Posts Tagged ‘subway’

More Financial Woes For TransLink

February 7, 2010

Instead of doing what most other ‘rail‘ transit projects have done, offer compensation packages to affected merchants and residents along the construction route, TransLink did nothing and now has to pay the ‘piper’s price’.

Not only will future awards drive up the RAV/Canada Line’s price tag, the legal costs alone will take money away from much needed transit services, which ultimately will translate into even higher TransLink taxes. TransLink, RAVCo., and the provincial government tried to hide the true cost of the metro line and as costs spiraled out of control, the scope of the project was downsized, including adding cut-and-cover subway construction without paying affected people compensation.

Cambie St. merchant ,Susan Heyes’s $600,000.00 award for “Nuisance” for years of business disruption for subway construction, took the smirk of the faces of TransLink’s officials (who thought they pulled a fast one) and now seeing that TransLink is liable, hundreds of merchants are now going to sue!

Would not have it been easier just to offer compensation packages to affected merchants in the first place?

It is Zweisystem’s belief that ‘Judicial Inquiry’ must be held on the RAV/Canada Line and all its sordid financing, much of it hidden from the public who have to subsidize this massivly expensive, politcally prestigious edifice.

From Radio News CKWX 1130

Cambie Street merchants given go ahead to file class action suit against Canada Line

CVBA would like to settle out of court

Jim Goddard  Feb 05, 2010

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Cambie merchants and property owners who claim they suffered huge losses during Canada Line construction have received permission from the courts to pursue their class action suit.  Leonard Shein with the Cambie Village Business Association says 216 merchants and 67 property owners are part of the class-action.

However he says they would prefer to settle out of court.  “We would like to negotiate a fair settlement rather than TransLink and us spending all this money on lawyers and court.”

Shein says the $600,000 Hazel and Co. owner Susan Hayes was awarded from the courts for the Canada Line disruption to her business shows his members have a good case.  He says a negotiated settlement makes sense since it cost the Canada Line a million and a half dollars to fight just the one lawsuit from Hayes.

He also points out originally Cambie merchants had offered to settle for five million dollars but that was rejected by the TransLink Board.  Shein now believes any settlement will be much larger than that whether it’s negotiated or comes from the courts.


Money too tight for barriers to be installed at SkyTrain Stations – From Radio News 1130

January 25, 2010

There seems to be plenty of money for fare-gates to be retrofitted to all SkyTrain Stations, which will do little if anything to make the metro safer or deter fare evasion, yet there is no money station gates (like we have with SeaBus) which are proven to prevent egress onto metro track. It seems what is mandated in other countries is ignored here. Just as reminder, in the EEC automatic metros, by law, must have platform gates.

I guess Mr. Dobel’s fare-gates are more important than true public safety.

Money too tight for barriers to be installed at SkyTrain Stations

Man fell on the tracks Sunday

Jim Goddard Jan 25, 2010

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Don’t expect to see barriers set up at SkyTrain Station platforms to keep people from falling or jumping on the tracks.  Sunday, a man at the Metrotown Station accidentally stumbled over the edge and fell on the rails below, suffering head injuries.  His condition isn’t known.

TransLink’s Drew Snider says they can’t install platform barriers because two different kinds of SkyTrain cars are used and their doors would not match up with the barrier gates.  “Also, it’s just a matter of having retrofit it, the amount of cost versus the frequency that this happens.  It’s extremely rare anything like this happens.”

Snider adds TransLink’s tight budget doesn’t leave room for costly barriers.  More than 30 cities in Europe and Asia have what are called ‘platform screens,’ including Tokyo, London, Beijing, Paris and Barcelona.

Bored Subway Tunnels – Are They Problem Free? Will a Broadway SkyTrain subway be Another Cambie St. Fiasco?

January 22, 2010

The SkyTrain Lobby and many Vancouver politicians are claiming that a Broadway subway tunnel will be bored in stead of cut-and-cover, eliminating the many problems caused to those living or have businesses adjacent to the subway route, thus eliminating protracted litigation for compensation. The problem of course is a bored tunneling causes it own set of problems and may pose a serious threat to many older and some not so old, building’s foundations. Some of the problems expected to be encountered by businesses and residents along the proposed Broadway/UBC subway will be  cracked floors and foundations, sinkholes large enough to swallowed driveways, pollution, homes flooded with sewage, etc.

Despite the myth that a bored subway tunnel under Broadway will be problem free unlike a cut-and-cover subway, they are not and have a host of their own unique and expensive problems. Knowing how niggardly TransLink and the provincial government are paying compensation to those affected by subway construction on Cambie Street, a bored Broadway subway tunnel may leave thousands of property owners with very expensive repair bills and years of expensive litigation.

