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Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: SkyTrain

Happy 148th, Canada!

We hope you all enjoy Canada Day!

We hope you all enjoy Canada Day!

Ohhhhhhhhhhh Canada we stand on guard for theeeeeeeeeeeee!!

I do love a good anthem.

Canada Day is this Wednesday, July 1st and there will be tons of activities happening all over the region.

Know before you go! Check out the holiday service schedule for detours and extended service.

Heading downtown Vancouver to see the fireworks at Canada Place?

Avoid those crazy long lines and pre-purchase return tickets for the SkyTrain!

Customers can buy tickets at Vancouver City Centre, Granville, Burrard and Waterfront stations.

Portable fareboxes only accept exact cash fare and tickets are valid until the end of service.

Perhaps you’re more of a Granville Island Canada Day celebrator. If you’re planning to ride your bike there, prepare to feel pampered!

BEST’S Bicycle Valet will be providing cyclists FREE, secure temporary bike storage from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

You can check out more details here.

Wherever you celebrate this great land of ours, let us help you get there!

Plan your route with our Trip Planner or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.

Remember! On holidays you only need a one-zone fare for the entire system!

June 9, 2015 SkyTrain disruption update

Interim CEO Doug Allen and independent reviewer Gary McNeil spoke to the media today about yesterday’s SkyTrain disruption as well as progress made on Mr. McNeil’s report on SkyTrain.

As noted by Doug Allen, TransLink has improved in the response time to SkyTrain disruptions, but work still needs to be done to make it quicker.

After the above press conference this morning, a technical debriefing was held regarding the initial cause of the disruption. Below are a couple images of the damaged linear induction motor on one of our SkyTrain cars. The exact cause of the damage is still being investigated.

linear induction motor damage

linear induction motor damage

Another view of the damaged linear induction motor

Another view of the damaged linear induction motor

If you weren’t aware of the disruption yesterday, below is a statement TransLink issued to media and shared via social media:

We thank our customers for their patience and apologize for the major inconvenience they experienced this afternoon because of the SkyTrain delay. The delay occurred at the peak of rush hour service, which affected our most regular daily customers. While we recognize the inconvenience and longer commute times, we appreciate their patience and calm behaviour while our staff worked to repair the problem and help redirect customers via alternate means.

While the specific cause of the delay is still under investigation, a technical issue at 4:10 p.m. caused 19 trains between Royal Oak and Waterfront stations to stop running. Expo Line trains continued to run between Edmonds and King George stations, and Millennium Line trains continued to run between Columbia and VCC-Clark stations.

Many trains were stopped between stations; several were attended by a SkyTrain Attendant within 5-10 minutes and driven manually to the nearest station. Staff attended the majority of the remainder of the trains within 30 minutes.

Customers broke out of three different trains in the Nanaimo SkyTrain area, so we had to turn off power in the area to ensure customers were safe and clear of trains. Attending to these customers delayed SkyTrain system recovery by an additional hour.

25 buses provided shuttle service between affected stations. We deployed over 100 staff to help customers, respond to questions and assist with crowds – including 60 SkyTrain Attendants on trains and at stations; 16 Transit Police officers and five Transit Security units; 13 support staff; and eight transit supervisors.

7 additional technicians worked to bring the system back on as quickly as possible.

By 6:10 p.m., we were able to provide some service with SkyTrain Attendants manually driving trains in the affected area. We restored full service by 6:45 p.m.

New policy for electric and folding bikes on transit

Fashion Electric BicycleElectric and folding bikes are now being allowed on board the system!

BCRTC and CMBC are updating their operational policies to allow different types of cyclists access.

Electric bikes will now be permitted on SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus.

UPDATE Folding bikes will be allowed on all modes buses, when folded.

Riders of folding bikes are asked to use a slipcover or carrying pack while on buses.

All the existing rules for bikes on transit still apply. Here’s a refresher:

  • Bikes are not allowed at Metrotown Station at anytime.
  • There is a maximum of two bikes per SkyTrain car and one per Canada line car.
  • No e-scooters allowed on the system
  • Morning and afternoon rush hour restrictions are still in place — Canada Line: Peak times in all directions. Expo & Millennium Lines: Peak times except for the allowances listed below.

Westbound:
7am – 9am Monday-Friday travelling from Columbia Station to VCC-Clark Station; and from Columbia and King George Stations towards Waterfront Station.

Eastbound:
4pm-6pm Monday-Friday travelling from VCC-Clark Station to Columbia Station; and from Waterfront Station towards Columbia and King George Station.

You can read more about our bike policy here.

