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TransLink to 'explore' potential Port Coquitlam SkyTrain extension

Mayor Brad West promises plenty of consultation as the city is considered for the exploration of a potential SkyTrain extension in Metro Vancouver's $21-billion transportation plan.
Metro Vancouver mayors have agreed to adopt a new 10-year transportation plan, that includes 'exploring' SkyTrain to Port Coquitlam.

Dozens of transit goodies are planned over the next 10 years in Metro Vancouver.

But one stands out for Port Coquitlam residents: a potential SkyTrain extension to the city.

This week, the mayors’ council and TransLink’s board of directors approved the region’s new decade-long list of transportation priorities for Metro Vancouver.

The plan prioritizes the first 10.years of actions originally outlined in Transport 2050, and provides a range of initiatives, including increased bus services and more safe cycling routes.

While the Transport 2050 priorities received significant support, according to officials, it still needs to be funded.

The cost of the plan is estimated at $21 billion and, according to a news release, will "need significant new revenue sources and investments from all levels of government to deliver."

Projects will be delivered in phases and funded through a series of future investment plans.

For the city's mayor, the inclusion of a SkyTrain in Port Coquitlam as a priority for exploration, is a recognition that the city is "under-served" when it comes to transit.

Consultation needed on Port Coquitlam SkyTrain

However, Brad West told the Tri-City News there is much work to be done before there are any shovels in the ground, let alone a route and funding.

"First and foremost, we'll be consulting widely with our residents to get their input and feedback," said West. 

"The city will be working closely with TransLink as they explore this extension. There is a lot of very detailed work that will need to be done and a number of stages to progress through."

West said the city lacks reliable, fast and direct transit and said he has been "very vocal about that."

While the exact route and stations are a long way away, some preparation for SkyTrain to Port Coquitlam has been considered.

When the Evergreen line was built, provision was made for a possible future SkyTrain extension towards Port Coquitlam.

The stub track branches off at Coquitlam Central Station and is generally aligned with the CP Rail corridor heading south east.

A spokesperson for the City of Coquitlam has confirmed that while the City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) was being completed, the city was considering a PoCo extension. 

Developers along potential route told to work with TransLink

"We were in contact with TransLink to understand any plans for a potential SkyTrain extension," stated a planning spokesperson.

At that time, the transit authority wasn’t able to offer any firm commitment in terms of plans or budget, the spokesperson noted in an email to the Tri-City News when the PoCo extension was first being touted in the 10-year plan.

No land was held in reserve through the CCAP, but the City of Coquitlam has been advising any development applicants adjacent to the CP rail corridor of the potential expansion to work with TransLink on any required setbacks, the spokesperson stated.

Port Coquitlam council has also been vocal about the need for a SkyTrain extension to the city, and in 2019 asked for a study, which has not yet been available.

Still, the transportation authority's 10-year wish list is expansive, and PoCo's route is one among many priorities.

Among the priorities identified in the next 10 years include:

  • Up to nine new traffic-separated Bus Rapid Transit lines
  • More than doubling bus service over 2022 levels
  • Building the Burnaby Mountain Gondola to Simon Fraser University (SFU)
  • Extending the Millennium Line from Arbutus to UBC
  • Increasing HandyDART service by 60 per cent and providing 24-hour service
  • Immediately advancing a business case to determine the best rapid transit technology on the Metrotown to Park Royal corridor, while delivering better bus service in the short term
  • Exploring other potential SkyTrain extensions, including to Newton in Surrey and to Port Coquitlam
  • Building 450 kilometres of new traffic-separated cycling paths including bike networks in every Metro Vancouver Urban Centre
  • Introducing 200 new bike lockers and six new bike parkades
  • Increasing SeaBus service start and end times to match SkyTrain’s service hours

Several corridors will also be upgraded to traffic-separated bus service, called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Corridors identified for BRT improvements include:

  • King George Blvd (Surrey to White Rock)
  • Langley – Haney Place (200 Street - Golden Ears - Lougheed Hwy)
  • Lougheed Hwy (upgrade from R3)
  • Lynn Valley – Downtown/Lonsdale (Lions Gate Bridge)
  • Marine Dr Station – 22nd St Station (Marine Way)
  • Metrotown – Park Royal (Second Narrows)
  • Richmond Centre – Metrotown (Knight St Bridge)
  • Scott Road (upgrade from R6)
  • Hastings St (upgrade from R5)