‘We’re ecstatic:’ North Vancouver cheers study into new rapid transit route across inlet

Linda Buchanan says many who work in the North Shore cannot afford high housing costs

The news that the province would help fund a feasibility study for a new rapid transit route across the Burrard Inlet came just in time for North Vancouver.

Mayor Linda Buchanan said the community was “ecstatic” to hear the news.

On Tuesday, the province announced a feasibility study into a fixed-link rapid transit route connecting Vancouver and the North Shore.

READ MORE: Province to study long-awaited rapid transit route between Vancouver, North Shore

Speaking to Black Press Media by phone later that day, Buchanan said the new route was needed so that people who work in North Shore communities aren’t stuck in gridlock each morning.

“Our biggest concern is that we have more traffic coming in than leaving in the morning,” Buchanan said.

“It’s four times as many people.”

The problem switches around come evening, as workers leave to head home to their own communities.

The Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project, a multi-agency project that looked at transit and transportation issues affecting the area, found that 55 per cent of trips that start in the North Shore end outside it.

And often, people are commuting from far away.

The project found that of the 21,410 trips into the North Shore on a typical workday, 13 per cent came from South of the Fraser and 15 per cent came from the Tri-Cities.

Buchanan attributes those workday routes to the many who work, but cannot live, on the North Shore due to expensive housing and low vacancy rates.

The transportation ministry didn’t elaborate on what kind of fixed-link crossing could come as a result of the study, simply that it would be rapid-transit only.

Currently, only the Ironworker Memorial, the Lions Gate bridges and a SeaBus route connect the North Shore to the rest of the Lower Mainland.

More than 70% of trips in and around the North Shore are by car, but there are 16 buses that run across the two bridges and about 19,600 people take the SeaBus on a typical workday.

The study will also look at a possible expansion of passenger ferry service across the inlet.

The transportation ministry said they would fund 50 per cent of the study up to $250,000, and the cities of Vancouver, North Vancouver and West Vancouver would each pay $50,000.

READ MORE: North Vancouver mayor wants a public transit tunnel to Vancouver


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