Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Condon’

Rail for the Valley News in the EUROPEAN Press!

November 9, 2010

Ha, ha, ha………

If TransLink, the provincial government and the Vancouver Sun don’t think the Rail for the Valley/Leewood TramTrain report isn’t worth responding too, Railway Strategies do. Here we have a situation of the RftV/Leewood report being deemed more important overseas than in the Vancouver metro area! This just furthers the evidence that our regional transportation planning has completely off the track or put another way, TransLink is taking the regional taxpayer for a very long ride on the wrong train!

The following link is to the Railway Strategies article.

Transit News From Here and There

October 21, 2010

A former 4 lane arterial road with lawned

Chilliwack Times

Nick Wimpney  open letter to Sharon Gaetz in the Times needs following up

North Shore News


Most Candidates Support LRT, Mayoral Candidates Split


Bus rapid transit has edge in poll

Winnipeg Free Press

Cambridge, Ontario

Light rail transit dominates regional debate

Cambridge Times–light-rail-transit-dominates-regional-debate

Los Angeles – Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor light-rail project

L.A. Metro lands TIFIA loan for Crenshaw/LAX light-rail project

Progressive Railroading

Engineering to begin on Crenshaw/LAX light rail

South California Public Radio

More Transit News – October 15, 2010

October 15, 2010

From the Victoria Times Colonist

 Vancouver Courier October 13, 2010

 Public transit debate can get messy, murky 

Vancouver Courier Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Vancouver bus routes dwarf Surrey grid

The Tyee

 Get Rolling on Streetcars, Say Gathered Experts

They reduce carbon, promote healthy development, and tourists love them, Translink is told.

Coquitlam NOW

SkyTrain is too expensive


Philadelphia – work begins on streetcar casino branch

Historic trolley off track


Valley Metro

Tempe-South update

Wellington, New Zealand

Councillors signal Light Rail battle lines

The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree – TransLink’s Regional Transit Planning

October 13, 2010

Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal metaphor in the United States used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally. The logic of the terminology is that if the source of the evidence (the “tree”) is tainted, then anything gained from it (the “fruit”) is as well.

TransLink’s planning officials still maintain that modern light Rail has a limited capacity of about 10,000 persons per hour per direction and refuse to entertain the fact that they are wrong. All of TransLink planning, including the RAV/Canada Line, the Evergreen line, the Broadway/UBC rapid transit line, and Fraser Valley transportation have assumed LRT’s seemingly inferior capacity and despite the fact that modern LRT can carry in excess of 20,000 pphpd, have portrayed LRT as a poorman’s SkyTrain.

The assumption that light rail has only a capacity of 10,000 pphpd is wrong.

The Light Rail Transit Association [ ], which can trace its history back 63 years, which has continually campaigned for affordable and efficient public transit, defines light rail transit as:

“a steel wheel on steel rail transit mode, that can deal economically with traffic flows of between 2,000 and 20,000 passengers per hour per direction, thus effectively bridging the gap between the maximum flow that can be dealt with using buses and the minimum that justifies a metro.”

The following study from the LRTA, shows that even in 1986, it was generally understood that modern LRT could carry 20,000 pphpd.

More recently, (2006) Calgary Transit LRT Technical Data page claims that the maximum theoretical capacity of the C-Train is 30,700 pphpd!

Maximum THEORETICAL single direction capacity (pass./hr/dir) at 256 pass./car and 2 min. headway:
3-car train 23,040
4-car train 30,720

If TransLink’s basic assumption about light rail (including streetcar) is wrong, then TransLink’s entire planning history, regarding bus, LRT, and SkyTrain is wrong and is not worth the paper it is printed on. Yet TransLink, without any public scrutiny and very little political oversight, continues to plan for hugely expensive SkyTrain light-metro projects, which supposed support for, has been heavily biased by questionable studies and even more questionable tactics – all fruit from the poisonous tree!

Noted American transportation expert Gerald Fox, summed up his observations on the TransLink business case for the Evergreen line;

” It is interesting how TransLink has used this cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding.”

Has TransLink’s regional transit planning over the past ten years nothing more than “Fruit of the poisonous tree?”, based on the fact that TransLink’s bureaucrats desired that light rail (LRT) be seen inferior to SkyTrain, on paper, to ensure further planning and building of their cherished light metro system?

