Stephen Rees's blog

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

High oil prices put the brakes on a future of endless progress

with 57 comments

Pete McMartin in the Sun continues to surprise me with his well balanced and thpoughtful commentary.

In particular, I wouldn’t want to be an engineer or urban planner these days. All those former projections of the future, with their steady reassuring growth rates climbing nicely toward the upper right-hand quadrant of a graph? Gone. Or, at least, in doubt. Nothing can be taken for granted any more. And that not only includes the cost of fuel, but how we progress as a region.

Take the Gateway project. The premier’s vision to streamline truck and auto traffic with new perimeter roads, the construction of a tolled bridge over the Fraser and the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge exists on the premise that traffic will increase to the point of gridlock in the near future.

That the provincial government is spending billions to promote more vehicular traffic while introducing a carbon tax seems a little illogical, but forget that for the moment. There’s a greater, unintended logic within it.

It’s this. The carbon tax was introduced to change our driving habits, to force us to drive less, and with less environmental impact. That is good.

And which is why I believe the carbon tax is a good thing.

But this, high fuel prices have already done, and will continue to do so. Car buyers are abandoning SUVs and minivans, and using mass transit in growing numbers.

But a greater impact may be just down the road. A recent CIBC study I mentioned in Saturday’s column predicted there would be 10 million fewer cars on the road in the U.S. within five years, and 700,000 fewer in Canada.

I think the headline may well be the result of some sub-editor’s inability to command the English language. There will still be “progress” – infact reducing reliance on fossil fuels and driving seems to me to be very progressive indeed. The whole ethos of the regional plan was “increase transportation choice’. You will notice that all the critic try to ignore that. They talk about “socail engineering” or “punishing car drivers” – when both those statements are deliberate falsehoods. Getting from 11% transit share – where we have been stuck since I got here ten years ago – to 17% which is where we should be by now but won’t be at the current rate of progress in any forseeable future – still means more than 80% of trips in cars. A modest shift in priorities, and probably not enough, but hardly a massive change in direction.

But even that is not enough for Kevin Falcon who is convinced that not only is population going to rise, but all of the new people will want to drive for every trip – even though we cannot accommodate that or afford that. And he acknowledges that there has to be some transit expansion – just not before the people get here and not before he has built his roads. So this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, for without more transit capacity in the right places right now there can be no transit mode share increase.

But Falcon is in league with those who also want to see an end to the Green Zone, and end to protection of agricultural land and ever more opportunity to keep on doing all those things that have got us into this mess in the first place.

But note how Falcon has stopped talking about the port and the airport – or the need to accomodate trucks (though the Mayor of Surry, Diane Watts, still does). For the imnpact of high oil prices is already causing considerable rethinking of how – and why – we move stuff around. The current model of free markets is all based on cheap oil – and that’s gone. So while we may not see a return to protcectionism (thopugh I would not bet on it) we are seeing repatriation of manufacturing.

I do expect there to be more innovation – humans are nautrually inventive, and many inventions formerly squashed by big oil will start to re-emerge. Hydrogen seems the least likely, sicen it is not a source of energy, merely a way to store it – and a very expensive and awkward thing to store it is too. Better batteries, better business models and plug in hybrids will be the first. So will the use of waste as fuel – including human waste.

But building freeways does not help produce a sustainable future. Firstly because it diverts resources away from transit expansion but also becuase it promotes low density sprawl. You do not get transit oriented development without transit! This region needs to hang on to its peat bog – the best way of sequestering carbon we know of – and it’s ability to grow food. We do not need more roads – we need to use them more efficiently. We need to use the underused railway tracks, and the river, more.

We cannot afford the Gateway – and the Gateway is not “progress” at all. It is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 3, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Gateway

57 Responses

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  1. Every word that comes out of Kevin Falcon’s mouth makes me want to tear out my hair in frustration. Even if we could run cars on sea water, that still wouldn’t change the fact that – in terms of the space they use to transport goods or people, or the amount of road space they require as volumes increase, or the grotesque number of people they kill or maim every year – cars are simply an extremely inefficient and bad idea.

    Even sea water cars won’t stop hours wasted in traffic, or kids getting run down, or more roads getting built every year while communities and green spaces are paved over. This MUST stop somewhere. But where? When Kevin?

    Why doesn’t Falcon get this? Cars are simply NOT a good idea when there are large numbers of people involved!

    I presume he is not stupid, or ignorant. This leads me to believe that either he is a child stuck in a sports car fantasy, or corrupt as a motherf$#ker.

    Which do you think?

    Corey

    July 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm

  2. I’m glad conservative mainstream journalists like Pete McMartin and Barbara Yaffe are addressing this issue. Five years late, but it’s nice to see it out there.

    Meredith

    July 3, 2008 at 1:46 pm

  3. Falcon? Pigheaded if you ask me. But he’ll take that as a compliment.

    He wants to be premier. By the time Gordo retires to seven-figure directorship land, fuel will be approaching $2.50 a litre, the demand for transit and extremely fuel efficient cars will be stratospheric, and adopting housing locations requiring less commuting by car — especially regularly over toll bridges — will be in the forefront where it should have been all along. And the P3 operator of the PMII will be drowning in debt because of the lack of toll revenue. The next premier will have an even tougher time justifying Gateway.

    I say all that because no family (the majority of families are single adult couples or single parents) with an average income could afford high fuel prices PLUS tolls which will be in the thousands each year for regular bridge commuters.

    Meredith

    July 3, 2008 at 2:00 pm

  4. Regarding the idiotic efficacy of car dependency, I’ve always seen the third-to-half of the space devoted to asphalt and parking structures as a land bank for transit, parks, bike / pedestrian routes and community gardens.

    Meredith

    July 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm

  5. You sound a little testy today Corey, whats new,nothing,corrupt city officials,corrupt provincial goverment,corrupt city planners.

    No matter how much land or green spaces are put aside every few years a new group of theives will plunder the assets—That is why eco-dense—eco-crap–share the goodies doesn`t and never will work despite the claims of the kumbia crowds.

    Humans are weak spineless greedy jellyfish that only care about lining their pockets,liberals are the most corrupt group ever in BC—The federal liberals are just as morally bankrupt,all parties are corrupt even the green party!

    But you are right Corey—-Falcon and Campbell are nothing but F##k##g ###ho### —————-aND TO ALL YOU FOOLS WHO PRAISE CAMPBELLS GAS TAX——Campbell will destroy BC–30.000 thousand atlantic salmon escaped from a fish farm near campbell river yesterday—he will kill burns bog,he will kill all the wild salmon,he will kill hundreds of rivers and streams to sell power to california——David suzuki–the sierra club,western wilderness club,ducks unlimited,and many other spineless,money grubbing,corporate green spinners are patting Campbell on the back over a phony gas tax—

    They are all corrupt bunch of phoney assholes,losers,liars,polluters,f##K##G theives that have lost their for the sake of money,may they all drop dead!!!!

    By the way I am in a good mood today.

    Load up the lifeboat city planners and municipal and provincial fools,welcome to the bottom of the ocean—fools,greedy bastards,brain dead dreamers,

    Grant G

    July 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

  6. You know, and I say this in all seriousness, it almost makes me believe in the devil.

    Or at least the reason why our ancestors came up with the concept. How else can you explain it except evil and greed? (Not just Campbell & Falcon – we need to look in the mirror too)

    Steve

    July 4, 2008 at 8:21 am

  7. I think that the main question to be answered is whether the general public – not necessarily urban planners, new urbanists or transit advocates, etc. – but your run-of-the-mill timed-starved consumer or parent will give up the freedom of mobility afforded by private vehicles, whether fueled by gasoline, batteries, hydrogen or even water(!), for transit, even efficient rail-based rapid transit.

    Surveys of downtown Vancouver residents in the Concord projects show that they are unwilling to give up their vehicles as a majority still own cars (I’m one of them. I walk to work daily (and on weekends), but use the car on weekends and evenings, whether to meet friends in other municipalities for dinner (not all my friends live near me), buying bulk groceries or outdoor recreational activities (whether hikes, paddling, etc. – how many people take transit to access hiking trails?)

    If then answer is “no”, that people won’t give up their freedom of mobility, then there probably is a place for Gateway for those vehicles (whether fueled by gasoline, batteries, hydrogen or even water).

    Ron C.

    July 4, 2008 at 11:32 am

  8. I’m not asking anyone to give up their vehicles.

    I AM asking that the provincial government give us a viable option to road-based transportation BEFORE it chooses to spend billions more on upgrading highways smack dab in the middle of a major Canadian metropolis.

    As far as I’m concerned, if there was a fast rail link where the old Interurban line is, there wouldn’t be a need to upgrade the highway, as most people would choose to save both money and time (yes, time) by taking a decent train.

    Instead we get a half-assed “metro,” buses that are just as slow as the traffic they’re stuck in, and more and more roads, tricking us all into thinking that cars are faster and more convenient than transit in densely populated cities. Go anywhere with a decent train system (Paris or Tokyo comes to mind) and you find out pretty quick that the “convenience” of cars (in large cities – the countryside is a different matter) is nothing but a myth.

    Corey

    July 4, 2008 at 12:04 pm

  9. Corey, I sent a (rather) long letter to local papers regarding the Carbon/gas tax and a viable transit alternative. I doubt it will be printed.

    The problem is that we are all in denial and refuse to embrace what has proven to be a viable alternative.

    The region is small by world standards and we need to build the affordable, not the unaffordable. I think by 2014 the whole mess called Translink will collapse in a heap of debt and public transit will languish in a morass for decades to come.

    Malcolm J.

    July 4, 2008 at 12:56 pm

  10. The Vancouver Sun, at least, has a 200 word limit for its letters.

    http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/letters.html

    Sungsu

    July 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  11. Remember that the Canada Line, Evergreen Line, M-Line extension and Expo Line enhancements are either under construction or planned.

    ********

    As an aside, here’s a thread on abandoned mass-transit infrastructure which is interesting. Check out all of the pages. There are links to the never commissioned Cincinnati subway, the Rochester subway, NYC’s 3rd St. EL (including a video with a swing span bridge), Liverpool Overhead Railway, Charleroi, Belgium subway and Antwerp Belgium subway (for the unused Antwerp pics, cut and paste the url to see the pic of the unfinished underground stations).

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=644005

    Ron C.

    July 4, 2008 at 5:56 pm

  12. Webpage regarding the Charleroi subway with lots of pics:

    http://www.urbex.nl/portal.php?page=184

    Ron C.

