Battle looming between Vancouver and other regions over priority of rapid transit – From News 1130 Radio

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As expected, the Broadway UBC rapid transit project has gained prominence in the past few weeks and the SkyTrain lobby has taken to the blogosphere to spread “SkyTrain Speak.” SkyTrain Speak, is the myth and propaganda created by the SkyTrain lobby to further the cause  promoting further construction of the obsolete proprietary light metro.

The Broadway UBC rapid transit or subway project, is being promoted by Vancouver politico’s, who realize that the City of Surrey’s population will soon surpass that of Vancouver and that Vancouver’s monopoly of scarce transit funds will soon go South of the Fraser. Vancouver’s politicians suffer a rather malignant form of ‘civic penis envy’, where they firmly believe that to make Vancouver a ‘world class’ city, they must have subways, because subways will Vancouver ‘world class’. Political prestige was the main reason for building the $2.5+ billion RAV/Canada Line subway in Vancouver.

One also must wonder if Bombardier has been given a (secret?) promise by TransLink and/or the province to have one more kick at the can, so to speak, by extending the the SkyTrain Millennium Line West to UBC or the Evergreen Line North to Port Coquitlam. The weak ridership figures for the Evergreen Line means that a SkyTrain subway would have a far better chance to showcase SkyTrain for overseas sales.

Zweisystem predicts if the Broadway transit project doesn’t use SkyTrain, Bombardier will announce the retirement of the SkyTrain light metro system and will only produce vehicles for existing systems.

Surrey politicians and taxpayers have also woken up to the fact that they will again be subsidizing Vancouver’s expensive rapid transit dreams and may rebel, forcing Victoria to create a South Fraser Transit Authority. This could have ominous consequences for taxpayers living in the TransLink or SkyTrain region, where their taxpayers must then fund the full cost of Victoria’s and TransLink’s grand metro schemes. The real cost of metro construction will come home to roost with a big financial bang!

Has TransLink already made the decision to build with SkyTrain?

By using the term ‘rapid transit’ TransLink has already made the choice to build metro, for I have not seen any definition of ‘rapid transit’ that include LRT, streetcar, or trams. By extending the Millennium Line, means SkyTrain will be used and there will be no need of any pesky P-3 or systems tender, that caused much rancor with the public in the past.

Finally, TransLink is broke and the regions transit deficit is great, but with todays precarious economy, there will be little or no money for expensive metros, unless Premier Campbell again promises to completely fund Vancouver’s UBC SkyTrain subway and call it the Legacy Line.

Sad to say, the gift of SkyTrain has not reduced auto congestion, but it has certainly driven up property taxes, some legacy!

The cost of Broadway/UBC subway, about $3 billion to $4 billion.

The cost of a deluxe Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain, about $1 billion.

The cost of a BCIT to UBC to Stanley Park LRT, about $1 billion.

Cost of a Surrey LRT/streetcar, King George Hwy./Scott Road/Guilford Loop, about $1 billion.

Cost of a Langley 200th St. LRT, about $500 million.

Cost of a Abbotsford LRT, about $500 million.

The firing shots of TransLink’s UBC ‘rapid transit’ line may start a battle that will rip TransLink and the regions politics asunder, with many unintended consequences.

Battle looming between Vancouver and other regions over priority of rapid transit

Vancouver wants line along Broadway to UBC

Jill Drews  Jan 19, 2010

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The City of Vancouver is making plans to ensure a rapid transit line along Broadway to UBC is given top priority–ahead of other regional transit improvements.  But not everyone thinks Vancouver’s plan should be at the top of the transit list.

Vancouver Councillor Geoff Meggs says the density surrounding the Broadway corridor would more than pay for itself.  “There already are more people riding on buses, jammed on buses, hanging on straps on buses, watching buses drive by them, than we need to justify the line.”

But Ray Hudson with the Surrey Board of Trade says the Evergreen Line and more service south of the Fraser used to be a priority and should still be a priority.  “Soon, we will rival and even pass the population of Vancouver, and yet we are certainly the very poor ‘country cousins’ with respect to these kinds of services.”

Hudson says some business owners he’s heard from are wondering if separating from the Metro Vancouver regional district might be the way to go to finally see some transit improvements.

