Editorial: SkyTrain would be nice but rapid buses will have to do

Port Coquitlam, it could be argued, was left off the gravy (Sky)train when the Evergreen Extension route to Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station was planned.

Port Coquitlam, it could be argued, was left off the gravy (Sky)train when the Evergreen Extension route to Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station was planned.

But with rapid bus along the Lougheed Highway coming in 2019, the city may truly come of age as a transit-oriented city.

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Although recent tweaks to the bus schedule have given PoCo more service, especially along Shaughnessy Street, and the city has long benefitted from having a West Coast Express station, being ignored for SkyTrain service was a disappointment.

Still, the city isn’t losing any sleep over it if recent planning documents bear fruit, with PoCo now looking at rapid bus as an opportunity for more transit in the area.

In May, PoCo’s Smart Growth Committee was asked to identify possible Frequent Transit Development Areas for some neighbourhoods close to the planned rapid bus along Lougheed Highway between Westwood and Oxford streets, and the Woodland/Westwood triangle, which is close to Lincoln Station, making them higher-density, more pedestrian-friendly areas.

This is all background to Mayor Greg Moore’s cheeky addition of a motion by Delta Mayor Lois Jackson — who called for a light rail line from Richmond to Chilliwack and is the lone supporter of the huge and hugely expensive bridge replacement for the George Massey Tunnel — where he sought a further Evergreen extension through PoCo to Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, and running the proposed Surrey light rail line to White Rock.

As chair of the Mayor’s Council and a longtime transit advocate, Moore well knows that SkyTrain through PoCo will not likely happen in his political lifetime, but by mentioning it, he certainly reminded his counterparts of PoCo being left out of the rapid transit system.

While new bus service has given PoCo people a relatively quick link to SkyTrain, they’ll have to wait for rapid bus to get a speedy east-west connection.

Could PoCo have benefited from a station on the Evergreen Line? Yes, because riders prefer seamless rapid transit. But with rapid bus service coming, They will have at least one more transit opportunity that will bring their community in line with other Metro Vancouver cities.

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