U.B.C. Subway

The U.B.C.  Broadway Subway – Skytrain

Pre-emptive Critique of Urban Land Report

New Express Bus Service Near Broadway

Cost of Other Projects 

KPMG Report Rebuttal

Dominant Factors

U.B.C. Buses

Major Transit Corridors

Denied Boarding

Prioritizing the B-Lines

New B-Lines

Saturated Subways

$1B To Double Downtown Transit

Previous Correspondence tba

Where Do UBC’ers and 99’ers Go? tba

Non Transportation Projects tba

topik

Pre-emptive Critique of the Urban Land Institute Report

topik

Urban Development Institute – U.B.C. Broadway Subway

….

topik

Global TV introduction

On january 31, 2014, global tv bc prsented a clip showing that a group from the U.S.A. had arrived in Vancouver, had read all the documentation before arriving, and within a week would be issuing a report recommending a broadway subway. The group are part of the Urban Development Institute – www.udi.bc.ca or the Urban Land Institute. The two seem inter-twined.

The report to be “Written” by Thursday is totally predictable. This walk-about is largely a photo-op for the TV. The news editor will presumably select remarks from passengers supporting a subway. Guaranteed there will be no discussion of other transit locations, and barely any comment which does not support the project.

Interesting that this whole comic opera comes at a time when the Mayors’ Council of Translink are discussing a transit capital referendum for November. The Mayors are not out there parading around the shopping malls for the paparazzi. They’re in-camera trying to balance the calls for added transit, freer traffic movement, and low taxes of all sorts.

The clip is enormously biased. It picks up erroneous statements from literature about the subway which have been repeated ad nauseum by people doing none of their own research. Following are quotes from the clip, with rebuttal of each.

References to “the site” are to www.Vancouverrr.ca page ‘U.B.C. Subway’. Most of these details have been e-mailed at various 2013 dates to key players including Translink officials, the secretaries of the Mayors’ Council and Translink Board, and several Council members.

The busiest bus route in North America

In the KPMG report it was called the busiest bus corridor. The site shows that the 99 ranks far down the list of the busiest corridors in our Region, and is a miniature on the continental list. Granville busway has routes 4,5,6,7,10,14,16,17,20, and 50 making it the busiest corridor here with twice the capacity at a point of the 99.

S.F.U. city program – “taking into account where the stations should go”.

This presumes that a broadway subway would be built! Whoa!

The Premier has stated that there is to be a referendum on all capital expenditures on transit in the region. These people have arrived with one mission, to put their project at the top of the list, without giving any consideration to all the Region’s other transit needs.

The B-Line bus route is at full capacity.

Absolute MYTH. The articulated diesels peak at 180 second intervals. That can easily be trimmed to 120 second intervals, which is comparable to cornwall.

A B-94 route from commercial to UBC point grey via 4th with only 4 intervening stops would provide faster service to anyone going the full length.

Even just adding half a dozen articulateds would solve the problem for now. But Translink will not do this because they are committed to the subway. One morning at commercial I saw a supervisor, a person showing passengers into line, and 2 transit police. If each of those 4 had brought a bus instead, there would have been zero denied boardings, but Translink won’t do that.

Politics have stalled the process.

The subway has not been built because it would result in longer trip times curb to curb compared to even the existing 99 for most riders. Optimizing the 99 and 94, which is very simple, details on the site, would put bus service in much higher class.

The price tag is comparable to purchasing all the buses, seabuses, and west coast cars needed for the next 20 years or more, plus enough Canada line cars to bring the line up to the capacity of the underground stations; and to build the english bay expo line and extend the millennium to downtown; with half a billion left over.

Those are all good thngs to do. A broaeway subway would not be good, even if the billions were offered by Ottowa for economic stimulus.

U.B.C. runs full tilt only 120 days a year. On the other 245 days the existing bus services: 99, 4, 44, 84, 9, 14, 25, 33, 41, 43, 49, and 480 are grossly underutilized now; details on the site.

It is dysfunctional to attract more passengers to broadway because the legs to the south of broadway on both the expo and Canada lines are very heavily patronized. Expo is virtually at its line capacity there, Canada line can grow only 50%.

The panel has already had a chance to study all the relevant documents.

Have they read any of the documents which I have sent to Translink et al, and which are posted on the site? They contain fare more facts and figures than anything which I’ve seen published by Translink.

What are “All the relevant documents”. Can the public find them on Translink.ca? Has there been any actual survey of the passengers, postal code to postal code, to see where they are going? Is there any published Translink document comparing the 99 to the transit corridors in Vancouver, as is done on the site. Is there any study of the impact on curb to curb travel times recognizing that a bored tunnel would likely have deep stations like yaletown.

Have Translink and City of Vancouver traffic management done a joint study on ways to improve general traffic movement on broadway, espcially the 99 and the 4 trolley routes which also use broadway. Simple improvements would reduce travel time end to end by 5 minutes, details on the site.

The corridor stretches from kingsgate mall to U.B.C.

The 99 goes east to commercial. The central section is kingway to macdonald.

S.F.U. city program – “taking into account where the stations should go”.

There is talk at times of a subway under 10th or 8th avenues. Neither any worse than under broadway. The VGH bus stops should be moved a bit west to the new centre of gravity of VGH, and further from cambie.

When the 99 was started, the bus stops were set at the intersections of the major north south routes, VGH, and sasamat. Later two smaller intersections were added, omitting only oak and blanca. Will this panel recommend that station locations be at the same streets? Maybe they’ll say a stop isn’t needed at the Canada line, it should be moved to Manitoba street to get more space before VGH. Why have a stop at granville, let’s move it to burrard. Let’s move macdonald to blenheim. The whole mission of this team is stated as where to locate stations. But they are now at the streets where they are and the only possible changes are VGH and possibly dropping any of fraser, clark, or arbutus.

These people are coming here and donating a significant amount of time.

Is there really such a thing as a free lunch?

 Vancouverrr.ca info@ February 2, 2014

The above was sent to the Mayors of the Region, and to many officials, on February 3, 2014.

There were several attachments, all of which have been previously posted here.

Anyone wishing to receive a copy of the actual e-mail with attachments may simply email to info@Vancouverrr.ca

The attachments are all on thise site, mostly on page U,B,C, subway, showing the original dates issued, they included

  a rebuttal of a KPMG report glorifying a broadway/UBC subway;

 A simple and cheap option to improve service for everyone can be implemented in a week. A new peak only route, the B94, will run virtually non-stop from commercial to pt grey along the 4th avenue chancellor route.  Departures will be at 6 minute intervals from 7:30 to 8:30. It adds capacity of 500 passengers. This requires 10 regular diesel buses and drivers. These are currently available downtown and at bridgeport. There is no capital cost, no travel time or waiting period. Operating cost, 75 minutes per 50 passengers.  If demand grows, add buses.

Comments on the granville busway which is a far busier corridor than the 99 route.  In fact the 99 ranks tied for 6th in the Region it considered as a corridor.

A report entitled  “Dysfunctional Broadway Subway”.   A subway would make trip times longer for most.  Report includes recommendations for making the 99-B line sufficiently faster that very few people would be better served by a subway.

The English Bay Expo line.  For 1/10th the cost of a broadway/UBC, the expo line can be extended through the west end.   45,000 people live in tghe west end, 10,000 more are planned.  They have she slowest bus service which you will find anywhere.  This should have been built in 1985.

A rebuttal of several points is on the site, page ‘U.B.C. Subway’.

 

topik

Express Bus Service on the Broadway Corridor

Mayors Council Meeting September 26, 2013

Much of the first hour of the July 17 meeting was spent discussing the 2014 referendum on transit, and potentially road, spending.

