My 2 Sense My 2 Sense

My 2 Sense

Streetcar Line Shuts Down

City Council Refuses to fund Vancouver Downtown Historic Railway

July 12, 2012
Without Prejudice

The Vancouver Downtown Historic Railway is a heritage streetcar line that operated between Granville Island and the Cambie Station (north of 6th Ave just east of Ash Street) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

It operated only on weekends and holidays, usually from May to mid-October, and was aimed primarily at tourists. Two restored interurban streetcars were used on the line, which used a former freight railway right-of-way.

Downtown Historic Railway officials said Thursday the city of Vancouver has ceased funding the service this summer. City Council's decision to cancel the funding was made in April, but the announcement was only being made now because summer is here and people are asking about it. Kind of a chickenshit way of dumping the popular tourist attraction.

Begining in the summer of 1998, the line was looked at being a demonstration project for a modern downtown streetcar system that the city planned to develop. Operating every summer since as an excursion-oriented historic streetcar line ran from Granville Island to a stop near Science World and Main Street-Science World SkyTrain station.

From January 21 to March 21, 2010, a free demonstration service called the "Olympic Line" (named for the 2010 Winter Olympics) ran on the Downtown Historic Railway, using two modern Bombardier Flexity Outlook streetcars borrowed from Brussels. The City of Vancouver and the administrators of Granville Island paid $8.5 million for associated upgrades to the infrastructure.

Since then, however, Olympic related construction has razed sections of the line east of the Olympic Village Canada Line Station ending the line at the east side of the Cambie Street Bridge.

Sadly, the proposal for a modern line would have extended the former line through Chinatown and Gastown to Waterfront Station, and eventually to Stanley Park. There would be a separate line into Yaletown with longer term potential for a number of other lines.

Alas, not to be. Why? Because granola heads like Mayor Gregor Robertson and his Vision dominated Council feel that they didn't have enough money to fund the $100,000 needed to run the line this summer. What a fucking goof. He's spending millions of taxpayers dollars on bicycle lanes that are barely used and are hurting downtown businesses and he won't fund a lousy $100k for a terrific tourist attraction that is loved by all. I guess there is only money if you have the "right" kind of project.

The cost was $2 per trip for the electrically-driven passenger cars. How much to the bicyclists pay for their bike lane? Bupkus.

Streetcar Now what I want to know is what nitwit decided to park a Starbucks directly on the tracks at 2nd & Anderson under the Granville Street Bridge?

Seriously, what imbecile stood there and saw the tracks come under the bridge and head west towards Kits Point and Vanier Park and said, "Gee we should put a coffee shop right here on the railway right-of-way?"

It astounds me. I didn't know about the plans to have the line hook up to Chinatown, Gastown and Waterfront station. That is definitely a good idea.
My idea was simply to run the line from The Planetarium/Vancouver Museum to Science World, then along the north shore of False Creek, down Pacific Boulevard to Beach and hook up the Aquatic Centre.
Click to Enlarge - Double Click to make it REALLY big - It may take a few seconds to load.
Streetcar Map
Click your Back Button to return

Either way, around False Creek or to Waterfront Station, the maximization of the Vancouver Downtown Historic Railway should have been a no-brainer for the idiots in City Hall. It would have been a significant addition to our city, one the delighted tourists and residents alike.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have written about the desirability of having the Arbutus Corridor railway line made into Light Rapid Transit from the south end of Granville to Granville Island, meeting up with the Vancouver Historic Railway line.
Cheap clean public transport through Marpole, Kerrisdale, Dunbar/Southlands and Kitsilano. This line would also link up with the eventual Skytrain running on Broadway to UBC.

Click for my article about the Arbutus Corridor Line.

I'm no rocket scientist but all of the above seems pretty straightforward. Whattup Gregor? Your party lacking Vision?

Just my opinion,

Courtney Smith