Confusion persists over future of Evergreen Line name

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says this image, from TransLink
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says this image, from TransLink's 2013 annual report, depicts the SkyTrain extension to Coquitlam as the Millennium Line rather than the Evergreen Line name announced after a naming contest years ago.
— image credit: TransLink

TransLink is trying to assure passengers it hasn't abandoned the Evergreen Line name for its latest SkyTrain extension now under construction in the northeast sector.

But officials at the transportation authority are being cagey about how and where it will apply, saying they are still investigating all naming options.

"We'll keep the Evergreen brand in some way," TransLink wayfinding project planner Jeff Deby said Monday. "Exactly how it's going to be used is still yet to be determined."

He was responding to community rumours in the Tri Cities that the name might be dropped but said little to dispel them.

"We're just following due process to come to the best solution," Deby said, adding he doesn't want to confuse people more by speculating ahead of a decision.

One unresolved issue is whether westbound trains originating from Coquitlam that terminate at VCC-Clark should be called Evergreen Line trains once they're west of Lougheed Station in Burnaby, on what's now called the Millennium Line.

"We're looking at that exactly right now and we haven't made a decision yet," Deby said. "We're trying to figure out how to integrate it into the existing network."

But nor would he promise that the Evergreen name will definitely apply on the new section of line from Lougheed through Port Moody to Coquitlam.

"I don't think there's any 'definitely' anything yet," he said. "We'll be consulting with municipal stakeholders and make sure that we're working into consideration community needs."

There's no timeline for settling the naming issues but he said there will be plenty of public notice ahead of the new line's opening in 2016.

"The Evergreen brand already has community resonance and we want people to respect that and take advantage of it," Deby said.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said he was "surprised" to learn in recent months that TransLink wanted to call the extension the Millennium Line as well.

He noted TransLink's 2013 annual report contains a photo of SkyTrain route charts that show the Millennium Line colour and name extending all the way east to the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station terminus in Coquitlam.

While one name from Coquitlam all the way west to UBC eventually might well be simpler for TransLink, Stewart said it would upend years of planning in the Tri Cities.

"To the public, the Millennium Line is in Burnaby and Vancouver. The one in Coquitlam, that's the Evergreen Line. It doesn't make sense to try to overcome all those years of branding."

Businesses and organizations in the Tri Cities have also embraced the name.

"We've made investment decisions and we've named facilities and projects associated with the Evergreen Line name," Stewart said.

Deby wouldn't discuss naming implications if the Millennium Line is ultimately extended west along the Broadway corridor in Vancouver.

A key goal is making sure the SkyTrain network is easy to understand, he said, adding the looping route of the Millennium Line is still confusing to some people.

"Adding another service into the system is now making it a little bit more complex.

What we're looking at is: Is there a way we can look at the line naming now and make it clearer for people?"

TransLink has not yet indicated whether Millennium Line passengers going to or from southeast Burnaby will have to transfer at either Lougheed or Columbia once the new line is in operation.

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