Commuters that have advocated for a SkyTrain station in Port Coquitlam could soon be getting their wish.
It appears TransLink is set to explore the possibility of extending the Milliennium Line into the town centre core as it's on the authority's to-do list over the next 10 years.
A proposed priorities template was unveiled today (April 20), which gives a glimpse into what TransLink is set to engage and pursue in the first decade of its Transport 2050 plan in hopes it can meet the demand of the region's growing population.
Port Coquitlam is considered a community of interest as residents and politicians have called for a transit extension for a wider connection to the rest of the Tri-Cities and Metro Vancouver.
The nearest SkyTrain station is currently Coquitlam Central, which includes the West Coast Express that connects to PoCo's stop on the line — located at 2125 Kingsway Ave. — as well as several local bus services.
However, many believe a SkyTrain could possibly court future urban growth and development options.
"Without SkyTrain coming to downtown Port Coquitlam where we have tonnes of possibilities, it would be a struggle to reach the percentage [of affordable housing] close to those transit corridors," noted Coun. Glen Pollock during a regular public meeting about Port Coquitlam's potential involvement in Transport 2050 in September last year.
So, TransLink's announcement today is a step forward, but there are many unknowns still at play: where would the station be built, how early could shovels hit the ground, is it financially feasible and, in general, can it be done?
TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn says planning studies in the months and years to come may answer those questions.
"It’s critical that we lay the groundwork for achieving the region’s shared goals set out in Transport 2050," he said.
"Our region needs to rapidly invest in transportation improvements to combat climate change, address the housing affordability crisis, and improve congestion in a growing region. Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities will chart a fast and effective course to quality transportation choices for the people of Metro Vancouver."
New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté, who serves as the chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, believes experts will be able to deliver on the shared benefits of the transit plan.
No immediate timeline was provided by TransLink with its announcement today.
Other key 10-year priorities in its regional transportation strategy are:
- Regional express bus services
- Includes bus between Coquitlam Central and Surrey Central via the Port Mann Bridge
- $1.5 billion for low-carbon bus fleets
- Includes new charging infrastructure at Port Coquitlam Transit Centre
- The Burnaby Mountain Gondola to Simon Fraser University (SFU)
- Building 450 km of new traffic-separated cycling paths
- 60 per cent increase in HandyDART services to meet future ridership demand and provide 24-hour service
- The Millennium Line SkyTrain extension from Arbutus Street to UBC (pending development of a new funding model with project partners)
For more information and to read the plan in full, you're encouraged to visit TransLink's website.
A survey with a May 4 deadline has also been launched for interested residents to express questions, comments and concerns about the 10-year priority plan.