Translink

 

T o p i k s

  The Referendum Question

Howe Street Closure Feb 15,16 – Bus Disruption

Seismic Upgrade to Burrard Bridge – Bus Service

Mayors’ Council Meeting  July 17, 2013

Annual General Meeting- May 27, 2013

Adding capacity to Existing Transit Corridors 

Within and Into the City of Vancouver

Peak Period Extension

Denied Boardings on the 99

Arbutus Busway

Wasted Bus Service When U.B.C. is Not In Session

Flexible Scheduling

Two Buses to do the Job of One

Supporting Documentation.

Transit Capacity by Corridor

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$  

Howe Street Closure Feb 15,16 – Bus Disruption

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Transit Referendum

The best option is to word it in annual dollars rather than one huge number, because the expenditures would be over many years. Voters might be offered a range from zero to half a billion annually, $1,000. per household. Sounds like a lot of money, But not when one considers that the Canada line cost $2 billion. The non-toll cost of the port mann, from boundary road to carvolth is probably in the same range, as would be a 10-laner and approach roads at Deas Island.

Analysis

The government of British Columbia wants a referendum on transit expenditures in the lower mainland to be held by November 2014, or such other date as may be decided.

In their campaign platform for the 2013 election they listed 5 highway projects which will proceed, including a 10? lane bridge between Delta and Richmond, and a 4 lane highway from Kamloops to Lake Louise. Their policy is that all 5 are to funded by all taxpayers in the Province. Tolling was not mentioned. There are currently only 2 toll routes in B.C., both in the Region, and in both instances the approach roads are not included in the amount to be recovered by tolls. The coquihalla and the lions gate were paid for by tolls, but not the Okanogan connector or the Ironworkers.

The platform however stated that there would be a referendum on transit in the lower mainland, and that capital expenditures would be paid for by the various taxpayers in the Region, with no new source of provincial funding. Lack of Provincial funding jeopardizes the chance for federal funding. The logic that transit is a local cost but highways a provincial one is a subject for debate, but that seems to be a debate the provincial government is not willing to enter.

The format of the referendum has yet to be decided. Whether the referendum will also include roads and bridges is also to be determined. If roads and transit are combined the total for several years would easily reach 10 billion.

The population of the Region is now 2 million and it is commonly thought that it will increase to 3 million before too long, although many people ask “Why?”.

One suggestion is to have the vote in layers starting with the essentials and adding on from there. This won’t work. Because each project affects municipalities differently it is logical for people to prioritize projects which affect them.

A worse problem is that many people, including the key staffers in Victoria, truly believe that adding lanes to an existing freeway system, such as port mann or deas, will reduce traffic congestion. It does for a while. But no person can name one city on this planet where the result 10 or 20 years later was anything but worse congestion. When this question was asked from the floor at a Deas Island public meeting the response was silence. Freeways breed cars! Freeways cause urban sprawl, they do not alleviate the problems caused by it.

If the total of all proposals which we hear is presented as one item, and the referendum is defeated, what happens next? Stagnation until another referendum reverses it?

A viable option is to word it in annual dollars rather than one huge number, because the expenditures would be over many years. Voters might be offered a range from zero to half a billion annually. Sounds like a lot of money, But not when one considers that the Canada line cost $2 billion. The total cost of the port mann, from boundary road to carvolth is probably in the same range, as would be a 10-laner at Deas Island. The entire cost of the longest proposed ‘skytrain’ line, from Douglas College to pt grey is well over 5. The annual sum per person, reflecting federal census and best estimates of the population in the intervening years would be used. The range might go to $200. per person. As population increases, so does the annual expenditure.

Another question which has been totally ignored to date is climate change. Infrastructure should last for a century. The population and economic pattern built around transportation arteries last for much larger. For example the CPR originally reached tidewater at the eastern end of Burrard Inlet. It was later extended to Gastown. Had the terminus been left at the original location there would be no downtown Vancouver as we know it. The business heart of the region today would be centered at Port Moody.

Yet best current projections for sea level rise are that within a century or a bit more, the ocean will rise above much of our current and proposed transportation arteries. Consider the entire area north of the Fraser River. The only existing transportation to this area which will still be above sea level once the Greenland ice has melted are helicopter pads such as those at VGH, Royal Columbian, and Grouse Mountain. Every rail line parallels either tidewater or the Fraser. Every highway crosses lowland, many through areas which are already dependent on pumps. A large section of Delta between highways 91 and 99, is actually floating! YVR at 4 metres is the lowest major airport in the world.

The referendum should list projects and ballpark costs. The listing would not freeze which projects go and which do not, but would guide people in selecting a number. Numbers to be shown as annual and for 20 years. Following are some of those projects.

Rolling stock needed for people transportation into and within the downtown Vancouver peninsula, and the crosstown routes in the City of Vancouver. This might include 2 seabuses(50M), 25 WCE cars(100M), 12 Canada line trains(240M); as well as constant adding of buses. Total $50 million annually. $1B. Also detailed in other correspondence. ‘Vancouver’ has now been rated by tom-tom as the most congested city in the U.S.A. or Canada. The downtown peninsula is impossible to move in. All future growth in people movement in the peninsula must be by transit. See separate topik on Vancouver.ca

Buses for all other areas, no estimate, let’s call it 24 annually for $10 million annual. This should be larger, even twice as large, but the sorry fact is that a huge percentage of these people are in the habit of driving everywhere, free parking is considered as much a right as breathable air, and municipal bylaws still enforce the use of the automobile through requiring all new condos to include a residential parking place.

Expo line extension to English Bay. Tens of thousands of people to be served by a 2 kilometre tunnel and 2 or 3 stations. Cost $200 million, 10M annual equivalent. The payback on this is tremendous. It should have been done in 1985,86,87. See separate page on http://www.Vancouverrr.ca.

Millennium line to downtown Vancouver. Cost $500 million. 25 annual equivalent. This would alleviate overcrowding on the expo line section between main street and the stadium. The line would carry people arriving on the millennium, as well many others who now board the expo line at commercial. It would stop at main street to board passengers from routes 3, 8, and 19; offering them an option to the overcrowded expo line leg from main street to stadium. See separate topik.

Securing rights of way for the umbilicus connecting “Fraser City” to eastern Canada and Washington state, and for future ELRT in the current city of Surrey. This is a century long project. Since all existing transportation to the north side of the Fraser will be inundated, the logical place to build the “Vancouverrr” of the 22nd century is on the high ground from North Delta to east of YXX. A migration over 3 generations can be pleasant if properly managed. If it is delayed, very painful.

Securing land for the inevitable relocation of the international airport to YXX – Abbotsford. This would primarily be by zoning and land swaps. Done now it should be financially achievable. Left until the waves are lapping at runway 09 it would be extremely difficult.

Which Taxes

The next question is out of which pocket in the jeans should the taxpayers pay. It is of little importance to the individual, none are popular, but it is of great importance to budget directors. But this aspect doesn’t need to be voted on. Peak time tolls on water crossings are practical, elaborate road pricing is not. Property taxes are very convenient, too convenient. Why should village shoppers pay for others transportation? Gas tax has proponents and opponents. The means of collection should be left out of the referendum.

Exclusions

The following items should not be included. Expenditure on these would swallow funds needed for the priority items Including any of these in a single yes or no referendum could kill everything. Yet billion dollar projects seem to have a side door to funding, bypassing the entire municipal budget process.

A WCS on the Burlington rails from main street to columbia station. It’s too soon for this. But steps should be taken to keep this option open for the succeeding 20 year period. An eventual dam at clark drive would protect this line from sea level rise. A future high level rail crossing will be needed at pattulo.

ELRT between Surrey centre city and Guildford and Newton, although rights of way should be protected. Surrey City has a bylaw that every new condominium development must include a minimum of 1.3 residential parking places per unit. Even the 1 bedrooms being built at King George must have 1.3 parking places. Therefore everyone will have a car for many years to come. What is the point of building ELRT if everyone has a car? The current plans for town centres at guildford and the skytrain line need to be looked at in the perspective of “Fraser City” having not only a larger population than that currently north of the Fraser, but also becoming a major business district. A short elrt between Surrey central and guildford would actually increase travel time for everybody! An eventual elrt from Surrey central to 240th might make sense.

Any rail system from macdonald and broadway to UBC pt grey. Vancouver City commissioned a report by an external firm, KPMG, with a huge international reputation. That report is pure fiction. Five points in the summary are numerically or factually incorrect. The rest vary from dubious to unsubstantiated.

A point by point rebuttal of the executive summary is posted on www.VancouveRRR.ca. Although this was sent to most of the major players in transit in the Region when the study was released, the only dispute received was from one student. The rebuttal is being resent separately in the first week of February 2014.

