The Evergreen Line – Will Translink Make It Happen?


Our friends at Translink have had a busy few months. First it was the opening of the Golden Ears Bridge linking Langley and Maple Ridge. Last week we saw the launch of the Canada Line, linking Skytrain from Downtown Vancouver to the airport and downtown Richmond. Here’s a video that let’s you ride the whole thing in a minute and a half.

The end of September will see the partial opening of the new 7 lane Pitt River Bridge. In September, 3 of the new lanes will open, with the old bridge still being used. The full 7 lanes will be open by the end of December, when they’ll start taking down the old span. The extra lane will be an Eastbound lane, 3 going into Vancouver, 4 lanes going back to Pitt Meadows. I guess when you’re at the Poco Costco and that bag of frozen chicken wings is melting, you want to get home a little quicker.

The next major project on the horizon for Translink is the long awaited Evergreen Line linking Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam Centre through Port Moody. The Evergreen Line has quite the long and winding history. Originally it was supposed to be part of the Millennium Line, then as a surface light rail system, and in February 2008 the plan was changed to use the Skytrain technology, with a completion date of sometime in 2014.

Evergreen Line Map

Now, fresh on the heels of the Canada Line opening, there are clouds on the horizon. At the end of July Translink announced that they would need another $450 million dollars in annual revenue or they won’t be able to build the Evergreen Line. Options for getting the money include a levy on vehicle sales and tolling roads based on what time of day people are driving on them. Even if all of this was implemented, they would still need more money from the provincial government to keep Translink afloat. If there is no new funding for Translink at all, they would be looking at reducing bus service by 40%, as they are not allowed to go into deficit. Metro Vancouver mayors have until October 31st to make a decision on further funding Translink, so that will be the next important day in history of the Evergreen Line.

What are your thoughts? Are you optimistic about seeing Skytrain come to the V3H by 2014, or should we not get our hopes up?

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  1. Panamajack says:

    What was the rationale to switch this from LRT back to Skytrain? On dedicated track LRT would be quite fast, but at a far lower cost. Switching back to Skytrain makes it far easier a project to kill.

    • As I remember it, the LRT was supposed to control the traffic signals somehow, but it was going to run on the surface right down St. Johns, so it wouldn’t really be any faster than driving. I guess with Skytrain they would be using the same technology for everything so it would be easier to maintain. Good point though.

  2. Panamajack says:

    I just check out the proposed route map … I originally thought Translink had more right-of-way than it appears. Given the current financial difficulties , I’m thinking both Skytrain projects (Evergreen & UBC) are probably on the chopping block. Here’s hoping otherwise.

    In the interim, I think we need to focus on making the existing B-line service on both corridors; express bus lanes are cheap and arguably just as effective in getting drivers frustrated by congestion out of their cars as speedy and pricey Skytrains (although certainly not as sexy).

  3. When my parents first bought my childhood home near Landsdowne & Guildford circa 1986, they were told B.C. Transit intended to extend the Expo line down the boulevard on Guildford to Coquitlam Centre (or so my Mom tells me whenever the Evergreen Line is a topic for discussion).

    This is a project that has been a hell of a long time in planning, and given the growth in population in the NorthEast sector, it’s long overdue.

    In my opinion, TransLink would have been better served to build the Evergreen extension instead of the Millennium Line extension. Coquitlam roads seem to me to have far more gridlock, and Burnaby already had many simple feeder bus routes to the Expo line stations that run through the city. Before the Millennium Line, to get to SkyTrain from the Tri-Cities and beyond required taking the bus to New West and transferring – and from many areas of the city (Port Moody, for example), it was two buses: one to Lougheed or Coquitlam Centre Mall, and one from there to New West.

    I think the Tri-Cities have had a raw deal when it comes to public transit.

  4. Panamajack says:

    Great series of comments on why Evergreen went ALRT rather than LRT:

    • I just tried looking at this page, it says access denied because someone from my domain might be a spammer. Too bad, looks interesting.

  5. James Crockett says:

    Is anyone really surprised by this potential delay? As Briana mentions this region has been expecting a train since Expo… This authority has over spent in recent years producing one new train line two new bridges and updating a third, as well as updating the bus fleet. They were forced into overspending and now they look at the budget and see that they do not have the funding in place to provide for the promise they made. That said public transit is squarely in the camp of political favour, so even if this project is ‘de-railed’ it only takes an election promise to put it back on track again.

  6. musicman2059 says:

    If it shows anything about my optimism, I affectionately call this line the Nevergreen line.

    I won’t be optimistic about anything until I see construction.

  7. Many Coquitlam residents I’ve been talking to, they don’t want this Evergreen line. The reason is that it would make the city of Coquitlam become too busy. (It’s busy as it is). Just like the West/North Vancouver residents don’t want more bridges to the north shore. I agree, it’s better if less people and traffic come to our peaceful town.

    • Everyone always wants to be the last person to move into town. I don’t see how taking cars off the road with rapid transit will make Coquitlam more busy. Less car trips would mean less traffic I would think.


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