    July 4, 2008 at 6:11 pm

  13. Chareroi was a complete fiasco, where over priced and over built pre metro bankrupted local authorities. Instead of keeping it simple, transit planners believed the more one spent on transit, the more people would use it! Sounds like SkyTrain here.

    Malcolm J.

    July 4, 2008 at 7:45 pm

  14. Hate to break the news —-There will not be a evergreen line—no funding and we are just entering a recession if not a depression—Campbell squandered the surpluses,the evergreen is supposed to start in 2008 if its to be completed by 2014, just watch and wait for the “after the election”statement before building evergreen starts.

    Tourism is down 60% around the province,forestry is dead,mining has flattened out,house prices are now going the other way,the speculators aren`t buying,residential construction will begin heavy layoffs, Campbell will start one more mega project before he is removed and thats the port mann twinning and highway expansion.

    The economic indicators in BC are apparent,Campbell raided the piggy bank and locked us in with overpriced p3s that we will be paying for decades,prepare for the long emergency!

    Grant G

    July 4, 2008 at 8:23 pm

  15. ^ Grant, the Evergreen Line is a go ahead. Though there is still a slight funding shortage, it will be resolved before the end of the year……And you’re making our economic situation as if the sky is falling, it’s not and it won’t.

    I can also tell you, from a very reliable source, that the project is moving fast right now and the first of RFP’s have already been issued.

    Also, it won’t take 6 years to build the Evergreen Line (you said a 2008 start and a 2014 finish). Much of the initial Port Moody-Coquitlam SkyTrain Line planning work has already been done prior to 2002 when it was to be a phase II expansion of the Millennium Line.

    Really, construction could probably begin as early as late 2009 or sometime in 2010 and still finish by 2014. It took us 3 years to build the 20-km Millennium Line and 4 years for the 19-km Canada Line….it’s not going to take 6 years to build the 11-km Evergreen Line.

    ken

    July 5, 2008 at 12:26 am

  16. /\ “Grant” is actually “Brian Gough”.. he posts the same comments incessantly both here and on the Tyee “verbatim” under his other web moniker. Don’t pay tooooo much attention to him. 🙂

    Al

    July 5, 2008 at 3:17 am

  17. I hope the Evergreen Line will not go ahead. As planned it is vastly too expensive for the job it will do and probably like the rest of the SkyTrain system, not take a car off the road.

    The so-called business case has been shredded by Gerald Fox, an American transit expert. All the Evergreen Line will do is give TransLink the excuse to continue its silly ways. As I said, public transit in the region is in a morass, mainly caused by SkyTrain. The regions politicians are in complete transit denial and SkyTrain construction has caused the Gateway highway’s and bridging program to happen. Building more SkyTrain just exasperates the situation.

    Malcolm J.

    July 5, 2008 at 7:31 am

  18. Get out you wallets and prepare to pay—This new american president to run skytrain is here to fleece the people,the old preseident couldn`t bring himself to charge consumers more money,hence his departure,prepare yourself for a 300 hundred dollar car levy and congestion charges and property tax increase and a fare increase and 3 more cents a liter on fuel.

    Ken –The evergreen line has been announced how many times now? Falcon stated it would start in 2008 with completion in 2014—-Well its over halfway through 2008 still no shovel in the ground,the funding shortfall is 1.2 billion just on the evergreen line.

    Remember the photo op at surrey memorial hospital 2 weeks before the 2005 provincial election—-Campbell and abbott and baldrey and all the media —The slogan,health care where and when you need it—The promise, new emergency room,ambulatory unit,and new out patient hospital–The promised timeline, emergency room to start in 2007 with completion in 2009,the ambulatory unit to start in 2008 with completion in 2010—–Well Ken we are now over halfway through 2008 and there is still not one shovel in the ground and the only 2x4s used in this project to date are to hold up Campbells 2005 announcement.—-The new completion date is now 2012 and 2013

    Ken it looks like your already hinting that the evergreen line WILL NOT START UNTIL WELL AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION—with olympic bills flowing fast and furious good luck,Malcom is more correct then all of you,
    Ken it is obvious you never get to visit the whole province to see how well the economy is working,read Vaughn Palmers latest column,check out the real estate projections,check out BC ferries ,check the air flights ,construction booms come and go ,even Alberta real estate prices are down 20% in the last year and they make real money there.

    The evergreen line,if it does happen after the election ot will be done under the NDP,if Campbell wins it WILL NOT HAPPEN

    Al——–If you have nothing constructive to say keep your blather to yourself—-Post a comment,disagree or agree with another commentor,I often disagree with commentors and I tell them why,or what or where or who,what did you add to the topic?——–” Don`t pay tooooo much attention to him” —–BYOB —BRING YOUR OWN BEEF AL———-Its quite obvious AL that you are always sucking down someones weiner!!!

    Grant G

    July 5, 2008 at 9:53 am

  19. I’m afraid Grant you are right. We now have a heavy rail (read metro) guy in charge. His experience is with cities with the population of that of Victoria to the Lake-head. I also understand he left NYC under a cloud of poor service and operation.

    When the “Ship of fools” runs things, don’t be surprised at the results.

    Malcolm J.

    July 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm

  20. RE: Malcolm J. said, on July 5th, 2008 at 7:31 am

    The SkyTrain Evergreen Line will be money well spent and is one of the last pieces of our SkyTrain network. It’s important that we build ourselves a high-capacity, high-speed rapid transit network. It makes all the sense to build the UBC M-Line extension, Evergreen Line, and 6-km Surrey extension as SkyTrain.

    Afterwards, we can focus on a combo of commuter rail and streetcar/LRT for routes with less demand and less density such as lines to Langley, White Rock/Tsawassen/Delta, 41st Avenue and Main Street in Vancouver, etc.

    Convenience, frequency, comfort, corridors, and most importantly speed are huge factors for the success of any transit line. Ask any transit rider and they will tell you that speed is a huge factor, and probably the most important way to get people out of their cars and into transit.

    There’s no turning back with SkyTrain now, but it is our transit system’s backbone and we need to finish it.

    As for the Evergreen Line being SkyTrain, it eliminates a pointless transfer for eastbound commuters. It’s also much faster and frequent, and it enables us to use our SkyTrain fleet. As well, the price difference is only about $200-million as both LRT and SkyTrain would require just about the same amount of tunneling…..not to mention that the LRT plan would’ve required about a kilometre of elevated guideway.

    You may argue that the Ministry compared the two plans with different number of stations…..but with different technologies, you can’t exactly build both in the same way with the same station spacing. The Ministry went with 8-stations for SkyTrain (14-minute travel time), which is about the same number of stations that was planned in 2002 for the original PMC SkyTrain project. And with the LRT plan, those numbers and figures were straight from Translink before the whole restructure: 12-stations and a 24-minute travel time. The fully-segregated SkyTrain is obviously much faster, even if it had more stations.

    The travel time for LRT is hardly competitive with the car…..it’s just about the same at 25-minutes, if I remember correctly. And it’s not that much faster than the existing 97 B-Line, at ~30-minutes. The Evergreen Line as LRT would be just one heck of an expensive tram line.

    SkyTrain hasn’t taken a car off the road? Then maybe we should turn those 240,000 boardings into 240,000 car trips.

    ken

    July 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm

  21. RE: Grant G said, on July 5th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    The Evergreen Line has OFFICIALLY been announced once, and believe me it is a priority project for the Liberal government. Transportation projects have always been important to this government. Falcon never did say construction would start in 2008….he announced the project this year! But yes, he did say it would be completed by 2014.

    How could construction even start this year when the details have not been finalized? When there’s no contractor? When there have not been any public consultations? etc. You don’t make any sense. That is why construction probably won’t begin until late-2009 or 2010.

    As for this imaginary $1.2-billion funding shortfall, it’s more like $523-million. The province has committed $410-million, Translink $400-million, and the federal government $67-million. The gap will likely be filled in later this year or next year with more money from other federal government funds, real estate development, and the private sector.

    The B.C. economy could be heading for a slowdown, but hardly a recession. We’ll survive, it’s not the end of the world.

    ken

    July 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm

  22. Ken, time to wake up, the evergreen plan is the plan from 2002—the new board has done nothing,what consultations,what enviromental assessments, you mean like the ones for gateway ,the SFPR,Falcon did state it was going to start in 2008,I waited with baited breath for his announcement that was live on cknw.

    I will bet the farm that the port mann twinning and highway expansion start before the election,pretty funny considering evergreen route and plan have been around for almost a decade.
    Translink missed the boat on being land developers,and when translink goes for tolling all existing bridges in the lower mainland and a three hundred dollar car levy,to pay for skytrain when people won`t be able to use it for years,you will have outright revolt and campbell and co. will be tossed and dropped faster then a hot potato.

    Translink already gets 10 cents a liter in gas tax,my senior citizen parents burnaby tax bill has a three hundred dollars for translink already, have you read bill 43 ken–The greater vancouver transportation authorization amendment act

    If you had you will know the translink by law if they raise property taxes by three% they have to raise gas by three cents a liter and raise transit fares ,none of those items by law can be done individually!They all have to be done BY LAW alltogether

    A hideous bill written by Kevin Falcon

    Translink in a few years won`t even have the money to pay for operations let alone new infrastructure!

    There is no other federal money for translink,maybe Dion will give translink money lol, the federal liberals are finshed (the green shift) lol

    The money the province gave translink was the money they borrowed for the Canada(olympics line)line,so Campbell has contributed NOTHING

    The 67 million was from the feds,other money does come to the province from the feds but that money is already spoken for and remember you need 2 hundred million for gates and fort knox security(a system that will be a net drain in the millions everyyear)

    Finally Ken—–Lets call a spade a spade—Translink isn`t making any decisions Campbell and Falcon are making all the decisions and you will never convince me otherwise.—–Yea the group of mayors picked the translink board but—They had to pick the group out of a list that Falcon supplied(wow what a choice) and who are these members? they are from —The vancouver board of trade—-The Gateway panel—Along with accountants—-Do you see the irony there Ken—All those groups are motivated by moving trucks,goods, and thats why they want highways and bridges.

    If transit was such a priority for Campbell he would of funded it !!!!!

    Lets examine the 4 billion dollar surplus from last year and see where it went.

