Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersThe Phibbs Bus Exchange Redesign: From Concrete and Asphalt to Raingardens and Bridges!

The Phibbs Bus Exchange Redesign: From Concrete and Asphalt to Raingardens and Bridges!


The Phibbs Exchange is a major bus Exchange located at the northern foot of the Second Narrows Bridge on the TransCanada Highway in the District of North Vancouver (DoNV). It serves 18 bus routes and 15,700 daily passenger trips. The Exchange provides connections between buses running to East Vancouver and Burnaby, and across the North Shore. Due to its poor passenger environment and its existing and long-term operational and capacity deficiencies, the Exchange was identified as a priority for upgrade in TransLink’s North Shore Area Transit Plan (NSATP), as well as DoNV’s Lower Lynn Transportation Strategy and Master Transportation Plan.
The Exchange has a number of safety and operational deficiencies and challenges, exacerbated by the following:
• Capacity – The Exchange does not have enough bus bays to accommodate the current bus services that operate at the Exchange, resulting in buses double-parking in bays.
• Transit Circulation – The current transit circulation result in numerous conflict points and unsafe conditions for pedestrians, passengers, operators and cyclists.
• Passenger Environment – Phibbs Exchange has long been perceived by passengers as unsafe and unwelcoming. This is partly due to the Exchange’s configuration which locates passenger areas on an island separated from the adjoining neighbourhood by bus drive aisles and a Highway 1 off-ramp. In addition, passenger amenities are inadequate; the lighting does not contribute to a safe and comfortable environment, particularly due to the extent of evening operations; passenger shelter areas are deficient; and the Exchange is primarily a hard surface resulting in significant stormwater runoff, with a detention pond and ditches that are primarily grassed and not aesthetically pleasing.
The Exchange upgrade is integral to supporting the transit-oriented community vision established for Lower Lynn and to achieving the NSATP’s goal of increasing transit mode share in the sub-region.
The Preliminary Design Concept that was developed reconfigures the existing Exchange within the existing footprint, allowing the full future bus program to be accommodated without the relocation of the existing Highway 1 off-ramp, and removes an unsafe bus merge onto Highway 1, thereby also improving highway mobility and reliability.
The design includes two pedestrian islands and a perimeter passenger boarding area with clearly marked crossings for access and egress, reducing the number of conflict points with transit vehicles. Major bus routes and thus passenger activity are located on the perimeter boarding platform, thereby reducing the need for pedestrians to cross the path of bus traffic. A multi-use path is provided along the southern edge which helps to separate pedestrian and cyclist through traffic from bus queuing areas. The design also includes an extensive raingarden system within the islands. These serve primarily to manage stormwater however the pedestrian scale bridges and landscaping significantly contributes to an improved user experience and aesthetically pleasing environment. In addition, passenger amenities, including bus shelters, pedestrian-scaled lighting, landscaping, a retail kiosk and provisions for potential future public washrooms, are provided.
A key factor of the design is the staging of construction in order to ensure that the Exchange remains fully operational at all times throughout its construction. Complicating this further is the fact that the current Exchange is orientated in a north-south direction with one pedestrian island in the middle, and is being converted to an east-west orientation with four pedestrian islands. A five stage construction plan was therefore formulated to accommodate these changes and to minimize disruptions to highway and local traffic, transit and passengers.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
What are Transit-Supportive Environments Anyway? Innovative Indicators and Methodologies to Evaluate Transit Supportiveness
Babiuk, M.
Abelson, B.
Transportation planning