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

Portland streetcar success has fueled interest elsewhere

with 23 comments

USA Today

Sightline’s daily says this piece appeared yesterday, but there does seem to be something very familiar about it. Anyway, I am just back from San Francisco – which seems to be a place which really understands how to use transit – and there is going to be a UBC symposium on streetcars on September 29th. I have been encouraging people to go to this, but I want to pre-empt some of the debate. Mainly becuase I do not think there is any value at all in once again revisiting the Skytrain vs light rail debate.

My point is that the real battle should be transit vs the car – not which type of transit we should build. Indeed, I do believe that the rail vs bus debate is worthwhile either, since what we need is a lot more transit and very quickly.  The pressing need in this region is to stop the expansion of freeways – the widening of Highway #1 and the new Port Mann Bridge are steps in the wrong direction but arguably too late to stop.  I would like to say the same of the SFPR, but building that is now well advanced too – for instance the earthworks on Highway #17 north of 28th Avenue for the new intersection and railway overpass.  Very simply put, if we actually cared about global warming our first priority would be to reduce the need to use cars for every trip. The quickest way to achieve that is to expand transit service. Instead of that we are stuck with a transit system that is at capacity and cannot grow due to fiscal constraints that are not being applied to the rest of transportation network.

In San Francisco there is one street – Market Street – that is perhaps the best illustration of what we need to aim at. Streetcars, buses and electric trolleybuses (SF has one of the largest fleets in the US and Canada)  share the surface street with cars. But the combined service is so frequent that the centre lanes are almost de facto bus and tram lanes.

SF Muni PCC 1053

This streetcar was built for Philadelphia in 1946: MUNI bought a bunch of them for the new F line service they introduced when the Embarcadero freeway was taken down after the 1989 earthquake. The picture below shows a former Milan streetcar on the reserved right of way that is now the centrepiece of a wide boulevard that actually carries more traffic than the old two level elevated freeway. (There is also a neat video from StreetFilms about that.)

Peter Witt SF Muni 1893 rear

These heritage cars are now a very important tourist attraction in their own right and supplement the historic cable cars linking downtown with Fisherman’s Wharf. The cable cars climb over the top of Russian and Nob Hills, the streetcars run around the bay shore at the level. Travel time is not too different – cable cars being limited to 9 mph. Both see long line ups at peak travel times.

SF Muni Cable Car 1

But to get back to Market Street – not only are there buses (11 routes) and streetcars on the surface there are two levels of railway tunnel. The upper one has light rail service – six routes with a common trunk that fan out across the city outside of the downtown area. This provides a mixture of fast rapid grade separated transit – partly due to terrain but also because surface transit on a very dense grid provides complementary local service – and on street convenience and ease of access in suburban areas, with a significant feeder bus route system.

Breda LRV on N Judah

And at the lower level BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) connects to the neighbouring cities – Oakland, Richmond, Pittsburgh and Fremont across the other side of the Bay as well as the airport and the Caltrain service to San Jose and Gilroy (which also gets in to San Franscisco near Mission Creek).

BART at SFO

There does not seem to be the same mindset at Translink, where we still hear the old story about buses must not compete with rapid transit, and passengers must be required to transfer to rail in order to boost the ridership figures. Well, that is the story but the reality is that trolleybus #19 has always paralleled the Expo line and provides a local level of service that the Skytrain can’t. Even though BART and MUNI are separate agencies, there is clear evidence of fare and service co-ordination everywhere. Muni sells two kinds of monthly pass – $60 of Muni or $70 for Muni plus the BART system within San Francisco. BART and CalTrain both have the fare by distance systems that longer distance services need, but are also integrated with Muni. Muni service accepts transfers from Almeda/Oalkand, Golden Gate ands Harbor Bay ferries and BART plus half-monthly passes. Inter-agency monthly passes are available with AC Transit, Golden Gate, SamTrans, Caltrain and so on.  Yes, we have the “golden ticket” because we have one regional transit system – but we get a lot less transit. I would suggest that the geographical constraints on the Bay Area are far greater than ours – and of course their population (approaching 7 million) is also far greater. But the direction they have taken in recent years seems to me to recognize that they understand the limits of what could be done with cars – and have been building and refurbishing their transit systems in ways we can hardly imagine here.

