Laying down tracks

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Broadway Extension begins engagement phase with locals

By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter


In the thick of traffic, the SkyTrain is perhaps the most effective way to get to and from class without a hitch.

With the Evergreen Extension hot off the TransLink drawing board, transit goers are looking for the next expansion into an ever-growing rapid transit system. The seven-month old Evergreen Extension has shaved countless hours off of Douglas College students’ commutes, and the next expansion looks to do the same for those attending UBC.

Recently, TransLink and the City of Vancouver invited the public to several open houses along the Broadway corridor to discuss the long-awaited Millennium Line Broadway Extension project. The project aims to provide students an efficient commute to their institutions and serve as a direct underground connection between the Millennium and Canada Line by cutting through the most congested parts of Broadway.

Several poster boards were on display at the open house, breaking down the logistics for the design of the project, and hoping to gain public feedback. Along the six kilometres to be tunneled under Broadway, six underground stations will be placed along major intersections. The extension aims to take only 10 minutes from Commercial-Broadway Station to Arbutus (the terminus station), cutting half the time off of the current B-Line.

TransLink promises the public that the underground SkyTrain will be the ideal form of transportation, with the operating costs lower than compared to an above-ground SkyTrain, such as the majority of the Evergreen Extension.

Back in Fall 2016, the Mayors Council approved Phase One of the 10 Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transportation. The engagement process is currently taking place, during which TransLink identifies potential construction impacts, and opens up to opinions on design for potential stations.

Feedback will be given on whether there should be such things as public bike shares, public art, or street furniture in the surrounding area.

Once fully funded, the construction will take five to six years to complete. The City of Vancouver hopes to minimize impact along the Broadway corridor, but the project guarantees that there will be a busy construction environment around Great Northern Way and Arbutus, the terminus stations.

The Great Northern Way area is the hub of the Millennium Line Broadway Extension. This area, beside VCC-Clark SkyTrain Station, will have an 800-metre elevated walkway and an entrance leading underground into the Great Northern Way Station.

Arbutus Station will lie on the opposite end of the Broadway Extension as a transfer between the Millennium Line and the 99 B-Line bus service to UBC. According to the display boards in the open house, “a similar number of 99 B-Line buses are expected to serve the Arbutus area (20 per hour) with increased service compared to Commercial-Broadway Station.”

Businesses along the Broadway corridor have yet to discover how construction will affect their livelihoods, a situation similar to what took place during the Canada Line expansion. Notably, pedestrians and cyclist using the Arbutus Greenway are expected to be affected by detours.