Buses and riders at the UBC bus exchange on January 30 2019. Gerry Kahrmann / PNG
The TransLink Mayors’ Council has endorsed SkyTrain as the technology for the transit extension to the University of British Columbia.
At a meeting Friday morning, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted in favour of moving ahead with planning for SkyTrain, with only two mayors opposed. The decision was in line with a recommendation made by TransLink staff in late January.
Ahead of the decision, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said that in the interest of acting “collaboratively” on a regional decision, he would not be calling for a weighted vote.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum told the council he’d heard from UBC students and employees in his city who were looking forward to getting to campus by rapid transit.
“We’re certainly fully supportive of it,” he said.
Several mayors said they supported transit to UBC, but had concerns about the cost of the line and its priority over other transportation projects.
“It is not the only important transit project in the region,” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan, adding “we need to look at the long-term needs of the region.”
White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker worried the council seemed to be “rushing headlong into something several years out,” without really knowing what future growth of the region would look like.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart had questions about SNC-Lavalin and its involvement in future SkyTrain projects.
The report also noted other potentially lower-cost alternatives, including light rail transit (LRT), had been “thoroughly explored and eliminated because of capacity limitations and deliverability challenges.”
Ridership for a new rapid transit line from Arbutus to UBC is projected to exceed 118,000 in 2045, which is more than the current Millennium Line corridor.
During the meeting, the mayor’s council also heard from several people who work at UBC and supported the line. Some spoke about their difficulties getting to and from campus on existing transit.
A representative of UBC’s Alma Mater Society said the line would promote “accessibility and equity of education and employment.”
Engineering student Kevin Wong told the council he commutes for two to three hours each day, some days leaving home at 6 a.m. and not returning until 11 p.m.
“SkyTrain to UBC would cut my commute in half,” he said.
On my way this morning (on transit) to the TransLink Mayor’s council to vote “YES” for skytrain to #UBC. I hope the other mayors and council members agree! https://t.co/GLt2SEGSqy
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has been a strong advocate of extending rapid transit to UBC.
In late January, Vancouver city council voted nine-to-two to endorse a SkyTrain extension from Arbutus Street to UBC, and to direct staff to “advance the design development including public consultation to determine station locations, vertical and horizontal alignment.”
Procurement has begun for the Millennium Line extension from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus through a bored tunnel under Broadway. It’s estimated that the project will cost $2.83 billion and be completed in 2025.
The second phase of the 10-year transportation plan for the region set aside $3 million to develop concept designs and undertake pre-business-case work for the line to UBC. The last evaluation of options for the line was done in 2012, so last year TransLink hired a consultant to do a study to consider technology, operating assumptions, demand forecasts and costs.
Four options had been considered: optimized B-Line bus service, light rail from Arbutus to UBC, light rail from Main Street-Science World to UBC and SkyTrain from Arbutus to UBC.
The updated study found that by 2030 the B-Line and parallel corridors would be overcrowded. By 2045, both light-rail routes would be near or over-capacity, and parallel corridors would be crowded. SkyTrain would also be nearing capacity, however, it could be doubled with higher frequency and longer trains.
A preliminary cost estimate, in 2018 dollars, for a fully tunnelled SkyTrain extension would be $3.3 billion-$3.8 billion. However, the report notes inflation would push the cost to $4.1 billion-$4.8 billion if procurement begins in 2025 and the project is completed in 2030.
RCMP search the Bridgeview neighbourhood in Surrey on Jan. 31, 2019. Jason Payne / PNG
The search continues for a man wanted in connection with the shooting of a Transit Police officer in Surrey on Wednesday.
Surrey RCMP have identified Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, as a suspect in the shooting inside Scott Road SkyTrain station that left Const. Josh Harms recovering from gunshot wounds to his arms.
Sgt. Chad Greig said the focus on Thursday was on the Bridgeview area, which is a residential and industrial area directly across King George Highway from the SkyTrain station.
It was believed that the gunman had fled to that area after the shooting, and police maintained a perimeter, did neighbourhood inquiries and searched for evidence. Surrey RCMP officers were backed up by the emergency response team and dog handlers.
“As the day was going on, our concentration in the Bridgeview area was slowly being decreased,” Greig said. He was unable to say on Friday morning how many police officers remained in the neighbourhood.
Greig said police believe Glasgow might flee B.C. to evade capture. He does have a criminal history in Ontario.
“We sent the message out that he could be leaving the province, and that is to have all of our police agency partners aware that this subject could be anywhere,” Greig said.
