The City of Vancouver is planning ahead to ensure that the option of a streetcar line remains open.   The city has issued THIS RFP for a consultant to “. . . future proof the planning of streets and development within Vancouver so that a modern streetcar system can be constructed in the future.”
Just as the city has done great work to make choosing a bike a safe and effective option, the idea is to make sure that nothing eliminates building streetcar lines into an effective choice.

A proposed alignment of the streetcar has previously been established, as mentioned above. Previous plans and thinking envisage the streetcar travelling through the following neighborhoods/areas:


Click to enlarge

  • Arbutus Greenway
  • South False Creek
  • South East False Creek
  • International Village and Science World
  • False Creek Flats (at 1st Avenue)
  • North East False Creek
  • Yaletown, along Pacific Boulevard
  • Chinatown
  • Gastown
  • Coal Harbour.

Thanks to Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail for the heads-up.


  1. Pretty small thinking so far. Just a repeat of a city vision that goes back many decades. We should be looking at a network that branches off of this, primarily using the original streetcar layout and promoting greater mixed use, missing middle, density. Missing middle transit for missing middle housing.

  2. I haven’t had a chance to read the RFP yet, but am looking forward to a tram in the Arbutus corridor (it’ll be a natural there) extending through SEFC and into Gastown and beyond to Stanley Park. I believe this tram will complement all other transit infrastructure and will cement transit diversity. The tram should continue on to Marine Gateway Station with possibly a link to New West via the RR corridor along the North Arm of the Fraser.
    One has to be careful in proposing to roll out billions in rail infrastructure on Vancouver’s arterials when the trolleys are already the workhorses and have more flexibility. There is also the care that needs to be undertaken to recognize local versus regional transit ridership. A tram will never substitute for the Broadway subway which needs to accommodate both regional and local service, but a heavier gauge LRT along 41st Ave may work well as a second rail route with only a fraction of the grade separation costs. This alludes to four levels of transit: bus, tram, LRT and automated subway.

    1. Ignore my down vote, fat fingers. I agree with your general points. Integrate it with other transportation infrastructure and understand local vs regional demand. I would add using the tram to leverage proper transit priority (I know that COULD be done for buses but it hasn’t been). If the trams don’t have strong signal priority and their own RW for the majority of the conjested portions of the route it won’t be worth it.

    2. Note that long sections of the Arbutus tram route occur in its own R/W with only the occasional cross street to contend with. The exception is, of course, Gastown and downtown.
      One would hope that Water Street could be car-free to accommodate trams. With potential stops at Waterfront Station and near the Canada Place cruise ship terminal, I think he ridership will get a big boost with network connectivity and summer tourists.
      I hope they don’t make the mistake of specifying rolling stock that’s too narrow. Low floor cars do come in wider models than the Bombardier Brussels tram that ran in False Creek during the Olympics. Wider cars mean more capacity, and future capacity needs to be accounted for in the initial planning effort.

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