Another Crash And Fatality On Hwy. 7

Too many auto deaths in the Fraser Valley this year, but with no alternatives but to drive and ever increasing population growth, leading to more cars and more congestion, more and more accidents and fatalities will occur.

I sorry, only five West Coast Express Trains in and out of Vancouver doesn’t cut it, yet our politicians fret over silly transit projects like the $2.5 billion Surrey LRT which will do nothing and the even sillier $3 billion Broadway subway, which being built, not to reduce congestion, but make Vancouver politicians feel that their city is world class.

The Rail for the Valley/Leewood TramTrain would make a good start providing a viable alternative to the car.

What is world class is the massive congestion in the Fraser Valley, complete with daily accidents and weekly deaths.

Our politicians do nothing and like the proverbial Nero, fiddle, while the region burns with gridlock and death.

Pitt River Bridge reopens westbound to traffic following fatal accident

By Online News Producer  Global News

One person has died in a rollover crash in Pitt Meadows overnight.

It is not yet known how the accident happened just before 2:30 a.m. but the fatal rollover closed the Pitt River Bridge westbound to all traffic for hours during the morning commute.

The Lougheed Highway was also closed westbound from Harris Road to the Pitt River Bridge.

Drivers are still being asked to detour via the Golden Ears Bridge, Highway 1, and the Port Mann Bridge and to leave extra travel time this morning as the closure has created lots of congestion in the area.

Crews on scene at the crash near the Pitt River Bridge Thursday morning.

Crews on scene at the crash near the Pitt River Bridge Thursday morning.

 

How Many Fatal Accidents Does it Take For Politicians to Support A Chilliwack To Vancouver TramTrain!

 

On Wednesday last (Aug. 9) the misses and I went to Harrison Hot Springs for some well deserved R & R. The trip to Harrison only confirmed the need for a Vancouver to Chilliwack rail service, to give a  transportation option for those living in the Fraser Valley.

The many accidents, that I passed confirmed that the present Ministry of Transportation planning is non functional and in fact, somewhat delusional.

The first accident, which later turned out to be a fatal, happened on the dangerous Nordel Way/Alex Fraser Bridge complex, which backed traffic all the way to Hwy.17. Two more ‘rear enders’ on the bridge only added to the traffic woes.

The next accident, was on the Number 1 near 232nd St. and involved at least three semi’s and a car. The number one was closed West bound as an air ambulance was called, backing traffic all the way to Bradner Road! The radio reported three more less serious accidents elsewhere on the highway.

To add insult to injury, the Number 1 Hwy. was closed for hours in the late afternoon and evening due to a fire at a lumber mill along side the highway.

Gingerly driving across the Fraser River at Mission, we continued along Hwy 7, a pleasant drive most days.

Again the radio reported two accidents further West, in Maple Ridge, which closed the highway locally for some time. Crossing into Harrison Mills, Hwy 7 was closed due to a fatal accident, again involving two semi’s and a car and traffic was diverted literally through local corn fields, until the police finished their accident investigation.

Since my return Friday afternoon and traveling less known country roads because the Number 1 was closed due to a major accident, the Number 1 has been closed at least tow more times, including  yesterday’s fatal accident!

What does it take to convince valley politicians to demand reinstating passenger rail service to Vancouver? How many more people must die, before a rail option is built?

Rail for the Valley has the plan and all we need is the political will to make it happen.

Dieting Is Mandatory On Some Of Lisbon’s Tram Routes

Who says trams can not operate in narrow confines?

One of the regular complaints by various city engineering departments is that; “There isn’t the road space for LRT”.

Really?

For every LRT complaint, there is always an answer to the contrary.

Zwei is not advocating, that trams should operate in exactly the same tight places, but certainly Broadway is wide enough for light rail operation.

Regional Transportation Conundrum – We Need A Royal Commission On Regional Transportation

The following article demonstrates our current problem in metro Vancouver, a complete and utter lack of understanding public transit and the role of public transit.

Again, for public transit to be successful, it must be user friendly, if not, people will avoid it and they do in droves in Metro Vancouver.

Buses are a hard sell for transit in the best of times, but for any express bus service to be successful in the region, it must provide a better than user-friendly service for the customer.

The following three examples underline the importance of having a Royal Commission on Regional Transportation.

Example #1: TransLink’s bad habit of forcing bus customers to transfer to SkyTrain, especially the extremely user-unfriendly Canada Line, instead of providing a seamless journey into Vancouver.

Example #2: Translink’s planning of a $3 billion SkyTrain subway under Broadway, yet traffic flows on the route are less than a third of what would demand subway construction.

