I submitted this letter to the Editor of the Vancouver Sun recently and thought I would share it here as well.
In arguing for an underground skytrain system for the Broadway Corridor, Councillor Meggs relies on inaccuracies presented as facts. This is because a decision, based on the facts, makes an At-grade LRT [ALRT] the only sensible choice – both fiscally and environmentally.
We all agree that an underground skytrain from Commercial to UBC is estimated to cost approximately 3 billion dollars. Councillor Meggs then proceeds to suggest that ALRT [Light Rapid Transit] by comparison would cost approximately 1 billion dollars. The fact is that ALRT would only cost in the neighborhood of 360 million – that is, not 1/3 of the cost of underground skytrain but more like 1/8th!
Councillor Meggs then attempts to justify the more expensive underground skytrain [2 billion dollars more expensive using his figures and in reality more like 2.64 billion more expensive] by suggesting that ALRT doesn’t have the ridership capacity to meet future demand – which he suggests is 146,000 people a day. The fact is that ALRT in dozens of cities around the world is operating today with even higher capacities.
With equivalent or higher ridership, ALRT would not only address the pressing problem of rising demand along the Broadway corridor, but also pay for the construction of additional ALRT throughout the city of Vancouver if we use the cost savings of 2.64 billion dollars to do so. At 30 million per kilometre, that’s 90 additional kilometres of ALRT criss-crossing the city. To put this in perspective, the Commercial to UBC line is only 12 kilometres.
Tim Louis, former COPE Vancouver City Councillor