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Some of our governing politicians still don't seem to get it. They say it isn't viable "at this time." Maybe in 20 years, they say. Of course, they said that 20 years ago…. They plan to spend billions of dollars on more highways, but they continue to ignore the obvious, long-overdue solution to our traffic congestion [...]

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Be a part of the movement to get us Rail For The Valley! The success of this campaign has come from people like you getting involved. By writing letters and pressuring the politicians, passenger rail is closer than ever to being realized, and all of it has been achieved through email and the internet. 1) [...]

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Some of our governing politicians still don't seem to get it. They say it isn't viable "at this time." Maybe in 20 years, they say. Of course, they said that 20 years ago…. They plan to spend billions of dollars on more highways, but they continue to ignore the obvious, long-overdue solution to our traffic congestion – passenger rail service for the Fraser Valley! Since they aren't listening, the next step is to organize ourselves…

Voted TOP CLIMATE ACTION PROJECT IN BC, Reader’s Choice Award, The Tyee Online Newspaper

"SRY Rail Link is open to the concept of passenger rail services that would utilize our rail assets throughout the Fraser Valley."  -Ken W. Doiron, VP Business Development, Southern Railway of BC (Interurban operator)

“It was the clever boys in Vancouver and Victoria who killed the Interurban transit system that served a far less densely populated Fraser Valley half a century ago. It’s long past time to correct that mistake.” -Langley Advance

“The most efficient and “green” way to move large numbers of people is via light-rail transit. Given the population growth in the Fraser Valley, this transit option should be a no-brainer.” -The Province

“If the government is to meet its goal of cutting air contaminants by 4.7 million tonnes in the next 12 years, the revival of the interurban line will be one of many initiatives aimed at getting commuters out of their cars.” -Abbotsford News

“Now is the time, when our population still allows it, to finally look at light rail. We have the rail ready and the cost of getting it up and running would be a fraction of the cost of building more SkyTrain routes… Not only are we convinced that rail is the best solution for the Fraser Valley, we are convinced that it will be used.” -Abbotsford Times

“One of the biggest disappointments in Victoria’s new transit plan is its failure to include the possibility of light-rail passenger service — along the old Inter-Urban rail route from Vancouver to Chilliwack. In our view, any transit plan that doesn’t include such an environmentally-sound option is deficient to some degree.” -The Province

“Where is the much-needed light rail for the Fraser Valley?” -Surrey Leader

“We can learn from history. Rail-based transit will work in the Fraser Valley.” -Langley Times

“There’s far too much foot-dragging when it comes to the issue of a proper transportation infrastructure for the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. Maybe the politicians need to take a load off and hop on the train.” -Chilliwack Times

Make no mistake, passenger rail service from Chilliwack to Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, and even to Vancouver would be a great thing. -Chilliwack Times

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts: "South of the Fraser, we want at-grade light rail. You see it all over the world." (link)

"I for one am a firm believer that instead of SkyTrain expansion in Surrey we should be looking at At Grade Rail. At Grade Rail is significantly cheaper, easier to build and much more aesthetically pleasing than SkyTrain. Surrey cannot wait until 2020 for improved rail transit. At Grade Rail can be completed much faster. I have great confidence in the potential of At Grade Rail, and I am currently having City staff analyze this option so that we can move it forward." (link)

During her [2011 State of the City] speech, Watts called for a sustainable funding strategy at TransLink within "a month or two," as well as design plans for a Light Rail system completed by next year. "I don't want to have SkyTrain cutting our communities in half – that is going to destroy our city."  (link)

Delta Councillor Bruce McDonald: "I really do believe 10 years, 15 years from now that line will be as important to the valley as the old Interurban was." (link)

Langley Mayor Rick Green: "Interurban services should be fast tracked, at least achieving excursion runs within the next couple of years." (link)

Abbotsford Councillor Lynne Harris: "I think the movement will take hold. I think there's feasibility to it. The infrastructure is already there, and in terms of economic affordability, it's an idea that should be explored."  (link)

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz: Light rail linkages between communities would be invaluable. The track could connect the University of the Fraser Valley and there could be tourism and business opportunities that we've only dreamed of." (link)

Latest News:

Professor Condon on CBC Radio

 

A BCIT to UBC surface light rail line would reduce traffic congestion, while at the same time allow cars to access merchants along Broadway

UBC Planning Professor Patrick Condon was on CBC Radio on Jan. 29, echoing the growing concern about the proposed Broadway SkyTrain subway sucking away federal monies from other local transit needs.

