Vancouver Travel Guide

Transportation

Vancouver's streetcar system began on June 28, 1890, and ran from the (first) Granville Street Bridge to Westminster Avenue (now Main Street and Kingsway). Less than a year later, the Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company began operating Canada's first interurban line between the two cities and beyond to Chilliwack, with another line, the Lulu Island Railroad, from the Granville Street Bridge to Steveston via Kerrisdale, which encouraged residential neighbourhoods outside the central core to develop. The British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) became the company that operated the urban and interurban rail system, until 1958 when its last vestiges were dismantled in favour of "trackless" trolley and gasoline/diesel buses; in that same year the BCER became the core of the newly created, publicly owned BC Hydro. Vancouver currently has the second-largest trolleybus fleet in North America, after San Francisco.

Successive city councils in the 1970s and 1980s prohibited the construction of freeways as part of a long term plan. As a result, the only major freeway within city limits is Highway 1, which passes through the north-eastern corner of the city. While the number of cars in Vancouver proper has been steadily rising with population growth, the rate of car ownership and the average distance driven by daily commuters have fallen since the early 1990s. Vancouver is the only major Canadian city with these trends. Despite the fact that the journey time per vehicle has increased by one-third and growing traffic mass, there are 7% fewer cars making trips into the downtown core. In 2012, Vancouver had the worst traffic congestion in Canada and the second highest in North America, behind Los Angeles. As of 2013, Vancouver now has the worst traffic congestion in North America. Residents have been more inclined to live in areas closer to their interests, or use more energy-efficient means of travel, such as mass transit and cycling. This is, in part, the result of a push by city planners for a solution to traffic problems and pro-environment campaigns. Transportation demand management policies have imposed restrictions on drivers making it more difficult and expensive to commute while introducing more benefits for non-drivers.

TransLink is responsible for roads and public transportation within Metro Vancouver. It provides a bus service, including the B-Line rapid bus service, a foot passenger and bicycle ferry service (known as SeaBus), an automated rapid transit service called SkyTrain, and West Coast Express commuter rail. Vancouver's SkyTrain system is currently running on three lines, the Millennium Line, the Expo Line and the Canada Line.

Changes are being made to the regional transportation network as part of Translink's 10-Year Transportation Plan. The recently completed Canada Line, opened on August 17, 2009, connects Vancouver International Airport and the neighbouring city of Richmond with the existing SkyTrain system. The Evergreen Line is planned to link the cities of Coquitlam and Port Moody with the SkyTrain system by summer 2016. There are also plans to extend the SkyTrain Millennium Line west to UBC as a subway under Broadway and capacity upgrades and an extension to the Expo Line. Several road projects will be completed within the next few years, including a replacement for the Port Mann Bridge, as part of the Provincial Government's Gateway Program.

Other modes of transport add to the diversity of options available in Vancouver. Inter-city passenger rail service is operated from Pacific Central Station by Via Rail to points east; Amtrak Cascades to Seattle; and Rocky Mountaineer rail tour routes. Small passenger ferries operating in False Creek provide commuter service to Granville Island, Downtown Vancouver and Kitsilano. Vancouver has a city-wide network of bicycle lanes and routes, which supports an active population of cyclists year-round. Cycling has become Vancouver's fastest growing mode of transportation.

Vancouver is served by Vancouver International Airport (YVR), located on Sea Island in the City of Richmond, immediately south of Vancouver. Vancouver's airport is Canada's second-busiest airport, and the second-largest gateway on the west coast of North America for international passengers. HeliJet and float plane companies operate scheduled air service from Vancouver harbour and YVR south terminal. The city is also served by two BC Ferry terminals. One is to the northwest at Horseshoe Bay (in West Vancouver), and the other is to the south, at Tsawwassen (in Delta).


source: Wikipedia

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