The LRT vs SkyTrain debate has been raging on for a while now in the Lower Mainland. Urban Dweller kicked it off on the Buzz with his declaration of love for rapid underground transit to UBC. This was obviously going to draw the ire of many LRT supporters.
Now I know the cost is enormous, however, that is not reason enough for me to justify slow moving LRT down the Broadway corridor. You either build rapid transit or you keep it the way it is because LRT would be a minimal upgrade to trolley buses servicing Broadway right now.
Furthermore, I do understand the need for more transit in the ‘burbs, namely the Fraser Valley.
That is where the Evergreen Line comes into play. The Tri-Cities are now connected. Burnaby and New Westminister are well served. Richmond finally has rapid transit. Surrey will get an extension of the expo line either before or after the expansion to UBC. Furthermore, if a line is built along Broadway it will free up buses that can be deployed in the Fraser Valley.However, I ask is the Valley ready for rapid transit? I mean just look at how long it is taking Surrey to development upwards. Look at the facts, this past development boom produced what, 9 high rise buildings in all of Whalley and most are still under construction. That’s less than the entire Olympic Village, heck there were over a 100 buildings built (probably more) in Vancouver alone. Don’t even get me started on sprawling Langley and the gun toting cul–de-sacs of Abbey and Surrey because I can go on and on. These cities do not have the vision to accommodate rapid transit, let alone LRT.
Vancouver is already dense and it plans to add another 100,000 people in the city in the next 20 years. Last time I checked most of this will happen around Broadway, Canada Line, Downtown and East Fraserlands. Moreover the Broadway corridor is the 2nd largest employment centre in all of B.C. and the Metro Vancouver Regional Plan insists on adding density along Broadway. There is more I can say but I’ll save it for another day.
On the other hand perhaps it’s a if they built they will come. I just don’t see people wanting to give up their big ass houses and SUV’s anytime soon.
For more insight on the debate check out this article in the Vancouver Sun and this blog by Peter Ladner in response to the Sun article.