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Another SkyTrain flashback: the SkyTrain Flight Plan from 1986

Ghostly SkyTrain soars above Vancouver! From the cover of the SkyTrain Flight Plan leaflet.

Ghostly SkyTrain soars above Vancouver! From the cover of the SkyTrain Flight Plan leaflet.

Here’s another classic SkyTrain leaflet: the SkyTrain Flight Plan from 1986!

It’s obviously another info piece to help people get used to SkyTrain — only the Flight Plan is much more in depth than the ‘Join the SkyTrain team’ leaflet from last week.

The awesome SkyTrain attendant fashions are in place, but there’s also promotional stuff for the B.C. Parkway, pictures of tickets and how to read them, and a bit on SkyTrain control.

A few more images to whet your appetite!


  • By Vincent, March 29, 2010 @ 9:46 am

    The document won’t open for me when I click the link. My computer is saying that the document doesn’t exist. Is anybody else having this problem?

  • By Ric, March 29, 2010 @ 10:19 am

    Jhen, off topic questions but no other place to post it so here we go.

    Will Richmond ever be getting the 2006 New Flyer buses and Nova buses in its fleet?

    What happens when fleet numbering passes 9999?

  • By voony, March 29, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    Interesting to see those oldies:

    for people interested here is a post with a copy of a 1971 pamphlet titled ” the case for rapid transit” :

    It is foreseeing the current rapid transit map, but also laying down the specification of what wil be the Skytrain. And since it was at that, it was already foreseeing “translink”, its governance and financing issue !

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 29, 2010 @ 10:52 am

    Vincent: I’ve just rechecked and it seems OK for me. Give it another try? Is anyone else having this problem?

  • By Matt, March 29, 2010 @ 10:54 am

    Anyone else notice how the travel times between stations have increased over the years between this old document and the current posted matrix? Due to issues such as the permanent slow along Quebec between Main and Stadium and increased dwell times at some stations.

    Though I’ve pondered for a while that the travel time matrix should be reviewed and updated again, it definitely takes about 2-3 minutes longer Waterfront to New Westminster than the posted travel times (false advertising?). This makes a significant differences for using the trip planner and making bus connections.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 29, 2010 @ 10:56 am

    Matt: I do know that the trains slow down around the Main Street area to accommodate complaints about noise heard from residents nearby. Perhaps that causes some of the slowdown?

  • By Matt, March 29, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    Oh it does cause part of the increase in times (reflected in the different travel times between the document you posted and the current times on the Translink website), however due to things like congestion the times have yet again slowed down a bit more over the past few years, so it might be time for a re-timing of travel times for the public schedule.

  • By Jamey, March 29, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

    I find it funny how riders were in control of opening the doors at the stations(pg 13) :)

  • By Dave 2, March 29, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    How many things mentioned in the brochure don’t exist anymore…. Dollar Bills, Two Dollar Bills (50 cent pieces too, effectivly)… Eaton’s, Woodward’s, VTC/CBO…

  • By ;-), March 29, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    Yes the link works, but did take 2 or 3 minutes to load the 7mb PDF.

    Yes the time open at the stations are longer now, but especially needed to allow for people to exit the trains before the door shuts. Mk2 v1 had narrow aisles making it worse. Broadway needs the additional time to allow people to board.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 29, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    I only just noticed that STAs are called “Rapid Transit Attendants (RTAs) in this brochure.

  • By Cliff, March 29, 2010 @ 3:20 pm


    Wow. The people behind those reports and diagrams were true visionaries. The rapid transit lines shown in that link exist today!

    Just imagine if we had a proper highway system with rail down the centre from the viaducts out to Grandview… Alas, with today’s hard headed environmentalist mindset it will never happen. It’s too bad too. A proper highway system done right would take cars off the local roads and reclaim side streets. It doesn’t have to be like Los Angeles. I suppose it’s a little ironic when you consider the objectives and aims of environmentalism.

    I had a chance to speak to Vancouver city engineers about what they wanted to see in the Broadway area. I was told that the Northeast sector line was largely political and that in terms of numbers the Broadway line would carry more passengers overall. What they didn’t realize was that the largely “political” decision not to build SkyTrain to the tri-cities has resulted in stunted growth and the growth taking place there to rely on cars as they tended to be middle-upper middle class.

