At the recent streetcar symposium in Vancouver, TransLink officials contend that streetcars have very little capacity, almost less than a bus and that light rail can carry only 10,000 persons per hour per direction. This, despite the fact that the Light Rail Transit Association has, since the 1980’s, defined LRT “as a mode that can carry 2,000 to 20,000 pphpd, thus bridging the gap of what can economically be carried by buses and the ridership that would demand a subway“.
Many cities operating LRT or tram, provide capacities of over 20,000 pphpd on portions of their routes during peak hours, including Karlsruhe, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; and Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. Why then does TransLink maintain that LRT can carry only half as much as many LRT operations do in revenue service daily?
The answer lies in the 1994 Broadway – Lougheed Corridor BC Transit/Delcan study, which has formed the basis for TransLink’s questionable light rail planning since. Instead of involving consultants who have hands-on knowledge about LRT (as RftV did), TransLink continues to refer back to this questionable study, that was ill prepared and filled with technical error. TransLink wants to keep the door open for SkyTrain and metro construction in the region!
In order to make modern light rail appear inferior to the much preferred SkyTrain, the B-L Corridor Study used small capacity light rail vehicles, long headways and a small two car station in the middle of the Broadway/Kingsway/Main Street triangle to maintain the charade LRT comparisons to SkyTrain. The ruse has worked well and TransLink still spews out such dreadful bumf about light rail, that American transit and transportation expert Gerald Fox felt compelled to write a letter condemning the SkyTrain Evergreen Line business case!
If TransLink has been dishonest with LRT planning in the region since its inception, then we must assume that all TransLink planning is dishonest; “the fruit of the poisonous tree“.
Regional politicians must now consider that TransLink’s metro planning and their so-called public consultations as a sham process and must now demand independent studies by consultants who have expertise in light rail for regional transit planning. If TransLink’s own vast planning department needs to be reduced to accommodate this, so be it, as the transit planning coming from the ivory towers on Kingsway are not worth the paper they are printed on.
A primer on modern light rail for Mr. Shiffer and company:
- The difference between LRT and a streetcar is that a streetcar operates-on street in mixed traffic, LRT operates on a reserved rights-of-ways.
- LRT and streetcars can carry 20,000 pphpd, or more, if need be.
- LRT can and does operate at 30 second headways.
- LRT is cheaper to operate than SkyTrain.
- Modern light rail has made SkyTrain and the light-metro class of transit obsolete.
It becomes evident why Vancouver and the Metro region is the only city in North America and Europe that uses SkyTrain and light-metro (Canada Line), exclusively for regional rail transit instead of LRT and its variants.
The taxpayer have grown weary of TransLink and carrying the SkyTrain tax burden.
Tags: Abbotsford, Broadway light rail, Broadway streetcar, BRT, C-train, Chilliwack, commuter rail, cost per km, demonstration project, Diesel LRT, economic stimulus, Evergreen Line, Fraser River rail bridge, infrastructure, interurban, Karlsruhe, Langley, light metro, light rail, LRT, Monorail, passenger rail, Patrick Condon, Rail for the Valley, streetcars, study, Surrey, track-sharing, tram, trams, tramtrain, transit, Translink, UBC, UBC SkyTrain, Vancouver