Should the City of Vancouver build its own streetcar system?

What if every time one paid for parking in Vancouver the money you spent went to lay track and buy cars in a street railway system? It may seem far-fetched but it could happen. Currently in the “Parking Reserve Fund” there is $28 million and some of these dollars could fund a lot of track and cars.

Remember during the Olympics when the streetcar was running between Granville Island and the Olympic Village Canadian Line stop? It was a real treat to take a  ride on this little line. I rode it every chance I could.

Did you know that there is a right of way for a railway system that has be laid out to run from Granville Island to Coal Harbour? Imagine if we had a streetcar route through Stanley Park and up Davie St. to the Canadian Line at the Round House? Wow, this would be a transit game changer. What a tourist attraction and what an improvement to the Vancouver transit experience! Check out this map on the City’s website.

While it is an exciting idea to have a Streetcar System in Vancouver and I am sure its time will arrive one day, there are many hurdles to be overcome.

Vancouver would not be able to do a project like this alone. Translink has the mandate to provide transit in the Metro Van region and a big priority would be transit improvements to the Broadway corridor out to UBC. The partnership arrangements would need to be negotiated with Translink. Check out these comments from the City Manager and the Head of Planning on the issue The Straight.

Still, the idea of linking parking revenues to “sustainability projects” has a certain policy beauty to it. At the April 17 Vancouver Council meeting a Vancouver Greenest City Fund was established, which is a partnership between the City and the Vancouver Foundation to fund community based sustainability projects. This is much needed area of funding. I am volunteering on a project called Bike.Community and this granting opportunity would be just the solution that we need to expand the project beyond the pilot project phase to find more stable funding from other sources. Here is article on the project from the April 27, 2012 Vancouver Courier.

One Response to “Should the City of Vancouver build its own streetcar system?”

  1. Stephen Rees says:

    While I like the idea of Vancouver having streetcars, one of the best features of our current system is its integration. One ticket and you can ride (almost) anything – Skytrain, bus, Seabus. IF there are going to be streetcars I do not want to have a pay a separate fare – like I have to on the False Creek ferries.

    Sadly $28 million does not buy very much in the way of a streetcar system. And the tiny bit we do have, the CoV cannot afford to run. There is no money this year for the Downtown Heritage Railway to run between Granville Island and Olympic Village. Let alone put down track on the righ of way past the Village on False Creek or Science World.

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