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David

Interesting, I'll comment in detail later. My "gut" preferred option would be an altered combination option. Essentially, what I mean is that the Millennium line would be extended out to UBC with some form of light rail serving the Central Broadway corridor then serving other areas.

I realize this isn't in the terms of reference, so I apologize if this derails the subject (no pun intended), but I'd have the light rail aspect of the proposal follow the same route as option five. Then when it gets to the corner of Arbutus and Broadway, I would have that light rail line turn south along the existing rail tracks and go towards Kerrisdale, then turn east at Marine, linking up with the Canada line, and then presumably go further east towards New Westminster then possibly the Fraser Valley. This would use "Light Rail" technology in the sense that you mention. It could also double as a more frequent commuter rail line in the same sense as the "West Coast Express" (although I doubt it would use the same technology). As frankly, I don't see any point in having a streetcar in Vancouver since Street Car lines would simply duplicate existing frequent bus services like the various trolley lines throughout the city at a greater cost.

mezzanine

As david alludes to, IMO the reason why some options make a transition at arbutus street is that there is an old ROW going down arbutus street that long term the city wants to use as a tranist row. it cannot right now as it is owned by the CPR adn they originally wanted to redevelop it as housing. the city zoned it strictly as a transit corridor and the CPR fought it all the way to the supreme court, where the city rightly won. Unfortunately, there is now somewhat of a stalemate, but then again, the corridor doesn't really serve high use areas and serivce would duplicate the newly opened canada line.

one reason why they are coy about tunnelled vs elevated is the rigamarole with the canada line. going thru planning, both boring and cut and cover methods were discussed. somehow, cut and cover was decided, but most of the small businesses thought the tunnels would be bored. this led to a lot of disruption and lawsuits, which are still pending.

Jarrett

@David. Your option means no direct link from UBC to Expo line, and no link to Canada Line except @ Marine Dr. If you built it that way, you wouldn't replace many of UBC's
buses!

FD

Jarret - I thought your position (manifesto?) was that you didn't take positions on active projects, using them only to draw out key issues. What's different here? Is your key message about the regional impacts & benefits of the options (Coquitlam/Richmond)? Seems a bit too much like you want to point out your favourite option...

Edmund Carlson

" somehow, cut and cover was decided, but most of the small businesses thought the tunnels would be bored. this led to a lot of disruption and lawsuits, which are still pending."

It was worse than that. They were TOLD by the city that it WOULD be bored, but somehow the P3 ended up giving the company authority to build it how they like, so they went cut and cover.

Needless to say, lawsuit in progress.

In any case, city council has passed something (don't recall if it's actually a bylaw or just a motion) declaring that any tunneling on Broadway is to be bored.

My own take on this line is that with the rest of the network in place and the width of the Broadway corridor a full Skytrain extension or Skytrain plus painted bus lanes are the only good options. I really do see this line as a choice of finishing the Skytrain network (ok, with the possible exception of extension(s) in the valley), and UBC being the true endpoint for the corridor. I also don't see anyway to fit surface LRT in that corridor that is any faster than a bus lane (at least that is realistic to get acceptance for).

On a final note, the False Creek route being proposed for streetcars is also significant in that the route is, IMO much better suited for that. Yes it's grade separated and could provide high speed LRT access to the city (which could be quite easily extended along the streetcar's route downtown, albeit in mixed traffic), but the local nature of the line would be lost. The problem is that the area south of False Creek just doesn't have very good access, and the streetcar would go a long way to solving that.

The combo proposal, while reasonable, also has a hint of political maneuvering regarding the streetcar to me. Translink has never supported the project, more or less because they are a regional body, and the streetcar is a city only project that doesn't do much for regional the regional mobility they are focusing on with both roads and transit. The Olympic demonstration seems to have made the line suddenly popular, and this looks to me like a way to get Translink's name on the project one way or another.

So, all in all what would I like to see? A reverse combo, with the Skytrain line to UBC, but the LRT (downgraded to a streetcar, but that only really means adding a couple of stops for the section shown) build on the Main to Arbutus/Broadway section by Metrolinx (for the Olympic Village, Granville Island and a short term connection between the Millenium and Canada lines), with the Waterfront other extensions to be exclusively city projects.

PS, sorry to digress so far into local politics, but I'm finding the details of this line to be rather interesting from that angle, and I'm actually on the other side of Canada right now.

Jarrett


@ FD. Good point. I'd argue that what I'm trying to do here is fill in a clear gap in the debate. I would also argue, apropos of any option, that if you insist on defining local needs so that they're directly in conflict with regional ones, as is currently being attempted in some quarters, you're going to have a lot more trouble getting a fundable project, and you're also likely to have worse ridership outcomes. Successful transit lines are about combining multiple markets onto the same service, not trying to serve one to the exclusion of another.

Richard

Another problem with the combo options is that by encouraging people on the Expo Line to go to Main Station so they don't have to transfer twice on the way to UBC and other points west of Arbutus, there will be even more people on the busiest section of the Expo Line. This means that the expensive platform lengthening for the Expo Line to handle longer trains would have to happen sooner. As the cost is between $1 and $2 billion, this means that other priorities would have to wait.

There is a related issue with the LRT only options. If the Millennium Line is extended to at least the Canada Line, many of the people heading downtown would likely continue on to the Canada Line instead of transferring to the Expo Line. This again could delay the need to expand the platforms on the Expo Line. If instead the UBC Line is LRT, hardly anyone would transfer from the Millennium Line to the LRT then the LRT to the Canada Line to get downtown.

Hopefully, when evaluating the options, they consider system-wide implications.

mike0234

Skytrain to Arbutus + rapidbus to UBC, which was studied by Vancouver about 10 years ago, does not provide for a single transfer between UBC and all of the Skytrain lines. To meet up with the Expo and Canada lines, Skytrain and rapidbus would need to overlap on Broadway, go from UBC to Granville/Broadway to Downtown, or follow the current 44 route into Downtown.

The presence of a disused/abandoned freight rail between Arbutus/Broadway and Cambie is what gives Skytrain to Arbutus + light rail to UBC an advantage over Skytrain + rapidbus. This is an exclusive right-of-way with few grade-crossings, and many more that could be grade-separated if necessary. It could be much faster than an in-street rapid bus alternative because it would not have to slow down for intersections.

Further, once a light rail line is in place, a second branch of the light rail line could be built down the Arbutus corridor to Kerrisdale and Marpole, and a relatively short segment could send a route over the Granville bridge into downtown. There is the potential for a larger network of light rail lines (or tramways), much of it using disused freight corridors.

