It’s only taken 30+ years, but Main Street SkyTrain station will finally undergo a redesign to improve accessibility, passenger circulation and street level integration. Beginning next month, the Station will effectively be rebuilt in two phases: first by adding a new East Station house and concourse and then by rebuilding the West Station house and concourse. This is a long overdue project for arguably one of the worst stations in terms of accessibility (e.g. staircases to east platform and west concourse), and street level integration (blank walls).

This was the first station built for the SkyTrain network, and while it served its purpose as a “demonstration” station during Expo 86, it barely meets the design standards we have today for high-volume, rapid transit stations.

I wrote my graduate research project on the station, and you can read some excerpts on the historical context and planning efforts on the Urban Studies blog.

Also, see the development permit application here.

render east

west station house render


Look at the above two images. The second image is the current state of the west concourse, which is elevated above the sidewalk in a mezzanine configuration. The redesign will bring the concourse back down to street level, eliminating the staircase required to access the station currently (below).

View of west entrance and staircase leading to concourse level

View of west entrance and staircase leading to concourse level

render west

The one disappointing design feature of the new station is the lack of connectivity to City Gate. Specifically, the new west concourse blocks access to the interior areas of the City Gate development, which is currently accessed by walking under the guideway near the Apple Deli. While it isn’t a particularly welcoming or legible route, I was hoping the new design would open up the area on the north side of the station.


There are actually several retail units on the other side of the station in City Gate that I think could be turned into a successful pedestrian mews. Unfortunately, the unwelcoming and hidden access now will not be transformed in the redesign. However, the glazing will provide much better permeability to this side of the station.

Station house west entrances

New west concourse. Red arrow is the proposed route for pedestrians.

Looking south toward the station

Looking south toward the station


I could go on: I love the new commercial retail units at street level, I love that the east station entrance will improve wayfinding between Pacific Central Station, and I love the glass windscreen stretching across Main Street. I’ll be posting construction updates here so stay tuned!


2 thoughts on “Main Street Station Redesign

  1. Pingback: Main Street Station Redesign – October 2013 | Andrew Trevor Jones

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