Interesting, that the good professor, states that TransLink’s two top planners were fired because of their support for light rail, which would cost a third to build than a subway!

Listen to the broadcast here.

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Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas from Rail for the Valley

 

A German Schmalspurbahn Christmas Train

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The Other SkyTrain Saga

Question: What happens when developers have to pay for expensive subway construction?

Answer: They want to build with much cheaper light rail instead.

Reality: Subways are great, if someone else pays for them.

Lesson: Lost on Vision(less) Vancouver, the provincial Minister for Transportation, the Premier, the NDP, TransLink, and regional mayors.

Developers highlight ‘defect’ in approval of Scarborough subway funding

After a powerful developer lobby challenged the city over the Scarborough subway, its main arguments mirror the growing political concern over the line at city hall

A subway, as a replacement for the aging Scarborough RT, seen here at Midland Station, continues to rage, with a new challenge from the development industry.<br />

Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star Order this photo

A subway, as a replacement for the aging Scarborough RT, seen here at Midland Station, continues to rage, with a new challenge from the development industry.

By: City Hall reporter, Published on Tue Dec 15 2015

What developers say is a “fundamental defect” in the necessary paperwork threatens to undo the city’s plans for the controversial Scarborough subway.

As the Building Industry and Land Development Association, or BILD, takes on the city with an appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board — the provincial body that deals with land and development disputes — that’s just one of many issues that effectively puts the subway, and the future of transit in Scarborough, on trial.

At a hearing last week, BILD’s lawyers argued that the city failed in a key document to spell out the operating costs for the subway as they are required to by provincial legislation. What’s more, BILD’s lawyers say planning justifications for the subway extension are flawed and ridership numbers exaggerated.

For the full story………..

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Vancouver Blunders Ahead With Its Vanity Project.

Well, Vision(less) Vancouver is blundering ahead with its much cherished $3 billion subway under Broadway and our feckless politicians South of the Fraser remaining willfully blind to this billions of dollars boondoggle. One would think they would be more in tuned with the costs of this massive project.

Surrey has been bought off with its own vanity project, the poor man’s SkyTrain masquerading as light rail; Delta with the promise of a massive new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel and good Liberal city councilors tow the provincial line in the Langleys, Abbotsford and beyond.

What is so sad is no one is thinking three minutes into the future, where road congestion and gridlock will reign supreme, forcing politicians to build more highways because the cost of transit is so high to build, based on the cost of current rapid transit vanity projects, that will do little to attract ridership or alleviate congestion.

Rail for the Valley offered another and cheaper way to provide quality transit to the South Fraser region, but politicians just love cutting ribbons in front of expensive vanity projects at election time.

Subway stops prepared along Vancouver’s Broadway corridor

by Carlito Pablo on November 25th, 2015

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The strip mall on the southeast corner of Broadway and Oak Street is deserted.

“We’ll be starting demolition here pretty quick,” Wayne Vickers, development manager of Bosa Properties, told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “I’d say December, with excavation in January, February.”

BlueSky Properties, a Bosa family company, is constructing a 10-storey office and retail building on this spot, which the City of Vancouver has chosen to be the location of one of the stations for a proposed subway line along Broadway.

According to Vickers, his company and the city have agreed to designate an area in the new building to serve as a connection to an underground transit station. “We got the plan. We have the design for it,” Vickers said.

