Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson used his speech at the Urban Land Institute of BC earlier today to outline the importance of a Broadway Subway for both Vancouver and the region.
“A critical piece of Vancouver’s future success is building a Broadway Subway. It’s the single best thing that we can do for our environment, our livability and our economy.”
The Mayor emphasized the importance of the Broadway Corridor, its position as the second largest employment hub in the province with more than 200,000 people living and working along the Corridor.
New City analysis of the Broadway Subway, which would likely be an extension of existing SkyTrain Millennium Line infrastructure, shows that it would have 250,0000 trips on its first day in operation – more than a new Massey Tunnel Bridge (110,000 trips) or Port Mann Bridge (180,000 trips).
The extension will also reduce 50,000 daily car trips from the road when people switch to using transit. Over a period of ten years, the Broadway Subway will also create upwards of $200 million in new revenue and transit operational cost savings by increasing transit ridership across the region and reducing the need for 99 B-Line buses.
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“With over one million more people moving to Metro Vancouver in the coming years, we need to be planning for the future,” added the Mayor. “A Broadway Subway is a key component of an integrated regional transportation system, one that cuts congestion, protects our environment, and would put money back into other transit improvements.”
The Mayor also took the opportunity to voice his concerns against the notion of scaling back the requirements of community amenity contributions (CACs). In exchange for City Council’s approval of sizeable development rezoning proposals, developers fund and build CACs such as new parks, libraries, daycares, affordable housing, community centres and cultural facilities.
“It is perfectly fair that those who profit from new development should be required to invest a reasonable amount back into the communities they build in,” said Mayor Robertson. “It is fundamental to the social license that exists – and is required – to build in Vancouver.
“Reducing CACs won’t lead to more affordability – it will only shortchange our neighbourhoods in the long run. As Mayor, I have no interest in seeing that happen.”
He also touch based on Vancouver’s economy, specifically with the growth of the tech and digital media sectors and the city’s office tower boom.
Vancouver technology companies have secured over $100 million in venture capital during the first quarter of 2014.
When it comes to commercial development, there are five new office towers now under construction in downtown Vancouver, with 10 others throughout the city, all part of adding a record 3.5 million square feet of office space.
In the first quarter of this year alone, the value of building permits in Vancouver rose by 63 per cent compared to the same period last year. In 2013, the City recorded $2 billion in building permit values.
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