Stephen Rees's blog

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

Mayors suggest Evergreen Line switch to save money

with 40 comments

Jeff Nagel, BC Local News

The on again, off again saga of the Evergreen Line gets stranger and stranger. The Mayors – those people that the Provincial Government thinks are not competent to run local transit in Metro Vancouver  (although they do everywhere else in BC) – have made a very sensible recommendation. Since there is now not enough money to build the Evergreen Line as a SkyTrain extension, why not go back to Translink’s original plan and build it as light rail? This would save $400m – which is pretty much the shortfall currently needing to be filled.

Translink's Concept of the Evergreen LRT

Translink's Concept of the Evergreen LRT

But provincial Transport Minister Shirley Bond will not hear of it – and neither will the federal government. And, of course, it is the provincial government that is refusing to allow Translink the new funding sources that they need to pay for their share of the capital cost of the project – plus of course its on going operations and maintenance.

TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast told the board he has heard suggestions Ottawa might pull its funding for the Evergreen Line if federally preferred SkyTrain technology was abandoned or if the project takes too long to move forward.

If they put this in a tv sit com it would stretch credibility. Actually, I would not be at all surprised to hear that the feds are going to start looking for ways to get out of some of their commitments, given the unprecedented size of the deficit – but so far that has not happened – and all we have are “suggestions” from an unidentified source. So the reality may be different.

The process by which LRT was originally chosen for this line – and its route – was actually very unusual for BC. It was a completely objective, technical review run by staff (actually Clark Lim, who is now at UBC) and there was no political interference. Until the decision was announced, which is when the amazing, and actually tendentious, claim was made that the SkyTrain premium was not significant and the benefits of not having to change trains at Lougheed were well worth paying extra for.

If there was any objectivity in this process, or any respect for local democratic decision making, then the senior levels of government would say, yes we recognize that there is a funding problem which we cannot resolve so we agree that a scope reduction to LRT is a reasonable way to get this thing built. But that is not the case, as is obvious when you read the blethering that Jeff Nagel is now reporting.

It is a very good illustration of that old saw “the best is the enemy of the good”. The most likely outcome of this disagreement is that nothing at will get built and the arguing about whose fault that is will continue interminably. Heaven forbid that we actually do something with rapid transit in this region that not only fits in with the agreed regional strategy but actually makes some sense.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 28, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Light Rail, transit

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40 Responses

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  1. Why should the federal government care if we buy ART cars from Bombardier or Flexity cars from Bombardier?

    One of our local Conservative MPs needs to grab a brain, support the better, lower cost alternative and take that message to Ottawa. Stephen Harper would get to be a hero to people who otherwise despise his politics. That’s gotta be worth $400 million.


    September 28, 2009 at 7:59 pm

  2. The only problem with LRT is that it simply won’t work in PM. St. Johns is too narrow and installing LRT will remove 50% of the traffic capacity. It won’t work. Skytrain is the only way to go and the only way to get Skytrain is to disband Translink and get something else in place. The reason LRT got dropped is that it doesn;t make sense — its not faster, its not compatible, its not sensible. $400 million is peanuts if the planning horizon is 100 years. Translink has a planning horizon of 100 days it seems.

    Greg Hamilton

    September 28, 2009 at 8:28 pm

  3. is not TransLink that is the problem but the BC Liberal government, not because of their politics at all, but because none of the MLA and ministers, starting by Gordon C. has obviously ever seen and used a decent rapid transit system.

    In the majority of towns with a good transit system, (not just in Canada)the mayors are in charge of transit and they do have a working knowledge of their transit system. London (UK)is perhaps the ultimate example..

    LRT are used in a great number of towns with streets narrower than PM St Johns. Including Portland OR. Yes having a LRT in the middle of a street reduces the number of cars that can use that street, this is the whole point!! none of the several hundreds of towns with a LRT at street level has ever had a problem with that.
    Not to mention that 1000 of towns around the world,including major ones, also have downtown shopping areas that are car-free every single day of the year.

    How many SkyTrain and Val type ALRT do you think there are in the world? Not that many compared to the number of LRT! and few of them are used as a town main transit system either.
    Even Bombardier sell more LRT than SkyTrain. They are bringing 2 of them in Vancouver for 3 months, starting in late January 2010.