FREE TRANSIT

TransLink bus

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT ALL MODES OF TRANSIT WILL BE FREE TODAY, MAY 22, DUE TO THE MAJOR DISRUPTION.

UDPATE: 12:14pm: Thank you all for your patience and understanding today. We understand the inconvenience and are happy to announce that full service has been restored to the Expo Line.

The SkyTrain disruption that was due to a fire destroying one metre communications cable is now over. Please allow time for the service to catch up to regular timings. Shuttles will continue to be used as needed to help with the flow of riders. ^ac

UPDATE: 10:43am: Follow us on Periscope at noon today (handle: TransLink BC) for a live update on the Expo Line SkyTrain disruption.

UPDATE: 10:36: For those of you who have already paid for transit today, please hold on to your tickets and/or receipts. We are working on a way to make sure you benefit from this.

UPDATE 9:29am: Trains are now able to get to and from (East and Westbound) Broadway-Commercial station. Shuttles will be in place to get people to and from downtown from this point. Please keep in mind it will take a while to get service back to regular timings.

We appreciate your patience as crews continue to work to fix the damaged communications cable caused by a fire.

We will continue to keep you updated on the Buzzer blog, Facebook, Instagram (@TransLinkBC) and Twitter (@TransLink) until the system is back to normal.

Construction is starting at New Westminster Station!

Upgraded station entrance off Carnarvon Street

Upgraded station entrance off Carnarvon Street

New Westminster Station is integrated into the mixed-use development beside and around the station. As the neighbourhood around the station continues to grow and develop, the station requires updates to better meet the needs of SkyTrain customers. Construction is beginning at the station. Read on for important details about the project and what you can expect!

What’s happening?

The upgrades, which are expected to be complete by summer 2016, will improve accessibility, capacity, safety and security at the station. The project includes:

  • Replacement elevator and escalators to improve access for customers.
  • Improved lighting and signage throughout the station.
  • Glass panels that replace the existing mesh screens to improve station visibility from street level.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

What can I expect?

Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees, and contractors. Due to the nature of construction activity, we recognize there will be impacts to the public, including noise and changes to station access.

Below is a summary of the key project phases and expected impacts. For ongoing information about construction impacts associated with the project, visit www.translink.ca/ontrack. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

Phase 1: East and West station access – spring 2015-summer 2015

Construction crews will focus on replacing the east escalator and upgrading the stairs, at the Eighth Street entrance, and the west escalator and stairs by the bus loop. Painting and the installation of new window glazing will also begin at platform level, and the emergency exits at the north and south sides of the platform will be painted.

Impacts:

  • Station access from Eighth Street will be closed. Passengers will be redirected to the Carnarvon Street entrance.
  • The escalator and stairs from the bus loop to the concourse level will be closed. Passengers will be redirected along McNeely Street to the Carnarvon Street entrance, or through the parkade to the existing moving walkway that provides access up to the concourse level.
  • Platform widths will be reduced in some areas to allow for painting, window installation, ceiling replacement and new lighting.
  • Hoarding in the concourse area to allow for new ceilings, lighting and painting.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating, is expected to begin in several weeks. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Phase 2: Eastbound and westbound platform access – summer 2015-fall 2015

Construction crews will focus on replacing the escalators and upgrading stairs to the eastbound and westbound SkyTrain platforms from the concourse level. Replacement of the south elevator, which provides access to the eastbound platform, will also begin.

Painting and installation of new window glazing at the platform level is expected to be completed in this phase.

Impacts:

  • Passengers traveling eastbound and westbound can access the platforms via the Plaza 88 escalators and stairs.
  • Passengers requiring the use of an elevator to access the eastbound platform can use the Plaza 88 elevator, by the cinema from the parkade west of the bus loop at street level, or by the cinema at the concourse level.
  • The north elevator to the westbound platform will be in service.
  • Hoarding in the concourse area to allow for new ceilings, lighting and painting.
  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Phase 3: Concourse area upgrades – fall 2015-summer 2016

Construction crews will complete the replacement of the south elevator and begin upgrades to the concourse area.

Impacts:

  • Hoarding in the concourse area to allow for new ceilings, lighting and painting.
  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

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Thanks for your patience as we complete these much-needed upgrades to New Westminster Station! For more information, including FAQs and information boards, visit www.translink.ca/newwestminster.

Construction is starting at Metrotown Station and Bus Exchange

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of station upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of bus exchange upgrades at Metrotown Station

Summary of bus exchange upgrades at Metrotown Station

Metrotown Station is one of the oldest and busiest stations on the Expo Line and has long been in need of upgrades to improve accessibility, capacity, safety, and security. Site preparation works have been underway since January 2015 and more construction activity is beginning this month. Below is some important information for you about the project and construction!

