Hawaii SkyTrain Project Heats Up

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A Hawaiian blog by Ian Lind posted Zwei’s ‘Debunking SkyTrain Series’ and continues the hot debate on the elevated SkyTrain project in Hawaii.

http://ilind.net/2010/03/03/responses-show-rail-a-very-hot-topic/

It is good that the locals are beginning to ask questions about SkyTrain and may be beginning to see that the proprietary light-metro isn’t as great as ‘sliced bread’ which the SkyTrain lobby is trying to portray. Seven systems built in over 30 years and at least four name chances from ICTS, to ALRT (two versions), to ALM, and now ART, certainly doesn’t say very much for the mode. Anyone wants to buy an Edsel?

What the blog does illustrate is the SkyTrain Lobby’s dirty tricks campaign goes on unabated, no fib to big, no exaggeration too small is how they operate. It is very sad indeed.

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35 Responses to “Hawaii SkyTrain Project Heats Up”

  1. i Says:

    what do you do for a living?

    Zweisystem replies: I am self employed and not in the transportation business. Concerned with regional transit issues I have been an advocate for affordable transit, which includes light rail. During the 25 years I have been involved with transit issues, I have gained a large network of transit planners, consultants, etc., very few of which support light-metro.

    Now, Zwei has thrown his lot in with John Buker and the Rail For the Valley gang to get affordable ‘rail’ transit from Vancouver to Chilliwack via the old BCE interurban Line. The SkyTrain lobby see LRT as dangerous because once true light rail is built, there will be an ‘apples & apples’ comparison of the two modes and that would be very embarrassing for the light metro.

  2. *yawn* Says:

    for a person who dismisses skytrain and canada line as an obvious failure, you seem very insecure and quick to bash the system.

    Zweisystem replies: In the real world, metro are not planned unless there is a very large ridership demand (at the very least 300,000 passengers a day), necessitating long trains, operating on grade separated rights-of-ways, to handle the passenger loads. Two car trains at 4 to 8 minute headways is nowhere near this demand. The boast was 200,000 car trips off the road per day with the Canada line, yet there is very little evidence of any modal shift from car to train. With construction costs exceeding $100 million/km. there will be no extensions in the foreseeable future, thus for many, taking a bus to the metro is a must. This means taking the car will be easier. The Canada Line is a failure of planning, compounded by total ignorance of modern transit. The taxpayer has paid and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars for another light-metro for another politically prestigious metro, that does little to alleviate congestion and pollution.

    It is not me who is insecure, but the SkyTrain lobby who remain blind to financial costs of light-metro construction and reject 21st century transit planning and are afraid to admit that something is wrong.

  3. *yawn* Says:

    I stand correct, you’re very insecure and quick to bash the system, afraid to admit the canada line is a success. of course close-minded people like you can’t see that.

    And who said the “skytrain lobby” is against lrt? For the record, they support lrt as much as skytrain. The fact is, lrt isn’t appropriate in every situation and you need to get that through your mind.

    If your life here sucks so much, do yourself a favour and move to somewhere light rail abounds. You’re old, grumpy, and a bit senile, this place isn’t going to look good for you in the future. Move out, get a job and perhaps a girlfriend, you’ll be more open-minded and hopefully not as bitchy.

    Zweisystem replies: So typical of the SkyTrain lobby and the PAB’s; no debate, just libelous rhetoric. The reason, they can’t debate about transit issues, they haven’t read anything about the subject.

  4. i Says:

    why aren’t you bashing the gateway project instead?

    Zweisystem replies: I have bashed the Gateway project, it is ill conceived and the epitome of BC ‘Pork Barrel’ highway planning. But there are are many blogs bashing gateway and the RFV blog is commenting on transit issues.

    In Vancouver, we have never had a transit debate and what we have is a dated, 1950’s style transit where soaring metros look down on sleek autos. It is unaffordable and unworkable.

