– Is Vancouver’s shiny, new Canada Line worth the price?


Brian Hutchinson, National Post

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

VANCOUVER — Already boastful of their city’s natural beauty and its status as the world’s best in almost everything, Vancouverites have found reason to be even more insufferable.

On Monday, the city’s new light metro system was opened to the public. Completed on budget and some 100 days ahead of schedule, it is the latest in a roster of municipal mega-projects to launch this year, and accompanies new bridges, highways and Olympic Winter Games facilities.

The 19-kilometre Canada Line connects downtown Vancouver to suburban Richmond and to Vancouver International Airport, making it the first airport in Canada to be serviced directly with passenger rail. According to local braggadocios, this has caused a rash of “airport transit envy” in bigger, more mature centres such as Toronto and Montreal.

But building the $2.05-billion line was a long and frequently painful pursuit. There were many bumps en route. Some merchants along the line saw their businesses fail during a disruptive construction process that began in 2005. Worse, one construction worker died last year when the crane he was operating tipped and fell. And there are plenty of armchair transit experts who claim the Canada Line will not meet its target of 100,000 passengers a day by 2010.

National Post

bhutchinson@nationalpost.com      Full Story

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