The $14 Billion Transit Plan
The provincial government has announced a massive plan, with lots of money, to increase the amount of public transit infrastructure in the province.
Of course, by “in the province” I mean $2.8 billion in bus improvements, with much of that going to Vancouver, Victoria, and Kelowna, and $10.3 billion to rapid transit in the Metro Vancouver area.
The key goal is to get the proportion of trips in Vancouver that use transit from 12% (today’s figure) to 17% by 2020.
This plan mostly appears to be what Translink has been planning for some time, only in fast forward. It offers the hope of decisive funding and dates to projects like the long-planned Evergreen Line to Coquitlam (though as far as I can tell, they’re still proposing this as an at-grade light-rail system, not a proper Skytrain-type rapid transit system; the difference is a big chunk of money, but a doubling of the travel times).
Seriously, I’m still hoping there’s time to reverse the Evergreen decision and plop Skytrain in there.
The announcement also rolls into the plan at least one project that seems to be finishing up nicely without being part of this plan: the Canada Line to Richmond and the airport.
The UBC and Surrey extensions are natural additions to the Expo and Millennium lines.
With those four bits in place, I think we’ll start to see something approaching real network effects with rapid transit in this city: two of these lines push into the suburbs to attach to new sources of population (and ones where the road network is at capacity), but the UBC and airport lines attach to new destinations, and I think that will help boost ridership tremendously.
This rapid transit plan, if it all gets built out, really offers a lot of very attractive all-rapid-transit trips to a large proportion of the region’s people.
CBC has their round-up coverage here.