    As for Gateway, it has been the SkyTrain metro that has made Gateway possible, simply highway construction is cheaper than metro construction. To support SkyTrain is to support highway construction.

  5. Joe G Says:

    @Yawn
    (For a guy who is “very insecure”, Zweisystem accepts a lot of comments and sticks to the issues. Sounds to me like he’s actually very secure! You on the other hand….)

    But this isn’t about Zweisystem.

    It’s about a truncated transit system that is too broke to expand transit South of the Fraser, and too broke to even consider building light rail to the fast-growing cities of Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford.

    For critics living in Vancouver who have adequate transit, that may not be a high priority. For the rest of us, it is the highest of priorities.

    Thank you Zweisystem.

  6. David Says:

    Canada Line handled the Olympic crowds very well, but an at-grade system costing 1/4 as much could have done the same.

    And if anyone thinks the Olympic crowds did anything to improve TransLink’s bottom line they should think again. Transit staff and volunteers were so busy directing traffic that nobody checked to see if anyone was paying to use the system. From what I saw, most didn’t pay. Those with event tickets didn’t need to, but the crowds far exceeded the capacity of the venues.

    What some perceive as insecurity in this blog is, to me, frustration. From either a scientific movement of people standpoint or a more subjective urban design perspective light metro makes no sense. Yet our Provincial government has, for the past 30 years, spent billions on just such technology. Like zweisystem I am tired of seeing my tax dollars squandered on over-priced projects that not only fail to get cars off the road but, in fact, generate more traffic.

  7. mezzanine Says:

    @Joe G

    “It’s about a truncated transit system that is too broke to expand transit South of the Fraser, and too broke to even consider building light rail to the fast-growing cities of Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford.
    For critics living in Vancouver who have adequate transit, that may not be a high priority. For the rest of us, it is the highest of priorities.”

    But the expansion of the bus system in south-of-fraser only happened ~ 2007. the buses i take regularly in surrey/langley are slowly building ridership because of this, but if you build LRT without doing the goundwork, land-use planning and building exisitng transit ridership, you will wind up with an underutilized line.

    “VTA’s difficulties are made manifest by the system’s low ridership: despite the fact that the system now offers 42 miles of service heading in all directions from downtown, it only transports about 30,000 users a day. Per mile, it attracts the lowest ridership of all modern light rail system in the U.S. Lyon’s 30 mile long network of trams moves 160,000 daily — and it began operating just eight years ago! Of course, France’s second city is far more densely populated than San Jose, and its tram network parallels an extensive collection of metro, bus, and rapid bus lines.”

    http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2009/09/29/san-jose-plots-a-renewal-of-its-struggling-light-rail-network/

    Zweisytem replies: Mezz, how much do you get being paid as a PAB?

  8. yawn Says:

    “Zweisystem accepts a lot of comments and sticks to the issues.”

    Please, who are you fooling?

    Zweisytem replies: Obviously you!

  9. Joe G Says:

    What expansion? The bus system is being cut back.

    “if you build LRT without doing the goundwork, land-use planning and building exisitng transit”

    What does this even mean?? This is empty Translink-Speak!

    Do the groundwork? Do you mean hold endless stakeholder meetings that accomplish nothing other than the appearance of maybe something is going to happen someday?

    Land-use planning? You can’t do proper land-use planning if you don’t know whether or not there will be a rail line! All you can safely do is assume the status quo.

    Building existing transit? This means more buses. Sounds nice but no. A bus is at a fundamental disadvantage to a car, particularly in a suburban setting, because it has all the disadvantages of the car (red lights, being stuck in traffic) and many more of its own, with not many advantages to offer.

    No. People South of the Fraser agree
    WE NEED LIGHT RAIL FOR THE VALLEY NOW

  10. *yawn* Says:

    I can’t wait til the skytrain is extended and imagine the look on your grumpy face! btw, this blog has turned to laughable (deleted for legal reasons- editor)

  11. mezzanine Says:

    “What expansion? The bus system is being cut back.”

