Monday, June 9, 2008

History of Light Rail

I have to say that the Internet Archive’s WayBackMachine is a very handy research tool, and it's just plain fun. For example, I can go to the City of Vancouver’s website from 1999 and learn a whole bunch of interesting facts about light rail.

Back in 1995, the Provincial government announced a 10-year transit plan. The plan included the construction of an at-grade light rail system along the Broadway/Lougheed/Coquitlam corridor by 2005 with a connection to New Westminster by 2008. This 27km route was to cost $900 million dollar.

City of Vancouver council, at the time, recommended that this line (via Port Moody) be the first priority for rapid transit.

By 1999, the 27km light rail project that would have run from Granville Street to Coquitlam Town Centre turned into the 20.3km $1.167 billion two-phased Millennium SkyTrain line that went from Commercial Drive to New Westminster with a Coquitlam Spur.By 2002 the project was over-budget and phase two was canceled. Phase two, of course, was the most important part of the project.

Fast forward to 2008, we have the Richmond/Vancouver Canada Line, many highway projects, and we’re still waiting for the original concept of a line from Vancouver to Coquitlam to be built.

Surrey didn’t fair much better, they have been talking about a busway/light rail on King George Highway since 1999 and we are still waiting for that. Officially we’ll get a busway maybe sometime after 2020…

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