SkyTrain stations modern, safe, and accessible
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
The Evergreen Line, TransLink’s latest addition to SkyTrain service stations, is speeding up on completion. The track branches off the current ones, extending into Coquitlam with six new stops spread over 10.9 km, according to CBC. The line originates at VCC-Clark and turns off the Millennium Line track at Lougheed Town Centre, ending at LaFarge Lake/Douglas. This stop will primarily be of service to David Lam students and faculty, as well as patrons of Coquitlam Town Centre.
While touring the line with media, project director Amanda Farrell reported to News 1130 that the line was 80 per cent complete overall, with each specific station between 90 and 99 per cent complete. Plazas, parking spaces, and hubs are expected to be constructed around the areas after the specific stations are complete.
In a modernized update, the stations will be primarily enclosed in glass. Passengers waiting or travelling on trains will be able to see parking lots, the city, and mountains, whether standing on a platform or using escalators and elevators. The stations also feature lots of wood-based construction, adding an “earthy” feel to the stations.
In addition to being an aesthetic feature, the design emphasizes safety and visibility.
“It’s a design concept to support crime prevention so that goes to the glass, it goes to the line of sight, it goes to the wide spaces so that people feel safe and that they’re easy to see,” Farrell further explained to News 1130.
Escalators going both up and down will be featured at every single station. This is the first time TransLink has installed these as a priority at each station. Currently, few stations feature both directions—yet TransLink has indicated all future projects will feature both. This is a move to increase accessibility for passengers, particularly the growing senior population.
While six stations have been built to facilitate the line, two more have been allocated in designs if ridership warrants such construction: Queens Street in Port Moody, and Falcon Drive in Coquitlam.
Originally, the Evergreen Line was scheduled to be operational for this spring. However, its current projections estimate an opening for early 2017. This delay was announced by the BC Government on November 27. It is the second delay for the project, first announced on February 27 to be delayed to fall 2016. TransLink has pointed to tunnel burrowing issues for the main cause in delay. Construction of underground tunnels is expected to continue until summer 2016. The project is operating on a fixed cost of $1.43 billion, and these delays will not cost taxpayers anything, as any overflow in costs will instead be paid by the contractor, SNC Lavalin.
In addition to new station construction, Lougheed Town Centre and Commercial-Broadway are both receiving major upgrades to facilitate the increased ridership. Lougheed in particular will be receiving a third platform, allowing it to operate as a terminus and cross-line service between the Evergreen and Millennium Lines.
Expected ridership figures are 50,000 people a day in 2017, increasing to 70,000 by 2021. After completion, the entire SkyTrain track will be almost 80 km long, making it the longest fully automated rapid transit system in the world.