    According to the comptroller general, the bus expansion is why translink has a structural deficit. Not this is a bad thing, this is bringing better service to SOF and changing culture.

    “The majority of the $130 million structural deficit faced by TransLink is a result of factors other than Canada Line, such as the increase in the operational cost of the bus fleet, particularly into lower ridership, geographically sparse areas.

    Operational expenses increased at approximately the same rate as ridership until 2007, and then expenses surpassed ridership growth by approximately 10%. We were advised that the expansion strategy created increased operational expenses where additional services were added to less populated regions. Ridership and associated revenue are lower on these routes, yet the cost of operating a bus is relatively constant.”

    http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/OCG/ias/pdf_Docs/transportation_governance.pdf
    ———————–
    ““if you build LRT without doing the goundwork, land-use planning and building exisitng transit”

    What does this even mean?? This is empty Translink-Speak!”

    refer to the san jose link:

    “Light rail in San Jose, however, is paralyzed by the South Bay’s adherence to a land use model that encourages single family homes and office complexes surrounded by parking. …The region should pilot a program of suburban reconstruction that would replace large groupings of stand-alone office parks with denser towers and apartment homes.”
    ————————

    “WE NEED LIGHT RAIL FOR THE VALLEY NOW”
    I would rather it say
    “WE NEED BETTER TRANSIT FOR THE VALLEY NOW”

    With bikeways, bus, B-line and rail.

    Zweisystem replies: Actually, the Comptroller General never looked at the metro system at all and TransLink has resisted any efforts of an independent audit of the transit and metro system. What are they afraid of? No one has ever been allowed to compare SkyTrain operation with light-rail.

  12. Joe G Says:

    A structural deficit IS a bad thing, Mezzanine.

    You say it is bringing better service to the SoF, but now it is bringing worse service to the SoF, as service is being cut back and fares are going up. Eventually someone has to pay.

    The way to change a culture is not to add a few buses which can be taken away at any moment. It is to bring in the rail.

    You have not addressed any of my points.

    I repeat: You can’t do proper land-use planning if you don’t know whether or not there will be a rail line! All you can safely do is assume the status quo.

  13. mezzanine Says:

    Bad compared to what? It boils down to priorities. Do we ride out the deficits knowing that ridership will grow? Do we refuse to build any new service anywhere until we know it can make money? Perhaps we do agree with one thing – the province and the Metro mayors need to step up to the plate with more funding to provide reliable transit in the future.

    Otherwise, we cut service and raise fares as portland did with rail and bus, leading to a vicious circle of even less ridership and further cuts.

    “[there is] a real danger of cuts continuing to drive down ridership, leading to a downward spiral of cuts and ridership losses that would gradually destroy the agency’s relevance.”

    http://www.humantransit.org/2010/02/portland-2010-service-cuts-announced.html

    and IMO you can do *some* land use planning withour hard infrastructure. The LRSP has declared where transit corridors should be placed. Let everyone know (residents, institutions, developers, realtors, etc) and start to develop a land use plan.

    “they’re the same corridor regardless of whether you build light rail or bus rapid transit on them, so let’s draw them and build some land use policy around them, and create official maps that show everyone — developers, realtors, anyone making decisions about the location of something — where those corridors will be. If there are corridors we don’t agree about, let’s have that conversation and try to settle on them. Then let’s have the technology debate in individual corridor studies, but meanwhile move forward with improvements to the bus services.”

    http://www.humantransit.org/2009/08/environmentalist-critiques-of-strategic-transit-planning.html

    This has happened to some degree with the tricities, but they are now holding until evergreen construction starts, which I hope will be soon. WRT SOF, the long-awaited 399 B-line still hasn’t been started.