Rail for the Valley would welcome TransLink’s clarification on this issue!

The 10,000 PPHPD Question – TransLink is Hoisted on its Own Petard

October 5, 2010

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:

  1. 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.
  2. LRT and streetcars can carry 20,000 pphpd, or more, if need be.
  3. LRT can and does operate at 30 second headways.
  4. LRT is cheaper to operate than SkyTrain.
  5. 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.

Mr. Campbell Responds to the Rail For The Valley/Leewood Report With Deciet

September 25, 2010

Gordon Campbell has a very bad reputation for not telling the truth, in fact he is a habitual teller of very tall tales.

The Premier’s statement in the following article, ” But you know the operating costs of the SkyTrain are about 50 per cent a year less than with light rail. And the ridership is two and a half times greater with SkyTrain.” is a complete falsehood!

A 1996 comparison with Calgary’s C-Train LRT shows that the Expo Line costs 40% more to operate than Calgary’s LRT (both about the same length), yet the C-Train carries more passengers!

“Mr. Campbell, to restore your credibility, please provide the same type of – accurate – data for SkyTrain as can be found on the Calgary Transit website for its light-rail system.”

Operating costs, Calgary C-Train (2006).

  • Vehicle Maintenance costs: $13.9M (2006)
  • Station Maintenance costs: $2.8M (2006)
  • Right of Way Maintenance costs: $2.9M (2006)
  • Signals Maintenance costs: $2.4M (2006)
  • Average annual power costs: $4.8M (2006)
  • Annual LRV Operator wages: $6.0M (includes fringe benefits of 21.57%) (2006)
  • Total – $32.8 million
  • A 2009 study done by UBC Professor Patrick Condon also showed SkyTrain as being very expensive to operate and in his study, SkyTrain had the highest cost to operate than any other transit mode in the study, which reflects much higher operating costs.

    Mr. Campbell’s other statement that ridership is two times and half a much as LRT’s is pure fiction, both SkyTrain and LRT have the same potential capacities. To remind everyone, capacity is a function of headway & train length. This comment from the Toronto Transit Commissions 1980’s ART Study sums up SkyTrain potential capacity:

     “ICTS (which SkyTrain was called at the time) costs anything up to ten times as much as a conventional light-rail line to install, for about the same capacity; or put another way, ICTS costs more than a heavy-rail subway, with four times its capacity.”

    There is no independent study that shows that SkyTrain attracts more ridership than LRT, in fact at-grade/on-street light rail tends to be very good for attracting ridership.

    There are other erroneous claims being made in the article and they will be dealt with later.

    Mr. Campbell demeans himself with such claims, as he continues to demonstrate that truth is not in his lexicon. SkyTrain was built and will be built for reasons of political prestige and not what is best for the transit customer or the taxpayer. SkyTrain has failed to find a market domestically,in the USA and in Europe because it is both more expensive to build and more expensive to operate than its chief competitor modern LRT.

    Mr. Campbell, Rail for the Valley demands honest debate for the future of transit in the region, not your half baked statements based on fiction, to pursue your political aims.

    Oh, what tangled webs we weave, when we first practice to deceive“, Mr. Campbell, your tangled web of anti-LRT propaganda stops here, next time, deal in fact.

    Burnaby News leader

    By Jeff Nagel – BC Local News

    SkyTrain detractors should consider the benefits of the technology and not focus solely on the lower cost of building new rapid transit lines with at-grade light rail, Premier Gordon Campbell said.

    “It does cost less in capital – it costs about $150 million less,” the premier said in an interview with Black Press, referring to price estimates for the Evergreen Line to Coquitlam.

    “But you know the operating costs of the SkyTrain are about 50 per cent a year less than with light rail. And the ridership is two and a half times greater with SkyTrain.”

    The decision to make the Evergreen Line a SkyTrain extension rather than a separate light rail line will ultimately move more people, faster at lower long-term costs, he predicted.

    Campbell spoke Thursday, two days after the release of a new study from advocates who say a 100-kilometre light rail line from Surrey to Chilliwack can be opened on existing railway tracks for less than $500 million, compared to $1.4 billion for the 11-kilometre Evergreen Line.

    Several mayors, including Surrey’s Dianne Watts, have lobbied for light rail for future lines.