What’s happening?

The upgrades, which are expected to be complete by fall 2017, will  provide additional capacity that is required for our growing region. Improvements include:

  • New escalators, stairs and elevators to improve access for customers with disabilities.
  • More space on the platforms to enable the system to expand for future customers, particularly as the region grows.
  • Updated design features to improve safety and security for all our customers.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community and bus exchange to make it easier for people to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.
  • A 75-bike Secure Bike Parking facility similar to the one at Main Street – Science World

What can I expect?

Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees and contractors. Due to the nature of construction activity, we recognize there will be impacts to the public, including noise, traffic impacts and changes to SkyTrain service and station access.

Below is a summary of the key project phases and expected impacts. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

Phase 1: Centre Stationhouse Construction – early 2015 – spring 2016

Construction crews will focus on building the new Centre Stationhouse, including new elevators and stairs.

Impacts:

  • As of February 26, 2015 and continuing until spring 2016, the elevator at Metrotown Station is out of service while we build three new elevators and the new Centre Stationhouse. See OnTrack for more details.
  • The emergency staircase will be removed and a temporary staircase will be provided as a replacement in a nearby location.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating, is expected to begin in several weeks. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.
  • Passengers can expect minor SkyTrain and bus service adjustments.
  • Drivers and pedestrians can expect temporary traffic impacts, road and sidewalk detours.

Phase 2: West Stationhouse Construction – summer 2015 – summer 2016

Construction crews will focus on building the new West Stationhouse at ground level, extending the platform level at the west end to provide for the new escalators, and installing four new escalators.

Impacts:

  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.
  • Passengers can expect minor SkyTrain and bus service adjustments.
  • Drivers and pedestrians can expect temporary traffic impacts, road and sidewalk detours.

Phase 3: East Stationhouse Construction – spring 2016 – fall 2017

The existing East Stationhouse will close spring 2016 to allow construction crews to rebuild the structure, extend the platform level at the east end to provide for the new escalators, and install the four new escalators and the new Bike Parkade.

  • Passengers will be re-directed to the new Centre Stationhouse or West Stationhouse once it is complete in summer 2016. There will also be minor SkyTrain and bus service adjustments.
  • The passerelle to Metropolis at Metrotown will not be functional; passengers travelling to or from the mall and existing bus exchange will cross Central Boulevard at ground level.
  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.
  • Drivers and pedestrians can expect temporary traffic impacts, road and sidewalk detours.

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For more information, you’ll want to read the Metrotown Station & Exchange Upgrades FAQs and our latest information boards. Passengers can stay up-to-date throughout construction by visiting translink.ca/OnTrack.

Songs on SkyTrain

A few weeks ago outfitted in bright yellow tees, toothy grins and great attitudes, Coquitlam’s Music for Young Children (MYC) troupe from Place des Arts took to the SkyTrain.

Why? To sing of course!

And not just to commemorate this program’s 35th anniversary, which is wonderful thing to celebrate!

The children along with their teacher Cindy Sletmoen and several parents, were out to raise money for sick kids at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Their original goal with their “Practice Makes Cents” campaign was $10, 000 by May.

Then they upped it to $20, 000 just to challenge themselves.

Did they meet that goal? I’d say so!

The final count won’t be done until May 1st but right now they’re sitting at $37,143$50,859.

They’re adorable, they’re children helping children and they sound great. Enough said.

Take a look at photos from their musical SkyTrain adventure!

Phase 2 upgrades construction is starting at Commercial-Broadway Station

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

Summary of Phase 2 upgrades at Commercial-Broadway Station

TransLink is upgrading several existing stations and exchanges along the Expo Line in order to accommodate increasing passenger volumes, meet accessibility commitments and improve the customer experience.

Commercial-Broadway, Joyce-Collingwood, Main Street-Science World (over 80 per cent complete), Metrotown, New Westminster, Scott Road (completed) and Surrey Central have all been identified as priorities for upgrades.

Construction is beginning at Commercial-Broadway Station and we’d though we share some important details with you!

Phase 1 upgrades – completed in 2009

In 2009, TransLink completed Phase 1 upgrades to Commercial-Broadway Station identified in the Commercial–Broadway Transit Village Plan. These upgrades were aimed at improving the station, its immediate environment, and surrounding public areas.

A new entrance with new stairs and escalator was added at 10th Avenue, the north end elevator was relocated to the south end of the station, new glass walls, paving/tiling at the ground level and new retail spaces for future use were added.

This project was part of the Urban Transportation Showcase Project, a series of pilot projects completed in partnership with Transport Canada, TransLink, and local governments.

