Vancouver’s future depends on Broadway Subway, investments in neighbourhoods, says Mayor

May 6, 2014 | Better Transit

At a speech to the Urban Land Institute of BC today, Mayor Robertson outlined his vision for Vancouver's future transportation and development needs, including new information outlining the benefits that a Broadway Subway would have for Vancouver and the region.

The Mayor also expressed his opposition to scaling back community amenity contributions from developers, as some in the industry have called for.

"Vancouver is a city that has benefited from smart choices made in the past, but we have some big challenges ahead and we need to address them head-on,” said Mayor Robertson. “If we want to maintain our livability and keep building our economy, we need a rapid transit system that reduces congestion, and community amenities that keep pace with Vancouver’s growth.

“A critical piece of Vancouver’s future success is building a Broadway Subway. It’s the single best thing that we can do for our environment, our livability and our economy.”

In the speech, the Mayor shared new information on the benefits of a Broadway Subway. The Broadway Corridor is the second biggest jobs hub in BC, with more than 200,000 people living and working in the Corridor. Analysis by Vancouver City staff shows that:

  • A Broadway Subway would have 250,000 trips on its first day in operation, more than a new Massey Tunnel Bridge (110,000 trips) or Port Mann Bridge (180,000 trips)
  • 50,000 car trips would be taken off the road as people switch to transit, reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality

The City staff analysis is based on TransLink’s Broadway Corridor study and trip diary data released last year. In addition, upwards of $200 million over ten years in new revenue and transit savings would be generated from the Subway to support transit investments throughout the region, by increasing transit ridership and reducing the need for B-Line buses.

"With over one million more people moving to Metro Vancouver in the coming years, we need to be planning for the future," added the Mayor. "A Broadway Subway is a key component of an integrated regional transportation system, one that cuts congestion, protects our environment, and would put money back into other transit improvements."

The Mayor also touched on recent calls from the development industry to reduce community amenity contributions on new developments, saying that he has no interest in reducing them, as neighbourhoods have growing needs and deserve a fair share from those who profit from development in their community.

"It is perfectly fair that those who profit from new development should be required to invest a reasonable amount back into the communities they build in," said Mayor Robertson. "It is fundamental to the social license that exists - and is required - to build in Vancouver.

"Reducing CACs won't lead to more affordability - it will only shortchange our neighbourhoods in the long run. As Mayor, I have no interest in seeing that happen."

The Mayor also spoke about Vancouver's economy, saying that it is in a "position of strength" with strong job growth in digital media and clean tech sectors. The Mayor highlighted that:

There are five new office towers now under construction in downtown Vancouver, with 10 others throughout the city, all part of adding a record 3.5 million square feet of office space.

In the first quarter of this year alone, the value of building permits in Vancouver is up 63% compared to 2013. Last year, the City topped $2 billion in building permit values.

Vancouver technology companies have secured over $100 million in venture capital in the first quarter of 2014.