According to a city staff report, similar arrangements have been made for two other sites. One is near Arbutus Street at 2080 West Broadway, where the Pinnacle Living on Broadway condo building is located. The other is at 525 West Broadway, the site of Crossroads, a mixed-use residential, commercial, and office building kitty-corner to the Canada Line’s Broadway–City Hall Station.

A rapid-transit line along Broadway is one of the projects in a 10-year plan for Metro Vancouver released in June 2014 by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation.

The $1.9-billion project involves extending the Millennium SkyTrain Line from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street, connecting along the way with the Canada Line at Broadway–City Hall. Two-thirds of its cost would consist of funding from the provincial and federal governments.

In a referendum this year, Metro Vancouver voters rejected a proposed 0.5-percent increase in the sales tax to help fund major infrastructure projects in the $7.5-billion transportation plan prepared by regional mayors.

During the federal election campaign, Liberal Leader and now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to work with the province and the city to extend rapid-transit service along Broadway to Arbutus.

Until the subway is built, Bosa’s BlueSky Properties will use the future subway-connection space for retail.

 

 

 

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Bombardier Inc. Gets Quebec Financing

Bombardier Inc. has had some recent finance problems with their aerospace division and is using its rail division as collateral so to speak.

They better make money now because if they don’t perform the CDPQ will own 42.5 % after 5 years.

What does it mean for us on the West coast? Definitely more pressure to buy more SkyTrain cars, meaning more pressure to build more SkyTrain. A sort of use it or lose it proposition.

Bombardier and CDPQ Enter Into Definitive Agreement: CDPQ to Acquire 30% of Newly-Created BT Holdco for $1.5B

Source: Bombardier Transportation Nov 19, 2015

Bombardierannounced it has entered into a definitive agreement with CDPQ for a $1.5 billion convertible share investment in Bombardier Transportation’s newly-created holding company, Bombardier Transportation (Investment) UK Ltd (“BT Holdco”). Under the terms of the agreement, CDPQ will acquire shares of BT Holdco convertible into a 30% common equity stake of BT Holdco, subject to annual adjustments related to performance. The transaction will be executed through a private placement and values Bombardier Transportation at $5 billion. The investment has been approved by the Boards of Directors of Bombardier and CDPQ.

Continued……

 

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Faster Transit May Cause Congestion

An interesting item from the BBC, especially when everyone points to speed as paramount for good transit.

What the following does illustrate, is the ongoing scientific exploration of public transit overseas, completely missing in North America, where instead, shysters try to sell politicians one gadgetbahnen after another or subways as the great cure for congestion.

Study suggests London Underground may be ‘too fast’

By Jonathan Webb Science reporter, BBC News
  • 23 September 2015
A mathematical study of transport in London and New York suggests the British capital should be wary of its trains travelling too quickly.

If Tube journeys are too fast, relative to going by road, then the model predicts an increase in the overall level of congestion.

This is because key locations outside the city centre, where people switch transport modes, become bottlenecks.

By contrast, New York’s layout is such that faster trains will always help.

Reporting their findings in the journal Royal Society Interface, the researchers calculate that London’s system would function best with underground trains travelling about 1.2 times faster than the average speed on the roads. This makes the optimum Tube speed approximately 13mph (21km/h); the current average is 21mph (33km/h).

Dr Marc Barthelemy, the paper’s senior author, said it was a theoretical study and more data would be required to make specific recommendations.

“Giving exact numbers is a tricky thing,” he told the BBC. “But the fact is that these networks are coupled to each other. Optimising something on one network can bring bad things on another network.”

Transport for London (TfL) chose not to comment on the research.

‘Multimodal’ movement

Dr Barthelemy, a statistical physicist at the CEA research centre in Saclay, France, is fascinated by the interplay between coupled networks. And transport networks, such as the roads and train lines in his study, are becoming increasingly interconnected.

 

 

 

In a report on urban mobility published on Tuesday, the LSE Cities group at the London School of Economics describes a trend towards “multimodal” journeys, where travellers switch – for example – from train to bus or car.

