New bus routes rolling in Maple Ridge by September

Part of mayors’ 10-year vision for transportation in Metro Vancouver

701 now extends to Mission

701 now extends to Mission

Maple Ridge bus riders next week can put in their two cents’ worth to TransLink on its proposed new bus routes to Silver Valley.

Polling the public on the proposal starts Feb. 14 with newspaper ads, pamphlets, social media posts, an online survey and notices. An open house takes place Thursday, March 2 at Yennadon elementary, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

TransLink is proposing two new routes for the northern suburb, the No. 741, which will run from Haney Place Mall, up 232nd Street and serve west Silver Valley, by following Silver Valley Road, 141st Avenue and Foreman Drive.

On the east side of Silver Valley, the No. 733 follows 232nd Street and runs in a loop around 132nd Avenue. Both routes will connect with the Haney Place bus exchange.

“This is obviously a brand new service to these neighbourhoods,” TransLink’s Sarah Ross told Maple Ridge council Monday.

The community shuttle buses will run every 30 minutes during rush hour and every 45 minutes in slow times. Hours of service will be between 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

The new routes will bring bus service to another 2,000 people who currently don’t have it, Ross added.

TransLink and the City of Maple Ridge are still working out the location of bus stops, but those should be built sometime this summer with the new bus service to start rolling in September.

“I think these are just great, really going to help our community,” said Coun. Bob Masse.

The new routes will help reduce car dependence in Silver Valley and reduce housing and transportation costs.

“It will help the environment and it will help the economics of things for a lot of people,” Masse said.

There was less detail, however, about the B-line express bus service to Coquitlam Centre SkyTrain station, which is also part of TransLink’s 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transportation.

Ross told council those buses have not yet been ordered.

But a process is being followed, she explained.

Coun. Craig Speirs wanted to know if road improvements have to be made to accommodate the B-line service.

A study that’s now underway will determine the route and the stops.

“And will it take the scenic route through Pitt Meadows?” Speirs asked.

“The B-line is going to be staying on Lougheed Highway,” Ross replied.

But Pitt Meadows is an important destination and TransLink will try to ensure there are strong connections, she added.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker had wanted the B-line bus to divert to Maple Meadows Way West Coast Express station, but Maple Ridge wanted it to stay on Lougheed Highway to ensure the quickest trip to SkyTrain.

Coun. Gordy Robson asked about the timeline for the start of the service.

“Our commitment is that the B-line will be in place by 2019,” Ross said.

TransLink will also consult the public before that service begins, she added.

Ross said that Maple Ridge secondary schools will be involved in the consultation.

Robson also wanted to know if Nos. 701 and 791 routes would be duplicating the B-line service but Ross said TransLink will review all connections to the B-line.

The No. 701 also now runs between Maple Ridge and Mission four times a day to replace the cancellation of the TrainBus early this year, which followed the route of the West Coast Express.

Robson asked if TransLink had any plans to build a park-and-ride lot in the downtown. He had suggested earlier that TransLink and the city partner in building a multi-storey parkade next to the Haney Place Exchange at Haney Place Mall.

“We don’t currently have any plans for a park-and-ride in downtown Maple Ridge,” Ross said.

That could be considered at some point in a review of Maple Ridge’s transit services.

But Robson said there’s a shortage of parking in the downtown.

“Hopefully, the B-line will help your parking problem by getting more people to take transit,” Ross said.

Under Phase 1 of the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transportation, Maple Ridge received the most improvement in bus service, with a 64-per cent increase in bus service.