41 fresh ideas shared by the public on expanding public transit in Metro Vancouver

May 16 2019, 6:00 am

Over the span of less than two weeks, TransLink’s Transport 2050 public consultation website has already amassed over 500 ideas submitted by the general public on how Metro Vancouver’s public transit system can be improved and expanded.

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The public transit authority launched Transport 2050 earlier this month to provide the public with an opportunity to help mould the creation of its new 30-year regional transportation strategy, which will become the blueprint of the region’s next transit expansion plans beyond the current Mayors’ Plan — which includes SkyTrain extensions to UBC and Langley Centre.

As a part of the engagement process, TransLink’s new online platform allows the public to not only submit their ideas with ease but also view and comment on all of the ideas made by others respondents.

To date, respondents have requested SkyTrain extensions to every corner of the region.

One of the most repeatedly shared ideas was the extension of SkyTrain to the North Shore, but as of yesterday this idea has already moved one small step forward outside the parameters of Transport 2050, following the provincial government’s decision to launch a technical feasibility study for a fixed-link rapid transit link between Vancouver and the North Shore.

Many of the ideas shared are also either already under serious consideration or planned by TransLink, such as distance-travelled fares on SkyTrain, public washrooms for passengers at major transit hubs, the SFU Burnaby Mountain gondola, the conversion of the bus fleet to electric-battery vehicles, and extended late-night SkyTrain hours.

In no particular order, here is our list of 41 of the most fresh, unique, important, and/or no-brainer ideas submitted by the public to TransLink to date:

SkyTrain to everywhere

1. Build a Hastings Street SkyTrain line that could reach all the way to Burnaby Heights, as these areas of Vancouver and Burnaby are poorly served by transit connections.

2. Build more north-south SkyTrain lines; one route on Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby between Brentwood Town Centre Station and Metrotown Station and connect with the Hastings Line, and another route from Metrotown Station to either Bridgeport Station or Richmond-Brighouse Station.

3. Extend the Canada Line to South Richmond and Delta; extend the existing Canada Line or build a new SkyTrain line to serve South Surrey and Tswwassen Ferry Terminal.

4. Extend SkyTrain to the Fraser Valley.

Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension

Preliminary artistic rendering for the 152nd Street Station of the Fraser Highway SkyTrain extension. (TransLink)

5. Extend SkyTrain’s Millennium Line from Coquitlam Central Station to Port Coquitlam.

6.¬†Build a SkyTrain line along the north side of the Fraser River between New Westminster and UBC, with stops and connections to the new River District neighbourhood and the Canada Line’s Marine Drive Station in Vancouver. This will help shape development and will eventually lead to a flourishing riverfront.

7.¬†Extend the Millennium Line’s Broadway Extension into a “circle line” route after reaching UBC, with the route travelling to south campus and eventually along 41st Avenue to connect with the Expo Line at Joyce-Collingwood Station.

Improvements to SkyTrain

8. Build additional entrances for busy SkyTrain stations, such as a new north entrance onto Grandview Highway for Commercial-Broadway Station.

9. Add a new Canada Line station at West 16th Avenue in Vancouver.

10. Better wayfinding signage for SkyTrain stations.

11.¬†Add direct path connections that remain inside the fare paid zone at Waterfront Station for transferring passengers between the Expo Line and Canada Line, and a direct connection within the fare paid zone between the Expo Line’s Granville Station and the Canada Line’s Vancouver City Centre Station (via Vancouver Centre Mall).

12. Improve ventilation at King Edward Station so that passengers waiting for southbound trains are not hit by gale force winds when trains arrive.

13. Allow pets on SkyTrain in a single well-marked car.

14. Add a second platform at YVR Airport Station to provide more waiting capacity for all of the air passengers with luggage.

15. Add a parallel third track and/or fourth track to the Expo and Millennium lines to operate express trains.

Vancouver Central Waterfront Hub Framework

Artistic rendering of the transit concourse at Waterfront Station. (City of Vancouver)

16. Expand and redevelop Waterfront Station due to overcrowding.

17. As a general practice, stop value engineering transit infrastructure; historically, transit in Metro Vancouver has been poorly designed with decision-making dominated by accountants and engineers with a sprinkling of planners and a thumb on the scales from politicians.

New and improved commuter rail services

18. Big improvements for the West Coast Express: the West Coast Express needs to run all day, every day, in both directions, and with speed improvements.