On january 31, 2014, global tv bc presented a clip showing that a group from the U.S.A. had arrived in Vancouver, had read all the documentation before arriving, and by thursday february 6 would be issuing a report recommending a broadway subway. The clip is enormously biased. The virtually pre-written report by a group of property developers was presented to a chapter of a lobby group consisting of property developers and consultants. Again, no public involvement. A rebuttal of several points is on the site, page ‘U.B.C. Subway’.

UBC runs full tilt 120 days a year. The existing 99 bus ranks well down the list of bus corridors even in the region, and on a North America wide basis it’s tiny. It is comparable to the west end combined, to highway 99, or SFU. It is dwarfed by burrard downtown and the granville busway. The 99 carries only 27% of the transit passengers to pt grey, the subway would add only some passengers from the 84. More riders would experience longer travel times curb to curb than would have slower times! Details on the same page on the site.

A subway from commercial to macdonald along broadway. What the promoters of this line seem to be unaware of is the 85% of passenger movement to central broadway is north-south, only 15% is east-west. And for those moving east-west, the trolleys on broadway offer almost as much capacity as the 99

Expansion of the expo line west of metrotown. This would be desirable. But if there were a cost effective, even physically doable way, to achieve it, such a proposal would surely have surfaced by now. The line runs at 120 second intervals. A station stop takes as long as 45 seconds. The underground stations at Burrard and Granville are a constraining factor.

The millennium line to downtown would take a lot of the passenger load from the expo line. A B-Line from metrotown bus loop along kingsway and west on broadway would provide better service to many arriving at metrotown by bus, and let’s say going to VGH, than taking the expo line to commercial and either a subway or the 99 from there. Details again on Vancouverrr.ca.

A 10 lane bridge from Delta to Richmond, with the connecting highways. Both ends of the current tunnel are below current sea level. There are only two locations on the lower Fraser River where there is high ground at both ends. One is near the pattulo, logically the reason why the bridge is there. The other is from Port Mann north to Coquitlam. No Fraser crossing should be built anywhere else!

As we’ve found with highway 1 in Burnaby, a bridge is only the middle third. Just as Coquitlam, Burnaby, and Vancouver cannot cope with the added traffic from port mann, so Richmond and east Vancouver have no way to cope with added cars from the proposed bridge.

25% of the people traveling northward in the a.m. peak through the tunnel go by bus. This is equal to 1 lane of traffic. This is comparable to the 99 at UBC, but on twice as many days annually. Those traveling by car, as well as many trucks, use 3 lanes. Doubling the bus share to 50% would replace 1 lane of cars. Buses from the tunnel have preferred freeway access to the oak bridge and to bridgeport, and to marine drive station, an alternate to bridgeport. A complete study is needed of the postal codes at which every person’s trip originates and terminates. Then bus service needs to be offered to accommodate. topik on Vancouverrr.ca.

To shift people from cars to bus, consider offering the bus service free, and charging $3. per car in the a.m. peak northbound. This would get the point across.

If the 10 laner goes in, it will eventually lead to a freeway from the River all the way to the upper levels. It’s inevitable, probably sketched out on some drawing board already, across the berry fields, cut and cover under oak, bridge false creek, cut and cover homer and hamilton, tunnel under burrard inlet, surface on Chesterfield. The cars will keep pushing until it happens, just as they did at port mann. And mystery groups like “Let’s Go B.C.” will advertise but not be available for debate.

Vancouverrr.ca info@ March 20, 2014

Topik

Bus Service Disruption by Infrastructure Work

On the weekend of February 15,16, 2014 bus service on route 2, macDonald; 22, macDonald; and 22, Knight was disrupted by the City’s unwillingness to adjust to closure of a street for infrastructure repairs.

Is closure of streets to maintain underground infrastructure necessary?

Yes, Essential

Does this disrupt bus service.

Yes.

Is such disruption predictable?

Yes, weeks ahead.

Can such disruptions be reduced by advance planning?

Yes.

What does Translink do to reduce disruptions?

Some re-routings.

Provides alternate trolley wires.

What does the City of Vancouver do to minimize disruption?.

Puts up signs notifying motorists of the closures.

Does the City hood parking meters to add a traffic lane.

Rarely if at all.

Has the City taken actions to make the situation worse?

Absolutely. Half the streets from howe west have blockages to impede traffic movement.

Howe Street Closure Feb 15,16, 2014

A potential four lanes of southbound traffic on howe between nelson and davie were closed to traffic all weekend for essential underground work.

Fortunately the Granville Busway and bridge continued to provide bus service for most of the city’s west side: routes 4, 7, 10, 14, 16, 17, and 50. Use of the busway by taxis continues to reduce its effectiveness. Traffic lights discriminate against the busway in favor of streets which have little or no transit.

Bus routes 2 and 22 rely on burrard.

At 7 p.m. on saturday southbound traffic on burrard was backed up solidly right from nelson right to dunsmuir. Buses 2 and 22 rely on burrard. Their schedule went out the window. 10 trips per hour in each direction, plus 5 each way for the 22 knight, trashed. Ask any driver on the route that day. Check the records for lateness. At times it was unaffected, at other times it was a mess. But on saturday evening it was a mess.

Northbound traffic was backed up just as badly, ‘situation normal’.

There are only 3 dozen parking meters southbound on burrard from burrard inlet to false creek. These should have been hooded from saturday noon to late sunday. That would have done a great deal to keep the buses moving, and helped with traffic generally. Ask any driver on the route that evening why they weren’t, the answer will be the same, “The City won’t give up the parking meter revenue”. There are tens of thousands of off-street parking places downtown. It makes no logic to usurp a full traffic lane on a bus corridor to increase that by 1/10th of 1%.

Traffic was trying to flow from georgia onto howe, then nelson then granville to the bridge, congestion. There were constables on nelson. There should have been a flashing sign (take one from cornwall) on georgia encourage motorists to use richards.

Burrard, thurlow, and richards; and to some extent bute; are logical alternatives for automobile traffic which would otherwise use howe. The gross total southbound lanes for the 4 streets used to be 12.

Thurlow has been cut from 4 lanes to 2 by concreting in at davie. Bute is closed south of davie by bute village. Burrard has 3 potential southbound traffic lanes. 1 lane is bikes only south of burnaby. Three dozen parking meters and some sitting taxis eliminate the curb lane except in the p.m. peak. Richards has parking meters.

The City has reduced traffic lanes exiting burrard bridge southbound at cornwall from a potential 5 to 3. The City brings automobile traffic north on burrard to cornwall reducing traffic flow exiting the bridge.

In summary the City seems to be doing everything it can to impede the flow of traffic, which includes buses, southbound in the downtown core to the west side of Vancouver. What other conclusion is there?

No wonder Tom-Tom has moved Vancouver to the distinction of THE most congested traffic in Canada and the U.S.A. for 2013; breaking the 3-way tie with San Francisco and Los Angeles from 2012.

Topik

Translink’s Actions and Inactions

Translink needs to have spare buses on standby in the downtown peninsula at all times except the a.m. peak so that a missed trip into the core does not result in a missed trip leaving the core. Knowing that this closure would cause disruption, some should have been added.

If nothing was to be done by the City to improve traffic flow, the 22 might have been moved to granville. The 2 must use burrard bridge and cornwall, cornwall is its raison d’etre. This might have required additional 2’s at times.

Translink clearly either did not request the City to facilitate bus movement on these 2 days, or its efforts were ineffective. The City ranks transit twelfth in its list of priorities for the use of streets (pt Grey bike route report plus meters). That’s right 12th. Translink must somehow make the new Council in November understand that transit should rank right up there with emergency services as the reason we have city streets.

Translink has trolley wires southbound on richards, granville, howe, and burrard to provide alternate routes. Howe is the routine alternative to granville southbound, but in the event the granville busway were to be brought down while howe is closed, there are still 2 streets. Long term planning by Translink is good. Where effort is sadly lacking is in flexibility.

Awareness

An e-mail was sent to the City’s Chief Traffic Engineer the previous week requesting that the meters on burrard be hooded. It fell on deaf ears.

Staff have to be aware that any action which affects traffic, be it a planned event, infrastructure work, or something unpredictable affects bus service even more than traffic generally. The buses can’t reroute the way cars can because passengers expect service on the regular routes.

Soon burrard bridge southbound will be reduced to one traffic lane. If the same lethargic approach is taken again, bus routes 2, 22, 32, and 44. will be disrupted for months. An e-mail explaining what needs to be done was forwarded to the City and Translink recently. Simple enough: the curb lane southbound must be a bus lane 24/7. Get rid of the bike lane on burrard.