  • By Matt, March 29, 2010 @ 4:14 pm

    Oh yes the additional dwell time is definitely needed at some stations, and even with it you still often find people boarding/disembarking when the doors begin to close. I’m just saying that additional dwell time over the past few years hasn’t been incorporated in to the travel time matrix.

    And I know the Translink answer, “Don’t hold the doors, just wait 90 second,” well yes that’s nice but if that train was full the next one will likely be too causing the same problem, if not worse because now the backup on the platform has increased. Its also a waste of capacity if a train leaves with room while people are waiting on the platform.

    I most often see this on my daily commute at Lougheed where the wait for the next train isn’t 90 seconds but 4-5 minutes.

    What is needed at a lot of these hub stations is the Spanish Solution (, which fortunately are mostly centre platform station, just slap a second platform on the outside to double your unloading/loading capacity (some slight shifting of the platform down the line required at some stations for this solution, ie Broadway, put the station OVER Broadway).

    The stations that come to mind that could greatly benefit from this solution are: Broadway, Commercial (eastbound), Joyce, Metrotown, and Lougheed.

  • By Sean (CMBC), March 29, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

    Ric: Fleet numbering should never surpass 9999, as there are only like 1,300 vehicles… Even if the fleet expanded, we are only talking about 1,500- 1,600 vehicles…
    As the MCI’s were retired, so was all of the 4100- 4200 numbers, which eventually could be reused… The majority of 3100-3200’s are being retired now… Those numbers could be reused shortly…
    Currently no 5000 or 6000 series vehicle numbers?

  • By WL, March 29, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    The problem with the Tri-cities is the inconsistent and manipulated messages they deliver…. While they say they want Skytrain now, they did a lot of “Skytrain bashing” five years ago (ie crime, cost, safety) and say they wouldn’t want to touch it and wanted a streetcar. Port Moody even demanded all rail routings to avoid Port Moody. Burnaby and the Tri-Cities worked hard to undermine and voted against rail expansion at that time.

    While the Tri-Cities cry poverty today, they benefited and spent a lot of money on road enhancements like HOV lanes on Hwy 1, Barnet Hwy expansion, Pitt River bridge, WCE, and many smaller but expensive projects. The Millenium Line was originally to go to West from Commercial to UBC, instead to appeal the Tri-Cities Millenium Line was built East with three convenient Skytrain stations along the Coquitlam border. Coquitlam also created lies stating that Richmond jumped the queue, when the Richmond segment was promised after the Scott Road extensions in the 80’s. If Jhenifer can find some of the old 80’s Skytrain overhead light maps (above the doors), this will confirm it.

  • By Bryan, March 29, 2010 @ 6:49 pm

    Surprisingly I still remember when I was younger, and i would sometimes push the button to open the doors. But nothing would happen. (That was about ’95 or ’96) I think maybe once did I press the button did the doors actually open. Jhen do you think you could find out when the buttons on the MKI’s were phased out?

  • By Ric, March 29, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

    Sean, Hmm.. if there are currently no 5000 or 6000 series vehicle numbers why are some vehicles in the fleet in the 8000 series?

    Could all the fleet numbers be reused once the older vehicles in that series are retired?

  • By ericmk, March 29, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

    I agree with you, Jhen- those BC Transit blue and red uniforms are pretty snazzy (for the lack of a better word)! I especially like the scarf/neckerchief/ruffle thing the woman is wearing! Is the tie and scarf/neckerchief/ruffle thing made of the same material as the sweater?! It kinda looks like it in the picture above! :)

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 1:31 am

    The big problem I see now is that the Northwest routing does little more than satisfy the crybabyness of Port Moody in the long run.

    The southeast alignment should have been the preferred one ending at Douglas. The southeast alignment allows for future Expo Line trains bound for Guildford in Surrey to terminate instead in Coquitlam using the new Port Mann Bridge that was to supposedly have Rapid Transit in mind. A southeast alignment would have been much cheaper, faster, and more efficient. In fact, the only downside to the southeast alignment would have been the fact that Newport gets left out. If the southeast alignment was the preferred one, there’s a good chance construction would have been started on it because the reduced price tag would have meant that the monies set aside for the project today would have been enough for such an alignment.

