Vancouver’s CanadaLine to open in September
Ken Hardie tried to get this out early on Twitter but forgot to post a link to anything – and I am sorry but a “tweet” is not the same as a story. They had a media event and “Premier Gordon Campbell and other officials rode the entire length of the route for the first time on Friday morning, with reporters.” Once again Translink appears to have favoured conventional media over “social media” – which is understandable.
I love this quote from our Premier
Campbell said the line will provide the same transportation capacity as 10 lanes of roadway along the route, reduce the number of one-way vehicle trips per day by 200,000, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 11,000 to 14,000 tonnes a year.
So Mr Campbell, in that case why have you decided to build ten lanes of roadway across the Fraser? If the reduction of one way vehicle trips and greenhouse gas emissions are important on Cambie Street, why are they not important everywhere else in the Metro Vancouver region?
Actually, the Canada Line will not reduce vehicle trips for very long or by very much – if at all. The people who use the Canada Line will mostly be people who are currently riding buses. The shift from car to transit will be unnoticeable since the trips moved to transit will be more than offset by new induced car trips. These will occur because more road space will be available due to the design of the project and the relative absence of buses on currently crowded streets. (Toronto traffic engineers noticed very early on that the opening of subways made traffic worse on the streets under which they run.)
Oddly enough this would not be the effect if the H1PMR replacement was cancelled and replaced by an equal investment in streetcars. Firstly because road space would be taken away from cars and dedicated to transit – a much more efficient people moving system. This would produce the mode shift which you appear to recognise as desirable – but which will not happen by nearly as much as you say thanks to your current policies. Secondly the shape of development will not change very much in Vancouver – the dense parts are already about as dense as they are likely to get – the golf course and the park along much of the southern part of the Canada line will not be redeveloped. But if you had streetcars in Surrey and Langley just watch the pace of redevelopment along those arterials! The ranchers, bungalows and sidesplits would become townhouses and apartments over shops seemingly overnight.
The argument has always been about serving or shaping growth. The Canada Line serves an already well served area. Therefore not much change will happen. Changing the proposed transportation infrastructure in Langley and Surrey, on the other hand, will start to shift the transit mode share significantly – because it is only 4% now and has almost nowhere to go but up – given the right kind of system. Widen the freeway and the number of car trips will increase much faster and further than your model is capable of predicting. Because propensity to make trips – assumed fixed by your model – will increase.
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is a definition of madness.
It is time we changed direction.