    PS. and to translink’s credit, they did not cut bus service, but elected for status-quo funding. If you are aware of any change to that, feel free to post it.

    http://www.translink.ca/en/About-TransLink/Media/2009/October/Mayors-Council-approves-Funding-Stabilization-option.aspx

    Zweisystem replies: TransLink will be faces with two choices: 1) A massive property tax hike or 2) curtailment of service. The specter of light-metro is strangling TransLink for long term viability and if we build more, the whole house of cards will collapse.

  14. Joe G Says:

    Bus service has been eliminated on some routes due to the Canada Line opening, which has been well-documented on this blog. Even with these cutbacks, there is still a huge structural deficit that *has* to be eliminated, regardless of whether you think this deficit is good or bad. This deficit will be eliminated partly through raising transit fares rather dramatically, far beyond the rate of inflation. And that won’t help to increase ridership.

    The LRSP isn’t worth anything if people are not willing to invest in land the way the LRSP would like. Who is going to invest in transit-oriented developments if there’s only the vague possibility of a rail link in the (distant) future? No one.

    Translink is, and has been, following your philosophy for the past many years, Mezzanine. Translink is broke, and car-oriented sprawl continues unabated in the Fraser Valley.

    And it’s quite simple to understand why. Real estate is not sold based on promises down the road. It is sold based on the reality on the ground.

    I repeat, you can not do proper land-use planning if you don’t know whether or not there will be a rail line! All you can safely do is assume the status quo.

    Zweisystem replies: This is exactly what light-metro has brought to the lower mainland, inflated property values and Gateway.

  15. mezzanine Says:

    @ Joe,

    The bus service that has been removed due to the canada line has been re-assigned to provide more frequent coach service to bridgeport station.

    ” A shorter route means more frequent service on the #351 and allows some buses to be “reinvested” to improve other local services. On Mondays through Fridays, buses will run every 10 minutes in the morning peak period, then every 15 minutes until 9pm, at which time frequency will be reduced through the end of the service day. On weekends, buses will run at 15 minute intervals throughout. The first and last buses are timed to meet the first and last Canada Line trains.”

    http://www.coastmountainbus.com/news/news_06_17_09.asp

    And the structural deficit has reduced with the recent funding initiative as noted in the link in the prior post. The big question is what comes next, and I do agree with you that tranlink needs more dependable funding in the future.

    “Growing operating costs as a result of this expansion would have eventually created a $150 million annual budget deficit, exhausting TransLink’s financial reserves by 2012 and prompting massive cut-backs, particularly in bus services.
    Today’s Council decision, considered by most mayors to be an ‘interim’ measure, will avoid those service cuts.”

    http://www.translink.ca/en/About-TransLink/Media/2009/October/Mayors-Council-approves-Funding-Stabilization-option.aspx

    Otherwise, if we do not raise taxes and fares, then the other option is to reduce bus service, and IMO this will impact SOF transit immensely.

    “Increasing the FTN (frequent transit network), in which buses run no more than 15 minutes apart, 15 hours a day, every day, is a major component of TransLink’s South of Fraser Area Transit Plan. By the end of 2008, over 20 per cent of the homes in the sub-region consisting of White Rock, Delta, Surrey and Langley were within walking distance (450 metres) of FTN service. Prior to June 2007, that figure was zero.”

    Zweisystem replies: Mezz, you are wrong, what has happened in South Delta is that a handful of extra rush hour buses have been added, on the whole off peak and weekend bus service has remained the same as pre metro schedules, thus making for a longer trip, other than peak hours. Translink’s promised bus improvements, just have not materialized.

  16. mezzanine Says:

    @Joe: “The LRSP isn’t worth anything if people are not willing to invest in land the way the LRSP would like. Who is going to invest in transit-oriented developments if there’s only the vague possibility of a rail link in the (distant) future? No one.”

    The tricities to its credit allowed higher densities to account for future transit. If anything, it has worked in spades (newport village) and developers are still aiming to build higher density, like a new hotel/condo development in PoMo.

