Vancouver has plans to spend nearly $3 billion on a 12-km stretch of subway. But a recent study shows that same amount of money could be used to create a tram system covering more than 175 km in the city.
"For the $2.8 billion cost of the single 12 kilometre SkyTrain tube from Commercial Drive to UBC, Vancouver could build 175 km of tram lines crisscrossing the city and beyond."
"That is the finding of a study led by Prof. Patrick Condon of the UBC Design Centre for Sustainability. His team based their calculations on the recent experiences of Portland, Oregon, and various European cities with light rail transit."
"'This study demonstrates that the money needed for one 12 km subway line would be more than enough to rebuild and substantially expand the region's entire historic streetcar system,' state the authors, noting that Vancouver and surrounding communities were built along trolley lines dating back to 1890."
"'There is no doubt that such a system would not be as fast as a subway," concludes the UBC team. "However based on the Portland experience, the benefits may be an improved quality of life in many neighbourhoods, an improved investment climate for higher density homes and job sites, enhanced access for citizens within their own districts and to other parts of the city (especially for the rapidly expanding seniors' demographic) and a substantially reduced cost per ride.'"