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Aug 13,2009 Tri City News

 

SkyTrain-1.jpg
Coquitlam will lobby the provincial government for a third SkyTrain station in Town Centre despite warnings from TransLink that it may be too strapped for cash to even build the rapid transit line.
TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

 
 

Coquitlam will lobby the provincial government for a third Evergreen Line station in Town Centre despite warnings from TransLink that it may be too strapped for cash to even build the rapid transit line.

City manager Peter Steblin said staff are trying to secure a third elevated station along Pinetree Way, at Lincoln Avenue, and are working with provincial staff in charge of the Evergreen Line project to "earn" that stop.

Currently, six stations have been allocated for the 11-kilometre Evergreen Line: Lougheed Town Centre, Burquitlam, Port Moody/West Coast Express, Ioco Road, Coquitlam/West Coast Express and Coquitlam city hall/Douglas College.

A seventh stop, near Henderson Place mall, would be used by current and future residents living in Town Centre highrises who don't want to or can't walk the extra kilometre to catch the mass-transit line.

Steblin said the city wants to "earn" that station by boosting residential, commercial and institutional density around the three Town Centre stations and by varying parking rules.

City planner Jim McIntyre said the city is proposing a number of options, including tightening parking restrictions around the stations thereby making residents less reliant on a second vehicle but also offering incentives to developers who can provide public parking on their land to encourage Evergreen ridership. Other nearby properties could be used for park-and-ride exchanges.

As well, the city would launch a parking management plan to ensure on-street parking and commercial lots aren't being jammed with Evergreen commuters' cars.

"We don't want people parking and hiding," McIntyre said.

He said the city has been planning for rapid transit along Pinetree since the 1980s through the official community plan and zoning bylaw changes, and many of those plans have now been realized.

"The city has done a good job in positioning for rapid transit," Steblin said at last month's land use planning committee, "but we can do more."

He added, "We are highlighting to the province and the development community that we are open to address solutions around the line. It's a signal for partnership."

But Coun. Selina Robinson said she fears the area will be packed with vehicles from Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge if public parking isn't readily available.

"I don't want them driving in and have no parking for SkyTrain," she said.

Over the next few months, city staff will consult with stakeholders, such as the province, Metro Vancouver and the Urban Development Institute, to consider tailoring the city's policies, regulations and processes for the $1.4-billion line, which is due to be built by 2014 should TransLink come up with its $400-million share. (The region's mayors will vote on whether to proceed with Evergreen in October.)

The province, which has committed $410 million, is also short $173 million, although it plans to fill the gap with money from private-public partnerships. The federal government announced its share in March.

jwarren@tricitynews.com

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