The plebiscite is past us, and there are three things we need.
First, we obviously need skytrain to Arbutus. The 99 b-line is the busiest bus in the entirety of Canada (and the USA), because there is a huge 2.4 km gap between VCC-Clark and Cambie. And less obviously, but hugely important, the second thing we need is increased housing supply, as economic theory would state that this would lower the housing prices in Vancouver. Ain’t anybody going to afford $2 million dollar homes, and building subway along broadway won’t help. But we can’t just randomly scrap all zoning laws and build more houses in the suburbs, or condos in Strathcona: that would turn us into either Detroit, or Dongguan, China, respectively. So it follows that the third thing we need is continued livability and community. We must encourage the growth of vibrant communities, where people have a sense of neighbourhood identity. And a livable city also means creating a wealth of jobs and opportunities.
Those three things are what we want. Now some people say we should literally ram a subway down broadway. If we had the cash, that would probably be what people would do. But as Robert Rodriguez would say, when you’re tight for cash, you must get creative: you must find an innovative solution that will solve all the 3 problems above. What exactly is the problem with subway bored under broadway? The most obvious problems are the cost (which voters won’t give you), and the effect on businesses (class-action lawsuits). But even if Vancouver’s fairy godmother came and granted it 1.98 billion dollars (the cost of a broadway subway), broadway is a highway, and building rapid transit on highways does not make sense. It means that if you want to drive your car, nothing’s stopping you, because a highway will make getting places faster by car. And even if you build “transit oriented development” right beside the subway station, you’re going to have a heavy traffic speedway (or two) splitting up your community. People who live near highways are less happy, because there’s noise, there’s pollution, and there’s a literal barrier preventing you from meeting new people or businesses just a dozen metres away.
So if broadway doesn’t work, what does? South of broadway won’t work either: it’s too far from the Millennium line, and doesn’t connect to the Canada Line. The only remaining option is north of broadway. Here’s the route:
DESCRIPTION OF THE ROUTE: [VCC-Clark Station] Along the railroad tracks → Thornton Street [going underground] → Brunswick Street → 5th Avenue [Ontario station (Ontario @ 5th), then Olympic Village station, then going back above ground] → 6th Avenue → Along the railroad tracks → back on 6th avenue → under Granville Park → along the railroad tracks [Fir station (Fir @ 6th), then Arbutus station (Arbutus @ broadway)].
This route is much better than on broadway. First, it’ll only cost 474 million dollars. Second, there are fewer street-front businesses that it will disrupt along 5th Avenue, and most of the businesses already have back doors through which they conduct business. But most importantly, you’ll be able to have growth around the skytrain stations, unlike broadway, where all the land is already developed.
Importantly, skytrain would run along 5th avenue, not along broadway, nor along 2nd avenue. Why 5th Avenue? Because by placing a stop at Ontario and 5th Street, there would be great potential for development in the north Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Currently, the area is zoned light industrial. Density could be increased dramatically in the area whilst increasing the number of jobs, by building mid-rise mixed use in this area. A mixed use would provide residential and commercial, all in the same building. It would increase the housing supply, and encourage businesses to locate there. Mixed use allows residents to help nearby business, and business to help create a vibrant community.
Please subscribe, share, and spread the message.
PART 1 to 2: The problem with building transit on highways