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Broadway SkyTrain extension

Commuters on a crowded bus on Broadway

The Transportation 2040 Plan identified rapid transit for the Broadway Corridor as the City’s number one transportation priority, and one of the most significant infrastructure investments for the region’s future.

Broadway is North America’s busiest bus corridor, with over half a million passengers passed by every year. Almost 50 per cent of the trips to the corridor begin outside of Vancouver. The Broadway Corridor is British Columbia’s largest business district after Downtown and connects jobs and innovation centres within Metro Vancouver including Vancouver General Hospital and UBC.

Related projects and policies

Recent developments with this project

Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation release the recommended ballot for the regional transportation investment plan

December 11, 2014 – The Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation released its recommended referendum question and a regional funding proposal on their Transportation and Transit Plan to cut congestion by improving major roads and existing transit service.

The plan improves transit service throughout the region, including rapid transit along the Broadway Corridor between Commercial Drive and UBC. The first phase of the project is a tunneled extension of the Millennium Line to Arbutus Street.

Vancouver City Council has a policy to oppose cut and cover construction along Broadway.

Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation release a visionary regional transportation investment plan for Metro Vancouver

June 12, 2014 – The Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation  release Regional Transportation Investments - A Vision for Metro Vancouver. The plan improves transit service throughout the region including rapid transit along the Broadway Corridor between Commercial Drive and UBC, with the first phase of the project a tunneled extension of the Millennium Line to Arbutus Street. 

The Mayors’ Council Plan includes a tunneled alignment along Broadway for the SkyTrain extension. Learn more:

Documents

Report and studies

TransLink’s UBC Line Rapid Transit Study evaluated over 200 potential rapid transit options for Broadway. The study found that a Millennium Line SkyTrain extension in a tunnel was the highest ranked option in every category. View the UBC Line Rapid Study findings and documents about the latest on the Broadway SkyTrain extension on the TransLink website:

Related plans and policies

Rapid transit in the Broadway Corridor has long been considered a key component of the region's transportation future, and is referenced in both City and regional strategic planning documents, including:

  • Transport 2021 (1993)
  • The Vancouver Transportation Plan (1997)
  • The Vancouver-UBC Area Transit Plan (2005)
  • The Provincial Transit Plan (2008)
  • Transport 2040 (2008)
  • Vancouver's Rapid Transit Principles for the Broadway Corridor (2010)
  • Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy (2011)

Beyond the B-Line

In 1999, TransLink and the City of Vancouver jointly funded and directed a study exploring rapid transit options in the Broadway Corridor. Alternatives were compared using a variety of factors, including customer service, cost effectiveness, and environmental and community impacts. Based on the study results, the City and TransLink recommended that the Millennium Line be extended in an underground tunnel west to Granville with a rapid bus connection to UBC.

Since then, ridership in the corridor has grown even faster than expected, due to job and population growth on the corridor, innovative programs such as U-Pass, and overall regional transit growth.

Project details

The Mayors’ Council Plan for regional transportation investment identifies a SkyTrain extension in a tunnel between VCC-Clark Station and a new station at Arbutus and Broadway.

Why extend the SkyTrain along Broadway?

  • TransLink’s UBC Line Rapid Transit Study found that a Broadway SkyTrain extension is the highest ranked transportation alternative in all categories.
  • The first phase of the SkyTrain extension would travel from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus in 10 minutes. When the second phase of the extension to UBC is complete, the trip from VCC-Clark Station and UBC would take 19 minutes. 
  • SkyTrain is a driverless system and has the lowest operating costs are lowest on a per kilometre and per passenger basis than other transportation alternatives.
  • A SkyTrain extension would attract the most number of new regional transit trips, and would provide travel between Coquitlam Centre and UBC or Downtown Vancouver or Vancouver International Airport without a transfer.
  • A SkyTrain extension would reduce the need for transfers at Commercial-Broadway Station—the region’s biggest transit bottleneck.

Roles and responsibilities

TransLink’s UBC Line Rapid Transit Study was a multi-year technical study that identified and evaluated rapid transit alternatives for the Broadway corridor from Commercial Drive to UBC. The study was jointly funded by the Provincial Government and TransLink. These agencies are ultimately responsible for the final decision. 

