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Vancouver's Street Car Gift: Keep It?

Video report: Brussels lent us a streetcar to extend our transit system. We asked riders if they think it's worth having permanently.

By Justin Langille 2 Mar 2010 | TheTyee.ca

Justin Langille prepared this multi-media report as part of his practicum at The Tyee.

To the delight of tourists and locals, the Olympic Line streetcar has been delivering people smoothly from Athlete's Village on lower Cambie Street to Granville Island since Jan. 21. A Bombardier Flexity Outlook on loan from Brussels for the duration of the Games, the streetcar was an instrumental part of Translink and the City of Vancouver's plan to keep cars off the road and control traffic during the games.

It's been both convenient and surreal to have a Euro-sleek streetcar around, but alas, it's only an experiment.

The "demonstration streetcar project" will run until March 21, according to the City of Vancouver's fact sheet on the temporary streetcar line. After that, any further life of the Olympic Line will be determined by the success of the streetcar during the Olympics and Paralympics and, of course, the presence of funding needed to make the streetcar line permanent, said the fact sheet.

If it is made permanent, there are tentative plans to extend the Olympic Line into a full downtown streetcar line that would drive passengers from the current Granville Island final stop through downtown, extending all the way to Chilco Street in Stanley Park. In between, the proposed route would connect with Science World and Waterfront Skytrain Stations, connecting with both the Millennium Line and the Canada Line.

Reporter Justin Langille went to find out what Vancouver citizens and those visiting our city had to say about a small transportation project that could become a major part of Vancouver transit in the near future. Is it worth the investment?

Should we keep it, or lose it?  [Tyee]

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