– Saba Road buses drive residents to distraction

Richmond News

By Nelson Bennett

It’s not quite the Nightmare on Elm Street. But residents living in high-rises near the new Richmond-Brighouse Canada Line station say the sudden increase in bus traffic along Buswell and Saba roads are like a bad dream.

It’s a problem city hall and Coast Mountain Bus Company are working on fixing — at least temporarily.

“Saba Road is supposed to be a temporary solution,” says Derek Zabel, a spokesman for Coast Mountain Bus Company.

The opening of the Canada Line has resulted in bus stops being moved and buses rerouted. It also resulted in increased bus frequency.

Many buses now go down Buswell and Saba roads past a number of residential high-rises. The resulting noise is driving some residents to distraction.

The problem is particularly bad at 8100 Saba Road, where a new bus bay has resulted in early morning buses waking residents up with lurching stops and starts.

Some residents wonder why a bus loop that was promised when the Canada Line was under discussion has yet to be built. TransLink does have plans to build a bus loop just behind the Richmond-Brighouse Canada Line station. There’s just one hitch: It needs to relocate a Scotia Bank next to the Brighouse station before it can’t be built.

Transit authorities had no compunction about expropriating property from other businesses in Richmond and Vancouver for the Canada Line. But TransLink has decided that, in this case, it will not expropriate.

“It’s a bank with very well established clientele,” said TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie.

Transit authorities are trying to negotiate a relocation for the bank, Hardie said.

Asked how long that could take, Hardie said: “It could take a couple of years.”

In any case, a new bus loop may not necessarily mean less bus traffic along Saba and Buswell. In fact, Zabel concedes it may very well result in increased bus traffic down those streets.

Buses southbound along No. 3 Road would turn down Saba Road and into the bus loop.

If it’s any consolation, they would not be stopping and starting in front of residential high-rises, which is what tends to generate a lot of the noise complaints.

Zabel said Coast Mountain is aware of the problem of bus noise in the area and is working with the city on fixing it.

One possible solution might be to relocate a bus bay in front of 8100 Saba Road back to Cook Road, where it originally was.

While that would reduce noise on Saba Road, it would mean transit users would have an extra block to walk.

Zabel asks residents to be patient.

“We want to come up with a solution that the residents are going to be happy with,” he said.

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