How the Evergreen Line Will Change Your Area
After years and years of consultation, planning, construction, and delays, the Evergreen Line will finally be open to the public at 12:00pm on Friday, December 2nd. The Evergreen Line is an extension of the Millennium Line, as the train will continue along the same tracks from Lougheed Station through North Burnaby and East Vancouver. This means that the Millennium Line will now run from VCC-Clark Station to Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station, with the Evergreen Line accounting for the the stations between Lafarge Lake and Lougheed Station. With the six new stations and the additional refurbishing and significant expansion of Lougheed Station, the Evergreen Line is going to be revolutionary for the Tri-Cities. If you’re still a little unclear about how this is going to affect your neighbourhood, allow us to walk you through the project.
A Line In The Works for 25 Years
Although construction for the Evergreen Line didn’t start until 2013, there have been plans for a SkyTrain to Coquitlam Centre since the original Expo Line opened. Although, if the plans from the 1980s went through the SkyTrain – and arguably Port Moody and Coquitlam Centre – would not even be recognizable to what it is today. When the SkyTrain expanded from New Westminster Station to Columbia, the plan was to have one set of track cross the Fraser River into Surrey, and another continue through New West, and follow the Lougheed Highway to Coquitlam Centre. Although only half of these plans came to fruition, the City of Coquitlam still prepared for rapid transit by zoning the area around Coquitlam Centre for high density development.
The second talk of SkyTrain into the Tri-Cities came in the mid-1990s with the planning of the Millennium Line. Before the Evergreen Line, the second SkyTrain line was planned to stretch from Coquitlam Centre and as far down as the South Granville neighbourhood of Vancouver. This plan also fell through, and the Millennium Line as we know it today runs from VCC-Clark Station to Lougheed Town Centre. To compensate for not getting a SkyTrain line quite yet, TransLink instituted the 97 B-Line.
After two rapid transit projects and still no SkyTrain line to the Tri-Cities, public consultation began to ramp up in the early 2000s. The original proposition was a Light Rail that would run through the main arteries of Port Moody and Coquitlam, similar to the systems in Portland and Calgary. This was the plan going forward, until the announcement of Vancouver being awarded the 2010 Olympic Games. This announcement necessitated the constructed of the Canada Line from Waterfront to YVR-Airport, which pushed the Evergreen Line back even further.
It wasn’t until 2008 that TransLink and the Provincial Government decided to change the plan for the Evergreen Line from Light Rail to the current SkyTrain technology. After four further years of planning and consultation, construction for the new SkyTrain route finally began in late 2012. In 2016 it was announced that the route would now be called the “Evergreen Extension” rather than the “Evergreen Line” as it had been know for the past decade and a half. The name change is due to it being for all intents and purposes just an extension of the Millennium Line, as it will continue along the same set of tracks through Lougheed Station and terminating at VCC-Clark.
Neighbourhood Changes and New Town Centres
The SkyTrain lines have been a true catalyst of development, and the Evergreen Line is no different. With many of the projects already well underway or completed, we’ll now break the route down station by station to see how it will affect the surrounding areas.
Lougheed Town Centre
- Perhaps the largest change along the entire Evergreen Line Route. As we mentioned in the past, the days of Lougheed Mall are numbered as “The City of Lougheed” prepares to be built. This development will contain over 30 residential towers with mixed use commercial and retail space on the street levels. Some of the proposed towers are expected to be upwards of 70+ stories.
- Increased density along Austin Avenue around the area of the Vancouver Golf Club
- Construction of multifamily homes and townhomes
- Gone are the days of the Dairy Queen and Safeway that pre-dated seatbelts being mandatory in cars. The Burquitlam Revitalization began in the late 2000s with the Mosaic Townhouse developments, and has now grown to two 20+ storey residential buildings anchoring the station.
- Further development on each sides of the intersection of Como Lake Ave. and Clarke Road including a newly proposed 50 storey tower, and 15 storey tower that would be rentals only
Moody Centre Station
- As with Burquitlam, construction of new developments in the area surrounding the stations started years before the Evergreen Line was confirmed, but look for a full revitalization of St. John’s Street. Although not zoned for anything over 4 stories, the city may change the zoning depending on potential growth
- The most significant will be the proposed Westport Development, occupying the site that Flavelle Cedar Mill currently occupies. Although still in the early planning stages, this development proposes residential towers along the shoreline of Burrard Inlet along with a mix of restaurants and upscale businesses. A waterfront seawall is also in the plans.
Inlet Centre Station
- Suter Brook Village and Newport Village are currently the main anchors surrounding this station, and were built in preparation for the previous promised SkyTrain routes before the Evergreen Line
- The area is zoned for up to 26 stories, but an increase in density in the form of low-rise apartment buildings and townhouses is to be expected
- Additionally, mixed use buildings up to 12 stories in height are listed in the City’s official community plan to be constructed near the entrance to the station along the Barnet Highway
Coquitlam Central Station
- In the realm of Real Estate, not much is to change around Coquitlam Station other than a revamped Park and Ride, and the addition of bike lockers. This is going to be one of the main access points to the Evergreen Line for bus commuters, in the same vein as Lougheed Station has acted for the past 15 years. Expect this to be a busy one!
- Originally there was not going to be a station at Lincoln Avenue due to the close proximity to both Coquitlam Central and Lafarge Lake-Douglas, but the rapid growth of high rises along Pinetree Way, Lincoln Avenue, Glen Drive, and The High Street has made it a necessity. At this point in time, the towers surrounding Lincoln Station are the tallest buildings in the Tri-Cities.
- Coquitlam Centre Mall may have the similar fate as Lougheed, with the land value and area being at a premium. The plot of land that the mall and parking lots sit on is enough to house an additional 40 highrises
- Coquitlam Town Centre has been designated as an official Regional Centre in Metro Vancouver, now placing it in the same category as Metrotown, Oakridge, and Surrey Central.
Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station
- The Eastern Terminus of the Evergreen Line gives access to residents living on Westwood Plateau, and the rapidly growing Burke Mountain. In the areas closer to Coquitlam City Hall density will continue to increase upwards
- For all new residents in moving into Coquitlam in the next 30 years, Burke Mountain will absorb 25%. Although not high density development, there is going to be substantial growth in this part of Coquitlam in the form of low rise apartments, townhomes, and small single-detached subdivisions.
All of the stations along the Evergreen Line route will be having festivals over the course of the weekend! Hop on the train, explore the Tri-Cities, and take advantage of the World’s largest automated transit system.