    “[the developer is applying] to increase the maximum permitted
    numbers of storeys for high rise buildings from 26 storeys
    to 32 storeys specifically with respect to Parcels B and D
    of the Suter Brook site”

    http://www.cityofportmoody.com/NR/rdonlyres/1320C7A9-7EBE-49D7-B291-1824FC07C1B0/81598/PublicHearing.pdf

    But you can have the LRSP, but you have to have buy-in from the mayors. The tricities have allowed changes to zoning and it has allowed more land use. I hope translink follows suit and builds rail there imminently. Surrey has done some good things (surrey city central upzoning) but has also drafted zoning that is transit unfriendly.

    “Campbell Heights Business Park offers new green field development and large footprint opportunities not currently offered within the Metro Vancouver area. The Business Park is a total of 1,900 acres and at full build out it is estimated that 42,000-45,000 jobs will be located in this high end business park. The lands are flat and the soils are primarily of sand and gravel which provide and excellent base for construction.”

    http://www.surrey.ca/Doing+Business/Business+Development/Sales+and+Leasing+Inventory/Industrial+Areas/Campbell+Heights+Industrial+Area.htm

  17. Anonymous Says:

    @yawn

    “I can’t wait til the skytrain is extended and imagine the look on your grumpy face! btw, this blog has turned to laughable (deleted for legal reasons- editor)”

    Well you’d better wait… They have plans for such expansion, what decade was that planned for again?

    Zweisystem replies: Oh, about 2030 or 2040.

  18. Joe G Says:

    Mezzanine,
    You don’t see the urgency of building light rail South of the Fraser now,
    instead of waiting 20 years. You say “better transit,” which could mean anything, and you do not understand that light rail is the vital – and totally missing – part of the equation South of the Fraser.

    You do not understand that there is a fundamental difference between subsidizing improvements to suburban bus service that will, in the best case scenario, be used only by a small group of residents, and subsidizing the implementation of light rail, popular with people of all walks of life and having a structural permanence that we can build upon.

    You naively think the totally unenforceable LRSP is what we need to focus on, and then, when it inevitably isn’t followed, you blame all the mayors South of the Fraser.

    You fail to look at any of the root causes of WHY the LRSP isn’t being followed. You assume a deficiency in local leadership must be the cause. You call for “buy-in” from the mayors and leave it at that.

    You fail to realize this most important point: we need light rail for the Fraser Valley – now.

    Zweisystem replies: Mezz has never understood transit and is so decidedly pro SkyTrain, he has blinded himself to light rail. The sad fact is, if we continue to build with SkyTrain or light-metro, not only will TransLink go bankrupt, the regional taxes will escalate to such a point that the METRO region will only be a place for the rich. Phony accounting practices and back-door payments for SkyTrain has made SkyTrain look affordable, but this has never fooled others where the SkyTrain light-metro has been shunned.

  19. mezzanine Says:

    @ Joe G

    Well, I guess we’ll agree to disagree. IMO to advocate for better rail transit and better transit in general is the same job with the same goal.

    The LRSP isn’t perfect, but it’s all that we have to plan land use and transit. And SOF (esp. with Dianne Watts) is starting to take the first steps to plan land use for future transit.

    http://www.metrovancouver.org/about/publications/Publications/LRSP.pdf (page 34)

    http://voony.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/newton-new-town/

    I am still unsure why it seems that you discount the newly-improved bus service in SOF. You lament the cessation of direct bus service from SOF to vancouver due to the canada line and yet you think that the newly-instated FTN bus network is inconsequential.

    To be clear, I do want rail in valley. but where are the corridors? what is the planned land use? what is the existing transit and how much is it being used? To me, we need to ask those questions first.

    Anyway, this will be my last post on this thread. 🙂

    Zweisystem replies: Buses, including BRT have proven very poor in attracting ridership.

  20. Paul Says:

    @Joe G

    What corridors do you feel that LRT should be built on now. Would you support an increase in fuel taxes, and all bridges being tolled to help pay for it.