    Red frog

    September 28, 2009 at 9:13 pm

  4. Stephen,

    you call for objectivity

    But the evergreen line project is nothing of objective, it is just a gift for vote from parochial mayors for the Canada line.
    objectivity call to say that certainly the best solution for the Evergreen line is neither LRT, neither skytrain, but bus…

    all other option are probably economically way less good for an operator given the ridership on the 97B …and obviously from an objective point of view, broadway corridor should be a priority of the region:


    September 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm

  5. Is there a link to Clark Lim’s report?

    The only thing I could find was this comment attributed to Ken Hardie on Steve Munro’s site, on why costs for LRT were quoted as 1.2 Billion compared to 1.4 Billion for skytrain:

    “The question as to how LRT got so expensive is a good one. After we did all of the consultation and preliminary design, it turned out that about 40 per cent of the LRT line would have had to be grade-separated: elevated from the Lougheed Station over to North Road, the tunnel from Burquitlam to Port Moody and, due to the traffic volumes, underground at the Lougheed/Barnet/Pinetree intersection.

    The tunnel would be more expensive because of the overhead power lines and, one of the key issues, the design along St. John’s had to be such that no road capacity was lost to vehicle traffic — unlike other places where I understand there are no problems with taking out a couple of traffic lanes to put in the LRT line.”


    September 29, 2009 at 12:38 am

  6. […] Northwest [Vancouver Sun] BC Arts Cuts ‘Devastating’ Says Tory Minister [The Tyee] Mayors suggest Evergreen Line switch to save money [Stephen Rees's Blog] INTERNATIONAL Solar Power, Without All Those Panels [The New York Times] […]

    re:place Magazine

    September 29, 2009 at 6:10 am

  7. I believe that high capacity transit should be built where there is demonstrated demand and the 97C is clear evidence that demand in the tri-cities is far below what’s needed to justify rail based transit. However, I also believe that transit can shape communities and Port Moody has demonstrated a belief in transit oriented design and they should be rewarded for that.

    Greg, you obviously didn’t read the original Evergreen LRT plan. It never called for trains in the middle of St. John’s even though that’s exactly where they should be to best serve the people and small businesses of Port Moody.

    The real problem with the Evergreen route is topography. The route between Port Moody and Burquitlam is too steep and winding for trains and heavy trucks to share the road without significant property acquisition or the $350 million tunnel that’s currently being proposed.

    $350 million should be enough to build LRT down the middle of Lougheed from Lougheed Mall all the way to Pinetree Way. Of course that route by-passes Port Moody, but has much better prospects for expansion. A second branch could be built over the new Port Mann Bridge to Guildford and Surrey City Centre. The total cost for both the Coquitlam Centre to Lougheed Mall and Coquitlam Centre to Surrey lines should be less than the $1.4 billion currently estimated for the Evergreen SkyTrain.


    September 29, 2009 at 9:37 am

  8. Voony, why is the Broadway corridor an “objective” priority for the region? I live at Arbutus near Broadway and would love to see the corridor eventually built. But it would be extremely expensive and it’s hard to argue we need greater transit service before PM. Granted our ridership levels are already developed and any project here would be better supported by fares. But the Evergreen Line would encourage and support transit-oriented development in the valley. As David points out, PM has demonstrated it is willing to develop in a sustainable way, and the region needs to reward them. The objective needs of the region call for increased transit investment in the burbs, and Surrey, where it can help shape future growth.

    People in the senior levels of government need to pull their heads out of their butts and allow the region to develop transit solutions based on objective studies of each corridor’s needs and project costs. This perverse attachment to SkyTrain is ridiculous. So is the fact that Metro Vancouver can’t do anything to control its own transportation system. I was at the Metro board meeting last week and it was amazing to see a room full of politicians who, for all their disagreements, seemed to share the basic philosophy for regional growth (transit, density, etc). But they were captive to the whims of provincial and federal money which is only offered for the capital projects upper government fancies, and gets no operating support. If the feds are going to wave money around for the projects they like, they should offer some of that in the form of operating subsidies for the period until the project can start generating revenue to support itself. That way the regional government isn’t pressured into accepting something it can’t afford. There are now mumblings from the province about the Evergreen line being started as soon as next year, but it’s not even in any of the Translink 10 year plans. The system sucks.


