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TransLink's alternatives for transit on Broadway corridor to UBC

I asked Jeff Busby, the project manager for TransLink’s Broadway Corridor public input process, which of the alternatives he favoured. “I just want the public to have a strong understanding of the tradeoffs between the alternatives," he said. "They range in price from $300 million to $3 billion and each option has strengths and weaknesses. It will help us if the public takes the time to consider what those are. We were worried that the design information might be too technical, but we’ve had a great response both in number of people of responding and in the constructive comments they’ve given.”

TransLink has conducted four very well attended open houses. (The open house last Wednesday had over 150 people). TransLink continues to welcome public comments on the design of seven transit alternatives down the Broadway corridor to UBC until April 21. The TransLink website identifies and explains the alternatives and comments may be made online.

More than 50,000 people ride the 99B-Line every day. Two thousand people have to wait for a second bus every morning.  Usage is expected to increase by 30% by 2040. Project partners’ goals may increase this: TransLink wants to double bus ridership by 2020 and UBC wants to eliminate all green house gases by 2050. Other partners include the Endowment Lands and the City of Vancouver.

This comment period pertains to the second phase of three. Phase one identified all possible alternatives. Phase Two narrows it down to the seven most likely. Phase Three will be the time for selection of the alternatives by TransLink and the Ministry of Transportation. Dividing funds between the Broadway corridor and the needs of other places in the Metro region such as Surrey will be a major factor in that decision.

For this phase, Phase Two, TransLink wants to know from members of the public if they agree with the design assumptions and whether TransLink should change anything about the design of each alternative, such as the alignment (tunnel, street level and placement in the street, elevated), station location and how road space is shared with other users for the street level alternatives. It will use comments on the designs to finalize those designs.  

TransLink analyzed the seven alternatives through six lenses or “accounts.” Each alternative is ranked for each account and within each account you can find the factors considered in that ranking. The accounts include: economic development, environment, financial, social and community, transportation and urban development.The seventh account, deliverability, will be based on public comment from this phase and be included in the final description of alternatives. This will be made public at the end of this year, with another opportunity for comment.

A brief summary of the alternatives follows, in order of greatest GHG reductions with an eye to the Evaluation Summary. Given “Options A and B” within three of the alternatives, there are ten possible design alternatives, using buses, light rail (operates at street level with its own right of way, usually in the center of the street) and rail rapid transit (almost entirely in a tunnel like the Sky Train’s Canada Line).

Rail Rapid Transit Alternative Option B:

This Sky Train extension runs through a tunnel all the way to UBC. It originates at the Vancouver Community College-Clark station of the Millenium Line. It is rated “very good” in the economic development, environment, social and community and transportation accounts. It would provide the most emissions reductions at 316 kilo-tonnes GHG over 30 years. It is rated “poor” in the financial account (as are six other options). One reason it rates higher than all the other alternatives in the transportation account is that it is expected to appeal to non-transit users. This could help Tranlink reach its ridership goals and UBC reach its zero GHG goals.  It would also be highly reliable and could expand to meet increasing demand.  

Combination Alternative 1:

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