4 New Transit Lines

Four New Transit Lines & the Historic Quartiers

The charrette proposes using the implementation of four transit lines to support the intensification of the Vancouver Historic Quartiers, and the revitalization of Main Street, Hastings Street, Chinatown, and Japantown, together with transit implementation on the Broadway Corridor.

Through transit implementation and urban design we hope to achieve livable streets, walkable neighbourhoods, and housing affordability in the , and region wide.

Transit implementation in the Historic Quartiers and elsewhere will take commuter trips off the road; return Water-Powell, Cordova, and Prior-Venables to local function; make possible closing Maple Tree Square to traffic: significantly reduce car pollution; and rebuild Hastings and Main Streets as historic urban spines. The new transit lines will carry commuter trips into the city; connect local residents with the Central Business District, and all other transit friendly destinations. Revitalization of Broadway, Hastings and Main Streets should take place at the same time as transit implementation.

1. Hastings LRT

LRT with up to 200,000 ADT (average daily trips) modeled on the 2010 Olympic Line running at street level in a revitalized streetscape. Occupies two car lanes on the right-of-way, removing 20,000 cars per day from the arterial.

  • This level of public investment will trigger private sector investment along Hastings Street.
  • Hastings LRT capacity will carry all commuter trips on Water-Powell, Cordova, Hastings, Prior-Venables and First Avenue (95,000 ADT).
  •  LRT occupies two car lanes on the right-of-way, removing 20,000 cars per day from the arterial.

2. Main Street BRT

BRT with up to 100,000 ADT running articulated trolley buses with signal priority on dedicated lanes in a revitalized streetscape.

  • Fast and efficient service using conventional vehicles can be achieved by redesigning the R.O.W and changing road space allocations.
  • Main BRT capacity sufficient to carry all vehicular trips (42,000 ADT).
  •  BRT occupies two car lanes on the right-of-way, removing 20,000 cars per day from the arterial.

3. False Creek Streetcar

Streetcar service with a capacity of up to 100,000 ADT running on existing rail R.O.W., and at street level in a revitalized streetscapes along Powell Street, B.C. Hydro R.O.W., and Pacific Boulevard.

  • Connects: Kitsilano, Granville Island, Canada Line, Main Street LRT, VCC-Clark Millennium, Hastings LRT, Japantown, Expo Line, Sports Stadiums, Canada Line, Burrard Street, and Stanley Park.

Note: The tracks on the south side of False Creek connect through Kitsilano to the Arbutus corridor; cross the Fraser River to Richmond on an existing bridge; and run on existing Inter Urban right-of-way as far as Chilliwack.

4. Broadway-UBC LRT 

LRT with up to 200,000 ADT (average daily trips) modeled on the 2010 Olympic Line running at street level, with signal priority, in a revitalized streetscape.

  • LRT on Broadway doubles the trip capacity of 99 B-Line and reduces trip times.
  • This level of public investment will trigger private sector investment along Broadway. As parcels re-develop, the new street section will build out to its full potential.
  •  LRT occupies two car lanes on the right-of-way, removing 20,000 cars per day from the arterial.



Cost Analysis for Construction

According to Translink (2010) the cost for building LRT on Broadway is $1.2 Billion compared with a cost of $3.3 Billion for Skytrain on Broadway. The $2.1 Billion saved would pay for the other 3 new lines:

  1. Hastings LRT: $1.2 Billion
  2. Main BRT: $0.45 Billion
  3. False Creek Streetcar Phase I: $0.45 Billion
You can download the Translink document here.

Design Characteristics

For this report we used the following capacity ratings for automobiles, BRT and LRT:

  • 200,000 ADT = Expo Skytrain*
  • 200,000 ADT = 1 Olympic Line LRT (occupies BRT lanes, or replaces 2 lanes of traffic)
  • 130,000 ADT = Canada Line*
  • 100,000 ADT = 99 B-Line Broadway*
  • 100,000 ADT = 1 BRT  (replaces 2 lanes of traffic)
  • 60,000 ADT = Millennium Line*
  • 60,000 ADT = 6 lane arterial (Knight Street on blocks north of the bridge)
  • 10,000 ADT = 1 lane of traffic

*Source: Peter Judd, Director of Engineering, City of Vancouver, speaking at SFU Harbour Centre 29 may 2011.

