TransLink starting to buy properties

The Province

It finally looks like TransLink is finally moving on some real estate.  This Province article covers a property in Surrey, which TransLink says will be key to the new King George Highway B-Line bus.  I’m not entirely sure when that B-Line is supposed be fully running (TransLink doesn’t have much info under the South of Fraser Area Transit Plan at the moment).

Prices seem to be high now and TransLink may indeed be playing catch up.  TransLink and BC Transit before them both missed opportunities along Expo and Millennium Lines.  Although, it looks like there’s been buildings popping up quicker around the Millennium Line stations.

They certainly should capitalize on things along the Canada Line.  It’s unclear at this time whether station buildings along the Canada Line will be single-use (ie. primarily transit) or mixed use (transit plus significant retail/residential).  I think one or two stores in a station are not going to be huge.

I think TransLink should look at the example of the upcoming Plaza 88 and Azure projects in New Westminster.  Basically the land beside New Westminster Station and a significant amount of the airspace is being developed into a shopping centre and 4 high-rise condo towers.  Now that’s transit-oriented development.

A bus exchange may not sound like much, but I think it’s a good place to start.  The B-Line branding has certainly changed Broadway and increased ridership from Richmond to Vancouver.  I’m not sure what kind of effect the 97 B-Line has had on Port Moody and Coquitlam, but certainly the planned Evergreen Line which follows almost exactly the same route has started up some development in the Tri-Cities.

A King George Highway B-Line is definitely a step in the right direction.  Direct, frequent service with ample seating will be a better draw than those circuitous suburbabn buses that try to cover as many of the spread out suburban subdivisions as possible.  With the B-Line, I would expect ridership to go up and possibly drum up enough ridership for even more improvements.  Bus rapid transit sounds like the way to go South of the Fraser.

Let’s hope the real estate deals will work out just as well so that TransLink can have a more stable financial foundation.

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