Aug 18 2009

Vancouver’s Canada Line Gets Rolling

I didn’t have two hours to wait in line for my first ride on Vancouver’s new Canada Line. As city residents swarmed our massive $2 billion infrastructure project on its opening day, I kept a low profile by boarding an ordinary city bus from downtown to City Hall. I’m sure I’ll get on the hottest ride in town sometime this week, but for now, I’ll bide my time.

The Canada Line that runs from the downtown Vancouver’s waterfront to YVR in Richmond may not get up to its projected ridership of 100,000 per day until 2013, report Georgia Straight journalist Charlie Smith and BC transportation wonk Stephen Reese. But there’s no question in my mind that this subway system that is meant to service our city for generations to come will ultimately be a great boon for our sustainability.

To make real progress on our enlightened population’s eco-friendly ideals, more sustainable intentions among our green-minded citizens have to be given an outlet through more sustainable urban planning. That’s what has happened here. As I reported in Granville Magazine a while back, when it comes to public transportation in Vancouver, if you build it, they will come:

In Vancouver, transit bus usage is at around 98 per cent of capacity. SkyTrain is helping move 70,000 people a day.

As assistant city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny puts it, “You hear people talking about how we need to get more people taking transit, but that’s not the problem; the trick is to make sure we’ve got the capacity to take all the people who want to get out of their cars.

I suspect most of the most of the people who rode the rails today in Vancouver had no real destination in mind other than the Canada Line itself. But as the economy recovers and energy prices shoot back up for the long term, the Canada Line will come into its own, not merely as a transportation and engineering showpiece, but as a key piece of our Green City.

Canada Line First Look with Frances Bula

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