BRT/LRT Implementation

The Charrette uses transit implementation to:

  1. Revitalize arterial streets;
  2. Revitalize Chinatown and Japantown;
  3. Re-design arterials to reduce the number of traffic lanes and the volume of traffic making arterials suitable for fronting residential intensification.
  4. Trigger private investment and residential intensification along the routes.
  5. Enhance urban environment by introducing tree median separations functioning as “islands of safety” for pedestrians, and increasing carbon sink effect in the quartier.
  6. BRT/LRT takes up two car lanes, removing up to 20,000 ADT, yet returns up to 10x more trips.


1. BRT—bus rapid transit—trolley buses, single and articulated, running on hydro electricity, emission-free, silent engines. Noise & Pollution: rubber tires on pavement; hydraulic door mechanisms. Stations are in the centre of the R.O.W. Station spacing: one half-mile or 800 meters.

2. LRT—surface light rail transit—“The Olympic Line”, single and double trains running on the street surface rails, using hydro electricity, emission-free, silent engines. With a café car, trains run “rogue” on railroad R.O.W.s as commuter rail.

3. ADT—Average Daily Trips

4 thoughts on “4 New Transit Lines

  1. very good concept and arguments. I am not sure about the ridership projections, but I do agree that intuitively, the proposed streetcar lines will help. My point is that if a streetcar along the south shore of false creek connects the VCC station with the Olympic Village station and granville island (I like how you show a new station on the expo line that is connected to the VCC station on the Millenium line – that would be a very long escalator) and then along the Arbutus line would do a lot to take pressure off the 99 line on Broadway. I think that the streetcar should head out 16th all the way to UBC with a station near the South Campus neighbourhood and Thunderbird Stadium. It would be fast (way faster than a streetcar on Broadway or 4th would be) and cheaper and easier to build. With the savings, many new buses could be added, with loops between 16th and Broadway.

    I think that all those who are advocating an underground skytrain on Broadway are selfish, and dreaming. It will not be $3 billion to build; it will be $10 or $20 billion. The panemonium of tunnelling through Cambie Village and shutting the street half down for 3 years will look like nothing compared to what would happen on Broadway

  2. and to those who say that a bored tunnel will not affect the street; that is another misunderstanding. At every station, every mile or so, they have to big a huge hole to build a station, the crossover switches, the vent shafts, etc. It closes the street for years.

  3. I am delighted to hear some discussion about the all important issue of the role of transportation in shaping a community vision. I hasten to add that our “vision” comes from the side of urban design, not transporation. Thus, we are not really experts on ridership, construction, etc. With that in mind, on to some of your points…

    Interesting ideas about routes. In this case, a streetcar on 16th Avenue providing capacity that takes pressure off Broadway. Jarrett Walker, at his recent lecture, apparently noted that services in Vancouver along 4th Avenue “compete with” Broadway. Is this the flip side of the same coin? Your point is that adding service on 16th Avenue would free up Broadway (i.e. 9th Avenue). I myself drove to UBC on 16th Avenue in the mid-1980’s.

    Here in the comments, I guess we can ‘fess up… The False Creek Street Car concept, and the very long “movator” linking Expo & Millennium arose from an entry to the City of Vancouver’s “Viaducts Ideas Competition”:


    While pondering the VHQs, we hadn’t ventured further than the Main and Hastings Street lines. However, confronted with the prospect of the intensification of the False Creek Flats with sustainable urbanism, we saw a few new opportunities. First, we realized that there would be an advantage to having VIA Rail Station falling back to a location near VCC-Clark, with a front door on Clark Drive, creating a regional-local rail hub. From there it was a long walk, but a short conceptual leap, to “ask” for another ExpoLine station that would service intensification on the flats, and link up to the new “regional-local rail hub” which would no longer exist at Thorton Park.

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