Archive for June 17th, 2010

Questions: What density is needed for ‘Rail’ Transit? Does Anyone Really Know?

June 17, 2010

Simple questions today folks. Over the past few weeks the ugly question of density has been rearing its ugly head in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley concerning transit. Vancouver council is considering major density increases for Cambie Street because it has the Canada line mini-metro and the same treatment is expected for Broadway if ‘rail‘ transit is built. So here we go; if the powers that be say “we don’t have the density for rapid transit“, then what density is needed to sustain it? One just can’t say “we don’t have enough density, when one doesn’t know what density is needed.”

Also, if modern LRT/streetcar can be built for up to one half to one tenth the cost of a metro, then is the density needed to sustain LRT/streetcar one half to one tenth of that needed for a SkyTrain subway?

Could it be that no one knows the answer and the question of density is an urban myth, used both by bureaucrats and politicians to stop any chance of building with LRT/streetcar and an excuse to up-zone residential properties, giving windfall profits to a selected few, mainly wealthy friends of the government?

If we do not know what density is needed to sustain a transit mode, how then can anyone say we don’t have the density for that particular mode?

Would a simple LRT/streetcar line on Broadway, forgo the need for massive densification needed to sustain a metro? Are property deals already being made on Broadway on the basis of a SkyTrain subway?