Transportation and Transit Plan 14 – Commercial/Victoria Drive B-Line

Here’s the last of the planned B-Line buses slated to start service between 2020 and 2025. For this B-Line, we return to Vancouver proper. This time, it’s one of the busiest routes in the system that gets an upgrade to B-Line status.

Commercial/Victoria Drive B-Line

commercial victoria bline map

The #20 Victoria bus is one of the busiest routes in the system. The #20 already uses the double-length articulated buses with trolley wires. However, the frequency of the #20 is a little wanting, especially in the evening. I’ve been caught a few times where the next #20 at night is 15-20 minutes away. If the bus came more frequently, then I wouldn’t have to brave a cold wet midnight walk from the bar to the SkyTrain at Commercial and Broadway. A more frequent bus service would be great for the evening and late night patrons along The Drive.

In the south, there honestly is not much there. The Fraserview neighbourhood is the east side Shaughnessy with large residential lots and large homes occupying those lots. The streets are not set to a grid, but bend and curve. There are a few senior homes at the foot of Victoria Drive near the Fraser River. Perhaps the city is planning to densify the area. I’m not particularly sure.

From East 54th to Kingsway, there is a long stretch of neighbourhood businesses. Currently, the businesses are dominated by immigrant/ethnic businesses. There are also some fancier than expected restaurants that call Victoria Drive home.

Victoria Drive eventually curves westward and becomes Commercial Drive. In that curve, there is the developing neighbourhood of Commercial Street. It’s a mix of low density industrial, apartments and townhomes. The Trout Lake Community Centre is also found in the vicinity.

Commercial Drive, or The Drive, is the best known part of this route where bars, coffee shops, sushi bars, heritage buildings, and Vancouver’s Little Italy dominate the streetscape. The Drive is the most eclectic collection of rich, middle class, and very poor in the city.

Once the bus reaches Hastings Street, it will turn onto Hastings and head west into downtown. That means between Commercial Drive and Downtown, there will eventually 2 separate B-Lines operating on this stretch – this B-Line and the SFU-Downtown B-Line. That means even more frequent service for people travelling on this stretch of East Hastings.

Estimated capital costs for this B-Line are $7.5 million and annual operating costs are $3.9 million. Much of the bus stop infrastructure is already in place thanks to the current #20 and its super-long trolley buses which are the same length as the articulated diesel buses typically used for B-Line routes.

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. 

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