For further information on LRT on Broadway:

https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/to-ubc-from-bcit-and-picinics-in-the-park-by-tram-the-light-rail-committees-broadway-light-rail-project/

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23 Responses to “Battle looming between Vancouver and other regions over priority of rapid transit – From News 1130 Radio”

  1. opinion Says:

    At-street light rail is a challenge to built it right and I hope it will not cost as high as Calgary or Edmonton extension.
    If Canada Line now already surges to handle 110,000 trips (from today news release), when Broadway line opens in 201x, its daily ridership must be somewhere in 100k-200k range. People needs to realize that it would means long two-car LRVs every two minutes, or more often for specific time. Will it completely clog up Broadway? I read that some light rail supporters say combined RoW wtith general traffic for the 4-lane part of Broadway, is it even possible? how slow and dangerous that will be?

    Zweisystem replies: I just can’t see, with the capacity offered that the Canada Line is carrying 110,000 passengers a day, but TransLink has overstated the RAV metro cars by over 30%, thus ridership maybe 30% higher than it actually is. This is the old ridership shell game, as TransLink does not do actual boarding counts but guesstimated ridership by a formula that they keep secret. Truth is, ridership claims on our metro system are a sham.

    As for Light Rail on Broadway, until TransLink hires actual experts in planning and building LRT lines, they will gold plate the cost so to be as near as a SkyTrain subway as they can. Shades of the Millennium Line sham!

  2. mezzanine Says:

    LRT and metros are tools that cities use to move people. And not every tool is right for the job. And LRT and metro have problems that really aren’t unique to either of them.

    I do not know if LRT experts were involved with the Toronto St. Clair LRT
    project, maybe they could have helped Toronto.

    “The project to install dedicated tracks along St. Clair Ave. W. threw a 6.8-kilometre stretch into turmoil for nearly five years, obstructing traffic, reducing business for merchants, narrowing sidewalks, ripping up mature trees and disturbing what local Councilor Cesar Palacio calls the strip’s “European patio culture.” The price tag soared from $65 million to $106 million and the final 300 metres won’t be completed until spring.”

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/ttc/article/751068–st-clair-streetcar-anguish-avoidable-study-says

    Zweisystem replies: Trying not to get the Toronto types knickers in a knot, what this article says is that whoever designed the St. Clair route, botched it. The problem in North America is that the car is king and woe be for anyone who advocates removing car space.

    The other problem is inbred planning, where those involved with transit planning, ignore advances in transit technology and philosophy, because: “we have always done it this way”. The same is true with TransLink. Part of the LRT Renaissance in Europe was a complete rethink of how and why transit is built an operated and it is out of this rethink came the light rail revolution!

    The problem in Vancouver is archaic transit planning, dated thinking and a complete ignorance of what is happening around the world, except for taxes, tolls and alike. Those calling for road tolls and/or road pricing forget that one must have a credible public transit system in place before adding new taxes. In Vancouver TransLink is less than credible.

  3. John Says:

    Meggs argues that people on the Broadway corridor are “jammed on buses, hanging on straps on buses, watching buses drive by them.”

    But Ray Hudson thinks the priority should be the Evergreen Line and service south of the Fraser…… that south of the Fraser we are the “poor country cousins”.

    The province continues to play one region off the other one, dividing the municipalities till we’re all begging for the next crumb of the small skytrain pie….

    We need to quit squabbling, unite as a region, and demand light rail!

  4. David Says:

    At grade LRT can be built quickly and inexpensively. Nottingham is a perfect example. It’s a privately built and operated tram that turns a profit. It was built so quickly that shopkeepers were entitled to compensation if construction work affected business for more than 28 days. Compare that to three and a half years of mess on the Canada Line route.

    With copious amounts of provincial and federal money available, TransLink has a history of inflating their light rail estimates to truly ridiculous extremes while carefully underestimating metro costs by as much as half.

    The Evergreen line may have been reasonably costed in the original engineering study, but ridership was set so much lower than SkyTrain that the cost per passenger was in the same ball park. The follow-up “business case” was even worse because it further narrowed the gap in construction costs while inventing even more flattering ridership projections for SkyTrain.