Phase 2 upgrades – starting now

Commercial-Broadway Station is the busiest station on the SkyTrain system and is a major transit hub for the region – serving 90,000 station trips and 60,000 bus trips per day.

The station currently lacks the capacity to accommodate current ridership, resulting in severe congestion, with long queues at key station “choke points” such as Platform 3, the pedestrian bridge over the Grandview Cut and the bottom of the Commercial Concourse stairs and escalators.

Construction for Phase 2 upgrades begins in the coming weeks and is expected to continue until spring 2017. Phase 2 upgrades will allow for increased capacity, and provide additional opportunities to make improvements to customer safety inside the station.

Project benefits:

  • An additional platform for Expo Line trains, a widened crossing over the Grandview Cut and a new walkway over Broadway to enable the system to expand for future customers as our region grows.
  • New elevators, stairs and up and down escalators to improve access and passenger flow for customers.
  • Updated design features to improve safety and security for all our customers.
  • Better integration with the surrounding community to make it easier to connect to and from the SkyTrain system.

What can I expect? 

Our top priority is the safety of the public, passengers, employees and contractors. Due to the nature of construction activity, we recognize there will be impacts to the public, including noise, traffic impacts and changes to SkyTrain service and station access.

Below is a summary of the key project phases and expected impacts. Please note that timelines are subject to change based on construction activity.

Phase 2A: Grandview Cut Crossing – spring 2015-spring 2017

The first phase of construction will begin with two distinct project sites: the Broadway east stationhouse and within the Grandview Cut where construction crews will focus on building the new Grandview Cut crossing. Upgrades will also be underway to the west staircase, behind the elevator.

Impacts:

  • Existing pedestrian overpass over the Grandview cut will be narrowed.
  • The west staircase will be closed for a portion of the construction period.

Phase 2B: Broadway Platform – spring 2015-spring 2017

While Phase 1A works are underway, a new platform will be constructed to the east of the existing Broadway guideway. Construction work will focus on building the new platform, including hoop trusses and roof mesh. Access to all station entrances, stairs, escalators and elevators will remain open during construction.

Impacts:

  • Platform widths will be reduced in some areas to allow for construction hoarding.
  • Passengers can expect minor SkyTrain service adjustments.
  • Noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating, is expected to begin in several weeks. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

Phase 2C: Broadway Passerelle – spring 2015-summer 2016

During the second phase of construction, crews will build and install the new Broadway passerelle. The passerelle will be constructed off-site then lifted onto newly constructed columns on Broadway.

Impacts:

  • Passengers can expect minor SkyTrain and bus service adjustments.
  • Bus stops for the 99 B-Line and #9 will be temporarily relocated.
  • Drivers and pedestrians can expect temporary traffic impacts, road and sidewalk detours.
  • Neighbours can expect noise associated with large construction projects, including nighttime work with varying levels of noise while trains are not operating. Notifications will be sent in advance of particularly noisy work.

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For more information, you’ll want to read the Commercial-Broadway Station Upgrades FAQs and our latest information boards. Passengers can stay up-to-date throughout construction by visiting translink.ca/OnTrack.

Earth Day – celebrating “green” across the system

Earth Day is April 22 Photo courtesy of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Earth Day is April 22
Photo courtesy of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Earth Day has always been something near and dear to my heart.

Ever since I saw FernGully: The Last Rainforest when I was nine years old. Remember FernGully??

From that moment, I believed that even the smallest change in our individual lives can make a larger difference. So, I try to reduce, reuse, recycle, cut down on energy usage and choose “green” options in my life wherever I can.

At TransLink, we care about how our operations impact the environment!

The latest green initiative and commitment to environmental sustainability comes from BCRTC – the operating company in charge of SkyTrain.

In an effort to further reduce its energy consumption, BCRTC implemented a project to replace 10 manual heater controls at the Operations & Maintenance Centre (OMC) yard.

In the OMC Yard, 10 of the track switch heaters were manually controlled. Meaning, during the winter months (November 1 – February 28), these heaters were switched on regardless of the conditions, resulting in an inefficient energy use.

Enter Wayside Technical Analyst, Jan Kruger. Jan designed a new system for the Automated Track Switch Heater Controller (ATSHC).

They introduced a single controller that replaced the mechanical thermostats for 37 additional track switch heaters in the OMC yard.

Over the past three years, this project has produced an energy reduction of 2,176,806 kWh, saving $141,493 in energy related costs.

In total, the project allowed 47 yard switches to work more efficiently in terms of both cost and energy consumption, saving about $60,000 per year.

I think Batty, Crysta and everyone from FernGully would be very proud!

