Metrotown station planning 'befuddling': Jordan

Burnaby council fired back yet again against locating bus lanes along Beresford Street as part of the redevelopment of Metrotown SkyTrain station.

Last month, the NewsLeader published an artist's rendering of the $37-million project being planned to accommodate growth in the area since the station was built in 1986. In addition to alleviating crowding, the design aims to improve accessibility for people with mobility issues.

Burnaby Coun. Colleen Jordan said in response at the time that the rendering shows what council clearly opposes—a bus lane south of the guideway, along Beresford Street which is slated for highrise developments complemented by a pedestrian-friendly walkway featuring public art.

TransLink representatives have stressed nothing has been finalized.

The project's designer, VIA Architecture, has since apologized in a letter to council for posting the "work-in-progress images" on its website.

"We deeply regret that VIA's enthusiasm for assisting Burnaby and TransLink to create the long term benefit of resolving an integrated transit exchange has inadvertently triggered this counterproductive controversy," wrote VIA's founding principal Alan Hart.

Jordan stressed at Monday's council meeting that no design has been committed to but was concerned that the same images in question have been circulated elsewhere.

"I don't understand how TransLink can say 'we didn't authorize putting those images out there,' yet TransLink is showing them to their access advisory committee and having them write us letters on something that's not decided yet," Jordan said. "It's befuddling."

Indeed, Pam Horton, chair of TransLink's Access Transit Users' Advisory Committee, wrote to council expressing its support for the bus lanes along Beresford.

Comprised of seniors and people with disabilities, the committee was shown two options at a recent meeting with TransLink, Horton wrote. The first was the one council didn't like and the other would have buses across the street from the station, along the north side of Central Boulevard.

The committee passed a resolution in support of the Beresford option as the other option presented "would require seniors and persons with disabilities to cross Central Boulevard to interline between buses and the SkyTrain," Horton said.

Mayor Derek Corrigan was not impressed, saying, "It shows that the process of consultation that we thought we were in wasn't quite as consultative as it might have been."

TransLink knows where Burnaby stands, he said.

"I think they got a pretty clear view from council that in fact one of the options they were proposing didn't fit well with our plans for Beresford Street and we sent them packing with instructions to look at other options," Corrigan said.

"And in between time, for some reason it pops out on a website from the architecture company and it gets given to an advisory group in TransLink so that they can make a decision.

"I'm not going to infer bad motives but I'll let others draw their own conclusion."

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