Tunnel Vision

How refreshing to see a story about transit that doesn’t juxtapose subways and Rob Ford in the same sentence. Oh, sorry. Vision Vancouver has created a petition to build support for the Broadway Subway, in keeping with their consistent support for improving public transit in Metro Vancouver, ahead of the upcoming municipal election.

A tunnelled Skytrain option (RRT) is the best option for improving transit on the extremely busy Broadway corridor, so it is promising to see Vision steadfastly focused on this option. Among the benefits:

  • Greatest number of additional weekday transit trips (54,000); 320,000 daily trips
  • Shortest travel time (19 min to UBC; 50% shorter than current B-Line)
  • Grade separated – faster than LRT and does not interfere with traffic
  • 100% spare capacity at 2041 ridership levels vs. 25% spare capacity with LRT

The 99 B-Line is maxed out at 55,000 riders per day and as has been oft-repeated, is the busiest bus route in North America – it is not possible to increase the frequency of buses any further. The status quo is not an option. When you consider all of the businesses and workplaces along the corridor, including Vancouver General Hospital, the improved accessibility to these locations has enormous economic, environmental, and social benefits.

Securing funding for this $3 billion project will be a challenge, but the benefits are well worth it. Here’s hoping that all parties (including the Provincial and Federal governments and citizens) get on board.