As for Main Street Station, there are two options for a terminus: Quebec Street or the space in front of Pacific Central. Whichever is chosen, there is plenty of space available. I'm not sure that this would present as much a problem as the transfer station at Arbutus/Broadway.

mezzanine

"It was worse than that. They were TOLD by the city that it WOULD be bored, but somehow the P3 ended up giving the company authority to build it how they like, so they went cut and cover."

I can only go by the public record, but the judgement against the canada line was for nuisance from using cut and cover, not for misreprestation (ie bait and switch. There was no explicit promise of a bored tunnel by InTransitBC.) That's not to say that staff from the city or translink gave inaccurate information, though.

Direct from the judgement against InTransitBC:

http://www.cbc.ca/bc/news/bc-090527-heyes-canada-line-ruling.pdf

"There is no evidence to support the allegation that the representation made in mid-2003 with respect to the method of tunnel construction was false or negligent. While that should have been apparent to the plaintiff and its counsel well in advance of trial, the claim in relation to that representation was not abandoned until the plaintiff’s closing submissions."

Jarrett

THE FIRST UPDATE OCCURRED AT THIS POINT IN THE COMMENT STREAM

Joe

lesson learned from the very successful canada line is that we can't underestimate the demand for this corridor. It has to be skytrain ALL the way to UBC. It has more than enough ridership to justify the skytrain.

btw, I wouldn't trust landscape architect professor Patrick Condon, someone zweisystem deems as a transit expert. zweisystem is seriously out of touch.

Adrian

Patrick Condon is well known professor at UBC who has a point, but the issue is a difference in work sectors. Architecture and Transportation, while still part of the larger "planning and urbanism" work field, are quite different and there is a conflict of interest.

Patrick Condon cites a few cheap LRTs that will be impossible to build in Vancouver. Why? Well unlike many other cities, Vancouver never had a lot of ROW, so there's no way LRT can be built for $15 million/mile. He uses this number figure and applies it as a baseline throughout all his proposals.

The better approximation for most LRT routes in Vancouver is 43 million/km, which is more or less like the TransitCity proposals for Toronto.

Alon Levy

My only comment on the hybrid option is that it forces an extra transfer on UBC-Expo Line travelers. It may not be too important a travel market, but the transfer would involve 2 or 3 stops on the middle segment, which is pretty nasty.

David

@ Jarett

Hey, I don't think I clarified my "dream" vision very much, which probably led to some confusion. Edmund Carlson touches on a lot of what I meant to say before I had time to say it. So, what I "want" is a Millennium Line would continue all the way to UBC via the Broadway Corridor thus being the same as the RPT Alternative and replacing the 99-B Line. I think this is important because one could seamlessly ride a train from Coquitlam Town Centre via the Evergreen Line all the way to UBC without having to transfer. Yes one would still have to transfer at Commercial to get to the Expo Line, but this can't be helped and that transfer isn't that bad (ie it takes about 1 minute or less and its only one transfer) compared to the rather pathetic Canada Line vs Expo/Millennium Line transfer at Vancouer City Centre to Granville or at Waterfront (about 3 and 2 minutes respectively for one transfer, that if you're new to town, could be somewhat confusing since the way-finding isn't very intuitive).

However, in addition to that, what I would like to see would be some sort "light rail" option similar to part of the route outlined in the Combination Alternative. This is what I meant by talking about option five or the Combination Option. It would start in the South False Creek area, connecting with the Expo Line at Main Street-Science World Station, then connecting with the Canada Line at the Olympic Village station, then connecting with the UBC bound Millennium Line at Arbutus. However, unlike the combination option that Translink offered I would suggest that this "light rail" line not take over from the Millennium Line in a UBC bound direction. Like Mike0234 I agree that this "light rail" line could be the start of network of light rail lines. In sparser areas of the region they could act as "commuter rail" possibly all the way out to Chilliwack in the Valley.

That said I don't think light rail is an acceptable alternative for the UBC destination via the Broadway Corridor. I think it would be too disruptive to local traffic once it's built, since Broadway/West 10th is basically the main artery in that direction. It would take a good three or four lanes out of Broadway/West 10th, thus creating traffic chaos, not only for cars, but also local buses. Or if they actually built it underground it wouldn't be much cheaper than extending Skytrain Technology westwards. If it isn't completely separated from traffic it wouldn't be that much faster than existing buses, meaning it would be relatively pointless. And light rail would probably require drivers, meaning that it wouldn't be as frequent. And I'm not convinced it would have a lot more capacity than existing bus services either.

These are all important considerations because apparently buses serving the Broadway Corridor transport 100K people per average weekday. Apparently the 98-B Line had about 40K people/day, whereas the Canada Line has about 100K now. If one were build the Evergreen Line and a UBC bound Millennium Line would see its ridership numbers grow leaps and bounds vis a vis its Bus-based predecessors too. Granted, I realize a lot of suburban to Downtown services are feeding into the Canada Line, but its earlier than expected reaching of the 100K passenger mark (this was expected by 2013 at the earliest) helps prove that the system is attracting new riders.

Paul C

Off the top we can scratch the BRT option. Has it would of happened already if they really wanted it. Although in theory we could temporarily build something like it by banning street parking along the Broadway corridor from 6AM to 9PM. This would help in the short term.

The combo option is an intriguing idea. But how much of a difference in cost would there be between that option and a full skytrain to UBC. The other problem with is is how much of a time saving would there be with this option over the current system or how much a time delay would it impose over skytrain all the way to UBC. One aspect I feel that many people think of all though Jarrett did touch on it. Is when someone is coming from UBC and then want to get to Metrotown. If it was Skytrain all the way would more people take that to Broadway to transfer to the Expo Line to get to Metrotown. If it was the combo option. Would some people decide screw this and take the 41 or 49 instead of having to transfer a Arbutus and Broadway. Right now the 41 and 49 are packed as it is. It would be nice if those people who are headed to or from UBC. Would go to Broadway instead of getting off the Expo Line at Joyce or Metrotown to take the 41 or 49.

In the end to me it has to be skytrain all the way to UBC. That would provide the fastest service and help to move transit users off of other bus routes.

One option I feel they should of brought up would be Skytrain to UBC and then a B-line the rest of the way. While I don't support this option. The cost might be low enough to get the project going sooner rather than later. As anyone in this region knows. This project should have been started and completed years ago.

Lauri Kangas

"Some placemakers will argue that mobility isn't important, and that it does make sense to build a rail line that doesn't take anyone anywhere any faster than they can go on the buses now."

You quite suddenly narrowed down the meaning of mobility there. Previously you did mention reliability, which can be an essential factor when choosing a rail alternative. Also relevant is capacity, which can also be significant and directly linked to reliability when operating in confined spaces. Rail can usually offer more capacity in the same space (width). Reliability is theoretically similar if ignoring overcrowding, but in practice rail tends to get more priority in political processes. This might not be desirable, but I would still call it true.

