Transit not meeting demand, say residents of Vancouver's new East Fraser Lands

The former industrial lands south of Everett Crowley Park will eventually house 12,000 residents, but new arrivals there say TransLink already needs to do more to help them get around.

TransLink says area is home to 2 of its busiest and fastest growing bus routes, service improvements coming

TransLink says its No. 100 bus route grew in ridership by 37 per cent between 2012 and 2016. The authority is promising to increase service in the quickly growing area of southeast Vancouver to meet demand. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

The former industrial lands south of Everett Crowley Park in Vancouver will eventually house 12,000 residents, but new arrivals there say TransLink already needs to do more to help them get around.

"I moved in in December and I really like the community. The only problem is the bus transit," said Felicie Delatorre.

The East Fraser Lands, or River District, is located south of Marine Way between Kerr Street and Boundary Road. The area was rezoned in 2008 and 2010 to pave the way for new housing units.

Since then, the 51-hectare site has been the scene of a massive transformation, with no shortage of cranes for workers to build multi-unit condo buildings, and new amenities.

But with more housing on the way, residents already say transit needs to be improved in the area.

"You have to wait several times to get on the bus," said Sophie Dansereau, while playing with her child at a local park on Sunday.

Since 2008, the East Fraser Lands in Vancouver have been growing in population as the area is being converted from industrial land into residential neighbourhoods. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

The local MLA for the area, George Chow, held an open house on the issue on Sunday to gather input from residents, including suggestions for new routes to pass on to TransLink.

"I think it's just a matter of devoting the resources," he said.

Local NPD MLA George Chow held an open house on transit for the East Fraser Lands on March 11, 2018. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

TransLink says it is aware of the growing pains.

It says demand for transit in the region was up six per cent  in 2017. Chow's riding is home to two of its busiest and fatest-growing bus routes — the No. 100, which runs between 22nd Street SkyTrain Station and the Marpole loop, and the No. 49, which goes between Metrotown Station and UBC's Dunbar loop.

TransLink says the No. 49 ranked fourth out of 214 routes in 2016 for number of boardings, and handled more than a million extra annual boardings between 2012 and 2016, when it registered 7,506,000 boardings.

The No. 100 ranked 21st out of 214 routes. Ridership grew by 37 per cent in the same period.

TransLink says it has increased the frequency of buses on the No. 49 route and will add more service to the No. 100 this September.

The agency says it's also working with the City of Vancouver to review and explore further transit expansion in the area.

Once development of the East Fraser Lands, also known as River District, is complete, it will be home to around 12,000 people. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

With files from Susana da Silva.

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