C-Tran offers latest look at bus rapid transit proposal

Public has chance to weigh in on design of boarding stations

By Eric Florip, Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter

Published:

 

C-Tran will offer four additional opportunities in Vancouver to provide feedback on the design of its proposed bus rapid transit system:

2 to 4 p.m. today at the Westfield Vancouver mall transit platform, 8700 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive.

1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St.

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at C-Tran's administrative offices, 2425 N.E. 65th Ave.

Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Mercado Latino, 5910 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. (A Spanish-speaking interpreter will be available.)

ON THE WEB: Citizens may also take a survey online at www.c-tran.com/brt.

C-Tran will offer four additional opportunities in Vancouver to provide feedback on the design of its proposed bus rapid transit system:

2 to 4 p.m. today at the Westfield Vancouver mall transit platform, 8700 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive.

1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St.

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at C-Tran’s administrative offices, 2425 N.E. 65th Ave.

Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Mercado Latino, 5910 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. (A Spanish-speaking interpreter will be available.)

ON THE WEB: Citizens may also take a survey online at www.c-tran.com/brt.

As C-Tran continues to craft a proposed bus rapid transit line in Vancouver, the agency this week is offering its latest glimpse of what the system could look like.

Planners unveiled three possible designs for the boarding stations that would dot the new route. A display set up Tuesday at Clark College offered the first chance for citizens to weigh in and pick their favorite, with four more opportunities to follow this week.

The three station designs C-Tran is considering are dubbed “Walking Sticks,” “Twisted Slats” and “Flying Sails.” Each includes the same set of features, but takes a different approach to the walls, shelters and benches around them.

“These station designs are very different than what we have out there now,” said C-Tran project manager Chuck Green.

Bus rapid transit uses larger vehicles, specialized signals and other features in an effort to move passengers more efficiently and reliably. C-Tran has proposed building a $53 million line primarily along Vancouver’s Fourth Plain corridor between downtown and the Westfield Vancouver mall. The bus rapid transit line would also pass by Clark College along Fort Vancouver Way.

If built, the system would replace the existing No. 4 and No. 44 buses along that stretch, according to C-Tran. It could open as early as 2016.

The bus rapid transit concept continues to develop despite less-than spirited support from the C-Tran Board of Directors. Board members have advanced the project since a preferred alternative was adopted in 2012, but only by split 5-4 or 6-3 votes more recently. Among the lingering questions are the financial assumptions the project relies on.

At least one key decision point remains: The C-Tran board still must authorize using an estimated $6 million of its own reserve funds to pay for the project. Most of the rest of the $53 million price tag would be paid by a federal grant, which C-Tran applied for last year. The agency should know more about the project’s federal funding prospects later this spring, Green said.

Many students who stopped by the Clark College display Tuesday were getting their first look at bus rapid transit, which C-Tran has called “light rail on tires.” Most appeared pleased by what they saw.

“I like the project,” said July Canilao, a Clark College freshman. “I think they should actually do it.”

Canilao is a rider of the existing No. 4 bus, which she said is routinely packed. Larger vehicles would help with that, and having a more convenient transit option at Clark College would be a welcome upgrade, she said.

Michael Choquer, a junior at Battle Ground’s CAM Academy who also attends classes at Clark, took a particular interest in the project and its design, which he said he liked. Choquer plans to study architecture and civil engineering, he said.

As for the station designs, favorites varied. Several students were more interested in the features the stations would all share, including security cameras, graffiti-resistant materials and an electronic display board showing bus arrival times.

C-Tran will continue outreach later this year as the project develops, Green said. Future public events could focus on the winning station design, or on naming the entire system, he said.

Bus rapid transit remains relatively early in the design process, but C-Tran has found more engagement from people now than in previous stages of the project, Green said.

“I think they’re starting to see what it could look like,” Green said.