British Columbia

8,000 residents and counting weigh in on Vancouver's Broadway plan

Construction of the Broadway subway line expected to begin in 2020 as the city is set to finalize a 30-year plan for area between Clark Drive and Vine Street.

Construction of the Broadway subway line expected to begin in 2020, city to finalize 30-year plan for area

The City of Vancouver is undertaking a two-year long public consultation over its 30-year Broadway plan. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

More than 8,000 residents in Vancouver have so far provided feedback to planners about a 30-year plan for the Broadway area between Clark Drive and Vine Street.

The city launched a new round of consultations this weekend — part of a two-year consultation plan that began in March — as construction of a new subway line along Broadway is expected to begin next year.

Kevin McNaney, the director for the Broadway Plan Project, says the subway provides an opportunity to link together four neighbourhoods: the False Creek Flats, Mount Pleasant, Fairview and South Granville areas, and Kitsilano.

"The purpose of this plan is to guide future land use in the area, looking at things like affordable housing, rental housing, job space, public amenities, and actually the design of Broadway itself," he said.

Braodway

The Broadway Subway Project is a direct extension of the existing Millennium Line, continuing from VCC–Clark Station on an elevated guideway for 800 metres, then travelling underground for five kilometres beneath Broadway.

The project includes six new stations and ends at Arbutus Street. A future phase of investment will connect rapid transit all the way to UBC's Point Grey campus.

When the subway opens sometime in 2025, it's expected to carry the equivalent of 24 lanes of street traffic.

A map of the planned Millennium Line extension to Arbutus Street. (TransLink)

The Broadway corridor is home to close to 80,000 residents and the busiest bus line in the whole country, so the move to a subway line is expected to dramatically change the area.

With that change in place, the Broadway plan hopes to significantly increase the amount of housing and jobs in the area.

Planners will use public feedback to create a long-term plan for the area ranging east-west from Clark Drive to Vine Street and north-south from First Avenue to 16th Avenue.

The new subway line underneath Broadway in Vancouver is expected to dramatically change the area, which is currently home to the busiest bus line in the country. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Mark Stokes has lived there for close to 30 years and in favour of the rapid transit, but worried what else might come with it.

"The scale of it," he said on Saturday. "We see more high rises going in, and we don't think that's necessary."

Others at the open house on Saturday worried that the character of area would change with all the impending development.

'Demand for space'

McNaney says people are concerned about tenants from existing rental housing being displaced and what will happen to established businesses as others pop up.

"There's huge demand for space," he said. "The key question is how do we leverage that new transportation linkage to ensure that communities remain distinct, maintain the assets they want, while [adding] more housing and job space, particularly rental housing."

There will be several more open houses in July. Staff is expected to submit the final Broadway plan to council by the end of 2020.

With files from Jon Hernandez.

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