    Stations would have been Lougheed/Braid, King Edward/Schoolhouse (future), United Blvd, Cape Horn Exchange (Trains to Surrey), Chilko (future), Coquitlam Station, Lincoln, Douglas.

    Eventually, LRT would have been the preferred technology for building out to Maple Ridge and by largely following the West Coast Express routing could have replaced WCE and the exorbitant costs that go along with leasing the line from CN. LRT would have served Newport and could have been extended west connecting Maple Ridge, the tri-cities, SFU, and Vancouver.

    But now none of this is to be. All our local governments aren’t doing enough thinking locally so you get things like Vancouver wanting to put a streetcar down Broadway instead of Rapid Transit, the northwest alignment for the Evergreen Line, and New Westminster playing transportation hardball with its neighbours.

  • By Paul, March 30, 2010 @ 1:31 am


    Actually we are better off as a city to have not built the freeway system that was envisioned. I know it is hard to believe. But more people actually ride transit because of that simple fact. Our city is denser because of that fact. If the freeways had been built you would have had them jammed up right now going into downtown and the overflow would have just gone onto the local streets anyway.

    They made the commitment to not build the freeways and instead build the rapid transit system.

    The only downside is we haven’t built the skytrain system to what was envisioned from the beginning. The two missing parts of course are the Evergreen line and Broadway extensions.

    We do also need to look at more B-Lines and possibly LRT lines depending on growth.

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 1:34 am

    An error in my last posting.

    Doing enough thinking regionally*** not locally.

    I’m saying that the cities don’t see the big picture.

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 1:42 am

    We needed those freeways. Toll the hell out of them if traffic becomes an issue. The bottom line is that they are needed.

    An expressway linking the viaducts with Granvdiew is so badly needed. I’m not even talking full blown freeway, I’m talking 70kph ground level three lane counter flow with no interchanges or traffic lights. Three lanes into Vancouver in the morning, three lanes out in the afternoon. No traffic lights and no merging when it hits the Trans-Canada. Charge $5 to use it in peak hours, designate a single lane HOV 3+ Toll Free, and you’ll have something green, sustainable and safe!

    It would utilize the existing space in the Grandview cut and be raised above the existing railroad tracks (and could be covered to create parkspace for the neighbourhoods above to hide both the freeway and SkyTrain tracks) and use the land roughly next to the Millennium line that is pretty much just industrial and commercial (with the exception of Still Creek that runs through the area, special steps would have to be taken with that) and link up to the freeway at Grandview or Boundary.

  • By Paul, March 30, 2010 @ 1:42 am


    In regards to the northwest vs south east corridors. The one advantage to the north west is higher residential population versus going the southeast. Also I believe they want to hit Guildford by extending from Surrey Central or King George. Not by going over the new Port Mann.

    I live in Vancouver and I personally think it would be stupid to run a street car down Broadway.

    I do see a B-Line going out to Maple ridge before any LRT line. In fact I see a B-line being used as a stepping stone before any Skytrain extension or LRT Line. In any part of the region.

  • By Paul, March 30, 2010 @ 1:47 am


    I’m not saying a freeway wouldn’t be nice. But in the long term it was the right decision not to build them.

    And chances are they wouldn’t put a toll up if they had been built. So we would have just been at the point we are now. But of course with less rapid transit. Or chances are it would have been those LRT lines you see in other cities with very low ridership.

    I could add that personally I feel all the bridges should be tolled in the region. If someone wants to drive great. But make them pay to drive.

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 1:55 am

    What I’m saying is that we need to build proper infrastructure and at the same time encourage transit use.

    Cars that sit idle in traffic don’t do much for the environment. The toll could be raised as congestion increases. Have park and rides at places like Braid. Then have congestion based pricing to force people to use those park and rides and take transit the rest of the way. Digital signs that say “Vancouver Expressway Toll: 12.50 — Braid Station Park and Ride Free Next Exit”

    Close the McGill exit during rush-hours and charge a smaller toll for those traveling on Hastings between Cassiar and Renfrew and 1st Avenue before Rupert.

    Target traffic using the Trans-Canada and toll appropriately. Show that alternatives exist and the highway infrastructure I’m proposing suddenly becomes VERY sustainable.

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 2:00 am

    I agree, Paul. I’d love to see the bridges tolled and have the money used to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

    Mind you, the amounts would have to be tweaked carefully so as not to overly punish those living south of the Fraser.