Collapsed subway tunnel in China

From the Seattle Times –

Bridgewater tunnel likely causing homes’ troubles

By Keith Ervin

Seattle Times

Tom and Jan Glithero were pointing out the recently discovered cracks in their reinforced-concrete patio the other day when Tom called out, “Oh, guess what? Here’s another one! So there’s four cracks now — great.”

“The more we look, the more we find,” Jan added.

The Bothell couple first found long, wide cracks in their garage and driveway the middle of last year.

But it wasn’t until November, after they saw hairline cracks between the bricks of their living-room fireplace, that it occurred to them that a tunnel excavated beneath their backyard for the Brightwater sewer-plant pipeline might be causing the ground to settle.

Since then, engineers and insurance adjusters have made repeat visits to the Glitheros’ split-level house and installed instruments to determine whether the house is continuing to settle.

“We’re working with the assumption it is attributable to Brightwater construction,” said King County Wastewater Treatment Director Christie True.

The Glitheros are among dozens of residents of King and Snohomish counties who have been affected by the $1.8 billion sewer project that began in 2006 and won’t be completed until 2012, more than a year behind schedule.

The 13-mile tunnel will carry treated wastewater from the Brightwater plant north of Woodinville to Puget Sound off Point Wells in Shoreline. King County is responding to complaints even as Sound Transit prepares to dig twin light-rail tunnels between downtown Seattle and the University of Washington and the state Department of Transportation designs a large-diameter tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Neighbors of Brightwater have complained of construction noises late into the night, cracked floors and foundations, a sinkhole that swallowed a driveway, pollution of a creek, homes flooded with sewage and wells gone dry.

One worker died in a construction accident, and two of four tunnel-boring machines have been idled since last June while undergoing repairs more than 300 feet underground. The broken-down machines have slowed the project and will drive up costs by a yet-unknown amount.

The state Department of Labor and Industries fined tunnel contractor Vinci/Parsons RCI/Frontier-Kemper $6,600 for workplace-safety violations after worker David Keith was killed by a steel beam that fell from a crane at the North Kenmore tunnel portal in November 2006. Keith’s family is also suing contractors and the county.

Most of the complaints have been filed by people who live along the tunnel route. The tunnel runs under Northeast 195th Street and other roads, and directly beneath 147 private properties, officials said.

To date, King County and its insurance carrier have paid more than $400,000 in construction-related damage to homeowners, businesses and the county itself.

“I would say for a project of this size and the amount of liability insurance we carry, the loss is very small,” True said. The costliest project in county history has mostly gone well, officials say. Construction of the treatment plant itself is on schedule, the eastern end of the tunnel is complete, the west portion is almost done, and a mile-long outfall pipe was installed faster and cheaper than expected.

But for some neighbors of the project, it’s been anything from a nuisance to a nightmare. Several said they were initially impressed by the quick response of the county and its contractors to their complaints, but then grew frustrated by lengthy delays in resolving problems.

Here are some of the things neighbors have endured:

• The well that provides water to Jorge and Shirley Landa’s Bothell house and dog kennels stopped working when the pump burned out. A replacement pump also burned out before they realized sand was clogging the filter. Then the water level dropped and the well went dry.

The Landas also noticed that Horse Creek, which runs through their property, was behaving strangely. “You could sit in the car and you could hear the creek bubbling up like Old Faithful,” Shirley said.

The state Department of Ecology concluded that the creek was repeatedly muddied and its water chemistry changed over a three-month period by compressed air that worked its way from a tunnel-boring machine through 160 feet of soil to Horse Creek during scheduled maintenance.

The Landas’ well is back in operation but exhibiting new problems they’re trying to understand.

• Marlene and Eldon Berg’s previously quiet Kenmore neighborhood became a noisy construction site, with truck engines revving, backup beepers sounding and metal banging on metal when contractors began digging a tunnel portal. Windows in their home rattled and floors shook when a boring machine chewed its way out of the portal. After the Bergs’ well ran dry, the county hooked them up to the city water system.

• Ray Ames was asleep when his wife, Mary, woke him up and showed him a brownish liquid flooding the kitchen and pouring out of the toilet. Raw sewage had backed up into the house because of pump problems on a Kenmore sewer line that was being redirected to the Brightwater plant.

Two years later the county paid more than $70,000 for repairs and legal fees.

