Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 23rd, 2007

Mayors go to Victoria seeking transit promises

with 8 comments

Vancouver Sun

I suppose on the assumption that Bill 43 will get through, they are all in there trying to get something for their cities. Kevin’s response

“There’s no doubt that we can’t do everything all at once. And we need to make decisions that are thoughtful.”

Now that would be a novelty. Does the decision to install gates on SkyTrain meet that definition? In fact, is Bill 43 itself the result of actual thought? Or are both simply off the cuff, instant sound bite type decisions?

He also insists that the new TransLink board structure the province is creating will take the politics out of decisions and ensure the wisest transportation choices are made from an overall regional perspective.

Like the Canada Line – the decision that was rammed down the region’s throat and gave rise to Bill 43 (which, of course, came with a promise to build the Evergreen Line at the same time and construction is nowhere near even now). Or the twinning of the highway that will increase traffic and greenhouse gas emissions and lock the South of Fraser area into car dependence for another generation? And of course there is nothing political about the Gateway is there: it is just the best advice that self interested “professionals” could come up with.

Here is a useful check list to go back to once the announcements start rolling. Expect the rate of announcements and the size of commitments to increase as the date of the next election approaches.


– Vancouver wants:

An extension of the Millennium Line from where it ends now, Clark Drive, out to the University of B.C.

Length of line: 12 kilometres.

Approximate cost: $1 billion to $2 billion.

Commitment so far: $2 million from the city for planning; $1 million from TransLink for planning; nothing for construction.

Earliest completion date possible: 2016.

– The northeast sector wants:

The Evergreen light-rail line from where the Millennium Line ends now, Lougheed Centre, out to Coquitlam Centre.

Length of line: 11 kilometres.

Approximate cost: $1 billion.

Commitment so far: $400 million from TransLink for construction; $170 million from the province for construction.

Earliest completion date possible: late 2010, early 2011.

– The south of Fraser sector wants:

The same level of transit service that Vancouver and Burnaby have — 2.42 hours per capita per year, instead of the .6 they now get — well before 2031.

Also, rapid-bus service on 200th, King George, 104th and 152nd.

Also, rapid-transit along the Fraser Highway from the King George SkyTrain station to Langley town centre.

Approximate cost: Unknown.

Commitment so far: TransLink has committed to a King George rapid bus by 2013, frequent service (every 15 minutes) from Langley centre to Golden Ears Bridge by 2021, and Vancouver-level service for all of the south-of-Fraser region by 2031.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 23, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Posted in transit

Calgarians of two minds about new LRT line

with one comment

CanWest News Service

Typical shoddy reporting and knee jerk sub editor making up a misleading strap line.

The story should be positive – but you must not be positive about transit if you work for CanWest. So in this story, because they have found one little old lady who will have to move – and will, of course, be compensated – from this they generalize to the entire population of the metropolis. And, of course, the lazy swine at the Sun who can no longer fill a West Coast News section with West Coast News just cut and paste something from the corporate feed trough.

And the preceding paragraph was equally unfair – deliberately. I am going to claim it needs to be in the name of “balance”.

To be newsworthy a story must have conflict. Even if the conflict has to be invented, or grossly exaggerated. The lack of West Coast content in the case of the Sun is because, like most media outlets here, they have reduced the size of their news room to keep the corporate profits high.


Written by Stephen Rees

November 23, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Posted in transit

All-night runs to clear trolley lines

with 4 comments

Vancouver Sun

Another one of those stories that demonstrates that new technology actually makes us more vulnerable.

Stan Sierpina, vice-president of customer service for Coast Mountain Bus, which operates TransLink’s buses, blamed the breakdown on “unique weather circumstances” that left an accumulation of ice and frost along the 314 kilometres of trolley wire.

The ice acted as insulation against the new trolleys’ sensors, which lose their connections to the overhead wires if they can’t sense a power link, Sierpina said.

Well at least he didn’t make the mistake that a hapless British railways official made the year winter stopped a new fleet of expensive new trains. “It was the wrong kind of snow” has now entered the annals of things not to say to the press.

When I first got on a bus in Richmond, it actually had trolley poles on it. It was a diesel bus, but it had been converted from a trolley. They just took the motor out and replaced it with a diesel engine. They were even called “triesels” by the staff. A couple of them retained their poles for just the task of keeping the wires frost free overnight.

UPDATE Pete McMartin wants somebody’s head to stick on a pike over this issue – he didn’t get one

Written by Stephen Rees

November 23, 2007 at 9:24 am

Posted in transit