It’s time to look at a fixed-link public transit option to connect Vancouver to the North Shore, says North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto.
“The North Shore is under grid lock everyday and we’re going to need alternative connections,” said Mussatto. Currently, TransLink operates 16 bus routes and the Seabus between Vancouver and the North Shore. Six of those routes takes the Second Narrows Bridge and 10 go over the Lions Gate Bridge. An average of 450,000 riders took the Seabus each month in 2016.
That’s not enough, Mussatto says. Over 200,200 people are expected to live on the North Shore by 2041; up from 181,306 in 2016.
Mussatto wants a feasibility study done to see how the long term operational costs of the Seabus would stack up to a rapid-transit tunnel connecting Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront Station. If the SeaBus doesn’t compare favourably, he believes that 10 years or so down the line it should be replaced by a tunnel.
“What does it cost to run a SeaBus instead of building a tunnel?” Mussatto said. “If the seabus runs at peak it’s 10 minutes with 300 people [per SeaBus] – maybe that’s not enough.”
There could be two potential options for the potential new line. It could connect to the Expo and Millenium Lines at Waterfront to provide an easy connection to Surrey and the Tri-Cities or it could connect to the Canada Line and provide an easy trip to the Vancouver International Airport and Richmond.
A more frequent transit connection between Vancouver and the North Shore would also tie in well with BC Transit’s plans to connect Squamish to Metro Vancouver along the Sea-to-Sky, Mussatto added. The transit agency completed a 25-year plan for the region back in spring 2016 that detailed transit service and infrastructure recommendations and is holding open houses in Sea-to-Sky communities this week.
However, TransLink says that there are no plans currently to study a SkyTrain tunnel to the North Shore but added that with the growth expected in Metro Vancouver over the coming decades, discussions on better connecting the entire region could take place when the transit agency updates the 30-Year Regional Transportation Strategy later this year.