    Any tolls that get put in place should be during rush hours. It’s not about trying to punish motorists. It’s about trying to improve the region’s livability. Tolling someone because they went to grab lunch at ‘that’ restaurant across the bridge is inappropriate.

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 2:09 am

    In regards to the Port Mann and Guildford. Yes, I’m aware that Guildford is going to be an extension of the Expo Line out of King George, but what’s the point of making the new Port Mann Bridge with Rapid Transit in mind if the Rapid Transit on the north side isn’t conductive to it?

    Also, while I realize that there would be higher residential densities along the northwest route, there’s a couple things to keep in mind. A lot of that is Burquitlam and Newport. Burquitlam is close enough to Lougheed Mall that a lot of the riders using a station in that area are not really going to increase ridership on the system as a whole.

    Secondly, Newport is a bit of a problem. It’s very conductive to rapid transit but it’s in a bit of an odd location. It would be nice if LRT could simply replace the WCE and have a station at Newport. I agree, Newport needs rapid transit and Port Moody has done a fantastic job of thinking regionally. I say this because they’ve been pushing that Clarke connector for ages and the Clarke Connector would largely benefit Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam residents more than Port Moody.

    On the other hand, Newport shouldn’t be the only reason the Northwest alignment is favoured.

  • By Dave 2, March 30, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    If you look at the photo on page 19 you can see the inside door buttons. Do I recall correctly that they would light when the train was in the station?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 30, 2010 @ 1:17 pm


    Here’s the answer about RIchmond Transit Centre from my colleague at fleet management.

    RTC will eventually get newer buses. We’re planning to start retiring buses again around 2012-2013, and a number of RTC’s buses are among those that will be retired. I don’t know whether they’ll be replaced with Novas, Flyers, or whatever we’re buying in 2012-2013, though.

  • By Reva, March 30, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    @ Dave2: They would light up when the button was pressed (you could press it before you got to a station and it would open when the train came to a stop). When one button was pressed, both buttons on the poles by that door, plus the button on the exterior of that door, would light up too, I guess to prevent wear & tear from multiple pressings.

    The nice thing about that was that they would only light up on the side of the train where the doors were going to open next, so you didn’t have to guess which side to get out if you didn’t know the stations well.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, March 30, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    WL et al:

    Just wanted to mention that the Evergreen Line was the original planned end point of the Millennium Line, but a decision by the provincial government changed the route. You can find more on this in the TransLink history book!

  • By Sean (CMBC), March 30, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

    Hi Jhen! Is there any information about the proposed new depot/transit centre in Hamilton-East Richmond?

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 2:24 pm


    (I don’t have pdf so I won’t be able to view that link until later)

    That’s right. As I understand it, the Lougheed portion of the route wasn’t even part of the original plan.

    It was supposed to be built in two phases and technically speaking, the Millennium line isn’t finished because Evergreen is phase two of it. Hence the empty platform at Lougheed. (Though mind you, I don’t think the southeast alignment was ever really an option in the original plans)

    While it’s great that the Evergreen Line is going to go forward as ALRT if the money is ever found, to me it’s taken too long and that delay has resulted in a surge in construction costs, those leading to an even bigger delay. Sort of a catch 22.

  • By Frank, March 30, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    It’s incredible to see how SkyTrain has changed in only 25 years…
    Its barely recognizable at times, and that wasn’t all that long ago. It’s a very modern system if you think about it for managing to continuously update over such a short period of time… be it signage, or train interiors.

  • By ericmk, March 30, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    Wow, kinda seems like I might have interrupted the flow of discussion on freeways and the Evergreen line! Opps! Just to add my two cents: I agree with Paul that it was the right choice to not build massive freeways througout the region. However, it is important, as Cliff said, to invest in both rapid transit and infrastructure so that commuters can have choices, and either way could become sustainable (carpooling for the freeway option). While tolls on major bridges are a good way to collect money for projects, they can’t cover everything. If tolls are done the old-fashioned way with booths and collectors, traffic gets really backed up, especially on holidays. (For an experience of a lifetime, I suggest you attempt to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland USA over any holiday- a couple days before US Thanksgiving will do and you will see tolls at its worst.) If there was a transponder program used, like the Golden Ears Bridge,that could work but commuters will turn to side streets, not transit. Same situation for HOV and toll-to-use lanes on any freeway.(From experience living in Washington DC, where the only freeway heading east into DC is HOV or hybrid car only during rush hour). What is really essential to good infrastructure planning is the coordination of all parties involved (the people, mayors, ect) to develop a plan for a sustainable future. As for the Evergreen Line, that doesn’t affect me that much, so I’ll leave that to everyone else. Sorry for the long post, but I just felt the need to fill the page with ideas! :)