Example #3: The majority of Surrey’s LRT funding will actually be spent to facilitate Utilities for Massive Speculative Development alongside LRT – all this under the guise of public funding of LRT (at a ratio of 2/3 development and 1/3 LRT).

What is needed is a complete rethink on how we plan and provide transit in Metro Vancouver, before another nickle is spent.

It is called a Royal Commission and the region should have a Royal Commission on public transportation.

Opinion: Horgan must follow Barrett’s example on Massey Bridge

Published on: July 28, 2017

When Dave Barrett led the NDP to victory and became premier in September 1972, Vancouver was in the midst of a freeway revolt. East Vancouver and Chinatown residents had united against the planned downtown freeway and third crossing to the North Shore. Today, NDP Premier John Horgan faces a similar controversy over the proposal to replace the Massey Tunnel with a 10-lane bridge.

Barrett could have gone for half-measures and tried to sell a more modest freeway into the downtown, combined with modest transit improvements. And the incentive to build for cars was strong; back then climate change wasn’t on anyone’s political radar and many people thought that a new strip of asphalt was the surest sign of human progress.

He and his cabinet heard the shouts that ‘something has to be done’ for commuters crossing from the North Shore to Vancouver. So they created the SeaBus, still one of the best-loved parts of Greater Vancouver’s transit system. Freeways never flattened Chinatown or cut off the West End from the waterfront, and only a few think a third road crossing to the North Shore should be a priority. And Barrett’s SeaBus was very inexpensive compared with a freeway bridge or tunnel.

Barrett, and his allies, won in downtown Vancouver. But he also boldly decided to build a region-wide network of rapid-transit lines, instead of building and expanding suburban freeways. To keep costs down and allow a rapid build-out, these light-rail lines would use the old interurban railway right-of-ways and would mostly be at ground level. His vision even extended to considering a single-track light-rail tunnel beside the Massey Tunnel to serve South Delta and Tsawwassen.

He didn’t win re-election, so his ambitious rapid-transit plans were largely forgotten as freeway building became the default response to congestion outside of the downtown core. Even the NDP governments of the 1990s took only half-measures to prioritize transit.

In the ’70s, Barrett’s transit over freeways position was radical. Today, it’s mainstream. Only one mayor supports defeated premier Christy Clark’s multibillion-dollar plan to build a 10-lane freeway bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel. Horgan sides with the other 20 Metro Vancouver mayors who oppose the Massey Bridge, and favour funding the rapid-transit lines in the regional transportation plan instead.

A key lesson Horgan should learn from Barrett is that cost-effective transit improvements can successfully replace freeway proposals like the third crossing and the Massey Bridge. There is nothing very fancy or expensive about the SeaBus. The name says it all, a bus that runs on water.

Interestingly, the B.C. Liberals once proposed to replace their Massey Tunnel freeway expansion plan with bus lanes and rapid bus. In 2009, then-Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon told the Richmond Review that the bus lanes and tunnel upgrades would be sufficient “for easily another 50 years.” The B.C. Liberals built some of the bus lanes, but cut back on bus service through the tunnel instead of providing the frequent, rapid-bus service they promised.

The first step for the B.C. NDP should be to help TransLink and the mayors provide what the B.C. Liberals promised, a major increase in bus service through the Massey Tunnel. Completing the bus lanes to the Canada Line in Richmond is also essential to provide a desirable alternative to the Massey Bridge proposal. Rail transit to Ladner and Tsawwassen, and to the North Shore, may be worthwhile next steps — but buses and SeaBuses work.

The much bigger step Horgan needs to take is to reorient transportation priorities across B.C. to reduce the climate pollution that is fuelling ever more destructive wildfires and floods. The B.C. NDP promises to slash greenhouse gas pollution from transportation by 30 per cent in only 13 years, and the federal-provincial Climate Framework commits B.C. to shift infrastructure spending from road expansion to transit to fulfil Canada’s Paris climate commitments.

To hold the Green-NDP alliance together, the NDP must move decisively on these commitments. And that means urban highway expansion must be the last resort, not the default option.

Eric Doherty is a Victoria-based transportation planning consultant and a member of the Council of Canadians Victoria chapter.

Why Cities Are Demolishing Freeways

With the decision pending to abandon the proposed mega bridge replacing the Massey Tunnel, this article should give some food for thought.

As always, providing more road space, attracts more cars, creating even greater gridlock at the next choke point.

It is time, in Metro Vancouver, to think 3 minutes into the future and evaluate what new and bigger highways will do to the region.

The example of the Number 1 highway from Horseshoe Bay to Hope should teach many about the perils of building bigger and bigger.