    Back in the world of finished projects the cost of the Canada Line went from $1.335 billion to at least $2.5 billion in the span of just four years.

    The powers that be in this province will seemingly stop at nothing to justify metro systems.

  5. voony Says:

    What people fails to understand, is that to have adequate transit on Broadway west of Commercial serve the people from Surrey (Expo line) to Port Moody (future evergreen line).
    So it serves the regional interest.

    What good does an Evergreen line, if in the middle of the journey to final destination people have to transfer on overcrowded system and a slow and unreliable on at that when we talk of the 99B line.

    What good does modal change along a line like the Millenium line instead of one seat ride all the way to main destination cluster (typically Cambie and Central Broadway) for the regional user?

    Zweisystem replies: You make the assumption that LRT is not adequate. This is the trap the SkyTrain lobby falls into. As well you assume that the Evergreen Line will pour tens of thousands more riders on the transit system, yet from what stats I have seen, the majority of commuter are not going to Vancouver or UBC, rather South of the Fraser River. Those who wish to commute downtown, take the West Coast Express.

    The cost of the Evergreen & UBC subway lines is very close to $6 billion, yet for $6 billion the region can build:

    1) A BCIT to UBC to Stanley Park LRT – $1 billion
    2) A deluxe Vancouver to Chilliwack interurban LRT – $1 billion
    3) A Surrey King George Hwy/Scott Road/Builford LRT/streetcar – $1 billion
    4) Langley and Abbotsford LRT/streetcar – $1 billion
    5) Diesel LRT to White Rock, Queensbourgh/Annicis Island/Richmond – $500 million
    6) 3 more light rail lines in the region – $1.5 billion

    And here lies the basic argument for LRT/SkyTrain metro, you can get one hell of a bigger bang for you buck and provide a user friendly regional rail network that will attract the all important motorist from the car. This why TransLink is so desperate to gold-plate LRT’s costs, to fudge the truth in favour of SkyTrain.

  6. David Says:

    Almost all the traffic growth in this region in the past two decades has been from one municipality to another, not suburb to downtown. Any study that assumes future passengers will want to go to Vancouver in the morning and back to the ‘burbs in the evening isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

    In addition to LRT on Broadway, what this region desperately needs is a set of direct links between the so-called suburbs. We need:

    – direct link between Coquitlam and Surrey
    – direct link between Coquitlam and Richmond
    – direct link between Richmond and Surrey
    – direct link between Surrey and Langley with an extension to Abbotsford, YXX and Chilliwack

    The sheer size of those cities means that multiple links are needed and Surrey itself will soon need high capacity transit to join its own town centres: City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale and South Surrey/White Rock.

    The current proposal to link Coquitlam Centre to Surrey is insane. Even if the Evergreen line is built using SkyTrain passengers will be forced to transfer twice to reach Surrey City Centre and transfer at least one more time to reach anywhere else in the city.

    A far better solution would be LRT from Douglas Lam College, Port Moody and Maple Ridge meeting at Coquitlam Centre and proceeding south along the Lougheed/CPR corridor, over the new Port Mann Bridge to Guildford and then branching. One path would continue south along 152nd to Fleetwood while the other would turn right on 104th and head to Surrey City Centre.

    Zweisystem replies: There many routes that could do with good transit. Years ago, after several terse letters about TransLink, I was called to account by a a then GVRD planner. The meeting was bizarre as I knew more about the transit solutions he was explaining to me. At the end of the meeting he asked me what would be my solution for transit in the Evergreen Corridor. I answered; “A 30 minute or 20 minute DMU service from Pitt Meadows to Vancouver Central RR Station, via the CPR/BNSF route.”

    “Oh no”, the GVRD planner replied, “we can’t do that, we spent $1.1 billion on the Millennium Line and we have to get as many people on it as we can.”

    Here lies our fundamental problem with transit – we build horrendously expensive metro systems and try to force as many people on to as they can to pretend that it was money well spent. This foolishness is bankrupting TransLink.

  7. David Says:

    As for Voony’s Surrey to UBC problem I have a solution. It’s called on-campus housing. Spending billions to help people who insist on commuting too far is like buying drinks for an alcoholic.

  8. Justin Bernard Says:

    “Those who wish to commute downtown, take the West Coast Express.”