  • By Cliff, March 30, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

    No, toll booths are certainly not the way to go. We have the technology already in use for the Golden Ears Bridge and we’re going to have it in use for the Port Mann bridge. There’s no reason for toll booths at this point. Us British Columbians like our transportation solutions automated :p (IE Skytrain)

    Tolling the Trans-Canada isn’t going to be a very popular option, but by adding a direct route into down, it certainly does make it palatable. At least to me, anyhow. By having it distance based you give people the option to chose how far they want to go before they want to take transit. As they get further, it gets less congested and people will pay the full amount. The full amount, depending on how busy it is, would be in the area of $15. Sort of a hybridized congestion-distance based toll. So it’s either pay up to $15 or get off at a Rapid Transit park and ride and spend $5. The parking would be free to encourage transit use and parking a vehicle could even allow the transfer to be used in the peak period to reward the green decision of parking at a park and ride. Other incentives could be offered like park and ride monthly passes and heated spots, making it attractive in much the same way WCE is a premium branded service.

    And it would be quite hard to dodge the tolls on the Trans-Canada as the Burnaby Lake portion would be tolled, as well as other microtolls after each entrance. Canada Way might be an alternative, but to dissuade its use, right turns could be prohibited at places like Willingdon and Kensington.

    And by the way, I quite like the long posts. The fact that many of us our posting more than just quick blurbs says something about our observations and the Buzzer Blog’s clientele. :)

  • By Paul, March 31, 2010 @ 2:27 am

    I saw a system online being currently tested on line. Basically it is a GPS system. And depending on how much you drive and where you drive you would be tolled accordingly. So even if you were to go up and use a local street to go shopping. If you are in area like Vancouver where transit is better you could potentially pay a higher toll rate than someone in Langley with not as great of a transit service. Of course the toll rate could also be based on the time of day.

  • By Paul, March 31, 2010 @ 2:27 am

    I meant to say the system is being currently test in Winnipeg.

  • By Cliff, March 31, 2010 @ 3:18 am

    And that’s exactly what we shouldn’t be aiming for.

    Tolling needs to be done to tailor people’s driving habits and change where and when they drive so that traffic is better spread throughout the day and people are encouraged to use alternatives.

    A scheme like this would do nothing but demonize car users in a flagrantly spiteful fashion and do nothing about getting dealing with transportation issues. Namely, why people are traveling the way they do and how we can improve our transportation system to address both where people need to be and how they want to travel.

  • By ;-), March 31, 2010 @ 7:34 am

    What is you opinion “Lexus lanes” or High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes?

    What about toll lanes based on speed at that given moment? The slower the speed, the higher the tolls. The toll does come down until a certain average speed is achieved.

    Because our region has few highways, there are many side streets to drive around potential toll facilities. Bridges are a good location, but I found bridges are mainly North-South and most improvements were East-West making the potential tolls unfair.

    Because of all these issues, fuel taxation has been a popular alternative to tolls…. which also focuses on the type of vehicle that is driven.

  • By Cliff, March 31, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

    I would say overall, I’m generally opposed to HOT lanes.

    HOT lanes are useful if HOV lanes are grossly under capacity. But care must be taken to ensure that capacity is not reached and the HOV lane loses the incentive behind it. The problem is how would you enforce separate compliance requirements for both vehicle classes using the lane?

    I feel that that the use of HOT would take away from what we’re trying to do and sends the message that transit is only for people who can’t afford HOT.

    On the other hand, if HOV lanes are being operated with only 5% of the cars in the other lanes, it’s a huge waste. Nobody really benefits apart from the few in the HOV lane and if only 5% use it, that tells me that other drivers are incapable of organizing carpools and value their vehicles more than they would ever consider taking transit. This is where HOT would come into play. It allows underused HOV lanes to be used and as it gets filled up, the tolls would rise to prevent the lane from reaching capacity. The money raised could be funneled into transportation projects and the tolls charged could be substantially higher than a normal toll because of the kind of people that would be inclined to use them.

