– Patrick Condon highlights cost of Broadway transit

The Straight

By Matthew Burrows

A senior researcher at the UBC Design Centre for Sustainability says that a proposed rapid-transit line along Broadway would be “the most expensive system we’ve had to date”.

Patrick Condon bases this on the provincial government’s 2008 Provincial Transit Plan. In it, the B.C. Liberals called for $2.8 billion for a new 12-kilometre rapid-transit line from Broadway Station to UBC.

“It’s about twice as expensive [per kilometre] as the Canada Line, and it’s about 15 times more expensive per kilometre than a system which, I think, shows a lot of promise, and that would be a European tram system,” Condon told the Straight by phone.

Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs called expanding the SkyTrain along Broadway a “city priority”.

“But I don’t think it can get ahead of the Evergreen project,” Meggs told the Straight. “I don’t think the regional consensus is there for Broadway until they have the Evergreen Line at hand.”

Meggs said he has no idea how much the Broadway project would cost. “We already have a high-speed line ending at the Millennium Line at VCC–Clark,” he noted. “It just makes sense to complete it somehow, either over to the Canada Line or, better yet, take it to Arbutus. It could be the hub of a future extension down the Arbutus corridor or over to UBC.”

Initially, Non-Partisan Association councillor Suzanne Anton told the Straight she didn’t want to get “embroiled” in a debate over whether SkyTrain expansion along Broadway should take priority over an Evergreen Line to Coquitlam.

“They both have to get built,” Anton said. “The Broadway line serves a need that’s already there, and once it was built, it would immediately start pumping operational dollars back into the system. In other words, it would be a net benefit to the system and not a net cost.”

At its Friday (September 25) meeting, the Metro Vancouver board will vote on a motion to advise TransLink that its 2010 10-year base plan, which calls for “Drastic Cuts”, is not in line with the region’s goals. The motion also states that TransLink’s upgrade and expansion program, which would require additional funds of up to $450 million per year, supports regional planning priorities.

“And I fully expect that it will be endorsed by Metro on Friday,” Meggs said.

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