We need to look at what kind of transit is needed to meet travel requirements in different parts of the region. Actually I think cable cars would be kind of neat in North Van and New West – but I know that is a low priority. I also doubt we will see a sunken tube (like the BART Bay crossing) from Waterfront to Lonsdale any time soon. But can you imagine the reaction I would get if I seriously suggested a Market Street approach for Broadway? Yet that is what we need. Local service on the surface and regional service – grade separated and probably in tunnel – as well. Yes we have Canada Line, but that it seems to me does not replace what a streetcar/light rail could still achieve along Arbutus – including the line all the way out to Steveston just like the N Judah. Which could conceivably interwork with a downtown streetcar to Granville Island. Where, by the way there are still rails embedded in the streets, and there are far too many cars!

I am all in favour of incremental low cost expansions that use existing rights of way to keep costs down. Starting off with bus lanes and B Lines is no bad thing at all. But they will be of limited use and life  - and can then be redirected as they are replaced by better rail service as ridership increases. Just as the #98 B-Line did (not that Glen Clark expected that when he authorized it!) But our vision has to be long term, and consistent and has to be geared to reducing the use of fossil fuel for personal transportation. We have to adopt a serious metric – transit mode share must increase, not just ridership rising as population increases, which is about all we have done up to now. And it must not just be about moving students to University, or commuters to downtown, but meeting the travel needs of the whole of the population, all day, every day and every which way!

Written by Stephen Rees

August 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

Posted in transit, Transportation

23 Responses

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  1. If you really want to attract people out of their cars, you must provide a network, preferably offering a no-transfer journey for ones trip.

    The lower mainland needs an over 300 km. network of ‘rail’ transit to provide an attractive alternative to the car. The question thus becomes academic; do we build:

    1) SkyTrain/RAV style metro, with costs starting over $100 million/km.

    or

    2) The light rail family of transit with costs starting as low as $5 million/km for tramtrain; $15 million/km. for streetcar; or $25 million/km. for light rail.

    Or put another way, for the cost of the SkyTrain Evergreen Line, we could build a Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain (LRT) service and a Vancouver to Maple Ridge, via the Tri-cities, TramTrain service, with enough money left over for several small extensions.

    With the world economy still teetering on the brink, do we still want to plan for $200m/km. to $300m/km subways under Broadway? What schools and hospitals do you want to shut down to fund subway construction?

    As for the bus versus rail debate, every consultant and planner I have corresponded with in the past decade all had the same refrain; “Buses or BRT maybe somewhat cheaper to install but they have proven very poor in attracting the all important motorist from the car.”

    D. M. Johnston

    August 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  2. MUNI got a “free” subway tunnel under Market Street. The bi-level tunnels and stations were originally designed for BART. One level was for trains serving Alameda County and the other level was to have served Marin County. In the end Marin refused to help fund BART so the empty tunnels and station platforms were made available to MUNI.

    I like the MUNI metro as a starting point for discussions. Outside their tunnel sections the old J-N lines operate in mixed traffic with predictable delays. The T line was under construction when I was last in SF, but the sections I saw had a segregated right of way in the centre of the road.

    The F line is unique in that it serves as a high volume tourist service and passes through the central business district of a major city. Speed is not a factor because visitors are happy matching the cable car for travel time and most of the other users are only going a short distance from hotel to convention centre or office to underground station.

    Transit on Broadway isn’t serving the CBD, there’s no “free” tunnel to eliminate the need for a dedicated surface RoW and there will never be 6 different rail transit lines on the street so Market Street isn’t the greatest example of what to do here.