    As far as tolls not working on the Trans-Canada. Yes, they can work. Toll gantries would be placed on the Burnaby Lake stretch, Hastings between Cassiar and Windemere, the Skeena underpass leading to McGill, Bridgeway, Grandview, McGill, 1st Avenue between Rupert and Highway 1, Adanac, and the Willingdon offramps. Two gantries would be placed on Lougheed, one on each side of Boundary. Cars could then be tolled only if they crossed the western gantry and not the eastern one. Cars who cross both would not be tolled, thus encouraging the use of Lougheed Highway for those coming from Burnaby and the Tri-Cities and punishing those for trying to take the 1st Avenue exit and wrapping around to take Lougheed to avoid the toll.

    This whole system would of course never be supported because nothing is really being improved. The way I’ve described it would work on our system currently and be adapted for when Gateway is complete. Free park and ride facilities should be made part of the project and should be included at places like Gilmore, Braid, Lake City Way, and Edmonds SkyTrain Stations.

    The only alternative to being tolled would be to use Lougheed Highway or Canada Way. I know for a fact that Lougheed Highway is grossly underused in the morning. Canada Way has too many lights to be of any use to skip the tolls.

  • By Frank, March 31, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

    Need I remind people that this blog is about retro SkyTrain with carpets and big hair dos? :)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 1, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    Bryan: I’ve asked SkyTrain and I’m told the buttons were removed from the trains in 1989!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 1, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

    Discussatrons (you know who you are):

    Just wanted to mention that I have passed this thread on to our public consultation team for reference, as I’m sure your insights on the lines, tolling, and more are of interest to them!

    Feel free to keep on discussing :)

  • By Dave 2, April 1, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

    The problem with the Vancouver Freeway plans were that they were over the top… A freeway through Kits along the 6th/Arbutus rail line… A huge trench down Thurlow Street. A freeway along the Coal Harbor Waterfront to a 3rd crossing… even a freeway on pilings in English Bay that would divert into Stanley Park… With plans like that, no wonder it was all discarded….

  • By Dave 2, April 2, 2010 @ 12:13 am

    I could not find any drawings on the internet… but this Sun article does describe the proposed English Bay Freeway…

  • By Cliff, April 2, 2010 @ 4:32 am

    Yeah, and that’s unfortunate. I’ve seen those plans. It also called for a freeway running down Granville Street. While it’s not needed now, enhancements should be made to allow for faster traffic bringing it up to expressway standards so that the bottleneck at the Oak Street bridge is reduced. Utilizing Park Drive to move traffic from Oak to Granville in a free-flow manner so that Oak Street north of Park and Granville south of Park are quieter residential streets. Then Oak Street (and the Arthur Laing) would be tolled and Bridgeport Station would have an expanded free park and ride lot.

    With the infrastructure we have now it wouldn’t take much to bring our road system up to speed. People in Vancouver our already receptive to using transit. Any additional road-space would be for people commuting from south of the Fraser and east of the Pitt Rivers where transit isn’t at the level to encourage its widespread urban use.

    You wouldn’t need much to satisfy those people. A three lane counterflow system connecting to the Georgia Viaduct would be enough to suffice. The exit at Main would be closed. Georgia already has the three lanes needed for the system. By linking up to the freeway it would be 12AM-12PM inbound, 12PM-12AM outbound. Special adaptations could be made for special events.

    Then, the Dunsmuir viaduct could be relegated to local two way traffic leading down to Union and a proper traffic light with Main and reducing the overly complex dual-intersections there currently.

    Beatty Street would be changed to a one-way street in the southbound direction so that it can feed or absorb traffic going to and from Georgia when counterflow is in affect. In other words, if you’re heading toward the viaduct and it’s currently 10am, then all lanes turn right at Beatty.

    If you’re on Beatty going south and you’re approaching Georgia while counterflow traffic is going outbound 12PM-12AM then you can chose to go either direction on Georgia. If traffic is going inbound, then you would be forced to turn right.

    The idea is to avoid crossturning traffic so that the viaduct remains in free flow allowing it to empty as traffic travels through the downtown core. Signals would have to change to favour Georgia in the morning rush.