Finally a rail option which is as fast as current buses, but not faster or slower is neutral for this key mobility factor. The investment impetus must be different, but it is still not completely ignoring mobility. A slower option would be ignoring mobility.

Is there data available for the stop spacing and commercial speeds of the current normal and express bus services?

Alan Robinson

There is a complex problem with any proposal to extend skytrain to UBC. While much UBC bound traffic uses the Broadway corridor, much of the long distance traffic is distributed onto other bus routes, notably the 44, 84, 41/43, and 480. A rapid skytrain connection to UBC will concentrate these trips onto the Canada and Expo lines at their times and places of greatest congestion. While this would improve the mobility of UBC students, it would decrease it for other users of the system when they are unable to board trains.

To avoid this problem, at very least, the 41st Ave (or another southern corridor) would have to be balanced against an improved Broadway corridor.

jesse

Interesting analysis. Remember the planning should be looking forward 50-100 years; density comes after the lines are built so while you want to meet existing needs it's worth thinking how the city and suburbs would develop with or without these lines.

Bill Lee

I recommend looking that site http://bcer.trams.bc.ca/maps.html
and the 1920s map, the 1940s greatest extent map and then overlay with maps from the book Vancouver: A Visual History by Bruce Macdonald.

Andrew

SkyTrain technology is the only way to go if the Broadway alignment is chosen. There is simply no way to handle the demand with LRT unless two lanes are taken off Broadway (politically impossible, since the road is only 4 lanes wide). If LRT were chosen, it would have to go along King Edward, which has a grassy median where LRT could be built but which would not connect very well with the rest of the network.

Eric L

My crazy alternative: design a light rail system that can interline with skytrain. It might need to switch between manual and automatic mode, and you'll need to add overhead wires to much of the Millenium line. But then you can run light rail from UBC to Arbutus, then both light rail can run together to somewhere near Coquitlam where light rail can split off again.

BRT is a nearly pointless investment when you already require 90 second headways to serve the route with packed buses. Want to add signal priority to stop at fewer traffic lights? Forget it, cross traffic needs the light too. Want to add more buses? The bus stop is basically always occupied, you need to make it a block long (and make a wide BRT ROW so buses can pass eachother) and no one knows where exactly to stand, or you need to have buses skip half the stops (once again requiring wider ROW at stops). A train can be made long instead of super frequent, allowing similar or better capacity depending on the max length the blocks allow and allowing signal preemption for faster service.

EngineerScotty

Yohah at TTP blogs about the same issue here.

Eric Doherty

Eric L. wrote:

"BRT is a nearly pointless investment when you already require 90 second headways to serve the route with packed buses. Want to add signal priority to stop at fewer traffic lights? Forget it, cross traffic needs the light too."

Bus rapid transit has about the same capacity as light rail per lane, because it faces the same limitations. These are platform length and signal timing that limits the frequency of trains or bus convoys. Note that it is routine to run more that one bus per light cycle; more than three is probably difficult to do reliably. Double articulated buses 80 feet long are no longer rare in BRT (and are used in mixed treaffic in a few places such as Zurich).

Also, in relation to previous comments, one of the obvious ways to connect the Millenium Line to the Canada Line to to just keep going straight to the Olympic Village station and terminate the line there. That is where it points to, and much of the distance could be done with an elevated guideway for about half the cost of a tunnel (the route is partly on the edge of rail yards / industrial land).

More at http://www.livableregion.ca/blog/blogs/index.php/2010/04/16/broadway_rapid_transit_alternatives_lack

Ron van der Eerden

Running LRT from Main Street Station through the False Creek/Arbutus Corridors to West Broadway and beyond would take a huge load off of Central Broadway buses and offer faster speeds to UBC. The key is to extend the Millennium Line to Main Street Station as well, creating a hub at Pacific Central Station. (It could then continue on to Waterfront Station from the east so M-Line passengers could get to all the existing downtown SkyTrain Stations transfer-free via Waterfront.)

Major transit improvements should be seen as reducing car traffic... reducing the "choke point" at Main and Terminal.

The decision whether to build expensive tunnels or more LRT for Broadway could be delayed by at least a decade by removing the Central Broadway passenger load headed to UBC. I suspect that by the time that decision needs to be made gas will be $3.00/L and former motorists will be begging for more transit. Only the rich will be driving on or parking on the over-built 6 lanes of Broadway.

Jarrett at HumanTransit.org

Meredith Botta submitted the following comment:

It's my understanding that the SkyTrain system is running at only about 2/3 capacity because of a shortage of cars. Ordering more cars and extending the existing 80m platforms to 100m to accommodate longer trains at the most crucial stations first (e.g. Broadway/Commercial)will go a long ways to sucking up additional ridership from UBC.

In addition to serious concerns about surface rail and dedicated LRT/BRT medians down the middle of Broadway, like a wall severing the community, I have a problem with the imposed additional transfer point represented in the combo option for the Broadway corridor. Arbutus will have to become a gigantic hub station to absorb the congestion, especially if the western segment is a slower mode, and I suggest a large amount of land will be needed for spare light rail sidings or bus stacking lanes to take the passenger traffic.

Jarrett made some particularly astute comments about local vs regional needs. Broadway is certainly not isolated from the region, yet it has local neighbourhoods that need to be respected.

In my view an underground extension of the Millennium Line to UBC will work well and will garner higher than average ridership. Local neighbourhood issues can be addressed by using tunnel boring technology and covering the station excavations during construction, and integrating the stations into the community with the highest urban design and architectural standards. Guaranteeing any development the line stimulates will provide local public amenities and benefits would also afford more community acceptance of the project.

The cost may well exceed $3 billion, a lot of money. Cost comparison with heavier rail technology is the main selling point for trams in the current debate in Vancouver. But I contend that we need to get back to first principles on Broadway, because of its density and important regional role: quality of service. You get what you pay for.

The federal government should be participating in this exercise, but it instead chooses to absent itself from the discussion even though it can greatly influence the creation of more resilient cities that can better face the oncoming challenges this century will supply, using the important instrument of transit.

Local freelance journalist Frances Bula is hosting a debate on this topic on her blog:

http://www.francesbula.com/uncategorized/translink-puts-out-preliminary-broadway-rapid-transit-options-two-with-streetcar/

The debate also continues over at the Livable Regions blog:

http://www.livableregion.ca/blog/blogs/index.php/2010/04/16/broadway_rapid_transit_alternatives_lack#comments


MB

CLC

As BRT is being discussed, I think neither Translink nor the "West Broadway stakeholders" would anticipate to build elevated BRT (e.g. Nagoya guideway bus) or gigantic medium bus-lanes system in which customers need to use overpass to access station (e.g 25000pphd BRT in Guangzhou). Translink will at best provide a slightly upgraded b-line version. So the 3000pphd figure may reflect how Translink is going to apply BRT on Broadway.