Vancouver Sun Run 2015

 

Sun Run photo

More than 50,000 people expected at 31st annual Vancouver Sun Run.

The Vancouver Sun Run is upon us. This Sunday, in fact!

This is Canada’s largest 10K road race and has been such since it started in 1985.

Considering its size, lots of routes will be affected to clear the way for all the participants.

This may affect your transit trip on Sunday so make sure you know before you go!

Our alerts page has the full list detours and changes.

For runners and cheering sections, the Expo and Millennium Lines will start service half an hour earlier.

SeaBus will begin at 7 am running on a 15 minute schedule until 3 pm when it will return to a regular Sunday schedule.

To prevent long line-ups after the Sun Run, SkyTrain riders can pre-purchase return tickets prior to the race.

Portable fareboxes will be set up at Bridgeport, Burrard, Granville, King George, and Vancouver City Centre stations.

They will also be set up at Stadium-Chinatown Station, Granville Station, Vancouver City Centre Station and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station after the race.

For more information and a map of the affected area, take a look at the event posting on the TransLink’s website.

Looking for some inspiration to get ready for next year’s race?
Check out this training blog from the Vancouver Sun.

Transit has got you covered for the playoffs!

GO CANUCKS GO!

First round of playoffs start tonight at Rogers Arena

Heyyyyyyyyy Canucks fans! Guess what?

SkyTrain service on both the Expo and Millennium Lines is boosted for the playoffs starting with game one tonight against the Flames.

Additional trains will be in service and will continue if the game goes into overtime.

Don’t worry drivers, we haven’t forgotten about you! The PNE has graciously offered their parking lot – FOR FREE – for those commuting to the game.

Lot #16 is located across from the Playland main entrance. Vehicles can enter lot off Pender Street.

So, forget about crazy downtown game night traffic. Keep your sanity and use the Park & Ride!

Commuters can then hop on a variety of frequent buses that stop near Rogers Arena.

From Park & Ride to Rogers Arena:

  • Catch either the 14 UBC or 135 Burrard Station bus on Hastings at Windermere.
    Buses arrive at this stop every 7-12 minutes.

Return Trip from Rogers Arena to PNE Park & Ride lot:

  • Catch the 135 SFU on Hastings at Cambie Street, or on Hastings at Carrall street. Buses will be operating on 15-minute service at this time.

Looking for other ways to take transit to the game? Know before you go! Take a look at our Trip Planner and find your best route.

Oh, and one more thing…………

GO CANUCKS GO!!!!

John Atkin: SkyTrain Explorer

John Atkin leading a walk on Eveleigh St in Vancouver Photo courtesy of Wendy Cutler

John Atkin leading a walk on Eveleigh St in Vancouver
Photo courtesy of Wendy Cutler

This is the man, folks. John Atkin.

He wrote the book SkyTrain Explorer: Heritage Walks From Every Station and he’s the inspiration for me to walk those walks from Waterfront station to New Westminster station.

I’ve already have one in the can and you can read about my experience here.

I got the chance to sit down for a coffee with John on a rainy afternoon and discuss all things Metro Vancouver, how this book came to be and what he loves to explore.

Why SkyTrain stations?

Because it was arbitrary. *laughs* It came out of a discussion from a series of walks called “How to Look at Neighbourhoods.” It was a little bit of history, a little bit of development. But the idea was to get people out to look. At the end of one walk, someone told me that they wished their area was interesting. Turns out they lived right by the Nanaimo SkyTrain station.

The next walk, we met at the station and they were convinced nothing was there but we walked through a landscape of Vancouver Specials, the evolution of the area and found many fascinating little pockets. At the end of the walk, she was shocked (and pleasantly surprised) that there was all that in her own backyard. Everyone wanted to do another station and so we did!

What lead to the book itself?

After Vancouver Walks (with Michael Kluckner) was published, the publisher asked if I was interested in doing anything else. I said I was doing a few walks from the stations and they said, “That’d be cool!”

Riding the SkyTrain, I was always looking over, out the windows, wondering. When I had spare time I’d be on the train and randomly say, “well, let’s get off at the 4th stop.” Then just look around as I meandered. Turns out, other people wanted to do that too.

Why did you do the Expo Line and only to New West?

It was the original line. What I wanted to do is do that 1985 line. The idea was that we’d do the extension and the Millennium Line for the next one. Local publishing has changed but I do want to finish. I really do want to finish the Expo Line one day.

With the Millennium line, it’s tough right now to draw things out of some areas and stations. But that’s changing. There’s lots of Vancouver influence in those areas. I made tons of notes but I just couldn’t string it together yet. So, maybe if I just wait a long time, there will be lots to explore there!

