Mayor Kennedy Stewart said today he will accelerate plans for a further SkyTrain expansion in South Vancouver, if he is successfully re-elected in the upcoming Oct. 15 election.
The “plan” for South Vancouver’s SkyTrain was included in the “Major Transit System Planning Studies” section of TransLink’s Transportation 2050: 10-Year Priorities proposal.
Referred to in the proposal as the 41st/49th Avenue Corridor, the plan “would connect Metrotown and UBC and serve Langara College and downtown Oakridge along the way.”
Stewart’s plan is to connect this extension to the existing Expo line, the impending Broadway subway and the approved Millennium UBC line extension, creating a so-called “Vancouver Loop” that would connect 18 of Vancouver’s 23 neighborhoods, including: Grandview Woodland, Mount Pleasant, Fairview, Kitsilano, Point Grey, UBC, Dunbar, Arbutus Ridge, Shaughnessy, Kerrisdale, South Cambie, Oakridge, Riley Park, Sunset, Kensington Cedar-Cottage, Victoria-Fairview, Renfrew-Collingwood and Killarney.
“Completing the Vancouver Loop will help us achieve our livability and climate emergency goals,” Stewart said. “I fought hard at TransLink’s Council of Mayors to expand the Broadway Subway at UBC and got millions of dollars from partners to fund it. If re-elected, I will fight just as hard to build the Vancouver Loop Extension and expand rapid transit in South Vancouver.
Eagle-eyed observers may notice that Stewart’s statement about UBC’s expansion is a bit misleading. In July 2021, the Government of Canada agreed to fund up to 40% of the project, but the remaining funding for the project has not yet been fully secured. UBC’s website for the project states that “TransLink is currently undertaking technical planning work.”
READ: Do SkyTrain extensions really improve Vancouver’s affordable housing problem?
In its announcement, Stewart’s party, Forward Together, highlighted the urgency of expanding public transit in Vancouver, citing the climate emergency as the main reason.
“We are in a climate emergency, which is why expanding rapid transit is so important. It will get people out of cars, reduce traffic congestion, reduce emissions, improve our health, save time and money and accelerate our effort to become a 15-minute city,” said Tesicca Truong, candidate for city council. .
This idea of a “city in 15 minutes” is a nod to the urban concept of a city designed where the essential needs of the inhabitants can all be met within a 15-minute walk.
A timeline for the SkyTrain extension from 41st Avenue to 49th Avenue South Vancouver was never detailed, nor did Stewart’s announcement detail his plan to “accelerate” the project.
Howard is an editor at STOREYS. He is based in Vancouver, BC and has also written on media for One Zero and international politics for WhoWhatWhy. Prior to STOREYS, he was also associate editor of 604 Now.
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