Jhenifer @ TransLink

Jarrett, this is awesome stuff. Your post is circulating among TransLink staff already :)

I also wanted to add some insight into what the consultation process is actually looking for, as I'm not sure it's clear, and you've touched upon elements of it in your post briefly. (I'm cribbing this from the Buzzer blog text I wrote -- hope you don't mind the repetition.)

Essentially, this stage of the consultation is a very high-level discussion, looking at optimizing the routes that could be possible contenders for the line.

There's no detail on the station locations, spacing, elevated/underground/at-grade, because we actually don't have any of that information yet. These details (cost, station locations, etc) are actually dependent on creating a specific design for each alternative (picking alignment, elevated/at-grade, etc). And we haven't identified any of the specific designs at this stage.

Why haven't we identified specific designs? Well, it's because want your feedback before we even start the design phase. Before we evaluate alignments, elevations, station locations and more, we want to know what everyone wants us to consider in the actual design of the route.

This way, we can take everyone's priorities into the design phase and ensure it is reflected in the designs we produce. (For example, from the discussion it seems that speed of the route is important, so is elevated/underground/at-grade and so is cost.) The design phase is also quite expensive and time consuming, so we don't want to start if we aren't abundantly clear about what everyone wants for the line.

This also means that we aren't looking for people to pick a favourite route yet, even though this is obviously what everyone instinctively does! We don't want you to pick a favourite because no decisions have been made, and all of the routes are possiblilities for the corridor. As you point out, there's also very little detail with which you can compare and make a decision --- since we don't have a specific design, we can't tell you what the exact costs are for each, how fast they will go, etc.

As I mentioned too, we're actually asking you to tell us what you want us to consider in the design of the route, so that we can come out in the fall with a more detailed design, and then people can then start comparing and contrasting. And we're also looking for everyone to tell us if these are the right range of options to even start designing with.

For the wider group, if you're focusing on specific details that you think are make-or-break, we're asking you to try to identify the underlying concepts behind your suggestion, and make sure those are clear to us so we can move forward with them. For example, if you really think a station should be at Arbutus and Broadway, ask yourself why. Is it because you know that major growth is expected at that stop, and you want a hub there before it expands? Is it because it's located near necessary services that you think are key to the line? Or if you are focused on cost: what's the key issue behind it? Do you want us to cut costs as much as possible? Do you want us to spend as much as it takes to make this work?

So just to sum up, here's what we are looking for and what we can answer:

a) We want to know whether these are the right alternatives to start creating a detailed design with, or if other alternatives should be considered.

b) We want to know exactly what considerations we should take into account as we develop the designs further.

c) We want to know what would make each alternative the best that it could be, so we can ensure that is captured in the designs going forward. Try to resist picking a favourite, since all of the possibilities are in play right now, and there's not enough information to make a good comparison of them at the moment.

d) We can't answer with the specific details on cost, station location yet because we don't know the specific design.

Hope this helps!

Zach Shaner

Can we also talk about the streetscapes we'd like to see on Broadway, 4th, Granville Island, etc...? Like everyone else, I've been consumed by the RRT vs. LRT vs. BRT facets of the debate. (Disclosure, I live directly along the alignment on West 10th Ave and I am a strong supporter of tunneling all the way to UBC.)

But beyond the question of technology choice and capital cost, etc...how do we want Vancouver's west side to function as public space? How do we want pedestrians to interact with the infrastructure? What sort of architectural/zoning visions do we have for the corridor? These questions have got to be more thoroughly integrated into the discussion; it can't simply be a technology question.

Zach Shaner

A related question: as a newcomer to Vancouver, can anyone tell me if there is a history of rail transit planning for additional SW-to-NE False Creek crossings, either on the Granville/Burrard bridges or tunneled underneath? Has rail been studied on the transit markets roughly captured by buses #44 and/or #17 (the UBC-downtown leg)?

voony

Very brilliant post Jarret:

I particularly like the title “mind the gap”, and the map showing the “gap” between “commercial” and “cambie”.

“Closing the network gap” is something tending to be water down in the Translink presentation, but very critical, and it is good to get a recall shot on it.

It is also good to recall the regional nature of the corridor used by people which final destination is elsewhere (Coquitlam-Burnaby (low housing price, few job) / Richmond (high housing price, airport lot of job) is a good example of suburb-suburb trip which will only increase with the region growth.
That is the reason I like to see the Skytrain network as a RER equivalent but at this time the Vancouver skytrain network look more like the Pre RER parisian rail network (see http://voony.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/what-if/ )

Paul C

@Eric Doherty

"Also, in relation to previous comments, one of the obvious ways to connect the Millenium Line to the Canada Line to to just keep going straight to the Olympic Village station and terminate the line there. That is where it points to, and much of the distance could be done with an elevated guideway for about half the cost of a tunnel (the route is partly on the edge of rail yards / industrial land)."

If the only concern was connecting the Millenium line up with the Canada line. Then yes this would be a good idea. Just continue on from VCC-Clark along Great Northern/2nd Ave till you get to the Canada Line and end it there.

The problem though is you still haven't given a major boost to the capacity level along Broadway.

So hooking up the M-line to the Canada line is only one of the things that needs to be done. The Broadway corridor isn't also just a local usage corridor. The vast majority of people travelling along it are from areas outside the corridor.

Jarrett at HumanTransit.org

Interesting idea!  Well, maybe you should suggest to TransLink that they study an option in which this is two separate projects:  (a) M-Line elevated extension to C-Line and (b) BRT or LRT on the full length of Broadway.  That's got to be much cheaper than the "combo" alternative that they've considered.

voony

The problem with this idea is that you build the line where it is cheap to build, not necessarily where people want to go.

yes connecting M line with C line is critical, but providing as seamless as possible connection to central Broadway for people coming of eastern suburbs is also very important to make the line successful.

AL

It would also be nice if they considered an option with tunneled LRT along the most congested parts of Broadway (likely ~Granville to ~Cambie)...this is not unlike the plans for Eglinton LRT in Toronto, or Edmonton's tunneled LRT through the core.

zwei zwei

No money should be spend on Broadway. The population of the rest of BC much greater than the vicinity of Broadway, yet there isn't any skytrain to the rest of BC. UNFAIR! Population is the most important thing.

EngineerScotty

So, should we build SkyTrain to Whistler first, or to Kamloops, or to the Okanagan Valley?

