A SkyTrain to the North Shore? B.C. studying rapid transit across Burrard Inlet

CTV News Vancouver

Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:09PM PDT

Last Updated Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:27PM PDT

The B.C. government has announced it will explore rapid transit options between downtown Vancouver and the North Shore in response to the worsening congestion on the routes connecting the two areas.

“Our government recognizes commuters on the North Shore are frustrated with congestion,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena said in a statement. “With this feasibility study, we’re exploring potential solutions that help people move around more easily, which will improve quality of life.”

Adding transportation options across Burrard Inlet is one of the several recommendations put forward in the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project led by North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma.

“Traffic congestion is intricately connected to issues like housing affordability,” Ma said. “Over the years, the high cost of housing has forced people to move further from the places they work, resulting in longer commutes and serious traffic issues. This feasibility study is an extremely exciting addition to the many initiatives we have implemented so far and continue to work on to get the North Shore moving again.”

An INSTPP report from August 2018 recommends “evaluating the benefits and costs of, and conditions for rapid transit between the North Shore and Burrard Peninsula, connecting to the regional rapid transit network, and focusing on connecting Lonsdale City Centre with Vancouver’s metropolitan core.”

A rapid transit option in the vicinity of the current SeaBus route would likely lead to the largest increase in ridership, the report added.

“Some of the new transit ridership would come from a shift from automobile use, but most of the increase would be from new trip patterns,” the document read. “For example, a North Shore resident who shopped locally might shift their activity to downtown because of improved transit accessibility and vice versa.”

While INSTPP did not discuss specific types of transportation that could link the two areas, it did say “municipal partners have stated a preference for ‘rail’ rapid transit.”

According to the report, widening the Lions Gate and Second Narrows bridge is “not possible due to structural limitations,” and the idea of a third bridge isn’t part of any current transit plans for the region.

There are also no plans to replace either bridge in the near future.

The government also said the study could consider an expended passenger ferry service across Burrard Inlet.

The province says it will work with TransLink and local governments to look at the feasibility of various options plans for future land use in the area.

The study is expected to get underway this summer.

INSTPP’s full report follows. Viewing this on our mobile beta site? Tap here to see a compatible version.

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