This is partly driven by smartphones and apps which search for the fastest route, even if it involves a change or two. But in big, expansive cities like London, multimodal trips are inevitable, Dr Barthelemy said.

 

 

“In London there’s a clear increase in the number of modes with distance,” he explained. “It’s a very clear effect.”

To test how these different transport networks can affect each other, he and his colleagues built computer models based on the exact structure of the road and underground train networks of both London and New York.

Then, they connected these two layers based on the proximity between streets and subway stations. “We create these connections, and then we make an assumption, which is: When someone wants to go from A to B, they look for the quickest path – whatever the mode.”

Using this relatively simple system, the researchers measured various aspects of the “connectedness” of different points in the two networks.

This painted a distinctive picture of how they function together; the underground network, for example, tends to decrease congestion centrally but increase it where the underground lines finish.

 

 

 

And there were key differences between London and New York. “Surprisingly enough, the network in New York is much more centralised than the one in London,” Dr Barthelemy said.

This means that, according to the model, levels of congestion in downtown Manhattan are so high that the city would benefit from faster trains “even if that increases the congestion at some peripheral points – the entry points to the subway”.

In London however, those bottlenecks tip the balance in favour of a compromise on train speed – with possible planning implications.

‘Worth considering’

“Maybe making Crossrail as fast as possible isn’t the best solution in terms of global congestion,” Dr Barthelemy commented.

This study is based entirely, however, on a model which includes no passenger data from the transport system itself – as Prof Michael Batty, a planning expert at University College London, pointed out:

“It really is just a network model. There are no capacities on the network – it’s not really a flow model, like the ones that Transport for London actually use.”

 

 

 

Nonetheless, Prof Batty said the findings were perfectly plausible. “If you join networks together, then you get unanticipated effects,” he said.

“I think the point they’re making is well worth considering.”

The problem of interacting networks probably applies equally to the capital’s distinct, overlapping train networks, he said

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Bad Planning in Edmonton

The people designing Edmonton’s LRT extension must take first prize for “botching it”, when drivers will have to wait 16 minutes for a tram to cross a series of intersections.

Does anyone do any research at all?

I know that public transit should supersede auto traffic in revenue operation, but this is far too extreme.

In the real world, it takes a tram about 3 to 7 seconds to clear an intersection and about 10 to 15 seconds for a light to change from green phase to red phase, as done in hundreds of cities around the world.

There is no difference between a light controlled road/rail intersection and a light controlled road/road intersection, so why the long wait?

Really, a little bit of research and proper design, would have eliminated this 16 minute wait and as it stands it is nothing than an example of very poor planning.

Again, Canada becomes an international joke with its transit planning and I for one, am tired of it.

Drivers could be stuck at LRT crossing for up to 16 minutes: Metro LRT update

Emily Mertz By Web Producer  Global News

 

EDMONTON — Testing results of the Metro LRT Line found there could be “significant” traffic delays on key routes during peak rush hours and that some delays could be permanent.

At some crossings, a report estimates drivers might wait only two minutes while LRT trains operate on a 15-minute frequency.

However, for two specific intersections being impacted by the LRT line, the wait could be as long as 16 minutes.

The report said, “Princess Elizabeth Avenue/106 Street and 111 Avenue/Kingsway Avenue will be particularly busy and traffic will queue in all directions. The addition of regular LRT service will create situations where queues will persist and lengthen until a train cycle has cleared and vehicle traffic cycles through for the intervening 15 minutes.

“Motorists are being advised to expect delays and be patient as during peaks hours it may take up to four cycles for a vehicle to have the opportunity to clear one of these intersections and that means up to 16 minutes waiting in a queue that extends multiple blocks.”

“This is very disappointing,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “I didn’t expect the numbers to be like this.”

“Council feels a little hoodwinked,” added Councillor Bev Esslinger.

The Transportation Committee was told those two intersections currently clear within one traffic cycle.