19. Expand commuter rail services across the Lower Mainland, including Surrey, Langley, and as far as Abbotsford and Chilliwack; build a new commuter rail line along the Highway 1 median to provide the Fraser Valley with a speedy link to Metro Vancouver.

20. Start a commuter rail service from North Vancouver to Squamish and Whistler via the Sea-to-Sky corridor.

Much of the MAX Green Line LRT in Portland runs along Interstate 205. (TriMet)

Buses and streetcar

21.¬†Build the City of Vancouver’s planned downtown and False Creek streetcar network, including reviving the Olympic Line streetcar route operated during the 2010 Olympics between Olympic Village Station and Granville Island. Implement the plans for streetcar/LRT on the Arbutus Greenway.

22.¬†Implement a free tram/LRT zone in downtown Vancouver, just like Melbourne’s City Circle tram.

23. Eliminate curbside street parking on all major arterial roads to improve traffic flow, particularly for buses and other high-occupancy vehicles.

24. Start a new Horseshoe Bay B-Line bus service from Stadium-Chinatown Station in downtown Vancouver.

25. Convert the existing No. 44 express bus between UBC and Waterfront Station into a new B-Line service.

26. Remove closely spaced bus stops to improve the speed and reliability of bus services.

27. Introduce 24-hour bus routes or expand current NightBus infrastructure.

bus digital signage Brighton England

Bus stop with digital data board information sign for passengers in Brighton, England. (Shutterstock)

28. Install digital signage at major bus stops to indicate the real-time wait times for each bus that stops there (similar to the existing Main Street bus stop signage, and the planned digital signage for stops of the new 2019 B-Line routes).

29. Stop adding and get rid of the row seats facing inwards in the back of the buses, as these seats with shared legroom are a struggle for people with long legs.

Ferries, cycling, and roads

30.¬†Utilize the waterways for transit, following a ferry model like Sydney, which uses multiple passenger ferry routes; enable people to hop across Burrard Inlet by having passenger ferry terminals at Dundarave, Ambleside, North Shore auto mall, Main Street, and Deep Cove. Introduce a new SeaBus route from SkyTrain’s Moody Centre Station in Port Moody to Deep Cove, as there is currently no crossing between the Tri-Cities and the North Shore.

31. Build outdoor rooftop decks onto SeaBus to enhance the ferry service as a tourist attraction.

Sydney Circular Quay ferries

Ferries arriving and departing Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia. (Shutterstock)

32.¬†Build more “dedicated bike highways” — such as the Arbutus Greenway and the Central Valley Greenway — to make commuting by cycling easier and more accessible; build elevated bicycle highways, separated from traffic to provide very fast travel, and cover the path with a roof to protect it from the elements.

33. Bring back tolls or congestion pricing on bridges to discourage driving and generate revenue for maintaining transit.

34. Reduce or ban car access to Granville Island, which would allow for the growth of businesses and activities while increasing capacity for tourists and buses in the area.

35. Build a bridge from Boundary Road connecting Burnaby and Richmond to reduce congestion on the Knight Street Bridge and Queensborough Bridge.

36. Build a north-south freight vehicle expressway under Knight Street from Hastings Street (Port of Vancouver) to Marine Drive to take freight truck traffic, congestion, and pollution out of city streets.

Fare structure

37. Eliminate the Canada Line’s $5 Add Fare on Sea Island (Vancouver International Airport) as it only applies on one direction and is confusing to visitors. Instead, replace this with a new fare zone to charge riders in/out of YVR accordingly.

Vancouver International Airport YVR Airport Station Canada Line

Canada Line’s YVR Airport Station. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

38. Offer a new Class Pass fare; let teachers purchase a group pass for their class at a reduced cost so that they can take transit easily for field trips.

39. Add monthly/daily cap on the Compass Card, similar to London where charges stop when the daily total reaches the day pass amount or the monthly total reaches the monthly pass amount.

Transit-oriented developments

40. Increase residential density near SkyTrain stations, such as Nanaimo Station, 29th Avenue Station, Commercial-Broadway Station, and Renfrew Station, which all have low-density areas compared to other station areas in the region

41. Push municipal governments to increase density along bus routes or minor arterials, not just close to SkyTrain stations.

Planned densification in Burnaby’s Brentwood Town Centre area around SkyTrain’s Brentwood Town Centre Station and Gilmore Station. (SHAPE Properties)

To submit your ideas on how transit in the region can be improved and expanded, visit TransLink’s Transport 2050 website.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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