Back when the Mayor desired a streetcar

Keen on clean, green trams in 2010, why is he subway obsessed in 2014?

One of the hits of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was the free streetcar that connected the Olympic Village Canada Line station with Granville Island.

City of Vancouver paid $8.5 million to upgrade the tracks and Bombardier sent two Flexity trams on loan from Brussels, Belgium. The Olympic Line carried half-a-million riders over two months. The demonstration was supposed to have spurred development of a tram system around the city.

Watch the video and see how giddy Robertson was about the possibilities of a streetcar system at a ceremony on the day it launched.

City hall and its Olympic transportation director, Dale Bracewell, were beaming about it for months after the Games.

Nowadays, Robertson wants to spend $400,000 via the city’s capital plan to decommission the tracks, most recently used by the Downtown Historic Railway Society. He’s also obsessed with a Broadway Subway. That could cost $3 billion and use SkyTrain technology with troubled SNC-Lavalin as a potential builder. Rapid transit from Commercial Drive to the University of B.C. can’t happen without Ottawa and Victoria opening the public purse, so why is Robertson making it an issue in the Nov. 15 civic election?

How did Robertson convert from being a tram fan to a subway nut? What forces who advocate for an expensive rapid transit system are lobbying Robertson or donating to Vision Vancouver?


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