A new poll commissioned by UBC shows the vast majority of Metro Vancouver residents support extending the Millennium Line SkyTrain beyond Arbutus Street, all the way to UBC.
The poll found that 82 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents support the project, and 60 per cent of those polled said connecting UBC with a rapid transit line should be considered a regional priority.
“It is very helpful to know that Metro Vancouverites view this project in the same way that we do, as a regional priority that will benefit people in municipalities across the Lower Mainland,” said Michael White, associate vice president of campus and community planning, in a release.
“There’s a clear recognition that SkyTrain to UBC won’t just serve students studying on campus, but that it will contribute to an interconnected transit system for the region that also supports our growing campus population,” said White.
The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade also supports extending the line past Arbutus to the UBC Point Grey campus.
“We believe our region needs to take bold action to reduce traffic congestion and increase mobility,” said Iain Black, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. “Doing so will not only increase our collective quality of life, but it will also benefit local businesses and our regional economy.”
Support for extending SkyTrain to UBC varied across municipalities, with the highest levels of support reported in the City of Vancouver.
Levels of support for SkyTrain to UBC across Metro Vancouver
- 89 per cent support in City of Vancouver
- 86 per cent support on North Shore
- 84 per cent in Burnaby, Richmond and New Westminster
- 79 per cent in Tri-Cities
- 73 per cent in Delta, White Rock and Langley
- 66 per cent in Surrey
- 62 per cent in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he’s not surprised at public support for a SkyTrain extension past Arbutus Street.
“People want to see transit solutions that will alleviate the major congestion problems along the Broadway corridor, get them to where they need to be more quickly, and that will integrate into existing and future transit infrastructure across the region — a SkyTrain extension to UBC will help us accomplish all of this,” said Stewart.
The poll also found 69 per cent of Metro Vancouverites polled agree it is important for their municipality to be well-connected to the UBC Point grey campus by transit, and nearly half (46 per cent) said they would be more likely to visit campus if there was a SkyTrain connection.
A SkyTrain extension to UBC would connect UBC, with no transfers, to Burnaby and Coquitlam, and to Surrey, New Westminster and Richmond with just one transfer, drastically reducing travel times.
Two-thirds of survey respondents said they would be more likely to support the SkyTrain extension if UBC provided a substantial financial contribution toward the project, assuming such a contribution would not affect funding for the university’s academic mission.
Some of the university’s funding options include a financial contribution, land contribution, funding through on-campus development charges or a combination of the three.
People were also asked if they think SkyTrain is the most appropriate form of public transit, or if something like light rail transit (LRT) would be better suited to moving people along the Broadway corridor to and from UBC campus. Just 18 per cent of respondents think there is a better option than SkyTrain, 17 per cent aren’t sure, and 65 per cent said SkyTrain is the most appropriate form.
“At present, buses 99, 9 and 14 run along West 10th Ave. to UBC and often move quickly through the intersections in Point Grey Village. The SkyTrain will decrease vehicle traffic and make it safer for the community, shoppers and the businesses themselves, while also increasing foot traffic in the proximity of the future station,” said Aila Karpio, executive director of the Point Grey Village Business Association.
“According to statistics, the dominant age group of residents in the neighbourhood is 20-24 year-olds, so one can only guess that most of them study at UBC. Extending the SkyTrain to UBC will make it easier for students who live in the neighbourhood to travel to the university and other parts of Metro Vancouver. Business and property owners within the Point Grey Village BIA strongly support the SkyTrain Extension for these reasons.”
“TransLink recently completed an analysis of options for a rail connection to UBC that showed SkyTrain is the best choice, and the City of Vancouver has agreed,” said White. “This polling data indicates Metro Vancouverites know that the Broadway corridor requires a transit option that can carry high capacities and that will serve our communities well into the future.”
The poll was conducted online between Nov. 14-20 with 1,900 adult respondents and a margin of error of +/- 2.3 per cent 19 times out of 20.
Editor’s note: Peter Meiszner is an employee of the University of British Columbia.