British Columbia

SkyTrain elevator shutdown causes upset in Metrotown

A disabled woman is upset that TransLink has shut down elevator service at the Metrotown SkyTrain station for a year while renovating the station.

Only elevator at Metrotown shut down for year due to renovations

Metrotown SkyTrain station is being renovated, but there will be no elevator service for a year. (CBC)

People with mobility needs are being left behind as TransLink upgrades its station at Metrotown, according to a disabled Burnaby, B.C. woman upset there will be no elevator service for a year.

TransLink is building three new elevators at the SkyTrain station, but it has closed the only elevator until next year.

"I was shocked," said Athena Cooper, who lives near the neighbouring Patterson station and uses a wheelchair.

TransLink is providing accessible shuttles every 20 minutes from Patterson Skytrain station to Metrotown SkyTrain station but Cooper believes that will cause huge headaches for those in wheelchairs, with strollers, and the elderly.

"It's not a solution if there are going to be more than two wheelchairs in any given 20 minute period," she said.

With about 50,000 passenger trips a day, Metrotown is the second busiest station on the SkyTrain line.

"On one hand I am very,very relieved that they're upgrading Metrotown, because it was not an adequate number of elevators there, but I think it's going to be a gong show for the next year. And they can say, yes, we've got HandyDART in place, yes you can take the bus, but I mean, you're inconveniencing hundreds if not thousands of people."

There is no way the elevator could remain open during renovations, said TransLink.

"Unfortunately right where the current elevator is located we have to demolish that existing one in order to make room for the three new elevators," said spokesperson Fred Cummings. "There's no way around it."

A graphic from TransLink of what the Metrotown SkyTrain station will soon look like. (TransLink)

Cummings said TransLink did consult with key groups before starting the construction and it will monitor the shuttle situation and change the schedule if necessary. 

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story gave the impression there was a group of people outraged by the elevator closure. In fact, we only spoke to one woman who was upset.
    Mar 02, 2015 3:00 PM PT

with files from the CBC's Stephanie Mercier

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