The Evergreen Line and Western Port Moody

The Evergreen Line is currently undergoing its environmental assessment. Once that is complete, the route will be finalized and a contractor will be selected, and construction is slated to begin in early 2011. The scheduled completion is in 2014.

After years of broken promises, it looks like we will finally get rapid transit in the Northeast sector. Speaking purely for myself, I am very happy to see this finally happening. So much development has happened in the Tri-Cities with the understanding that we would have SkyTrain here, so it’s about time that transit finally caught up with growth.

But now that the line is coming, there are a variety of questions that need to be addressed. What will the impact of construction be? Who will build it? What will the stations look like? And where will the stations be located?

That last question speaks to the heart of Port Moody’s Western Station Committee (WSC). WSC is a community-based organization working to facilitate an Evergreen SkyTrain station located in Western Port Moody. WSC believes that there is broad based local support for a SkyTrain station located in Western Port Moody and the many anticipated social, economic and environmental benefits that are expected to result. They commissioned a study in November 2009 that demonstrated that more than 70% of local residents support a western station.

Unfortunately, current Evergreen Line plans do not include a western station. The environmental studies that were done for the assessment process also do not take a western station into account. There is a station planned in the Burquitlam area, and another station planned at the Port Moody West Coast Express stop, and nothing in between.

WSC wants to see an Evergreen Line Station as close to the Barnet Highway as possible, built during the first phase of construction, together with the Murray-Clarke Connector. They argue that if construction is consolidated, it will minimize the environmental impacts, preventing the needless disturbance of environmentally-sensitive Schoolhouse Creek twice. They feel that both projects are needed for the health and sustainability of Moody Centre, and doing the work separately will unnecessarily make the environmental impact greater.

Port Moody Council agrees. Council wants to see a western station, and it also wants to see the Murray-Clarke connector.

The Ministry of Transportation has suggested that if Port Moody wants a western station, then they could increase density and get developers to pay the $20 million tab. But Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini asks why his city should have to pay. He points out that local residents have funded SkyTrain development throughout Metro Vancouver, via their taxes. He does not want to see that kind of density in Moody Centre, and feels that the Ministry should cover the costs just as they are covering the costs for other stations.

At this point, there is a lot of discussion, but there is no resolution in sight for a possible western station. The Western Station Committee continues to fight the good fight, advocating for its cause with Evergreen Line officials, the Ministry of Transportation and local government.

We at believe in the cause so much that we are now helping the committee with their website and social media outreach efforts. If you would like to stay up to date on the evolution of this discussion, visit the Western Station Committee‘s website, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. You can also support their work by signing their petition or subscribing to their email newsletter. You can participate in the Evergreen Line’s environmental assessment process.

What do you think? Are you in favour of a station in Western Port Moody? Or are you concerned about other areas of the Tri-Cities that are underserved in the current Evergreen Line plan? And who do you think should be footing the bill for development? Please share your thoughts!

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  1. Admittedly, I live 2 blocks from the WCE station, so I’m biased. That said…

    Every time you add a train station, it substantially increases train travel times: deceleration, dwell, and acceleration. Given that we’re talking about something like a 2-minute delay to every trip that passes through a new station, that’s a lot of delayed people (and the populations around the WCE and the Coquitlam stations are far larger than anything near a proposed West PoMo station).

    The second factor is that it’s a fairly low density area, where few people could walk to the station in the first place. So why bother? It will not be a high density area, even when the Barnet Inn site gets developed.

    If you want a model of this idea’s future, look at the tragic ghost station that is Lake City on the Millennium Line. Admittedly an even worse case than West Port Moody, but still comparable. Astonishingly, there was a brief proposal to put a station between Lougheed and Production/SFU! Imagine what a pain that would have been.

    • Thanks for the comment! It’s true, speeding up and slowing down trains is a bit of a pain, but I’ll take that any day over stopping a bus every three feet. Having the West Coast Express and the Skytrain meet at Coquitlam makes way more sense. Lots of room for parking, the bus loop, everything. I’ll be a 15 minute walk to any station at Ioco, I guess that’s where you would go?

      I work right next to the Lake City Way Skytrain. It is a little bizarre, but it’s nice we have our own personal Skytrain station ;p

  2. Thanks for all of the links in this post.

    With the exception of weekday commute periods, have you ever noticed that all the buses entering and leaving the WCE parking lot are almost always empty, so where is the ridership here Ryan?

    I thought the Evergreen Line is being built for the future, not for the little density that exists today.

    TransLink will be very happy with the ridership as soon as 12 or so highrise towers (or equivalent density from 30 or so mid-rise buildings) are built to blanket south of St. Johns from William Street to Moody Street. Perhaps they’ll be room for even more highrises over the next 10-20 years?

    Think about the spectacular Inlet and Mountain views from all these new Moody Centre highrises.

    Admittedly, I live a few blocks from where a west station should be located, but I’m just going to roll over for the province to arbitrarily do a dump right in the middle of Moody Centre and enable the permanent gridlock almost guaranteed for the future, so for convenience I’ll continue to take my business out of Port Moody to Burnaby or Coquitlam.

    All of the people that lost their views, including those in existing condos, will be pleased to know they’ll at least have a choice to be able to take the Skytrain instead of the bus to either the Inlet Centre or all the way up to new facilities planned for Burquitlam to do their grocery shopping.

    According to Ryan, being in “a fairly low density area”, the other 1/3 of us people coming and going in west Port Moody, plus the high school students that seek transit throughout the day in the west end, will just have to make do without, and continue to use buses or cars while we wait!