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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Broadway at Cambie

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Broadway - City Hall Station

There is a very useful article by Kenneth Chan who in his usual diligent fashion covers the details of how the interchange at City Hall station is going to work when the new Millenium Line extension opens.

The most disappointing feature is that there will still be only the existing single station entrance. This is because there will be much less passenger activity as all the interchange traffic will be handled by three underground routes. Much of the existing foot traffic is people transferring from buses.

I am putting this quote here simply because I will then find it more easily. Not so long ago I had Harold Steves telling me on Twitter that the Canada Line north of Bridgeport is “fine”. No, it isn’t. I wish I had had this data to hand at the time.

“Like the Expo Line, the ultimate future capacity of the Millennium Line is 25,000 pphpd. In contrast, the ultimate future capacity of the Canada Line is 15,000 pphpd; currently, the Canada Line’s peak capacity is running at about 6,000 pphpd, and this will increase to over 8,000 pphpd when all 24 new additional train cars (12 two-car trains) go into service in January 2020.”

UPDATE February 2020 – it turns out that Mr Chan was being optimistic

“Four new trains went into service on the Canada Line on Tuesday [January 21, 2020, making room for an additional 800 passengers during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

“They are the first of a dozen two-car trains that TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said will put the transit authority on track to keep up with passenger demand on the line for the next several years.

“We’re pretty confident at this point, with the arrival of this new fleet … we should be able to address the capacity along the Canada Line corridor, at least well into this decade,” said Desmond.

“The four two-car trains will result in a 15-per-cent expansion of service, although riders are unlikely to notice a major difference.

“Once all 12 trains are running later this year, service will have increased by 35 per cent over 2019 levels, there will be room for another 1,200 passengers during peak times, and frequency will improve by up to one minute during peak hours. Trains now arrive every six minutes during peak hours between YVR Airport or Richmond-Brighouse and Waterfront stations.


BUT it is not the volume of passengers at the station that concerns me so much as the sheer convenience and improved pedestrian safety that would result from an entrance on each corner. Which is the way that most busy stations in major cities with subways – or elevateds – are laid out. Maybe not all of them get escalators and elevators – but they do cut down the number of people who have to cross a very busy intersection, with often long waits for a suitable light.

There is now a very useful diagram of how the proposed underground interchange will work – taken from the BC Ministry of Transport’s flickr stream

Broadway-City Hall Station

Written by Stephen Rees

September 23, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Posted in transit

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Just curious about this: does that mean there’s one single entrance to a major interchange station with several lines meeting there? Leaving aside convenience, what about the risk of fire?

    Andy in Germany

    September 24, 2019 at 9:21 am

  2. All stations have an additional emergency exit which is not used for regular service.

    Stephen Rees

    September 24, 2019 at 9:44 am

  3. I have travelled on subways around the world in someof the largest, most crowded cities, like London, Tokyo, Seoul and. Buenos Aires and more (missing NY).

    One of the almost universal station features is the stations almost always have entry points at all sides of street intersections or both sides if mid-block. Riders can access any train from any entrance. They never need worry about crossing tje street. Heck, in some cases, it is fastee and more convenient to just cut through the station to get to the diagonal opposite.

    btw: the trains in Seoul are 250m long, so there’s way more entrances over several blocks. The stations are all numbered as are all the exits. So easy to just say, “meet you outside 316-1 and the restaurant is on your left” and everyone can figure it out from wherever they may be!

    I believe that is the side effect of designing transit for users’ needs, not those of politicians or developers.

    So too, is having bus stops with seats and shelters in a city where it still rains a lot (nod to climate change) and you still need to rely on a bus schedule instead of just showing up, knowing a bus will be along shortly (nod to reality).

    Ian W

    September 25, 2019 at 2:14 am

  4. What is the ultimate future capacity (pphpd) for Seabus, assuming an unlimited qty of 385 pass. Seabus and the existing terminus configuration?

    I’m sure it’s capacity competitive to Skytrain at a fraction of the price. Plus, would you really rather be in a tunnel for 4 minutes or enjoy the little boat ride for 12?

    Ian W

    September 25, 2019 at 2:20 am

  5. The capacity of the SeaBus can be easily calculated by multiplying the permitted number of passengers by the number of sailings per hour. Currently SeaBus is operating one sailing every 10 minutes so pphpd is 6 x 385. Ultimate future capacity is higher if they buy more vessels and utilise both docks at each end, but I have no idea what the minimum turnaround time would be.

    Stephen Rees

    September 25, 2019 at 11:03 am

  6. Skimping on stations and entrances was the means used to bring the Canada line “on time and on budget” in the early 2000s – shortsighted to say the least. Getting anything more at the time required land owners and developers to come forward with cash. Not a single one did. No big surprise there. The unfinished project was simply left to the future, and that future will ultimately arrive.


    October 7, 2019 at 9:06 pm

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