City of North Vancouver mayor calls for downtown subway tunnel study

City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto says it’s time to start discussing the possibility of a rapid transit line to downtown Vancouver via a tunnel under Burrard Inlet.

The North Shore has yet to see its long-promised third SeaBus and 10-minute rush- hour service but Mussatto said, it’s already time to start thinking longer term.

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The TransLink 2040 plan does envision a fixed-link for rapid transit towards the end of the plan, Mussatto said, but without a feasibility study being done now, the project risks staying in concept form forever.

The study Mussatto is now seeking from TransLink would take into account population, development and tourism projections across the North Shore and up the Sea to Sky corridor along with the costs of building, maintaining and running the SeaBuses for another 23 years.

“What are these numbers? Is it completely ridiculous? Or is there a good argument to be made that what we should be considering is three- to four-minute service to downtown Vancouver from Lonsdale Quay,” Mussatto said.

The total distance between Lonsdale Quay and Waterfront Station is about 3.3 kilometres and at its deepest point, Burrard Inlet reaches 70 metres.

There haven’t been even any ballpark estimates of how much a tunnel would cost, Mussatto said, but the cost of doing a feasibility study would be “almost negligible.”

Mussatto said he has discussed the matter over coffee with TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

“He also agrees that we need to look at that connection,” he said.

Elected leaders have a have a habit of favouring projects that will be completed within their political term, so as to be front and centre when it comes to taking credit, Mussatto said.

He’s hoping his fellow municipal and provincial leaders will look beyond that and acknowledge how a rapid transit connection between the North Shore and downtown would fit into our regional transportation and congestion problems.

“The biggest point here is I want to get away from the election cycle of announcements and into what is good long-term planning.
“After the elected politicians here are long gone, the decisions we made will still be with us. Should we maybe be making sure we’ve done the right decisions now for the long-term?” he said.

The SeaBus enters its 40th year of service this year.

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