British Columbia

Waiting longer for SkyTrains at Main Street?

If you take Skytrain from the Main Street/Science World Station, you're probably adding another 20 minutes to your trip these days. Regular trains on Translink's Expo and Millenium lines aren't stopping there for the next few months, due to upgrades.

Light at the end of the tunnel for inconvenienced commuters

Commuters wait for Skytrain at Main Street-Science World station (Michelle Eliot/CBC )

Relief is still a few months away for frustrated SkyTrain riders at the Main Street-Science World Station who have been suffering through delays and renovations in recent months.

"It adds an extra 20 minutes to my commute" says Amy Grant, who takes SkyTrain everyday from the Main Street Station.

Commuters wanting to travel to Main Street have to wait for the 2-car Train2Main, which travels every 10 minutes. (CBC)

That's because trains on Translink's Expo and Millennium lines aren't stopping there for the next few months, due to upgrades. Commuters have to take a two-car Train2Main, which only comes by every 10 to 12 minutes.

"I have somewhere to be within half an hour, and I have to walk afterwards too, so it kind of adds a bit of stress for me. Having a tight schedule makes it hard to plan everything."

"Short term pain"

The renovations are long overdue, according to transit and development watchers. The station, originally built in 1982, as a demonstration station for Expo 86, is the oldest on the SkyTrain network.

Andrew Jones, who completed a Masters thesis on the Main Street Station for Simon Fraser University's Urban Studies program, says the 30-year-old station was largely inaccessible to commuters with mobility issues.  

"Previously [on the east side of the station] there was only a staircase that ran from the ground level to the platform. If you are in a wheelchair, or wanted to get to the other side to use the elevator, you would have to cross the street."

The renovation at Main Street-Science World part of $164 million upgrades to the Expo Line Stations (Michelle Eliot/CBC )

Construction, set to be complete by fall 2014, is partly finished, with new elevators and escalators, retail space, and a newly-opened bike storage facility. New glass enclosures will help protect SkyTrain users from the elements, while reducing noise from trains passing.

"The new station design will make it much easier to move through the station. It's going to be better lit, the security of the station is going to be increased because of that"  says Jones. 

"The station renovations is a short term pain for a long term benefit."

Andrew Jones says after 30 years, it's finally time to increase capacity at the Main Street station and make it more user friendly (Michelle Eliot, CBC news )

"When it comes to dealing with climate change, which we really have to deal with right now, transit, walking and cycling offer that solution."

The renovations at Main Street/Science World are part of system-wide upgrades, costing $164 million.  Construction at seven stations are scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016.

Catch Michelle Eliot with On the Move, a segment on commuter issues, Tuesdays at 6:50 on The Early Edition, CBC Radio 1, 88.1 FM / 690 AM in Vancouver


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