If the referendum includes a levy of $5,000. on each 5 person household for the UBC subway, its chance of passage is slim.

A far cheaper option will provide better service and can be operating by Thanksgiving.

Translink’s promotional material for the broadway/UBC subway cites 500,000 passups annually on the 99 B-Line as a compelling reason for the expenditure of $2.5B. This figure has been echoed by Vancouver City Council, UBC administrators, the alma mater society, in a report by KPMG (i), at a public meeting hosted by a civic party, in many media, and by a Torontonian speaker at a Translink meeting.

An overwhelming percentage of passups are in the a.m. peak on broadway at commercial.

Data

On November 5, 2012, and September 11, 2013, the writer observed the B-99 loading westbound on broadway at commercial through the 90 minute a.m. peak.

On each day, 30 articulated diesels leaving at 3 minute intervals boarded 2,200 people.

 In 2012 boarding was denied to 1,750 people. Of these 1,000 were left twice. 150 were left by 3 consecutive buses resulting in a maximum wait time of 11 minutes.

In 2013 boarding was denied to 1,900 people. Of these 1,100 were left twice, 745 were left 3 times, and 250, 4 times, for a maximum waiting time of 14 minutes. See trip records on Vancouverrr.ca.

The 99 adds passengers at clark, fraser, and main streets. Since departures from commercial had very little remaining space, these people were also denied boarding, potentially for several consecutive trips.

Solution Options

A simple and cheap option to improve service for everyone can be implemented in a week. A new peak only route, the B94, will run virtually non-stop from commercial to pt grey along the 4th avenue chancellor route.  Departures will be at 6 minute intervals from 7:30 to 8:30. It adds capacity of 500 passengers. This requires 10 regular diesel buses and drivers. These are currently available downtown and at bridgeport. There is no capital cost, no travel time or waiting period. Operating cost, 75 minutes per 50 passengers. (ii) (iii).

Changing the B-99 schedule to 2 minute departures between 7:45 and 8:15 requires only 5 articulateds. This would add 350 passenger capacity. Capital cost $4 million. Operating cost, 5 shifts consisting of only 1 trip.

City of Vancouver can reduce travel time by prioritizing transit on broadway and on 10th avenue, thereby increasing capacity. Here are a few simple steps. Reduce left turns, at least during peak hours. Six second pedestrian lights. Install recessed crosswalks at major intersections. Balance traffic lights at minor intersections to favor broadway for all traffic.  Combine with Translink to implement traffic light priority for the B-99 over pedestrian lights and minor intersections.

These and other recommendations to improve bus service to U.B.C. pt grey were sent to Translink in 2012. They appear on the website Vancouverrr.ca.

New buses are needed for future growth throughout the Region, even now. Existing plant needs maintenance. A referendum including the subway could jeopardize Translink’s ability to provide bus service everywhere.

Vancouverrr.ca info@ September 17, 2013  revised on line September 23. Frank Jameson 778-885-6100

End Notes

i The KPMG report and the AMS reports were both thoroughly rebutted by the writer. The rebuttals can be seen on www.Vancouverrr.ca page “UBC Subway”. Although the KPMG one was sent to many key players, only AMS replied.

ii Trips from ocean park, English bluff, horseshoe bay, caulfield, other north shore routes; cannot get back to the end of their routes in time for a second peak direction trip. They can get to broadway and commercial by 8 a.m.

iii Before the Canada line, 7 yellow buses from the Deas or Richmond unloaded downtown early enough to get back to 16th or broadway in time to make a peak trip into downtown as number 2’s. It takes far less time to get from bridgeport to commercial.

Project $Billion
CPR 175M @ $125. 22.
All Skytrain 10.
Keystone Pipeline Current Project 7.0 i
Region building permits Estimate 2012 6.6 ii
Nokia Corporation Buyout by Microsoft 6.5 iii
Muskrat Falls Hydro 6.2
City of Vancouver Assets Capital and Endowment 6.1
One Skytrain Line Douglas College to Pt Grey 5.5
Enbridge Pipeline 5.5 iv
BlackBerry Market Capitalization 5.4
Panama Canal Doubling the Capacity 5.3
Kitimat LNG terminal 4.5 v
Yaletown Condos 3.0 vi
Bway/UBC subway 2.5
Annual Capital Budgets GVRD Municipalities 2.0 vii
YVR Net Assets 1.2
All Translink Buses in the Region 2013 Replacement Prices 1.0 viii
B.C.Ferry Fleet Purchase cost 0.9
Air Canada 274M shares @ $3 0.8
Terry Fox Cancer Fund 33 years accumulative 0.6
Aid to Syrian Refugees Cumulative to Sept 13 0.25
Yosemite Wildfire Cost to Sept 13 0.09

End Notes

i  Keystone pipeline , Wikipedia

ii Building permits – Surrey 1.3, City of Vancouver 2.6, Burnaby 463 to November 30 ergo 500 million =4.4 add 50%

iii Nokia, manufacturer of cell phones and various equipment. 32,000 employees. Bought out by micorsoft August 2013.

iv Enbridge pipeline – Wikipedia

v www.Kitimat.ca Liquefaction and Export terminal

vi Condos on the expo/concord land in Yaletown. 40 towers, 100 units = 4,000 $750K = $3 billion

vii Capital budgets – City of Vancouver 255 million. Rough guess 2 for the region.

viii Buses, 2,000 buses .5 million = 1 billion

Topik

|KPMG Report Rebuttal

 

KPMG Report on a Broadway Subway

rev April 15, 2013

Quotes’ from the Executive Summary

Commercial and Broadway, the busiest transit hub in the region”

The busiest bus corridor in north america”

Estimated 500,000 passups per year”.

The UBC-Broadway corridor is already at full transit capacity during peak hour”

Alternatives such as expanding bus service .. do not have capacity to meet growth.”

The UBC-Broadway Corridor is the critical geographic connection between Vancouver’s central business”

The corridor is unique in that it intersects the major north south and east/west rapid transit lines, Canada Expo, and Millennium”

.. would connect Vancouver via rapid transit to Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, Coquitlam,”

Increase in employment and population”

Serious inconvenience of increasing gridlock ….”.

Serious inconvenience of …………………… lack of transit capacity”.

An analysis of Vancouver’s position … as a world class technology hub … ‘Transit infrastructure weak’”

Rebuttal of Executive Summary

Commercial and Broadway, the busiest transit hub in the region”

Wikipedia’s definition “A transport hub … is a place where passengers … are exchanged between vehicles or between transport modes”.

If walking is included as a transport mode, Georgia and Granville is much busier. The  granville trolleys, burrard inlet arterials, expo line, and Canada line all converge there.

If one excludes walking as a transport mode, then the statement is true.

The busiest bus corridor in north america”

Far from the truth! Incredibly so. The writers of the report have confused ‘Route’ with ‘Corridor’. The 99 may quite possibly, as one often reads, have the highest number of boardings of any bus Route in north america, 100K plus on a weekday when UBC is in session.

In our Region alone the 10th avenue corridor to UBC (routes 9, 14, 99) ranks only 3rd behind granville and burrard. The 99 without the trolleys is in a 3 way tie for 6th place with main street and 4th avenue. Georgia and 41st avenue each have 1,000 more passengers. Burrard and granville streets downtown each carry twice as many passengers at a point in the peak direction as the 99. University Way at S.F.U. has 500 more. Even the deas tunnel buses have nearly the passenger capacity of the 99, with cornwall and 16th not far behind.

