Build the Downtown Streetcar Network
Bring in silent streetcar service all over Vancouver to help curtail greenhouse gases and pollution.
Requires support from TransLink. The City will continue to support this idea, through measures including secured rights-of-way (e.g. the centre median on 1st Avenue near the Olympic Village). The recent Olympic Line streetcar demonstration was very successful and helps make the business case for this project.
Please read, in the Tyee:
NOTE: Eva Hunter's idea "streetcar service" has been merged with this one.
"Bring in silent streetcar service all over Vancouver to help curtail greenhouse gases and pollution."
It was pointed out to me the other night that this might help shift some of those olympic apartments that ain't quite going like hotcakes. They've left the tracks and gravel path in place, so presumably it's an idea inside city hall already.
I wonder what the cost of the tracks vs the cost of the debt on those apartments is like. How about the city pays for the tracks, translink pays for the trains?
Naoko Ellis commented
... and make it free to ride (such as in Portland). Pressure commuter cars to not enter downtown.
A streetcar system can work in almost any area where volumes are too much for buses. Although newer (varied) routes can nicely complement any bus routing.
Ottawa is considering converting their Bus Rapid Transit-Way *BRT* to light rail/streetcar and will probably have a system up and running before Vancouver!!! *sigh*
David Asselin commented
I have no problem with a Downtown Streetcar network as long as it compliments the bus system, opens up new areas that don't have transit, and doesn't replace any trolley or bus routes.
As long as we remember we're not replacing trolley bus routes with streetcars. Why pay to replace one existing electric vehicle with another? The downtown streetcar as envisioned by the existing City proposal would do a great job augmenting the existing transit network rather than replacing. Expanding it to areas which are under served by growing rapidly.
Peter Finch commented
There are tremendous possibilities for moving this idea forward. It need not be a mega-project.
Why can't we make peace with the CPR and collaborate to reshape the Arbutus corridor into a neighbourhood streetcar system connecting Kerrisdale, Granville Island, Chinatown and Gastown? Its right of way can extend existing bikeways and walkways and include linear parks and public gardens. Besides becoming a "green" jewel, it could also be a catalyst for positive social change. Why not partner with First Nations to build a high-tech streetcar maintenance facility under the Burrard Bridge? Why not invite Bombardier and BCIT to develop a technical education program for First Nations youth to service and even build equipment for the streetcar system? Why not include places for large scale sculpture along the route?
Is the suggestion that the City of Vancouver pay for the streetcar or lobby TransLink to build it?
This need not be limited to downtown (though that is a great place to start) - the historic route went all over Vancouver.