What were the most interesting spots for you to walk and write about?

Edmonds was really interesting because it was semi-rural at the time. Big lots with small houses. And there was this creeping townhouse culture starting to show up but at the same time old Kingsway was still there. There was also this picture perfect shopping mall right out of the 1960s with an open courtyard and front facing shops.

That was a cool find. Actually, I went out originally and I wrote it all up, a great route. When I came back 8 months later to fact check it had all changed! That was a big development year for them.

Then, I guess, Royal Oak. It was one of those places that hadn’t yet taken off. The landscape was changing even when I was writing the book. At the time you could see grocery store, church, hardware store, house, house, house. It was the interurban stall that existed that just doesn’t now.

What advice would you give someone who wants to follow your guidance with the book… or break out and find their own walks?

It’s about going out and being curious about space. Just be curious. I can’t go anywhere without poking.

If you’re following the book, we published a while ago so you should keep in mind. You may look and think, “Whoops! Where’d that go?” We tried as much as possible in the book to give that indication that things will change. It’s inevitable!

If you’re doing it by yourself, the thing is, you make that decision when you’re out of the station, choose a direction and start walking.

Keep your eyes open. I think so often we’re so busy that we so rarely walk for the purpose of going nowhere.

I like going nowhere! By going nowhere you are really looking at your environment. You can start to see little things like a house may be older because it’s set far away from the street or that is a style very reminiscent of a certain era. Even the most seemingly boring space is interesting.

Part of the reason of choosing the SkyTrain is that it was, as I explained, a completely arbitrary structure.

Most people get on and go from A to B without any thought to what’s in between. It’s that idea of just being curious. As things change and the region develops, I think it’s a good idea to get to know an area that isn’t yours.

Beyond SkyTrain stations and areas in Metro Vancouver, what else do you like to explore?

I’m a big fan of shopping mall design. When we travel, we go to shopping malls.

We were in Beirut and we hiked way off into the Northern part of the city because there’s a new mall that just opened and we wanted to go see it. It had five or six floors but you entered at the top of a big hill and it was built all the way down the hill.

It was open air and you worked your way down the side of the hill in the mall. It was so interesting and something I’ve never seen before.

Malls are more interesting than you’d think. You can tell a lot about an area by the development of their malls!

Thanks to John for the afternoon chat and all the information about the book and our region.

He has definitely sparked a new interest for me and I am truly curious about the sidewalks, buildings, bridges and neighbourhoods of our region.

I can’t wait to get out there for my next SkyTrain explorer walk!

If you’re interested in joining John on one of his varied walks around the region, you can register here.

Stay tuned later this month for my Burrard station adventure.

Friday fun guest post: Crushed Cheerios finds adventure on the Millennium Line

SkyTrain at VCC-Clark Station

Families have endless options for fun on the Millennium Line!

Crushed Cheerios is back for part two of the adventures on the SkyTrain! Last time she took us for a ride on the Expo Line. This time, we travel with Tasha and her boys along the Millennium Line. Stay tuned for the final post in this series about the Canada Line coming soon!


A couple of weeks ago I posted a list of Expo Line adventures. Here is a list of some of my favourites along the Millennium Line!

VCC-Clark

  • China Creek – A great little  area for spending a day at the park. You can play soccer, draw with chalk, have a picnic and play at the playground. It’s a short walk from the SkyTrain.

Commercial-Broadway

  • Trout Lake Community Centre – Like many of the recreation centres in Metro Vancouver, there’s a drop in most days of the week (generally they are Mon-Sat, but vary from location to location) It’s a great place to run off some steam and enjoy some socialization for both kids and adults.
  • Trout Lake – There’s a great playground located next to the community centre. There’s a sandy beach area along the mini-lake that you can splash in during the summer or build sandcastles year round. It has lots of green space to play sports, have a picnic or play fetch with your dog.

CheeriosMill1Brentwood

  • Brentwood Mall – There’s an indoor play area that is fun for little ones at the mall. It can sometimes get really busy, though – and parents will sometimes allow their older, rambunctious children to terrorize through there. Avoiding peak times is ideal! If you go first thing in the morning or during the typical nap time, it can be pretty peaceful.
  • Confederation Park – this is a bit of a walk from the SkyTrain station but so definitely worth it!! I used to live about a 40 minute walk from here and would go often with my first, when he was only ten months old. It’s got a library, swimming pool/recreation centre, running track, trails, water park, playground and big open fields to play on. There’s also a model steam train close by (seasonal, I believe – check before going!) It’s a great park to spend an hour – or the entire day.