    !.25 billion went to what they call a supplimental budget (that means it paid for the previous years phony accounting) –were down to 2.75 billion—–350 million subsidy to oil and gas—250 million subsidy to the banks—200 million for art center—3 million india gate—down to 1.9 billion dollars——200million (part funding for childrens hospital)—100million dollar settlement(because he lost in the supreme court of Canada) to the HEU (from when campbell broke the law in 2002 when he tore up their legal contracts—–down to 1.6 billion—-100 million dollar slush fund in the climate action ministry—500 million to bribe BCers with the climate action checks—down to 1 billion—-400 million to translink(the money it borrowed for the Canada line now replaced without interest)

    The remaining money has been spent on sea to sky highway,convention center,musqueam,and olympic spending (hidden from the public)

    How much NEW MONEY TO TRANSLINK ZEOR ZERO ZERO ZERO—-

    So Ken —-Tell me where the priority for Campbell is —–Not to mention Campbell needs 2 billion dollars foe olympic security costs.

    Priorities—-not surrey memorial—not childrens hospital—not homeless problem–not seniors health—not the 5000 long term health care beds for seniors promised in 2000,still 4700 short 8 years later—not social housing—not the enviroment—

    His priorities are oil and gas –highways—big business,offshore oil and gas—Last item Ken—guess how much Campbell has contributed to forestry towns—-zero zero zero zero—-Even Harper gave BC forestry towns 130 million—–Money that Campbell gave to accenture to distribute at a cost of 6% of the total,

    Campbell has something in common with Cretian (they both talk out of the side of their mouth)

    Grant G

    July 5, 2008 at 8:10 pm

  23. Ken, sorry old chum, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. If LRT is slower than SkyTrain, then TransLink has designed it to be slower. On the Evergreen Line, TransLink’s planners deliberately made LRT slower. Talk to Gerald Fox of LTK (noted US transit expert) he shredded TransLink’s business case for the Evergreen line. Oh by the way, St Louis’s LRT has a faster commercial speed than SkyTrain, strange how an at-grade system can be faster than a grade separated system, probably because TransLink wasn’t anywhere near the project.

    The real problem for SkyTrain is that despite almost $6 million of the taxpayers money invested into the light-metro, Translink can’t show a modal shift. Also very worrisome is that TransLink says that 80% of SkyTrain riders first take the bus to the light-metro. This is ominous indeed as it shows that car drivers are not attracted to the metro.

    Ken old boy, its overall time to take a transit trip that attract riders not just the time on Skytrain. For many, a bus ride and a forced transfer to Skytrain takes lots of time, also remember that one can lose upwards of 70% of ridership per transfer. What we have is more Translink excuses for inept operation and squandering of the taxpayers dollar.

    Ken, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about, both LRT and SkyTrain are railways and Skytrain is a very expensive railway, that’s why no one buys it; why Bombardier won’t let LRT compete against ART (SkyTrain); and why most planners consider the mode obsolete.

    And please, don’t insult me with SkyTrain boarding numbers because they are a Houdini job and not statically verifiable. They are numbers just pulled from the air to suit the need of politicians and TransLink’s own band of inept planners. Admitted that SkyTrain carries large numbers of passengers but 80% of those are forced onto the light-metro from buses, which is a very very bad statistic indeed.

    As for capacity, Calgary’s LRT has a higher theoretical capacity than SkyTrain, try reading their web site, certainly its easier to use and a lot more informative than TransLink’s.

    Oh yes, this is about the fourth announcement for the Evergreen Line, like all political projects, the politicians just want to get as much political mileage as they can without really building it.

    Funny thing is, not one Skytrain has passed public scrutiny in the USA – Hmmmm, I wonder why.

    Who builds with SkyTrain? Only in Vancouver you say – I wonder why?

    Malcolm J.

    July 5, 2008 at 9:15 pm

  24. OOPs I should have said ‘almost $6 billion’.

    Malcolm J.

    July 5, 2008 at 9:16 pm

  25. Wakey wakey time Ken——-Read Miro Cernetic column in todays Vancouver sun,its all about your new translink president and the MASSIVE FUNDING SHORTFALL—-As per usual Malcom J was right and I was right as well —-Campbell should have funded translink rather than give away all the surplus to the oil and gas industry and the banks——I will bet there will be no evergreen line under Campbell but I`ll bet there will money for turnstiles, gates, bridges,highways,and TRANSLINK BONUSES!!!!!!

    Grant G

    July 7, 2008 at 4:28 pm

  26. First of all, TransLink back then chose Light Rail due to a number of reasons, namely because it didn’t want to “compete with the West Coast Express” as well as the overwhelming support for Light Rail by the surrounding communities (because it looks better). And thus, because of Light Rail, since it runs on road, it must obey all road rules, following speed limit. Sure TransLink could give more signal priorities, but Light Rail is still slower than SkyTrain either way.

    Also notice that making the Evergreen Line SkyTrain will increase the capacity of the Millennium Line, with the frequency of the trains (in shared service) from five minutes down to at least two and a half minutes.

    Funny how you guys mention transfer. Last time I checked, Evergreen Line SkyTrain will eliminate the transfer at Lougheed Town Centre, which is an extreme plus since many don’t like transferring (and as many of you have stated earlier). By 2020, there will be a transferless ride from Coquitlam Centre to the Broadway corridor and UBC. Not only that, it would take significantly less time to get to these two destinations.

    With regards to the St. Louis LRT, most of their LRT is using old rail corridors or is by the highway. Since it fully separated from the road network, of course they can run the LRT at higher speeds.

    Yes SkyTrain is on-average significantly more expensive than LRT or sometimes conventional-rail metro for that matter. In this case, the cost differences isn’t that significant since many parts of the LRT is elevated and underground. Again, we will be paying more for a higher capacity route and we will be increasing Millennium Line’s current capacity.

    “Who builds with SkyTrain? Only in Vancouver you say – I wonder why?”

    I’m not sure if you realize that Beijing’s newest Airport Express is using Mark II Vehicles. In fact, the Chinese officials were so impressed with the SkyTrain network, they immediately turned to Bombardier to build the Beijing’s Airport Express. There will be many more new metro networks in China, and they are currently in talk with Bombardier to build more lines using ALRT technology. If you are questioning this, there was an interview with officials from China coming to Vancouver that was aired on Global about three weeks ago? Much of the Chinese media (including TVB) has said the same.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There is a place for LRT, a place for Streetcar, and a place for SkyTrain. SkyTrain is the minimum for a high capacity network. SkyTrain currently connects many of the region’s municipal centres and metro cores. Connecting Coquitlam’s city centre with the rest of the region’s network is perfectly understandable. Not only this, there are huge development opportunities throughout the Evergreen Line corridor.

    Adrian L.

    July 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

  27. Adrian, I see the SkyTrain lobby working overtime and anti-LRT nonsense spews with great abandon.

    First about on-street running and LRT following the road rules. Well old chum, most buses and cars do not follow road rules and streetcar/tram operation in facts forces road traffic to adhere to the rules with less accidents happening. In Germany trams are allowed to travel 10 kph faster than the posted speed limit.

    This ‘penis envy’ about capacity has always amused me because it tells me instantly the person hasn’t a clue what he is talking about and likes to use big phrases to confuse people. Capacity is a function of headway and not a function increasing ridership. Most simple streetcar/tram systems have capacity’s exceeding 20,000 pphpd, but may only carry 5,000 pphpd in the peak. Capacity and ridership are two different animals.

    Excuse me, the Lougheed Mall junction will only eliminate a transfer if one wishes to proceed to Vancouver (but there is mandatory transfer waiting down the line) but not if one wants to proceed to Surrey. Most stats I have scene show that the vast majority of traffic in the Tri-Cities are going to Surrey or beyond. Look at the low ridership on the express bus and that will show you the ridership on the Evergreen Line. TransLink will spend $1.5 billion on moving less than 2000 pphpd on a bus. Shows you why our transit system is heading to a morass.

    Sure St. Louis uses old railway/interurban rights-of-way, so to do most LRT installation in North America, but it also has fewer stations/stops than most LRT operations and fewer stations constrain ridership.

    When LRT is elevated or operates in a tunnel, it becomes a light-metro like SkyTrain, with the ills and benefits of a light metro. Manilla’s LRT system, built as a light metro (fully segregated) carries well over 700,000 passengers a day, not bad for a system designed to carry 350,000 passengers per day.

    As for SkyTrain sales to China, well of course, Chinese cities have the population for metro and light metro, of course a light metro system like SkyTrain ART would be in the running, but with the Global economy slowing at a even faster pace, even the Chinese transit authorities, may consider cheaper transit options.

    SkyTrain is and ever has been a political show-piece; a ribbon cutting, photo-op type of transit system, that’s why the Mayor of Honolulu want to build one. But remember, it is the taxpayer that pays for SkyTrain and the taxpayer is being ham-strung by lower wages and higher taxes and in the GVRD, the taxpayer may say ‘enough’ of this nonsense, build me a transit system that doesn’t bankrupt me.

    Remember, SkyTrain has never, I repeat never, been allowed to compete directly with LRT in a fair and open bidding process, it has always been built with secret deals and phony planning. one hell of a legacy, don’t you think?

    Adrian by the way, if you knew anything about SkyTrain, you would know it is not ALRT, both versions of that moniker were obsolete by 1990, but ART. SkyTrain has gone through 5 marketing name changes in 30 years. Who is trying to fool who?

    Malcolm J.

    July 8, 2008 at 8:34 am

  28. A note about Calgary’s C-Train, which was mentioned above.

    The ridership stats tell as incomplete of a story as SkyTrain or any other system one chooses to slag or promote on this blog. Calgary justified the approval of several vast, very low density single-family, large lot subdivisions (mostly in the south) once LRT was built. In essence, you have a case where transit promoted sprawl, which is a perversion of planning with average intelligence and management of growth to appropriately deal with the climate and energy challenges facing all of us.

    These subdivisions are as car-dependent as any of the more notorious suburbs J. H. Kunstler loves to knock anywhere in the world. This has produced the phenomenon of measureably more car-traffic being generated to access very large park-and-ride facilities at the farthest LRT stations. In fact, Calgary out-pollutes every other large Canadian city by having the largest amount of per capita greenhouse gas emissions which –guess what? — comes mostly from cars.

    Moreover, the advent of LRT has not visibly diminished the huge amount of public funds put into freeways and major arterials in Calgary. Calgary has had LRT for a generation, yet has still grown to occupy an amount of land roughly equivalent to all five boroughs of New York City with 1/10th the population and urban efficiency.