    September 29, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  9. The Millennium Line should be extended to connect to the Canada Line at Cambie before any money is spent on the sprawl-promoting Evergreen Line.


    September 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm

  10. I cannot understand criticism of our SkyTrain system that frames it as a failure or folly. Nothing could be further from the truth. SkyTrain has been successful at fostering huge amounts of transit-oriented residential, commercial, and institutional development along its corridors. It features a very high level of service that marries frequency, dependability, and speed with a very narrow footprint. As a main-line service it excels at attracting riders and scales to meet demand without a corresponding increase in operating costs. What we are building in Metro Van is our rapid transit backbone and a metro-grade rail transit system is quite simply the way to go.

    LRT/trams are a phenomenally effective mode of transit and can competently move people over a variety of urban environments at a range of speeds. However for the backbone of our region’s rapid transit network I am not convinced LRT/trams are up to the task of providing a level of service that can attract and retain ridership as well as a metro-grade system.

    Calgary and Portland are the go-to cities in North America for examples of how LRT can provide main-line service. However both cities are mono-centric with a single, central CBD and highway corridors radiating out. It is largely along these highway rights of way that LRT operates. The City of Calgary had the superb foresight to reserve LRT corridors along its highways and it had the ability to do this by virtue of the fact that its entire region is a single municipality, as opposed to 21 municipalities in Metro Vancouver, and the transit agency that would build out the LRT lines is part of the municipal government. Both Portland’s MAX and Calgary’s C-Train have high ridership, with the latter excelling beyond all competitors to hold the record of the highest LRT ridership in North America. In both cases the trains run in almost exclusive rights of way, shared only occasionally with buses, and utilize massive suburban park and ride lots and effective feeder bus services. Ultimately these two systems are as rapid transit as LRT gets.

    For Metro Vancouver LRT will play a big role in the years ahead, and frankly should be built in parallel with our light metro ALRT rapid transit backbone. The Evergreen Line, which was envisioned as part of the Millennium Line, is part of the backbone and it should be ALRT. That line should continue along the current Millennium Line as a single seat trip and then continue west to Arbutus. From there the B-Line or an LRT/tram can continue to UBC, while the downtown LRT/tram should be built to Stanley Park, continue west from Granville Island to Arbutus and then south through Kerrisdale and along Marine Drive to New West. That’s how we start building a network.

    Link it into local buses, link it into SkyTrain rapid transit and bring rail transit to the second tier destinations in our region that don’t warrant main line service but will benefit from rail based transit and the development-catalyzing power it has.

    East Vancouverite

    September 29, 2009 at 8:33 pm

  11. Evergreen is probably a good candidate for some sort of BRT system. In the studies of the various modes, LRT saved little time over the bus. The demand is simply not there to justify rail at this point given the many demands of the region. Still, Port Moody has put effort into some densification. It should be rewarded with a BRT line that can be easily upgraded to LRT when ridership warrants it. Commuters would gain travel time reliability and greater amenities over the current bus service and it would not break the bank. One could even utilize modern electric trolleybus technology and upgrade the electric infrastructure in the future when LRT is warranted.

    The Broadway corridor is the next prime candidate for rail rapid transit. Buses can’t handle the demand any more. The automatic step up is rail.

    Surrey could also benefit from the same electric BRT mid step to light rail on the King George, 104 Ave and Fraser Hwy corridors. A lot more can be built for the money than what is proposed through rail rapid transit alone. We need greater capacity but we don’t have a lot of money. Options like this need to be seriously considered. It would be enough to encourage and plan for transit oriented development as well as putting a place holder on rights of way so that proper rail can be built when the money is there.

    Rather ironic that the Province has mandated TransLink to do “more with less”. A proposal comes forth to do just that and the Province refuses to consider it. Are these solutions perfect? No, but they are within our means and support the greater goals we are trying to go for in this region. Given the hypocrisy coming from Victoria, we may as well run TransLink and the GVRD from Gordon Campbell’s office and cut the charades.


    September 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm

  12. I live on North Road by Lougheed mall and at rush hours the articulated 97 bus is packed solid. At slow times they use a single length bus and it get crowded too, as more and more people live near the line. 2 residential towers just opened at North Road and Cameron and years ago the cities of Burnaby and Coquitlam were already talking about having way more density along North Road. The Burquitlam mall area will change in a flash as soons as there is decent transit.

