New pedestrian bridge to connect SkyTrain's Metrotown Station with Metrotown mall

May 7 2019, 9:29 am

Thousands of passengers who use Metrotown Station on a daily basis will benefit from a new pedestrian overpass that directly connects the SkyTrain station with Metropolis at Metrotown shopping mall and Station Square.

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After many years of uncertainty over whether a new replacement overpass will be constructed, the City of Burnaby has confirmed the project in its 2019-2023 Capital Plan by allocating funding for the project.

But the question remains on when exactly it will be completed.

The municipal government’s engineering department has set aside $1.25 million from its 2019 budget towards the walkway, with further expenditures of $1 million in 2020, $7.5 million in 2021, and an additional $7.5 million in 2022.

Over the course of four years, the combined budgets create a total municipal project cost of $17.25 million, and this cost likely includes demolishing the existing, disconnected structure.

However, a recent city staff report also notes that a portion of the 2019 funding allocated for the walkway will be redirected to a water main project, given that the overpass project is not expected to begin this year.

SkyTrain Metrotown Station pedestrian overpass

Artistic rendering of the renovations to SkyTrain’s Metrotown Station with a pedestrian overpass connection. (TransLink)

Artistic rendering of the renovations to SkyTrain’s Metrotown Station with a pedestrian overpass connection. (TransLink)

While TransLink spearheaded the recently completed renovation of Metrotown Station, at a cost of $55.5 million, with funding assistance from the provincial and federal governments, these station upgrades did not include a replacement overpass, as this component was to be led and funded by the municipal government.

Furthermore, the existing, disconnected overpass is owned and maintained by Metropolis at Metrotown.

SkyTrain Metrotown Station pedestrian overpass

Artistic rendering of the renovations to SkyTrain’s Metrotown Station with a pedestrian overpass connection. (TransLink)

SkyTrain Metrotown Station pedestrian overpass

Location of the where a pedestrian overpass would connect to SkyTrain’s Metrotown Station. (Google Maps)

Based on previously released design concepts, a new replacement overpass would be positioned with the centre of the station structure – just west of the old overpass location, closer to Station Square.

It would connect with the mezzanine level of the new centre stationhouse, which is an entrance outfitted with three elevators and a staircase – no escalators.

And because the walkway ends inside the mezzanine level, which is a fare paid zone, it is conceivable that the project cost also includes outfitting an area – possibly the shopping mall end of the walkway – with fare gates and ticket vending machines.

Ever since the permanent closure and disconnection of the old overpass in late-2016, all passengers have been required to descend to street level and use the crosswalk across Central Boulevard to reach the shopping mall and the bus loop.

As the surreal volumes of these at-grade passenger movements have created some conflicts with vehicles in the area, particularly bus traffic, an overpass could be highly beneficial for public safety, funnelling crowds into public spaces properly designed to handle significant foot traffic, and bus service reliability.

SkyTrain Metrotown Station pedestrian overpass

The renovated SkyTrain Metrotown Station and the old, disconnected overpass. (Google Maps)

But the station improvements have also dispersed the passenger volumes across three of the new station entrances. In addition to the centre stationhouse, the rebuilt Metrotown Station has two new entrances on either of its ends – the west stationhouse and the east stationhouse – with four escalators each, including escalators that are some of the highest in Metro Vancouver.

Previously, before the renovations, Metrotown Station had just one staircase, one up escalator, and one elevator for its 50,000 daily train passengers – one of the busiest stations on the SkyTrain network.

The adjacent bus loop, one of the busiest in the region, also sees 25,000 bus passengers per day.

Metrotown Station SkyTrain

Metrotown Station’s new east stationhouse with four escalators opened on March 19, 2018. (TransLink)

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