    Personally I like the vision being shown in Edmonton. They have a 2040 plan to run high volume LRT completely across the city from north to south and east to west. Almost all segments are depicted with two lines so passengers have two no-transfer choices from each stop and short distance travellers benefit from having twice as many trains per hour. I also like the way they’re planning to integrate low floor LRT with their existing high floor LRT. Instead of trying to push all the trains along a single route, the Market St approach, they are going to put new downtown trams on a parallel route within easy walking distance of the old line.

    Vancouver has no such 2040 plan. We have our 2040 vision that sounds wonderful but rather obviously clashes with the car-centric approach favoured by the Ministry of Transportation. Suburbia doesn’t need and can’t afford the hugely expensive SkyTrain extensions on the drawing board and they are offered no other options except buses. The rapid bus plan was clearly done in 30 seconds on a paper napkin to make it sound like widening the freeway was going to do something other than encourage a lot more people to drive to a lot more places. To ask SFU bound passengers to ride a bus to Lougheed, transfer to SkyTrain for exactly one stop and then transfer to another bus is so ridiculous that it could only have come from a provincial politician.

    BC and Metro Vancouver don’t have a network of routes envisioned, a network that would offer an attractive alternative to driving and cope with the de-centralization of travel patterns that we’re witnessing. I believe this is because the politicians in charge do not consider transit important, do not consider the possibility that it could be a viable alternative to driving and because grade separated transit costs so much that only short, single lines will ever fit into the budget.

    David

    August 30, 2010 at 11:32 pm

  3. As had stated Jarret Walker at the SFU talk:

    our decision are based on hot (subjective) and cold factor…and “subjective” factor change with time: it is the case of our passionate relation with either bus or trams

    It is possible that a decade ago, bus as fancy they could have been couldn’t have compete with whatever can run on rail.. but all thing change.

    I find it especially striking that the cities which have been the first to reintroduce the tram in France, now are shifting gear to BRT (or rather BHLS like European could prefer to call it for good reason, see website address below)…and find that they have a “Tram-like modal shift” :

    http://www.bhls.eu/IMG/pdf/Nantes_presentation_cost_26_05_08.pdf .

    May be such conclusion can be drawn basically only in a city where people have first hand experience of the tram, which then stop to be the object of “hot” desire, to be judged for what it is (cold fact).

    May be it is also, because transit planner here have analyzed first hand what make a transportation route a success, and apply it to the bus.

    May be at the end, it is because all the different deployed technology there are because, each case requires different answer thought all work together.

    it is eventually the aim of this post, exposing a 3 layer system running on Market street.

    voony

    August 30, 2010 at 11:39 pm

  4. The Nantes Metropole proposal, dated June 2008 for a Line 4 Busway [BRT], was developed from the 2001 study for extending Tramway Line 3 South from Pont Rousseau to Porte de Vertou.
    Eric Chevalier & Damien Garrigue, correctly state in their presentation;
    for 4 kms of new infrastructure:
    A] There was a weak commercial potential for a Tramline, with the number of expected additional trips, generating only 17,000 PAX/ day
    B] Scarce trip generators in the South-Loire area
    C] Tramway network connectivity problems in the city centre
    D] Infrastructure issues, with the requirement for 2nd line of bridges not taken into account
    E] Which ammounted to a cost of 135 M Euros for a 4km line
    Very sensibly, Nantes Metropole concluded that extending their existing 7 km busway was an economic solution.
    Could you advise Voony:
    1] How this single extension, ammounts to a “Tram-like modal shift” to BRT?
    2] Where do you get the “BHLS like European could prefer to call it” from?
    3] As you infer that more French & European cities are shifting to BRT, please would you post a list of those cities?

    bulleid35028

    August 31, 2010 at 8:46 am

  5. David

    Of course I wasn’t suggesting Market Street as a model for Broadway. The point – to reiterate – is simple. There is more than one kind of transit – and no one kind can meet all needs. It is foolish for proponents of any system or technology that it is the answer to all needs. Mature cities have a wide variety of transit services – local and regional, short and long distance, fast and slow – and the best ones integrate these so that they feed each other. Just as there is not one market for transit – it cannot be solely about getting students to University, or commuters to downtown. Tourism is an important market segment – and one that is willing to pay a premium! And transfers are not the complete block to usage that some pretend – if they are convenient and take place somewhere that encourages other activities. We designed our bus loops to actively deter use!