    That is not sound urban OR transit planning. That is a mistake on a vast scale.

    And yet once again the train freaks missed the land use connection in their zeal to make a point here.

    Meredith

    July 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

  29. Great wow… talk about being rude. ICTS = ALRT = ART. At the end of the day, we all know we are referring to “SkyTrain” technology, and you know that. By the way, ALRT is still recognized and is used as the current term by the Government of British Columbia and TransLink.

    “First about on-street running and LRT following the road rules. Well old chum, most buses and cars do not follow road rules and streetcar/tram operation in facts forces road traffic to adhere to the rules with less accidents happening. In Germany trams are allowed to travel 10 kph faster than the posted speed limit.”

    “Sure St. Louis uses old railway/interurban rights-of-way, so to do most LRT installation in North America, but it also has fewer stations/stops than most LRT operations and fewer stations constrain ridership.”

    The rights of way already makes a big difference. Because the Evergreen Line is in an urban area, the LRVs must operate at a speed in which is safe for drivers as well as pedestrians. With full rights of way, this is not the case. If LRT was fully separated, it can operate at the same speed as the SkyTrain.

    Theoretically, buses are supposed to be following speed limit. When you are talking about planning and presenting, you must be following these rules.

    With regards to Germany, then it’s an exception or an official rule. If we do the same here, as a regional body, there would have to be changes made to the Motor Vehicle Act. But again, there is a concern regarding the safety of pedestrians.

    “This ‘penis envy’ about capacity has always amused me because it tells me instantly the person hasn’t a clue what he is talking about and likes to use big phrases to confuse people. Capacity is a function of headway and not a function increasing ridership. Most simple streetcar/tram systems have capacity’s exceeding 20,000 pphpd, but may only carry 5,000 pphpd in the peak. Capacity and ridership are two different animals.”

    I don’t think I mentioned anything about ridership. I said the headways between trains or the frequency of the trains will be lowered from five minutes to two and a half minutes in the “shared service” of the Millennium Line.

    “Excuse me, the Lougheed Mall junction will only eliminate a transfer if one wishes to proceed to Vancouver (but there is mandatory transfer waiting down the line) but not if one wants to proceed to Surrey. Most stats I have scene show that the vast majority of traffic in the Tri-Cities are going to Surrey or beyond. Look at the low ridership on the express bus and that will show you the ridership on the Evergreen Line. TransLink will spend $1.5 billion on moving less than 2000 pphpd on a bus. Shows you why our transit system is heading to a morass.”

    True, but we are still eliminating one transfer either way. I still feel incredibly sorry for the passengers heading on to the South of Fraser, where they would still be making two transfers on the SkyTrain system. Both LRT or ALRT isn’t going to solve that, but if ALRT is going to make it easier for one group of passengers, why is that bad?

    Commuters who travel from Coquitlam Central to Lougheed SkyTrain (as a transfer point or terminus) [and vice versa] will know that the current “express bus” that connects these two municipal centres is one slower than the other local buses. 151 & 152 are both faster than the 97 by at least ten minutes. 169 from Braid is even faster: 15 – 18 minutes during peek hours. Basically, the numbers are spread out on the board with many bus routes.

    Ridership will also continue to grow for the route. City of Coquitlam has presented many plans of development opportunities and their plans which is centred around the ALRT corridor: increasing residential density and commercial for Burquitlam, Lougheed, and Coquitlam Central (City Centre “Sharette” Model).

    One big reason why there are fewer passengers heading to Vancouver (Broadway District & UBC) via Millennium Line verses heading to Surrey Central is because it’s a lot slower to get to there. With SkyTrain, we would be eliminating the long and crowded 99 B-Line bus ride as well as the bus ride to Lougheed. Once we get a full SkyTrain network, the numbers will even out more.

    “Adrian, I see the SkyTrain lobby working overtime and anti-LRT nonsense spews with great abandon.”

    I find it funny how people automatically assume one is anti-LRT if they support SkyTrain. No, I can tell you I’m not.

    As I said earlier, there is a place for LRT, a place for Tram/Streetcar, and a place for higher capacity metros. With the current Evergreen Line route (Northeast corridor), SkyTrain is definitely the way to go. If it was the Southeast corridor, I was say LRT would be a better option, not to mention that it could possibly be expanded in the future across the Port Mann Bridge to Guildford, then to Surrey Central, and south on King George highway.

    Adrian L.

    July 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm

  30. Gimmee a break —2020—-I have to wait for 2020 or 2030 for a decent transit—thats as bad as the G8 nations claiming to reduce greenhouses gasses by 50% by 2050

    There is NO MONEY—YA GOT IT —NO MONEY

    Please don`t talk about China—They have no enviromental assessments,they just do what they want,they push people aside and plow forward( It does sound a little like Campbell and Falcon)

    China —A journeyman tradesperson makes 100 to 200 dollars a month—-A journeyman or woman make 300 to 400 dollars a day in BC —–China also has no workers compensation or unemployment insurance or pension—-In other words China can build big and stupid at a low cost—–The same system in BC is at least a hundred times higher in BC

    Have you seen Chinas scaffolding, its bamboo—Worker 40 stories up dangling on bamboo—In the west manpower is the biggest cost in Chine the biggest cost is material——-P.S. China has money,trillions,so no finance charges—The phoney never to happen transit system that Campbell wants to foist upon the people by 2020 —-Chihna will build that much transit or skytrain if they decide to go that route(which I doubt) in probably 1 to 2 years—–So please Adiran don`t insult my or Malcoms intelligence!!!!

    Grant G

    July 8, 2008 at 3:52 pm

  31. Good point Adrian re: there bring places for various forms of urban rail transit.

    The UBC Centre for Sustainability did a credible job convincing me, for one, that surface light rail would work on the Evergreen Line because they addressed the potential development, urban design parameters and commuity benefits of the project, not just spouted stats usually heard only at conventions for train nerds. They also did it in a design charrette format that involved the public in actual on-the ground and site-specific issues, not just quoted some generalities from some one-size-fits-all light rail manual.

    But now that it’s swung back to SkyTrain there aren’t a lot of people with their shorts tied in knots, including me, though I was a bit disappointed. As long as the SkyTrain extension provides an efficient regional transit service and the communities it touches develop with a serious transit-based orientation — and with care about urban design details — I’m fine with it, as I suspect the majority of taxpayers are. In fact, I suspect the majority want it built a lot sooner considering the escalating price of gasoline.

    King George, the Lougheed Hwy in Coquitlam, 200th St, the #10 Hwy, Kingsway, the rail line on the North Arm, and just about any other arterial in the Lower mainland are prime candidates for secondary rail, like those low-floor streetcars, whether in a dedicated median or right in the traffic, whatever suits the site.

    But not one dollar of rail transit should be added until there is an equal commitment by the cities to adjust their zoning bylaws and public consultation practices to accommodate not just more density and energy conservation / alternatives, but to do it in appropriate ways that each neighbourhood has a say in. I would even say that should be put into a binding contract with periodical performance audits.

    It’s not just about trains. It’s about converting our cities into more sustainable forms. THAT is what really matters.

    Meredith

    July 8, 2008 at 3:55 pm

  32. “Gimmee a break —2020—-I have to wait for 2020 or 2030 for a decent transit—thats as bad as the G8 nations claiming to reduce greenhouses gasses by 50% by 2050

    There is NO MONEY—YA GOT IT —NO MONEY

    “Please don`t talk about China—They have no enviromental assessments,they just do what they want,they push people aside and plow forward( It does sound a little like Campbell and Falcon)”

    You make it sound like China doesn’t care about the environment at all… Funny how so many North Americans would simply just buy in to the stores Global and CTV airs, and not look at actual facts. Yes China is the world’s most polluting country, but they also have the world’s largest population. Over the past few years, China has closed down many many many factories. What the Chinese are experiencing right now: the automobile-boom is something we experienced already back in the 80s and 90s. It’s just a matter of catch-up right now.

    You also make it sound like SkyTrain is “damaging to the environment”…. alrighties there…

    “China —A journeyman tradesperson makes 100 to 200 dollars a month—-A journeyman or woman make 300 to 400 dollars a day in BC —–China also has no workers compensation or unemployment insurance or pension—-In other words China can build big and stupid at a low cost—–The same system in BC is at least a hundred times higher in BC”

    That I would have no doubts.

    “Have you seen Chinas scaffolding, its bamboo—Worker 40 stories up dangling on bamboo—In the west manpower is the biggest cost in Chine the biggest cost is material——-P.S. China has money,trillions,so no finance charges—The phoney never to happen transit system that Campbell wants to foist upon the people by 2020 —-Chihna will build that much transit or skytrain if they decide to go that route(which I doubt) in probably 1 to 2 years—–”

    Alright bamboo scaffolding is one of the most amazing methods ever. There are very few accidents with bamboo scaffolding. If you think China’s been covering up a few stories, go look at Hong Kong (where media isn’t restricted). Same thing: bamboo scaffolding is perfectly safe.

    Just because these methods are foreign does not mean they don’t work. In this case, it’s safe and works perfectly fine.

    “So please Adiran don`t insult my or Malcoms intelligence!!!!”

    Oh please…. no one’s insulting your intelligence. I’m just doing a simple rebuttal. When Macolm said “Who builds with SkyTrain? Only in Vancouver you say – I wonder why?”, I simply pointed out this is actually not the case.

    We can also use Yongin’s EverLine in South Korea as another example.

    Adrian L.

    July 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm

  33. > Meredith said, on July 8th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    > A note about Calgary’s C-Train, which was mentioned above.

    And a note to Meredith, could you provide some sources for your information, at least once in a while. I know this is merely a comments section of a blog, but I find far too many statements that you make need some fact checking.

    > This has produced the phenomenon of measureably more car-traffic being generated to > access very large park-and-ride facilities at the farthest LRT stations. In fact, Calgary
    > out-pollutes every other large Canadian city by having the largest amount of per capita > greenhouse gas emissions which –guess what? — comes mostly from cars.

    Actually, most of Calgary’s GHG come from electricity. Not being blessed with hydro like BC is, not surprising. There is only so much wind and solar can do. My source (http://content.calgary.ca/CCA/City+Hall/Business+Units/Environmental+Management/Climate+Change/Calgarys+Greenhouse+Gas+Emissions.htm)

    Also, Calgary’s south LRT line has a ridership of 103,000 (source: http://calgarytransit.com/html/lrt_ridership.html) and a total park and ride capacity of 6015 (source: http://calgarytransit.com/html/park_n_ride.html). Probably all single occupancy vehicles, but that still leaves an incredible amount of people taking bus, bike or foot to the LRT stations.