    EVERYWHERE around the G7 countries (except for Western Canada) rapid transit goes first THEN the population naturally increase along the line. A transit line attract people not the other way around. It has been proven too that LRT (and subways and..)attract many more passengers than buses.

    Have any of you who dismiss LRT so quickly ever used them in the USA, Europe, Japan etc.???

    As for North Road being too windy and narrow for a TRAM (trains are much much longer, don’t run in cities streets but between cities) there are several examples of trams running up a winding slope on a special viaduct next to the road (at nearly the same level) Bordeaux-France to name only one. Their trams are 44 meters long by the way and carry 300 people.

    We do better transit along Broadway. That line and a Granville line should have been build in 1986, dividing the town in 4 quarters each having access to the 2 lines (check Toronto transit map as an example).

    We also need rapid transit on the North shore and crossing the inlet to link with downtown. We also need several lines of commuter trains to the Valley, Pemberton, White Rock…towns smaller than Vancouver have bigger transit systems than Vancouver!!!

    Red frog

    September 29, 2009 at 9:05 pm

  13. Red Frog: when I said “train” I simply meant a transit vehicle on rail, not a train as you define it.

    Any viaduct beside the Clarke Road hill would require the acquisition of at least one hundred residential properties making even the tunnel idea look economical and friendly to the neighbourhood.

    The diesel electric LRT idea with branches to downtown Port Moody, Ioco and Port Coquitlam combined with the current 97 bus is the best solution I’ve heard so far. It reinforces the town centre concept that seems to have been forgotten in the years since the Livable Region Strategy was written and provides an inexpensive solution to getting a lot of people to either SkyTrain or Vancouver.

    The big stumbling block there, aside from the MLA for Vancouver Point Grey, is the Canadian Pacific Railway and their reluctance to allow anything on their track. The West Coast Express cannot expand because the CPR won’t provide track time at any reasonable price.

    What’s funny about that is the fact that Gordon Campbell used to work for the real estate division of Canadian Pacific. You’d think he’d be doing everything he could to funnel government money their way by coming up with track sharing schemes at extortion level prices so CPR could profit and he could look good for spending exorbitantly on transit.


    September 29, 2009 at 9:47 pm

  14. Honestly a “packed” bus at rush hour is little indication. For matter of comparison translink ridership (2007 number) are 10 000 dayly boarding on the 97B….the #9: 30000, …the #99: 45000 (most ridership than most LRT in north america!) and you have to add all the parallel route, 84, 25, 33…

    this is objective number, and in despite of translink effort to divert ridership of the corrdior (route 84, 33, 43, in addiion of 25, 33, 41, 49) they can’t cope with the demand on broadway.

    regarding using LRT as a tool to shape TOD, I think this is subjective and it could work like it couldn’t, like it hadn’t in Surrey…


    September 29, 2009 at 11:01 pm

  15. Voony – please provide a link to the source of this data

    East Vancouverite – you wrote

    SkyTrain has been successful at fostering huge amounts of transit-oriented residential, commercial, and institutional development along its corridors.

    If that were true there would have been significant changes around the SkyTrain stations in your part of town. Hardly anything has changed in the vicinity of Nanaimo, 29th Avenue or even Broadway/Commercial stations come to that. There has also been no increase in density around 22nd Street station in New Westminster. The reason is the same in all these locations – opposition to increases in density from the local community. The choice of transit technology – or the decision to build above ground grade separation – is not the cause of development but rather the policy of the municipality. Rapid transit does increase the accessibility of the area around stations, and hence it attractiveness to developers and their customers. That is a necessary but not a sufficient condition.

    The real attraction of grade separation is that transit does not then impede car traffic on the surface. Most urban planners who understand the effects of unimpeded car traffic on communities have therefore not chosen grade separation. Many North American engineers, of course, who tend to be obsessed by vehicle capacity (not people carrying capacity) and speed do not understand this notion. It is also a widespread delusion in this region that since the SkyTrain moves quickly between stations that this produces faster transit journeys door to door, which is not necessarily the case. But explaining this is like trying to tell tourists in London that it is often faster to walk between tourist attractions in the central area than take the tube.