    The expressway on the other side would be much easier. Traffic would simply join the freeway freeflow with no merging required. The expressway would have a single HOV lane that could be used as a 3+ toll-free during peak hours.

    By providing alternatives and tolling heavily where these alternatives exist, people are given very clear choices. Why pay a $5 toll to travel to Vancouver on the expressway when I can just take the next exit, park my car at the nearby SkyTrain station and take SkyTrain in?

    On a smaller scale, simply toll the Burnaby Lake stretch at the current two zone fare and get a free park and ride facility built at Braid Station with freeway gantries advertising that fact. It would be such a huge success that I suspect direct offramps from the freeway will need to be built to the park and ride to accommodate all the traffic using it. I even have doubts about SkyTrain being able to handle all the extra people. That’s how big I think it could be.

  • By Cliff, April 2, 2010 @ 4:36 am

    What I meant by unfortunate is that because they were so over the top, they were tossed.

    Vancouver never needed that and likely never will. The solutions Vancouver need are really quite simple and cheap when you think about it. By using counterflow it’s like getting two highways for the price of one.

  • By Bryan, April 2, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    @Jehn: Thanks for answering it. But it explains why it was only the buttons outside of the trains that were left there and what I remember as a kid. Only the buttons on the doors and non on the inside.

    @Cliff: I’ve heard about those freeway plans, I’ve always wanted to see what the downtown would have looked like had they gone through with it. Do you know if they’ve still got a copy of them at the downtown library?

  • By ;-), April 2, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

    @Bryan…. Vancouver Television (now CTV) did an excellent documentary called “Lanes, Trains, and Automobiles”. If you do a Google on the Internet, there are a few local libraries that has a copy of it.

    I remember seeing the incredible detail on where the freeways would have exited. For example, have you ever wondered why Vancouver’s East/West designation is Ontario street and not Main? In the original plans, nothing would be built between Main and Ontario because that land was reserved for the freeway.

  • By Cliff, April 3, 2010 @ 3:55 am

    I did some searching for the documentary mentioned by ;-). The forestry museum in Victoria has a copy.

    As for the actual plans themselves, the Vancouver library has just about the most obscure stuff when it comes to transportation in this region. I’d be surprised if they didn’t have the plans!

  • By ;-), April 3, 2010 @ 6:29 am

    The documentary was made in 1998. It was about the time when the Rapid Bus controversy (the former 98 BLine) was at its highest.

    I think in the old days you could see it at SPEC. But they don’t show their library collection on the Internet anymore.

    Perhaps Jhen can investigate Translink’s library or Communications dept to see if they got a copy of the VHS.

    If someone else thinks this 12 year video is good, we can watch it at a future Blog night and reflect on how the city has changed in the last two decades.

  • By Bryan, April 3, 2010 @ 11:16 am

    @;-) Once again, thanks for the tip. I think a trip to the library is in order. But that might actually be a good idea, watch the video on a blog night or something.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 6, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    Bryan, Cliff:
    The Vancouver Museum has a model of the proposed freeways in their history display!

  • By Frank, April 6, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    Are there any photos in existence of the test SkyTrain in 83?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 7, 2010 @ 7:03 am

    This past blog post has a picture of the demonstration car.

  • By zack, April 7, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

    Wow! the picture looks exactly like the TTC Scarborough RT Mark I.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 14, 2010 @ 1:28 pm


    Long time coming, but here’s what I’m told about the Hamilton-East Richmond depot.

    It is for a proposed Bus Transit Centre very similar to the one currently in Richmond on Steveston Hwy. It will house approximately 300 buses and is in addition to our other transit centres to house additional buses. Since it is for fleet expansion it is not in the currently approved base plan. Only the design portion is currently funded. We have purchased the property and will be designing the
    facility over the next year and a half. When a 10 yr plan is approved that includes sufficient expansion funding we will then be able to proceed with the construction.

  • By Karmen Dawn, April 26, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    I miss the old SkyTrain voice from the 80s/90s, I think she’s a jazz singer or something…?

    Who ever they hired to rerecord when the Millennium Line, and especially Canada Line was built.. sounds a bit to.. prozaky-happy. Not a nice flow to her voice as the first woman.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, April 26, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    Karmen Dawn:

    Karen Kelm was the earlier voice of the SkyTrain. She is indeed a jazz singer: here’s her CD!