Move the 44 to howe for the duration, using the 4th avenue off ramp, not the cloverleaf. Convert the 32’s to 2’s. Depending on howe bad congestion is possibly move the 22 to howe as well. Have standbys at burrard station,

Vancouverrr.ca info@ February 17, 2014

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Seismic Lane Closures Burrard Bridge – Comments

On january 27, Vancouver City sent notice that the current 5 lanes of general traffic on burrard bridge will be reduced to 3 from now until summer. Their e-mail follows

 Having read the e-mail 3 times, I see not one mention of bus service. 

 In the 90 minute p.m. peak, Wednesday January 29    the 2, 22, 32, and 44 buses are scheduled for 39 trips crossing burrard bridge southbound.

 These trips are heavily patronized. “Sorry bus full” is not unusual.

39 buses, 50 passengers, 1,950 total.

 In comparison, 30 99’s will leave UBC, 65 passengers, 1,950 total.

 Here is what needs to be done southbound.

 The 44 should be re-routed to howe street and granville bridge for the duration.

 The 32 should be suspended. Its 5 trips replaced by 2 7’s and 3 22’s.

 The 2 and 22 need to get top priority from pender to cornwall.

 Loads on the 2 and 22, and the 4 and 7, need to be monitored every wednesday, with trips added where necessary to accommodate motorists who are trying the bus. 2 and 22 should have equal number of trips, with the 2 a couple of minutes ahead of the 22’s attempted time.

 Left turns eastbound on pacific at burrard need to be eliminated for the duration at all hours, as well as right turns beach to thurlow. This traffic will use the west cloverleaf of the granville bridge.

 The southbound curb lane on burrard needs to be cleared of parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This needs to be bus priority.

 Buses leaving the stop at burnaby need a pressure sensitive green light.

 Parking south side of davie from broughton to howe needs to be curtailed, with signage encouraging southbound traffic to use howe.

 Howe street traffic will have to move more smoothly. Onsite study of all aspects, blockages, balancing of lights in howe’s favour; with quick implementation.

 A 100% survey needs to be done of traffic eastbound on pacific turning onto burrard bridge. Originating and destination postal code, time of travel, people in car, circumstances. From this, new peak bus routings might occur, such as park royal to macdonald and 16 via denman and pacific. These people need to be contacted with suggestions for existing routes.

 When streets become congested it is an ideal time to introduce motorists to commuting by bus, as occurred during Vancouver 2010. This 5 month disruption of automobile commuting into downtown is a tremendous opportunity for hundreds of commuters to change their habits, maybe even sell their cars.

 Incidentally, who at Translink and Coast Mountain is on the distribution list for notices of impending traffic disruption. Better still, how far ahead of time are the impacts discussed so that translink can make alternate plans??

 Excellent example of advance planning. Translink.ca for march 19 still shows the 44 running on burrard. The move to howe should have been posted already.

 Yes, on a full tilt day, the burrard bridge carries about the same number of people in the p.m. peak as does the 99 leaving UBC.

 Of course, downtown Vancouver runs full tilt, well, not 240 days annually but pretty close, summer is somewhat quieter. UBC runs full tilt only 120 days a year! So in the p.m. peak, this corridor exceeds the 99 @ UBC by perhaps 50% on an annualized basis. KPMG take note!

 For the 2 and 22 these are peak direction trips, and    a huge percentage of the riders prefer cornwall to 4th ave.    They cannot be moved.

 One northbound vehicle lane will be closed.

The northbound bicycle lane will remain open.

Both existing sidewalks will remain as they are,    one for all pedestrians, one for northbound bicycles.

 Would it not make more sense to temporarily convert the bike lane to general traffic until may? Cyclists and pedestrians could share the sidewalks, one in each direction. The 1,950 bus riders above are for 90 minutes a day only.

Winter cyclists on the bridge are minimal.

Situation normal at 12th and cambie.

Bus service ranks bottom on Council’s priority.

The list of priorities for the kitsilano cycling project listed bus service as number 11.

Even a single food truck in the 700 block howe cuts traffic to 2 lanes with construction on the other side.

The granville busway is closed all day saturday and sunday in summer for entertaiment which would much better be located on the plaza at Queen Elizabeth, or at the art gallery and ice rink.

The west end plan will further impede the 5 and 6 routes.

The polar bear swim virtually eliminated buses in the west end for 3 hours on new years day.

Every event or project seems to make it more difficult for the buses.  And never is there any reasonable presentation of the effect on the buses

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Seismic Lane Closures Burrard Bridge – City E-mail

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Burrard Bridge Improvements
From: Point Grey Cornwall <PointGrey.Cornwall@vancouver.ca>

7Date: Mon, January 27, 2014 11:11 am

To: Point Grey Cornwall <PointGrey.Cornwall@vancouver.ca>

RE: Burrard Bridge Improvements

The City of Vancouver will be undertaking structural improvements to the Burrard Bridge starting in February 2014. The work involves replacement of expansion joints on the bridge deck, replacement of bearings under the bridge deck, and concrete repairs to the underside of the bridge. The expansion joint work will be the most impactful due to lane closures on the bridge and is expected to take five months to complete. The bearing replacement and concrete repairs will take seven months to complete but have little impact to the public.

 

During construction, you can expect the following:

 

·         Lane closures on the bridge deck: Starting in February, one northbound vehicle lane will be closed and the contractor will begin the joint replacement within this lane. Continuing in March, a second vehicle lane will be closed reducing the bridge to three vehicle lanes. The bridge will operate with two lanes northbound and one southbound from March–July. Dedicated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians will be maintained throughout construction.

 ·         Weekend and overnight work: To minimize traffic impacts, some of the work will be scheduled on weekends and overnight. This is expected in April and May.

 ·         Noise typical of construction work: Please note that noise during the overnight work will be minimal.

 If you would like to learn more about the project, please visit the City’s website at www.vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/burrard-bridge-improvements or contact Richard Franco at 604-873-7623 or richard.franco@vancouver.ca.

  

Sincerely,

Richard Franco | Structures Project Coordinator | 604-873-7623 | richard.franco@vancouver.ca

City of Vancouver

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Mayors’ Council of Translink – Meeting July 17, 2013

The Mayors’ Council of Translink met on July 17, 2013.   Dominant topic was funding of transportation throughout the region.

A senior Translink executive quoted a Metro report aspiring to not more than 50% of trips by personal SOV in 2045.

Consensus excellent. Following is the writer’s perception of that consensus.

By co-incidence, before 8 that morning, a switch problem resulted in a 60% reduction in the load capacity of the expo line for at least an hour. There is zero excess capacity on the line, therefore denied boardings westbound continued in the hundreds at all stations west of 22nd street for another hour. Many attendees arrived barely on time. Some Mayors who had intended to arrive by transit were compelled to switch from skytrain to their own cars. Not happy campers.

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Mayors’ Consensus

  1. Perpetual population increase in the Region is a given.
  2. Mobility is a major goal, including “Choices”.
  3. B.C.’s provincial government has ordered a referendum on transportation funding in the Region by November 2014. They are the boss.
  4. The referendum must deal with all transportation in the Region, not only transit. The public needs to understand that growth in demand will require stating relative preference for more transit or more roads; or a balance.
  5. Preparing for a referendum in 12 months means encompassing all issues in Translink’s “15 year investment strategy”; explaining the options to the public..
  6. Preparing for the referendum is expensive, no one has said who will pay for it.
  7. Tax referenda are always voted down. Since people typically resent taxes, whenever they have the opportunity to vote against one, even where one tax is being substituted for another to their advantage, they vote NO (ed. GST, HST, Oregon gas tax).
  8. The Mayors’ main function in regards to Translink seems to be paying for it from their major source of revenue, property taxes. They have no desire to go to their voters for an increase in property taxes of approximately $10,000 per person, $50,000 per family household.
  9. Which bridges to toll? New bridges only?
  10. Many of the proposals being brought forward by Translink and the Board seem to be very high cost options. Mayors would like to see cheaper choices.
  11. Road pricing was favored by some, but many thought it too complex, slow and expensive to implement. A “Vehicle Fee” was also mentioned.
  12. The Provincial government seems lacking in commitment to regional transit.
  13. One Mayor, “We cannot build more roads”. We do not have the land.
  14. No one! What about new construction, especially condos, how do we encourage new owners to use transit?

topik

Critique of the Mayors’ Meeting.