Sperling-Burnaby Lake

  • Burnaby Lake – This was a favourite walking place pre-baby and pre-mobile baby. We lived close by and would venture there once a week to walk about 10km. There are duck ponds and plenty of paths to choose from (you can walk anywhere from 2km to 15km following the different paths) There’s also a handful of bathrooms along the route.

 

CheeriosMill2Lougheed

  • Lougheed Mall – Coming in March 2015, is an indoor playground inside the mall. I am not talking the little tiny play areas meant for young children. I would say this is aimed for 5-8 year olds. Great for rainy days (though I would much prefer to get my child outside to play, I like the idea of a park in the mall for rainy days/running errands) This mall also has an indoor play area for younger kids.
  • Blue Mountain Park – Again, not quite immediate SkyTrain area, but worth the 30 minute walk! It’s a fun little playground and spray park. I’ve gone a few times with my oldest, the most recent time at almost two years old, and he’s loved it every time. He enjoyed the “bumpy slide” and sitting atop of the horse statues.

 

CheeriosMill3Braid

  • Hume Park – Another day-trip park. There’s a spray park, a couple of playgrounds, a dog-park, fields and an outdoor playground. There are some paths for exploring and a creek you can splash in.
  • IKEA – Not to be totally nerdy, but this is MY favourite place. And D actually asks to go here at least once a month. It may not sound exciting, but it’s the perfect place to explore on a rainy weekday. Cheap breakfast, fun little areas to explore and if your kids are tall enough, you could drop them off at the play area while you do a bit of shopping. Don’t forget the frozen yogurt on the way out (which I swear is the only reason D requests to go! HA!)

Sapperton

  • Sapperton Landing Park – Enjoy a scenic walk along the water, just steps from the SkyTrain station. There are viewpoints as you walk the stretch to sit and look out at the Fraser River – two out of the three times we’ve gone, we got to see seals (or maybe they were sea lions?) swimming past us! My oldest loves watching the train cross the bridge from this walking trail. There are bridges to cross, which is also another huge hit for my two year old!

There’s many other things to do at the SkyTrain stops along the Millennium Line. Do you have any other favourites?

Metrotown Station elevator out of service Feb. 26

Hey buzzer readers!

2015-02-19 Metrotown elevator post

Accessibility upgrades are underway at Metrotown Station

With site preparation works underway, the contractor is preparing for construction of the Metrotown Station and Exchange Upgrades to begin. In the first phase of construction, crews will focus on building the new Centre Stationhouse, including new elevators and stairs. In order for this work to happen, the elevator at Metrotown Station will be taken out of service for approximately one year beginning Feb. 26.

UPDATE Two bus shuttles will service the station 

While the elevator is out of service, two bus shuttles will service the station for passengers who require the use of an elevator.

  • Passengers with disabilities can take a HandyDART shuttle between the Metrotown and Patterson HandyDART stops.
  • Passengers travelling with strollers can take a Community Shuttle to Metrotown Station from Patterson or Royal Oak Station.

The shuttles will run approximately every 15 to 20 minutes during the following times:

  • Monday to Friday: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sundays & holidays: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Here's where the HandyDART shuttle stops are

Here’s where the HandyDART shuttle stops are

Demand for the shuttles is expected to be high; passengers taking the services should allow for extra time when planning their travel, especially during peak periods.

We realize that many of our customers will be affected by the elevator closure, which was the best solution to avoid a full closure of Metrotown Station. We thank everyone for their patience while we complete these much-needed upgrades. When complete, the station will be more accessible, safe and secure, and improve the experience of the thousands of people who use the station every day.For more information about the Metrotown Station and Exchange Upgrades, visit translink.ca/metrotown.

Friday fun guest post: Crushed Cheerios finds adventure on the Expo Line

Lots to see and do along the Expo Line!

Lots to see and do along the Expo Line!

We’re very pleased to have a guest post this week, which is part one in a three-part series. Tasha, the author behind the mommy blog Crushed Cheerios, took her two boys along the Expo Line to see what they could see and do what they could do! She has some great ideas and suggestions for loads of fun that can work for families using the TransLink system around Metro Vancouver. Stay tuned for her adventures on the Millennium and Canada Line coming soon!


SkyTrain Line Adventures: Expo Line

Looking for fun things to do around town?

Hop on the train and pick one of the many stations along the line to explore!