    Stephen Rees

    August 31, 2010 at 9:12 am

  6. [...] [Tri-State Transportation Campaign] Spit, Glue and Maybe Even Chewing Gum [The New York Times] Portland streetcar success has fueled interest elsewhere [Stephen Rees's [...]

    re:place Magazine

    August 31, 2010 at 9:27 am

  7. I agree with Stephen 100%. I am afraid that some posters here still argue about theoretical points while not actually having used transit systems in many towns..

    Nantes made a choice based on its population (800 000 with the farthest suburbs)and budget. Having trams, street buses, buses in busways proves Stephen point that the type of transit system isn’t what matters. All types of transit systems can and should be used depending on the needs of various areas in a town.

    Kobe (Japan) is a town with about 1.5 million people near Osaka. It looks like Vancouver North shore, a strip of land between the sea and a mountain range.
    The transit system is made of:
    -3 train lines (from 2–originally 3– different rail companies)running parallel to both the sea and the mountains (there is also a Shinkansen line but it can hardly be called transit..though I have used it as such, to go to nearby Osaka and Kyoto thanks to a special pass for tourists)
    -2 subway lines linking the 4 train lines
    -numerous buses
    -2 automated LRT (similar to the French VAL system)to serve 3 artificial islands. While these systems were expensive to build, and only serve a relatively small population, elevated lines were a no-brainer in densely populated areas on the mainland and to link it to islands.
    My Kobe friends have a car but never use it during the week. They bike to a rail station then commute by train to Osaka, then by subway or bus within Osaka.

    Transferring from one bus to another, from a bus to a metro/ LRT etc. from one tram or metro line to another is only seen as a big problem in Metro Vancouver.
    Not in other places where people have long appreciated that the major advantage of transit is that–while not as practical as a car–it that it saves money and headaches.

    Most of my clients from Paris didn’t even own a car (yet had 2 or 3 full-time household staff)as finding a parking spot near their home (18th and 19th century builders didn’t think about parking) or near the work place was a big problem. Unless one had a private chauffeur that lived in the suburbs and parked the car there..but then the chauffeur had parking problems in town..

    Red frog

    August 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm

  8. “There does not seem to be the same mindset at Translink, where we still hear the old story about buses must not compete with rapid transit, and passengers must be required to transfer to rail in order to boost the ridership figures.”

    But I don’t see anything wrong with this. Of course parallel local and regional service complement each other and are important, but even SF buses feed into rail lines as you mentioned a few lines up:

    “This provides a mixture of fast rapid grade separated transit – partly due to terrain but also because surface transit on a very dense grid provides complementary local service – and on street convenience and ease of access in suburban areas, with a significant feeder bus route system.”

    ======

    And I use caution when one considers trying to emulate SF Muni, or try to use transit for tourism.

    “Even with their exorbitant, $5 one-way fares, cable cars are a financial runaway train. According to the 2008 statistics Muni reported to the National Transit Database, cable cars brought in $24.2 million in fares — but required $51.3 million in operating expenses.

    San Franciscans will not tolerate any talk about dismantling the cable cars. Yet making Muni — and only Muni — foot the bill for a rolling city monument makes about as much sense as asking Paris’ mass-transit agency to start subsidizing the upkeep of the Eiffel Tower. San Francisco’s cable cars may well be a financial benefit to various city players, but the one agency they certainly aren’t benefiting is the one stuck paying for them. From a transit perspective, it’s bizarre for Muni to bleed core funds to underwrite what is essentially a pleasure trip for tourists.

