The proposal for a streetcar system in the city has surfaced once again in the latest mayoral election. And while the $100-million price tag may make the project unrealistic at the moment, it’s definitely an intriguing idea.
What do you think? Would Vancouver benefit from a streetcar system? Please share your thoughts below.
Of course, the streetcar plan is hardly a new one. Vancouver had an extensive system of streetcars until the 1950s, when the network was dismantled to make way for more cars and buses. And during the 2010 Olympics, a short section of streetcar track between the Olympic Village Canada Line station and Granville Island was put back into use.
There’s not a lot of concrete information about the current calls for a streetcar, which seem to be in a very preliminary stage. I did some hunting and found a previous plan on the City of Vancouver website, which seems to have been shelved for the moment.
As you can see, the plan calls for the development of a streetcar in distinct phases. Phase 1 would connect Granville Island with Waterfront Station, running 5 kilometers through Southeast False Creek, Chinatown and Gastown. Future phases would extend the track from Waterfront Station into Stanley Park and also include a branch along Pacific Boulevard into Yaletown.
As someone who does a lot of walking around the city, I can see the potential benefits of a streetcar. Right now, it’s relatively easy to move north-south in the city on transit, especially with the Canada Line. But moving east-west and accessing certain neighbourhoods like Gastown and Chinatown can be a bit more challenging on mass transit (but certainly not impossible).
On the other hand, there is a hefty price tag associated with a streetcar system, and it seems like there are plenty of other infrastructure demands on the city’s plate right now.
What do you think? Would a revived streetcar system be good for Vancouver? Please share your thoughts below.