How far West needs to go the Skytrain?

September 25, 2009

Extension of the skytrain Millenium line up to UBC has been recently priced at $2.8Billion.
Chance to secure this funding seems absolutely very low, so let’s say you have only something in the tune of $1 billion. still a pretty reasonnable amount , not enough to prolonge the M line up to UBC, but certainly enough to have a sort of LRT (streetcar) from Commercial to UBC, but will it be the right solution? if not what is the best combination?

Sure, the M line needs to offer a decent connection with the Canada Line, meaning it needs to go at least up to Cambie, but should it go further West? and how far?

Everyone have his own opinion, like viewfromthe44, and usually Granville, Arbutus, Alma are potential names throwed into the debate. Mine is that it should go up to Granville street, and no farther for the time being.

grounding is:

Go up to Oak seems a necessity in order to offer a decent service to the VGH and more generally to the central Broadway corridor (second employment center after DownTown itself) from the Eastern suburbs.

Granville is still a major node in the transit system, connecting to numerous of local route like the 10,16,17 in addition of 9 offering fine and frequent servicing of the corridor west of Granville.

Employment density West of Granville tend to drop significantly, so the added value for commuter from the suburbs become limited, nevretheless it left the UBC out of the picture.

So what could happen West of Granville?
For people riding to/from the UBC area, 99B line should be still in service but shorted to Granville, and it is here the issue occurs. The 99B being already overcrowded, how it can handle more passengers?
If the room for growing capacity is limited (I will come back later on the issue) and can certainly not match the expected additional ridership, conssequence of the skytrain extension, how can the ridership be diverted on other lines?

If the skytrain goes too much west, the 84 and 41,43 (future 91B) routes will become not competitive, and will fail to relieve the 99B line (creating frustration of customer, so lot of marketshare…etc…)

If the Skytrain goes not enough much West, with 99B line connecting at cambie, the 99B line will be used by the Canada Line riders to go West, whether only to go to Granville reducing in consequence the capacity of the 99B to move traffic from the Millenium line to UBC.

So the line needs to go west enough of Canada line, to serve the central Broadway corridor, but not too much West, to keep the use of the 41th avenue bus route and rerouted 84 a compelling alternative, for rider coming from the Expo line, and canada line.

This pattern can be fairly achieved by prolonging the M line up to Granville, having the 84 bus starting from Main in connection with the Expo line, and servicing Olympic station enroute to UBC.

I have put the concept on the Google map below to help vizualising the idea

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5 Responses to “How far West needs to go the Skytrain?”

  1. viewfromthe44 Says:

    voony — I share your concern about a Broadway Skytrain line drawing too much ridership away from other lines — especially the 43.

  2. David Says:

    A streetcar operating in its own lanes from Commercial to UBC would have more than enough capacity for the job. With sufficient rolling stock it would have higher capacity than the Canada Line!

    The express buses would still have their place for residents of other corridors and for SkyTrain to UBC passengers wanting to make a stop along the way.

    If people decide the Millennium Line must be extended to meet the Canada Line then the least expensive corridor should be chosen and Olympic Village station should be seriously considered as the transfer point. That choice would be cemented by a decision to build the new Vancouver City Hall at False Creek instead of Broadway.

  3. Adrian Says:

    David, a streetcar with its own lanes is equivalent to a LRT. The question of where to put a OMC still exists, because there is simply no space anywhere along the corridor. Really, some sort of Millennium Line extension must occur. The question is, whether or not we should terminate it at UBC, Granville, or Cambie.

    Minimally, it should at least be extended to Granville, or maybe even Arbutus to make use of the future rail coridor. But Voony, I’m not so sure I agree with your concerns about taking away ridership of other bus routes. I mean, yes there will be somewhat of a decrease in ridership, but then again, 41 is running at capacity on some portions of the route already and alleviating it will definitely help. The same goes for the 49. And while 43 and 84 were implemented to alleviate congestion on the 99 B-Line, both these routes have attracted local ridership, not just passengers going to UBC.

  4. voony Says:

    What I say, is that if Skytrain goes to far west but not up to UBC, other corridor, like 41/43, 84 become not competitive in term of time, compared to the combination broadway skytrain + 99B with a transfer point west of Granville…

  5. Adrian Says:

    By the time this thing actually gets in service, I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case. It would marginally affect the routes you’ve listed already, but really not significantly.


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