    You want regional transit, you build commuter rail, or interurbans.

  9. mezzanine Says:

    @ David, there is a lot of pressure to limit on-campus housing currently. B lots are long gone. How far do we encroach on Pacific Spirit Park?

    And don’t for get about employees and people who need to get to UBC becouse it’s a regional draw. (eg. Chan Centre, Sports Medicine clinic, UBC hospital, Low-cost Dental Clinic, Thunderbird stadium, etc)

    ” UBC held public meetings yesterday, to inform the public of its plans to build yet more high rises adjacent to Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

    At the Town Hall meeting, members of the public, including students, alumni, faculty, and members of the Wreck Beach Preservation Society and Pacific Spirit Park Society, almost unanimously opposed UBC’s new development plan.”

    http://www.wreckbeach.org/towers/wbps1006.htm

  10. David Says:

    Toward the end of my years at UBC new buildings started to pop up like snowdrops in a garden, but the university didn’t have enough money to keep the floors clean and the garbage cans emptied regularly. It was sad watching structurally sound old buildings fall into disrepair while all the money went into new ones with someone’s name on the outside.

    UBC turned to real estate development as a solution to the funding crisis and built high end condos and townhouses for empty nesters. Since then they’ve diversified their target market and others like the school of theology have gotten into the game of covering every square inch with market housing and driveways.

    Relatively little has been invested in student and staff housing in that time because selling penthouse suites brings the university much bigger returns.

    Many people are dismayed at the scale of the destruction and re-development. We don’t think it should ever have gotten to this point. Adequate funding should have been provided. Selling off land is really a last resort. What will they do when it’s all gone, sell off naming rights to degrees? Will students of the future graduate with a Toyota Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering or RBC Bachelor of Commerce?

    Anyway back to the original point. Building a transportation system on the basis that people can and should travel long distances between their home and each destination is foolish. Modern society is about as inefficient as we could get and certainly not sustainable. We need to focus on land use policies that encourage a mix of uses and a balance of homes, jobs and services. Transport investments should be heavily concentrated on distances of 15 km or less. Long distance services must also be provided, but in a limited stop manner.

  11. voony Says:

    David seems to assume that all user of the Broadway corridor are going to UBC,

    what about people going to central Broadway?

    what about people going to VGH?…

    As a matter of fact half of those people come from outside of Vancouver…
    what is the suggestion for them?

    Zweisystem replies: Ridership to hospitals via transit has been vastly over stated. If one is very ill, one does not take transit to the hospital and with most hospital employees working 10 and 12 hour shifts, taking transit is far too time consuming. Only those who live near a transit line that directly services a hospital, will use it. Those outside of Vancouver will drive, as they always have.

  12. David Says:

    Other David: Back in my day (80-83); most of the on-campus housing was occupied by students from outside Greater Vancouver; sure there were a few on on the floor from Surrey, Maple Ridge, but most were from the Island, the Interior, or Out-Of-Province. Most students who lived in the GVRD lived at home and commuted; either by car to B-Lot or via the only buses to UBC, the 10, 41, and maybe the 286 from the North Shore. No Skytrain then, so no incredible demand for service from Broadway/Commercial.

    Today, the massive B-Lots appear to be gone

    http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&source=hp&q=vancouver&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Vancouver,+Greater+Vancouver+Regional+District,+British+Columbia&gl=ca&ei=0qZaS-fHEpDCsQOy0PWaAw&ved=0CAwQ8gEwAA&ll=49.257946,-123.245165&spn=0.007604,0.01929&t=k&z=16

    and most days I see huge lineups for Express B-Lines at Commercial Broadway … maybe partially due to the “mandatory” UPass, maybe parially due to no more “cheap” on campus parking.

    I’m sure it works, eventually you’ll work your way onto a 99 BLine for a 37 minute bus ride…. but would street level Broadway LRT improve that 37 minutes by much?

    If not…

    Maybe don’t build *any* rail transit to UBC; complete the Evergreen Line as SkyTrain; build Conventional LRT over the new Pitt River Bridge to downtown Haney and let the UBC students endure the 99 B line for 4 years.

