Public opinion split on TransLink's future rapid transit expansion: Transport 2050

Jun 16 2021, 1:56 pm

Metro Vancouver residents appear to be divided over a “quality vs. quantity” approach for the region’s next long-term rapid transit expansion priorities.

Preliminary results for TransLink’s latest Transport 2050 public consultation conducted earlier this spring show 46% of survey respondents preferring the Network A approach of more SkyTrain expansion — faster, grade-separated transit that does not cause road congestion, better reduces car use and allows for pedestrian-friendly streets.

Another 49% of respondents prefer Network B of surface-based rapid transit, specifically bus rapid transit (BRT) on its own exclusive right-of-way by repurposing existing road space. Respondents said they felt Network B would serve a larger area of the region, provide better value for investment, be a better use of road space, and that it would be more accessible and convenient for more people.

TransLink also commissioned a third party to conduct a representative public opinion poll, which generated results aligning with the Transport 2050 survey. Over 5,000 people participated in this consultation.

During the consultation, TransLink stated for the same budget, Network A could theoretically provide 100 km of additional SkyTrain and 100 km of LRT and BRT, while Network B could offer 50 km of SkyTrain and 350 km of BRT.

translink transport 2050 network A

Transport 2050’s Network A option of more SkyTrain, with some LRT and BRT. (TransLink)

translink transport 2050 network B

Transport 2050’s Network B option of less SkyTrain, with more LRT and BRT. (TransLink)

Both network options include potential SkyTrain extensions from Arbutus to UBC, along Hastings Street from downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale in North Vancouver via the Second Narrows, and along Willingdon Avenue between Brentwood Town Centre and Metrotown Station in Burnaby.

Network A’s potential additional SkyTrain routes include along 41st Avenue from UBC to Joyce-Collingwood Station in Vancouver, King George Boulevard from Surrey Central Station to Newton, and a short extension from Coquitlam Central Station to downtown Port Coquitlam.

Instead of building Network A’s additional SkyTrain routes, Network B would potentially offer BRT along Vancouver’s major east-west corridors of King Edward Avenue, 41st Avenue, 49th Avenue, and Marine Drive, as well as a grid-like BRT network across Surrey.

TransLink’s survey also found that 79% of survey respondents and 64% of poll respondents supported Transport 2050’s idea of “people-first streets” that promote active transportation, street vibrancy, and lower car use.

Transport 2050 also gauged public opinion on how transportation in the future could change from the adoption of automated vehicles. TransLink suggested the possibility of automated buses, shuttles, and shared vehicles.

The survey showed 57% of respondents and 43% of poll respondents supported moves that would adopt automated vehicle technology.

TransLink will release the full draft summary report on this latest Transport 2050 public consultation over the coming weeks.

The feedback received will be used to develop a draft 30-year regional transportation strategy that outlines specific corridors, routes, and modes for rapid transit projects. This will go through a third and final round of public consultation in Fall 2021.

The final plan will be reviewed by TransLink’s Mayors’ Council for approval and adoption in early 2022.

After the future completion of the Millennium Line Broadway Extension to Arbutus and the Expo Line Fraser Highway Extension to Langley, Metro Vancouver will have completed its rapid transit priorities outlined by the region’s previous long-term transportation plan made in the early 1990s, which also included the original Millennium Line, Millennium Line Evergreen Extension, and Canada Line.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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