    And I would like to confirm your statement that Calgary is the largest city polluter per capita in Canada, you may very well be right, but I cannot find this anywhere, so I will not make such a claim without evidence to back it up.

    > Calgary has had LRT for a generation, yet has still grown to occupy an amount of land > roughly equivalent to all five boroughs of New York City with 1/10th the population and > urban efficiency.

    No doubt Calgary has sprawl, as does Metro Vancouver. But that NY vs. Calgary comparison is flawed as Calgary’s land area includes much more green space than NY, it includes the Calgary Airport, landfills and tracts of undeveloped land that is set aside for future growth (source: http://www.calgary.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_544763_0_0_18/Comparing+Calgary+With+New+York.htm)

    I don’t mean to defend Calgary so much, because that city has a tonne of issues, as do we. But everyone should know all the facts and judge for themselves.

    s.

    July 8, 2008 at 9:57 pm

  34. What I find appalling is the utter ignorance about ‘rail’ transit here. SkyTrain is treated as a god, yet there are very few examples of it in operation and not one SkyTrain was allowed to compete against light rail. Despite being on the market for almost 30 years here are 5 or 6 in operation and every time SkyTrain failed to find a market, the owners of the proprietary light-metro changed the name. 5 times to date. Hmmm.

    It should be noted that every SkyTrain built to date was a private deal with little or no public vetting and not one SkyTrain has ever survived public scrutiny in the USA (the JFK SkyTrain was a private deal between the Port Authority, Bombardier Inc., and the Canadian government, there was little public involvement).

    Meredith hates the C-Train because a relative was killed by it, yet the singular fact is that the C-Train now carries over 250,000 passengers a day, a feat deemed impossible by TransLink.

    Here is a primer on ‘rail’ transit. Both SkyTrain and LRT are railways, being LIM powered and driver-less, SkyTrain is a very expensive railway to build and operate. SkyTrain is in fact a unconventional, automatic light-metro.
    (Myth #1 – SkyTrain is a different technology than LRT)
    (Myth #2 – driver-less railways are cheap to operate because they have no drivers)

    When ridership on a transit route exceeds 2,000 pphpd, LRT (streetcar/tram) becomes cheaper to operate than buses. This is because 1 tram and one tram driver is as efficient as 6 buses and 6 bus drivers. Added to this equation, for every bus or tram operated at least 3 people must be hired to drive, maintain and manage them and with wages accounting for about 70% of operating costs, the financial advantage of streetcar/tram (LRT) is very apparent.

    SkyTrain is light-metro ( a mode largely made obsolete by LRT) and being completely grade separated it is very expensive to build and operate, one needs ridership numbers larger than 15,000 pphpd to make light-metro viable on a transit route. China’s vast population would ensure this number, while in Vancouver huge subsidies must be paid because the metro is operating on routes that doesn’t have the ridership to sustain it.

    Myth #3 – SkyTrain pays it’s operating costs of $80 million annually)

    Light rail does make cities livable, because one can build at least 4 LRT lines for every 1 SkyTrain line, more LRT lines = a more compressive ‘rail’ network = a more attractive ‘rail’ network for potential customers. it so simple, I am staggered that very few people here understand the concept. Even UBC’s Prof. Condon is beginning to understand the power of at-grade LRT in making a city more livable.

    SkyTrain has damaged the environment because it is just too expensive to build out into the Fraser Valley and highway construction in the form of Gateway becomes a cheaper option.

    (Myth #4 – We don’t have the density for rapid transit in the Fraser Valley)

    TransLink deliberately plans LRT to be slower, this is done either by ignorance or on purpose, yet TransLink refuses to let real LRT experts anywhere near any LRT project. If LRT is slower than SkyTrain on the Evergreen line, then it was deliberately designed to be!

    The real problem with SkyTrain is that, despite almost $6 billion of taxpayers money spent on it to date, it has failed to show a modal shift from car to SkyTrain. 80% of SkyTrain’s ridership first take a bus to the light-metro and this tells transit experts 2 things: 1) TransLink is forcing bus passengers onto SkyTrain to inflate ridership numbers and 2) SkyTrain is poor in attracting new ridership.

    It is very difficult to debate transit in BC because most people don’t have a clue about transit or transit mode and certainly haven’t kept abreast of new developments. Yet the alarm bells are sounding, TransLink is going to have at least a $300 million shortfall by 2012. What are the alarm-bells saying? The folly of building light-metro (a.k.a SkyTrain) on transit routes that do not have the ridership to support the mode.

    The only way to sustain SkyTrain is to have whopping big tax increases, tax increases that will deter businesses from locating in Vancouver, instead locate in the Fraser Valley, which will in turn create more urban sprawl up the valley. SkyTrain light-metro has created the very urban sprawl that its proponents wished to cure.

    You just can’t have it both ways.

    May I suggest Prof. Carmen Hass Klau’s 4 international studies beginning with “Bus or Light Rail, making the right choice.”

    Those who failed to read transit history are doomed to repeat the same expensive mistakes.

    Malcolm J.

    July 9, 2008 at 1:21 am

  35. Translink is now facing a funding shortfall in the hundred million dollar range every year starting in about 3 years when their surplus is gone. I wonder if this is directly due to the costs of Skytrain, or is just a general funding shortfall. In other words, would they be in this financial situation if they had built with cheaper at-grade LRT?

    My main problem with Skytrain has nothing to do with carrying capacity or other statistics, though they are a big concern. No, my problem is that Skytrain just isn’t human scaled enough. Its large concrete guideway towers over houses and streets and reduces ease of boarding/alighting, and having no driver takes away a degree of humanity from the system.

    It just doesn’t seem like a ‘real’ transportation system. I always somehow feel like I’m at Disneyland or something. It’s more like a flashy gizmo designed to amaze the masses with its futuristic design rather than move large numbers of people.

    Its like the mass transit love child of GM’s City of Tomorrow.

    Corey

    July 9, 2008 at 10:45 am

  36. Note to s: My source on GHG emissions in Canada’s five largest cities is a table by Jeff Kenworthy, one of the pre-eminent transportation experts in the world. I’m trying to find the link without success so far in my archives, but will add it later once found.

    The Heritage station development plans have in the neighbourhood of 500 stalls of parking. That’s only one station, and it’s not really that far out from the centre. Moreover, the density and development potential around the stations all over the city have not been realized, nor has using transit and big malls to create dense “town centres”.

    My source for most of my comments is my familiarity with the city from having lived there for 22 years, my 25 years experience in urban design, and observations of the land everywhere there when visiting family several times a year(mostly by car, sometimes by transit). Google Earth also helps.

    Meredith

    July 9, 2008 at 12:56 pm

  37. Just idiots Corey——-The big problem as I see it is

    #1 —–It takes too long to build and its too expensive

    #2—–When the big earthquake hits the fact that it is so heavy it will crumble or crack or sink, billions of dollars gone—Ground level rail could be repaired and fixed fast and cheap.

    #3—–The transit/city planners are ass backwards—They say you need density to justify a decent transit ststem but the time you have the (sufficient density) these planners claim ground rail is to awkward and we have to go airborne with transklunk.

    Maybe its to late for van and burnaby but coquitlam the fraser valley south vancouver island should be installing the networks of ground rail BEFORE the density is there.

    These morons who are planning everything should be putting in the networks first and then have the big eco-developement follow but what the hell do I know I am just an uneducated “gob shite” to some of you posters.

    Is it not time in this century to have developers fall in step with the design plans of someone with brains (I wasn`t refering to me) rather than cities and planners and goverment bending over for bribing developers?

    I hope I spelled it out with clarity,some claim I am not sofisticated enough to post,despite what Geico says ” Its so easy a caveman can do it” I had enough trouble finding a mate to join me in my cave-dwelling ————————–signed…………………………..The missing link

    Grant G

    July 9, 2008 at 1:16 pm

  38. Corey, part of the problem is SkyTrain or light-metro with construction costs starting at about $100 million/km. versus LRT which can be be built as cheaply as $7 million/km. But there is more…buses.

    Buses cost a lot to operate operating on heavily used routes also a lot of bus routes run for charitable obligations, rather than for good public transport. All this adds up.

    Despite all the hype and hoopla about SkyTrain, RAV. B-Line buses, etc. TransLink can’t show a modal shift and ridership is mired at 11%. Yet we continue along the same path. Very sad indeed.

    The following is an interesting email from a English transit expert, regarding our transit planning. I believe it sums up Vancouver’s transit planning very accurately.

    – “Thanks for this – as always we become more and more bemused. It really is difficult to see what the proponents have to gain [as it were] and more importantly why their colleagues in political power or in opposition – or the federal authorities don’t call a halt to this tiresome behaviour, which is clearly perverse in some way, if only in that it seems to contradict what every other city and conurbation is doing. The only other case, of similar behaviour, which springs to mind was the construction of the guided bus in Adelaide to the north east suburbs some years ago and the moves to close the tramway to the south-side. Usual rubbish about cheaper to build and run and so on. Usual result – a bus is a bus and people “don’t do buses” anymore. “sorry chuck, you can’t fool me – it’s a bus”.

    Funny how these bus systems are always “tricked out” to disguise they are busses and are styled to look like trams. It is also dangerous for any transit system to be “product locked” into a particular suppliers patent system when looking at best value for extension and refurbishment and renewals. Almost like buying betamax video systems in the 1980’s.

    One of the major problems for LRT is that many systems are designed and deployed by heavy rail people and are often over the top in terms of cost as a result, so much so that building the system as heavy rail would have cost as much. Many new LRT systems world-wide are too often simply heavy rail infrastructure with “lightweight” LR rolling stock. In the UK this is a major barrier for developing secondary heavy rail routes since even the most remote branch lines need to comply with mainline ” Group Standards”. The point that many of these secondary lines were never built originally in this way to comply with high speed main lines standards.

    Proper light rail modus operandi could be a branch line blessing in the UK as elsewhere. We can hope that the disaster of rail privatisation requiring the UK Government to declare it will “invest” £35 Billion to rescue Railtrack Ltd from bankruptcy just about sums things up to the ever gullible taxpayer over here. Of course this public taxpayers money isn’t to denationalise the fixed assets of British Rail, but to create a “special purpose vehicle” – a new private company to acquire the assets and operate them on a not for profit basis – something some of us thought Railtrack had done quite well! ”-

    Malcolm J.