    The SoF has not increased density enough. I’m not saying it shouldn’t have better transit. But before it even comes close to the transit service levels that Vancouver gets. It needs to seriously increase its density.

    Zweisystem replies: The density issue is a “man of straw issue”, it is not density that determines transit mode, but ridership on a transit route. The density issue is an excuse to up-zone properties, creating windfall profits for developers. It one talks about density, any urban density greater than 2,000 per km/sq. could support LRT. TramTrain track-sharing with railways can operate in almost any location.

  21. Paul Says:

    A higher density more or less equates to a higher ridership where that density is. That is of course assuming there is some form of transit service in that area.

    Back to LRT. What corridors do you feel LRT should be built on right now.

    Zweisystem replies: Density does not equate into ridership, it is a mistake the SkyTrain lobby make.

    Light rail corridors:

    BCIT to UBC
    Marpole to Stanley Park
    Denman/Robson loop
    Vancouver to Chilliwack (TramTrain)
    Vancouver to Pitt Meadows (TramTrain)
    Scott Road/King George Loop, with line to Guilford
    152nd to Whiterock
    200th street

    All doable in the next 25 years.

  22. Joe G Says:

    @Paul
    The most immediate light rail implementation: The Interurban corridor is one where a limited initial service could be implemented within 1-2 years, at low cost all the way to Chilliwack.

    It’s crucial for the population to be able to see light rail in action, in order to help spur along the construction of a much larger network.

  23. voony Says:


    Light rail corridors:

    BCIT to UBC
    Marpole to Stanley Park
    Denman/Robson loop
    Vancouver to Chilliwack (TramTrain)
    Vancouver to Pitt Meadows (TramTrain)
    Scott Road/King George Loop, with line to Guilford
    152nd to Whiterock
    200th street

    that seems OK, it involves that Broadway is a corridor for our metro system extension, and eventually Hasting too…

    I think we agree on it.

  24. Richard Says:

    “Density does not equate into ridership, it is a mistake the SkyTrain lobby make.”

    Come on, this is getting just a bit ridiculous, obviously and initiatively density does affect transit use.

    http://www.travelmatters.org/about/transit-thresholds
    http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm45.htm
    http://www.u.arizona.edu/~gpivo/Frank%20and%20Pivo.pdf

    If you can find any research that says otherwise, then post it. Otherwise…

    Zweisystem replies: I think you have made a grave error and it is an error that has been commonly made in the region. If, say 12% of an area population uses transit and then if the population increases (density increases), yes, number of people using transit increases, yet the actual percentage of population (12%) does not increase. Vancouver may have a large number of riders on SkyTrain. but 80% of those first take a bus to the metro, yet the percentage of population that use transit in the region has remained about the same for over a decade and a half. We force bus riders onto SkyTrain and think we are doing a good job.

    The density issue is a man of straw argument to up-zone property, giving windfall profits for developers.

  25. David Says:

    I think the most informative thing zwei has ever posted is pictures of city trams running through farm land and wilderness. Close to zero density yet the service exists because going another 20 miles along an existing railroad is cheap. If there’s demand you can stick in a stop; if not you keep the tram doing 90km/h until it reaches a place where there is sufficient demand to warrant slowing down to pick up and drop off passengers.

    Orbital services have poor operational reliability so I would refrain from planning loops. Most of the other routes listed above seem logical.

    It’s a real shame that the landscape is cluttered by the three metro lines. Building a good LRT network north of the Fraser is going to be exceedingly difficult because some of the best routes have parallel SkyTrain services which limit the potential ridership. That in turn will have a negative effect on south of Fraser services since there will be immense pressure not to extend valley LRT routes into Vancouver and instead dump passengers onto SkyTrain.

    Zweisystem replies: The KG V Hwy/Scott Road Loop would be in fact two separate lines connected at 64th and 96th, with the Scott Rd line having the option of going across the river on the Interurban tracks (if a new bridge is built) and the KG V Hwy Line could conceivably use the interurban line to travel to Cloverdale langley and beyond. Thus not only a loop service can be provided but several other services as well, terminating at Surrey Centre & Guilford.