Replacing the articulated diesels with a bored tunnel would not attract anyone from the trolleys, its a different market, and only a few from the 84. So the 99 must stand alone. A footnote lists two bus corridors which are much larger than the 99. (i)

Fifteen minutes spent browsing the web for ‘rapid bus’ leads one to a wealth of rapid bus corridors which dwarf the 99. Most of them use triple unit buses. The reason these are so large is that most concentrate the downtown buses onto one route, as if the burrard street buses were added onto granville. Broadway is just one of 6 parallel crosstown corridors, 4 of which go to UBC. If a subway on broadway, why not also on 4th and 41st ? A subway on Georgia would be an idea as well They’re all equally as busy.

Estimated 500,000 passups per year”.

This is the flagship argument for a subway. It appears in Vancouver City’s transportation 2040 report with a lesser number.

Half a million! It’s true! Personal observation on November 5, 2012 counted 3,150 passups, although only 1,750  passengers, left behind on broadway at commercial between 7:00 and 9:30. For 120 UBC days, add some at clark, fraser, main and incidental elsewhere, plus some afternoon. Half a million is a reasonable number.

But! 2,000 had to wait only 3 minutes for the next bus. 1,000 had to wait 6 minutes for 2 more buses, and the remaining 150, 8 minutes. Compare 3 and 6 minute wait times to the 4 minute service interval on the millennium and king george skytrains. At Richmond centre the peak service interval is 6 minutes. The 5, 6, 135 operate at 5 minutes. So this shock number is really only a small problem, one which can readily be handled by spending a few more pennies on the existing system.

The best solution to the passups at broadway and commercial, an enormous percentage of the total in the City, is to implement a B94. This super-express from commercial and broadway, to VCC-Clark, via 4th to the diesel loop at UBC, picking up if spaces is available at macdonald and at alma, would eliminate the passups at broadway and commercial in the a.m. The travel time for a prioritized B94 from commercial and broadway to the UBC diesel loop could not be matched by a subway with the existing stops on broadway!!

This has been explained to Translink by e-mail. Even with the existing traffic situation on 4th avenue, the B94 would be faster than the 99.  The one lane of peak direction traffic being diverted from pt grey road will not affect it either and the automobile peak and the B94 are in opposite directions at 4th and vine.

Simply add half a dozen single unit diesels in the a.m. peak, increasing as volume increases No capital cost would be incurred because buses and drivers from the north shore, bridgeport, or metrotown, are available at the right time. (ii) The p.m. peak has not been studied, it likely does not peak as sharply.

Acceptable alternatives would be to stack the articulateds and have them leave with 70 passengers, the next one pulling in immediately. Flexible departures are superior to fixed time scheduling at times when there are 7 or more trips per hour.

Of course, simply changing the schedule between 7:45 and 8:15 from 3 minutes to 2 would also do the job.

Either requires adding half a dozen articulateds now, more later. One millennium train probably costs more than a dozen articulated diesels. Translink has been previously advised of these options as well.

The UBC-Broadway corridor is already at full transit capacity during peak hour”

Alternatives .. expanding bus service .. do not have the capacity to meet the growth.”

Absolutely not true! Of course there is the capacity! What is lacking is the will!

The 99 runs at 3 minute intervals. 2 minute intervals pose no problem. Triple buses would add capacity. Granville street has a bus every minute. So does burrard downtown, where traffic congestion is worse than on broadway. See comparisons on the internet with busways which carry multiple times the 99’s paltry 2 ½ thousand.

The 99 line currently uses 40 articulated diesels. Adding 50% to capacity would require 20 more. The capital cost of 20 articulated diesels is probably no more than the cost of 2 trains on the evergreen line.

Translink and City staff are so focused on major construction projects that they fail to see the opportunities for dramatic improvement of the bus system within and into the City of Vancouver.

A detailed plan to handle the growth in demand relative to the downtown peninsula was e-mailed to Translink. Long term plans including: either the arbutus busway or rejuvenating an accelerated B98; the B43, B94, 481.  B-lines on kingsway and from VCC-Clark to downtown in order to offload intra-City passengers from the inter-City lines; have also been emailed to Translink.

City of Vancouver staff must take an assertive approach to prioritizing transit on every corridor with peak passengers above 2,000 per hour. Their current policy is that a bus is just a mis-behaving truck which weaves lanes and stops every 2 blocks.

Something which no one seems to mention is that no one seems to know where the passenger trips boarding at commercial terminate, or terminating at UBC originate. (iii) UBC has files of students, faculty, staff; 90% of the people commuting to point grey. Simple analysis by postal code would show the distribution.

A similar study should be done of those currently boarding the 99 at commercial. This can be done during the summer and revisited in October.

The UBC-Broadway Corridor is the critical geographic connection between Vancouver’s central business”

Absolutely not! A quick look at a map will show that Chancellor and 4th avenue is shorter, more direct. There are fewer red lights, and the traffic congestion is not as bad. The 44 express connects the diesel loop to georgia and burrard via 4th with a 30 minute travel time. And the proposed subway doesn’t even go to the CBD.

A broadway subway with a transfer to the Canada line at broadway would take 27 minutes to street level. Given a choice between having a no connection trip or saving 3 minutes, a visitor to Vancouver would take the direct route. Another logical person would take whichever route goes closer to their downtown destination, burrard or granville.

The 44’s time can be cut to 25 minutes by decongesting burrard street downtown as detailed in material presented to City Council and the chief traffic engineer. Greenlighting the B-lines on 4th avenue: the 44, 84, and 94; would also help. Eliminating left turns from 4th to burrard would redirect some motorists to the cloverleaf of the underutilized granville bridge. The 6 second pedestrian light is needed in places.

The corridor is unique in that it intersects the major north south and east/west rapid transit lines, Canada Expo, and Millennium”

A critical misconception by all proponents of the broadway subway is that the expo and Canada lines can handle the anticipated long term growth in transit travel on broadway, whether by bus or with a major construction project.  They CANNOT!

The expo line leg eastbound from broadway and commercial is nearing capacity. Trains are at 120 second intervals. Not much can be shaved from that without trains starting to back up. Multiple platforming of stations at broadway and eventually at metrotown will help, but nothing which can be done with the expo line between metrotown and commercial would handle the capacity resulting from business and population growth envisaged in this report.

The Canada line is at 65% capacity. A B43 on 41st avenue or B49 on 49th to metrotown bypasses the entire section from 41st to downtown. The B49 would also divert some traffic from the expo. This makes far more sense than expanding anything on broadway.

.. would connect Vancouver via rapid transit to Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, Coquitlam,”

Does the Canada line not already connect Vancouver to Richmond, with freeway bus connection to Delta and parts of Surrey? Does the Expo line not already connect Vancouver to Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey? Does the millennium line not already connect Vancouver to Burnaby and Coquitlam? West Coast Express to Coquitlam? And will the Evergreen line not connect Vancouver to Port Moody, Coquitlam?

Long distance high speed rail is not as bad a generator of greenhouse gas as a freeway system full of cars. For starters, it doesn’t require even half as much concrete and steel to build, nor swallow up land like highway 1, and for parking. Not as bad. But nowhere near green and only approaching sustainable if using green electricity. (iv)

Serious inconvenience of increasing gridlock ….”.

What is needed on the broadway corridor is to designate major intersections: macdonald, burrard, granville, cambie, main, Kingsway, and Commercial. At these intersections there should be no left turns, recessed pedestrian crosswalks(v), and 6 second pedestrian lights(vi).

At the remaining 23 red lights on the 99 route: greenlight the b-lines, convert to 6 second pedestrian lights. Some pedestrian education and enforcement would be needed. And of course slow the growth of cars through less residential parking in new condos.