    Zweisystem replies: There is a misconception, made popular by the SkyTrain lobby, that LRT is slow, it’s not. Just a streetcar service (on-street in mixed traffic with no signal priority) would be about 10% faster than a bus. LRT, operating on a reserved rights-of-ways and priority signaling, would be much faster, with commercial speeds based on how many stops there were per route km.

    Given identical transit routes, with identical stops, LRT and a SkyTrain would have almost the same commercial speeds, but with LRT edging SkyTrain out for total trip time because of its ease of use. Also remember one tram (1 tram driver) is as efficient as six buses (6 bus drivers) which will bring further large economies to the Broadway route.

  13. John Says:

    When I went to UBC, I lived one year near Main & Broadway, and took the B-Line bus. Took about 40 minutes if I recall.

    When advocates of a subway say “obviously there will be lots of ridership… look how packed the B-Line buses are” -that’s exactly the point for NOT building something that will cost many BILLIONS of dollars for a few kilometres of a line. A lot of that ridership subway advocates are thinking of is from people who are already taking transit.

    We should not be funding this most expensive form of transit for this purpose. It is irresponsible to the greatest degree.

    There IS a real issue with capacity on the Broadway corridor (and the related problem of the cost of running B-lines every minute). That’s why we should be looking at trams – solve the real problem. And use the money saved to build a larger light rail network that will actually get people out of their cars.

    One part of the problem here is that people who are already taking transit are naturally those who are most vocal in transit advocacy. (Example: How many people on facebook for “Skytrain to UBC” are already taking transit? I would say the vast, vast majority.)

    Nothing wrong with transit users being vocal advocates of course, but if we’re not careful it tends to skew the direction of transit investment into trying to improve transit that is already good, as opposed to expanding the network to actually achieve a modal shift from car to transit.

  14. mezzanine Says:

    @John,

    “use the money saved to build a larger light rail network that will actually get people out of their cars…
    ….
    [LRT/trams will] actually achieve a modal shift from car to transit.”

    It is far from guaranteed that a tram network will increase mode share.
    Since 1997 Portland had little mode shift from car to transit, in spite of 4 new/expanded lines and the DT tram. Bike use did improve though.

    http://www.humantransit.org/2010/01/portland-a-challenging-chart.html

    And within vancouver, this would mean that tram/on-street LRT will replace trolleybuses, as they are used on higher-use lines.

    Street LRT, as I envision it on broadway, will be similar to new ROW LRT in toronto on the spadina and st clair lines. I don’t know if their current problems are growing pains, but they are having a few of them..

    “biked down Bathurst from Lawrence yesterday, then across St Clair to Keele…

    I stayed pretty much side-by-side a bus going down Bathurst (I was doing an easy pace after being pretty lazy for most of the winter), and thought I’d see how I’d do against a streetcar. I passed four streetcars, all stuck at red lights, before hitting Lansdowne.

    It was almost hard to watch the streetcars, after 5 years of construction and a shiny new ROW, travel at a crawl. Something has to be done about the operation of this line.

    Looking towards transit city, my personal definition of rapid transit is that I shouldn’t be able to beat a train on my bicycle…”

    http://stevemunro.ca/?p=3191

    Zweisystem Replies: The chap at humantranst is somewhat anti tram, talk to the transit people in Portland and modal shift is about 30%. Again Mr. Mezz, you confuse LRT and streetcar and I can only assume that you do it deliberately, which is what the SkyTrain Lobby does. If SkyTrain is so good and Vancouver is the shining hub of 21st century rapid transit, why doe so many ignore Vancouver and avoid SkyTrain. Even Toronto is going to abandon SkyTrain technology in favor of light rail. It is the same thing happening in France where LRT has made the VAL obsolete, except for specialist installations.

    The world has moved on and light metro, including VAL or ART is a yesterdays transit system, made obsolete by light rail. Those are the facts, despite your emotional attachment to SkyTrain.

  15. John Says:

    Mezz,
    That chart you link to is very misleading, as it is only a survey, it is on “primary means of getting to work” (doesn’t include other trips one might make) and worst of all DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE SUBURBS.

    And get this, according to the survey, this past year transit use dropped by 9%!!

    VERY FISHY.

    Is there a link to the analysis that was done by the auditor, and not just the analysis of that anti-transit ideologue John Charles Jr. that humantransit links to?

