending escalators.

During the construction period, passengers catching the SeaBus can use the new staircase or elevator, while those leaving the ferry terminal can use the ascending escalator, elevator, or new staircase.

When the project reaches full completion, it will provide the terminal building with four upgraded escalators, two elevators (one additional and one replacement), and an upgrade of the Waterfront Road entrance.

TransLink is currently in the process of replacing 37 ageing escalators across its entire network, most notably the trio of original long escalators at SkyTrain’s Granville Station, which are slated to reopen sometime in 2020.

All three Canada Line stations in downtown are also seeing the addition of new escalators reaching the platform level. The new escalator at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station recently opened and has been set to the ascending direction, providing the platform with two ascending escalators that allow for the quick clearance of the platform.

seabus waterfront station

New expansion to the SeaBus terminal at Waterfront Station, August 2019. (TransLink)

Both ferry terminals at Waterfront Station and Lonsdale are built on floating concrete platforms that rise and fall with the changing tides. Earlier in the decade, previous renovation work on the terminals involved exterior re-cladding, re-roofing, and renovations to the public washrooms.

Starting on September 3, SeaBus will operate with 10 minute frequencies (up from 15 minutes currently) during weekday peak hours from 7 to 9:30 am and 3 to 6:30 pm. This is made possible by using an old, spare vessel, the Burrard Beaver, for regular service.

Later this year, TransLink is anticipated to launch a newly-arrived $32-million additional SeaBus vessel into service.

SeaBus sees an average weekday ridership of 20,000 boardings.

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