Last weekend, the traffic jams started well east of Chilliwack.

Now, if we had a TramTrain service from Chilliwack to Vancouver, there would be an option of not using the highway and not adding to congestion.

 


Why Cities Are Demolishing Freeways

LOVE_CHOTE / Shutterstock.com

Once the urban freeway was unmistakably part of a vision of the future, one in which personal automobiles zipped through neighborhoods without having to stop or interact with the streets above or below. But over the past two decades, many cities have found that running highways through dense areas has done more harm than good—and they’re increasingly opting to tear them down.

Late last month, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) released its latest edition of “Freeways Without Futures,” a report on efforts to remove parts of underused highways in ten American cities. The study underscores the role locals are playing in the replacement movement and also outlines the many benefits of having fewer highways running through dense urban areas.

The report contends that the cores of American cities have seen a massive hollowing out since the passing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act in 1956. “As highways were built through existing communities,” the report begins, “residents were cut off from social and economic centers, key resources and services, and the nearby destinations of their daily lives.”

Today, many of those highways are reaching the end of their design life and cities are facing what CNU calls a “watershed moment.” Instead of rebuilding and repairing old highways, the report suggests cities should replace them with infrastructure that is pedestrian friendly, density prone, and extremely profitable. “Cities are waking up to a simple solution: remove instead of replace.”

CNU highlights the replace movements in ten cities across the country, many of them driven by everyday citizens who don’t want to see certain highways expanded or repaired. Suggesting alternatives to expansion isn’t easy. In many cases, activists must conduct their own research, design a replacement plan, and recruit local officials. Then begins the lengthy process of securing funding and ironing out implementation logistics.

Each city included in the report is at a different stage of removal. While activists in Oakland and Dallas are pushing steadily through the research phase, efforts in Detroit are stuck for a lack of funding. Meanwhile, fill-in construction on the Inner Loop in Rochester started last 2014 and should be completed by the end of this year.

Each city included also faces a unique set of challenges. In Denver, citizens are battling their state Department of Transportation to prevent an expansion of I-70. They’ve proposed an alternative that—unlike the city’s plan—would not involve expanding the derelict highway (at a cost of $1.8 billion) or destroying dozens of houses and businesses in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. But the city is fighting back, arguing that the highway is essential for commuters. In Buffalo, efforts have been more successful. The citizen-led initiative to redesign parts of the Scajaquada Expressway earned the attention and financial support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who directed $30 million towards the effort last March, telling local press it was time to “undo a mistake.”

Tearing out a highway is costly on many levels. Coordinating various agencies requires political flexibility. Fiscally, replacement proposals cost millions of dollars and require an ability to focus on long-term over short-term gains. Culturally, they require a shift in design priorities: fewer cars on the street, more people. The report explores these struggles, yet also emphasizes the many benefits of replacement.

First, there’s the potential of significant economic gain. In Dallas, researchers found that replacing parts of I-345 would generate $4 billion for the city over fifteen years and bring 22,550 jobs to the area. In Trenton, if efforts to replace Route 29 with a riverwalk are successful, the city’s downtown could attract up to $2.25 billion of investment. Replacing highways could also make possible more mixed-use development and affordable housing, desperately needed in places like San Francisco. It could also improve neighborhood safety and decrease pollution.

CNU also suggests that replacing underused highways could be a chance to undo the damage they have wrought upon “the physical and economic health of low-income and minority residents.” But while reconciliation is indeed a possibility, so also is displacement. Sam Warlick, the communications director at CNU, acknowledged this possibility. “Any kind of positive change in a neighborhood (also) runs the risk of cultural and economic displacement,” he said. Communities that embrace replacement, he explained, could prevent drastic displacement by pairing their infrastructure investment with community investment. “We would hope that anti-displacement efforts and initiatives to share the prosperity would be baked into the process from the beginning.”

Tiffany Owens, a journalist currently based in Providence, R.I, is a New Yorker at heart.

The Stadler Option

The Stadler product is gaining traction in North America and now has a manufacturing plant in North America.

Unlike Bombardier, which relies on the government to secure train orders for them in North America, Stadler had to fight hard to sell its product on this side of the pond.

There is a dichotomy between Stadler and Bombardier Inc., Stadler has to please its customers and Bombardier does not and if one has has any doubts on this point, just ask the TTC in Toronto and their very late tram deliveries.

For the Valley TramTrain project, I believe the Stadler option would best suit the Valley TramTrain needs!

