Originally Posted by van-island
CPR still owns the land. Vancouver isn't doing anything with that land without paying A LOT of money to CPR.
Streetcars are just that, street cars. There's no point in running them in a separated right-of-way where there are no shops, home, and community centres close by. You WANT streetcars to run in the streets, not only for the proximity to the destinations that they serve, but for the added traffic calming/transportation demand management (read: making it tougher to drive) and pedestrianization attributes that they bring.
So: CPR want to develop, Vancouver wants a streetcar. The only place that a streetcar would have a tough time is where the Arbutus Line doubles back to make the hill (Quilchena Park area).
Vancouver allows CPR to develop the land, all except for the Quilchena Park hill climb area, and a narrow right-of-way to build a greenway across the city north-south.
In exchange for the development rights, CPR in part funds the construction of the IN STREET rail lines from Granville Island to Marpole (or elsewhere).
So is everyone happy or what?
In case you've never really noticed, a majority of the Arbutus ROW runs right next to the street. Between Broadway and 70th (except a few blocks where it climbs the hill) it's right next to Arbutus, or right between West and East Blvd. The ROW follows almost all of the #16 bus route within 100 feet.
The advantage of running "trams" in separate ROW's is that they are unaffected by traffic conditions. There is no need for trains to be stuck at a red light, or to devise extra lanes and special lights to get them through choke points. This gives them a higher average speed.
The ROW also has far fewer crossings than Arbutus and East/West Blvds have intersections. If you look at the maps, there are a lot of turns you can make off those roads, which streetcars would have to contend with. On the ROW, very few roads south of 16th cross the actual ROW. In fact, in a 55 block span, the tram would only need to contend with 10 crossings on the ROW (vs. all of them on the streets). It would be very safe and fast for a tram.
And the actual ROW barley touches the "affluent" part of Shaughnessy, most of the ROW is row houses or newer condos. You have to remember, back when the region was developed, it was still a functioning RR, and living right close to it was actually a step down on the social ladder. Back then there were a lot of much nicer places to live besides living next to a ROW used by freight trains and commoners on the interurban. People who act all self important now are just phonies (or don't actually live close to it).
Besides, the #16 bus is a very busy bus line. Kerrisdale is a very built up part of town and one of the denser areas south of Broadway. The streetcar/tram wouldn't be for bringing people TO them, it would be for brining these urbanites to their jobs downtown and on Broadway. If anything, people in Kerrisdale are trendy, and trams are super trendy, so in a few years they'll all be clamoring for it.