    ——–

    With an average vehicle speed of 8.1 mph, it is far and away the slowest major urban transit system in the nation. While some of this can be blamed on San Francisco’s congestion and density, there are myriad methods of speeding up service other agencies have adopted that Muni hasn’t. This isn’t just an inconvenience for Muni’s declining ridership; it’s a major financial drain on a beleaguered system. Slow vehicle speeds force Muni to spend more money to provide less service. Muni’s lethargy is literally costing it millions.”

    More here:

    http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-04-14/news/the-muni-death-spiral/1/

    mezzanine

    August 31, 2010 at 2:45 pm

  9. Agreed Stephen, the lesson of Market Street is that multiple types of transit exist in the same place where they are allowed to compete against each other.

    Transfers become a deterrent once they become a significant portion of the total journey time, when the timing is difficult to predict and when the transfer location offers little protection from the elements and little to do other than just wait. I can see no good reason why those factors wouldn’t apply everywhere.

    I believe the perception that to-bus transfers are boring, unpredictably long, expose one to the elements and generally waste a lot of time applies more to the 80% of people who do not use transit than the 20% who do. Thus observing and speaking with transit passengers about transfers isn’t as meaningful as some seem to believe.

    David

    August 31, 2010 at 3:10 pm

  10. Please, let us not confuse San Fransisco’s venerable cable cars as streetcars or LRT, as they are a different fish altogether. S.F.’s cable cars, like the Wuppertal Schebebahn (monorail) are a historical monuments and the total income from the tourist dollars spent in S.F. due to the historic cable cars, added to fare income, probably far outweighs the annual operating costs.

    The $5 fare mentioned isn’t as bad as it seems, when compared to spending $5 for one ride at the PNE! Anyways, I would like to see a bus climb those hills faster than 8.1 mph! In fact, I do not think that the trolley bus can climb some those grades safely with full passenger loads!

    Mezz, I would wager that BART is a far greater drain on scarce transit dollars than the cable cars.

    I do think that the tourist aspect of a Vancouver to Chilliwack train service has never been thought of, but I would suspect it would be a winner.

    When I was living in the UK in the mid 70′s, I discovered, to my delight, preserved railways. Not only did I become a member of the Great Western Railway society at Didcot, I explored many others.

    In the 70′s there was an explosion of preserved railways in the UK and a leading UK railway magazine predicted that all but a handful would survive the 80′s. The editorial has been proven wrong as the preserved railway in the UK has become a massive tourist generator. We see the UK preserved railways all the time, especially in period pieces like Poroit, etc., which also provides much welcomed income.

    D. M. Johnston

    August 31, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  11. “the lesson of Market Street is that multiple types of transit exist in the same place where they are allowed to compete against each other”

    They don’t compete at all, as each one serve a different purpose. Local buses for short/ medium distance city trips, LRT for trips to the closest suburbs, trains for longer trips to farthest suburbs.

    This type of street grouping various types of transit is commonly found in major German towns. In other country a rail station is used as a hub for various transit systems and long distance trains.

    The benefits are obvious for transit and trains passengers, the more so when these “transit hub” streets or stations also have a variety of stores, hotels, offices etc. around/ on top/ below them.

    We didn’t mention financing the transit system Metro Vancouver truly needs. I thought that the following quote, from an article in the Seattle Times (Aug. 5, 2010) was somewhat interesting:

    “Sound Transit has looked to trim spending, and to survive without a big reserve fund to cover cost overruns, in hopes of keeping its 15-year plan on schedule. Voters approved the package two years ago.Sound Transit collects a sales tax of 9 cents per $10 purchase, a car-tab tax of $30 per $10,000 of vehicle value and approved federal grants that total more than $1.3 billion to date. Even if things go badly, Sound Transit has legal power to delay or shorten projects, and to prolong its taxes, so there is little political risk the agency will be forced to cancel major lines”

    We need to build a transit network covering all the areas of Metro Vancouver, using a variety of transit vehicles/ systems, ASAP if we want a sizable number of people to use it daily.