    Stephen Rees

    September 30, 2009 at 7:34 am

  16. […] Posted by viewfromthe44 under Uncategorized Leave a Comment  Stephen Rees does a nice job of capturing the Kafka-esque absurdity that the mayors find themselves in the middle of, as they […]

  17. Mezzanine – please do not ask me to find things on Translink’s web site. Such questions should be directed to Translink. You might also ask them, at the same time, why information is not easier to find there. If you do get a link to this report (and of course it will not credit Clark Lim) please post it here

    Stephen Rees

    September 30, 2009 at 9:17 am

  18. This may be slightly off-topic but something I really like about taking the SkyTrain, especially the millennium line, is the great views you get of the North Shore mountains.

    Nonetheless I am convinced driver-operated light rail is a far superior option for future network expansion because SkyTrain is proprietary and driverless. Even if cost wasn’t a consideration (which of course it always is), these two facts alone make LRT the better option. Driver-operated light rail can run more or less anywhere, including underground or on elevated guide rails (ala SkyTrain), and down busy city streets. SkyTrain, on the other hand, requires special tracks in order to drive the LIM motors and cannot run anywhere where people frequently need to cross the path of the train, like city streets. Thus choosing SkyTrain restricts the future options for expanding and integrating the network and the idea of choice is central to our whole contemporary society. Anything which limits rather than expands options for allocating scarce resources is inherently a bad thing. Imagine if it was decided that only people using Microsoft operating systems could access the Internet – I doubt that many people would like that idea!


    September 30, 2009 at 9:42 am

  19. My standard comments:

    – The classic chicken and egg debate – build for existing density (Broadway) or to shape growth (Evergreen).

    – A change from the LRSP mandated NE corridor to the SE Lougheed corridor would require the unanimous consent of all Metro Vancouver municipalities to amend the LRSP. Try avoiding politics on that one!

    – I agree with Coquitlam being a part of the rapid transit backbone. Coquitlam is to be the major regional town centre north of the Farser (Surrey being the major centre south of the Fraser). If you put Coquitlam at a “disadvantage” of not having a one seat ride to the rest of the region, then you potentially impact the growth at the regional level.
    Once the backbone is built to Coquitlam, then LRT and streetcar lines can feed into each of the peripheral regional town centres – as is planned for Richmond (to Steveston) and for Surrey ((to Newton). But the mainline to Coquitlam should put it on an even footing with the other municipalities – LRT and streetcars can eventually feed into Coquitlam from Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge at a later date.
    You just have to look at dissatisfaction with the TTC Subway/Scarborough RT modal split to see what will result from a SkyTrain/LRT modal split for the Evergreen Line.

    Ron C.

    September 30, 2009 at 12:31 pm

  20. Stephen, the Vancouver stations had fairly well developed neighbourhoods that aren’t quite ready for redevelopment.

    But, why would you point out a few stations where there has been little development, when there are astronomical successes at many more? Metrotown, Collingwood, Main Street, Edmonds, New Westminster, now even Lougheed and Brentwood and other Millennium Line stations.

    It is unde


    September 30, 2009 at 1:12 pm

  21. Can LRT even attract TOD? I suppose it could if you try to use it to mimic a SkyTrain – but then it costs the same anyway – and why not use the same more if it will cost the same so folks don’t have to transfer.


    September 30, 2009 at 1:14 pm

  22. I think these are the summarized planning documents for Evergreen LRT. With some googling, there are online on a provincial website. (no mention of Clark Lim)

    Click to access 1_Introducing_The_Evergreen_Line.pdf

    Click to access The_Evergreen_Line_Executive_Summary.pdf

    Planned cost = $970 million (2007)
    Length = 11.2 km
    Elevated guideway = 0.8 km
    Tunnel = 2.8 km
    Max capacity 4800/hr/direction

    interestingly a cost/benefit analysis was done:

    “The updated MAE compares the Evergreen Line’s LRT system and alignment to three alternative technologies, conventional bus, bus rapid transit (BRT) and SkyTrain, along the same alignment.


    LRT has a lower capital cost than SkyTrain and superior customer features while SkyTrain generates greater ridership and travel time benefits. However, the additional capital cost of $ 300 million for
    SkyTrain is a significant factor favouring LRT. These capital cost savings can be used for other projects that are also required to address the region’s transportation needs.”

