B-Line bus service is supposed to start in Maple Ridge in September 2019. (Contributed)

New B-Line bus could go down Dewdney

TransLink tells council it’s tough finding bus stops on the highway in Maple Ridge

The B-Line due next year may go down Dewdney Trunk Road if TransLink can’t find place to put bus stops along Lougheed Highway.

Maple Ridge council heard last week that the lack of an existing service on Lougheed, and few bus stops on the highway, is making it difficult for TransLink to find places to plot the route from Haney Place Mall to Pitt Meadows.

TransLink is trying to find locations for those stops by the time the B-Line service starts in September 2019, offering 40-minute service from Maple Ridge into Coquitlam Central SkyTrain line.

Sarah Ross, director of system planning with TransLink, said the high traffic speed and number of driveways along Lougheed Hwy. are making it difficult.

“It’s more complex to get bus stops here because it’s [Lougheed Highway] controlled by the ministry,” said Ross. “So we have to work really closely with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.”

If TransLink can’t find locations for those bus stops, “our alternative would be to have it come in along Dewdney Trunk … where we already have stops.”

Ross, though, pointed out Dewdney Trunk Rd. is only 400 metres from Lougheed Highway and the difference in travel time into Coquitlam is comparable.

“Over the longer term, we’re working on having it on Lougheed, but we really need to have stops available,” Ross said.

Coun. Gordy Robson was concerned about using Dewdney Trunk Road, saying it’s jammed with traffic during morning rush hour.

The B-Line will have limited numbers of stops in order to speed travel time. Proposed stops are in Haney Place Mall, at Laity Street, 203rd Street and Harris Road on Lougheed Highway in Pitt Meadows. Future stops could be added at Meadowtown mall and 222nd Street.

“There’s a real challenge on east Lougheed,” said Coun. Bob Masse.

The issue needs to be addressed and that message was brought home to council at its March 27 meeting, he said.

Ross said other B-Lines in Metro Vancouver are well used, noting that the Broadway B-Line in Vancouver carries 50,000 people a day.

“It’s the single busiest bus route in all of North America.”

The B-Line from Maple Ridge will offer ride times 30 per cent faster, with travel times of 40 minutes into Coquitlam Central SkyTrain, council heard.

Service will be every 10 minutes during rush hours and every 15 minutes in non-peak times allowing double the number of passengers to be carried.

Combined with the 791 and the 701, “there will be a bus leaving Haney, connecting to SkyTrain [either Braid station or Coquitlam Central] every four to five minutes,” Ross said. “That’s a very high level of service and will provide options to people.”

However, council also wanted TransLink to partner in building a parkade at Haney Place Mall to serve as a park and ride.

The parking lot behind the bus exchange is city owned and could be used for Ridge Meadows RCMP parking, as well as commuters and could be the drop off area for people coming in from outlying areas, said Coun. Craig Speirs.

“That would be the perfect spot for park and ride,” he added.

“We’re doing nothing but growing here.”

TransLink is also working on an area transport plan for the region. People can have give their input about the B-Line at TransLink displays at Earth Day, April 21, in Maple Ridge and in Haney Place Mall on May 7 and at the Pitt Meadows West Coast Express station on May 9.

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