Stephen Rees's blog

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

Streetcars for Langley?

with 7 comments

Langley Times

Maybe I need a new category called “retrofitting the suburbs”. If Langley – and especially the dreadful 200 St – is going to become human something like this is essential.

Why is 200 St dreadful? Because it was turned over to the developers for Highway Oriented Development, which of course is the easiest option if all you want to do is make money. But it does not have a human scale, and is inimical to walking and cycling. It screams at you that only people in cars are worth considering – actually make that oversized pick up trucks.

Jordan Bateman is proposing a new mass transit option for Langley’s 200 Street corridor

Turn 200 Street into San Francisco, with streetcars running up and down the hill, taking travellers to shopping, sporting and business parks, says Township Councillor Jordan Bateman.

I don’t think he means the cable cars.

San Francisco - Cable Car

Photo by “Blende8” on flickr

Though I think these could find a useful home in North Vancouver and New Westminster


Here is his slideshow

and here is that image of a streetcar climbing a hill in Lisbon

Lisbon tram

Image from John Mariani

Written by Stephen Rees

May 5, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

Tagged with , ,

7 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the link. I have embeded it into the post.

    Do not let the nay sayers scare you about hills. There is a frequently cited myth here that LRT cannot climb more than a 6% grade. Twaddle. Ancient old streetcars climb steep hills in Lisbon every day – see the picture I added

    London used to have special trams called HR2s for “Hilly Routes” like Crystal Palace and Sydenham Hill. It is just a question of power – and sand for wet days.

    I think trams on 200 Street are a brilliant way to start to make Langley more urban and less gasoline dependant!

    Stephen Rees

    May 5, 2008 at 9:11 pm

  2. I am utterly surprised how many people confuse San Fransisco’s cable-cars with streetcars, as both modes are completely different. I once saw a so-called ‘rail’ expert giving a presentation to Vancouver council, showing a picture of a San Fransisco cable-car, claiming that it not only collected electricity from the slot, the slot also contained a miniature rack and pinion device! I was the next speaker and tried put it right, but the council of the day would have none of it and continued to believe the previous speaker!

    The industry standard for streetcars climbing grades is now 8%, which means a streetcar, carrying a maximum capacity, but be able to stop and start at that grade. In Sheffield, their 3 section articulated cars are able to climb 10% grades (all axles motorized)and their steepest station is on a 9% grade; and in Lisbon, their venerable streetcars climb 13.7% grades on one of their routes.

    I believe Vancouver streetcars climbed 10% grades on Alma and Montreal had 14% grades on their tram system.

    With wheel anti-slip controls and automatic sanding, streetcars/LRT can climb almost any grade in the region. 200th street would be dead easy.

    Malcolm J.

    May 5, 2008 at 9:59 pm

  3. I don’t think I ever said “Turn Langley into San Francisco…”: that was a comment made by one of the VALTAC group who I made my presentation to. I was talking about the modern LRT streetcars that Malcolm is referring to.

    Nonetheless, thanks for posting this, Stephen, and for your kind e-mail. My slideshow has been viewed more than 750 times, and I’m hopeful it will continue to gain momentum.

    And I’m glad the hill issue has been laid to rest!


    May 6, 2008 at 7:30 am

  4. Why stop at 200th Street? Why not speed them up a bit and carry them north over the new Golden Ears bridge to Maple Ridge? And south then west through Langley City through Cloverdale to the King George and beyond via the Number 10 corridor? Then there’s the entire N-S corridor from Coquitlam Centre to Whiterock via Lougheed + King George (over the Fraser in a new bridge). Streetcars can also swirl around inside established neighbourhoods at a smaller scale.

    The potential is enormous, especially if a serious effort is made to integrate them into the community with urban design measures included as part of a package to counter car-dependency and highway retail, to convert said cities to walkable communities, and to increase safety for pedestrians.


    May 6, 2008 at 10:01 am

  5. Streetcars apparently used to run up Lonsdale in North Vancouver – not sure of the size of the cars nor the grade there – but that is quite steep.

    Ron C.

    May 6, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  6. Ron, you beat me to this by 4 minutes! shows the various streetcar routes on the North Shore.


    May 6, 2008 at 1:49 pm

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