    Red frog

    August 31, 2010 at 6:55 pm

  12. To answer the question of Bullied35028

    (1) it reads in page 25 of the link I have provided in my previous comment

    (2) and (3), in addition to go to the bhls.eu website you can get answers in this good paper:
    http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/5891/1/4-06-086-2009-08-01-Finn-Buses-of-High-Level-of-Service-BHLS.pdf

    talking of BHLS (or BRT), this need to be not confused with what happens here and there on the Hwy 99 (I have put a post on my blog on it)

    voony

    September 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

  13. @ Voony,
    (1)
    VI – FIRST RESULTS AND OUTLOOKS
    bullet point 3: Tram-like modal shift [from private car to public transport]
    bullet point 7: In case of saturation, in a few years… implementation of a tram
    (2)
    from the quoted BHLS Practice in Europe paper
    BHLS is not the same product as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), although there are many features in common. The primary objective of BHLS is to uplift the quality of the bus mode rather than to provide the mass transit function. Many European cities have extreme limitations in available road width, BHLS aims to get the maximum capacity and quality within the available space.
    (3)
    From the quoted BHLS Practice in Europe paper
    Developing the quality and image of the bus.
    Bus services in European cities are typically regarded as the lowest layer of the public transport hierarchy, even though they are an essential element of the transport supply. In many cities they are the primary public transport modes

    Voony you are falling into the trap of trying to justify your views by misquoting from technical reports and academic papers. There is nothing in this European BHLS paper which is new.
    European bus operators have been improving the image of the bus for years in an attempt to compete with Light Rail & Tramways

    bulleid35028

    September 1, 2010 at 2:24 am

  14. I don’t know why you say I am misquoting from technical reports and academic papers.

    and if so, you can read it in all, taking the pain to provide some link to support y assertion.

    There is may be nothing new in the european BHLS paper, but the information is not necessarily well known, at least here in Vancouver.

    and certainly European bus operator try to improve the image of the bus, and to complete your quotation, they face the problem that

    “[negative perceptions of the bus] are also held by policy-makers, transport planners and decision-takers. As a result, bus is not taken seriously as a primary transport mode of choice, and even in planning it is treated as the “complementary” mode. While major investments are proposed for rail-based systems and enthusiastically supported by city leaders, bus-based proposals are summarily dismissed and are only grudgingly accepted as temporary measures until the desired tram project can be implemented.”

    now, you have to understand why that? that is the reason I refer to the “spectrum of authority” of Jarret walker, and will add this quotation wrongfully attributed to Thatcher (86):
    “A man riding a bus to work at age 26 may count himself a failure”

    She could never have says it, but it was the common perception of the time. that relate to the image you want give of yourself (I touch it in a post http://voony.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/bike-in-style/ ). Perception need to be changed
    That is eventually the reason that French more specifically are reluctant to use the BRT acronym: it refers too much to third world country solutions (the solution of the poor man) or the american one: paint a losange on a feeway shoulder, then call it a “BRT”.

    voony

    September 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

  15. A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.
    Attributed to her in Commons debates, 2003-07-02, column 407 and Commons debates, 2004-06-15 column 697. According to a letter to the Daily Telegraph by Alistair Cooke on 2 November 2006, this sentiment originated with Loelia Ponsonby, one of the wives of 2nd Duke of Westminster who said “Anybody seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life”. In a letter published the next day, also in the Daily Telegraph, Hugo Vickers claims Loelia Ponsonby admitted to him that she had borrowed it from Brian Howard. There is no solid evidence that Margaret Thatcher ever quoted this statement with approval, or indeed shared the sentiment.

