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These cities and First Nations are pushing for a new rapid transit line to Metrotown. Yes please.

North-south traffic has exploded with Brentwood growth
BIRT Map web
There are two notional rapid transit lines linking the North Shore to Vancouver and Burnaby, which North Shore Connects plans to pursue.

The City of Burnaby desperately needs some improvements to the transit that moves north and south.

SkyTrain goes east and west on two lines, but there is a growing demand to add rapid transit going north and south between Metrotown and Brentwood and beyond.

Brentwood is growing at a frantic pace, as the mall and surrounding area add more condo towers. Metrotown SkyTrain station is the city’s busiest and one of the busiest in Metro Vancouver. Buses won’t be able to keep up with the demand.

Enter the North Shore’s three municipal governments and two First Nations, which are pushing for rapid transit to ease the crush that’s hitting both of their bridges.

Leaders from the District of West Vancouver, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and səlilil̓ w̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) met in Lower Lonsdale last month to announce the formation of North Shore Connects.

The group’s genesis is in INSTPP, the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project, which brought together each level of government to research and put forward options for addressing the North Shore’s transportation problems. INSTPP commissioned feasibility studies, which identified at least five potential routes for hypothetical Burrard Inlet Rapid Transit (BIRT) line, and an economic impact study. With the launch of North Shore Connects, that study has now been released.

Among its conclusions: Adding a rapid transit connection over the Second Narrows connecting either to Vancouver via Hastings Street or Burnaby’s Metrotown via Willingdon could shift more than 50,000 vehicle trips per day off the two North Shore bridges, reducing congestion, emissions and collisions.

Yes please.

No, really – let’s get this done. The situation is a mess on the North Shore and, as I said, heading north and south through Burnaby.

The explosive growth of Brentwood and Metrotown demands solutions.

“The launch of North Shore connects follows TransLink’s Transport 2050 draft plan, which foresees the expansion rapid transit around Metro Vancouver,” reads a story in the North Shore News. “Actually getting a line built will require the blessing of the TransLink Mayors’ Council plus funding from senior levels of government. North Shore Connects will present their studies’ findings to TransLink and the region’s mayors with the goal of prioritizing BIRT for the next round of transit expansion.”

All Burnaby residents should be pulling for them.

  • With additional reporting by Brent Richter, North Shore News
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