1 Many residents of the Region do not think that such aggressive expansion constitutes improvement. A great many people have moved to smaller cities primarily to get away from such a big city, as well as cashing in six figures
2 Mobility throughout the Region is unsustainable. No Mayor mentioned village living. High speed rail commuting is not energy efficient, it is merely not as bad as the personal SOV and the roads and bridges which it demands. The concentration of employment in the downtown core of Vancouver necessitates long distance commuting which is unsustainable.
3 The Liberal party’s campaign platform included six transportation priorities: the deas island tunnel, four highway projects outside of the Region, and Regional transit. The platform stated that the first five would go ahead (ed. funded by provincial taxes which include Regional taxpayers). It stated that Regional transit would be subject to a referendum. Although Regional taxpayers pay for highways throughout B.C., Regional transit is to be paid for solely by Regional taxpayers.
4 But the provincial government has added 6 lanes at Port Mann, 6 lanes at golden ears, and intends likely to add 4 or even 6  at deas island and 2 at pattulo. There were 8 lanes each way across the Fraser. Victoria has and is doubling the number of lanes of traffic. No referendum on these. How can car usage be restrained if traffic lanes are being doubled???
5 Amen. Such a referendum is pre condemned to failure.  Where will that leave transit in the Region?
6 Which budget would these costs come out of.Translink’s money would be better spent on adding standby buses to fill in for missed trips.
7 Amen.
8 Transportation of all types is subsidized by property and general taxation. Why?1/3rd of the CO2 generation in the Region is from personal automobiles and small trucks. Climate change conscious people who choose to spend most of their time in their village or places not far away, are taxed on their homes to pay for transit, bridges, and roads for those who choose to travel 10 or 20 miles. Should not transportation pay for itself?
9 Tolling of new bridges, examples golden ears and port mann, puts the financial load on the new people. Those already living here have paid for the infrastructure which they use.Political reality is that a government is praised for providing new bridges, even though tolled. But 2 or 3 elections later, the tolls become an election issue, and soon they will vanish, long before the costs are recovered.
10 The complete skytrain line from douglas college to UBC pt Grey would cost $6.5B. That’s almost as much as the doubling of the Panama canal. See a table elsewhere on Vancouverrr.ca for other comparisons.The writer has identified many express bus options which not only are billions less expensive, but can be implemented withing months, not years, and would in many instances provide better service. These are detailed elsewhere.
11 The Region is blessed with bridges. All inter-municipal “Bridges” could easily be tolled using the transponder system initiated for the golden ears and now in use on the port mann. Tolls would not apply before 7 a.m., after 6 p.m., or on sundays.They would also be lower in shopping hours and for off peak travel in peak periods, than for peak direction travel in peak periods. The billing system is already in place. Tolling can be installed on all physical bridges very easily. “Bridges” would include highway 1 west of willingdon, marine drive at boundary, probably all streets crossing boundary, etc. etc. Please see exception in topik Lion’s Gate Bridge in page Traffic.

A “Vehicle Fee” is not appropriate. A person may own a car to go golfing, and to go out a few times in the evening, but commute and go to matches by transit. Such a person should not be taxed for roads because they are only standby traffic, using roads which would otherwise be empty.12Amen. Every riding between Yale and ft St. John voted for the current government. Who in those ridings wants to pay for transit in the lower mainland?The Premier was unable to hold her inherited seat in Vancouver, forcing her to establish a residence in the city of the Premiers Bennet, famous for the highways minister “Flying Phil”. Her new transportation minister is from Kamloops.

A highway between Cache Creek and Prince George is equivalent to a bus from 56th and Knight to downtown Vancouver. It’s how a person gets from A to B.

But it is this Premier’s policy that transit in the Region is to be paid for by Regional taxpayers, but highways throughout the Province are to be paid for by Provincial taxpayers, of whom 1/3rd live in the Region.

Is that fair? Or is it smart politics?13Amen. But strange to hear from the Mayor of a municipality which has been plastering the land with four lane roads where none existed, and which has as much land as probably the five smallest municipalities combined.14Every municipal Council is approving condominium development at rapid transit stations.The current Council of Vancouver has approved: 10,000 condos on the Canada line and at science world, 10,000 in the downtown peninsula, where people walk to where they’re going.

Burnaby is planning 30,000 at brentwood, and eventually probably similar at lougheed. Similar although smaller in scale in other municipalities adding up to perhaps 75 or even 100 thousand throughout the Region. It seems to be a contest, which municipality can upzone the most the fastest, thereby increasing their assessment for taxation.

The dominant excuse for these upzonings is the proximity of a rapid transit station.

Therefore the ratio of parking to suites should be very low, perhaps 1 to 5. Everyone will be riding transit. Yes?

Not so! Willingdon mall was upzoned with a ratio or parking to suites of over 1:1.

The average in Vancouver is around 1.1:1.

Surrey has a bylaw requiring a minimum of 1.3:1. That’s right. A single individual purchasing a 1 bedroom suite at park south, a stroll from king george skytrain, causes the developer to provide 1.3 parking places.

Delta has a bylaw prohibiting anyone, even Translink, from charging for parking anywhere in the municipality. Richmond is free parking everywhere.

In spite of the apparent consensus of the Mayors, and the Regional policy statement re 2045, that all growth in movement must be by transit, every one of the Councils which they head is actively increasing the number of personal automobiles on the streets by requiring almost every new condo purchaser to purchase a residential parking place! ! ! ! !

Incidentally, purchasing a $375K condo in a tall building, with 40 down, @5%, over 25 years; the last 5 years of mortgage payments are for the parking place priced at $35K. It’s true, toss the numbers into a spreadsheet and do the calculations for yourself.

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Mayors’ Council of Translink – Meeting July 17, 2013

The Mayors’ Council of Translink met on July 17, 2013. Dominant topic was funding of transportation throughout the region. A senior Translink executive quoted a Metro report aspiring to not more than 50% of trips by personal SOV in 2045.

Consensus excellent. Following is the writer’s perception of that consensus.

By co-incidence, before 8 that morning, a switch problem resulted in a 60% reduction in the load capacity of the expo line for at least an hour. There is zero excess capacity on the line, therefore denied boardings westbound continued in the hundreds at all stations west of 22nd street for another hour. Many attendees arrived barely on time. Some Mayors who had intended to arrive by transit were compelled to switch from skytrain to their own cars. Not happy campers.

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Mayors’ Consensus

  1. Perpetual population increase in the Region is a given.
  2. Mobility is a major goal, including “Choices”.
  3. B.C.’s provincial government has ordered a referendum on transportation funding in the Region by November 2014. They are the boss.
  4. The referendum must deal with all transportation in the Region, not only transit. The public needs to understand that growth in demand will require stating relative preference for more transit or more roads; or a balance.
  5. Preparing for a referendum in 12 months means encompassing all issues in Translink’s “15 year investment strategy”; explaining the options to the public..
  6. Preparing for the referendum is expensive, no one has said who will pay for it.
  7. Tax referenda are always voted down. Since people typically resent taxes, whenever they have the opportunity to vote against one, even where one tax is being substituted for another to their advantage, they vote NO (ed. GST, HST, Oregon gas tax).
  8. The Mayors’ main function in regards to Translink seems to be paying for it from their major source of revenue, property taxes. They have no desire to go to their voters for an increase in property taxes of approximately $10,000 per person, $50,000 per family household.
  9. Which bridges to toll? New bridges only?
  10. Many of the proposals being brought forward by Translink and the Board seem to be very high cost options. Mayors would like to see cheaper choices.
  11. Road pricing was favored by some, but many thought it too complex, slow and expensive to implement. A “Vehicle Fee” was also mentioned.
  12. The Provincial government seems lacking in commitment to regional transit.
  13. One Mayor, “We cannot build more roads”. We do not have the land.
  14. No one! What about new construction, especially condos, how do we encourage new owners to use transit?

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Critique of the Mayors’ Meeting.