  26. Paul Says:

    @Zwei

    I actually agree that UBC – BCIT along 41st Ave would be a good place for and LRT Line.

    With higher density there is a greater chance that more people will take transit. I do realize that just because there is a higher density doesn’t mean that the ridership will be higher. But the chance of it being higher is greater.

    About the Van-Chilliwack. Not sure how fast Tramtrain is. But if I was living in Chilliwack. I know for sure I wouldn’t want to ride a train that was only doing 50-60 km/h. That distance I’d want a mininmum speed of about 90-100 km/h. Basically it has to be a commuter type of train.

    Zweisystem replies: TramTrain max. speed 90 kph to 100 kph (Karlsruhe) In Europe, TramTrain is making many small commuter services obsolete.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Paul, if your density argument works, then Vancouver should be paying for it’s own transit, since it is dense enough to apparently support skytrain(?) then the dense population should pay for it, right?

    Raise gas taxes in the GVRD, and toll bridges into Vancouver, take more out of the Valley and feed it into Vancouver. I can see why skytrain supporters like plans like this.

  28. Paul Says:

    Well sure if you have a higher ridership. That means you don’t have to subsidize that bus route as much and the odd route if ridership is high enough. Then that route may actually make money.

    As for Gas Taxes and Tolls. I actually support them. Not to get better transit in Vancouver. Even though it would be nice. But to raise the price of using a car. Then use that money for better service SoF.

    And I do support better transit SoF.

  29. Richard Says:

    “If, say 12% of an area population uses transit and then if the population increases (density increases), yes, number of people using transit increases, yet the actual percentage of population (12%) does not increase. ”

    Actually bother reading the research. Basically, it states that the transit mode share does rise as the density increases. Again, if you have any evidence otherwise, please post links to it, otherwise you are just guessing. The “grave error” you continue to make is looking at the region as a whole instead of looking at areas of the region where density has increased. In Burnaby and New West, for example, the density has increased and the transit mode share has increased dramatically over the last ten years.

    Again, back up your opinions with research or nobody will listen.

    Zweisystem replies: If you care to study transit history (which is never taught here) higher density doesn’t always equate to higher ridership. Maybe in poor areas where there is a large portion of subsidized tickets, etc. More importantly it is the convenience and accessibility of transit that really attracts ridership. The West end has one of the largest densities in the world on a per acre basis, yet it is poorly served by transit. Actually the percentage of regional population using transit has remained about the same, yes higher densities increases transit use, but auto use has exploded!

    The research is out there, but you have to buy the books, not rely on the INTERNET for all your info, as I said so, so often before read a book on the subject, spend a penny!

  30. Richard Says:

    I’m not sure the point you are trying to make with the West End. Over 40% people walk to work which, from an environmental point of view, is even better than them using transit. While improved transit service in the West End would be great, there are probably other places in the region that would benefit more from improved transit service. As so many people walk, improved transit service would be decrease the amount of walking more than it would decrease automobile usage.

    Anyway, the whole point of transit should be to encourage the creation of denser mixed-use communities where people can walk and cycle for many of there trips.

    Again, you are making the mistake of looking at the region as a whole. One of the main reason why automobile use in portions of the region has increased is due to poor land use decisions including the proliferation of office parks in the burbs that are hard to service with any form of transit.

    In the City of Vancouver, automobile use has decreased. In Burnaby and New West, automobile usage has increased slightly while transit use has exploded.

    You could post quotes from books to back up your claims.

    Zweisystem replies: Here we have one of densest populated areas in Canada and it is transit poor, funny thing that. Sorry you are illiterate, but I have spent a small fortune on books and studies about transit and what is so interesting, they never delve into the density debate – funny that.

