The Canada Line between Richmond and Vancouver celebrates two years of operation this month. The Globe and Mail reports that weekly ridership for this line is now 116,000 – well in excess of anticipated ridership – and that more trains are being added during peak hours to increase capacity. Happy Anniversary, Canada Line!
I was at the Sod Turning Ceremony for Urban Green Maple Ridge Downtown at the beginning of this month. This project is located on the southeast corner of 223 Street and Lougheed Hwy. There will be retail space on the ground level plus 5 floors of residential suites.
There will be a parking garage in the building, below the retail level, but the idea of being able to live a “reduced-car” lifestyle will also be promoted. It is my understanding that there are plans to have secure bike parking in the building. In addition, it is walking distance to shopping and the Port Haney West Coast Express Station.
For people to be able to live a “reduced-car” lifestyle in Maple Ridge, there needs to be some work done on effective transit connections to the rest of Metro Vancouver. The West Coast Express currently only runs westbound during the morning and eastbound during the afternoon. I don’t have personal experience with taking a bus from Maple Ridge to other parts of Metro Vancouver but I often hear complaints about the time required and lack of convenience.
The Evergreen Line Rapid Transit Project, that will connect Coquitlam City Centre to the rest of the Skytrain system, promises an effective transit connection that is closer to Maple Ridge. To take advantage of this connection, we really need increased service levels on the West Coast Express and a direct bus to Coquitlam City Centre (possibly using the recently-constructed Bus/HOV lane on Lougheed Highway).
In July, straight.com posted an article Water buses proposed for Fraser River in Metro Vancouver that described a service like North Vancouver’s Seabus that would connect Maple Ridge to Richmond, and points in-between, using the Fraser River. Global BC TV posted a story on this same proposal in August (Link to video: News Hour – River Bus). This water bus could connect with the West Coast Express at Port Haney Station but, again, increased service levels on the West Coast Express would benefit users of the Water Bus.
All of these transit improvements require funding to make them happen but if they are implemented effectively, people will use them. This can reduce the number of cars on the roads, reduce traffic congestion, and reduce the need to spend money on automobile infrastructure projects (which can also be expensive).
Thursday evenings during the summer, the Maple Ridge A&W Restaurant at Lougheed and 228 Street hosts a Show ‘n Shine. We had dinner there one Thursday and checked out the cars. Here are a few photos I took that day…