Glasgow, who according to court records has been known to use the aliases Darrell James Davis and Cornell Gibson, has a lengthy history with the justice system. A judge called his criminal record “reasonably significant.”
In September 2005, he was charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime. It was alleged that the offences took place in Mississauga and Toronto, respectively. The case was transferred out of province.
In April 2006, Glasgow was convicted of unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon, obstructing a peace officer, failing to comply with an undertaking and failing to comply with a recognizance. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail on each count, served concurrently.
Four months later, he was convicted of possession of an illegal narcotic for the purpose of trafficking, and sentenced to two years in prison.
In April 2008, Glasgow was sentenced to nine months in jail for a 2005 charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking and handed a lifetime firearms prohibition.
His most serious offence took place in March 2010, when he killed Terry Blake Scott in the washroom of the McDonald’s restaurant in the 11000-block of Scott Road — just 550 metres from the Scott Road SkyTrain station — after a marijuana deal between the two went bad.
Witnesses heard raised voices in the washroom, followed by a gunshot. Scott, who had been shot in the chest, left the bathroom and collapsed in the restaurant while Glasgow fled.
At the time, Glasgow was on parole for a drug offence. In April, 2011, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, minus a year’s credit for time served following his arrest. He was also given another lifetime firearms ban.
However, in April, 2015, Glasgow’s sentence was reduced by a further six months when a the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled he should have been given 18 months credit for time served.
At the time of this week’s shooting, Glasgow was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for a suspected parole violation.
Glasgow has a profile on prison correspondence site, Canadian Inmates Connect. On his profile, he stated he is in the Kent penitentiary in Agassiz and that he expected to be released in 2019.
Glasgow, who listed “murder, drugs, robberies” under his admitted convictions, states in his profile that he’s “looking for a shorty that I can grow with.”
“I’ve done a lot of sh*t but I respect women and I love kids. I did my crime and I’m doing my time. Now it’s nothing but positive moves towards my future.”
Police say Glasgow is dark-skinned, five-foot-five, 170 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. At the time of the shooting he had black stubble and a moustache. He is known to alter his appearance.
Anyone who sees him is asked to call 911 right away and not approach him.
A dedicated tip line has been set up for the public to report information, at 604-502-6284. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit solvecrime.ca.
Omar Al-azawi tries the new Universal Fare Gate Access gates at the Sperling/Burnaby lake SkyTrain Station in January. Nick Procaylo / PNG
TransLink riders unable to use their hands to tap a Compass card will continue to have free access to SkyTrain and SeaBus stations using the Universal Fare Gate Access Program.
Sam Turcott, executive director of the Disability Alliance of B.C., applauded TransLink’s commitment to making its services as accessible as possible to people with disabilities. He said the feedback the alliance had received about the fare gate access pilot program was very positive.
“It means that people with particularly significant mobility and dexterity related disabilities are able to access the transit system just like everyone else,” Turcott said. “And we’re really pleased with TransLink’s decision to continue to provide individuals with the RFID (Long-range Radio Frequency Identification) chips free access to gated areas in the TransLink system.”
The universal access program, which was soft launched in January, makes it possible for people who have limited or no use of their arms and are unable to tap Compass cards to get through the accessible fare gates at stations.
Long-range radio frequency identification sensors are installed above the accessible fare gates at SkyTrain and SeaBus stations, so that the gates will simply swing open for people who have been issued universal access cards as part of the program.
Long-range radio frequency identification readers have been installed at 51 stations on the Canada, Expo and Millennium lines, as well as at both SeaBus stations. It’s expected that all SkyTrain stations in the system will be outfitted with these readers by the end of 2018.
Geoff Cross, vice-president of policy and planning for TransLink, told a board meeting on Thursday that 20 people had applied for the Universal Fare Gate Access Program. Eleven applicants were approved, five were waiting for meetings with occupational therapists and four were rejected. Those who were not approved were offered assistive devices to enable tapping at Compass fare gates.
The transit authority initially decided to give free universal access cards to eligible customers so they could use the new technology while TransLink finished installing sensors at the rest of its station and monitored the program’s reception.
On average, there have been 100 instances a month of the universal access card being used to access the gated transit system, with most users travelling infrequently.
“The take up was not significant,” Cross said. “We didn’t expect it to be — it’s a small portion of the population.”
He said the small number of customers who were eligible for the program was part of the reason the service would remain free.
The Universal Fare Gate Access Program cost $9 million to set up, with half paid for by the federal government, 33 per cent from the province and the rest from TransLink.
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