    July 9, 2008 at 1:17 pm

  39. “No doubt Calgary has sprawl, as does Metro Vancouver. But that NY vs. Calgary comparison is flawed as Calgary’s land area includes much more green space than NY, it includes the Calgary Airport, landfills and tracts of undeveloped land that is set aside for future growth”

    Yes, Metro Vancouver has a lot of sprawl, but for the past ten years, we’ve managed to control much of it. But a lot of which has to do with the settling patterns around the region.

    “No, my problem is that Skytrain just isn’t human scaled enough. Its large concrete guideway towers over houses and streets and reduces ease of boarding/alighting, and having no driver takes away a degree of humanity from the system.”

    Unfortunately, there’s only so much you could do with that. Richmond’s beginning to change that with the Canada Line, but having lots of lighting and “metal screens” that allow plants and vines to climb up and grow on the guideway.

    “SkyTrain has damaged the environment because it is just too expensive to build out into the Fraser Valley and highway construction in the form of Gateway becomes a cheaper option.”

    Skytrain has damaged the environment because it’s too expensive to build… that has nothing to do with the environment but instead tax payer dollars.

    “The real problem with SkyTrain is that, despite almost $6 billion of taxpayers money spent on it to date, it has failed to show a modal shift from car to SkyTrain. 80% of SkyTrain’s ridership first take a bus to the light-metro and this tells transit experts 2 things: 1) TransLink is forcing bus passengers onto SkyTrain to inflate ridership numbers and 2) SkyTrain is poor in attracting new ridership.”

    You could look at it that way, however, TransLink isn’t trying to necessarily inflate ridership by moving passengers into SkyTrain/Canada Line but instead to save the commute of time of commuters. Take the Canada Line for instance. Under the contract between TransLink and InTransitBC, it states that bus routes from White Rock/Tsawassen must terminate at Bridgeport. Passengers then transfer onto the Canada Line to continue into Vancouver/Downtown. Normally, just getting through Vancouver during peek hours to Downtown takes 45 minutes to an hour. But when the Canada Line opens, it would only take 25 minutes. The time savings are so significant, people would transfer onto the line regardless.

    Feeding buses into Metros is used in the most successful transportation networks around the world, including Tokyo and Hong Kong. TriMet Portland does the same too. A majority of the passengers get off the bus and transfer onto the LRT.

    “Maybe its to late for van and burnaby but coquitlam the fraser valley south vancouver island should be installing the networks of ground rail BEFORE the density is there.”

    Well when TransLink announced the Evergreen Line as LRT, there were already plans to densify. A lot of developments occurring in Coquitlam are mid rises. After the Provincial Gov’t announced Evergreen Line as SkyTrain, the plans grew even larger.

    Also, Metro Vancouver Regional Board has plans to densify much of Coquitlam and Surrey. There was a map presented in February (I think in Feb) illustrating Surrey Central as a “metro core” (like Downtown) and high priority development areas.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    If the M-Line was LRT (and back then, it was planned to be a LRT until Glen Clark changed in to SkyTrain), it would be perfectly fine for the Evergreen Line and the Millennium Line to be LRT.

    Adrian L.

    July 9, 2008 at 3:56 pm

  40. >Also very worrisome is that TransLink says that 80% of SkyTrain riders first take the bus to the light-metro. This is ominous indeed as it shows that car drivers are not attracted to the metro.

    What makes you think that former car drivers don’t first take the bus to the metro?

    Where I work, there are only 2 people left out of about 25 who still drive, the rest either SkyTrain, WCE, walkl, or take the bus to the SkyTrain.

    Dave 2

    July 9, 2008 at 4:35 pm

  41. It is a fact that car drivers do not leave their cars to board a bus and this has been a conundrum that has plagues transit planners around the world. Even the much vaunted guided-bus has failed to attract the motorist, as Adelaide Australia has so proved.

    Here is the main problem in our area, very few people have read a book on the subject or has done any in depth study. Everyone is an expert about transit, but very few people understand the subject.

    Contrary to what Translink claims, more people would probably use the Evergreen Line if it was a tram/streetcar line, rather than an elevated Skytrain Line. Translink’s claims that Skytrain will attract more ridership than LRT are unproven; no study has ever shown this.

    Here is the problem, when SkyTrain was first forced onto the region by the socreds. BC Transit was purged of anyone supporting light rail. Same was /is true of the ministry of transportation and to a lesser extent the planning departments at UBC and SFU.

    Only in Vancouver is LRT treated with such contempt; only in Vancouver is $6 billion spent on transit not to move people efficiently and effectively.

    This has lead to almost 30 years of planning authorities trying to reinvent the wheel with SkyTrain. Even the mode was proven to be inferior to LRT by the TTC and Gerald Fox’s study (comparing AGT and LRT). The rights of Skytrain now belong to Bombardier Inc. and they will sell the mode to any rube who wants it. Vancouver seems to be a city of rubes.

    Oh Skytrain will be built and those bureaucrats and politicians supporting Skytrain will be amply rewarded, but the poor taxpayer and transit user will suffer.

    As I said before 2012 to 2014, Translink will implode under the collective weight of debt on a transit system run by a ‘ship of fools’.

    Sadly the weight of international opinion is on my side and what I say in these blogs is what is being taught in universities in Europe.

    Just a note: The Main St. bus was terminated at M ain St. Science World a few years back and the people who used to enjoy a direct service to downtown Vancouver are now forced to transfer.

    Vancouver in the end will have a small metro netork and a large regional highways network because the metro is just too expensive to extend.

    Malcolm J.

    July 9, 2008 at 8:58 pm

  42. “Contrary to what Translink claims, more people would probably use the Evergreen Line if it was a tram/streetcar line, rather than an elevated Skytrain Line. Translink’s claims that Skytrain will attract more ridership than LRT are unproven; no study has ever shown this.”

    We haven’t had a public poll or survey for a while now, but back in 1998 conducted by Canadian facts, there was an overwhelming support for SkyTrain compared to LRT.

    “Sadly the weight of international opinion is on my side and what I say in these blogs is what is being taught in universities in Europe.”

    You have to see that many European cities already have a fully developed rapid transit network. If not, some are immediately going into LRT. If Vancouver went into LRT at first, then of course continue LRT.

    “Just a note: The Main St. bus was terminated at Main St. Science World a few years back and the people who used to enjoy a direct service to downtown Vancouver are now forced to transfer.”

    Time differences between passengers on the Main St. Bus heading to downtown vs passengers on the Main St. Bus transferring to SkyTrain is very small: 5 – 10 minutes. If you compare to the Canada Line situation I said earlier, there’s a huge difference in time.

    If we take the 20-Victoria scenario, the differences in time are much larger, hence more people getting off at Broadway transferring to SkyTrain.

    “Vancouver in the end will have a small metro netork and a large regional highways network because the metro is just too expensive to extend.”

    We only have 3 -_-” Even with Gateway, our highway network is still pretty small.

    Adrian L.

    July 9, 2008 at 9:48 pm

  43. Trouble Adrian with surveys, they tend to give the people who pay for them, the answers they want. BC Transit and now TransLink have never had an ‘honest’ survey. Your transit hokum is typical why only 11% of the public take transit and why Vancouver is something of a transit joke.

    Here is a question TransLink will not ask in a survey.

    A) Do you want Skytrain at $100 million/km. to build.
    B) do you want LRT at $25 million/km. to build.

    Independent surveys favour light rail, Translink sponsored surveys support Skytrain. Go figure.

    The trouble is the skytrain/metro lobby will create a transit black hole just to satisfy their egos, the LRT lobby as small as it is, want an affordable and efficient regional rail network. It is as simple as that.

    Malcolm J.

    July 9, 2008 at 11:06 pm

  44. Malcom there appears to be media monitors flogging the goverment stance lately on this site and I guess thats a good thing because they are worried about the logic that gets posted here.
    The thing that annoys me the most is why do we have to spend millions on Transklunk when they aren`t making one single decision? They are nothing but the voice of Campbell and Falcon.
    Everyone one knows the Canada line is nothing but a olympic promo line that will run a yearly debt in the millions,the sea to sky road is another olympic project (construction cost for that road 880 million,part of a 3.6 billion dollar contract,the builder of that road will receive 300.000.00 per day for 25 years for maintenance on that road,talk about hitting the jackpot)

    Golden ears bridge is a TOLL BRIDGE with drivers paying for it and no transit is planned for that bridge(I guess they haven`t figured out how to toll bus riders?)

    We know these transklunk show ponies that post here have already basically stated that the evergreen line will not start until after the olympics,My guess it will be delayed permantly, Campbell word and promises are worth SHIT.

    Thats why transklunk has been given the responsability of the putella bridge and all others crossings and roads and maintenance,just watch and wait for the slow diversion of transklunk monies that get directed into roads and bridges.

    One more point the feds have now made the 40 year mortgage illegal and all other loans require a 5% dowm minimum,the feds are worried about the subprime mortgage meltdown swamping Canada, therefore Transklunk will not be successful in and as land developers,they missed the boat.

    I look forward to the media monitors and the Transklunk show ponies trying to dis-credit my assertions,especially how Campbell has built nothing for the good of the people hes merely disguised olympic projects as things BCers needed,he is wrong on all counts.

    “There is no one as blind as those who refuse to see” ———————————signed………………………..The truth seeker

    Grant G

    July 10, 2008 at 10:51 am

  45. Note to s: Sorry for the delay supplying the reference. I haven’t been able to upload comments to this blog for some reason until now.

    Here’s the link to Kenworthy’s evaluation of GHG emissions in 84 cities worldwide. Hope it works.

    Here’s the abstract:

    http://blog.uwinnipeg.ca/cst/2006/04/jeff_kenworthy_paper.html

    The paper can be opened by clicking on “Transportation Energy Use …..”

    Look at the table on p. 18.