    Automobile ownership has increased in the Vancouver region, with population, but transit use remains at 13 or so percent for many years. As the regions population density increased, transit use stagnated.

  31. Richard Says:

    It is a sure sign you don’t have much of an argument when you start resorting to insults. Instead of that, you could just quote and name your sources.

    “Automobile ownership has increased in the Vancouver region, with population, but transit use remains at 13 or so percent for many years. As the regions population density increased, transit use stagnated.” Mainly due to undersupply of transit and cheap gas. Transit around the world didn’t fair so well in the era of cheap gas.

    In the cities where transit supply did increase, Burnaby and New West, transit use and density have increase dramatically in the last decade.

    Zweisystem replies: You have spent over a year insulting me so it is a bit of tit for tat. In fact until there is an independent audit of transit ridership on our transit system, no real claims can be made. TransLink habitually inflates ridership on SkyTrain by 10% to 20%, the flood of highly discounted U-Passes, and more make make the transit system seem to carry more people. This why most transit systems audit their ridership on an annual or biannual basis, not so for TransLink, where ridership is a mere guesstimate, based on a secret formula, that very few know.

  32. Paul Says:

    A big blame for that 13% number lies mostly on the poor urban planning SoF. Sub divisions are designed for the car, not for transit. They force people to walk further distances because in a lot of cases. They do not allow you to walk the straight line path.

    Also once you get into the more dense regions transit mode share increases. The actual percentage of people taking transit rises.

    Zweisystem replies: Everyone forgets one thing, to be successful, transit must go where the customer wants to go in a seemless (no-transfer) journey. Those 80% of SkyTrain’s passengers forced to transfer from bus indicate that this is not being done. Transit should not be designed for ‘corridors” rather for routes!

  33. Richard Says:

    Look at the census data for 2006, that is obviously not made up by TransLink. It shows dramatic growth in transit usage in Burnaby and New West.

    Zweisystem replies: I believe that the census only counts whether people take transit once a week or many times a week. The census also don’t account for the kind of tickets or fares used. RAC MAC, we have been through this all before. You are a die hard SkyTrain supporter, so be it; I just hope you make enough money to pay the taxes for it.

  34. Paul Says:

    If a transit service is only successful when there are no transfers. Then I would suggest that you jump in a car and drive. Because that is about the only way that will ever happen.

    There is no way you can design a transit system where ever single person on that system enjoys a one seat ride.

    Sure some people will enjoy that idea based on where they live and where they work. But the vast majority of people will never get that luxury and so at some point in their journey will have to transfer.

    Zweisystem replies: Studies have shown, including BC Transit, that you can lose upwards of 70% of potential ridership per transfer. The experience of the Karlsruhe TramTrain, proved that in spades!

    A larger LRT network is better at providing ‘seamless’ trips than a metro. In Europe, where there maybe 4 or 5 actual lines, may offer upwards of 20 tram routes. Remember, 80% of SkyTrain’s customers first take a bus to the metro, which suggest to me a whole lot of people do jump into their cars instead of taking transit.
    Also a one seat ride does not guarantee a faster trip.

  35. Paul Says:

    The thing is there is no way you can design a system where everyone gets a one seat ride. Everyone doesn’t live in the same area and all work in the same area. We all live and work and go to school and shop in different areas. So we all have our own travel patterns.

    Even if there was a large LRT network in the metro Vancouver region. At some point most people would have to transfer. That would include someone transferring from one LRT line to another.

    The biggest reason why you loose people at a transfer is mostly due to the fact of missing the connection and having to wait. Which is why transfers are not good SoF. In Vancouver people tolerate them more because of the higher frequency.

    What the grid system does is allows you to make it to your destination with at most 1 transfer.

    Zweisystem replies: The answer is actually no, people don’t like transfers because they are inconvenient. People do not like changing during a transit journey. The lesson from Europe is that transit is a product, not unlike any other product and if the customer likes the product, they will use it. Evidence from the METRO region is that the customers do not like the product.

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