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News / Clark County News

C-Tran ready to roll The Vine along Highway 99 from Vancouver waterfront to WSU Vancouver

$52M, 10-mile bus rapid transit project to be done in 2026

By William Seekamp, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 29, 2023, 5:17pm

C-Tran’s board of directors has unanimously approved a plan for a third line of bus rapid transit, known as The Vine, to run along Highway 99 from Vancouver’s waterfront to Washington State University Vancouver.

The estimated $52 million, 10-mile project is scheduled to be completed in 2026. It will join bus rapid transit lines on Fourth Plain Boulevard, which opened in 2017, and on Mill Plain Boulevard, which is set to open later this year.

The Vine boasts larger buses and level-boarding platforms, maximized connections and seamless fare payments to create a faster and more efficient experience.

Going forward, C-Tran will gather additional public feedback, secure project funding, and complete the planning and development phases, with the goal of breaking ground in 2024.

Changes since February

After staff deliberation and comments from the board during its February meeting, it was decided that The Vine will not stop at the Highway 99 transit center off Northeast 99th Street because it would add 20 to 45 minutes to each round trip.

The nearest planned stop to the 99th Street Transit Center will be the one at Highway 99 and 99th Street, about a quarter-mile walk from the transit center. C-Tran staff said that local bus service will connect the two locations and that the 99th Street stop, in addition to other local connection stops, will have security cameras, a larger shelter and real-time passenger information.

WSU Vancouver and the Salmon Creek Park & Ride will be served by both northbound and southbound buses, rather than operating on a loop route going from the Salmon Creek Park & Ride to WSU Vancouver and then heading back down Highway 99 without a stop at the Salmon Creek Park & Ride.

“What we did not want is someone to be cut off from access to the Park & Ride if we only went to the Park & Ride northbound and then came straight down Highway 99 southbound,” C-Tran Chief Executive Officer Shawn Donaghy said.

Stopping at the Park & Ride and WSU Vancouver was important to the university and Legacy Health. To avoid paying for parking passes, some WSU Vancouver students park at the Salmon Creek Park & Ride and take a C-Tran bus to WSU Vancouver.

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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Columbian staff writer