Burnaby looks at funding Evergreen Line median improvements
After its experience with the Millennium Line, Burnaby City Hall is looking at helping fund improvements to the median underneath the planned Evergreen Line.
On Monday, Burnaby council was to consider approving spending $500,000 in gaming revenues for the enhancements, contingent on the City of Coquitlam making a matching commitment.
While there is no median up North Road today, a wide one will be built to accommodate the large concrete columns that will support the SkyTrain guideway of the rapid transit line.
As a default, the province has said it will put in grass and shrubs on the median.
"What we've said is well, we think it should be better than that," said Stuart Ramsey, Burnaby's manager of transportation planning, in an interview.
The proposed enhancements to be funded by the two cities would include rain gardens, trellises and lighting to make the space more attractive at night.
Ramsey said the rain gardens would capture runoff rainwater from the guideway and absorb it into the ground, which acts as a natural filter, producing cleaner water when it flows out towards the Brunette River.
The trellises would provide both aesthetic and safety benefits.
"Obviously, you don't want people jaywalking across the road or cutting through the landscaping," he said. "Then you just get dead plants and little footpaths and so on."
The trellises would also help provide relief from the "linear concrete effect" of the guideway.
Burnaby and Coquitlam are still in discussions over how to share maintenance costs of the 1.2-kilometre median if the enhancements go ahead. Coquitlam has estimated it would cost about $75,000 per year for each city. Ramsey couldn't comment on the figure as he didn't know what it was based on.
In the end, it's Burnaby's past experience that is guiding its efforts with the Evergreen Line.
"From Burnaby's point of view, we've had SkyTrain guideways in our city since 1986 and in particular, the Millennium Line is a similar configuration, running down the middle of a road," said Ramsey. "
That was done as a very bare bones, concrete finish, and we don't find it particularly attractive or particularly environmentally friendly. One of the things we were attempting to address through the negotiations is to come up with something better."
The $1.4-billion Evergreen Line, which runs from Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby, to Coquitlam City Centre, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2016.