On all corridors with 2,000 or more peak bus commuters, the default should be bus lanes on both sides from 7:00 9:30, and 16:00 to 19:00. Exceptions can then be made. As an example, the bus lanes on broadway end at 6 p.m. causing great delays for transit riders. Rush hour in the City does not end at 18:00 hours. On sections like broadway between vine and yukon, all day bus lanes need to be considered.

City of Vancouver and Translink have been advised of several ways to reduce gridlock.

Serious inconvenience of …………………… transit capacity”.

$1.5 B, is the cost of a bored tunnel from macdonald to UBC. As previously presented to the Mayors Council, $1B is enough to purchase all the additional rolling stock which will be necessary to increase the capacity of transit into the central business district to match a 50% increase in business activity and population.

Inadequate transit capacity on the 99 is a matter of policy not a lack of money. No other City route is called a ‘sardine line’, or compared to a Shanghai subway. Why are 99 passengers sardined? As the recent audit report stated, attributed to municipal councils, empty buses map the suburbs where people choose to drive.

Increase in employment and population”

Rezonings are creating a population explosion along the Canada line, and throughout the olympic village area, 10,000 new condominiums. But they are being approved with a ratio of parking spaces to suites over 1:1. (vii). (viii) Therefore 10,000 cars.

Since everyone is going to own a car, transit will get minimal additional patronage. Such as does occur would be overwhelmingly peak short trips into the core using the section of the Canada line which is already at 60% of line capacity, or the science world to granville leg of the expo, possibly the most heavily patronized on the line. Such trips are big losers for Translink.

Why should anyone think that Council and staff’s current practice (as contrasted to policy) of “One Cowboy, One Horse” would be any different on the broadway corridor? A recent approval on 10th at arbutus was 1:1, in spite of a specific policy statement for that block to the contrary, recommending a walking village.

An analysis of Vancouver’s position … as a world class technology hub … ‘Transit infrastructure weak’”

Houston is a metro area of 4 million and a major research hub. It hosts the head office or north american head office for major oil companies. Several large computer companies are headquartered there. University of Texas Medical Branch anchors a huge medical complex. The passenger transportation system is overwhelmingly drive yourself on the freeway, which in the p.m. peak often moves for miles along I-10 at 10 mph. NASA is 11 miles SE of downtown Houston. Getting between the two by transit, lot’s of luck.

The outside ring road in Houston has a radius of 10 miles. You cannot travel 15 miles by transit in Houston in as short a time as you can in Vancouver.

A radius of 15 miles centered on Palo Alto encompasses San Jose and suburbs of San Francisco. Did the writers of the KPMG report look at the transit infrastructure available there? The examples stated show that Vancouver’s “Transit Infrastructure” runs rings around that of silicon valley.

The writer has visited Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Sydney, and Washington; riding transit in most. The writer can’t imagine how any analysis could have reached the conclusion which KPMG did, “Transit infrastructure weak”. The report offers no reference, merely “An analysis”.

McGill, MIT, and Moscow university are virtually downtown. Tokyo, Beijing, London, Paris, New York, Moscow, and Brussels have more highly developed transit. But they are not saddled as Vancouver is with the U.S.A.’s addiction to the automobile, and most have 5 million people. (ix)

If KPMG excludes buses from their definition of ‘transit infrastructure’, such a definition would exclude the Lincoln tunnel busway between Manhattan and New Jersey.

Production way in Burnaby is a centre for research. To travel from there to SFU by bus takes 13 minutes. To UBC point grey by millennium and the 84 bus, 50. This is a distance of 15 miles. From UBC-VGH to UBC-PointGrey is a 25 minute ride with service at 5 minute intervals throughout the day.

————————————————————————————————

Conclusion. KPMG’s report should be shredded.

A proper transparent report is needed. One resulting from analysis of the data, a piece of research such as one would expect from a university, conducted by a truly independent body, not one commissioned by those who already know the recommendation which they wish to receive. This would probably bury the UBC subway once and for all. Then reasonable debate, based on actual data, can commence on what the City’s transit needs are, and what will be the capital requirements.

High on the list for consideration, the English Bay expo line. 40,000 people in a one square mile area have the slowest transit in the Region. They need a fast connection to downtown, one not impacted by every special event, increasing congestion, and the evening rush to lions’ gate. Two stations west of Burrard, one on robson, one on davie, 2 additional trains. Cost would not be even $200,000,000.

The dominant item, the $1B which will be required for additional rolling stock on existing routes into downtown Vancouver, including new B-lines.

As for a millennium line to macdonald (not arbutus, that’s absolutely illogical. There are more buses on macdonald at broadway than there are 99’s on broadway at macdonald). Only 10% of the transit capacity to the central section of broadway is the 99. VGH is ideally served by the 17 Oak which stops at 12th and oak, and on broadway at Ash, Heather, Willow, and Oak. The 17 is a quicker trip to downtown than transferring to the Canada line, and intersects All the crosstown routes, 84, 33, 25, 41, 43, 49, and 100. The 9 also provides closer stops.

There needs to be a grand list of all the big dollar things which people would like to see, not just transportation, regardless of which of our taxing authorities is the managing one. Put them all on one list, not champion each of them in isolation the way we did for half a billion for a stadium roof, and a $2B Canada line.

Vancouver’s mayor has referred to a funding formula to raise the $2.7B required for the subway from VCC-Clark to UBC-point-grey. The $2B. for the Canada line came from 5 funding sources. The money came out of five taxpockets: Ottawa, Victoria, Regional, Municipal, and the $15. fee paid to fly to Europe. Each elected or appointed body accepted responsibility for only their portion averaging $400M. Problem, the 5 pockets are all in the same pair of jeans. There is one taxpayer, only 1.

This document makes multiple references to correspondence with and presentations to Translink, and to the City of Vancouver, at various levels. Much of the supporting data is available to all on www.VancouveRRR.ca. This will be augmented on an ad hoc basis. Dot docs are also available on request.

                                         E n d   N o t e s

i Two Bus Corridors apparently larger than the 99 route:

Ottawa Transitway – . . Routes 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99; 14 others which use only a bit of it

Seattle Metro Tunnel – . . . . Routes 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76,77, 101, 102, 106, 150, 216, 218, 255, 316,

ii Before the Canada line, 7 yellow buses from deas tunnel or Richmond arrived in downtown Vancouver early enough to return to kitsilano and each make a peak trip into downtown as number 2 macdonald.

Burrard inlet buses from deep cove, caulfield, and a few uppers arrive early at the post office and burrard station. They do not have enough time to return to for example upper lynn valley, in time to make a second peak trip.

Clearly a dozen buses could easily reach commercial by 7:45 or 8:00 in order to make a single high peak trip as 99’s. There would be very little overhead cost to this. The drivers are going to split anyway.

iii When asked by Council what percentage of the passengers at commercial were going to UBC, a senior staff member could not answer.

iv The GVRD’s urban sprawl is ridiculous, a curse of historical circumstances. Our central business district is located almost at one corner of our population rectangle, and UBC virtually at its western tip. We have a commuter train which travels 80 km and combinations of freeway bus and subway or skytrain which go 50 km, with more people driving the same routes.

What other metropolitan area in North America with a population of 2 million, or even 4, comes close to the commuting distances we have? Houston CBD is at the centre of the city, and 30 km covers most of the commuting. Los Angeles to Long Beach is only 30 km, not much more to Disneyland in Orange County. Washington DC’s ring road, the beltway, is only about 15 km from the centre.

We have a university with 35,000 students in Burnaby, compared to 47,000 at point grey campus of UBC. Thanks to some people’s foresight, we don’t have 80,000 at point grey. The time has come to re-discover that foresight.

