TransLink presents two potential routes for SkyTrain to UBC project

TransLink recently proposed two proposed routes and station locations for Skytrain to UBC project.

The Millenium Line extension design would link Arbutus Station — which is currently under construction — to UBC’s campus. TransLink developed the proposal in partnership with the City of Vancouver and Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples to ease congestion on the busiest bus route in North America.

TransLink proposed two routes with different pathways between the Jericho Lands Station and UBC: one would be an elevated route along University Boulevard, and the second would be underground and go through the University Golf Club and the University Endowment Lands. Both routes would end near the University Boulevard bus loop.

A map of the two proposed routes.
A map of the two proposed routes. Translink

Brian Soland, a lead planner with TransLink, said the two proposed routes were suggested based on ridership.

“We’re working with a starting point of having the 99 B-line … so that’s one important factor, is that there’s already ridership at those stops,” he said.

Other factors include bus routes that go north and south along the 99 route, the logical nature of the connection and economics

Soland said the other station concepts are based on the 99 B-line stops at Macdonald and Alma Street.

“At the end of the day, the most straightforward connection is the most cost-effective. It also goes along the Broadway corridor, which has a lot of population and destinations that could support stations.”

On the decision to put forward two route proposals, Soland said, “There would likely be cost differences or differences in benefits that could be studied further in the next stage of work.”

AMS VP External Saad Shoaib said the student society is working alongside UBC and TransLink to ensure the UBC station location “is the best one for UBC students. As the Mayor's Council decision suggested, [the bus loop] is going to be the best location possible for the project.”

UBC previously requested two stations on campus — the university also initially wanted a station near Wesbrook Village to service the south side of campus — but TransLink recommended only building one.

In a statement sent to The Ubyssey, Associate VP of Campus and Community Planning Michael White said the University is “pleased with the Mayors’ Council support of the Millennium Line UBC Extension.”

White said the extension is “an important step” to solving major transportation problems, “reduce GHG emissions and open new opportunities to improve housing affordability in the region.”

Shoaib agreed that the extension is important for students who commute far distances to study. The VP external also said the extension is a necessary component of sustainability, partnership with Indigenous communities and employment opportunities.

As the planning study is currently underway, Soland said there is no set date for construction on the proposed route.

After the planning study is complete, TransLink would then secure funding from the provincial and federal governments for the project before beginning construction. In July 2021, the federal and provincial government committed to cover 80 per cent of the business case cost, but nothing has been finalized yet.