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TransLink chops six minutes from R2 RapidBus ride through North Vancouver

A bus lane expansion for a busy feeder route headed towards the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing is now complete
TransLink’s North Shore R2 RapidBus glides through the newly completed bus lane in North Vancouver. | TransLink

What would you do with six extra minutes in your day?

It’s a question that commuters on the North Shore’s RapidBus route can now contemplate as TransLink has finished the extension of a transit lane between Moodyville and Cotton Road.

The $2.3-million project, which was a partnership between the City of North Vancouver and TransLink, is intended to improve the speed and reliability for the R2 RapidBus.

Previously, the transit lane stopped about two-thirds of the way down the Third Street hill from Queensbury Avenue, requiring the R2 to merge with general traffic for about 650 metres before getting back to a bus lane. According to TransLink, what should be a three minute ride from Ridgeway Avenue to Brooksbank Avenue was taking closer to nine minutes during the afternoon rush.

Completion of the project means that, no matter what kind of traffic snafu a stall or crash on the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing is causing on the feeder route, people riding eastbound buses will have an express lane almost all the way from St. Davids Avenue to Phibbs Exchange.

TransLink estimates that will chop six minutes off the time it takes for the R2 to make it through the most congested corridor at peak times. About 40,000 commuters rely on that route per month, according to the transit authority.

The project also adds a 200-metre eastbound mobility lane for cyclists on Cotton Road.

City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan welcome the completion of the transit and bike lanes.

“We all expect fast and reliable public transit across the community,” she said in a statement. “We know there is room for improvement and are committed to enhancing services for people. That’s why we have invested in an extended transit lane from Queensbury to Gladstone Avenue. This will allow riders to save time and create operational savings that can be used to further enhance our transportation network elsewhere. This work is one more step towards our goal of being a healthy, connected, and sustainable city.”

In a release, TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn said the project portends well for the North Shore.

Last week, TransLink and the Mayors’ Council announced that a new bus rapid transit route connecting Park Royal to Metrotown, complete with traffic-separated bus lanes, high frequencies and rail-like stations, would be among the first built in the next round of transit expansion in Metro Vancouver, subject to funding from senior levels of government.

In the nearer term, there are also plans in the works to extend the R2 from Phibbs Exchange to Metrotown, providing an express bus to the SkyTrain system.

“This extension is not just about improving today’s commute. It’s part of TransLink’s long-term plans to enhance RapidBus and lay the groundwork for Bus Rapid Transit in our region,” Quinn said. “The faster transit trips are, the more likely customers will choose transit over driving.”