The provincial government owns a dozen acres at 33rd and Ontario. This could easily accommodate buildings such as Buchanan 1 and 2, saving thousands of 1st and 2nd year students, or a couple of faculties, the travel time to point grey; with enough room left over for two providence wings, a hospital the size of St. Paul’s.

v Recessed pedestrian crosswalks. In Vancouver currently, pedestrian crosswalks at intersections are directly in line with the sidewalk. Therefore while there are pedestrians in the crosswalk, any vehicle wanting to turn right on a green light is legally required to wait, and has no space to wait except in the curb lane. This blocks the curb lane, even if it is a bus lane, causing frustration to the chauffeurs, wasting people’s time and Translink$$. Since pedestrians receive a walk sign for most of the green light, finish a legally started crossing on the do-not-walk signal, and straggle across the rest of the time, the number of buses, cars, trucks, progressing through the intersection in the curb lane is sharply reduced. It the first car in line is a right-turner, the number may be zero.

With recessed pedestrian crosswalks, each of the four crosswalks at the intersection is set back a full car length. This allows one or sometimes two right turning vehicles to clear the curb lane and wait in this buffer space. Getting even two cars out of the curb lane may be enough to let the traffic flow smoothly, adding as much as 1/3rd to the number of vehicles crossing the intersection on one green light. There is fencing at king edward and macdonald to direct pedestrians away from a dangerous crossing point. The esthetics though leave a great deal to be desired. Similar fencing should be used at these intersections. In Ireland pedestrian crosswalks on the major downtown streets are typically set back. It also provides a margin of safety by putting one car length between the walker and the driver.

vi 6 second pedestrian lights. At a pedestrian-busy intersection, the pedestrians are crossing for virtually the entire green light. This often converts the curb lane to a holding zone for right turners, and limits the right turns to about two cars, and can reduce the amount of through traffic in the curb lane to virtually zero. It does not take a long walk signal to permit a lot of pedestrians to cross. An example is georgia eastbound at howe where the pedestrian light is delayed, just as many pedestrians cross. The walk signal should be on for the first 6 seconds only, then turn to red, not a flashing light. This will permit many more vehicles to turn right which also increases the number of vehicles which can proceed straight through the intersection in the curb lane.

vii Even at the intersection of cambie and midlothian. This location is 5 minutes stroll from the women’s’ and childrens’ hospital complex, a huge employer. 5 minutes walk along midlothian offers an individual curling, swimming, a brand new community centre, a small baseball diamond, indoor lawn bowling, and Nat Bailey stadium. QE park is right across the street.

viii There has not been so much as a mention by any member of Council, not even one representing the green party, that 10,000 additional cars will produce 50,000 tons of CO2 annually well into the future – 20 years * 10,000 cars * 5 tons each = 1,000,000 tons of CO2. Greenest City 2020 states that 1/3rd of the City’s CO2 comes from light duty vehicles, and the goal is to reduce this. By adding more cars? At one urban design panel review, one panel member questioned ‘Overparking’. The ratio on that project was around 1.3:1. But a proposed development right across the street from king edward station with a ratio of 1.5:1 wasn’t even noticed.

ix This addiction manifests itself in Vancouver Council’s recent approval of 10,000 residential parking places on the Canada line, and its intention to add 10,000 more residential parking places in of all places, the downtown peninsula, right between our two busiest transit corridors, burrard and granville.

Burnaby plans to add 20,000 cars at willingdon and lougheed, as congested an intersection as you can find; and right on the millennium line. Rezoning of brentwood mall has been approved with a car for every suite. Later on the same developer will apply to do the same thing at lougheed mall. Will yaletown south or developments along the evergreen line allow non car owners to purchase a suite without parking? Unlikely. The developers don’t want to be stuck with them.

The ministry of transport is perennially committed to the automobile. The Premier from the Okanogan used an elrt right of way to build a freeway through Burnaby in the direction of the Okanogan. A transport minister from Cloverdale built a 10 line bridge toward his riding, after refusing for years to put the braid-corvalth bus on the original port mann. The 1976 burrard inlet proposal would have killed transit anywhere in the Region, including Vancouver City. The Ministry published a Swan-Rooster report in 1995 quoting a “technical report” which stated that twinning the lions gate “Would not add to traffic on local streets in the west end”. Incredible!

Forward to 2013. The Ministry intends to add capacity over the Fraser at deas, and Translink talks of adding 2 lanes at pattulo, right alongside the skytrain bridge.

 VancouveRRR    info@                                                                                                                                          Rev April 15, 2013

 

topik

Dominant factors, each which alone renders the UBC subway illogical

The 99 b-line offers only 27% of the peak transit capacity into UBC. 4th avenue at alma has the same capacity, 41st avenue at dunbar 1,000 more, 16th ave only 20% behind. The UBC subway would serve barely more than ¼ of the traffic.

UBC runs full tilt only 1 day out of every 3! There are exam weeks and registration week, but at most 40% of the time is there enough demand for 50% of the existing capacity on all bus routes to the campus. Subway trains would be running empty west of macdonald 2/3rds of the days, and for much of every day in the 1/3rd.

A subway would not save any time on trips to the Canada line, millennium line at VCC, or to downtown compared to optimized 99, 94, 481, and 43 B-lines. On shorter trips the platform to platform time would be faster, but add down-up time and it’s a break-even.

Translink have not offered a cost benefit analysis. Did KPMG not ask for one? With 3,750 commuters in the 150 minute peak of the 99, capital cost per, $400,000. But they commute only 120+ days annually. Commuters to the CBD go 240. So the equivalent capital cost is $800,000. per peak commuter. Articulateds cost $10,000. per; 5 for those making two trips.

Neither the Canada nor expo lines have the line capacity to handle the huge growth in passengers from the broadway corridor which this report presumes, although such growth will not occur.

Neither does the VCC-Clark to MacDonald extension make any sense. For every passenger accomodation entering the central broadway district, between kingsway and macdonald, on the 99, there are 4 on the north south trolleys, and 5 on the Canada. The subway would appeal to only 10% of the people going to the medical community or the commercial or businesses.

www.VancouveRRR.ca info@ 2013 April 3 . EndNotes to Rebuttal

i Bus Corridors apparently larger than the 99 route:

Ottawa Transitway – . . Routes 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99; 14 others which use only a bit of it

Seattle Metro Tunnel – . . . . Routes 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76,77, 101, 102, 106, 150, 216, 218, 255, 316,

ii 90% of rezonings require parking ratio of 1:1 or more.  Even at the intersection of cambie and midlothian. This location is 5 minutes stroll from the women’s’ and childrens’ hospital complex, a huge employer. 5 minutes walk along midlothian offers an individual curling, swimming, a brand new community centre, a small baseball diamond, indoor lawn bowling, and Nat Bailey stadium. QE park is right across the street.

iii There has not been so much as a mention by any member of Council, not even one representing the green party, that 10,000 additional cars will produce 50,000 tons of CO2 annually well into the future – 20 years * 10,000 cars * 5 tons each = 1,000,000 tons of CO2. Greenest City 2020 states that 1/3rd of the City’s CO2 comes from light duty vehicles, and the goal is to reduce this. By adding more cars? At one urban design panel review, one panel member questioned ‘Overparking’. The ratio on that project was around 1.3:1.

iv Passups are predominantly in commuter peaks. In the a.m. this is naturally at the stops closest to the downtown core. They also occur on the 99 at commercial, but the longest waiting time observed in a one-day study was still 8 minutes. Passups at cambie cause only a 3 minute additional wait.

