No desire for Streetcar in Vancouver? Capital Plan budget to decommission line to Granville Island

During a two month period in 2010 the Olympic Streetcar line carried 550,000 passengers.

Metro News reported that the City of Vancouver has budgeted $400,000 to remove parts of the streetcar railway line that runs between Granville Island and the Cambie Street Olympic Village Skytrain station.

The streetcar line was operational for 60 days during the Winter Olympics in 2010. In addition, the Downtown Historical Railway ran during summer weekends and holidays. The service was suspended in the summer 2012. Vancouver was originally built around the streetcar grid; the last regular streetcar was in operation in 1955.

In a Globe and Mail article published in 2010, it was stated “Among the projects deserving of support, Mr. Robertson said, is the Canada streetcar line between the Olympic Village station and Granville Island.” Now it appears that the recently approved 4-year Capital Plan will fund the decommissioning of the Olympic Streetcar line. Is the City going backward on its commitment to transit?

Rather than mothballing the streetcar line, would it be another option to bring the line up to operational level again? It’s far more difficult to bring a new line back from disrepair than to maintain it. The Arbutus corridor could eventually make way for a streetcar transit route linking Kerrisdale to Granville Island and the Canada Line.

The recent controversy surrounding the Arbutus corridor raised the possibility of the land being redeveloped for housing. Could this also be an option for the Olympic Line? We’ll note that the line sits on prime real estate, just north of West 6th Avenue.

Details on plans to decommission the line are available in the following MetroNews article by Emily Jackson: Streetcar enthusiasts lobby Vancouver politicians for Olympic Line (Oct 14, 2014)

We’ve documented several cities that have streetcars in a previous post: Streetcars a popular form of mass transit in other cities, but what about Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 plan? (July 20, 2014)

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