Waterfront Station :

  • SeaBus – The SeaBus runs every 15-30 minutes and goes from Waterfront to North Vancouver. The ride itself is a favourite of my toddlers but there’s also the Lonsdale Quay to explore, including a ball pit (free entry!) upstairs and some shops to browse. A short walk away is a park with views of the water with many boats and container ships going past.
  • West Coast Express Train – While we’ve never gone on the train, we love watching it arrive and depart the station! It’s a commuter train and only runs during weekdays in peak directions so we’ve never taken it. It also has a (separate from the SkyTrain/bus) fee and from what I’ve heard, not stroller friendly. You can watch it from the walkway that leads to the SeaBus.
  • Harbour Centre – Take a trip to the top and view Vancouver from high above the crowds!
  • Canada Place – Stroll around Canada Place / Seven Sails. Depending on the time of year, you can see the cruise ships coming into port. The Olympic Cauldron is a short walk. And there’s access to the Sea Wall if you’re up for a longer walk.

Granville Station :

  • Vancouver Public Library – They have an expansive kids section with a small little play area (best for the younger-than-3-years group) and have many story times or activities for children.

Stadium Station :

  • Chinatown – Take a walk and get immersed in the culture. There are night markets during Summer months.
  • False Creek – A great place to walk to see the boats and dragon boaters. You can walk for kilometres in either direction along the smooth, flat, paved paths that have many parks along the way.

Main Street / Science World :

  • Science World – We have memberships for Science World and we go frequently. There is lots to do and see and touch!
  • Ferry Ride – A fun ride! You can take the ferry from next to Science World and go to Granville Island (technically not walking distance from a skytrain station – so I won’t go into much details but there’s the Kids Market and lots of buskers, magic shows, etc to look at. In the summer, there’s a water park. And there’s a few playgrounds to visit throughout the year)

Broadway Station :

  • Commercial Drive – Plenty of interesting shops to browse through. There’s a few kids stores that carry things that aren’t found in the big box stores, like TRU and Target etc.
  • Trout Lake – Community centre with drop ins, pond and playgrounds.

Patterson Station :

  • Central Park – Playground, walking trails, duck pond and an outdoor swimming pool. Lots to do!

Metrotown Station :

  • Metrotown Mall – We love to go on the train that goes from one end of the mall to the other. A few times, we’ve gone to the mall JUST for the train ride! It’s small though – no strollers allowed on busy days. Sometimes when it’s quieter, the conductor will allow you to fold your stroller and put it in one of the train cars. We also like to go wander through Toys R Us and the Disney Store. There’s also three Starbucks and two Tim Horton’s there… Just saying.
  • Bonsor – There’s a playground and skate park. While we’ve never found the skate park empty to let Dean roam, he does enjoy watching people do tricks (and bails!) on the ramps. The playground is perfect for his age (2.5 years old) but also challenging enough to keep older kids busy!

Edmonds :

  • Taylor Park / Byrne Creek / Ron McLean Park – Just off of Edmonds SkyTrain station is three park areas combined in one place! Playgrounds, wading pool (summer months when a park leader is on site), trails and fields!
  • Edmonds Community Centre – It’s about a 20 minute walk, but well worth it! There’s a great indoor pool – We drive past two pools from our house to this pool because it’s amazing! It’s warmer than most and it has a lazy river and a kids play area. There’s drop in programs there. And they also have a free indoor playground that’s not usually too busy.

New Westminster Station :

  • Shops at New Westminster – Right at the SkyTrain station, there is numerous shops and places to eat. Spud Shack is one of my favourites! There’s also two Starbucks and a Tim Horton’s at the station. On the concourse level, there is a play area for children with slides. It’s covered from the rain and has heaters for those cooler days.
  • Quay boardwalk – This is our “go-to” outing. We take a walk along the boardwalk to any (and sometimes all) of the three parks. There’s sand volleyball fields, sandy “beach” (think a gigantic sandbox) to sit under umbrellas, lots of benches and chairs to stop for a snack. It’s flat and paved so my son LOVES speeding along with his bike. It’s decently straight so I can keep sight of him, even when he leaves me in the dust. And there’s frequently trains that go by – we always love watching them from close up! There’s also the…..
  • River Market – There’s a few shops and some places to get food. There’s an upstairs area for younger kids (0-4 years old, I would say) The Circus School is great, but they don’t have very many drop-in time slots. Though, it’s still neat to watch the classes as they learn to do fancy aerobatics!

Surrey Central Station :

  • City Centre Library – This library is walking distance from us. We LOVE going here, even if we don’t have our books to return to get new ones! There’s lots to do and explore inside. The library’s children section has fun rocking chairs, benches with treasures to view through peepholes, activity wall-mounts and pillows to cozy up on.

 

There’s plenty of other parks, walking distance from the SkyTrain stations that I haven’t listed but there’s just too many!

Do you and your family have any other favourites?