“I’m honestly so gob-smacked I almost don’t know what to ask,” said Councillor Scott McKeen.

Trains may wait up to five minutes at MacEwan station to deal with traffic issues.

The intersections that will be most significantly impacted by the Metro LRT Line.

The intersections that will be most significantly impacted by the Metro LRT Line.

Tonia Huynh/Global News

The committee was told the Metro LRT Line is set to open on Sept. 6.

Part of the issue with the delays at intersections is because, at first, LRT trains will be travelling at a slower speed, so crossing gates will be down for longer periods of time.

However, once the trains are operating at a higher speed, the service will increase in frequency. The crossing gates will then come down more frequently but for shorter durations.

“We’re going a little slower but we’re going less frequently right now,” said the city’s Transportation Services GM Dorian Wandzura.

Wandzura said the public education campaign had already started to prepare riders and drivers for the start of the Metro Line on Sept. 6.

Transit staff will be stationed at all crossings for the first week of operations.

Training started four weeks ago and train simulations have been done during non-peak hour service.

“I think the delays will go down as we settle into the system,” Wandzura said.

The Transportation Committee heard that even when the Metro Line is operating normally, there may only be a 15 per cent improvement to traffic flows in some areas.

Esslinger said she thought the city should increase public communication about the traffic impacts.

Iveson thought drivers should be made aware of the changes and expected delays so they could choose other routes if possible.

“I’m concerned this will kill the sentiment for the LRT,” said Councillor Michael Oshry.

Late Wednesday, in a motion, the committee asked city administration to:

  • report on the feasibility of moving the NAIT LRT Station to east of 106 Street;
  • bring a report on other possible measures to mitigate issues identified with the Metro Line;
  • report on the feasibility of grade separating the Princess Elizabeth Avenue crossing as part of the next phase of NW Extension through Blatchford and beyond.

“This council needs to take control of these projects and that the info we’re getting can be relied upon,” said Iveson, stressing problems like this cannot happen again.

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Bombardier Transportation accused of corruption in South Korea

A single car train on the Yongin Everline Line

The following is from CBC Radio Canada.

Even though the date of this news item is Jan. 28, no news outlet in Vancouver has mentioned it.

It also answers the question why TransLink has ignored the Yongin Line, it only has one car!

So let us revise the SkyTrain list, there are only 6 1/4 SkyTrain lines in operation around the world.

Bombardier Transportation accused of corruption in South Korea

Bombardier offered gifts and trips to win lucrative contract, South Korean officials allege

CBC News

Posted:Jan 28, 2015

Bombardier Transportation was investigated in South Korea over corruption allegations but never charged, CBC’s French-language service Radio-Canada has learned.

A task force led by Korean prosecutors alleges that Bombardier, based in Quebec, offered gifts and trips to Canada for civil servants and politicians who decided to choose Bombardier’s technology for an elevated train system.

When the project was first announced almost 15 years ago, it was said to be worth more than $1 billion.

Train with 1 car

(A note by Zwei: The Yongin line operate cars singly, yet Bombardier claims that the Yonguin ART could carry 25,000 ~ 30,000 persons per hour per direction, the same sort of nonsense his peddled here!)

The train system that began operating in 2013 is now a financial burden for the taxpayers of Yongin.

‘The Yongin train has only one car.’- Hyun Geun-Taek, lawyerYongin, the 12th biggest city in South Korea, has an impressive elevated train, which runs for 18 kilometres linking the Seoul subway system to a large amusement park named Everland.

 

Bombardier South Korea trainThe elevated train in South Korea, made up of a single car, will cost taxpayers about $3.5B over the next 30 years. (Radio-Canada)

The train is similar to Vancouver’s SkyTrain but there is a major difference – it only has a single car.”We thought it was going to be a metro, but the Yongin train has only one car, so we could say it’s more like a bus,” said Hyun Geun-Taek, a lawyer who filed legal action on behalf of the citizens of Yongin.

