Preliminary Metrotown station drawing raises ire of Burnaby council

A preliminary artist
A preliminary artist's rendering of what the redeveloped Metrotown SkyTrain station could look like. Burnaby council strongly objects to having a bus lane south of the SkyTrain tracks as shown. TransLink says the design is not yet finalized.
— image credit: VIA Architecture

An artist's rendering of the design for the $37-million makeover of Metrotown SkyTrain station has drawn the ire of Burnaby council.

The rendering, which had been posted on the website of the Vancouver design firm VIA Architecture, was published in the NewsLeader last week.

"We have a difference of opinion whether that's what it should look like or not, so we're not very happy with [TransLink]," said Burnaby Coun. Colleen Jordan, chair of the city's community development committee.

The redevelopment of the station is to accommodate the growth in the Metrotown area since it was originally built in 1986 as part of the Expo SkyTrain Line. The design aims to improve accessibility for people with mobility issues or parents pushing strollers, as well as alleviate crowding.

Burnaby city hall has been in discussions with TransLink on the design, said Jordan.

"We put on the table some things we thought were non-starters, ie. having any kind of bus lane south of the track, along Beresford, along our artwalk," she said.

The rendering clearly shows a bus lane south of the track.

Beresford Street, parallel to Central Boulevard, is slated by city hall for high density development complemented by a pedestrian-friendly walkway showcasing public art.

"It's supposed to be this beautiful, walkable area with a bunch of diesel buses running down the middle of it?" Jordan said.

The city had urged TransLink before last summer to find a way to keep the buses on Central Boulevard, she said.

TransLink spokesperson Jiana Ling stressed the design has not been finalized, which is why the images were not on TransLink's own website.

Since the city's complaint, VIA Architecture has removed the images from their website, Ling said.

The Metrotown station project is still in the design phase and will be until the end of the year.

As for the issue of the location of the bus lanes, she said, "We understand the concerns, we're still looking at the design and we still haven't finalized any details yet."

Those details should be ready for release to the public sometime in 2014, which is also when construction is expected to begin, with the estimated completion in 2016.

As for what sort of clout Burnaby city hall holds in the situation, Jordan conceded that when it comes to TransLink, the province can always overruleĀ  the city.

"But we have a pretty strong point of view. I understand they're in a hurry to build this thing."

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