Broadway Subway PROJECT UPDATE
In the fall of 2019, the Province announced the extension of Skytrain from Vancouver Community College to an-end-of-terminus station / bus loop at Broadway and Arbutus streets (northeast corner).
The project contractor was confirmed in early September, 2020. Construction will commence later this year and will include six stations along the 5.7 km route. Completion is expected by 2025.
Broadway is considered one of the busiest transportation corridors in the country. The proposed station at Arbutus and Broadway will deposit thousands of commuters as hybrid diesel/electric buses enter the station loop every two – three minutes during the peak morning and late afternoon hours.
We support rapid transit
St. Augustine’s community strongly supports the expansion of rapid transit in Vancouver. We know the vital role the Broadway corridor plays in moving people quickly and safely across the city. While the plan is to eventually extend the line to UBC, the timing of this is unknown and not likely for many years.
Challenges of Arbutus/Broadway Station
Our top priority is the safety of more than 400 children (375 at St. Augustine School and 50 preschoolers at the Montessori school program) all within 25 metres of the station and bus loop. The student population will grow to 500 within a few years. We are not aware of another end-of-line station and bus loop in such close proximity to an elementary school in the Lower Mainland.
Once the extension is operational, we can expect increased diesel emissions and persistent acoustic impacts for children in our playground and classrooms. We are seeking health safety assurances from Vancouver Coastal Health and TransLink.
This new station and bus loop will have a significant impact in the immediate vicinity and put pressure on pedestrians and cyclists. We can expect parents ferrying children to/from school, kids walking and biking along with other pedestrians in an area already congested during the busy morning and late afternoon rush hours. This area already hosts a very active greenway, busy traffic intersection, nearby liquor store in addition to poor lighting and inadequate traffic control (speeding through school zone).
Unfortunately, there has been a serious lack of consultation and planning around the direct impacts of this large transportation infrastructure on our school community. We should have been involved in the Project’s Environmental Socio-Economic Review where many of our concerns could have been addressed at a much earlier stage.
Solutions -- creating a safety culture
Last fall, our parish formed an advisory committee of knowledgeable parents and parishoners with expertise in all facets of construction management to engage with the Broadway Subway Project. Our goal is not to oppose this project but to find ways of better co-existing with this new station and bus loop.
Our committee worked with parents, neighbours, the City, TransLink, Broadway Subway Project Team and policing agencies to identify ways to reduce the risks of the station / bus loop – so it can work for everyone. We continue to be involved in discussions with the Project team.
We developed an 18-point mitigation plan designed to protect children, pedestrians and cyclists and the general neighbourhood. These proposals also set the stage for increased density that will eventually occur through this part of the Broadway corridor.
Our mitigation plan focuses on three critical areas:
1. Traffic management
2. School safety and security
3. Health and injury prevention
While the full scope of these mitigations will likely take a few years to be implemented, there are three short-term priorities:
First, to protect the health of 500 young children in such close distance to diesel bus emissions and noise impacts, we are requesting that the Province fund studies that will determine health impacts on young children and commit to undertake any mitigations flowing from such studies. This will require a collaborative effort between the Project, TransLink and Vancouver Coastal Health.
Second, that the City of Vancouver move its Community Policing Centre from Pine Street to a location as close as possible to the Arbutus / Broadway station. This Pine Street lease will soon expire and its relocation to this area is a critical building block to creating a safety culture in our neighbourhood. This proposed location will also be midway between the start of the Skytrain extension at Vancouver Community College and its permanent end-of-line station at UBC.
Third, we are seeking a commitment from the Project and/or Provincial Government to fund the neighbourhood mitigations outlined in our plan. Without a secure funding source, these helpful measures will not be implemented or done so in a piecemeal fashion.
Please indicate your support here. Thank you.
St. Augustine’s Subway/Bus Loop Advisory Committee