The Mayor’s Council has put forward a vision for Regional Transportation Investments for Metro Vancouver for the next 10 years. Some of these investments will happen within the next 5 years. Others will happen between 2020 and 2025. This all depends on those living in Metro Vancouver voting Yes in the upcoming mail-in referendum/plebiscite ballot.
Here’s the second post in my project-by-project look at the Regional Transportation Investments.
Richmond Centre/Metrotown B-Line
I’ve long believed that bus routes that connect city and town centres to be one of the keys to better transportation in Metro Vancouver. This Richmond Centre/Metrotown bus route is not new. In fact, it exists today as the #430 Brighouse Station/Metrotown Station express bus. The planned B-Line would take the same route.
What makes this route key, and routes similar to it, is that it connects two major city centres in the region that are outside of Vancouver’s downtown. Richmond Centre is home to a growing high-density hub of residential towers and is already home to multiple shopping centres including Richmond Centre, Lansdowne Mall, and Aberdeen Mall. Metrotown is Burnaby’s downtown and is continuing to punch glass and concrete into the sky with multiple high rise projects on the go. Also, Metropolis at Metrotown is British Columbia’s largest shopping centre.
The route connects residential/commercial centres to one another where a rail connection may not be feasible. This particular route also allows for the residents of the Killarney and Fraserview neighbourhoods in Vancouver quick and convenient access to Richmond Centre or Metrotown. The route running along Bridgeport Road in Richmond also gives access to the big box shops there. The biggest of these big boxes would be the expanded Ikea at Knight St and Bridgeport Rd.
The current #430 runs every 20-30 minutes depending on the time of day. Even by TransLink’s Frequent Transit Network criteria, this is not a frequent bus. If the #430 were upgraded to a B-Line, we could expect almost all day service with at least 15 minute frequency. It will give a more reliable alternative to get to Metrotown and Richmond Centre for travellers along the length of the route.
The one big Achille’s Heel of this route, though, is the Knight Street Bridge. Traffic along the Knight Street Bridge snarls up badly whenever there is an accident. And there are many traffic incidents on this bridge. The other thing is the ironically poor afternoon rush hour traffic coming out of Richmond into Vancouver. TransLink does have full control over the Knight Street Bridge. It is foreseeable that TransLink could work some sort of traffic control that would favour transit, but there isn’t currently much room to do that. There would need to be major modifications to the Knight Street Bridge to create bus-only onramps and other such transit priority measures.
The Richmond Centre/Metrotown B-Line is planned to be one of earlier projects to be completed if a Yes vote wins the transportation and transit referendum/plebiscite. This B-Line addition to our transit system would cost $3.1 million in start up costs and cost $1.7 million to operate.
The ballots will be sent out by March 16, 2015 and residents of Metro Vancouver will have until May 29, 2015 to mail in their votes. Voting YES for a 0.5% increase in the provincial sales tax will cost the average household only a 1-2 hundred dollars a year, but it will provide financial stability for a great variety of transportation projects that will transform Metro Vancouver. A YES vote will benefit your mobility and my mobility in the region. Please vote Yes to better transportation.