In 72 hours, five Urban Land Institute Governor’s Advisory Panel (GAP) members took a fresh look at the proposed Broadway rail rapid transit line, from Commercial Drive to UBC, unconstrained by local history. They came up with their best suggestions on how to think about strategies for land use and transit options in the long term.
They looked at:
- transit mode
- land use and development
Some of their observations:
Existing transit barely works.
Any of the options will satisfy demand over next 30 years
The City makes a plausible case for a subway.
A subway does offer sufficient incremental value to be the choice over the long term:
- if bored, not cut and cover
- construction is done in phases, east to west
- institutional entities (such as the university, hospitals and other benefitting businesses) have to be active participants – with open chequebooks
No question that for the long-term future of Vancouver that you want underground subway. Light rail in fact would be the most disruptive alternative for existing neighbourhoods. Light rail is not a trolley car.
LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT
Even with growth of employment shifting to Surrey and Richmond, the City of Vancouver is going to continue to have the lion’s share of employment in the region. Broadway will have 70 percent of job the base of downtown.
‘Eds and Meds’ (educational and medical institutions and related jobs) are the biggest drivers of growth. UBC is a city-scale anchor for the line, which otherwise need not proceed past Arbutus.
Zoning changes should not be directly linked to which mode of transit is chosen. In other words, if a more expensive mode is chosen, those additional costs should not be seen as a justification to upzone everything. Disconnect transit choice from development above ground.
Neighbourhood differences along the corridor should shape associated development. Preserve neighbourhood character. Don’t get caught in belief you that have to upzone everything.
Vancouver is drunk on highrises. You don’t need towers everywhere. For neighbourhoods, some people think density equals towers, when it needn’t. You already have an excellent model in the Arbutus Lands.
Meet scale, scope of street conditions and proximate development patterns with careful consideration of views and sun cones.
Concentrate new development in existing C-3A zones. There is existing capacity without zoning changes. Only 60 percent of available development opportunity is built out in central Broadway core.
It is critical for short and long-term success that public sector work closely with neighbourhoods.
Disconnections and confusion are often the result of miscommunication about the facts. Stakeholders need to be on same page.
Take more time, do more marketing, include better graphics. The public, for instance, confuses graphics of walking-distance radii as target zones for rezoning.
Educate, communicate and market the goals and objectives to all stakeholders. Create the constituency to lobby for the money needed to finance the line.
The ULI district council can be a convenor of the stakeholders around the facts.
ONE MORE COMMENT FROM MIKE HARCOURT
Broadway rapid transit is as big a megaproject in jobs and opportunities for business as three or more of the proposed LNG plants in the north.
AND ONE FROM PRICE TAGS:
In terms of jobs and economic development, the most important pipeline to be built in the province will be the one containing the Broadway subway.