Or extend the Canada Line past Richmond down to Tsawassen, across the Strait of Georgia, and into Victoria?

:)

HA

Zwei zwei, stop your trolling.

EngineerScotty


Maybe the Cascadia Corridor, rather than being Amtrak, should be SkyTrain. Would be nice to have a train leaving Portland for BC every ten minutes. :)

MB

I don’t have a problem with light rail when it’s designed with the highest safety and design standards, and has appropriate urban design measures -- except on Broadway which is a unique corridor with regional transit significance, and dense crossing spacing with significant pedestrian and bike traffic (almost every intersection is currently signalized), hence high accident risk on the surface (without dedicated rail median), or the blocking of 30 out of 38 intersections (with dedicated median, Main to Alma).

This corridor needs something more efficient and safe. Risk management should form an important part of the plannining exercise.

Regarding urban design, human scaled urbanism and a beautiful streetscape treatment with an emphasis on increasing pedestrian space by taking away road space is as possible with a subway project as it is with cute Eurotrams. Transit tech alone does not dictate an urban design response without an accompanying urban design policy. But it should be included in this project, or the city should start budgeting for it now.

MB

"This corridor needs something more efficient and safe. Risk management should form an important part of the plannining exercise."

Correction: A risk assessment should be conducted on each proposed option as they develop.

Ron van der Eerden

It seems by some comments that people haven't been to Europe... or Portland...

LRT doesn't "sever the community". The public spaces that LRT occupies are empty most of the time and add to the public realm in a way that roads can't. You obviously can't put tables and chairs on the ROW, but it still affords a buffer and feeling of open space between sidewalks/patios and traffic (unless a center-of-road configuration).

Zweisystem

First of all I am not zwei zwei and I see an attempt to discredit me.

LRT in the North American sense is a first generation light rail/stadtbahn system, close to being a light-metro.

The difference between light rail and a streetcar is the quality of rights-of-way, where a streetcar/tram operate on a reserved rights-of-way. A reserved rights-of-way is a 'rail' route, at-grade/on-street reserved solely for the operation of a streetcar/tram (a HOV lane with rails). By using a reserved rights-of-way, enables a tram to obtain higher commercial speeds. Light Rail lines generally have priority signaling at intersections.

Stop spacing on an urban route is between 500m to 600m which is the optimum distances to attract ridership. Stop spacing on a suburban route is influenced by customer demand and stops can be from 500m to many kilometres.

A streetcar is just what the name says, a 'rail' vehicle operating on-street in mixed traffic with little or no priority at intersections.

In North America there is a tendency by planners and engineers (ego?) to increase the cost of light rail by making it a light-metro, with Seattle being a good example.

In Europe Light Rail refers to a light railway, which in many instances use trams, replacing older steam or electric hauled carriages and/or vintage EMU's.

A true LRT line on Broadway would be on a reserved rights-of-way with stops every 500m to 600m, any longer distance between stops would deter ridership. With the Broadway LRT, it would be reinstating the previous streetcar service abandoned 60 years ago.

Seattle is a good example on not how to build light rail; too expensive; too user unfriendly and for the huge sums of money spent, ridership is dismal.

Tessa

When you say the ridership drops off after Arbutus, while that's true, I don't think that tells the whole story. Check the density map here:

http://regardingplace.com/?p=435

There's a large version, which if you look at it you'll see the density west of Arbutus is actually higher than most of the Cambie corridor, yet the Canada Line has had pretty strong ridership. Considering only 27 per cent of the trips going to UBC are by transit, compared to more than 40 per cent downtown, I would also say there's room for a great deal of growth in the number of trips if better service is offered.

Thus, I think the argument that the area west of Arbutus isn't a big enough transit draw for skytrain isn't true.

Thanks for the post, though. I like how you put this into the bigger picture and I'm glad to hear from Jhennifer that this post is making the rounds over at Translink.

Paul C

"interesting idea! Well, maybe you should suggest to TransLink that they study an option in which this is two separate projects: (a) M-Line elevated extension to C-Line and (b) BRT or LRT on the full length of Broadway. That's got to be much cheaper than the "combo" alternative that they've considered."

I would actually run the M-line to at least Arbutus. This project isn't just about connecting up the M-line to the C-line. Then I would keep the current B-line going from Arbutus to UBC. I would see what ridership is like 5 years later. If it is warranted extend the M-line to UBC or build the combo option LRT part or just build an LRT Line from Arbutus to UBC. Now I only propose this option if money is a big factor on what we can afford.

On a personal note though I'd rather just see the M-line extended all the way to UBC. Basically get it done now. And not have the debate of why we should spend money to extend it later on.

"No money should be spend on Broadway. The population of the rest of BC much greater than the vicinity of Broadway, yet there isn't any skytrain to the rest of BC. UNFAIR! Population is the most important thing."

Ah yes spoken from someone who hates the city of Vancouver and gets jealous over it.

Alex_AniPac

Regarding connecting the Millennium to the Canada Line at Olympic:

Correct me if I am wrong but, didn't they already build a sort of "ready-to-go" platform at the Broadway Canada Line station?

The Wikipedia site mentions something along those lines: http://bit.ly/aRngrw

zwei zwei

Skytrain and rav line are anything but successful. The olympic line on the other hand received 500,000 ridership over the course of its operations; that is successful. A reason to build LRT.

MB

@ Tessa. Eric Villagomez's density map is a very handy visual tool. It's obvious the Broadway corridor is already dense. But it doesn't show UBC, a huge missing link, which I suspect will consist of a rather large cluster of beige and brown spikes.

It's my view that a high-capacity subway with high frequency service to UBC and seemless connectivity to the regional rapid transit system will draw a lot more ridership than other modes, and will contribute greatly to getting cars off the road and increasing Vancouver's resiliency to fossil fuel strangulation.

It bears repeating that a subway can fit well into the local community provided it has accompanying urban design measures and high design standards. And the two-block bus stop rythm can be maintained for the #9 trolleys (low floor preferred) to serve the local neighbourhoods between rapid transit stations.

Alon Levy
A true LRT line on Broadway would be on a reserved rights-of-way with stops every 500m to 600m, any longer distance between stops would deter ridership.

Your breadth of knowledge and expertise about transit is so remarkable you should apply for a job at Reason Transportation or Demographia.

AT

Jarrett,

With regards to the particular technology that is to be used, you did a very good job of summarizing the big issues. You do note, however, on an earlier post that it is difficult to come to a clearer position until further details (i.e. above ground, at grade, or underground) come from Translink. That said, we can probably make a few assumptions/deductions - most of which assume that mobility is favored over the potential access benefits of streetcars:

1) The gap between the M-Line and the C-Line is obvious and would need to be rectified, not only to eliminate difficult rail to bus transfers as currently is the case, but also increase ridership to the end of the line. Extending skytrain to at least Arbutus and the western limit of the core area of Broadway seems to make sense. This assumption holds for the combo option in its present form.