    In case you’re curious, the current voice of the SkyTrain is a lady named Laureen Regan from Calgary — you can in fact listen to a podcast interview I did with her in 2008.

  • By Alfred (Al), April 26, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

    The North Shore is in desperate need of some sort of Rapid Transit… yes, Coquitlam really needs that Evergreen extension.. but any one who has to bus through North and West Van really puts up with one of the single worst aspects of transit coverage other than, like.. Langley.
    SkyTrain I don’t think would work, my second cousin did guideway engineering work when the Expo Line was extended to Scott Road.. the technology and that doesn’t fit the terrain.. but at least LRT? Maybe a Subway system?

    I have to wonder… how would SkyTrain, especially the Expo Line.. handle an earthquake… the old guideway doesn’t look as stable as you see on the newer lines. I remember when I was first using SkyTrain when it opened in 1985 around christmas.. I loved the view off of it, but I was petrified of being on it during a rumble… Does, or can SkyTrain have a plan if the big one hits the city and people are trapped… lets say between Broadway and Main? How is the 25 year old system standing up… it has cracks, ivy going up it.. the concrete is wearing..

  • By Anonymous, April 28, 2010 @ 9:12 am

    Darn, wouldn’t that be something if one of the beams slipped during an earthquake.. I’d be afraid of being between 22nd and New Westminster…

  • By Don Manx, April 30, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    @ Al:

    The 1986 portion of SkyTrain doesn’t look safe… you’re right.. however, its an optical illusion. Engineers wouldn’t have been allowed to pass the system if it didn’t meet some aspect of seismic code. The fact that its been running for 25 years already and has been exposed to nature’s finest.. means in itself that the system is holding up quite well, so it was engineered well. Its just a different technique from the Millennium Line because its a double beam based guideway, the columns have to be desgined differently for two single tracks…

    How do I know this? I was part of construction on Nanaimo and to a lesser extent 29th Avenue Station in 1984/85. Believe me, its a sound structure. Just ugly to look at by todays standards.

  • By Ric, May 4, 2010 @ 11:32 pm

    I am a regular skytrain user. In the hot weather, I often find that the skytrain cars are extremely hot.

    The A/C unit on the trains seem to be useless as the trains are so hot that I feel like I am baking. If feels like that the heat is turned on on the skytrain cars rather than A/C.

    When ever I ride the skytrain, (mainly the Expo line and Canada line) I always open up the windows on the train where I am sitting. On the mark 1 train cars, I’m glad that we are allowed to open up windows. However, on the mark 2 trains and Canada line trains it says that the window could be opened in an emergency only. What is the reason for this?

    I use to only open the windows on the mark 1 trains, but have now been opening windows on the mark 2 and Canada line trains as well. I don’t care what the note says as it is way too hot in the trains.

    I just want a comfortable ride why I can enjoy my ride on the skytrain. It’s not just me but I have actually seen other people open the windows on the mark 2 and Canada line trains. As a matter of fact, I see it often on hot summer days. I noticed it a lot during the month of February as well as during the Olympics and Paralympics

  • By ???, May 5, 2010 @ 6:51 am

    You do know that opening the windows will defeat the purpose of air conditioning… contributing to the heat. Your instant gratification is “air circulation” not “air conditioning”, especially in crowded trains. Perhaps Skytrain staff should go around checking the windows are closed when they do their fare inspections.

    During the Olympics, I find many people can’t read the English only signage and get confused.

    It has been discussed previously the Mark 2.5 offers the best air conditioning. Mark 2.0 comes in second and Canada Line offers the worst performance. Not sure why Canada Line’s air conditioning is so poor in relation to the Bombardier’s vehicles (perhaps this should become a weekly poll when the weather is warmer).

    Thankfully the Skytrain trips are so quick, I am willing to give up some creature comfort.

  • By Ric, May 5, 2010 @ 8:36 am

    ???, it feels like the skytrain cars do NOT have A/C. The A/C units are actually heaters. I can actually feel hot air getting blown out rather than cold air.

  • By ..., May 5, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

    Is there any SkyTrain footage of the Expo line opening in 1986? Or photos? If there is, or someone knows of it, do the internet and youtube a favour and post it! :)

  • By Hair straighteners, August 28, 2010 @ 12:39 am

    Hair straighteners is good products for every girl..

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