Will Vancouver be ready when high-speed rail becomes a reality?

Despite the clear success of Amtrak’s second train from Seattle to Vancouver, true high speed rail service along the Cascadia corridor may be as much as a generation away. Nonetheless, decisions we make today could determine whether or not Vancouver is at the end of the line.

That’s why I’m proposing this motion at next week’s council meeting. I want to make sure future planning decisions do not compromise our opportunity to be the terminus for west coast service.

Long before high speed rail becomes a reality, Vancouver could be the beneficiary of a dramatic expansion of passenger rail service, with all the economic and sustainability benefits that implies.

You only need to consider the existence of a Starbucks, at the entrance to Granville Island — right on the alignment of a possible future extension of the Olympic streetcar line — to see what worries me.

Vancouver has already completed a planning process for a new Central Waterfront Hub. It’s critical for the city protect and enhance rail access to that hub, both along Burrard Inlet and from the Grandview Cut.