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.
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