It is important to take into consideration the time until the next bus will arrive on the corridor. On all routes where a.m. passups will likely occur, the service interval is not more that 5 minutes. Examples burrard at davie, granville at helmcken, well under 2 minutes.

v In Japan the shinkansen run express and local service trains on a single track by scheduling them to pass at stations, something which although technically achievable would add another billion to the cost of a broadway subway

vi Recessed pedestrian crosswalks. In Vancouver currently, pedestrian crosswalks at intersections are directly in line with the sidewalk. Therefore while there are pedestrians in the crosswalk, any vehicle wanting to turn right on a green light is legally required to wait, and has no space to wait except in the curb lane. This blocks the curb lane, even if it is a bus lane, causing frustration to the chauffeurs, wasting people’s time and Translink$$. Since pedestrians receive a walk sign for most of the green light, finish a legally started crossing on the do-not-walk signal, and straggle across the rest of the time, the number of buses, cars, trucks, progressing through the intersection in the curb lane is sharply reduced. It the first car in line is a right-turner, the number may be zero.

With recessed pedestrian crosswalks, each of the four crosswalks at the intersection is set back a full car length. This allows one or sometimes two right turning vehicles to clear the curb lane and wait in this buffer space. Getting even two cars out of the curb lane may be enough to let the traffic flow smoothly, adding as much as 1/3rd to the number of vehicles crossing the intersection on one green light. There is fencing at king edward and macdonald to direct pedestrians away from a dangerous crossing point. The esthetics though leave a great deal to be desired. Similar fencing should be used at these intersections. In Ireland pedestrian crosswalks on the major downtown streets are typically set back. It also provides a margin of safety by putting one car length between the walker and the driver.

vii 6 second pedestrian lights. At a pedestrian-busy intersection, the pedestrians are crossing for virtually the entire green light. This often converts the curb lane to a holding zone for right turners, and limits the right turns to about two cars, and can reduce the amount of through traffic in the curb lane to virtually zero. It does not take a long walk signal to permit a lot of pedestrians to cross. An example is georgia eastbound at howe where the pedestrian light is delayed, just as many pedestrians cross. The walk signal should be on for the first 6 seconds only, then turn to red, not a flashing light. This will permit many more vehicles to turn right which also increases the number of vehicles which can proceed straight through the intersection in the curb lane.

viii When asked by Council what percentage of the passengers at commercial were going to UBC, a senior staff member could not answer.

ix This addiction manifests itself in Vancouver Council’s recent approval of 10,000 residential parking places on the Canada line, and its intention to add 10,000 more residential parking places in of all places, the downtown peninsula, right between our two busiest transit corridors, burrard and granville.

Burnaby plans to add 20,000 cars at willingdon and lougheed, as congested an intersection as you can find; and right on the millennium line. Rezoning of brentwood mall has been approved with a car for every suite. Later on the same developer will apply to do the same thing at lougheed mall. Will yaletown south or developments along the evergreen line allow non car owners to purchase a suite without parking? Unlikely. The developers don’t want to be stuck with them.

The ministry of transport is perennially committed to the automobile. The Premier from the Okanogan used an elrt right of way to build a freeway through Burnaby in the direction of the Okanogan. A transport minister from Cloverdale built a 10 line bridge toward his riding, after refusing for years to put the braid-corvalth bus on the original port mann. The 1976 burrard inlet proposal would have killed transit anywhere in the Region, including Vancouver City. The Ministry published a Swan-Rooster report in 1995 quoting a “technical report” which stated that twinning the lions gate “Would not add to traffic on local streets in the west end”. Incredible!

Forward to 2013. The Ministry intends to add capacity over the Fraser at deas, and Translink talks of adding 2 lanes at pattulo, right alongside the skytrain bridge.

 

Topik 

 

U.B.C. Buses

Arrivals at U.B.C. a.m. peak

# Route Trips Capacity Interval
Total

12,980

4

4th ave

7

60

420

17

9

Broadway trolley

13

60

780

9

14

10th ave

12

60

720

10

25

King Edward

16

60

960

8

33

16th ave

12

60

720

10

41

41st ave

20

60

1200

6

43

43rd ave express

12

60

720

10

44

Downtown

10

80

800

12

49

49th ave

15

60

900

8

84

4th ave express – (millenium)

18

60

1080

7

480

Bridgeport

13

80

1040

9

Blue Buses

4

50

200

30

99

Broadway b-line (expo)

43

80

3440

27%

3

This table needs revision, but the % b-line has not changed significantly 

Topik

Major Transit Corridors

Peak Capacity On Major Transit Corridors

Corridor Capacity R O U T E S
Burrard Sreet

5320

2

5

22

32

44

135

Granville Street

6000

4

5

6

7

10

14

16

50

Georgia Street

3580

240

241

246

247

250

251

253

257

258

19

41st Avenue

3460

41

43

49

480

4th Avenue

2580

4

7

44

84

B-Line 99

2560

99

Main street

2460

3

8

19

22

Deas-Bridgeport

2280

351

352

354

601

602

620

Cornwall

2100

2

22

32

16th ave

1980

25

33

Broadway Trolleys

1800

9

14

16

10th Avenue

4940

9

14

99

Number 5 Robson alternates seasonally via Burrard and Granville Counted here on both corridors 960 passengers

Topik

Denied Boarding

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.

Observation on one morning showed this to be true. The writer counted 180 at a time with consecutive trips of 150.

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 8 minutes.

A statistic sometimes appears in the media the number of people denied boarding. At 1,000 per day at commercial, more at the next three stops; for 120 days each year when U.B.C. is on full class schedule; this situation is contributing 120,000 annually to that statistic. KPMG are using an annual number of 500,000 with no reference as to source.

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 left commercial nis-empty 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, 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.

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.

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 this was not observed.

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.

By observation, once the major overload begins, it is continuous for several trips.

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.

There are several 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.

Simplest, cheapest, quickest to implement, and providing the best service, is to insert five regular diesels at the peak as non-stop-ubc. It can be started as an ad hoc service.

These would route via broadway, clark, great northern way/6th/2nd/4th/chancellor to the diesel loop at ubc, picking up if space available at macdonald and at alma.

Buses and drivers are readily available at that time. Drivers from north shore and deas island routes, also probably at metrotown, are going nowhere upon arrival. Example the 354 which doesn’t even run southbound in the a.m. Some may be used in Richmond, but not all. They can easily do one trip from commercial to ubc. Operating cost 1.5 hours, capital cost zero.

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 Council) the route can be put on the schedule as the B94. Knowing when these will arrive, passengers will plan to use them further increasing the load.

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).

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 longer 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.

wwwVancouveRRR.ca Info@ January 16, 2013

Topik

Prioritizing the B-Lines

The City of Vancouver has consistently chosen transit and rejected freeways, rather than relying on the automobile as the dominant form of urban transportation. A condensed history is given as a separate topik.

On any city street, buses will carry many, many more people than SOV’s and DOV’s. So since transit is the way we have chosen, let’s optimize it’s potential. By doing so we can have an intra-City bus system offering faster and more convenient service than the personal automobile. This is often the case now, but so much more can be done so easily.

Delaying buses adds to Translink’s cost. We’re wasting our money as well as our time.

We have rush hour bus lanes, often only until 6 p.m. and often only on the peak side of the street. In order to carry passengers out of the downtown core, a bus must first get downtown. Rush hour in Vancouver does not end at 6 p.m. So we need the bus lanes on both sides of the street until 7 p.m. In many instances, notably the centre section of broadway, they should be from 7 to 7.

When started, the 99 b-line wasn’t much faster than the local trolley because of the excessive loading time. All door loading and the U-Pass sped service enormously. All door loading should be implemented on all B-lines.

Green lighting has been in use in, for example Geneve, for a decade or more. It needs to be implemented on all B-line corridors.