  16. David Says:

    @ voony:

    It is the SkyTrain lobby that assumes everyone on Broadway is going to UBC. That’s why they always look at travel time from Commercial to UBC. I, on the other hand, look at a 13km strip of city filled with people and other destinations and wonder how transit can benefit them while also serving more regional interests. Broadway is a great example of transit oriented development and that should be encouraged.

    Broadway’s biggest problems are lack of capacity and the sheer cost of the existing bus system. A tram would solve both problems.

    Toronto has some serious problems with the implementation of their LRT lines. I read somewhere that the city refuses to give the trams signal priority.

    Zweisystem replies: You are correct, Toronto City traffic engineers refuse to approve signal priority for streetcars.

  17. mezzanine Says:

    @ John,

    the data comes from self-reported surveys from the city of portland, numbers returned amounted to ~ 3000 per year. So yes, take this (as with anything) with a grain of salt but consider that:

    1) the city of portland does not have any vested interest. If anything, I would expect that they wanted to see a big modal shift.
    2) it is a survey of commuters, and not transit use for non-commuting, but rush hour is when the most demand for transit and roads happen.
    3) as it is a city of portland study, it is limited to city residents, but it is still disappointing. Suburbs being less dense, would you expect to see an improvement or worsening of transit use?
    4) As discussed in the comments, transit use is likely down due to the bad economy. this is being seen in other states, especially california.

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/01/10/golden-state-off-the-rails-as

    At the end of the day, as a transit user in vancouver and surrey, I also want better transit, with both skytrain, tram and LRT. If the valley is made a priority, that is great – LRT would be appropriate along some corrridors there. If metro is the best option for Broadway, vancouver can wait until surrey has more infrastructure before we can built a grade-separated metro along broadway.

    And Jarrett Walker’s blog is quite eye-opening. Read through a few posts and you will find he is not anti-transit….

  18. mezzanine Says:

    “Is there a link to the analysis that was done by the auditor, and not just the analysis of that anti-transit ideologue John Charles Jr. that humantransit links to?”

    A quote from the auditor herself: (page 3)

    “Two thirds of residents reported that they drive alone to work, while
    10 percent took mass transit. These percentages remained
    about the same as five years ago.”

    Office of the City Auditor, Portland, Oregon 2009

    http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=49566&a=270760

    Zweisystem replies: If you read the report over 90,000 of these questionnaires were sent out, with a 35% return, Knowing Greater Portland, many residents who do use transit are Hispanic and a small minority illegals and are notorious in not returning such forms. What should have been stated, a voluntary questionnaire with a 35% return rate, indicates the following trends.

    Ridership has dropped on all TriMet services but the recently opened line is doing better than anticipated business.

  19. John Says:

    Thanks for the link, Mezzanine.

    -I did not say that Jarrett Walker’s blog was anti-transit. I said that the link on his blog was to an anti-transit analysis of the Portland survey.

    -If suburbs were included, you would be able to see the trend light rail has had on those communities.

    -If the 9% drop in transit use occurred due to the bad economy, shouldn’t we instead be comparing a better economic year such as 2008, with the late 1990s data? If we do that, then the chart says that auto commuting dropped from about 80% to 73% – a solid 7% decrease. But of course, that’s picking and choosing years, from a survey that has many problems. In addition to those issues mentioned above:

    I see that 65% of respondents were over 45, and 35% were over 60. Remember that the survey is only for commuting to work, so that does NOT include retired seniors using transit to get around. 60+ year olds who still work do not strike me as an easy demographic to get out of their cars.

    Also, it’s true as Zweisystem says, that white people are over-represented in the survey.

    I’m not going to draw any conclusions at all from this survey, as I don’t see it as having data that is useful and reliable.

    You say, “If metro is the best option for Broadway…”
    -who decides this?

  20. mezzanine Says:

    @ John,
    “You say, “If metro is the best option for Broadway…”
    -who decides this?”

    Ideally, we will do a good needs assessment of the proposed corridor come up with with planned goals, then determine what technology is used. For better or worse, this comes under the auspices of Translink.