With regards to system design, the LRT or bus along central broadway has clear problems with regards to traffic congestion due to reductions in travel lanes. Fighting the merchants over parking will also be an issue. Furthermore, if station stops are to be spaced far apart (to maximize mobility), then local bus service would likely still need to occur. Reduction of travel lanes to 1 in each direction would likely be a problem not only for drivers, but also for buses. This would seem to eliminate the BRT and some LRT options (I'm assuming that the BRT means extending the extents and hours of the bus-only lanes).

2) LRT along the Olympic line might still be possible given the above - but this is below a fairly significant hill and would be at the edge of a 5-minute walk radius from commercial along broadway - not to mention major trip generators such as Vancouver General Hospital. From a land use standpoint, Broadway is already zoned for higher densities and opportunities to upzone Fairview Slopes are limited. Clearly, transit infrastructure should promote denser, walkable centers - and Broadway is the best place for this. For this reason I would exclude the Olympic Line routes.

3) West of Arbutus, the RRT option is fairly clear - cost seems the biggest issue. LRT is often cited as being a) less costly and b) more politically appealing given certain NIMBY sentiments in some rich areas of the city. The cost argument would likely be more or less moot when compared to skytrain if LRT was to be above or below grade. If this were to be at-grade service, then a trade-off needs to be made between cost, mobility and access. If we were to end up with a streetcar, with its attendant low speeds, then the needs of the wider community may be sacrificed - and you've already addressed this.

On the design side, if actual "rapid transit" is desired, then the question remains of how to best move LRT at a higher rate of speed while remaining at grade through relatively dense urban neighborhoods. Toronto has struggled with this in their conversions of existing streetcar lines to more traditionally LRT-like service with wider stop spacing - and with mixed results.

Clearly if politics is the issue then above grade ROWs would be automatically out (especially in view-crazy Vancouver). Below grade, then the cost of tunneling would wipe out the primary cost benefit vs. skytrain - and the same issues with regards to merchant disruption would still be in play. Also, the Operations and maintenance center for LRT would have to be close to downtown and one would question whether that would be (a) a wise financial decision and (b) the highest and best use of the land; as skytrain would be part of a larger system, one would think that either the existing OMC could be expanded or another site found further afield where land values aren't as high.

4) At grade, then, one would expect a separated LRT ROW to span several blocks and thus 'break the grid' of the street pattern - as is the case along St. Clair Street in Toronto. Would the attendant pain-in-the-ass-ness of this be satisfactory to the largely auto-oriented upper-class types who are said to oppose skytrain? I guess you could say this would be a good thing - making driving more difficult - but from a political point of view, it may be a tough lift.

5) From a place-making point of view, limiting crossings has another effect - creating superblocks for bikes and peds - which can cause safety concerns and would not be conducive to creating great neighborhood shopping streets (Vancouver's tendency to locate official bike routes and 'greenways' along side streets compounds the problem). Again, as stated above, street widths are again an issue and good luck trying to take away parking from merchants - especially in areas where side street parking is highly coveted and in limited quantities (for those without resident stickers). Creating wider medians to allow for pedestrian safety zones (min. 6' wide where bikes would be likely to cross to allow for someone with a bike to stand there) would further reduce street width and might start biting into the sidewalk. This would also have the unintended effect of messing up the street drainage and that would be an additional cost.

6) Optimizing bus routes - the "best bus" option - along parallel routes would be relatively easy and cost effective, but the question would remain whether or not this would do the sort of mode shift that is typically expected from major transit improvements or whether the improvements would adequately provide for the long-term mobility needs for regional E-W travel. traffic modelling will bear that out, but in any case, these improvements are not mutually exclusive of other broadway-focused rapid transit infrastructure - and it is possible that they should be pursued on their own merits to improve system function.

sorry for the long post - I usually don't post, so things just get backed up in my head.

Paul C

"Clearly if politics is the issue then above grade ROWs would be automatically out (especially in view-crazy Vancouver). Below grade, then the cost of tunneling would wipe out the primary cost benefit vs. skytrain - and the same issues with regards to merchant disruption would still be in play."

Any RRT system Whether it be skytrain or a system with drivers. Would be either above ground or below ground. Given the lack of extra land space along Broadway above ground is basically a no go from the start. Below ground Broadway has a lot of utilities. Which is why I and other people have realized the best option would be to put it under 10th avenue. With the station entrances along Broadway on the south side. Given the problems with the Canada Line. It more than likely will be bored instead of cut and cover. Although you still have the disruption at points where the stations are built.

mike0234

I'm a bit curious why so many comments suggest that a surface light rail line would require a fenced median. Most tramways that I've been on either have no fencing at all or have fencing and pedestrian crossings at intersections. A completely fenced median is not something I would expect. It's a bit of a red herring.

EngineerScotty

A LRT or streetcar with a dedicated ROW but no fenced median, would probably not offer any substantial speed improvements over bus--to get much faster, you'd need to a) physically segregate the ROW from pedestrian access, and b) give it signal priority.

Both would be disruptive of the pedestrian environment; as the only place to safely cross the tracks would be at places where the train stops. And if you do b) that would only be at stations. But of course, stop frequency is a key driver of the performance of the line--if you want an average speed in the 20-30km/h range, you'd be looking at several blocks between stops, minimum.

In short, a fast rail line along the corridor will either a) be extremely damaging to the existing urban fabric, or b) grade-separated. A tramway down Broadway could offer capacity improvements, which may well be sufficient reason to do so, but not improvements in speed.

pwlg

You mention that west of Arbutus is a redevelopment resistant area and I am wondering if you have ever lived in the area...most homes have either illegal or legal suites that house students and others whose incomes will never afford them access to owning a house or even an apartment in this area. Several mid level apartments have been built along the Broadway, 4th Avenue and West 10th corridors west of Arbutus and many of the homes north of Broadway are actually strata homes. Perhaps you were thinking of Kerrisdale or Shaugnessy.

The redevelopment that has taken place along these corridors west of Arbutus has been a boom to small non-big box businesses that are easily accessed by foot or by bicycle which are far better options than ferrying people to the western most place in the region where some foolhardy planners, and of course the CPR who owned most of the land and wanted to develop the land for housing, thought a university should go.

Here's an option not being discussed, move the university to the Terminal Avenue Lands and surrounding area and watch redevelopment flourish in this area as well as businesses that support students...the area is already well served by so-called rapid transit, Millenium and Expo Lines, as well as numerous buses.

