Rail into downtown Victoria nice but not vital
I’ve used trains in not a few cities across Canada and in other countries as well as on Vancouver Island. And I must agree with ICF CEO Larry Stevenson in that it is not necessary to have train service across the Johnson Street bridge “‘Strategically important’: Feds weighing $431M Vancouver Island Rail Corridor future” Feb. 8.
Many of the Capital Region’s largest employers and important destinations, like Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital, Camosun College, and the University of Victoria are located away from the downtown. There are also newer office developments, like at Selkirk Waterway, that are also outside the core. Moreover the railway has in fact the best access to the Esquimalt docks.
Bus shuttles from transit hubs do work. For example, NJ Transit operates the Capital Connection bus services from its Trenton (NJ) Transit Center into the downtown and to state offices. I’ve used the Trenton centre not a few times and have seen commuters making those transfers from the buses to the trains.
Victoria’s station, if built at the foot of the Johnson Street Bridge, also has the possibility of providing transfers to water taxis like to Belleville Street by the Parliament Buildings and the Coho and Clipper ferry terminals, and to Selkirk Waterway.
And should an overriding need ever rise in the future for a rail line into the Victoria city centre engineers, and officials, will find a way to make that happen. But that should not be a stumbling block for meeting today’s critical and growing transportation needs through having a prudently costed, affordable, and readily implementable integrated Island-wide rail/transit network.