Aug 5, 2010 Tri City News
The Ministry of Transportation won't budge on locations for two Evergreen Line stations in Port Moody but will consider a third on the city's west side if a land use plan can justify the density.
Evergreen Line project director Dave Duncan said the Evergreen Line will have six stations and two of them will be in Port Moody — one at Ioco and Barnet and another near the West Coast Express, close to Williams Street. He said a third station could be built by opening day if the city can promise to boost density in the area and redevelopment can foot the $20-million bill.
"We're still willing to consider a third station in PoMo on opening day on two key principles: The city needs to have a land use plan in west Port Moody that would clearly support a station in west Port Moody and make sure the ridership could support the investment, and two, the redevelopment that would happen in the area in support of the station would fund the capital cost of the station." Duncan said.
PoMo council prefers a station near Elgin Street, in an industrial area near the CPR tracks, and the city's mayor said it's a better location than one near the West Coast Express. "This is nothing new, by the way, I've always believed from day one that the station at the WCE was in the wrong place," explained Mayor Joe Trasolini.
If only two stations can be built, one should be near Elgin and the other at Ioco and Barnet, Trasolini said, and council is now on record as preferring stations on both ends of the city, preferring to make the WCE the third potential station.
"If you're going to do two stations in Port Moody, it make more sense to me to space them further apart," Trasolini said adding there is more potential for development near Elgin than in the transit hub.
But Duncan says the transit hub and 300 parking spaces at the WCE station are critical for ridership and were the reason a station at WCE was chosen after consultation with the public and the city.
People won't walk more than 600 metres, he said, so they need to be able to take the bus or drive to a station.
"Those needs at the Port Moody Central Station relate to access to the existing transit network, which includes, primarily, bus connections and bus termination locations, as well as the West Coast Express and park and ride facilities. To replicate that kind of space in west Port Moody is not technically or financially practical."
However, he held out the promise a third station in the city's west end could be built by opening day as long as a land use plan was in place. Vancouver faced a similar scenario, Duncan said because Canada Line plans didn't consider a station at the Olympic Village at first but one was built when the city redeveloped land in the area.
"It's not that it hasn't been done before," he said, noting ministry staff are now in discussions with city staff about the situation. However, with Evergreenn Line construction set to start in the new year, something firm would have to be in place by the end of December.
Meanwhile, a citizens's group is hailing the city's decision to make a western station a priority. John Grasty and Robert Simons of the Western Station Committee say the city is on the right track supporting a western station but they would like to see one further west than Elgin Street.
They are concerned a station too close to Moody Centre's business district would hurt businesses there and they would like to see one closer to the industrial near Barnet Highway.
"We were very pleased to see the decision made by the council. The next step is to get all parties on side to determine the best location," Simons said.