    Again, I refer to JW’s blog:

    “But when the thinking starts with the love of one technology, you’re in danger of producing an inferior transit service, because when compromise needs to be made, technology-first thinking will tend to sacrifice the goals to save the technology. To use my previous analogy, you’ll build an inferior house because you weren’t really focused on building the house, you were focused on how much you like your hammer.

    If the Seattle Monorail Project had been defined as the “Northwest and West Seattle Rapid Transit Project,” charged with determining the community’s goals and selecting the best technology to meet them, I bet we’d have some kind of rapid transit in that corridor by now. We might even have a monorail. Instead, because the organisation was committed to the technology first, it ended in total failure.”

    http://www.humantransit.org/2009/07/streetcars-an-inconvenient-truth.html#more

    IMO, UBC is regional destination (students all over Metro Vancouver, Chan Centre, etc). VGH and central broadway is a regional destination. The corridor is extensively used by commercial vehicle traffic. The link between the c-line and broadway stationwill be heavily used, and it will be bringing ppl from coquitlam. We have experience and infrastructure from skytrain. IMO grade separated metro suits the needs best on the broadway corridor, but there needs to be debate about this.

    Certainly this is why I cast doubt on the effectiveness on Condon’s plan for a tram network in vancouver that replaces existing trolleybus lines. It seems like a knee jerk rhetorical point to make (look at all of this tram track we can build with the price of skytrain!) rather than looking at the transit needs of vancouver and the region.

    Zweisystem replies: There has yet, even after 30 years, an honest LRT/SkyTrain debate. The Expo Line was forced on the region via a questionable political deal between the BC and Ontario governments. The Millennium Line was built when BC Transit gold-plated the Broadway- Lougheed transit projects by over 200%, so the price of LRT came within 7% of SkyTrain. The original cost was about 35% the cost of SkyTrain. Taking no chances, Ken Dobel squashed any mention for LRT on the RAV/Canada line on a yet to be disclosed transit study.

    Yes, who decides to build SkyTrain – the provincial government whose motives are definitely not providing good and affordable public transit.

    The Seattle monorail failed because the Monorail Lobby fibbed about the cost and the public had a chance to put their opinion to the vote, something we are not allowed to.

    As for the trolleybus/tram debate, except for guided bus, trolley buses are a dying breed, because they can’t compete against trams.

  21. mezzanine Says:

    @John
    “-If suburbs were included, you would be able to see the trend light rail has had on those communities.”

    There is an update at Human Transit – one of the posters compiled data from the US Census and the Ammerican Community Survey that does include greater portland.

    “-Transit mode share is not improving, at least for work trips. Since at least 2000 (and since 1996 in the City of Portland data) transit mode share has languished in the 10-15% range in Portland, and 7-9% for the whole Portland region. This happened despite the openings of the Portland Streetcar, Red Line, and Yellow Line rail expansions in that time. (The Green Line opened in 2009, too late to register here.)

    -Walk commutes aren’t rising much either, despite a large influx of people into inner-city high density areas that should allow some of them to walk to work.

    -The only growing mode is cycling…”

    http://www.humantransit.org/2010/01/portland-another-challenging-chart.html#comments

  22. David Says:

    Just because North Americans are stubbornly refusing to abandon their cars doesn’t mean we should stop building alternatives. The day is going to come when getting around by car simply won’t possible for the vast majority of the population.

    Even if peak oil didn’t exist continuing to build more roads and parking lots would be a terrible waste of space.

  23. mezzanine Says:

    @ David,

    True, I agree, but all of the above was in a response to a few posts up:

    “[LRT/trams will] actually achieve a modal shift from car to transit.”

    A tram network may not get you a modal shift. In the above examples, building 4 LRT lines may not give you a lot of shift either.

    Why not enhance bus service along with LRT, tram and skytrain? In surrey, buses only run 4x per hour on an artery like 152nd. And that’s only M-F. And that’s only been in the last 2 years. and don’t get me started on the #321.

    And IMO when gas becomes $2 per litre, people will appreciate a robust and frequent transit service, regardless of mode.

    Zweisystem replies: When gas is about $4 a litre the public will want better transit options and the question will more basic: SkyTrain metro with costs starting at about $100 million/km to build or LRT, with costs starting at $5 million/km (TramTrain) to build.

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