• Pauline Chihara stepped out of her Kenmore home early one morning and discovered her driveway had fallen into a 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-deep sinkhole. County contractors quickly filled the hole and did a temporary repaving job. The ground had caved in because a tunneling machine removed too much soil 150 feet beneath the house.

That was in March 2009. As for a permanent fix to the driveway and sidewalk, Chihara said, “They said they were waiting for warm weather. Warm weather came and passed. … I wish they would just hurry up and do it. I don’t know what they’re waiting for.”

County spokeswoman Annie Kolb-Nelson said Chihara shouldn’t have had to wait so long for repairs and said she would try to speed up the process.

“I appreciate people’s patience while we get this project done,” wastewater chief True said. “It’s essential that we get it done. We recognize that some people will be inconvenienced. Any time there is a concern or complaint we want to get out there and respond as quickly as we can.”

After the Glitheros began finding cracks around their house, the county sent out an engineer who found a crack in the foundation. More recently, as Tom relaxed in the living room, he looked up and exclaimed “Holy mackerel!” when he saw a new crack in the vaulted ceiling.

Now push pins mark five cracks in the ceiling so the Glitheros can tell if they are lengthening.

“There’s a connection here and it’s not healthy,” Tom said of the problems. His biggest worry is what the settling will mean when he and Jan try to sell the house they lived in for 30 years: “I wouldn’t buy the house.”

Will legal woes derail TransLink?

January 18, 2010

The merchants along Cambie Street were treated extremely badly by everyone involved with the RAV/Canada metro line subway construction project. Now, with Ms. Heyes winning a $600,000.00 lawsuit against TransLink, the legal floodgates have been opened for other merchants negatively affected by the RAV/Canada Line cut and cover subway construction to sue TransLink. The sad part of the whole affair is that no one gave a damn about their plight, but with a valiant Ms. Heyes taking on the RAV/TransLink Goliath and winning, has changed the game, so to speak.

Now Ms. Heyes award is under appeal, which is a crap-shoot for TransLink because the appeal could go against TransLink and the courts increasing the award! Here lies the conundrum for the cash strapped TransLink; either pay the award to Ms. Heyes and then fight every other lawsuit brought against TransLink re: subway construction or shake the dice and hope for “snake eyes“?

TransLink is broke and the impending deluge of lawsuits may just thrust the wooden stake of bankruptcy further into the TransLink corpse. From Zweisystem’s perspective, I hope it does! It is time to start over, from scratch.

From BCTVBC……….

The fight is coming just months after a court victory by small business owner Susan Heyes, who won $600000 in damages in a similar suit.

More merchants suing Canada Line construction

Updated: Sat Jan. 16 2010 18:38:01

The list of Cambie Street merchants who are filing suit after being left in the lurch by the Canada Line construction is growing.

Roughly 40 businesses along the Canada Line are looking for millions in compensation after losing customers who couldn’t brave the construction zone to get to their stores.

“It was very depressing for a busy store where people are coming in and out all the time to where almost nobody was walking in the store at all,” said pharmacist Marvin Nider, one of the plaintiffs.

Nider says his store, Mark’s Plaza Pharmacy, lost about a million dollars over the course of the construction.

The suit, filed Friday, is on top of the class action lawsuit that has already been filed, involving 250 businesses in the Cambie Village alone.

In both suits the plaintiffs claim they were devastated by the cut and cover construction method. They argue that if the Canada Line had been built with a tunnel boring machine as originally planned, the businesses would not have lost as much.

Several plaintiffs in this week’s suit were businesses that failed during construction, such as Arroy-D Thai Restaurant, Don Don Noodle Café, and Hugo Restaurant.

Translink won’t comment on the lawsuit. But the stores are optimistic about a big payout. The fight is coming just months after a court victory by small business owner Susan Heyes, who won $600,000 in damages in a similar suit.

“The whole thing was opened up by Hazel and Company,” said Nider. “She put her neck on the line and we owe her a debt of gratitude.”

In the meantime business owners are waiting for the increased traffic from the Canada Line to bring revenues up to where they used to be.

Update, Monday @ 8:35 AM – from CKNW Radio………..


A second group of Cambie Street businesses is seeking compensation for the impact caused by building the Canada Line with a cut-and-cover tunnel instead of a bored tunnel.

Over 40 merchants have filed a writ in BC Supreme Court saying the decision to change the method of tunnel construction “significantly impaired” access to their businesses.

Some were forced to close or relocate because of the giant trench in front of their stores, which was left open for at least 11 months.

The group says the nuisance could have been avoided by sticking with a bored tunnel and that the change constituted “unreasonable interference”.

A separate class action suit involving another 250 businesses has also been launched.