The impacts of student travel to both of our universities has been a nightmare financially.

Locating both SFU and UBC either at the top of a hill or point and distances well away from where students live has and continues to be problematic and costly in terms of transportation.

Dump all options for more expensive rail options and think about what it would take to move UBC to where it should have gone 80 years ago.

There are many successful examples of universities built in the core of cities where the university mingles with everyday life.

Building more expensive public transit options to cloak poor land use planning doesn't make sense in the 21st C.

Let's not make another mistake.

pwlg

And if you don't think the option of moving UBC eaastward where $5 billion of rail transit infrastructure is already in place think about what was accomplished in 5 short years getting ready for the Olympics.

As an engineer once told me, nothing is impossible.

Ron van der Eerden

The main driver of this project is capacity, not speed. LRT offers higher capacity than buses. Better comfort too. And as a bonus LRT on the False Creek/Arbutus ROW would improve speed and predictability compared to the 99.

Removing much of the Point Grey/UBC load from Central Broadway automatically increases capacity on Central Broadway. If a subway (or LRT) is required on Central broadway in future because of the growth that occurs over the next decades, it can still be built then. Until then, deferring that huge amount allows other transit projects to move forward.

Moving from overcrowded buses to a subway with 10 times the capacity in one go seems like over-kill to me.

The Burrard Bridge lane reallocation was supposed to be a disaster. We tried it. It wasn't. The only way to know for sure of LRT is a good fit for UBC is to try it. It works well elsewhere so that's a reasonable approach. Then a rational decision can be made for Central Broadway.

Besides... who really wants to ride around in a hole like a rat?

EngineerScotty


Besides... who really wants to ride around in a hole like a rat?

Lots of people, in lots of cities, like subways just fine, TYVM. This sort of comment is highly unproductive.

CLC

It is true that nobody can say for sure if LRT can be good fit on Broadway, but be prepared that it will be nothing like Calgary or Portland. Imagine 150000 boardings per day on a 12 km single line, it will be on par with some of the highest capacity (10000 to 20000pphd) LRT in other continent.

A typical morning ride will be like the one in Hong kong:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZSXXyNXIN8

Those who look to reach destination on-time with comfort, it is more likely than not LRT will not bring that on Broadway. It may be a costly trial.

Alon Levy

CLC, 150,000 per day would fit right in on the C-Train network.

However, the C-Train uses fenced medians to maintain high speeds; outside downtown it's effectively at-grade rapid transit running LRVs, rather than a tramway.

The "Nobody likes to ride underground" line against subways goes back to the 19th century, when some city leaders in New York swore that nobody would ever want to use a subway. Needless to say, in every city that's built a subway, the objection disappeared on opening day.

CLC

Alon, C-Train total tracks is about 4 times the length of "Broadway corridor" from VCC to UBC. Have C-train carried over 600000 per day in any special event? How was the condition?

mike0234

EngineerScotty and Alon, you're right that there would not be a significant improvement in speed with a dedicated centre-running tramway on West Broadway and 10th Avenue. The speed improvement comes from the off-street, segregated segment between Cambie and Arbutus that leads into it.

A tram that goes faster than about 50 km/h would not be appropriate on West Broadway. I imagine station spacing would stay the same as the existing limited-stop B-Line, with possibly one more stop.

I don't see why fencing should be required or desirable on such a line, especially since I've been on dozens of similar systems that don't have fencing.

The idea that there could be fast trams (80 km/h) going down Broadway seems sort of manufactured to make safety an issue. It isn't realistic. But it doesn't help that the most prolific commenter in favour of tram-trains and light rail maintains that a tram could match the speed of skytrain on in-street dedicated rights of way. In any case, Broadway's long blocks have fewer intersection than the short blocks on north-south streets. The safety issue would seem to be greater on those streets with more crossings, but the most prolific supporter of safe design thinks it less an issue there.

Ron van der Eerden

Of course subways are popular because they are fast and reliable. But given the choice would people rather ride underground or above? An elevated system is a non-starter for this route so it's a choice between a 15-20 minute ride in a dark hole or a 20-25 minute ride where you can watch the world go by, see that new restaurant or shop... and breathe some fresh air.

I rarely get on the Canada Line which has a stop across the street from home and 3 blocks from work. I'd rather ride my bike than be in that dark hole. But a streetcar or LRT I would definitely ride more often even if it took a few minutes longer. I believe it is a relevant question, not an "unproductive comment".

EngineerScotty


Maybe. Some people might be claustrophobic and be averse to subways for that reason. On the other hand, the way you phrased the objection seem design to provoke a strong emotional reaction--I've ridden in many subways in my life, and not once did I ever feel like a rat.

Certainly, the access time for a subway (the time to get from the street to the platform underground) is a strike against them; but if the subway is used for longer trips; it's not such a big deal. Subways certainly aren't replacement for surface transit--but then again, surface transit isn't a replacement for grade-separated. Both serve different purposes. And like many transit arguments over mode choice, the real argument doesn't concern the technology itself, but the problem to be solved. Condon, I suspect, considers it more important to improve transit links within Vancouver than he does to improve crosstown mobility--there are similar arguments, typically framed as bus vs light rail, where I live.

Paul C

@Ron van der Eerden

"

Of course subways are popular because they are fast and reliable. But given the choice would people rather ride underground or above? An elevated system is a non-starter for this route so it's a choice between a 15-20 minute ride in a dark hole or a 20-25 minute ride where you can watch the world go by, see that new restaurant or shop... and breathe some fresh air.

I rarely get on the Canada Line which has a stop across the street from home and 3 blocks from work. I'd rather ride my bike than be in that dark hole. But a streetcar or LRT I would definitely ride more often even if it took a few minutes longer. I believe it is a relevant question, not an "unproductive comment"."

It really depends on much you value your time. For me personally I'd rather ride a subway and just get to where I want to go as quickly as possible. 10 less minutes commuting means 10 more minutes that I could be doing something else.

@EngineerScotty

My dad is claustrophobic. Now he has been on the Canada Line 3 times. Although I'm not sure if he is still nervous. I think is biggest problem is what happens if suddenly all power goes out and all you have is the limited emergency lights. That is when he will start to panic.

For short trips subways are probably not the best mode of transit. It would be like jumping onto the freeway just to go from one entrance to the next exit. When it would probably be best to just stick to the local road. Same for subway vs street car. One is better at longer distances the other is better at shorter distances.

Adam O'Neill

Well folks, thanks for the great read.
As residents of Broadway and Fraser as well as transit users/cyclists my wife and I are trying to soak up as much of the great dialog on this topic as possible.
We're trying to focus on the underlying motives, as Jennifer from Translink pointed out.