Pedestrians dominate some intersections to such an extent that traffic, including buses, stagnates. Aggressive behavior occurs with pedestrians, it’s not exclusive to motorists and cyclists. A few simple changes will improve the situation greatly.

The pedestrian light should be only the first six seconds of each green light. As many people can cross in 6 seconds as in 30. This should be standardized to avoid confusion.

Recessed crosswalks. Right turning traffic encounters pedestrians and comes to a halt, in the curb lane. This stops traffic advancing in the curb lane, which is frequently where the bus is waiting. At major intersections, all four pedestrian crosswalks must be set back from the intersection by a full car length. This gives right-turning cars the opportunity to clear the traffic lane. Result a significant % increase in throughput.

Fencing would be required to eliminate short-cuts, no problem.

Education. The more smoothly the entire system flows, the less time it takes for everyone to get where they’re going. And of course safety. Currently Vancouver’s pedestrians are seen racing across intersections in the last few seconds of a walk light.

Many motorists have no idea that the law requires them to yield right-of-way to buses leaving the curb. Yielding to the bus causes no delay, it will exit the lane a few blocks later. When intending a right turn, many motorists pass the bus at the last minute, then block it while waiting for pedestrians. ‘Blocking the Box’ as it’s called in the UK, is really bad behavior, as well as illegal. If there is no room to exit the intersection, a vehicle may not enter.

Education of pedestrians and motorists. Behavior has deteriorated visibly over the last few decades. Someone at VPD must be assigned the task of reversing this trend. One idea is 90 second videos explaining specific aspects. These would be provided to the TV stations and cable carriers for use as they decide. Often the American networks have a 90 second commercial break which does not apply in Canada, these could be slipped in.

Enforcement needs to be visible to be effective, especially regarding previously unenforced laws. A constable standing on the sidewalk writing a citation, or a motorcycle stopping a car, conveys the message to all around that the law is being enforced, often to approving nods. A ticket mailed to a motorist whose license plate was recorded by a camera makes that individual and a few friends aware of something, but only them.

West coast express, the millennium line, the Canada line, granville street at georgia, and burrard at georgia are in a 5 way scramble for 2nd place transit corridor behind number 1, the expo. Appearances are deceiving, a high speed rail line seems dominant, but a string of buses can match any which we have except the expo. The first three of these have segregated rail, zero traffic, no red lights, stopping only when they wish to do so. Granville has near exclusive use of the full street for 5 blocks, although it’s green lights are as short as 15 seconds. There are no delays northbound on its bridge.

Burrard? It can take 20 minutes to get from kitsilano pool to georgia street. On burrard street a bus is treated as a mis-behaving truck which constantly switches lanes and which stops in the middle of the block for loading and unloading.

There are peak direction bus lanes. But there is so much right turn traffic, so many pedestrians, and taxis, that their effectiveness is greatly reduced. There are 12 red lights in a distance of 1 mile, with zero greenlighting. Far too many cars for the street to handle, and Council adding hundreds more every week. More need to go to hornby or seymour. Too many left turns. No routes have all door boarding. Some bus zones are too short. Cars illegally stranded in the intersections when the light changes are common. Burrard is also the preferred route in the downtown core for ambulances and fire trucks.

Southbound there is a bike lane sandwiched between the traffic lane and a curb lane which is a real potpourri. This is a recipe for disaster. Buses leaving stops at times when the bus lane is not in effect cross the bike lane back and forth, as do cars parking, unparking, or turning. Thurlow is a pleasant street for cycling, and there is a bike lane on hornby, there is no need for bikes on burrard. That should be painted over asap.

A detailed proposal to make bus travel on burrard a pleasure, and save Translink as much money as would be lost at the parking meters, was presented to Council. A copy is on the website as a separate topik on another page.

Instead of acting to improve transit travel time on burrard, Council intends to add ten thousand (10,000) personal cars between and around the granville and burrard bridges. This will take traffic congestion downtown to new heights.

www.VancouveRRR.ca info@ 2013 March 22

Topik

New B-Lines and Super Express Routes 

Providing a variety of surface bus routes can offer actual travel times on trips within the City of Vancouver, to the actual destination, equal on average to subway or elevated routes. Platform to platform times quoted for mass transit do not recognize four minutes down and up per trip, which on short trips is significant. Offering a variety of corridors can deliver a person where they want to go instead of a few blocks further away, for example at either granville or burrard, or actually at kingsway and edmonds instead of at a bus loop. Transit corridors will of course have to be seriously prioritized for transit. Granville mall is the only major effort to prioritize transit, and that was done 40 years ago when the Swan-Wooster freeway project was rejected by the public. All door loading on the 99 is good, but it’s only on one route. The bus lanes are essential, but miserly.

Currently, portions of the long distance skytrains and subways in the City of Vancouver are used extensively for intra-city trips. A train makes a round trip of 70 minutes to king george, but much of the passenger load is west of metrotown. Passengers for example from granville to main street occupy space which cold have been used for a passenger going to Surrey. When a train is full on any leg west of metrotown, it logically has unused capacity the remainder of the way to Surrey. With growth, Surrey passengers will fill that capacity, which will make it impractical for westbound passengers on shorter trips to board.

Prioritized B-line and super-express buses can match rail travel times for shorter trips intra-city because they offer alternative routings which reduce walking time, as well as saving the down-and-up time.

Many of these would be peak time only. Because of the shortened round trip time they can sometimes make two peak trips which a king george train cannot.

The time will come when peak travel on a mass transit line within the city of Vancouver will need to be discouraged. Charging two zones would be part of this. Simply not having any room on west and northbound trains will also be part. Reinstating kingsway as a primary transit corridor is another.

Sx-94 – Expo/Millennium to UBC.

Routing from broadway and commercial to UBC diesel loop via great northern, 6th/2nd/4th, and chancellor. Pick-up only on great northern way at VCC-Clark, and at cambie. Unscheduled pickups to fill empty space at macdonald and at alma.

Eastbound from the diesel loop, first stop cambie, then millennium VCC. That’s it.

This is faster than either the existing 99 or a bored tunnel to do the same thing. This connection from UBC to the Canada line is actually faster than the UBC subway, there is therefore no reason to build the subway!

Sx-64 – Millennium to Downtown.

From the existing 84 stop at VCC-Clark to downtown via great northern, 6th/2nd/4th, cambie bridge. Westbound departures will be when the millennium arrives, reducing waiting time to one minute, the same as on the expo, while saving 2 minutes walking time. This route will result in arrival downtown as soon as changing to the expo.

There will be one stop westbound for pick up only at main street, and the converse.

This offloads passengers arriving via the millennium from both a critical section of the expo line and the saturated commercial station. It will offer riders on the 3, 8, and 19 an alternative to overloading the expo leg west of science world.

B-44 – UBC to Downtown

The existing routing is fine when UBC is in session. It needs to be B-Lined. 4th needs to be prioritized to some extent between larch and burrard. Burrard downtown needs to be dramatically prioritized as discussed elsewhere.

B-49 – Looping 4th Avenue and Broadway.

From downtown, burrard, 4th, macdonald, broadway to commercial.

This route will not run when UBC is in full class schedule, nor during exam weeks. West of macdonald there is very little traffic on the 44 except for UBC. The 84 express and the 4 local trolley serve the section from macdonald to the diesel loop more than adequately.

On broadway, B-49’s will replace B-99 trips. Much better use of the buses than running empty the rest of the way to UBC. on both routes. Looping the two is more convenient than terminating trips at macdonald, and actually provides a new summer service connecting the villages on broadway and on 4th.