The “bus” is expected to cost taxpayers $3.5 billion over the next 30 years, including maintenance.

The city chose the elevated train, proposed by a consortium led by Bombardier, because a government agency predicted a ridership of 183,000 passengers a day.

That projection was exaggerated, according to a Yongin city councillor.

“[It's] a ridership so inflated, we can say it’s a joke,” said Yoo Jin-Sun.

It turned out the ridership prediction was way off. When the train entered service in 2013, there were fewer than 10,000 passengers a day.

Police probe for corruption

The public-private partnership between the city of Yongin and the consortium prompted prosecutors to launch an investigation.

A special investigation unit alleged that Bombardier offered gifts and trips to the civil servants who made the ridership forecasts and recommended the company’s technology.

“Between 2003 and 2005, Bombardier paid three trips to Canada to 37 people — flights in business class, luxury hotel, golf, sightseeing,” alleged Geun-Taek, adding that 18 Yongin city councillors also travelled to Canada for so-called “LRT [light rail transit] field trips,” courtesy of  Bombardier.

The company has consistently denied the corruption allegations.

“They were not pleasure trips. There is a need to convince the people that our technology works well … If it had been corruption, they would have charged us,” said Serge Bisson, the vice-president of systems in northern Asia for Bombardier Transportation.

The prosecutors also alleged that Bombardier created a $2-million slush fund for an employee, Kim Hak-Pil, who is a high-ranking executive in South Korea and a Canadian citizen.

Korean investigators suspected the slush fund money was used for lobbying civil servants and business partners on other projects in South Korea.

“What I know is that we didn’t make illicit payments. We did not bribe anyone,” Bisson said.

A white elephant

No charges were laid at the end of the investigation due to the statute of limitation according to prosecutors, while Bombardier said it was because there was a lack of evidence.

The city had to make drastic budget cuts in education and welfare programs, such as heating for seniors’ community centres.

“It’s a scam on the edge of legality. That’s what I think,” said Korea national assembly member Kim Min-Ki.

As the city of Yongin struggles to repay the debt associated with the train system, Bombardier is still making money. The company charges the city about $26 million a year in operation and management fees.

Bombardier has an operation and maintenance contract that can last 30 years.

http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/1.2935567

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Beijing’s Subway Needs Fare Hikes

An interesting item from China, Beijing’s metro system, despite being one of the world’s busiest, is having funding problems and fares are escalating.

Beijing metro price hike ‘squeezing poor’

7 January 2015

Despite it being one of the biggest and busiest in the world, the Beijing metro is making huge losses and the government is raising fares.

As Martin Patience reports, the move is fuelling concerns about the cost of living in the capital.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-30706228

Is this the shape of things to come with a Broadway subway?

You won’t see the regional mayors commenting on this story, nor will you see the Vancouver Sun publish such a story, but if subways are proving costly to operate in Beijing, will a Broadway subway prove too costly to operate in Vancouver?

Don’t shoot the messenger, I am only asking.

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The GVRD’s 1978 LRT/Rail/Road Bridge – A Bridge Too Practical

In 1978, the GVRD were poised to install a three leg light rail system on the region and to cross the Fraser river a new bridge would have to be built.

Demonstrating the forward thinking of the era, GVRD planners conceived a multi-use bridge for ‘rapid transit’; the mainline railways; a cycle path; and when the Pattullo finally went kaput; a four lane vehicle bridge.

The LRT lines were so designed to have a two lane car deck above when needed and a ‘fast’ lift span would have two railway tracks, giving ample capacity, including a Vancouver to Chilliwack rail service which was envisaged at the time.

It is now history, as the provincial government imposed SkyTrain on the region and a stand alone SkyTrain, Sky Bridge was built instead and a replacement for the badly aging Pattullo Bridge is about a decade away and a replacement for the absolutely decrepit Fraser River Rail Bridge is no where in sight.

Maybe metro Vancouver should dust off the 1978 rail/road bridge and build it to replace both decaying bridges.

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