    Also critical to any transit expansion in the Lower Mainland, the premier said, is to ensure cities concentrate growth along transit corridors to support use of new lines while also making neighbourhoods more livable for walking and cycling.

    “You can’t have an urban transit system at rural densities,” he said. “You have to actually give yourself a chance for transit to make ends meet.”

    Campbell signed an accord with Metro Vancouver mayors Sept. 23 promising to explore a multitude of methods to raise more cash for transit expansion.

    He said mayors are free to put on the table even contentious options like a vehicle levy or forms of road pricing, which the agreement notes can help shape how people choose to travel.

    But he cautioned the key is to deliver good transit services that work and not merely try to use tolls or other fees to deter driving.

    “You can’t punish people into transit,” he said. “People use the Canada Line because they love it. It meets their needs.”

    Asked about public concern over the potential tolling of all three Fraser River bridges out of Surrey, Campbell downplayed the issue, saying the province determined in advance residents supported tolling the new Port Mann Bridge to deliver congestion relief.

    “There’s always going to be someone who says ‘I don’t want to do it,'” he said, but cited the time savings for users of the Golden Ears Bridge.

    “Think of the opportunities for connecting families, for moving goods.”

    He said an “adult conversation” is required on the options to fund TransLink for the future.

    Other parts of B.C. need transportation upgrades too, he said, adding the province will be hesitant about steering money to TransLink that deepens B.C.’s deficit or makes it harder to fund health care.

    “If there was a simple answer it would have been done a long time ago.”

    500 Posts – The story so far……………..

    August 16, 2010

    Todays post, marks the five hundredth post on the Rail for The Valley blog and today I want to reflect on the main themes that keep out transit debates going.

    The Canada line

    Again, another major Canada Line story by the Vancouver Province news paper….

    -and I wonder why the Vancouver Province keeps writing ‘puff’ stories about the new metro service. In TransLink speak, having the media saying over and over again how wonderful SkyTrain and or the RAV/Canada Line is (the Joesph Goebbels Gambit), means the opposite is true. The Canada line is to the Liberals as the Millennium Line is to the NDP,  because the mainstream media fail to do any diligent research on the subject and treat all metro/rapid transit construction and operation as ‘motherhood & apple pie’ issues.

    The Broadway follies continue.

    Yes the debate rages on about ‘rail’ transit on Broadway and merchants clearly don’t want to be screwed like Susan Heyes on Cambie Street. Rumour was that our now disgraced premier wanted a subway legacy for Vancouver and a Broadway subway or Legacy Line was just the ticket. The $3 billion to $4 billion price tag for a subway is just a wee to much for TransLink, who can’t even find $400 million to build the Evergreen Line.

    The Evergreen Line.

    The Evergreen or locally called the Nevergreen Line is the epitome of what is wrong with our transit planning. TransLink continues to plan for ‘pie in the sky’ metro that the region just can’t afford. Just $400 million could fund a Vancouver to Maple Ridge TramTrain service, but we want a $1.4 billion metro instead and to hell with the taxpayer.

    The Valley Interurban project

    Hopefully some good news about the Fraser Valley will soon happen. To make the Valley interurban or TramTrain a success, we must think ‘out of the box’ and plan for the region and that includes Vancouver. Our present transit system is Vancouver centric, with the metro lines fragmented and for over 80% of metro users, they must take a bus to SkyTrain. To be success, the interurban/TramTrain project must service Vancouver and until it does, I am not so sure of the success, but the intrepid supporters of valley rail press on!


    TransLink continues fumbling and bumbling along achieving very little. The new TransLink board of experts, is really the government friendly board of amateurs and we hardly hear anything from them, yet they are all collecting healthy stipends. The calls for a separate transportation authority for South of the Fraser grows and if the present administration at TransLink doesn’t change, the call for a separate transportation authority will increase from a few peeps to a massive roar.

    The provincial government

    The current provincial government is broke and except for investment in the Canada line, has all but washed its hands on ‘rail’ transit in the province. The Gateway saga is the epitome of Gordon Campbell’s ‘rubber on asphalt’ transportation agenda.

    The Public Affairs Bureau

    The do their best to cloud transportation issues with phony letters to the editor and trolling the blogs. They are easy to find, their attitudes are clearly early Victorian!

