Am I the Last Voice against SkyTrain to UBC?

Professor Patrick Condon vents about the Broadway SkyTrain subway.

The question is; “Who is listening?”


Am I the Last Voice against SkyTrain to UBC?

It will drive unaffordable condos in Vancouver. Which drives me nuts.


By Patrick Condon |

Patrick Condon is the James Taylor chair in Landscape and Livable Environments at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the founding chair of the UBC Urban Design program.

must apologize to the poor soul who casually mentioned to me Vancouver city council may soon endorse running the proposed Broadway SkyTrain all the way to the UBC campus. The person could not know this is my trigger. They didn’t expect me to sputter and yell. They probably now think I’m nuts.


Maybe I am. Friends seem alarmed because — as we are discussing almost any civic issue, from housing to climate-change to transit — I am never more than 10 minutes away from blurting: “That’s why the Broadway subway is such a terrible idea!”

I understand their worries on my behalf. After all, we hear the opposite from many civic leaders, including UBC President Santa Ono, who published in Business in Vancouver his thoughts under the headline: “Extending SkyTrain to UBC Would Encourage Economic Growth and Prosperity throughout the Region.”

To prove my sanity, or perhaps regain it, I will do my best to explain why building this subway to UBC, far from being an economic boon, will trigger bad consequences for the city, the region, and even for UBC itself.

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3 Responses to “Am I the Last Voice against SkyTrain to UBC?”
  1. Haveacow says:

    You guys can call Ottawa’s LRT Network what you want and the Transitway doesn’t always have bridges and underpasses at roads. In fact in many places of what we call Stage 2 the Transitway buses have to wait at specially timed traffic lights at intersections. Many will not be bridged or underpassed when conversion to LRT is complete because each bridge or underpass costs between $50-$75 million each. It’s hard to stay on budget when each concrete/steel bridge or underpass has a price this high. So yes, stage 1 has no intersection crossings but stage 2 certainly will!

    Keep this in mind, our Confederation Line Electric LRT Line will easily and by design have much more capacity than your Skytrain system does. Extra capacity can be added by extending surface LRT station platforms from 90-100 metres long to 120. They are designed for this and the conversion cost is very low, which can’t be said if you want to extend Skytrain station platform lengths. Tunnel stations are already 120 metres long. The trains are designed to have a 5th section added at the shops here in Ottawa, unlike Skytrain. This means we can make each 4 section 48.5 metre long LRV into a 5 section 59 metre long LRV. Each train or consist will have 2 LRV’s . Which means are 97 metre long trains can cheaply and easily be expanded to a 118 metre train, matching the size of the lengthened station platforms.

    The Trillium Line our diesel LRT like line, which uses DMU’s (diesel multiple unit) will have each station lengthened to 80 meters from the current 35 metre long platforms. The line will be using 80 metre long Stadler Flirt DMU’s (fully FRA Compliment ) similar to what is in service on the new Tex-Rail Service in Fort Worth, Texas. The current Alstom Lint 41 DMU’s will be used on our new airport shuttle line between South Keys, EY Centre and Airport Stations.

    All this will cost $3.3 Billion plus $300 million in extra related city funding. So for a total of $5.7 Billion Ottawa will get 53.5 km of Electric and Diesel powered LRT service on 2 lines and another 8 km of totally upgraded Diesel LRT line. So almost 64 km of service for $5.7 Billion. Enjoy your $6.6-$7 Billion 13 km subway line to UBC.

  2. Haveacow says:

    That should be, the Transitway doesn’t always have bridges and underpasses at every intersection and road crossing.

    There are many Transitway sections that are already or will be in the median of existing roads. The current Barr Haven Transitway and the soon to constructed Baseline-Billings Transitway are in the medians of roads and will one day be converted to LRT. The Transitway south of Baseline Station on Woodroffe Ave. runs either in painted bus lanes on the edge of the road or on a Transitway running at grade in a private right of way west of Woodroffe Ave, all the way to Barr Haven. This will require an at grade LRT arrangement crossing many lanes of traffic at grade. This section is expected to be converted in stage 3 or 4, beginning in the late 20′s or early 30′s.

  3. r says:

    and the bill goes to?
    corruption inquiry first!

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