1 Many residents of the Region do not think that such aggressive expansion constitutes improvement. A great many people have moved to smaller cities primarily to get away from such a big city, as well as cashing in six figures
2 Mobility throughout the Region is unsustainable. No Mayor mentioned village living. High speed rail commuting is not energy efficient, it is merely not as bad as the personal SOV and the roads and bridges which it demands. The concentration of employment in the downtown core of Vancouver necessitates long distance commuting which is unsustainable.
3 The Liberal party’s campaign platform included six transportation priorities: the deas island tunnel, four highway projects outside of the Region, and Regional transit. The platform stated that the first five would go ahead (ed. funded by provincial taxes which include Regional taxpayers. It stated that Regional transit would be subject to a referendum. Although Regional taxpayers pay for highways throughout B.C., Regional transit is to be paid for solely by Regional taxpayers.
4 But the provincial government has added 6 lanes at Port Mann, 6 lanes at golden ears, and intends likely to add 4 at least at deas island and 2 at pattulo. There were 8 lanes each way across the Fraser. Victoria has and is doubling the number of lanes of traffic. No referendum on these. How can car usage be restrained if traffic lanes are being added?
5 Amen. Such a referendum is pre condemned to failure.
6 Which budget would these costs come out of. Translink’s money would be better spent on adding standby buses to fill in for missed trips.
7 Amen.
8 Transportation of all types is subsidized by property and general taxation. Why? 1/3rd of the CO2 generation in the Region is from personal automobiles and small trucks. Climate change conscious people who choose to spend most of their time in their village or places not far away, are taxed on their homes to pay for transit, bridges, and roads for those who choose to travel 10 or 20 miles. Should not transportation pay for itself?
9 Tolling of new bridges, examples golden ears and port mann, puts the financial load on the new people. Those already living here have paid for the infrastructure which they use. Political reality is that a government is praised for providing new bridges, even though tolled. But 2 or 3 elections later, the tolls become an election issue, and soon they will vanish, long before the costs are recovered.
10 The complete skytrain line from douglas college to UBC pt Grey would cost $6.5B. That’s almost as much as the doubling of the Panama canal. See a table elsewhere on Vancouverrr.ca for other comparisons.The writer has identified many express bus options which not only are billions less expensive, but can be implement withing months, not years, and would in many instances provide better service. These are detailed elsewhere.
11 The Region is blessed with bridges. All inter-municipal “Bridges” could easily be tolled using the transponder system initiated for the golden ears and now in use on the port mann. Tolls would not apply before 7 a.m., after 6 p.m., or on sundays. They would also be lower in shopping hours and for off peak travel in peak periods, than for peak direction travel in peak periods. The billing system is already in place. Tolling can be installed on all physical bridges very easily. “Bridges” would include highway 1 west of willingdon, marine drive at boundary, probably all streets crossing boundary, etc. etc. Please see exception in topik Lion’s Gate Bridge in page Traffic.A “Vehicle Fee” is not appropriate. A person may own a car to go golfing, and to go out a few times in the evening, but commute and go to matches by transit. Such a person should not be taxed for roads because they are only standby traffic, using roads which would otherwise be empty.
12 Amen. Every riding between Yale and ft St. John voted for the current government. Who in those ridings wants to pay for transit in the lower mainland?The Premier was unable to hold her inherited seat in Vancouver, forcing her to establish a residence in the city of the Premiers Bennet, famous for the highways minister “Flying Phil”. Her new transportation minister is from Kamloops.

A highway between Cache Creek and Prince George is equivalent to a bus from 56th and Knight to downtown Vancouver. It’s how a person gets from A to B.

But it is this Premier’s policy that transit in the Region is to be paid for by Regional taxpayers, but highways throughout the Province are to be paid for by Provincial taxpayers, of whom 1/3rd live in the Region. Is that fair? Or is it smart politics?13Amen. But strange to hear from the Mayor of a municipality which has been plastering the land with four lane roads where none existed, and which has as much land as probably the five smallest municipalities combined.14Every municipal Council is approving condominium development at rapid transit stations.The current Council of Vancouver has approved: 10,000 condos on the Canada line and at science world, 10,000 in the downtown peninsula, where people walk to where they’re going.

Burnaby is planning 30,000 at brentwood, and eventually probably similar at lougheed. Similar although smaller in scale in other municipalities adding up to perhaps 75 or even 100 thousand throughout the Region. It seems to be a contest, which municipality can upzone the most the fastest, thereby increasing their assessment for taxation.

The dominant excuse for these upzonings is the proximity of a rapid transit station.

Therefore the ratio of parking to suites should be very low, perhaps 1 to 5. Everyone will be riding transit. Yes?

Not so! Willingdon mall was upzoned with a ratio or parking to suites of over 1:1.

The average in Vancouver is around 1.1:1.

Surrey has a bylaw requiring a minimum of 1.3:1. That’s right. A single individual purchasing a 1 bedroom suite at park south, a stroll from king george skytrain, causes the developer to provide 1.3 parking places.

Delta has a bylaw prohibiting anyone, even Translink, from charging for parking anywhere in the municipality. Richmond is free parking everywhere.

In spite of the apparent consensus of the Mayors, and the Regional policy statement re 2045, that all growth in movement must be by transit, every one of the Councils which they head is actively increasing the number of personal automobiles on the streets by requiring almost every new condo purchaser to purchase a residential parking place! ! ! ! !

Incidentally, purchasing a $375K condo in a tall building, with 40 down, @5%, over 25 years; the last 5 years of mortgage payments are for the parking place priced at $35K. It’s true, toss the numbers into a spreadsheet and do the calculations for yourself.

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Annual General Meeting  –   May 27, 2013

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Standby Buses Downtown

Presentation to Translink’s “AGM”

May, 29, 2013

Good Morning

Will you please tell me when we will get standby buses downtown in the evenings.

The handout shows that the 3 busiest bus corridors in the Region have a terminus in downtown Vancouver, as do the ironworkers and hastings. Granville alone carries more passengers than the evergreen route and the three proposed Surrey routes combined. Add burrard and there are more commuters than these 4 and the 99 b-line combined.

In the City, a very high percentage of peak commuters rely on transit as their round the clock transportation. 200,000 adults in Vancouver do not own cars. This is not the case in the tri-cities or south of the Fraser.

Trips are missed or are delayed so long that the next trip arrives at the same time.

Every saturday late evening, fridays, stat holidays, and whenever there is an event at the orpheum, bc place, or arena; there are pass-ups in the late evening.

Personally, starting with the first match of the NHL playoffs, when the whitecaps were at BC place on the same evening, I have encountered five instances of missed or virtually missed trips, resulting in a wait time of 25 minutes at a time when 15 minutes is the scheduled service interval.

On 3 occasions in the last 3 years I have had to walk across the burrard bridge around midnight in order to get home.

All that is needed is to have some buses which would otherwise be going to the garages head for burrard station instead. Whenever a driver phones in that a trip will be missed or that there are passups, the supervisor fills the gap with one of these.

The budge does allow it.  The cost would be pennies. The buses are there, the drivers are already on the road. As the recent audit report confirmed, empty buses run around all evening in other areas as a matter of policy. Why not put the buses where the people want them?

As for spending a billion in the tri-cities and a billion in Surrey. All of these municipalities have bylaws in place that require a minimum of 1.3 cars for every new condominium built, even right at Burquitlam station. If every adult has a car, who will ride these rail systems?  Translink should put the question to these Councils.  Are you prepared to ensure ridership of transit by limiting the parking to suite ratio for upzonings at transit stations, for example king george, to 30%.  If not, municipal taxpayers will be paying for an empty line.

Vancouverrr.ca info @ May 29, 2013

Busiest Bus Transit Corridors

This list includes the busiest bus transit corridors in the Region.

The top two combined, downtown Granville and Burrard, serve 11,000 peak commuters,

The lines in bold are the proposed rapid rail lines. In total they serve only 10,000. The infamous 99 b-line at a distant 8th place is the only one of them in the top dozen.

My question. Where is the logic in spending 6 billion to speed travel for 10,000 existing commuters and not even pennies to improve service for 11,000?

Current travel times, overloads, and missed trips on major corridors are unacceptable.

Translink Improvements, a Sample

Add buses to schedule on many arterials for predictable transit events at B.C.Place, Rogers, the Orpheum, or downtown generally; every friday and saturday after midnight; Canada day, B.C. day; and beautiful sunny summer sundays; and PNE.

Spare buses downtown from the evening peak until 1:30, during shopping hours and spare buses at king edward ave.

Curbside ticket validators at busiest stops. Eliminate the end-of-route at English Bay. Pilot interval departures on the 5 and 6. Put the 2 in front of the 22 by 4 minutes, not behind. All door loading throughout the City of Vancouver and UEL

City of Vancouver Improvements

Longer bus only lanes. Restricting left turns. Recessed sidewalks. No taxis in bus lanes. Seven second pedestrian lights. Pedestrian and traffic enforcement. Dramatic reduction in residential parking in new condominiums. Un-mix buses and bikes.

Compensating Revenues

Accelerating transit adds trips without increasing operating hours. All the above improvements make shorter trip times.

Reduce service to 15 minute intervals in “Vacuuming Hours” 9 to 11. Permit taxis to split trips. Set a minimum passenger load for service interval under 60 minutes.

Wasted service to U.B.C. $10,000. this morning already. Trim the western legs of crosstown corridors (41st, 16th, 10th, and 4th)  not the individual routes, to 15 minutes on the 2 days out of 3 when U.B.C. is near empty.

The 480 should not run at all except when there are full classes. The 49 should end at dunbar. Some trips on the 25 could loop at MacDonald with 41 or 33.

