The wheels are finally in motion for a pair of hotly anticipated Metro Vancouver mass transit projects.
TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says consultation will begin next week on a light rail system for Surrey, and the Broadway subway.
Desmond made the announcement flanked by Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, federal Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkenson, and BC Liberal cabinet minister Andrew Wilkenson as a part of an update on phase one of the Mayors’ 10-year transit plan.
Light rail consultation will begin Tuesday, January 24, while Subway consultation kicks off Saturday January 28.
As currently envisioned, says Hepner, phase one of the light rail project would run from 72nd Ave. and King George through Surrey Central, before bending east on 104th Ave. to 152nd Ave. in Guilford.
“The LRT project in Surrey, and Langley, we chose the L Line to connect both city centre to Guildford to Newton; that puts about two hundred and some thousand people within a five minute walk to rapid transit.”
A future phase two would run southeast along Fraser Highway to Langley.
The proposed subway phase one would extend from VCC station west to Arbutus and Broadway.
Desmond says a future phase two would continue to UBC, but couldn’t give a timeline.
“We will eventually get to UBC; I’d say that’s probably a good chance…when? I don’t know.”
Hepner says design work is now underway for phase two of the 10-year plan, but that funding questions remain critical.
Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkenson says the feds want to see the project move forward.
“From the federal government’s perspective, we’re waiting for the mayors to come forward with a detailed plan, obviously this type of proposal fits very clearly within the purview of what it is we are supporting with respect to the infrastructure project, so I would see strong support for phase 2.”
And on the provincial side, BC Liberal MLA Andrew Wilkenson expressed a similar sentiment.
“On behalf of the provincial government, the groundwork is already underway for phase 2. Once the picture has crystalized and the plan is clear, there will be the usual engagement between the three levels of government to sort out the funding arrangement.”
On top of new project announcements, Desmond says TransLink is looking to boost the frequency of service across a number of parts of the existing system, with the equivalent of 185,000 bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus seats per week being added.
He says it will be doubling daytime SeaBus service on Sundays and holidays so that the vessels run every 15 minutes, and will increase Canada Line service during peak hours.
More frequent Expo, Millennium, and Evergreen line trains are also planned during mid-day, early evenings, and weekends.
With files from Emily Lazatin