Yesterday Councillor George Affleck and Rob McDowell got a preview of Evergreen (formally, the Evergreen Extension of the Millennium Line) – and sent some shots from the initial run.
PT welcomes your impressions as you get a chance to try out what is now (again) the longest automated light-rail line in the world. (Theological arguments aside on the definition of light rail when it comes to SkyTrain.)
The 11-km $1.43 billion line took long enough to reach Coquitlam (PoCo, not surprisingly, thinks it would have made more sense to cross the river to them). But at last it’s open – connecting at Lougheed.
And then through the Motordom landscapes of the northeast part of region.
Entering a six-km tunnel – apparently the coolest part of the trip, according to George.
Paralleling the main line of the CPR and serving Port Moody, still industrial and port-serving in ways not seen from the road.
Moving on to the residential and commercial centre of Coquitlam.
Evergreen already has a lot of intermodal connections with the frequent bus network and West Coast Express, and there is already a substantial amount of residential density near some of the stations. There will be about 40,000 passengers a day anticipated on the line, rising to 70,000 in about five years.
Transit lines are century-long commitments to city building. There will be short-term impacts (the crowding induced elsewhere along the rapid-transit network), medium-term (more affordable housing options with better transit links) and long-term (the movement of job centres into some of these locations to make them truly complete communities).
Evergreen is a manifestation of the half-century-long regional vision (“cities in a sea of green”) – still proving to be far-sighted once we make the commitment to actually follow through on its intentions.