No 44’s west of MacDonald. B-Line 99 west of MacDonald can be halved. Loop the other half of the 99’s as 44’s along MacDonald.

Are We Planning for Future Growth of Transit?

Putting rapid rail into growing areas should focus new apartment building along these lines, directing travelers to transit. Great Theory. Let’s look at the FACTS!

New condominiums include at least one residential parking place with each suite. City of Vancouver bylaw requires it. 10,000 added on the Canada line. Surrey bylaw minimum 1.3 to 1.5 cars per suite. Coquitlam 1.3 to 2. Not much transit use.

www.VancouveRRR.ca Info@ May 29, 2013 Frank Jameson

Bus capacity by corridor  
90 minute a.m. peak direction
Corridor Total
Granville Street at Georgia 6000
Burrard Street at Georgia 5320
Georgia Street at Denman 3580
41st Avenue at Dunbar 3460
Main street at Terminal 3040
University Way – S.F.U. 3160
4th Avenue at Alma 2760
B-Line 99 2560
Deas Tunnel 2384
MacDonald-Cornwall 2100
16th ave at Crown 1980
Davie 1920
Robson 1920
104 Surrey 1860
King George-Newton 1860
Broadway Trolleys 1800
Fraser Highway 1560
Highway 99 Delta 1375
Ironworkers 1320
North Road 1040
King George-South-Surrey 960

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Adding capacity to Existing Transit Corridors

Within and Into the City of Vancouver

Capital Requirements to Double Peak Transit Capacity

In and Into the City of Vancouver and UEL

Demand for transit will double, sometime, unless the great subduction or dramatic sea level rise occurs first.

In 2012, peak movement into the downtown peninsula by transit and car are equal. Elsewhere, more people move by car than by transit.

The automobile share in the City cannot double. There is not the room for twice as many cars, not for one more car. Soon we must realize that there isn’t room for the cars which are here now. TomTom now ranks Vancouver in a virtual tie with Los Angeles for first place among the most congested cities in Canada and the U.S.A. Houston and Dallas, both freeway nightmares, don’t even make the top ten; nor does New York.

As bus trips double, requiring more space on the roads, cars will be further restricted.

Therefore, a 50% increase in population and major business in the downtown peninsula will require doubling of transit capacity within and into downtown Vancouver, and close to it anywhere north of 45th. Assumption –alternative methods retain their existing market share.

Westcoast express, the seabus, and the millennium line can double the capacity simply by adding equipment. They are still well within the line capacity.

The Canada line tops out at about a 60% increase.

20% might be it for the expo line, unless train lengths are increased or some creativity is applied. Maybe cars with all fold up and lock seats to convert to standing room only at peak times. Maybe double decker cars which travel surface on Dunsmuir.

Bus routes can expand capacity simply by buying new buses. Better prioritization of buses, traffic control, and more flexible scheduling would allow an increase, but if traffic were allowed to continue to grow, that would reduce capacity.

New non-stop and B-line routes can take the additional load which the expo and Canada lines cannot handle. Obvious candidates are Metrotown-Kingsway-Downtown; VCC-Downtown one stop; one of Main, Cambie, Granville, or the Arbutus-Boulevard busway. The discussion at this point is not which of these or others will be done. The point at issue is that a billion will be needed.

Let’s assume that expo and Canada lines would expand to their line maximum by adding trains similar to those in service, that all other routes would double capacity by doubling the equipment, and that articulated buses would be purchased for the new non-stop and B-Lines to handle the growth which the expo and Canada lines cannot.

Millennium line uses expo line trains so no additional capacity is required.

Both Translink and the city of Vancouver would have significant support costs in implementing system wide advancements and greatly enhanced traffic management and pedestrian education.

Many improvements can be made to mitigate the situation, but very little even being discussed today is moving in the right direction. In fact, major developments are going the opposite way at a hectic pace. Improvement options are discussed in a separate topic.

The attached spreadsheet shows the capital requirements. The seabus and west coast figures are from Translink’s website. A request has been sent to them for the others. The actual numbers are not essential to the topic. Supporting detail will be made available on the website.

The issue is that this capital expenditure of a billion must rank ahead of any other transportation initiative, transit or highway. It should have been budgeted for before the multilane freeway. It cannot be a poor cousin coming for handouts after all the federal and provincial grant money has been spent on one-offs.

The tradition of treating each major construction project as a financial priority without having any financial plan for the total transportation expenditures over the next decade or two, much less the total capital picture, cannot continue.

www.VancouveRRR.ca         info@         January 23, 2013

A Guesstimate of the Amount of Money Needed to Double Transit Capacity

Within and Into the City of Vancouver and the UEL.

Millions

$865

Single unit diesel or trolley Existing Routes

327

$400,000

$131

Articulated Diesels Existing Routes

68

$650,000

$44

Articulated-Trolleys Existing Routes

34

$650,000

$22

Articulated Diesels New B-Lines and SuperX

150

$650,000

$98

Canada line trains

10

$14,000,000

$140

Expo line trains including millenium

8

$20,000,000

$160

West Coast Express Cars Assumes no engines

30

$4,000,000

$120

Seabuses

2

$25,000,000

$50

Translink Miscellaneous

$50

Vancouver City Misc.

$50

Purchase price for seabus and west coast from wwwTranslink.ca

Other costs are guesses pending reply from Translink requesting the information

www.VancouveRRR.ca January 9, 2013

Footnotes to Capital Cost.

These are incremental capital cost for adding rolling stock only. The purpose is to have a reasonable figure for the amount of money which will be needed. No price is placed on any existing facilities such as the seabus docks, the billions of dollars in skytrain/subway lines, or the roads and bridges.

Seabus. Could a 50% longer seabus carry 600 passengers?

West Coast Express, Mission and possible Surrey lines. It should be noted that there was no construction cost for the existing CPR track. Similarly and much of the burlington northern track might be used for the raymur Surrey line.

Millenium Train peaks in both directions, but each passenger trip requires a further leg to complete.

King George delivers passengers from Surrey to metrotown and from metrotown to broadway as well as into downtown, sometimes one seat provides three peak direction trips.

Canada Line similarly carries passenger from Richmond to south Vancouver. If the 2 billion initial cost were allocated only to the 8000 per hour line capacity into the downtown core, the cost per peak passenger would be $150,000.

44 has the lowest cost because it is a short express route and peaks in both directions.

99 peaks westward between commercial and cambie, and approaching UBC.

2, 4P ,5 ,6, 19Sp, PkR are short routes which can achieve more peak trips. The stanley park line is only two kilometres. The park royal benefits from excellent transit priority in both directions, without which it would only achieve one trip.

Other buses. The basic bus, whether trolley or diesel, single or articulated, has very low capital cost per passenger into the downtown core.

www.VancouveRRR.ca January 9, 2013

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Peak Period Extension

Peak Period Extension

This Topic Relates Primarily to Trips into Downtown

The 90 minute a.m. peak period imposes a heavy cost on roads and bridges, and on transit. The average number of peak trips made by buses operating only within the City isn’t even 1.5. Those from the suburbs virtually 1.0. Millennium cars achieve about 2.5 because they are inward on both sides. Expo/king george only about 1.3.

A 120 minute peak would result in an increase in average peak trips per bus to nearly 2.0. Similar results would be achieved with all the non-bus equipment. The result is enormous savings in capital and much better scheduling of drivers.

Business hours of 8:30 to 5:00 aren’t cast in stone. Cities like London, England have a 2.5 hour peak.

Construction moved their schedule to a 7:30 start. Major retail moved their start time to 10 a.m. with later closings, granville island changed to 7 p.m. close.

Restaurants are doing their part by offering early bird dinners in the window between leaving the office and going to an evening event. Scheduling some evening events early in order to encourage people to stay downtown is also good.

Major business runs 8:30 to 5:00. This pushes thousands of employees into the 90 minute peak. Customer service would be improved by having customer service counters open until at least 6. That keeps the customer downtown after work as well. Answering the phones does not require that the building be open to the public, only to the staff. BC Hydro answer until 8.

Flex times are also possible for many staff.

Vancouver City hall closes the front door at 5. ICBC’s driver licensing centre on georgia closes at 5. Shaw customer service downtown 5. VanCity on Pender, 5. The list goes on and on. All of these major organizations are pushing the commuter into the peak time. Wouldn’t they provide far better customer service by facilitating people coming by after work, instead of their having to spend most of their lunch time standing in line? It works for retail, after work shopping is big.