    Annual CO2 emissions per capita (approximated from the table):

    Calgary (+/- 3,000 kg/person)
    Toronto (+/- 2,600 kg/person)
    Vancouver (+/- 2,200 kg/person)
    Ottawa (+/- 2,100 kg/person)
    Montreal (+/- 2,100 kg/person)

    Highest of the 84 cities: Atlanta (+/- 7,500 kg/person)
    Lowest: Ho Chi Minh City (+/- 150 kg/person)

    p. 19 Percent CO2 from public transport:

    Ottawa (+/- 5%)
    Montreal (a little less than 5%)
    Toronto: (+/- 3%)
    Vancouver (+/- 2.5%)
    Calgary (+/- 2%)

    Highest: Manila (+/- 78%)
    Lowest: Phoenix + Riyadh (+/- 1%)

    Calgary has the highest rate of emissions per capita of the five largest Canadian cities and the lowest rate coming from public transport, which leads to the conclusion that the major source has to be cars … or more generally car-dependent low density subdivisions. This is the common trend … more car-dependency, higher emissions, no matter what the city. The other common trend is that the lower the emissions, the greater is it’s transit dependency.

    Those who use Calgary as an example of “higher” light rail ridership getting people out of their cars have to answer to Kenworthy’s work which clearly indicates the opposite. Montreal has the lowest rating and it happens to have a superior transit system.

    I’m not aware of any coal fired power stations clustered near Calgary (wind farms are to the south, the Ghost hydro dam is to the west). My understanding is that most of the largest plants are in central Alberta and in the north closer to Edmonton. That needs to be confirmed. There certainly aren’t any within the city boundaries that I’m aware of. I would think Kenworthy’s methodology would have included a statistical analysis of the number of vehicles, their type, number of km of road, car count stats, population, and a calculation of vehicle km driven. Actual measurements of CO2 could have played a role, but it’s not necessary if you know the emission rates of various vehicles. Also, with the prevailing winds coming from the west where there aren’t any coal plants, CO2 drifting into the city boundaries from said plants in large quantities seems unlikely.

    Until someone can prove the CO2 emissions do not come from cars, my conjecture stands that light rail / transit has done little to lessen car dependence and its attendant emissions in Calgary. I believe this is so because they failed to link transit to smart use of land (i.e. to increase density in transit-oriented development). Instead, they used LRT to justify sprawling subdivisions. The car is king, and it’s measurably more so than every other large Canadian city. Moreover, some councilors reinforced this paradigm as late as 2003 when they issued brochures explaining that they are annexing thousands of hectares of farmland in the SE to create low density, car-dependent subdivisions in order to “manage growth”. To me, that model is backwards and is a product of now widely-discredited urban planning principles from the 50s.

    But I have seen some progress there lately, and it gives me hope. If we are to attain anywhere near average European transit, walking and cycling use, we have much progress yes to make and a lot of building to do, and Calgary will have to experience a conversion a bit more painful and expensive per capita than most other cities.

    The debate was cut off in an exchange we had a couple of weeks ago and I was not able to respond to your rebuttal of my other comments on C-Train. Though I am critical of the rather clumsy and cheap initial implementation of C-Train and have had direct experience with its poor safety regime particularly at one location in the mid 90s, I am overall in strong support of any improvements they can make, and as many extensions as they can build given the assumed poor participation by senior governments in funding the system.

    If you’re going to implement light rail, it has to be done right.

    On that note, I’d like to see the introduction of low floor streetcars on arterials in all Canadian cities and towns with complete signal + traffic priority, kind of a slower secondary layer of rail complementary the primary rapid transit networks. There is much promise in Calgary on alignments like Elbow Drive S – Centre St N, and they could link to the regional rapid transit C-Train at hub stations where high-density development opportunities would arise. They could even close 5th St S to through car traffic (except for locals) and run the streetcars and generous bike lanes in a linear park on that alignment. It’s time to claim back more of that ocean of asphalt.

    But in all cases it is IMPERATIVE to change the zoning on streetcar arterials to increase density and promote mixed use. That could take the form of comfortable 4-storey buildings with continuous retail and small shops at the ground level, office space on the second level, and residential above that. I would even promote turning the corners and having row housing or continuous 2 or 3-storey buildings extending one block from the arterials. You don’t need to annex thousands of hectares of grossly undervalued and finite farm land to accomplish that, and if the developments are well-designed and accompanied by beautiful streetscape treatments, you’ve got yourself a beautiful city with much improved neighbourhoods, and everything within walking distance or a short transit ride away. I believe in that manner Calgary could comfortably accommodate a second million in population and not expand the city area by one square centimetre. This is also a way to provide a realistic alternative to owning a car. Giving up one average car puts more money in your pocket than any tax break ever could.

    I was very sad to see the appalling debacle that is the new sunken Glenmore Trail freeway. It appeared to get priority over LRT, or at least it was nearing completion just as the new western LRT extension was approved. Not to be outdone — Metro Vancouver’s Gateway Project (imposed by the province) will make Glenmore look like a back alley.

    I suspect the “asphalt factor” in Calgary’s property taxes is proportionately higher than Vancouver’s even though the total sum is more in Vancouver because of higher property assessments. I have only my Dad’s Calgary property tax info to compare to my Vancouver info to make that conjecture. But it would certainly make an interesting research project.

    Meredith

    July 10, 2008 at 12:53 pm

  46. Meredith, would not CO2 emissions come from home heating during cold winters? Ontario uses nuclear power and Quebec has ample hydro electric power, but Vancouver (with mild winters) and Calgary use natural gas. As well modern cars are not as polluting as say cars from 10 years ago.

    To equate LRT failure with CO2 emissions is a stretch and I would assume another factor is at play. Really, I am surprised how far people will go in nay-saying light rail. “The C-Train carries over 250,000 passengers a day, the largest amount of ridership for a light rail line in North America, yet you deem it a failure”.

    SkyTrain, which as managed 6 or 7 sales in 30 years, cost more to build and operate than LRT, and has a somewhat poorer performance than LRT is deemed a success.

    The rest of the world has moved on and moved away form light-metro or SkyTrain and build with the more versatile light rail (at least a 35 to 1 ratio!). The models for good LRT are their, if one wants to look, Portland, Grenoble, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Hong Kong and so on. There are a few LRT failures, Chaleroi in Belgium is a major fiasco, but the failure is now attributed to the fact that LRT was built as a light-metro, far too expensive for the region it was to serve. The result: Abandoned transit lines and a bankrupt transit authority. Calgary is certainly no Chaleroi!

    Stand alone light-metro has had its day and it is a sad thing that for the Vancouver region the anti-LRT rhetoric has doomed the region to a small metro network and a large new highways building program. And oh yes, watch for Skyrocketing taxes to pay for it. Des Turner predicted it in the 80’s; Gerald Fox predicted it in the 90’s and it is now coming true.

    Malcolm J.

    July 10, 2008 at 5:04 pm

  47. Thanks for that Meredith.

    No one is disputing that there is large car dependence in Calgary’s outer suburbs. but I find it unbelievable that a city of 1 million with a daily LRT ridership of 250, 000 (I believe the latest figure is 270,000 but I can’t find the source right now) can be considered by you to be a bad example of LRT getting people out of their cars.

    “Those who use Calgary as an example of “higher” light rail ridership getting people out of their cars have to answer to Kenworthy’s work which clearly indicates the opposite.”

    There must be an explanation somewhere, and I do have one theory.

    I can not determine how Mr. Kenworthy made the calculations, but your statement: “I would think Kenworthy’s methodology would have included a statistical analysis of the number of vehicles, their type, number of km of road, car count stats, population, and a calculation of vehicle km driven” makes sense to me.

    One possible explanation may be the type of vehicle being driven in Calgary. I believe Truck/SUV and Mini-vans are more prolific in Calgary than the other large Canadian cities. Those vehicles generate more emissions, so even if the driving habits in Calgary and another city are the same, the emissions would be greater in Calgary.

    And the reason those larger vehicles are driven in Calgary is probably a combination of wealth, weather and believe it or not…family. Calgary has the youngest population of the large Canadian cities (http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/91-214-XIE/2006000/part1.htm) with an average age of 35. All those young couples that are not struggling financially and have the good job they want and have the house they think they need, will then have children. Calgary has been experiencing a baby boom for a few years now (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2006/03/02/ca-babyboom20060302.html) and this brings me to my point, or my theory. People with children, especially more than 1, seem to think they need a big vehicle to haul the kids around in. In the 80’s this meant a mini-van, nowadays it means an SUV for all the soccer moms and dads. There is also that incorrect assumption that a bigger vehicle will protect your precious baby in the case of a car accident. Just try to convince a new mom that her kid is just as safe in a mini cooper as a BMW SUV. It is also hard to convince people that a car with winter tires is a better choice than an SUV with AWD/4WD when it’s snowing.

    Anyway, I’m hardly an expert in these matters so I won’t be surprised if you beat me up over my theory 😉

    But it’s a shame that Metro Vancouver does not have the same proportion of SkyTrain ridership that Calgary has LRT ridership. It’s a bit embarrassing actually that a city with half our population has practically the same km’s of rail and ridership numbers as we do.

    And now I find out that there is more to come, another $2billion for transit in Alberta (http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/reallife/greenguide/story.html?id=d0a9034c-d770-4951-b692-52a3c287cc86).

    Also, it appears the funding balance has definitely shifted from roads to transit in Calgary
    (http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=7e38f856-1fcd-4353-bc75-733f6287fa64).

    s.

    July 10, 2008 at 10:08 pm

  48. Malcolm, to quote: “Old chum, you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about”
    Someone should read the associated documents before commenting naively on the stated numbers. Meredith’s linked document clearly states that the CO2 emissions are from transportation. And even people who have said something nice about Skytrain and are therefore a part of the Bombardier lobby would realize that including home heating emissions wouldn’t make for sound numbers in such a table. (Not that it matters much anyway, Lower Mainland homes are largely heated from natural gas and are so leaky that they consume similar amounts of natural gas).

    The C-Train can be considered a success only as far of commuter travel and then with serious caveats. As Meredith pointed out this system, much like Portland’s MAX are littered with park and rides. This might increase rider-ship, at the cost of bus rider-ship and does little to induce TOD and densification. There is no incentive to abandon the second family car as it is required to drive to the C-Train. Off hour frequency of most of these LRT systems is much lower than SkyTrain (25% to 50% lower) another disincentive to leave the car behind.

    As for the link of SkyTrain technology leading to highway expansion, I would beg to differ. This highway expansion is due to goods movement, LRT wouldn’t have stopped it. LRT designed in a fashion similar to the C-Train might have much more quickly led to an expansion of highways due to travel times (unless fully seperated from traffic, and able to handle grades and radius and acceleration times similar to Skytrain, and built to those costs).

