Vancouver’s Main Street Poised to be a National Transit Showcase: Transport Canada

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VANCOUVER – Main Street, one of Vancouver’s oldest and busiest transit corridors, is set for a $7.7 million makeover in the next 12 months as part of the Urban Transportation Showcase Program. Representatives from Transport Canada, the City of Vancouver and TransLink, which are co-funding the project, gathered for an official launch today at 21st and Main.

The Urban Transportation Showcase Program is a five-year federal program created to demonstrate, evaluate and promote effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from urban transportation. More than $1.3 million from the program will go to the Main Street project.

“The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with its provincial and municipal counterparts to demonstrate and evaluate a range of sustainable urban transportation strategies,” said Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre. “It’s innovative projects such as this that provide Canadians with sustainable transportation options.”

By the time the Main Street project is completed in late 2006, residents, shoppers and transit customers will enjoy a significant improvement to transit services, wider sidewalks, better street furniture, more trees and new street art. A key design feature of the new streetscape will be bulges — curb extensions at street corners creating wider sidewalk areas where many of the new trees and pieces of street art will be located. These wider street corners will also become bus stops, allowing trolleys to load and unload passengers without leaving the traffic lane. Not only does this improve transit travel times and reliability, it also opens up more storefront parking and makes intersection crossings shorter and safer for pedestrians.

Deputy Vancouver Mayor and TransLink Director David Cadman said the Main Street Showcase project fits hand in glove with TransLink’s new, $270-million trolley bus fleet. “Main Street debuted Vancouver’s first electric streetcar service 115 years ago and we’ve maintained that tradition with our commitment to electric trolleys for well over 50 years.”

“This corridor will take transit to levels undreamed of in 1880. Our new trolleys will feature Automatic Vehicle Location technology that will prevent the bunching of buses we often see today and provide real-time information for bus arrivals at new, state-of-the-art transit shelters, which will also have bike racks, better seating and better lighting. Trolleys will be able to send a signal to hold green lights at intersections and we will have queue-jumper lanes so buses can bypass traffic congestion north and southbound at Terminal Avenue,” Mr. Cadman added. “The result will be a street that works for traffic, transit, visitors and residents alike.”

In total, the Urban Transportation Showcase Program is providing more than $8 million in federal funding for Main Street and five other initiatives in the Greater Vancouver Region. Total funding from the federal government, TransLink, municipalities and other non-government partners is $35 million.

The five other projects include the test of hybrid diesel/electric buses as part of TransLink’s bus demonstration project, new transit villages to improve streetscapes around major SkyTrain stations, the 24.5 kilometre Central Valley Greenway for cyclists, the Travel Smart program promoting travel options through individual trip planning, and a major study of goods movement in the region.

Construction along Main Street will begin this fall and conclude in the fall of 2006. Work will include street or sidewalk construction and the relocation of bus shelters.

The street will remain open to traffic during construction, with most activity confined to curb parking lanes to minimize disruption. Construction updates will be available from the road ahead section of the City of Vancouver website at www.vancouver.ca.

About Transport Canada

Transport Canada’s mission is to develop and administer policies, regulations and services for the best transportation system for Canada and Canadians — one that is safe and secure, efficient, affordable, integrated and environmentally friendly. Learn more about who we are by looking at our organization and senior management structure. Or learn more about what we do by browsing our departmental publications, list of programs and services, or acts and regulations for which the Minister of Transport is responsible. Visit us at www.tc.gc.ca