New subway line planned along Broadway

Photo credit: RayVanEng | Flickr

If you’ve ever been late for work or school and passed over by a crowded 99 B-Line bus on Broadway, your day of reckoning may be at hand.

The city of Vancouver has just unveiled a plan for a new, $2.8 billion subway line running along Broadway, all the way from the VCC-Clark Station to UBC, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

The plan aims to relieve pressure along one of the city’s busiest transportation corridors, which sees some 160,000 transit trips every day.  The area is only expected to get busier in the years ahead, as commercial and residential development along Broadway increases.

So what’s this new subway line going to look like?  And when can we expect to get onboard?  

In contrast to the once controversial Canada Line – which required ripping up entire streets during the construction process – the proposed Broadway line will be a bored tunnel running entirely underground.  In other words, surface disruptions to roads and businesses during construction will be minimal.

Phase one of the line will start at the VCC-Clark station, at the terminus of the Millennium Line.  From there, it will run westward underneath Broadway to Arbutus Street, with multiple stops along the way.  The city is estimating that this phase alone will cost $1.5 billion.

Photo credit: Paulkimo90 | Flickr

Once that is completed, designers aim to extend the line one stop at a time all the way out to UBC.  Each stop will cost around $50 million, according to the Vancouver Sun article.

But don’t expect to be swishing up and down Broadway in a state-of-the-art train anytime soon.  Supposing that a final decision on the subway plan is reached this year, the soonest the line would open is 2021.  In other words, you can count on at least another eight years or so of piling into the 99 B-Line bus – if it’s not already full.

What do you think about the proposal for a subway line along Broadway?  Let us know below. 

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13 Responses to New subway line planned along Broadway

  1. Christine

    Honestly I think that the Evergreen Line needs to be talked about and done first. There is a greater population in the outskirts that need this service. We have been screaming about that for many years now and all that’s been happening is disagreements – meanwhile the cost factor keeps going up. So yeah its a good idea whose time has come. But the Evergreen line needs to be taken care of first of all.

    • Taryn

      The evergreen line is currently being “taken care of” as construction has already started. When people start arriving on the Broadway Corridor via the Evergreen line things will get even more congested. I think this is a great idea showing some level of forethought on the part of the city. We can’t wait until the Evergreen line is complete and congestion is out of control before we start planning the solution. Way to go City of Vancouver!

    • Dennis

      The Everygreen line is already under construction.

      And to those people who think the $2.8B is too much, consider that Toronto is expanding their subway 8.6km for $2.6B. And the non-expansion of Rapid Transit in Toronto has made it increasingly difficult and expensive to build rapid transit now and it is costing the city billions a year to deal with congestion.

      I am proud of Greater Vancouver for stepping up and building Rapid Transit in a responsible manner.

    • Guest102

      I agree with you. Evergreen line needs to come first. And honestly, 99 B-Lines are usually filed up during peak hours. During off-peak hours, it’s not as busy or overwhelming.

  2. This is great news. The busiest bus route in North America is a prefect case study of the need to increase capacity by converting to rail. In this case a subway is clearly the answer since you save so much time and money — shorter trips mean more trips for the same cost — and the ridership is only going to keep growing. The 99-B Line lacks sufficient capacity for today, never mind the future.

  3. Jr

    Great- those of us that have been priced out of the lower main land and forced out to the peripheral cities can have yet another window view into the neighborhoods we support but can’t afford to live in. Perhaps 2.8 billion should be directed towards providing affordable housing closer to where our jobs and educational institutions are located.

  4. Yes, significant investments should be made in housing AND transit, as well as other ways of improving people’s lives. Public services are not mutually exclusive.

    • Jr

      Drive and/or ride until you can afford has pushed so many of us too the peripheral regions that if affordable housing and densification of the interior core were more of a priority, a transit line wouldn’t be needed. I do agree that public services are not mutually exclusive; however, those services should be pursued with some foresight and not as an afterthought. Cheers.

  5. Dani

    Great idea…I really wish they had started this years ago!

  6. Stinky

    The existing 99B bus service is a mess- it’s polluting, it’s slower than it should be, it’s running above capacity, and it’s noisy. There is the density all along the corridor to make a subway succeed. Running transit out to the low-density ‘burbs is riskier- there would need to be an awful lot of park-and-rides and/or parking ramps to make it work. I’m not sure why the Canada Line was prioritized over this route, but it’s clearly time to get going on this project.

  7. westygrrl

    As much as the City of Vancouver staff, Council, (and UBC students) might wish for this be so as you’ve implied in your headline, all their wishing & planning won’t actually make it so without 1. TransLink 2. the Province and 3. a whole lot of $$$$.

    The Evergreen contract is being negotiated as we speak, the monies have been allocated to build it out. There is a rather large funding gap to make the UBC a reality in the timeframe you’ve detailed, notwithstanding the competing request from Surrey for TransLink dollars to fulfill their rapid transit dreams south of the Fraser.

    Who will win out? There is only so much (of our) money to go around, non?

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