Activist Mel Lehan says SkyTrain bad for West Broadway


Vancouver City Council has scheduled a special meeting of its planning and environment committee for tomorrow (January 22nd) at 9:30 am to hear from speakers on their 23-page Rapid Transit Principles for the Broadway Corridor and the UBC Line Rapid Transit report. Kitsilano community activist Mel Lehan will be there with bells on.

Matthew Burrows of the Georgia Straight reported today that Lehan believes that any transit expansion planned for the Broadway corridor should be “safe, friendly, and affordable” but is more concerned about the cost.

Last September, UBC Design Centre for Sustainability senior researcher Patrick Condon told the Georgia Straight that the $2.8 Billion the province pencilled into its 2008 Transportation Plan for a 12-kilometre rapid-transit line from Broadway Station to UBC would make it “the most expensive system we’ve had to date”.

So, readers – who’s for and against as SkyTrain line to UBC along West Broadway?

Last modified: January 21, 2010

17 Responses to " Activist Mel Lehan says SkyTrain bad for West Broadway "

  1. Ian says:

    I’m strongly for it. Getting the crowded smoggy 99 buses off of the street will be much better. I fear for the construction, as it likely can’t be done the same way they did Cambie and will have to tunnel. Hopefully they find the money eventually.

    I’ve also heard rumours about a streetcar line from Granville Island through Arbutus if the trial Olympic Line is successful. Not quite as good for commuting, but it would be great for tourism.

  2. Louis says:

    I’m originally from Paris, and I really miss the subway.
    So I’m all for a new Skytrain line : the more connections there are between the lines, the faster and more convenient it will be.

    That said, I think I agree with Mel Lehan :
    A new Skytrain line would be an improvement over the current bus lines, but is it really vital?
    Wouldn’t it be wiser to spend that money on something really important?

    I mean… sure, we complain about the bus not being convenient.
    But once there is a Skytrain line, we will complain about it too.
    I have never seen a city where people are 100% satisfied of their public transportation.

  3. Graham King says:

    Strongly in favor. Mass transit always seems expensive up front, but it has a huge and very long term value. Parts of the London Underground are over 100 years old.

    Has any city every _regretted_ installing a high speed transport link?

  4. Jayne says:

    Very much in favour of a Sky train/ Subway system to UBC. As a pedestrian the B-lines are terrifying and dangerous; as a short distance but regular commuter I love them. The time has come for Vancouver to pony up and commit to frequent and reliable transportation along the Broadway corridor.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My fingers are crossed for a grade-level streetcar line… Cheaper, isn’t it? And not the eyesore a skytrain line would be.

  6. outriding says:

    The streetcar proposal is financially attractive, but where would the track run? Removing two lanes of Broadway would drive too much parking and traffic to the neighbouring residential streets.
    Running a Canada-line-esque subway system would be nice for operation, but we have to learn from the Cambie experiment.

    I’m 100% in favour of the expansion from Commercial to UBC. While that study continues – I want to voice concerns about the traffic levels on W10th from MacDonald to Alma. Vehicles travel way too fast, and are unaware of the pedestrian cross walks. Remove the thoroughfare and force the traffic Broadway where it was destined in the first place.

  7. Bill Barilko says:

    A Canada Line like monstrosity down Broadway would destroy the neighbourhood in that regard Mel is 100% correct.

    The fact is that any line to UBC must line up behind the Evergreen Line to the northeast sector of Greater Vancouver this is something proponents of the line to UBC want everyone to forget, money is not going to drop out of the sky any time soon.

    They-the UBC line proponents-want you to forget that the northeast sector is where the most population growth has happened/will happen in years to come not a few exclusive towers @ UBC.

    It would be cheaper to buy every freshman UBC student a new car upon enrolment than build a rail line out there.

    To the newbie who wonders about the old rail line up Arbutus, that battle was fought/lost years ago there’ll never be anything except a bike trail/some gardens on that trail to nowhere.