The City of Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, UBC, the University Endowment Lands, and the Musqueam First Nation were directly involved as partner agencies. Specifically, City of Vancouver staff:

  • Ensured that the City’s full range of interests are identified and addressed in the study
  • Provided input for the technical analysis of the alternatives and review findings
  • Helped direct and inform the public process
  • Advanced City-endorsed planning principles for rapid transit
  • Participated in all subcommittees established for the study.

Vancouver’s rapid transit themes and principles

The following themes and principles will guide City staff in the planning and implementation of this rapid transit line. City Council unanimously approved these principles for the Broadway Corridor and UBC Line Rapid Transit Study on April 22, 2010. 

Environmental sustainability

  1. Significantly support greenhouse gas reduction and related environmental targets and objectives established by the Province, regional agencies, and the City.'

Financial affordability

  1. Provide an affordable, cost-effective, and timely rapid transit solution for both construction and operation over the long term.

Transportation

  1. Provide transit capacity, service quality, and system resilience to support existing and future transit targets and objectives.
  2. Integrate rapid transit with walking, cycling, and local transit, while accommodating goods movement needs.

Urban development

  1. Serve existing and planned land use including major destinations, and help shape future land use policies including higher densities where appropriate.
  2. Provide a consistently high standard of urban design and amenity, and significantly improve the public realm for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.

Economic development

  1. Promote a diverse, healthy and green economy, improve local access to major commercial and institutional destinations, and support the concentration of jobs on Central Broadway.

Social, community, and business

  1. Address the needs of local and regional transit users, neighbours and adjacent communities, and businesses.
  2. Minimize and mitigate construction and operation impacts.
  3. Provide opportunities for meaningful engagement of stakeholders and the general public.

Background

A growing regional corridor

Broadway is a regionally important and growing corridor.

  • Over 85,000 people and 100,000 jobs are located in the Broadway Corridor with 30% more people and jobs expected by 2041
  • The number of people who live or work around Central Broadway’s B Line bus stops are comparable to that of Metrotown Station, the busiest rapid transit station in the region outside of Vancouver
  • Central Broadway – between Main Street in the east and Burrard Street in the west – is the second largest employment centre in the province after Downtown Vancouver.  Half of all people working in Central Broadway come from outside of Vancouver
  • Regional destinations like Vancouver General Hospital (the largest hospital in the province) and UBC (Western Canada’s largest university), lack sufficient connection to the regional rapid transit network and other important regional destinations. 49% of all westbound B Line passengers are destined for Central Broadway (including VGH) with 38% continuing on to UBC

The needs of today and tomorrow

Transit services in the corridor should handle the number of passengers today and accommodate long-term growth.

  • There are over 110,000 transit trips on Broadway buses every day. This is comparable to the amount of people using the Canada Line today.
  • Travel times on the 99 B Line are unpredictable which discourages transit use in the corridor (25-45 minutes depending on time of day).
  • Transit service on Broadway is at capacity for much of the day. Even with conventional bus services every 2 to 3 minutes, over 2,000 passengers are left behind at Commercial Broadway Station every morning.

Environmental targets and economic growth

Improved transit is key to realizing ambitious provincial, regional and local environmental targets and to encourage economic growth.

  • Environmental targets can not be met without significant expansion of transit on Broadway.
  • Improved transit service will encourage economic growth in Central Broadway and provide more efficient regional links to centres of innovation like UBC and VGH.  For example, research at UBC has generated 137 spin-off companies, with 95% based in the province resulting in more than $4 billion in sales and 40,000 person years in employment.
  • Rapid transit is needed in the Broadway Corridor to serve the people and businesses of today and tomorrow.

Ask. Tell. Connect.

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More ways to contact us

Get referendum details

View details on the proposed referendum question and funding proposal for the regional transportation investment on the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation website.

Referendum details

Contact Rapid Transit

By mail:
Rapid Transit Office,
City of Vancouver
Suite 320 - 507 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 0B4

In person:
6th floor, Crossroads building
507 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC

Visitors report to Client Services on 5th floor

Email

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Last modified: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 10:39:58

Study documents