After years of hinting a North Shore rapid transit line may be in the cards, we learned last week that the Mayors’ Council Regional Transportation is planning for bus rapid transit lines, here and across Metro Vancouver.
Although the term may make you think of the existing RapidBus lines, TransLink says these will be on another level not seen in British Columbia.
We suspect this will come as a major disappointment for some who had their hearts set on a full-blown SkyTrain gliding along past our stop-and-go traffic.
But, the mayors say bus rapid transit can be built in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. With a climate emergency, a traffic quagmire and an affordability crisis already upon us, there may be great wisdom in this.
Our business community will be the first to tell you how badly this is needed to get our workforce, which largely can no longer afford to live here, on and off the North Shore without the use of a car.
We don’t yet know how much of the existing road network will be repurposed for bus rapid transit, although we have been assured there won’t be any lanes of general traffic removed from the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing. As we saw with the West Vancouver B-Line fiasco, even the suggestion of taking road space away from single-occupancy vehicles in the name of greater mobility overall can lead to a populist revolt.
While bus rapid transit may be harder to get excited about than a top-of-the-line, multibillion-dollar traffic fix, it has tremendous potential. We owe it to ourselves to pursue this with an open mind.
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