  8. Rob says:

    @ Bill Barilko – The offer still stands, we’d love for you to write some blog posts on in addition to your comments.

  9. Brigitte says:

    I am absolutely in favour of better transit options along Broadway between Commercial and UBC, however I would not find the Skytrain an improvement. A Brussels-, Istanbul- or Grenoble-style streetcar seems to me like a very reasonable option, and it can actually be integrated with car traffic to some extent.

  10. Rail car says:

    How would a street level rail car be much different from a trolly bus? (Other than the need to lay rail)

    A below ground “sky train” similar to Cambie seems like the best (but most expensive) solution.

  11. Ron says:

    Extend the SkyTrain down West Broadway to UBC.
    UBC is one of the biggest traffic generators in the region – and yes, the UBC Line is a “regional” line, not just a neighbourhood line.

    For those concerned about density – it will come. Geographically, the West Side of Vancouver is close to downtown. Should density be concentrated close to downtown or be forced to sprawl out into the Fraser Valley? Look at any large city – London or Paris (picture a view from the Eiffel Tower) – do you see any single family houses for miles and miles? Didn’t think so.

  12. Bill Barilko says:

    Vancouver is not London nor Paris nor will it ever be a mega city.

  13. voony says:

    “the most expensive system we\’ve had to date”: are you sure?

    What about the PortMann bridge/Hw1 ticket alone?

    Anyway people have not to consider upfront cost only, they have to consider the benefit/cost equation.

    Answering your question, it seems that extending Skytrain to connect the Millenium line with the Canada line is a no Brainer…after we can still discuss how far west of Cambie the skytrain can goes…

  14. thompson says:

    no way you realy think? in so against

  15. NC says:

    $2.8 Billion budget on a single 12 km line!! You must be kidding. That budget would blanket the city with fast, efficient, and pleasant street cars.

    I’ll guess that those who have commented here in favour of skytrain style transit, are really just in favour of improved rapid transit, have little to no experience with the various options on the table, don’t know how effective and pleasant street cars are, and how extensive and thorough a system we could have for the cost of just a single subway/skytrain style line.

    After extensive experience travelling Europe’s major cities on an ongoing basis I am strongly in favour of a tram/street car line down Broadway, and around the core of the city for that matter.

    Copenhagen, Geneva, Zurich, Munich, and others of similar scope and scale to Vancouver, all have trams that work well, deliver people to stops a convenient distance apart, and contribute to the ambience of the neighbourhoods.

    Don’t agree? Do your own due diligence. Spend a few weeks in Europe’s very people friendly cities and see for yourself. It’s an important enough decision for the future of the city.

  16. Kits resident says:

    An extention of the mellenium from VCC to UBC is the best option.It will eliminate 3 bus routes like 99, 84 and the that new on on 16th avenue. Less buses will mean cleaner air and less noise for kits residents. There might be less cars too as it would be faster to travel by underground.

  17. Paulo says:

    Whether it’s SkyTrain or LRT, SOMETHING has to be done. Buses are at capacity, are dirty, result in motion-sickness-inducing stops and starts, and are overall a miserable commuting experience.

    Tunnelled SkyTrain to UBC won’t be built for the next 20 years for the reasons that others have pointed out.

    The best option it to use grade-level LRT/streetcar with dedicated right-of way.

    I think the loss of a driving lane is a minor issue, really. Most people use 10th/12th to/from UBC vs Broadway. One issue that would have to be tackled is intersections…I think that the LRT option would indeed require that many of the minor “through” intersections across Broadway be eliminated, which of course has the positive side-effect of improving traffic flow in those areas by eliminating left-turns and red-lights

    – Better and faster than buses
    – 1/10 the cost, freeing up money to traffic projects elsewhere
    – Could be built by 2020
    – Less construction disruption than tunnel
    – More local stops
    – Allows for streetscape improvements to be made