    The first statement of yours, that you probably have cited correctly.
    You may find it better to `be your own man’ rather than hang on the coat tails and every word of the “spectrum of authority” of Jarret Walker.

    Your well meaning correspondence has shown that a little knowledge of urban transit affairs can put us on the wrong track.

    bulleid35028

    September 1, 2010 at 10:15 am

  16. @ bullied

    Voony has provided very good links to back up his arguement. His blog goes into a lot more detail and has different links to well-researched sites.

    You’ve taken a contrarian position to him, but provided no further evidence. You’re parsing his link differently, but people can read it for themselves and decide.

    mezzanine

    September 1, 2010 at 10:39 am

  17. au contraire mezzanine, voony has merely cut & paste links to papers prepared by those whom the focus is holistic and not atomistic as his published comments advocate.

    bulleid 35028

    September 1, 2010 at 11:04 am

  18. This to and fro by 2 posters is somewhat interesting but very sad too. Stephen wrote in his opening remarks: “My point is that the real battle should be transit vs the car – not which type of transit we should build” Let’s not forget that.

    Red frog

    September 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm

  19. The problems stems from the fact that some transit (and transit philosophy) is not as good as other transit (and transit philosophy) in attracting the all important motorist from the car.

    Vancouver has cocooned itself from the realities of 21st century public transport philosophy and until the public are allowed a full and open debate about transit mode and why we operate public transit, the nasty bus/tram/LRT will continue.

    Somehow I think TransLink wants this spat to continue, to it can do nothing (and spending a great deal of the taxpayer’s money doing nothing) and continue our present public transit deficit.

    As Stephen has repeated over and over again, TransLink is broke and until it can generate new revenues, any talk of transit expansion is nothing more than a pipe dream. Buses may seem to be a quick fix, but may prove unattractive to many and unattractive public transit doesn’t attract new custom.

    D. M. Johnston

    September 2, 2010 at 10:22 pm

  20. Redfrog, The Stephen sentence following the one you cite reads:
    “Indeed, I do believe that the rail vs bus debate is worthwhile either, since what we need is a lot more transit and very quickly.”

    I also believe that on a general view, the debate is worthwhile:

    I have updated my post http://voony.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/a-bus-stop-on-the-hwy-99/ with 2 pictures I shot of bus on the Hwy 99 en route for Delta/ Tsawwassen.
    Notice that I shoot them around lunch time.

    Some here pretend that nothing good can be expected from buses and you just need to replace the bus you see in the pictures by a streetcar or…and everyone will flock to it.

    Me, I believe things are not simpler than that.

    I believe there is lot of thing you can do to make the bus you can see on the picture more attractive to the “all important motorist”, and I think the pictures speak for it.

    “As Stephen has repeated over and over again, TransLink is broke and until it can generate new revenues, any talk of transit expansion is nothing more than a pipe dream”

    And if nothing is done “right now”, the motorist you see on the picture will all scream for an expansion of the tunnel, because transit fail to deliver “right now”….

    voony

    September 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm

  21. correction:

    “Indeed, I do believe that the rail vs bus debate is worthwhile either, since what we need is a lot more transit and very quickly.” probably is missing a negation to make good sense…

    but “lot more transit and very quickly” is defacto calling for a certain transit philosophy, what I understand we were more or less arguing here.

    voony

    September 4, 2010 at 12:09 am

  22. It’s a little strange to see a light rail system slowed down by front-door-only boarding being cited as a model. It’s a train treated the way we treat buses.

    This technology debate is awkward. There are technologies that are typically operated with similar stop spacings: light rail, brt, and skytrain. There is typically a network that operates more slowly but with more stops in addition using buses or streetcars. We ought to be arguing for the existence of this frequent, limited-stop network instead of the particular technology to be used in each particular corridor.

    mikef0234

    September 4, 2010 at 1:01 am

  23. Engineering note:

    The PCC car is drawing power from the same line as the trolleybus.

    zweisystem

    September 6, 2010 at 7:37 am


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