YVR wants TransLink to extend rapid transit south of the Fraser

The airport authority outlined its key priorities for TransLink’s new 30-year transit strategy

Extending the Canada Line to White Rock and replacing the Moray Bridge are just some of the transportation links connecting the airport to the rest of the region that Vancouver Airport Authority wants TransLink to improve. 

The transit authority asked major stakeholders to share their priorities for what should be included in Transport 2050, as part of the first phase of the planning process for the new regional 30-year transportation strategy.

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Of the eight priorities put forward by the airport, one of the largest is to extend the Canada Line south of the Fraser River to White Rock, by capitalizing on the new George Massey Crossing.

“In the interim,” reads the submission, “provide a direct rapid bus from South Surrey ‘Park ‘n Ride’ to YVR to serve employees and passengers.”

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond has previously admitted the Canada Line was underbuilt and its use under-planned.

In its own submission in September, the City of Richmond asked TransLink to consider rail-based or rapid bus transit from city centre to Steveston.

Other suggestions put forth by the city include upgrading Canada Line stations to help increase train frequency and capacity, introducing bus service from city centre to Vancouver via Granville Street to complement existing Canada Line service, and upgrading the current 410 bus route to connect city centre and New Westminster via Highway 91A. 

In order to maintain and enhance highways 99 and 91 — the “critical connection” between YVR and Metro Vancouver — the airport authority outlined which infrastructure should take precedence.

According to the submission, the 62-year-old Moray Swing Bridge, which spans the middle arm of the Fraser River, should be replaced, congestion at the south end of the Oak Street Bridge reduced and the road system along Sea Island Way and Bridgeport Road improved for a more efficient flow of traffic.

In addition, the airport authority wants to see regional mobility pricing — the various fees for using everyday transit systems — introduced to limit congestion and improve travel times.

“Specifically, a regional mobility pricing program should support a reduction in through-traffic on the YVR owned and operated road network, enabling the prioritization of capacity for essential users,” reads the submission.

YVR also wants TransLink to improve east-west connections from the airport to Surrey and beyond, by transforming Metro Vancouver’s “radial rapid transit system to a grid-oriented, high capacity, easy-to-use network.”

This network, according to the airport authority, should provide Park ‘n Ride options at key locations, and incorporate river corridors and new rapid bus routes that connect YVR to regional hubs, for example, at Metrotown, New Westminster and Surrey.

Last week, Metro Vancouver regional district asked TransLink to consider implementing an electric passenger ferry for communities along the Fraser River.

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