Rapid transit for UBC has priority over Surrey’s
The push for rapid transit to the University of B.C. is heating up, with the Alma Mater Society urging Metro Vancouver to make the issue an “urgent priority.”
Society president Bijan Ahmadian has sent a letter to the regional district saying rapid transit to UBC should be considered as “equally urgent” as that for south of Fraser communities in Metro Vancouver’s draft regional growth strategy.
The move comes after Metro cited the Evergreen Line, a Surrey SkyTrain extension and the Broadway corridor as the top priorities in its draft plan, bumping the UBC rapid transit line to the bottom.
Metro chief administrative officer Johnny Carline has said Surrey will bear the brunt of the region’s growth in the next 30 years, and more transit is needed to help shape that city’s development.
Only after Surrey gets improved transit should TransLink consider extending rapid transit to UBC, the draft strategy says.
But UBC argues the demand is already there for more transit to and from the university. About 4,000 students are passed up by full 99 B-Line buses every day.
The Alma Mater Society last week launched a campaign to demonstrate support for rapid transit. It said transit use to UBC is expected to grow by 10 per cent each year.
“We are concerned that Metro Vancouver is playing politics on the issue, and that students will suffer as a consequence,” Ahmadian said in the letter. “This is not just a UBC issue. This is your issue too. UBC students, faculty and alumni live throughout Metro Vancouver.”
Nancy Knight, UBC’s associate vice-president, planning, at UBC, agreed the university is a significant employment centre not just for the region but for the province.
The university is proposing to build more affordable student and faculty housing on campus, in hopes of building a more sustainable community where people can live, work and study closer to home.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for a significant centre like this not be connected by rapid transit,” she said.
TransLink is preparing technical reports for both a UBC rapid transit line and extending SkyTrain in Surrey.
Source: The Vancouver Sun