MLA calls for new 57th Avenue bus route and Canada Line stations in Vancouver

Additional major public transit investments are needed to help support the new residential density rising within the Cambie Corridor, according to an MLA for the South Vancouver neighbourhood.

Michael Lee, BC United’s MLA for the riding of Vancouver-Langara, is calling on the provincial government to enact new and improved public transit services through the area.

This includes the creation of a new east-west TransLink bus route along 57th Avenue and improved services for the buses that run along 49th Avenue and 41st Avenue.

“Over many years, I have been hearing from residents of the need to have bus service on 57th Avenue going east and west so that people of all ages, including seniors, families and young people, can travel more easily through South Vancouver, including to the new Marpole Oakridge Community Centre being built at Oak Street and 59th Avenue and healthcare services being centralized at the Pearson Dogwood development,” Lee told Daily Hive Urbanized in a statement.

Additionally, Lee wants to realize two “future” subway station sites along SkyTrain Canada Line, where it intersects with 33rd Avenue (which is just west of Queen Elizabeth Park and would serve MST Development and Canada Lands Company’s Heather Lands redevelopment), and 57th Avenue (which would serve Onni Group’s Pearson Dogwood redevelopment and Concert Properties and Peterson Group’s Langara Gardens redevelopment).

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The first towers of Onni Group’s Pearson Dogwood redevelopment from the perspective of the intersection of Cambie Street and 57th Avenue. (Google Maps)

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2023 revised building heights of Langara Gardens at 7051 Ash Crescent, Vancouver, with Pearson Dogwood, Oakridge Park, and Marine Gateway precinct also depicted. (James Cheng Architects/Concert Properties/Peterson Group)

Upon full buildout, Pearson Dogwood and Langara Gardens will carry a combined total population of well over 10,000 residents, with Pearson Dogwood also containing significant commercial retail/restaurant spaces and Vancouver Coastal Health facilities.

When it was built in the 2000s, through considerations to the grading and curvature of the tunnel, the Canada Line was generally designed and engineered to enable the addition of 33rd Avenue Station and 57th Avenue Station. The other two “future” station sites on the Canada Line are both elevated stations to serve a future eastern terminal building expansion of Vancouver International Airport and Richmond’s new Capstan Village neighbourhood, which is called Capstan Station, opening later in 2024 at a cost of $52 million.

Onni Group’s public benefit contribution in exchange for the rezoning of Pearson Dogwood includes a cash contribution of $20 million towards the construction of the 57th Avenue subway station and the dedication of land at the southwest corner of the intersection of Cambie Street and 57th Avenue for a future subway station building — where the developer has planned a major entrance plaza into the new Pearson Dogwood neighbourhood.

“To meet this growth, including with major housing developments at Marine Gateway, Pearson Dogwood, Langara Gardens, Oakridge and Heather Lands, as the local MLA for the area, I have been advocating for additional Canada Line stations to be built at 33rd and 57th Avenues, greater supports for rapid bus service on 41st and 49th Avenues, and a new bus line on 57th Avenue,” he continued.

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2022 revisions showing the public space plan for Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

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2023 revised site plan of Langara Gardens at 7051 Ash Crescent, Vancouver, with Pearson Dogwood also depicted. (James Cheng Architects/Concert Properties/Peterson Group)

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Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood: blue (condos converted to rentals), and turquoise (added height for condos). Langara Gardens is also shown in grey. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

Lee adds that many residents in the area have complained about the lack of public transit connectivity in South Vancouver, including many cases of long wait times for buses and pass-ups due to full buses.

Just ahead of the general provincial election in October 2024, Lee has started a campaign for such public transit investments, which includes an online petition. He says he has been raising these concerns to the provincial government and Premier David Eby.

The idea of a 57th Avenue bus route has been floated before over the years, but TransLink and the Mayors’ Council have not prioritized it in their near-term service improvement plans.

Daily Hive Urbanized has reached out to TransLink for comment.

A 2014 preliminary cost estimate by TransLink pegged the construction cost of 57th Avenue Station at $90 million. Due to the engineering complexities of building on an active underground tunnel, the construction timeline may take at least 10 years to ensure disruptions to passengers are kept at a relative minimum. Such costs have likely significantly grown ever since.

In 2016, TransLink upgraded the No. 49 UBC/Metrotown bus route along 49th Avenue — which connects with the Canada Line at Langara-49th Avenue Station — into a service that exclusively uses the higher-capacity articulated buses. Earlier this month, it also performed the same articulated bus upgrade for the No. 25 UBC/Brentwood Station bus route, which connects with the Canada Line at King Edward Station.

In 2025, TransLink is expected to increase the Canada Line’s frequencies, especially during the peak and other busy hours.

There are also longer-term potential plans to improve the R4 41st Avenue RapidBus, which connects with the Canada Line’s Oakridge-41st Avenue Station, into Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and possibly launch a RapidBus or BRT along Marine Drive and Marine Way between Marine Drive Station in South Vancouver and 22nd Street Station in New Westminster.

Last week, TransLink provided an update to its list of 20 priority corridors for potential bus speed and reliability measures, including King Edward Avenue, 49th Avenue, and Southeast Marine Drive within Vancouver.