Broadway Subway and Public Transit

Vancouver is a growing city with worsening congestion, affordability challenges, and a finite amount of developable land — investing in good transit now is an absolute necessity if we want to keep our local economy robust and our region livable.

The Broadway Subway to Arbutus is largely a done deal. At this point it’s not a question of “if” or “where” as much as a question of “when” and “who’s going to pay for what?”.

The BC Liberal candidate has made a great show in this by-election about his support for building a Broadway Subway. His support, of course, belies the fact that his party have so thoroughly failed the people of Greater Vancouver on public transit.

The premier’s decision to defer the question of transit spending to public referendum was an absolute abdication of leadership, and certainly not a sign of “support” for transit infrastructure. The BC Liberals have absolutely zero credibility as advocates for public transit, and their candidate's support for the subway now is the worst kind of political hypocrisy.

Quality public transit is a critical underpinning of our economy, livability, and greenhouse gas reduction efforts. While one of the most egregious examples of our transit needs can be exemplified by the Broadway B-Line waits, we need better transit system-wide.

Let’s not make a Broadway Subway our only ask for better transit.

Having said that the Broadway Subway is a done deal, my concern is how the deal is done. With the Canada Line, we have seen that a lot of (planner-speak) transit-oriented development has come at the expense of housing affordability and led to extreme property speculation, even in advance of actual city re-zonings. It is critical that the Broadway Subway development is not a trigger for massive displacement, and that transit-oriented development is concurrent with senior government investments in publicly owned housing stock.