    Meredith- A straight comparison of property bills can be quite misleading. Especially if mill rate is used. BC tends to have lower property taxes due to less offloading of provincial services, and higher taxation of businesses and industry. Higher assessments can be a misnomer, as the city only needs certain amount of money, and should decrease the mill rate if property assessments go up across the city.

    Julien

    July 10, 2008 at 11:28 pm

  49. The important point here is, before we get all tangled up in numbers and park and rides, is that building any kind of rail system gives people a good option to using their car. Gateway will provide no such option, and that’s its most serious flaw.

    Shit, I could care less if they twin that highway, apart from the collosal waste of money it will represent; oil prices are already putting an end to the commuter car culture as we know it. As long as we get a decent alternative.

    Corey

    July 11, 2008 at 8:25 am

  50. Malcolm, please read my comments, and check the reference.

    I don’t consider Calgary’s C-Train a “failure” nor do I “hate” it, as you stated earlier. Nor do I consider SkyTrain as “god.” Those are your words, not mine. They are only inanimate objects.

    What I do hate is the poor planning and maintenance C-Train was initially built and operated under. Thay have improved their act with respect to signal maintenance, but only after a decade when several tragedies occurred. But the planning of the communities C-Train attempts to serve needs a total rethink … along with the design of several at-grade crossings and some key station locations.

    Yes, there’s hundreds of thousands of passenger trips a day on C-Train, but evidently a huge portion of those passengers get to the stations by car because the city council of the day failed to link C-Train to compact transit-oriented development and instead linked it to sprawling subdivisions. The high emissions and large number of park n’ ride stalls prove it. It is a failure of planning, not a failure of the rail system, and the system cannot keep up as long as people need to drive cars so much.

    If you have a quibble about the emissions stats, then please take it up with Jeff Kenworthy, the co-author of the study. He is a professor in the Curtin Sustainability Policy Institute at Curtin Univertisy, Perth Australia. His email address and profile are below.

    j.kenworthy@curtin.edu.au

    Click to access CV_picture_Kenworthy.pdf


    http://www.humanities.curtin.edu.au/staff.cfm/j.kenworthy

    Meredith

    July 11, 2008 at 10:17 am

  51. “Yes, there’s hundreds of thousands of passenger trips a day on C-Train, but evidently a huge portion of those passengers get to the stations by car”

    To continue with the example I researched earlier, the CTrain’s South line has 103,000 passengers and 6000 parking stalls – spread over a distance of 17.5 km and 11 stations. In the worst case assuming all single occupancy vehicles, that is 6000 people driving to a station out of 103,000 = 5.8%. I would hardly call that a “huge portion”.

    Anyway i’m getting tired of all this, this thread is getting too long and off topic, no more from me.

    s.

    July 11, 2008 at 2:11 pm

  52. Another note to S. Actually, I agree with you regarding the attitude that leads to the comclusion that SUVs are more attractive to families with kids and wealth. It’s rather tenuous.

    However, I think there is a possibility that km driven per vehicle are a tad more in Calgary, as well as the average number of vehicles owned per capita or per family, though I have no readily available stats to back that up.

    I still have troubles opening some of the links you provided to check the numbers, but it is evident to everyone that Metro Vancouver has an inadequate and very crowded transit system, and not just during rush hours. I’m not the expert, but Stephen has said several times that the SkyTrain system has much more capacity than what we’re at now and that can be rectified by adding more trains. I believe there’s an order in now for about 40 cars. Rail km is one measure, and capacity per line is another.

    We mustn’t forget about the bus service that supports the rail, and the creation of walkable and bikable neighbourhoods. Add them all together and you’re up around 21% participation out here in Lotusland. We saw the remarkable phenomenon of a 9%-12% decrease (depending on the source) in traffic to the downtown peninsula while the population doubled over a 10-year period. Many of the 90,000 residents walk almost everywhere, and more take transit into downtown from elsewhere.

    It is possible to imagine now with the surprisingly steep escalation in energy costs that over time there could be a slow but steady migration of people into communities where thay can walk to work (and other regular destinations) and therein cause the transit ridership stats to plateau or even go down.

    Meredith

    July 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm

  53. Julien, it’s not just travel time on a transit system, but overall travel time or the time from home to destination. To date SkyTrain (unless one lives near a station) has not decreased overall travel time for the vast majority of commuters.

    The problem for transit planners is the catchment for any transit system is about 300 metres around every station (hint: most urban tram/streetcar/light rail systems have stops every 400 to 600 metres) the greater the distance away from a station/stop the fewer customers attracted. Thus a grade separated transit system with station/stops 1 km. apart will attract fewer customers than a LRT system with station/stops 600 metres or less apart.

    SkyTrain at $100 million/km. or more to build has certainly spurred on highway construction, it’s just cheaper to build ‘rubber on asphalt’ than steel on concrete. Notice that any modern railway study doesn’t include SkyTrain or light-metro?

    Well could it be that no one want to build with it?

    As for ridership numbers, Calgary’s ridership calculations are vetted and SkyTrain’s are not. Hmmmm, funny that everyone want to diss on the C-Train, while holding SkyTrain as the great example of public transit.

    Please remember, there has been never, and I repeat never been an honest planning process for ‘rail’ transit since 1980.

    I believe that an independent survey on SkyTrain ridership would vastly differ from published accounts. But that’s not going to happen, honesty in transit planning is not a marketable product.

    Malcolm J.

    July 11, 2008 at 4:46 pm

  54. RE: Meredith said, on July 11th, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Haven’t visited this blog for a few days, and I won’t get into any of the nonsense in the posts above by others…though with regards to bus ridership being transferred to SkyTrain, it’s never a crime to use your resources in the most efficient way. And in transit systems around the world, the bus network acts as a feeder system by funneling passengers into rapid transit lines.

    You are correct with regards to SkyTrain’s unused capacity. Currently, we run trains that do not occupy the entire length of the 80-metre platform. At the most, we might run 4-car Mark II’s (usually 2-car Mark II) or 4-car Mark I’s while the 80-metre platform capacity is 5-car Mark II’s and 6-car Mark I’s. With the future extension of the Expo Line station platforms to ~110-metres, it would allow 6-car Mark II and 8-car Mark I trains.

    Existing max. design capacity with the 80-metre platforms on the Expo Line is around 28,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd)….the max. design capacity has increased quite a bit over the years with constant improvements and upgrades to the automatic train control system (higher max. frequency). However, due to our short trains we only use about 16,000 pphpd of our 28,000 pphpd capacity and that’s only during peak hours.

    With the Expo Line platform extensions, the max. design capacity of the Expo Line will be about 40,000 pphpd which is comparable to heavy rail subway capacities in cities including Toronto, Paris, and Montreal.

    The Millennium Line has a max. design capacity of 30,000 pphpd, but uses only about 8,000 pphpd during peak. That should double to 16,000 pphpd when the SkyTrain extensions to UBC and Coquitlam are complete, ridership will obviously increase substantially on the Millennium Line (and with the Evergreen Line starting at UBC).

    The Canada Line will have a max. design capacity of 15,000 pphpd (with 50-metre platform extensions), but when it opens next year it will be using 8,000 pphpd at the most, during peak hours (similar to the Millennium Line today). The Canada Line’s ultimate capacity is the peak hour operating capacity of the Expo Line today.

    As well:
    – 15,000 pphpd = 10 freeway lanes
    – 30,000 pphpd = 20 freeway lanes
    – 40,000 pphpd = ~27 freeway lanes

    ken

    July 11, 2008 at 4:47 pm

  55. Ken, really stop the BS about capacity, you are talking stuff and nonsense. Capacity is a function of headway so let’s look at the capacity of the Expo line from Metro town to Waterfront.

    A 4 car set of Mk.1 cars, with all seats taken and standing customers at 4 persons per metre/sq. (industry standard) is 300 persons.

    Thus a 4 car set operating at a 2 minute capacity is 30 (trips per hour) times 300 (train-set capacity) = 9000 persons per hour per direction. Of course with the Bombardier ART cars at about 225 persons per set makes calculations a bit harder and one must time the headways to get an accurate picture.

    The maximum contractual capacity of the Expo Line was 15,000 pphpd, with a theoretical capacity of 30,000 pphpd but that was with enlarged stations to handle 8 car trains.

    Good lord, the SkyTrain stations could not handle 40,000 pphpd, let alone 30,000 pphpd.

    Now look at Calgary, they operate 3 car trains as close as 90 second frequencies out of the city centre, which gives a maximum theoretical capacity of about 20,000 pphpd. but they don’t offer 90 second frequencies through out the hour so capacity is about 15,000 pphpd. which is carrying over 250,000 customers a day.

    By contract (and I have a copy) the Millennium Line has a maximum capacity of 26,000 pphpd. I rather doubt that the SELTRAC signalling system can handle much above 15,000 pphpd, without having a nervous breakdown and packing it in.

    But as I stated before, capacity is not ridership but the theoretical number of passengers that can be carried at any one time. Translink and their hangers on have always confused capacity with ridership.

    What I saw riding on SkyTrain today at noon New Westminster certainly wasn’t indicative of Translink’s claimed ridership.

    What Ken doesn’t say about the Canada line is that to extend the station platforms, one has to do more cut-and-cover construction, closing Cambie St. and bankrupting more merchants. Wow! and just to think, with a $2.4 billion investment, we have built the world’s puniest subway, instead of $1.5 billion cheaper LRT on Arbutus, which could have had a potential capacity of 20,000 pphpd.

    ………………As well:
    – 15,000 pphpd = 10 freeway lanes
    – 30,000 pphpd = 20 freeway lanes
    – 40,000 pphpd = ~27 freeway lanes
    ……….works well for LRT too!

    Malcolm J.

    July 11, 2008 at 8:11 pm

  56. Capacity is meaningless unless it leads to a more sustainable city.

    Meredith

    July 14, 2008 at 9:39 am

  57. Exactly, what is more important is that the transit is an affordable and viable alternative to the car. To date, SkyTrain has not shown this and LRT has. No transit system is a panacea, but a careful mixture of what the customer wants.

    This is what TransLink forgets, in the 21st century public transport is a product and if the product is poor no one will use it. TransLink likes to trap people on their system, which for many, is a good reason to avoid it.

    Capacity is a none issue, used by the SkyTrain lobby to further their illegitimate cause -they would be laughed out of any meeting in Europe and the USA.

    Malcolm J.

    July 14, 2008 at 10:04 am


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