 

Stadler completes first TEX Rail DMU

03 Aug 2017

USA: Stadler has completed the first Flirt multiple-unit to be assembled in the USA at its plant at North Salt Lake in Utah. The DMU for the TEX Rail project will be officially unveiled at the ATPA Expo in Atlanta in October.

In 2015 the Fort Worth Transportation Authority signed a $100m contract with Stadler for the supply of eight DMUs. This was Stadler’s first contract to include federal funding and was thus subject to Buy America regulations requiring 60% of the contract value to be sourced in the USA. The bodyshells and bogies are being produced in Switzerland, with final assembly taking place in Utah.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the TEX Rail commuter route were held in August 2016. Due to open in 2018, the 43 km line would link central Fort Worth with Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Around half of the $1bn cost, which includes rolling stock, is being met from federal sources.

 

 

Let’s Take A Trip On The Mulhouse TramTrain

Real TramTrain in action in Mulhouse France.

Let’s go for a ride.

https://youtu.be/46Fo7qCcyW0

 

TramTrain For Halifax?

As LRT planning spreads across Canada, transportation planners are beginning to understand the flexibility of the mode.

Commuter rail, using unwieldy commuter passenger cars are yesterdays transit solution, while TramTrain is a 21st century transit solution.

Just to think, if Metro Vancouver had built the Leewood/Rail for the Valley, Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain, we could have been selling our expertise elsewhere, in stead of trying to flog a dead horse transit system like SkyTrain, that no one wants!

 

 

Group proposes light-rail transit system for Halifax

Steve Silva By Video Journalist  Global News

WATCH: A group wants Halifax to exploring installing a type of transit system many other cities around the world use. Global’s Steve Silva reports.

 A group is pushing for consideration to be given to potentially starting up a light-rail transit (LRT) system in Halifax to make public transit more efficient and tackle the challenges of a growing municipality.

“We need to start looking outside the box at alternatives,” said Ben Macleod, one of the creators of the Halifax Light Rail Alliance, said on Thursday.

The group is proposing a transit line that stretches from Sackville and looping on the Halifax peninsula to Clayton Park, using rails that already exist and others that would need to be created.

Future extensions could connect to Dartmouth, Spryfield, and other communities.

Macleod said he has presented the plan to two municipal politicians.

He noted that the federal government is helping fund other LRT projects in Canada.

Dalhousie University transportation professor Ahsan Habib said that the plan has merit.

“LRT will give this physical identity that this transit will run well connecting communities, so it will probably give a boost to transit-oriented development, more density,” he said.

Habib said that LRT is the preferable transit option because it is relatively cheaper and easier to expand compared to commuter rail.

Commuter rail in the works

Bedford – Wentworth Councillor Tim Outhit has been pushing to bring a commuter rail option using existing infrastructure.

He said he’s hoping to get it started within a couple of years for around $30 to $50 million, not including operating costs.

Although Outhit said he shares the vision of the group, he says it is “premature” to discuss LRT at the moment.

“We have to walk before we run,” he said.

Macleod said even though the group’s proposal would be years away before taking detailed shape the municipal government needs to plan ahead. He said preserving a portion of the redeveloped Cogswell Interchange lands for a future light rail service would be an example.

Is The Car Winning The Commuter War?

Another news story which tends to confirm Zweis observation that; “despite a now over $11 billion investment in rapid transit, congestion is getting worse.”

The article doesn’t touch on the real problem, which is the user-unfriendly SkyTrain light-metro system. It also continues the myth that the Canada line is successful, despite the fact its station platform’s are a mere 40 metre long, half the length of the Expo and Millennium/Evergreen line’s station platforms and can only operate two car, 41 metre long trains. The Canada Line has effectively half the capacity of the rest of the light-metro system.

Of course the Canada line trains are crowded, all Richmond and South Delta/Surrey buses are forced to transfer their customers onto the Canada line at Brighouse Station and transfers are deemed user-unfriendly.

Also no mention of the huge debt servicing; operation and maintenance costs of the light-metro lines which today is over $300 million annually!

The Canada Line is a classic transit white elephant.

But he feels like he doesn’t have a choice. First, TransLink eliminated the B-line bus along Granville when the Canada Line opened and transformed his 10-minute commute to Richmond into a 40-minute, two-transfer one.

TransLink doesn’t have a income problem, rather it has a spending problem, spending huge sums of money on very expensive vanity projects.

Mobility pricing, the great philosopher’s stone for regional transit is also showcased, but for mobility pricing to work, the region must have a viable user friendly transit service. The metro Vancouver region doesn’t and mobility pricing will be the political demise of any politician advocating for it.