Maternity clothing store owner Susan Heyes was awarded $600-thousand in her own lawsuit last May. An appeal of that decision is ongoing.

Cambie merchants hope for better fortunes – From CKNW News Radio

December 7, 2009

As predicted, those thousands of  RAV/Canada Line passengers are not getting off the train to shop at Cambie Street stores. The sad fact is, the inference from RAVCo. and later InTransit BC, was that the Canada Line would bring thousands of shoppers to Cambie St., it hasn’t and only those merchants lucky enough to be located near a station have seen increased foot traffic.

Subways, unlike street operating light rail or trams, do not increase surface merchant’s business and was not very honest of the RAV/Canada Line folks to infer that the RAV/Canada Line subway would. What is seen now, is the attempt to try to overturn Susan Heye’s successful lawsuit and settlement against TransLink, by trying to water down the effects of the RAV/Canada Line on local business, with ‘puff‘ news reports on the effects of the new metro. TransLink is desperate to stop the flood of potential lawsuits if Ms. Heyes lawsuit survives appeal.

Cambie merchants hope for better fortunes

Dan Burritt

Cambie Street merchants are hoping for a good holiday season, four months after the Canada Line opened and construction on the street wrapped up.

Christine Schattenkirk opened up her clothing store, My Best Friend’s Closet, in the building once occupied by Susan Heyes’ store, Hazel and Company, on Cambie and 16th.

“It’s actually picking up for us. We get a lot of walk-in traffic, especially on the good days, sunny days. I’m absolutely thrilled with the way things are going. There are people by all the time.”

But Melinda Michalak at Black Dog Video on Cambie near 17th says the Canada Line hasn’t brought many new customers to the village.

“There doesn’t seem to be, like, a real reason to, sort of, shop in this area from out of the local vicinity.”

Michalak says it’s also tough to attract Canada Line riders when there is no stop between Broadway and King Edward Ave.

Leonard Schein with the Cambie Village Business Association agrees that stores closer to Canada Line stops have seen a lot more business than stores in between.

The Charleroi Pre-metro, the metro that was built and they didn’t come! A short history on failed transit planning.

January 26, 2009

One ‘metro‘ system that every proponent of the SkyTrain light-metro ignores is the Charleroi pre-metro. In Belgium traditional LRT is known as ‘trams‘, LRT built as a light-metro is known as pre metro. Pre metro has much in common with SkyTrain, including segregated rights-of-ways and large stations with escalators, etc. The Charleroi Métro is famous for the parts of it which were never built, partially built, or fully completed but not opened. There are many important lessons to be learned, yet one is afraid that the ‘powers that be’ are blind, deaf and dumb, with continued SkyTrain and/or light-metro construction in the Metro Vancouver region. One wonders, with such low ridership numbers, that the Evergreen Line will be Vancouver’s version with the Charleroi.

The Charleroi was planned in the 1960s as a 48-km network, using heavy rail metro trains, consisting of eight branch lines radiating from a central loop downtown. If completed as planned, this would have been the largest metro system in the Benelux region. Funds ran out during construction, however, and only one complete line (to Monument), part of another line (as far as Gilly), and three-quarters of the loop were actually built and opened to traffic, all between 1976 and 1996.

Another branch line towards the suburb of Châtelet (Châtelineau) was almost finished, to the extent of installing track, power cables, escalators and still-working electric signals to the first three stations, but never opened as the expected passenger numbers were too low to pay for the extra staff and rolling stock.

A fourth branch towards Gosselies, on the street following a former Vicinal tram route, is in use as far as the Jumet tram depot but does not carry passengers.

The high costs of construction, together with a decline in Charleroi’s traditional “smokestack” industries, and questioning of the scope of the whole project in proportion to the actual demand for it, are all cited as reasons for the original plan going unfulfilled.

Click onto the following sites to see what a never used or abandoned metro looks like in a few years.

West Broadway Business Association calls for light rail

January 9, 2009

A new group, the West Broadway Business Association, has been formed: The WBBA is a non-profit society representing the local interests of businesses along West Broadway, from Alma to Burrard, and beyond to Cambie.

They’re calling for a surface-level light rail or tram system along Broadway instead of the current plan to build a subway:

“We are very much in favor of improving rapid transit,” said Dobo, owner of Just Imagine on West Broadway.

She said many merchants and residents were unhappy with the impact of the Canada Line and would be horrified at cut-and-cover or tunneling projects occurring in the area.

A vast Lower Mainland light rail network stretching from UBC to Hope, or a 12km subway…

what a hard choice