B-43 – 41st Avenue

The 43 is a relatively small route now. The current bus service is a more attractive option than the broadway corridor for many people. B-lining to speed the service will help shift more people from broadway to 41st.

B-19 – Metrotown – Kingsway

Two routings. Beginning at the metrotown, bus loop, west on kingsway. One route along broadway to UBC. One along 7th to Cambie to downtown.

The broadway route offloads from the congested commercial expo station, and from the critical section of the line between metrotown and broadway. The route is more direct than the expo – 99 (or subway) combination.

Actual time from the bus loop at metrotown to broadway at main, by expo and 99 is 21 minutes (3, 10, 2, 6). Current a.m. peak time for the 19 trolley is 32 minutes. B-lining prioritized would likely reduce this to a competitive time for the full trip. From intermediate transfer points such as victoria drive, the difference in trip time may become negligible.

Sx-481 UBC to Richmond

The existing 480 takes a tedious route through marpole making a few stops for very few people. The trip should be non-stop. Little is accomplished at intermediate stops which cannot be done just as well by the B43 and the 41. The new routing may take chancellor to marine drive, or may stay on western parkway to 16th and marine. Then marine drive, 41st, dunbar, 49th, airport bridge; with two forks, one to bridgeport, one to brighouse. Brighouse and bridgeport are both bus hubs. A non-stop from each will provide as good a travel time as the Canada line and proposed broadway subway.

B-98 – Granville.

As Canada line reaches capacity, the B-98 should be revived. It will not have the sea island ‘airport’ stop as previously, and with a time saving through B-Line prioritization far greater than the ridiculous 5% for green light priority which was included in the Canada line study, travel time will be far less than the previous version. There is no construction cost for the 98, so it could be a budget interim measure until volume requires paving the arbutus busway.

Arbutus Busway

The elrt line, which operated until the late 40’s from davie and howe along arbutus, boulevard, and garden city, has been wisely preserved. This is the only remnant of the BCER elrt system which survives. It has limited intersections between marpole and 16th avenue. The section from marpole to 6th and burrard can easily by paved for pennies compared to construction of any kind of right of way. Opting for buses allows integration of the existing burrard, bridgeport, dinsmore, and airport bridges with this section and a transit prioritized burrard downtown. Triple unit buses capable of carrying close to 100 passengers would be used. The capacity of such a line operating with 60 second headway is equal to the current operating capacity of the Canada line.. At 40 second intervals it exceeds Canada’s line capacity given the existing underground stations. Compared to busways in South America, 40 seconds is trivial.

Trips which originate at bridgeport would use the bridgeport and airport bridges. Trips originating at brighouse would take westminster highway, dinsmore, and the airport bridge. There would be no intermediate stops in Richmond.

There would be stops only at 41st and boulevard, and at broadway and arbutus. Burrard bridge northbound and burrard street downtown must be dramatically prioritized for transit, as discussed in great deatil in  another topik, which has been presented to the City’s chief traffic engineer and Council.  The present situation where it takes as long to get to georgia street from kitsilano pool as it does from metrotown is intolerable.

Travel times, taking into account down-and-up minutes, walking time between granville and burrard, and the convenience of stops such as St. Paul’s, would not be any longer than taking the Canada line for many passengers.

Demand won’t require the busway for a while, but it must be designated as a future route, rather than frittering that unique piece of land away and having to do another cut and cover to replace it.

Topik

Saturated Subways

Situation

Our existing lines have line limits to their capacity to move people, the number of trains and of cars which can be added is limited.

The expo line to columbia station is at a capacity constraint of almost 14,000 per hour with the current interval of 120 seconds and trains of 450 passenger capacity. The king george extension with 7,000 is underused for now. If forecasts of a population south of the Fraser equal to that north of the Fraser, it could be raised to 14,000 merely by adding trains. The Millennium line is also at 7,000 which is plenty for now. An evergreen line now in development might add trains, or mixing with the expo might result in no increase until increasing demand requires it. Canada line can add 50% to its current capacity by adding trains, bringing it to 7,500. West coast express seems able to expand to virtual infinity. The seabus could easily double.

Constraints

Expo has a downtown tunnel and two underground stations, plus columbia, which would likely prohibit using double decker cars, and would make longer trains an expensive project. Multi-platforming commercial will reduce stop time there. Eventually this would be needed at metrotown as well. Burrard and granville seem ok. Some time can be shaved off of the 120 seconds.

Canada line stations in Vancouver except marine are all underground. They are all built to fit the existing 2 car trains limiting the line capacity to perhaps 7,500. No expansion seems practical.

Millennium line from braid to commercial has only elevated stations allowing virtually infinite expansion. Millennium trains could carry on to king george which would offload Surrey passengers from the critical metrotown-commercial section of the expo line.

Climate Change

Here are the dates on which other subway or rail transportation systems were built, and are still in operation. Surely we intend any expansion to operate for a similar length of time, which extends the anticipated lifetime to 2150 and beyond. So significant sea level rise must be taken into consideration. No existing road, rail, air, or ‘skytrain’ connection between the GVRD north of the Fraser and anywhere else is above eventual sea level.

Tunnels and Bridges – How Old Is Old?

Year Type Name Use Lngth Status 2012 Yrs
1858 Aqueduct Orb Aqueduct, Canal de Midi Canal Still In Service 154
1867 Tunnel Lyttelton Tunnel Rail
1883 Bridge Brooklyn Bridge Road Still In Service 129
1894 Bridge Tower Bridge London Still In Service 118
1900 Elevated L in Chicago before 1900 Rail Still In Service 114
1903 Tunnel Henryton Tunnel Rail 420 Still In Service 109
1909 Tunnel Spiral Tunnels on the CPR Rail Still In Service 103
1910 Tunnel Michigan Central Railway Rail 2600m Still In Service 102
1910 Tunnel Detroit River Tunnel Rail 2600m Still In Service 102
1911 Bridge Old Cambie Bridge Road 1427m Was torn down 74
1920 Tunnel Holland Tunnel Road Still In Service 92
1927 Bridge Peace Bridge Road 1768m Still In Service 85
1929 Bridge Ambassador Bridge Road 2300m Still In Service 83
1932 Bridge Burrard Bridge Road Still In Service 80
1932 Bridge Sydney Harbour Bridge Road 1149m Still In Service 80
1937 Bridge Pattulo Bridge Road 1227m Planned tear down 75
1937 Bridge Lions Gate Bridge Road Foiled tries to tear down 75
1937 Bridge Golden Gate Road Still In Service 75
1959 Tunnel George Massey (Deas) Tunnel Road 2063 Planned tear down 53
1964 Bridge First Port Mann Road 2093m Was torn down 48

Notably in the GVRD we tear down bridges saying “It’s Old” at half the age of those still in service throughout the world. No one talks of tearing down the golden gate or Sydney harbour which are the same age as the pattulo and lions gate. People call the Brooklyn and Tower old in the sense of historic.  We call ours decrepit.  

VancouveRRR.ca    info@       2013 March 23 

Topik

$1B To Double Downtown Transit 

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; or we realize that the place for the city centre is south of the Fraser.

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

The automobile’s 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 and San Francisco 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 of people transportation 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 increase travel times and 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 two or three unit 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.

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, the evergreen line, or the Canada line. 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 cannot continue.

www.VancouveRRR.ca info@ 2013 February 20,

Guesstimate of the Amount of Money to Double Transit Capacity Mil
Within and Into the City of Vancuver and UBC Pt Grey lions
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 Miscellaneous

$50

Topik

Previous Correspondence tba

Topik

Where Do UBC’ers and 99’ers Go? Tba

Topik

Non Transportation Projects tba

Topik

Topik

Topik

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