June 20,2005

Council wants LRT station changes

By Angela MacKenzie - Staff Reporter

Port Moody council's first look at TransLink's proposed locations for LRT (light rail transit) stations in the city sparked criticism and calls for changes.

Three stations along St. John's Street - at Queens Street, between Moody and Williams streets (near the West Coast Express station) and Moray Street - are included in preliminary plans.

Council voted to urge TransLink to relocate the proposed Queens Street station to the bottom of the Clarke Road hill (where St. John's Street meets Barnet Highway) and to create a fourth station to serve the Glenayre neighbourhood.

"If you look at an aerial map, these make no sense," said Coun. Cynthia van Ginkel, who shared the frustrations of other councillors over the proposed station locations.

Coun. Karen Rockwell said the current stations would not "create a culture of transit usage."

The LRT line is planned to go underground at St. John's and Barnet due to the steep grade, re-emerging near a proposed station at Burquitlam Plaza. The exact location of tunnel portals is not yet decided.

Mayor Joe Trasolini said safety issues could be a drawback of an underground station incorporated with a tunnel portal planned for the bottom of the Clark Road hill - issues that would need to be resolved through TransLink. But Trasolini agreed a station close to the high school would better serve students.

The LRT line will eliminate and replace the 97B Line bus that has six bus stops in Port Moody. The 97B currently travels from the Lougheed SkyTrain Station through Port Moody and into Coquitlam, ending at the Coquitlam Central West Coast Express station.

A written report to council by city manager Gaetan Royer states that the bus stop near the St. John's and Barnet intersection has been observed by city staff as "one of the busiest stops" on the 97B Line due to its location near the secondary school and numerous multi-family developments in the Seaview, Glenayre and College Park neighbourhoods.

The city's official community plan (OCP) also calls for primarily multi-family residential development for the Seaview area, with an estimated OCP population capacity of 6,300 based on proposed land use. The city estimated a 2003 neighbourhood population of 3,100 for Seaview, 1,500 for Glenayre and 2,150 for College Park.

Numerous residents, however, appeared before council not to comment on the LRT stations, but to oppose plans to operate a community shuttle bus service in Glenayre.

Mike Fricker, president of the Glenayre Community Association and a 14-year resident of the area, said most of his neighbours on Ailsa Avenue are opposed to the shuttle.

Fricker said the shuttle would run along Glencoe Drive and Ailsa during peak hours in the morning and afternoon. It would replace the current 148 Line bus that currently travels along Glenayre Drive, Princeton Avenue, Washington Drive and Cecile Drive before heading east along St. John's.

Fricker said transit authorities have not consulted the community association about the shuttle, and that many residents were not aware of an open house hosted by Coast Mountain Bus Co. in May.

The association plans to meet on June 28 at 7 p.m. at the Glenayre Community Centre to discuss the issue and has invited representatives from Coast Mountain Bus to attend.

posted on 06/20/2005