    This can be read different ways. The MAE found that Skytrain does provide additional benefit for the extra cost. I would argue that the additional ridership and travel times are worth the extra cost. The LRSP does want to focus growth on the burrard peninsula and for the evergreen LRT to have less maxiumum capacity that the canada line would be penny wise and pound foolish.


    September 30, 2009 at 1:26 pm

  23. The Evergreen “business case” has more holes than a good Swiss cheese. Transit experts who read it couldn’t believe something with so many faulty assumptions and distorted figures could get published.

    One particularly obvious example is the quoted maximum capacity. German LRT systems carry as many as 18,000 passengers per hour/direction.

    Canada Line, even running twice as frequently as it does now would be hard pressed to move 10,000 in an hour.

    @Shane: At-grade LRT has a much more powerful positive effect on neighbourhoods than grade separated systems.


    September 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm

  24. BTW a collection of Evergreen LRT reports are gathered here:

    @ David, the numbers do make some sense when the specs are listed (off-peak freq = every 15 min, 2 car trains 32 metres long) Wahy are they limited? You could increase the length of the trainsets, or increase frequency, but operating costs and engineering would be very different. I don’t know why – maybe operational cost concerns or issues with city block lengths, the report does not detail why this LRT configuration was chosen.

    And I don’t think at-grade LRT itself versus skytrain changes neighbourhoods, it would have to be combined with land-use planning with a little bit of luck. LRT itself is no guarantee of success, as described in San Jose by Yonah Freemark.


    September 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm

  25. Mezzanine: The maximum capacity of light-rail is about 20,000 persons per hour per direction according to the Light Rail Transit Association. The claim by TransLink is pure bunkum, as Gerald Fox has so clearly pointed out. In fact the entire Evergreen Line business case is pure bunkum.


    September 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm

  26. @ zwei, i’m not disputing the higher-end capacities of light rail, but these reports AFAIK are what translink used to *decide* on light rail. They seemed satisfied with the system limitations. Why? That is the big question and these reports don’t answer that.


    September 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm

  27. TransLink has never offered any study to back up their claim that SkyTrain would attract more ridership than light rail. Gerald Fox also questions this claim. In the real world, on-street/at-grade light rail tends to attract more new custom that metro because it is more convenient.

    We were once told that SkyTrain could carry 30,000 pphpd, then 20,000 pphpd, then it came to light that the best the Expo Line could carry was 15,000 pphpd!

    There are so many unsubstantiated claims about SkyTrain that it is hard to believe what is true. Maybe this is why only seven SkyTrain type transit systems have been sold since 1979.


    September 30, 2009 at 8:10 pm

  28. you can find the ridership per route here:

    Click to access Planning%20of%20Van%20Transit%20Network.pdf

    note also that the skytrain between broadway and Main is overcrowded, which also call for some relieve of this segment…

    also, someeone rightly mentioned the attractiveness of the one seat ride: it is something which negative effect are too often negligted, but it is a powerfull deterent to transit use…


    September 30, 2009 at 8:41 pm

  29. Please check

    Yes it is about development along the Canada Line..

    Mezzanine: I attended several open houses about the Evergreen line (LRT) and asked the staff why they were looking at such a small LRT, showing them photos I took of Europeans LRT that I have used. They were surprised by their size and capacity.They were also quite surprised by the safety platform glass screens commonly found on European and Japanese automated LRT (these are VAL type but for the regular user that doesn’t care about technical details they look somewhat like SkyTrain). For that matter the newly opened Seattle LRT does look like SkyTrain, size wise, especially on the viaduct by Tukwila.

    Red frog

    September 30, 2009 at 9:17 pm

  30. “also, someeone rightly mentioned the attractiveness of the one seat ride: it is something which negative effect are too often negligted, but it is a powerfull deterent to transit use…”

    oops! it should read

    also, someeone rightly mentioned the attractiveness of the one seat ride: transfer is something which negative effect are too often negligted, but it is a powerfull deterent to transit use…


    September 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  31. @ voony: The one seat ride is factor is huge for pulling people out of cars. Listen to the SOF folks complain about having to transfer to the Canada Line at Bridgeport now?


    October 1, 2009 at 6:09 am

  32. @ Red Frog – they they explain why they planned Evergreen LRT with smaller vehicles?