A critical step is eliminating ‘early bird’ parking. Current practice is that those who arrive before 9 a.m. and leave before 6 p.m., both in the peak travel periods, pay less than those who arrive and leave when traffic and passenger loads on transit are less. Totally illogical. There should be a premium charge for arriving before 9 a.m. Extremely simple to change, but leadership is needed.

Monthly parking also needs to be eliminated. Once a person has paid $200. for the month they will think of a day when they’re not parking there as $10. wasted.

Evening parking should be included with any all day parking, even if the vehicle arrived before 9 a.m. It’s an incentive to stay after the peak.

www.VancouveRRR.ca January 9, 2013

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Denied Boardings on the 99

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Denied Boardings on the 99 at Commercial Drive in the a.m. Peak.

It is becoming infamous that large numbers of passengers are being left behind when the 99 b-line leaves commercial in the a.m. peak. It was even cited in Transport 2040.

Observation on one morning in November 2012 showed this to be true. However because the service interval is so short, normally three minutes at the peak with a few two minutes, the longest wait time observed for any passenger at commercial was 9 minutes.

A statistic sometimes appears in the media the number of people denied boarding. At well over 1,000 per day at commercial, twice as many if repeaters are counted twice, more at the next three stops; for 120 days each year when U.B.C. is on full class schedule; this situation is contributing anywhere upwards of a hundred thousand annually to that statistic.

Because buses at the very peak leave with zero room left, it is normal for consecutive trips to be displaying the “Sorry, bus full” sign at clark, fraser, and main streets. So much so that one scheduled trip was observed to leave commercial nis-empty, even though a hundred were waiting, to pick these people up, presumably in response to cell phone complaints. The situation changes at Cambie where more passengers alight than board.

Between 7 and 9:30 a.m. 50 articulated diesels leave commercial drive giving an average interval of 3 minutes. The maximum observed interval was 4 and the minimum 2. Peak demand is between 7:30 and 9:00.

Passenger capacity at a maximum of 80 per is 4,000. The average load is 68 passengers, leaving 15% unoccupied. There are 40 seats, and 28 standees is comfortable enough for peak commuters. 40 is doable but not comfortable.

The 84 which connects with the millennium at vcc following a parallel but faster route to ubc with good connections at main, cambie, and macdonald, has a capacity of over 1,000.

Several buses make two peak direction trips, often by returning nis.

But because the schedule does not accurately reflect the times at which the passengers arrive, there is underloading in the first and last half hours and overloading in the centre 90 minutes. Some underloading at Commercial leaves space for passengers to board at clark, fraser, and main. Some of these buses make two trips so the scheduling before 7:30 and after 9:00 looks ok as is. The problem is between 7:30 and 8:30.

These buses are assumed to make net pickups at clark, fraser, and main. This requires that they leave commercial with some space available.

At cambie, more people alight than board. West of Cambie was not observed.

Although the average load is 15% below maximum capacity, it is common that 100 passengers are left waiting when a bus leaves. 150 is not unusual which means that an individual arriving precisely at that time will see two buses leave, hence the 8 minute maximum wait time observed on this day, but that is a tiny %.

Buses which leave right at the peak around 8:00 make only one westbound trip. Buses leaving before 7:30 frequently make two.

In theory the uneven load arriving could be a difficulty, but since there was a line up was there continually for quite a while, any such unevenness is irrelevant.

In a three minute period between 99’s, there might be one or two expo line trains westbound, two eastbound would be a minor contributor. There might be one millennium, two articulated trolleys, and a number 9 from boundary road; for a potential total arrivals far above a thousand. If 10% of these choose the 99, that is greater than the capacity of a two unit articulated.

There was only 1 wheelchair, stroller, or bicycle per every four trips. Because of all door loading only twice was there a one minute delay in departure.

Solutions

There are multi solutions. One costs pennies and can be implemented in a week. One costs half a million and has a wait time for delivery. One costs $3B and takes years to build. One does not conform to Translink’s basic scheduling philosophy.

Solution 1. Simplest, cheapest, quickest to implement, and providing the best service, is to insert five regular diesels at the peak as non-stop-ubc.

These would follow a new faster route, later to become the B94, via broadway, clark, great-northern-way/6th/2nd/4th/chancellor/Wesbrook to the diesel loop at ubc, picking up if space available only at macdonald and at alma.

Buses and drivers are available at that time. Drivers from north shore and deas island routes, also probably at metrotown, are going nowhere upon arrival. Example the 251 upper lonsdale via lions gate, 5 trips arrive by 7:30, none return until 15:37. They can easily do one trip from commercial to ubc. Operating cost 1.5 hours, capital cost zero, boardings 50.

Each of these would arrive at the loading area immediately after a 99 had left so as not to delay the next articulated. It would load without farebox interaction, from the second and third lines only.

Once the concept is proven (assuming that there are enough UBC’ers there to make it work, a basic assumption in current long range planning but a question to which a city staffer had no answer on the spot when asked by a member of a council) the route can be put on the schedule as the B-94. Knowing when these will arrive, passengers will plan to use them further increasing the load.

Solution 2. Also simple, but might require purchasing additional articulateds, would be to reduce the service interval to two minutes at times when the highest denied boardings occur. The added buses would unfortunately make only one a.m. trip each. Capital cost per capacity at a point $9,000 (1/20th that of a broadway subway or of the Canada line).

Solution 3. A more flexible approach would be stacking the buses.

With stacking, the buses leave according to their load instead of at a fixed time.

This would apply from 7:00 to 9:30.

When one bus leaves, another arrives right behind.

Each bus leaves at the earliest of these situations.

Although there are many passengers waiting to board, no one is boarding.

With fewer passengers waiting, no one is boarding, and there is only room for ten more people, the anticipated net additions before cambie.

It is four minutes since the last bus left.

This has the advantage of automatic flexibility. When passenger arrivals are the highest buses would be leaving at two minute intervals, possibly even a shade less. Should there be delays on the expo line or the feeder buses at metrotown, the interval adjusts itself to four minutes. Snow is a possible cause, but something on the track can back up the entire line, as can deliberate holding of the doors which occurs far too frequently.

It should be noted though that with the observed demand this could result in increased denied boardings at clark, fraser, and main; until buses are added.

In the medium term, a 100% survey should be done of all people boarding in this 2.5 hour period. Origin and destination postal codes and time. They would be encouraged to reply online with additional information, but could simply drop the card off or mail it in. It is quite possible that enhancement or even better awareness of other crosstown routes would provide better service to some, taking a bit of the load off a bulging leg of the expo line. It should be noted that a large percentage alight at cambie.

Solution 4. Spend $3,000,000,000.oo, an amount equal to the City of Vancouver’s capital budget for ten years, boring a tunnel from VCC to UBC. This is the solution advocated in the 2012 report, Transportation 2040, which can be found at http://www.Vancouver.ca

wwwVancouveRRR.ca Info@ January 18, 2013

Observed Loads – 99 B-Line at Commercial

Monday November 5, 2012

Totals 3420 3163
Average 68 63
Schedule Actual Boarded Left
7 a.m.

0

1

60

8

2

3

50

8

4

4

40

0

6

6

40

0

9

9

80

24

11

12

70

12

14

16

70

18

17

18

50

10

20

20

65

15

23

23

60

10

25

25

60

30

27

27

40

18

29

30

45

15

32

35

70

90

36

37

70

70

39

39

80

110

42

43

80

100

45

45

80

100

47

48

80

100

51

50

80

50

54

53

70

80

57

58

70

150

8 a.m.

0

1

80

150

3

3

80

125

6

7

85

150

9

9

75

175

12

11

80

150

14

15

80

150

18

18

85

150

21

22

85

75

23

24

85

150

26

27

80

175

28

29

70

150

30

31

70

80

32

34

80

60

35

36

80

40

38

38

70

20

41

42

85

25

44

44

80

10

47

47

50

10

50

53

80

60

53

54

40

10

59

59

85

125

9 a.m.

3

4

60

25

5

6

50

25

16

17

70

40

18

19

70

12

21

21

50

3

23

24

60

0

26

27

45

0

8:55 apparent missed trip

9:08 apparent missed trip

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Arbutus Busway

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Arbutus Busway

In the 1930’s and 40’s an elrt line ran from Steveston to davie street in Vancouver’s downtown peninsula. The right of way along east/west boulevard and arbutus street is still there. It parallels marine drive from granville street to the airport bridge.

The design capacity of the Canada line as is in 2012 is 8,000 per hour. This capacity will become stretched in decades to come with the inevitable? increase in the region’s population. Can the line be retrofitted to the increase this?

An alternative route from number 3 road to Vancouver and to U.B.C. will be required. A busway is a great complement to the existing subway.

The right of way can easily be paved from marpole to 6th and burrard.

