Municipalities and First Nations Connect to Advance Shared Vision for
Improved Transportation on, to and from the North Shore
November 2, 2021
NORTH VANCOUVER — Everyone wants to spend more time living and less time commuting. A partnership between the District of West Vancouver, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and səlililw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) — now branded as North Shore Connects — wants to prioritize transportation improvements on the North Shore and create economic growth across the region.
North Shore Connects is focused on reducing congestion, supporting livable and connected communities, strengthening regional transportation, and growing the economy. Partners will work in tandem to improve mobility and advocate for long overdue investments.
Today the partners of North Shore Connects released an economic impact study that looked at the benefits of a Burrard Inlet Rapid Transit (BIRT) investment for the North Shore, the Metro Vancouver region, as well as provincial and national economies. Important benefits include:
- Shifting approximately 50,000 daily vehicle trips to transit, resulting in decreased congestion, emissions, and collisions
- A near doubling of jobs accessible within a 60-minute transit ride for North Shore residents
- Improved connectivity and economic development conditions for four First Nations reserves across the North Shore.
This benefits assessment will be presented to the Mayors’ Council and TransLink with the goal of prioritizing BIRT for early investment as part of the region’s next round of transit and transportation investment planning. Once an investment in rapid transit over the inlet is confirmed as part of the regional planning process, North Shore Connects will support TransLink, government agencies, and stakeholders to determine the most appropriate alignment and travel technology.
For more details on the report visit: northshoreconnects.ca
A backgrounder follows.
Mayor Mary-Ann Booth, District of West Vancouver:
“The collaboration between the partners of North Shore Connects showcases what can be achieved when local governments work together towards a common goal. Building on the excellent planning work and priorities identified by INSTPP, North Shore Connects will continue to implement the recommendations and suite of projects required to improve transportation options and reduce congestion on the North Shore.”
Chairperson Khelsilem, Squamish Nation:
“North Shore Connects will support and enhance the sustainable development of Squamish Nation’s lands and economic growth goals. We will work together to reduce congestion and improve regional access for our community members, providing better connections between our reserves and their associated family and nation services, in addition to providing more connections to regional jobs.”
Mayor Linda Buchanan, City of North Vancouver:
“We all want to move from place to place as efficiently as possible. But for too long people on the North Shore haven’t had access to the transportation options they need. That’s why North Shore Connects will make the case for rapid transit across the Inlet. With the benefits assessment completed, and willing partners at the table, we will deliver a transportation network that works for all people.”
Mayor Mike Little, District of North Vancouver:
“While the North Shore is fortunate to have a strong economy, transportation challenges and their impact on employee retention and reliability puts this at risk. North Shore Connects makes accessibility a priority, helping workers at the ports, students at Capilano University, and employees in other industries get to where they need to go in a timely and affordable manner.”
Chief Jennifer Thomas, Tsleil-Waututh Nation
“North Shore Connects will aim to provide much needed transportation options on the North Shore. For the Tsleil-Waututh community living both on reserve and community members travelling to the reserve, it is important to have increased access to public transportation. It is also important these new transportation options include opportunities to engage in active and greener ways. It is important we implement sustainable transportation options to foster long-term livability and prosperity for our community members in the region for generations to come.”
What’s next for North Shore Connects?
North Shore Connects will work to advance a suite of projects to improve transportation and reduce traffic congestion on, to and from the North Shore.
- Burrard Inlet Rapid Transit: The benefits assessment is an initial step towards making rapid transit across Burrard Inlet a reality. North Shore Connects will continue to work closely with TransLink, the Province of B.C., and the Government of Canada to advance BIRT as a key regional transit priority.
- Lower Level Road: North Shore Connects is working together to evaluate a western Lower Level Road extension, a secondary east-west connector from the Park Royal area to West 1st across the Capilano River. This project would help to alleviate traffic congestion on Marine Drive, improve port-related goods movement, provide improved transit options, and improve walking and cycling connections.
- Upper Levels Corridor Study: North Shore Connects is working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to develop a long-term plan for the section of Highway 1 between Lynn Valley Road and the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.
An evolution of successful working groups
The North Shore Connects partnership is an evolution of previously established groups. In 2018, MLA Bowinn Ma convened the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project (INSTPP) which brought together all levels of government on the North Shore together with TransLink and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to identify joint actions to address congestion issues. North Shore Connects continues the unique partnership of the North Shore municipal and First Nations governments that is implementing identified actions to improve transportation. North Shore Connects will work in collaboration with TransLink, the Province of BC and the Government of Canada to plan, secure funding for, and implement projects that improve transportation on, to and from the North Shore.
Many mobility improvements have already been delivered with support from other partners, including:
- R2 Marine Drive Rapid Bus: In operation since April 2020, the R2 Marine Drive Rapid Bus east-west service operates between Park Royal in West Vancouver and Phibbs Exchange in North Vancouver. The service is fast, frequent and convenient, and has the ability to carry up to 1,650 people per hour, both directions combined.
- 222 Bus: A new express bus service across the Second Narrows Bridge connecting the regional rapid transit network with the North Shore to provide faster and broader access to the rest of the region was introduced in 2020. The service runs from Phibbs Exchange to Metrotown, every 7-8 minutes during peak hours.
- Lime E-Bike Share: The launch of the Lime e-bike share system in August 2021 supports active transportation on the North Shore, and North Shore Connects will continue to expand and improve pedestrian and cycling networks,making it easier for people to use alternative modes.
- SeaBus: Wrapped in Indigenous artwork, the new Burrard Chinook means the SeaBus can run at ten-minute frequency sailings more reliably. This additional vessel allows an older SeaBus to be used as a spare vessel during peak sailing hours.
- Lower Lynn Improvements project: Completion of the Lower Lynn Interchange Improvements is expected this fall. The new interchanges will dramatically improve safety and traffic flow through the area and better separate local and regional traffic. The project also significantly improves active transportation connections across the Lower Lynn area.
District of West Vancouver
Michaela Garstin, Communications Advisor
City of North Vancouver
Tamara Connor, Research and Communications Specialist, Mayor’s Office
Pardeep Purewal, Manager of Communications, City of North Vancouver
District of North Vancouver
Cassie Brondgeest, Communications Coordinator
Victoria Levy, Communications Manager