1. High Public Support for SkyTrain Extension to UBC

BROADWAY SKYTRAIN NEEDED: POLL
Mayor’s survey also suggests city residents don’t want a repeat of the Canada Line construction fiasco

Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, December 15, 2007

Metro Vancouver residents desperately want a SkyTrain line along Broadway to replace overcrowded and perpetually delayed buses, an online poll conducted through Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan’s website suggests.

But they don’t want a repeat of the Canada Line construction fiasco.

Twice as many respondents said they would choose the route that is “least disruptive” compared with the one that is “least expensive.” And 90 per cent said the city should be an active participant in the project’s formal environmental assessment to protect the interests of businesses and residents.

“The Cambie construction has been horrible and businesses are failing because of it,” wrote one.

Another said: “It should be a tunnel where businesses are predominant. The cut-and-cover process is too disruptive.”

Those opinions came from an unscientific but popular survey done through Sullivan’s website on the proposed Millennium Line western extension. The survey drew 1,600 responses, half from Vancouver and half from elsewhere in the Metro region, over two weeks this fall.

Sullivan initiated the survey as a way of getting an early take on public opinion about the line. The planning process, which will be carried out jointly by city and TransLink staff, is expected to take three years.

The survey appears to have attracted a greater proportion of transit riders than exist in the general population.

The City of Vancouver’s statistics indicate that about two-thirds of people travel along Broadway in cars, either as drivers or passengers.

Only 20 per cent use transit, 12 per cent walk, and three per cent bike.

But the survey results indicated that almost 60 per cent of those who responded use the current transit service four times a week or more.

Many of those indicated profound frustration with the existing bus service.

Some of the comments:

“Stopped using the No. 9 from Glen [Drive] to [Vancouver General Hospital] every day due to overcrowding.”

“I see mounting frustration every single day as people people wait for, and squeeze into, over-packed buses.”

“99-B is horrible. It takes me nearly three hours on the road every day.”

About one in five people who said they use the 99-B express bus service on Broadway get passed up by buses at least four times a week.

Almost 70 per cent of those who responded said they think the Millennium extension should be built to protect the environment.

More than half said they’d prefer a tunnel, while a third said an elevated SkyTrain was their choice.

Another 14 per cent wanted a street car or light rail.

The Millennium extension had been a top priority for TransLink prior to 2003. Then the provincial government pushed hard to move the Canada Line, from downtown Vancouver to central Richmond and the airport, ahead on the priority list, while the federal government threw in a substantial amount of money for the project, making it financially attractive.

Councillors from the eastern suburbs supported the line on the condition that their rapid-transit extension, the Evergreen Line, got built next.

That project, projected to cost around $1 billion, doesn’t yet have firm financing yet. TransLink has committed $400 million, but has been waiting for more than a year for the provincial government’s response.

fbula@png.canwest.com

View the results in their entirety here (335 kb Adobe PDF document): https://ubcskytrain.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/ubc-transit-line-survey-results.pdf

More than 1850 surveys were completed at http://www.mayorsamsullivan.ca between November 3, 2007 and January 30, 2008. In January, the Province of British Columbia announced their plan to construct a $2.8 billion UBC Rapid Transit Line as part of their province-wide transit strategy.

More than 87% of our survey respondents say they – or a member of their family – would use a completed Millennium/UBC Line. Of those, 48% would no longer use the existing bus service and 28% would be able to leave their car at home. Other key results include:

– Most feel a tunnel system (37%) under Broadway (34%) is the best technology and route for Millennium/UBC Line. 22% favour an elevated Skytrain, 10.5% support streetcar or light rail and 27% want a combination.
– When asked to choose between the least expensive route and the least disruptive route, respondents choose the least disruptive (35% to 18.5%).
– More than 2/3 of respondents want to see the Millennium Line completed all the way to UBC. Only 26% support a phased project.
– An overwhelming amount of respondents (91%) want the municipal government to be an active participant in the project’s formal environmental assessment to protect the interest of businesses & residents.
– More than 82% support the establishment of a Business Improvement Association along Broadway in concert with this project.

Most of the survey respondents and their families live in Vancouver, Burnaby/New Westminster or UBC (83%). Their principle transit destination is Vancouver (51%) or UBC (33%). More than 77% travel along the Broadway corridor/Millennium Line now. 59% use the current service daily or several times a week.

Respondents used the 99 B-Line more than any other service (45%). Of those 99 B-line users that responded, 48% say they are “passed up” by buses at least 4 times a week.


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