    Rail for The Valley

    We continue to grow stronger and we are the only group in the region solely focused on the return of a Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban or TramTrain service. hopefully a lot of hard work will pay off very soon!

    The blog

    Post #501 to follow. The SkyTrain Lobby beware!

    Tram Berlin Linie M13 KT4D Warschauer Str. – Virchow Klinikum 1/7

    July 28, 2010

    This video from U-Tube shows a classic European tramways, which operates on-street and on reserved rights-of-ways, including simple HOV lane style of RRoW. Please note the simple (traffic light) style signaling at intersections and the various styles of RRoWs.

    Streetcar/LRT has the flexibility to operate in almost all urban conditions, affordabley and efficiently, a lesson that the TransLink planning mandarins refuse to accept.

    And the second ‘tube‘ in the series.

    Now the third ‘tube‘ in the series.

    A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes. A study worth looking at.

    July 26, 2010

    Inekon/Skoda tram or streetcar.

    The following study is well worth a look as it dispels many currents myths about transit, especially the SkyTrain light-metro system.

    Zwei’ notes that Professor Condon has fallen into the light rail/streetcar trap. The difference between LRT and a streetcar is the quality of rights-of-way, where a streetcar operates on-street in mixed traffic, with little or no signal priority at intersections, while LRT is a streetcar that operates on a ‘reserved rights-of-way’ (RRoW), which is a a route reserved exclusively for a streetcar or tram and with signal priority at intersections. A RRoW can be as simple as a HOV lane with rails or as complex as a lawned boulevard RoW such as the Arbutus corridor. When a streetcar/tram operates on a grade separated RoW such as elevated on a viaduct or in a subway, in fact becomes a metro!

    Until academics, transit planners and bureaucrats start understanding that modern LRT/streetcar a independent transit mode that is built to provide different and unique transit solutions different from that of a metro and is not a poor-man’s SkyTrain, we will get the same monotonous, expensive and unworkable  metro only planning that the region has suffered for the past three decades.


    A Cost Comparison of Transportation Modes

    Professor Patrick M. Condon, Kari Dow


    View obscured from ivory tower – From the Chilliwack times.

    July 17, 2010
    The Light Rail Committee has been advocating TramTrain for the Fraser Valley since the mid 90’s, hopefully some positive news will be forthcoming soon!
    Sadly, in an age of financial frugality, regional and provincial transit planners still plan for hugely expensive metro and SkyTrain systems, yet with little or no method to pay for them. Isn’t it about time that politicians and regional bureaucrats begin to plan for proven and extremely economic light rail/ TramTrain solutions for our chronic transportation woes.

     View obscured from ivory tower

    The Chilliwack Times July 16, 2010

    This summer, interesting news will be released that will delight supporters of the Return of the Interurban to the Fraser Valley.

    In the Metro region, we have placed all our hopes for rail transit on the very expensive light-metro model and philosophy, that forces all bus riders on a light-metro trunk line to their destinations or next transfer. Indeed TransLink admits that 80 per cent of SkyTrain’s customers, first take the bus to the metro. This is not good transit.

    TransLink has been signing hosannas that the newly opened Canada Line is carrying 94,000 people a day and nearing capacity. TransLink forgets to mention that nearly 45,000 former bus customers have been cascaded onto the new metro line which translates to about 90,000 trips a day. Only about two to three thousand new transit customers are using the over $2.5 billion metro system.

    The sad fact about the Canada Line is that due to escalating construction costs, the scope of the project was cut back so much that a much larger $1.5 billion cheaper LRT network, with much higher capacity, could have been built instead.

    The Light Rail Committee and the Rail For the Valley group, in conjunction with several transportation experts will be offering a much cheaper and proven alternative to hugely expensive light-metro, in the form of TramTrain.

    TramTrain is simply a light rail vehicle that can operate on existing railways and on its own tracks, greatly reducing rail transit costs while at the same time providing a much larger light rail network.

    As an example; for the cost of a SkyTrain Evergreen Line, we could build a Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain and a Vancouver to Maple Ridge TramTrain. A larger rail network. servicing more destinations, at a cheaper cost should be number one TransLink’s planning goals.

    Sadly, what I see from the Ivory Towers on Kingsway is more of the same, plans for hugely expensive metro lines, with no realistic way to fund them.

    Malcolm Johnston

    Light Rail Committee