On the south end, it might eventually have two legs, one along number 2, one along number 3. On the island, capital cost does not limit its length. It could easily extend to steveston highway.

One option for some trips would be to have a bus arriving northbound through the deas tunnel turn west on Steveston highway, then north on number 3. Passengers from Delta and Surrey would be leaving the bus as those for Vancouver and UBC boarded.

Crossing the north arm is by the existing airport bridge from either number 2 or bridgeport.

On the Vancouver side only two stops, 41st and broadway. At 6th and burrard it would turn north across the burrard bridge.

The burrard corridor downtown would require major improvement in transit prioritization.

Because so many of the avenues do not intersect the right of way, and with only two stops, a very impressive trip time can be achieved, so good in fact that buses should be able to make two peak direction trips in the a.m. peak.

The Canada line as of 2012 is operating at 180 second intervals. This can easily be reduced to 120 and likely a bit lower. But that is only a 60% capacity increase.

Articulated buses carrying either 80 or 100 passengers can be used. With stops which accommodate two buses, and such limited intersections, a 90 second interval should be achievable giving a capacity of 4,000 passengers per hour, half that of the Canada line.

The busway will be needed sometime. It will be extremely cheap to convert. It will provide a second route option for Richmondites who now arrive downtown only at one shopping centre and one other station. Ottawa’s parkways are beautiful with tulips, let’s do something similar.

More transit choices are the route to fewer cars. Simply put it makes sense.

What needs to be done now is to ensure that the right of way is kept intact. The current trend by Vancouver City Council to in-fill development threatens use of this unique piece of property for housing.

www.VancouveRRR.ca Info@ January 23, 2013

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Wasted Bus Service When U.B.C. is Not In Session

Bus Service to UBC when not in Full Operation

Observation

Departures from the UBC Diesel loop were observed for one hour in the p.m. peak. Date was December 27, 2012, time 15:30 to 16:30. Similar data for trolleys assumed.

There were 96 departures in 60 minutes with an average of 3 passengers each.

The service interval for the 99 was 3 minutes, the other routes from 6 to 12 minutes.

The 258 from West Vancouver was not operating. All other routes seemed to be operating on the same schedule which they use when UBC is in full session.

During spring break the situation was similar although not as extreme.

On the morning of May 29, 2013 it is estimated that $10,000. was wasted by running buses west of Alma with minimal loads.  The 256 is not running and the 9 ends at Alma.  All other routes seem to be running far too frequently west of Alma for the number of passengers being carried.   $10,000 in the a.m. same p.m., 5 days a week, 16 weeks UBC is pretty quiet, simple math $1.5 million.

Recommendation

The following changes should be made when UBC is not in session.

The 480 is not needed at all.

The 43 does not need to operate west of granville, and probably not at all at Christmas.

The interval on the 99 west of MacDonald should be increased to 10 minutes. The logical westbound terminus for short turning 99’s is MacDonald, not Alma.  Looping the 99 with the 44 would be very effective.  The 84 can handle all the express load west of MacDonald, the 44 in not needed.

The 49 need not operate west of dunbar.

The 25 could also loop at macdonald with the 33, worth looking at.

All other routes should operate to UBC only on 15 minute intervals. Additional trips as necessary for passenger loads in the central and eastern sections of the routes, should return eastward from Granville, MacDonald, or Alma/Dunbar.

This would reduce the number of trips departing UBC from 96 to 37, but would still provide service on every corridor at 15 minute intervals. 11 trips would be eliminated and 48 would be truncated.

If we apply $100. per trip eliminated and $50. to each trip truncated, the saving is $3,500.

Extrapolate this saving for 1 hour to two peak hours a.m., two p.m., and some intra-day. Six days, December 20, 21, 24, 27, 28, and 31. $3,500 * 5 * 6 = $105,000. Add some for the intervening saturdays where the 99 is still at 6 minute intervals.

Consider how much more could be saved on all the other bus routes in the City. The 5, 6, and 10 were running at 5 minute intervals. Cutting those to 10 minutes on the four days would eliminate 18 trips per hour. $100 * 18 * 5 * 4 = $36,000.

The 2 probably wasn’t needed from the 27th onward until 3 p.m., if even then. Add on for the 3, 8, and 20; and some for any other routes running at shorter intervals than 15 minutes and it quickly adds up.

Who knew that running these trips on these days was a waste of money? The West Vancouver dispatchers must have knows. There were no blue buses. Translink’s scheduling group don’t seem to have known.

But 96 Translink drivers did know. It doesn’t take an electric eye counter or a compass card to tell the driver that the bus is nearly empty! Where is the feedback loop? Surely supervisors ask the drivers when they bring the buses into the garage how their day was? If not, why not? Why does Translink’s scheduling not know what every driver knows? It happens every year. www.Translink.ca home pages says that “On some days during the holiday season, transit service will be adjusted to reflect ridership demand”. But on the detail page, “Transit services will run according to their normal schedules … for the particular day of the week”. The website can’t even agree with itself.

Interestingly the writer brought this situation to the attention of Translink in regard to the 480 and 43, the two extreme cases, over six months ago. No reply received.

February 18 to 22 is mid-term break at UBC. $17,500 per day for 5 days, $87,500. Will that money also be wasted?

The total is enough to pay for half a dozen north shore buses which arrive at burrard station by 7:35 a.m. daily to make one trip each, non-stop commercial to the UBC diesel loop via great northern, every day when UBC is running a full class schedule.

Use wasted money to eliminate the most notorious denied boarding problem in the City.

Route Trips Observed Trips recommended Trips Eliminated Trips Truncated
96 37 11 48
4 5 5
9 7 0   7
14 5 5  
25 8 4   4
33 6 4   2
41 10 4   6
43 5 0 5
44 5 5  
49 9 0 9
84 9 4   5
99 21 6   15
258 0 0  
480 6 0 6
5 12 6 6
6 12 6 6
10 12 6 6

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Flexible Scheduling

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Two Buses to do the Job of One

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Supporting Documentation.

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Transit Capacity by Corridor

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Bus capacity by corridor 90 minute a.m. peak direction

Corridor Number Route Trips Capacity Count Sub-Total
Burrard Street

5

Robson

16

60

960

5320

135

SFU

17

80

1360

4360

2

MacD to 16

14

60

840

22

MacDonald

17

60

1020

32

Dunbar – 4th

3

60

180

44

4th UBC

12

80

960

Granville Street

5

Robson

16

60

960

6000

4

4th ave

7

60

420

5040

6

Davie

16

60

960

7

Dunbar

7

60

420

10

Granville

18

60

1080

14

10th UBC

10

60

600

16

Arbutus

9

60

540

17

Oak

11

60

660

50

False Creek S.

6

60

360

Georgia Street

19

Stanley park

9

60

540

3580

240

North Van

10

60

600

3040

241

North Van

10

60

600

246

North Van

7

60

420

247

North Van

3

60

180

250

Horseshoe Bay

6

60

360

251

West Van

3

60

180

252

West Van

3

60

180

253

Caulfield

3

60

180

257

Horseshoe Bay Exp

2

80

160

258

Wvan-UBC

3

60

180

4th Ave

4

4th ave

7

60

420

2760

7

Dunbar

7

60

420

32

Dunbar – 4th

3

60

180

44

4th UBC

12

80

960

84

4th express

13

60

780

Hastings

14

Hastings

8

60

480

2380

16

Renfrew

9

60

540

20

Victoria

60

0

135

SFU

17

80

1360

41st

41

41st

19

60

1140

3460

43

41st express

12

60

720

49

49th avenue

12

60

720

480

Bridgeport UBC

11

80

880

Main street

3

Main

15

60

900

2460

8

Fraser

14

60

840

19

Kingsway

9

60

540

22

MacD terminal

3

60

180

Davie

5

Robson

16

60

960

1920

6

Davie

16

60

960

MacD Cornwl

2

MacD to 16

14

60

840

2100

22

MacDonald

17

60

1020

32

Dunbar – 4th

4

60

240

Broadway Trolleys

9

Broadway

11

60

660

1800

14

10th UBC

10

60

600

16

Arbutus

9

60

540

B-Line 99

99

Westbound

32

80

2560

2560

16th ave

25

25th ave

22

60

1320

1980

33

16th and 33rd

11

60

660

Deas Tunnel

351

Bridgeport

11

55

605

2280

352

Bridgeport

7

55

385

354

Bridgeport

7

55

385

404

Brighouse

3

55

165

601

Bridgeport

8

55

440

602

Bridgeport

4

55

220

Bridgeport

1

80

80

Ironworkers

210

Upper Lynn

8

60

480

1320

211

Seymour

9

60

540

214

5

60

300

www.VancouveRRR.ca Info @

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