For me, I think cost is my primary factor, as the need is great and I feel if we can take a staged approach to improving the transit capacity/mobility/quality we'll be able to start enjoying better service sooner rather than later.

For what it's worth here are some of my ideas for a phased plan.

1. Jarrett is totally right, we need to mind the gap. The Millennium Line and the Canada Line need to make friends, ASAP. Especially with the Evergreen Line coming. It's right in the Metro Vancouver Regional Planning documents from the 90's. We have densified these suburban communities and we need to provide fast and efficient transit between our many town centres. It's a regional system too (especially with all cities paying for these improvements) and we need to make skytrain the better option for Tri-cities to Richmond/Airport trips.
Now it seems to me that RRT is very expensive due to the need to bore a tunnel heading down broadway or under 10th. Seeing that I'm very concerned with cost and would like to try and spread out the big dollars over a multi-staged plan I'd agree with Eric Doherty- extend the Millennium Line to Olympic Village Station via a raised guideway, basically the cheapest way to mind the gap. It could have a few new stops too, maybe Great Northern Way Campus and one at the Main Street side of the Olympic Village. Now that the gap is taken care of we need to get these folks to UBC/Broadway.

2. Build a LRT from Main Street Station to UBC via Olympic Village Station, the Arbutus right of way, turning on Broadway and then along W. 10th to UBC. This LRT can run in one or two car trains at 15-2 minute intervals depending on the volume for up to 15,000 people each hour, an increase over the current B-Line's capacity by roughly 50%. The travel time should be significantly quicker on the portion of track between Olympic Village Station and Arbutus at Broadway do to the separated ROW. Speed would also increase compared to the B-Line on the Broadway and W. 10th sections do to priority signalling, having a dedicated lane and raised platforms for easier loading/un-loading. I also just plain like LRTs on a street, I've noticed that drivers kind of calm down when they're sharing the road with LRT and pedestrians and cyclists are less likely to J-walk without really looking. I feel safer on a street that has a train on it, and would be curious to see if introducing them to streets has lessened accident rates in the past in other cities? Now to deal with the central Broadway corridor.

3. BRT for central Broadway(Broadway/Commercial Stations to Arbutus) to convert to LRT in the future. With 80 foot electric buses operating in convoys, taking advantage of priority signalling, raised platforms and reserved lanes BRT would be a great improvement over the current B-line. When BRT is no longer providing enough capacity we could convert it to an LRT and use the buses on a parallel new BRT line along 41st. I figure we could have the LRT in mind when the BRT is built so that we could reuse the platforms, priority signalling and maybe the overhead cables.

I think that this would create a system that would be able to grow with the region and the local area and not put all our eggs($$$$) in one basket, but enable us to provide great transit to more areas. Thanks for all of your posts, they have been very informative, Cheers.

jsonchiu

@Adam
Interesting idea, although I think the cost might not cost any less than the combo option (not saying the combo option is any good) because of implementing 3 technologies.

And if the cost saving is not that significant, then why not just extend M line to Arbutus?
and regards to putting eggs in basket, Skytrain has been good so far.


My views at the Translink proposals:

BRT is kind of out of question due to capacity issues (unless they really want to bring in a huge fleet of 80' buses and make stops really long to accommodate 2 buses at the same time)

LRT by itself has speed issues (30 intersections to cross) and may not be faster than 99B, plus the gap is not bridged.

Skytrain is definitely needed. However, Skytrain to UBC can be too costly, plus some NIMBYism might resist it.

Combo option: might be very costly as well. Also, I have issues with LRT running down the narrow 10th Ave (only 4 lanes).

I like the Skytrain to Arbutus, then BRT to UBC option (studied 10 years ago). As to the problem of UBC people not having direct access to Skytrain Canada/Expo line, well, that won't happen until Skytrain is extended to UBC.

Chris

Something people have not mentioned is the large number of buses that would be freed up if SkyTrain (or a LRT) was extended to UBC. I would imagine that all of the buses now used on 99 would be reassigned to other routes. Depending on the draw SkyTrain had from other routes that serve UBC, additional buses may be able to be reassigned from the other routes that serve UBC. It is unlikely that a LRT would attract riders from the 41, but if SkyTrain was fast enough it's possible it could. This could result in a massive increase in bus service in areas that could really use additional bus service (especially Surrey/Coquitlam). A BRT would not have this effect, since it's likely that a BRT would just almost be like repainting the 99 buses.

UBC is not going to be rebuilt in the Terminal lands. The cost would make SkyTrain look like it could be bought at a 99 cents store. But LRT advocates - where are you going to put the LRT facility? It seems like the only 2 possible places are somewhere in the Endowment Lands, or by Main St station. I doubt residents would be thrilled to have parkland torn down to build an industrial facility. And space near Main St Station is going fast. Find a 30 acre space and get ready for eminent domain proceedings to take over what is there. I imagine SkyTrain could use the existing facility in Burnaby, it's pretty big.

What people seem to fail to grasp is that you cannot have effective signal priority if the transit route runs more often than every 5 minutes. Even pedestrians have to cross the street. Street running, even if segregated, will never be allowed a top speed of more than 50 km/h, and that's only if fencing is put in to completely eliminate the risk of jaywalking. Anything other than tunneling will result in something that is not appreciably better than the 99 at an enormous cost.

A street running LRT on 10th Ave running every 2 minutes? Can we be realistic here? That has a 0% chance of happening. Only Broadway would be possible.

As for NIMBYs, LA held a public meeting about a subway extension under one of the wealthiest parts of the city. Everyone was in favor. Of course, this was a deep bore proposal 100 feet below the surface, not cut and cover, but it's amazing how much people's attitudes towards rapid transit have turned around.

If SkyTrain to UBC is considered too expensive, then fine, let's spend the money in another part of the city. Many parts could use improved transit. But let's not waste money on building something that will not be an improvement over the existing bus service apart from looking prettier.

Certainly a bus route that has 100,000 passengers per day would be an ideal candidate for SkyTrain. And that number can be expected to rise in the future as UBC is more fully developed.

Lee

I would go with the light rail/street-car option from Initially from Main street Skytrain, False Creek, Interurban line and then then along Broadway. This could later be extended, not only down the Arbutus corridor to Marpole but then east, past the Marine Drive Canada Line station and on to New Westminster serving residential and business customer along the Fraser. The other end could go through Downtown to Stanley Park as envisioned, or do a loop in the downtown/west End area. The Millennium Line could be extended just to the False Creek Canada Line station.
In many European cities a rail vehicle acts as a Tram (Street-car) in the more dense areas and as , what we would consider light rail away from town. You just have to limit the stops.

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