After months of outreach and deliberation, C-Tran will begin introducing its preferred option for a second bus rapid transit line.
The first presentation will take place at Monday’s Vancouver City Council meeting, where the council will get its initial look at a locally preferred option for the line running along Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard.
The first Vine route opened in January 2017 and runs along East Fourth Plain Boulevard. Ridership continues to increase, only further encouraging C-Tran to seek a second line. The transit agency reported ridership increased more than 19 percent in 2018 with more than 1.3 million individual trips taken on the Vine.
New route proposal
The recommendation from the Corridor Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee is to align the new route with East Evergreen Boulevard in downtown — connecting with the existing Turtle Place stop used by the Fourth Plain Vine — and with a new transit center near S.E. 192nd Ave. on the east side.
Vancouver’s long range planning manager, Rebecca Kennedy, said Monday’s workshop won’t include any decisions from council but rather provide an opportunity for the governing body and anyone watching to understand the process that’s led to this second route and its alignment.
“Transit is a very important piece of our regional transportation system,” Kennedy said. “When the community makes investments in infrastructure that moves people more efficiently with greater reliability from where they live to where they want to go and vice versa, the whole transport system works better.”
Although the city council doesn’t actually make a formal decision on the new BRT route, Kennedy said city staff and members of the council have been involved in the planning process and will be involved in the final decision-making process as the C-Tran board of directors also includes representatives from the council. Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle serves as the board’s vice-chair, and Councilors Bart Hansen and Ty Stober are members of the board.
When completed, the new BRT line should cost less than $50 million, according to C-Tran’s estimates. The bulk of that funding should come from the Federal Transit Authority’s Small Starts Grant Program. C-Tran is seeking $25 million in grants.
But there’s been a snag.
“We were in line to get that approval no later than the first of February, however with the government shutdown, we’re now in this indefinite hold period,” said Scott Patterson, C-Tran’s chief external affairs officer.
Patterson is confident the project will receive funding, but it’s anyone’s guess as to when the announcement will be made with the government only temporarily reopened. Once the grant is secured, the project can enter its next phase and start project development.
Randy Parker, the project manager, said this time around the FTA has streamlined the process, making it a little quicker to get approval and start work on transit projects.
“If they’re open,” Patterson quipped.
The project proposal will next travel to the C-Tran board of directors in February for a first look and tentative final adoption in March.