February 1, 2014 12:13 am
Updated: February 1, 2014 1:10 am

Panel of experts consulting on solutions for busy UBC-Broadway corridor

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A new development plan to put a rapid transit line down the busiest bus route in North America, the Broadway corridor, cannot come quickly enough for the overtaxed roadway. Next week, a panel of experts, including some from the U.S., will be in Vancouver to consult on the project, which has been talked about for years.

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Vancouver’s Broadway corridor stretches from Kingsgate Mall to the University of British Columbia and since the B-line bus route is at full capacity, TransLink is looking at three solutions to alleviate the congestion. The options include Skytrain, Light Rail Transit (LRT) or a combination of both; which would cost between $1.1 to $3 billion to build.

To date, politics have stalled the process but independent experts arriving in Vancouver next week will be hoping to come up with a plan that is based on optimal land use.

“We need to understand these people are coming here and donating a significant amount of time,” Alan Boniface, B.C. Chair with the Urban Land Institute said.

“Up to $50,000 worth of free consulting for our benefit and I would hope as citizens, we’d take that seriously.”

For Gordon Price, Director of the SFU City Program, he’s hoping the panel will bring to the table their best urban design and forms of development. Taking into account where the stations should go, and how extensive the development should be, based on their perspective as Americans.

On Tuesday the world-renowned Urban Land Institute, and the Governor’s advisory panel; which is made up of American real estate experts, developers and academics, will tour the Broadway corridor. During their tour, they will be talking to residents, business owners and key stakeholders.

The panel has already had a chance to study all the relevant documents and by Thursday, they will give us their report.

“It’s really important if you look at what happened to the Canada Line and how we’ve been trying to catch up with urban design and planning ever since,” Boniface told Global News.

“Where land sale and speculation was rampant, where many of the businesses were put out in a very uncomfortable way… There’s a chance we can avoid some or all of it, if we think about it more delicately ahead of time. ”

~ with files from Darlene Heidemann

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