The key for better transit in Metro Vancouver is modern LRT and until regional planners and politicians show some maturity and begin to plan for a customer based transit system, spending money on transit will be a fool’s errand.

The only thing that will defeat the car as a commuting tool is a user friendly public transit system, which includes a large light rail network, servicing the needs of the commuting public.

I just do not see it happening.

Why the car is winning the commuter war—and what can be done to stop it

Billions have been spent on new transit lines, better bike lanes and more walkable communities…and yet we refuse to give up our wheels. And nowhere is that more true than in the suburbs of the Lower Mainland

Clayton Chmelik and his wife were poster children for the car-shunning millennial generation for most of their 20s. They lived in south Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood and both took buses almost everywhere—first to university, then to their practicums and jobs. They didn’t own a car and didn’t feel deprived.

Now 33, Chmelik, a health manager at a Richmond company, has two cars in his family. He commutes 40 minutes a day each way in his Mazda 3 from his townhouse in Surrey, while his wife has her own car, a Mazda 5, that she’ll be using to commute to her counselling job when her maternity leave for their second child ends later this year. He estimates it costs them at least $700 a month to run both vehicles, not counting the $10,000 apiece the cars cost to buy. He knows it’s a lot. “If I had a choice, I wouldn’t do it.”

But he feels like he doesn’t have a choice. First, TransLink eliminated the B-line bus along Granville when the Canada Line opened and transformed his 10-minute commute to Richmond into a 40-minute, two-transfer one. Then, when he and his wife decided to buy a home, a modest townhouse in South Surrey was all they could afford. That new location made transit even more unrealistic.

Chmelik is not an outlier. As the people born between 1980 and 2000 move into their household-forming, baby-having years, those who study how cities work are floating the idea that North America may have reached “peak millennial.” American demographer Dowell Myers has generated a little dust storm of media coverage the last few months with that very idea, warning that the members of this group—renowned for their love of urban living, craft breweries and alternative modes of transport—may undergo a significant shift in behaviour as they get older.

For the rest of the story, please click here

Mayor Lois Flies With Sparkle Ponies

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson is a strong supporter of former BC Liberal Premier Christi Clark and sees the proposed ten lane bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel as her personal legacy project when she retires from politics next year.

Hijacking the Leewood/Rail for the Valley TramTrain plan for her own personal politics only shows how desperate she it.

Rail for the Valley rejects Lois Jackson LRT into Delta plan via the proposed bridge as it just doesn’t make sense.

As for the mayors Council, well it is all sparkle ponies and pixie dust as the regional mayors wait with baited breath for money from the new NDP government to fund their vanity projects, which will do little to reduce congestion because they were never planned to, rather they are planned to enrich developers and speculators, who use transit to inflate properties that they assembled along the proposed transit routes.

As always transit is planned to move money and not people.

Mayors’ Council puts brakes on Delta mayor’s proposed Richmond-Chilliwack LRT

An idea to link Richmond to Chilliwack with a light rail transit (LRT) line won’t be getting rolling anytime soon.

The Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council brushed the idea aside Thursday, after it was brought forward by Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.

The plan would have seen one of the 10 lanes of the proposed Massey Tunnel replacement bridge reserved for a future LRT line running from the Richmond-Brighouse Canada Line station through Delta, South Surrey, Langley and terminating in Chilliwack.

Jackson’s motion proposed a preliminary study of the line be added to year five of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-year transit and transportation plan.

But New West mayor Jonathan Cote said the idea was voted down because Thursday’s council meeting was the wrong time to introduce the proposal.

“I think it’s a valid point that Mayor Jackson put forward, but to have that jump the queue in front of all the other discussions that we need to have done in the region I think it needs to be done holistically.”

The proposal was instead referred forward as a possible update to the regional transportation plan, to be considered at some point within the next year.

Jackson, who was denied the opportunity to speak at the meeting, said the Mayors’ Council was stacked against her and accused it of refusing to take her idea seriously.

“You know I’m not part of the boys club, let’s put it that way and whatever I seem to be saying is falling on total deaf ears.”

READ MORE: Delta wants work to continue on bridge replacement for Massey Tunnel

Cote dismissed that accusation.

“I don’t think the fact that it’s been deferred means the idea isn’t worthy of consideration or taken seriously, it’s about how do we actually find the right home for that discussion so that the region can be able to analyze that properly?”

The future of a proposed new $3.5 billion Massey Bridge has come into question with the election of a BC NDP government.

The NDP has suggested that twinning the tunnel could be a better option, and aside from Jackson, the region’s mayors are united in their opposition to a new bridge for the crossing.

Preparatory construction on the proposed bridge began earlier this spring.

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