    October 1, 2009 at 8:27 am

  33. As I remember it was strictly a budgetary decision made by those–at the highest level of decision–that planned the line. The staff I talked to at the Evergreen open houses (and at previous open houses about using the Arbutus tracks, about SkyTrain being extended to Arbutus, about a LRT at grade going to UBC) had the unenviable task to “sell” to the public something that they had no personal knowledge of. I remember a couple of them trying to answer questions about the Strasbourg LRT shown on a video but of course floundering badly as they didn’t know anything about Strasbourg and its tram.

    Whenever I travel to another country I visit hospitals and long term facilities as this relates to my I would like to believe that TransLink staff would do something similar (visit transit systems…not hospitals)..and that mayors and especially the BC transport minister would also do that..(visit transit systems, hospitals and pedestrian shopping streets and..)

    To be fair one can always start a LRT line with a few small vehicles, them replace them later with bigger ones, as, unlike SkyTrain with its unique propulsion system, all sorts of LRT can use the same tracks, just like all sorts of trains can use the same railway tracks.
    However the majority of LRT systems that opened in the past 15 years have used bigger vehicles right from the start, as this is more attractive to the public.

    Red frog

    October 1, 2009 at 11:27 am

  34. Brings back lots of memories.

    Here is a link to the Executive Summary:

    If I recall, the body of the technical work and “Community Leader’s Panel” suggested the guided rubber-tired option (i.e. Translohr) was the most appropriate and cost-effective for the area. Also no long tunnel to bore.

    Oldschool Planner

    October 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm

  35. @ oldschool, interesting link, it was a great read.

    Some highlights (Skytrain vs LRT for NW route):

    Travel time from Coquitlam centre to lougheed station: ST = 13 min, LRT = 23 min

    Maxiumum capacity (pax/hr, AM): ST = 5900, LRT = 2600

    Annualized capital cost+maintenance per pax: ST = $4.30, LRT = $6.95

    @ Red Frog. Interesting observation. funding constraints seemed to limit the LRT scope. If you increase the scope of LRT more, the cost between skytrain and LRT become more comparable.


    October 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm

  36. Some more bedtime reading. The Final Technical Report:

    Click to access Attach2.pdf

    Oldschool Planner

    October 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm

  37. from Mezzanine: “funding constraints seemed to limit the LRT scope. If you increase the scope of LRT more, the cost between skytrain and LRT become more comparable” Perhaps in Vancouver but not in Europe. Bordeaux’ LRT original 3 lines (25 km) were built for around 1 billion in Canadian dollars (between 2000 and 2003) and they didn’t cut corners: ground-level power to eliminate overhead wires in the historical district and tracks running in the middle of lawns on some avenues, plus 44 big sized trams with a custom made front. Since then the lines were extended by 18 km and 19 more trams ordered. Right now extensions to all the lines are finalized.
    A Val automated LRT was considered for years but was found too expensive.

    As I mentioned before, the main reason for better transit in other places is that the mayors of a given metropolitan area are hands-on when it comes to local transit (planing and financing).
    One of the best example is that of the Mayor of London: “The Mayor is responsible for producing an integrated transport strategy for London and for consulting the London Assembly, Transport for London (TfL), boroughs and others on the strategy” this is from the TfL site.

    Red frog

    October 2, 2009 at 12:08 am

  38. There are many many factors that affect the capacity of a transit line (i.e. not only length of cars, width of cars, headways, speed, turnaround time)

    See this document for methods of calculating mass transit capacity:

    Ron C.

    October 2, 2009 at 2:16 pm

  39. Wow, there’s a lot of battling and one-up-person-ship of different systems and studies going on here. The fact is, NOBODY in the NE part of Metro Vancouver cares about any of this. All they want is a fast rapid transit line that connects to the existing Skytrain system. That’s it. So whoever gets that built gets all the credit, no matter the politics or system choice. I’ve never heard anyone outside of transit nerd circles ever mention their dismay at lack of pphpd or anything like that. They just want to get to where there going quickly and easily, and since Vancouver developed in the 20th century, most of the places they want to go are sprawled far apart.


    October 7, 2009 at 2:29 pm

  40. Evergreen Line website updated – still confirmed SkyTrain.

    For the love of god – 70,000 by 2021??? Broadway already has close to 100,000 on buses!!


    October 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm

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