News Local

TransLink eyes changing downtown bus routes

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

TransLink says its proposal for redoing downtown bus routes would take the transit system through to about 2020. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

TransLink says its proposal for redoing downtown bus routes would take the transit system through to about 2020. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

The regular summer Robson Street closures, an expected Vancouver Art Gallery move to Cambie Street and a general eastern shift of development has driven TransLink to reconsider all its downtown peninsula routes.

TransLink director of system planning and research Brian Mills told 24 hours the proposed route changes, if approved, could remain that way through 2019-2020.

Mills said the last time transit routes in downtown were rearranged was 2005 — before the Canada Line’s existence. Since then, demand for travel to and from Yaletown, Cambie Street and Gastown has grown, he said.

“One hundred per cent of routes that operate entirely in downtown are being looked at.”

The West End service routes, such as the No. 5 and 6 trolley services, are being extended further east to serve Cambie — where there’s growing transit demand — when previously they stopped at Granville. Possible closures in the 600-block of Cambie Street related to creating a public plaza for the new VAG could complicate things.

Mills said another closure — in the 800-block of Robson Street — particularly affected the No. 5 bus that travels on the shopping arterial. This led to ideas on how to avoid the inconvenient loops and detours that added delays.

“The city is considering the possibility of closing Robson Street more than they do today — right now it’s closed during summers,” Mills said.

If the closures cease, the bus could simply travel along Robson Street entirely, according to one of TransLink’s options.

But their presence means the answer could be a significantly costlier solution of installing new trolley poles and wire on Georgia — which doesn’t have any of that infrastructure — or to direct the route north towards Hastings.

Also serving the West End, both the C21 and C23 community shuttles currently run across the southern portion of downtown. TransLink plans to eliminate the C23, which heads from Davie along False Creek towards Main Street-Science World, and replicate its route using the C21 instead.

Another proposal would see eastern corridor routes — those heading east and southeast out of downtown — streamlined so routes inbound from Main Street would be clearly distinguished from eastern routes that travel along Cordova and Powell.

At the Cambie Bridge, currently the No. 17 reaches both Granville and Cambie streets — somewhat duplicating the Canada Line’s role — and TransLink’s choices would be to bring the route north to turnaround at Waterfront Station using either the Granville or Cambie, not both.



TransLink downtown consultation sessions:

  • April 9 — 3-6 p.m., Woodward’s Atrium
  • April 10 — 3-6 p.m., Roundhouse Community Centre
  • April 12 —11-2p.m., Vancouver Public Library, downtown

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