Could a restored rail line solve the ‘Colwood crawl’?
Chandler Grieve and Asymina Kantorowicz, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:58PM PDT
With construction on the McKenzie Interchange scheduled to begin in a few months, four south island mayors have come up with a new solution to ease congestion that is expected to follow suit.
Mayors of View Royal, Esquimalt, Victoria and Langford have penned a letter to the Island Corridor Foundation asking about the feasibility of a rail line.
“I think definitely we need to start using that corridor, it’s there, it’s bought and paid for by the public and it’s a great opportunity for the region,” said David Screech, View Royal mayor.
The pilot project would include a station at West Hills Stadium in Langford and another at the roundhouse in Vic West, with stops along the way. BC Transit buses would then shuttle people downtown.
According to the mayors, the rail line would move roughly 500 people daily along tracks that have been sitting dormant for five years.
Langford’s mayor said with construction on the new interchange beginning soon, there’s no time to waste.
“I’m going to be really clear, if this thing is not able to get up and running and the train going when we actually need it the most, when we’re doing a major infrastructure project, then what’s the point?” Stew Young said.
The ICF declined an interview with CTV News, saying it’s working on the concept and will do all it can to set up commuter rail.
The four mayors would like to see a response to their letter by the end of August at the latest.
Although BC Transit hasn’t been approached with the proposal, the company said it’s on board as long as the train can get down to the city. It has confirmed that more buses will begin running once construction begins.
Construction on the $85-million interchange at McKenzie Avenue and Admirals Road will begin in the fall and is expected to last several years.