Hamilton Gets LRT

From our friend in Ottawa, Mr. Haveacow.

Well its official, at a press conference at McMaster University, Hamilton will get a roughly 11km 14 stop LRT line from McMaster University in west .Hamilton to the Queenston Traffic Circle in east Hamilton. There will also be a 1 km short spur line north up James Street to the new West Harbor GO Train Station, which opens in a few weeks. Allowance will also be made to build a high capacity pedestrian access route south 2.5 blocks to the existing Hamilton GO Centre Train and Bus Station (the stunningly gorgeous Art Deco former TH&B/CPR/NYC Hunter Street Railway Station). This is a shorter version of the LRT line known locally as the “B Line” Originally the LRT line would have traveled a further 2.5-3km east, including 3 more stops to the Eastgate Square Mall. The project as approved allows for up to $1 Billion in funding for the LRT line and should start procurement in 2017 and construction in 2019. The original expected cost back in 2007 was $811 Million from McMaster University to Eastgate Square but due to all the time since and the needed connection to the new West Harbor GO Station the costs have obviously gone up. The Lakeshore West GO Train line that will end at the new West Harbor Go Train Station will also be extended to the long planned and much anticipated Centennial Parkway GO Station in Stoney Creek (now part of the new larger City of Hamilton). Construction is planned to start on the station in 2017. The GO train line should be open in 2019 and the LRT line around 2022? The line will be extended east to Eastgate Square Mall after 2022!

 

The line will be very much like Waterloo’s LRT Line in that, it is an all at street level system and will start with single LRV consists and street level 60 metre station platforms. The system will purchase 17-20 LRV’s probably Bombardier Flexity’s to save on costs. It is expected to run at a peak frequency of 3-4 minutes. However, according to all the officials at the press conference there is still a little more detail work to do but, it seems it’s a done deal!

 

Here is the map of the original project and some other graphics, mostly from the Hamilton LRT website. This site and its creator, Ryan McGreal has been the big overall organizer of Hamilton’s citizen LRT effort. He and many others have been banging away longer than you have at this Zwei but, they finally got the job done! You think Vancouver’s PTB’s were anti LRT wow, you should see the forces allied against Ryan’s group however, little by little more and people got involved and little by little more people were convinced that LRT would work in Hamilton.

It should be noted that, Hamilton’s LRT is not just about better transit access but to increase the development in the core of downtown Hamilton. They have had a tough time switching from steel making (they still have 1 plant running) to a knowledge based economy, the LRT line is seen as a great anchor in attracting the young talent that Hamilton needs. To say that, Hamilton has had a seriously acrimonious debate about transit technology (LRT vs. BRT mostly) and or whether they need it at all, is well, understating the point! It has made your LRT vs. Skytrain debate seem gentle in comparison. Real threats, fist fights at public meetings, nasty city hall debates and vicious election campaigns that are right out of 1930’s Chicago, were the norm in Hamilton when transit topics came up in public. But that seems for now to be in the past, maybe.

Sincerely

Calgary S200 – The Evolution High Floor Light Rail Vehicle

Calgary’s light rail can be best described as a 1970′s Belgium inspired ‘pre-metro’, using high floor light rail vehicles, using elaborate stations. 90% of the line was built at-grade on dedicated rights-of-ways, with the downtown section seeing operation mixed with buses.

The initial cost per kilometre of Calgary’s LRT was less than half of Vancouver’s SkyTrain, yet Calgary’s light rail had a higher capacity and attracted more ‘new’ customers to transit. Calgary’s LRT is North America’s most successful new build light rail system, with daily ridership now over 310,000 a day on a 58.7 – 45 station network.

Because of the large ‘pre-metro’ style, high platform stations, Calgary’s transit authorities have decided to stick with high-floor trams, as an economy measure. This has caused some problems with suppliers as the vast majority of trams built today are low-floor and many companies do not wish to invest in high-floor cars as there there is little scope for sales in a small and very tight market.

Siemens has taken up the challenge and now has provided an updated high-floor car for the limited market and the result is the S-200 high-floor LRV.

Siemens is currently building sixty such cars for Calgary, with future orders waiting for the replacing of the original U-2 fleet, which are now operating past their expected lifespan.

 

Calgary S200 – The Evolution High Floor Light Rail Vehicle

The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected

This is an interesting experiment.

More and more, solar power is becoming a realistic option, especially with transit.

This is just an experiment, but the potential of using roads to produce power is vast and in twenty years hence; just imagine……………

 

The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected

by Katie Valentine Posted on

The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected

 

DSC8910_kinderenvanboven2CREDIT: SolaRoad

In its first six months of existence, the world’s first solar road is performing even better than developers thought.

The road, which opened in the Netherlands in November of last year, has produced more than 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy — enough to power a single household for one year, according to Al-Jazeera America.

“If we translate this to an annual yield, we expect more than the 70kwh per square meter per year,” Sten de Wit, a spokesman for the project — dubbed SolaRoad — told Al Jazeera America. “We predicted [this] as an upper limit in the laboratory stage. We can therefore conclude that it was a successful first half year.”

De Wit said in a statement that he didn’t “expect a yield as high as this so quickly.”

The 230-foot stretch of road, which is embedded with solar cells that are protected by two layers of safety glass, is built for bike traffic, a use that reflects the road’s environmentally-friendly message and the cycling-heavy culture of the Netherlands. However, the road could withstand heavier traffic if needed, according to one of the project’s developers.

So far, about 150,000 cyclists have ridden over the road. Arian de Bondt, director of Ooms Civiel, one of the companies working on the project, said that the developers were working on developing solar panels that could withstand large buses and vehicles.

The SolaRoad, which connects the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer, has been seen as a test by its creators — a stretch of bike lane that, if successful, could be used as a model for more roads and bike lanes. The researchers plan to conduct tests of the road over the next approximately two and a half years, to determine how much energy the road produces and how it stands up to bikers. By 2016, the road could be extended to 328 feet.

Though the Netherlands’ solar road seems to be going as planned, solar roads overall typically aren’t as effective at producing energy as solar arrays on a house or in a field. That’s because the panels in solar roads can’t be tilted to face the sun, so they don’t get as much direct sunlight as panels that are able to be tilted. However, solar roads don’t take up vast tracts of land, like some major solar arrays do, and they can be installed in heavily-populated areas.

One couple is set on making solar roads a reality in the U.S. Scott and Julie Brusaw created an Indiegogo campaign last year to help fund their Solar Roadways project, and the campaign raised more than $2.2 million. The U.S. might have to wait a while to see solar roads installed, however. As Vox pointed out last year, cost could be a major barrier for solar road construction in the U.S. And according to a Greentech Media article from last year, one of the biggest things that officials still aren’t sure about with the roads is safety. They want to be sure the roads can stand up to heavy traffic, and that the glass protecting the solar panels won’t break.

“We can’t say that it would be safe for roadway vehicular traffic,” Eric Weaver, a research engineer at the Federal Highway Administration’s research and technology department, told Greentech Media. “Further field-traffic evaluation is needed to determine safety and durability performance.”

Solar Powered Trams For Melbourne?

Something to think about, solar powered trams!

Renewable energy group bids to turn Melbourne’s trams solar

May 18, 2015

Environment editor, The Age

Digital impression of a Melbourne tram as part of a pitch before the state government to power the network with solar energy.

Melbourne’s entire tram network could be powered by solar if the state government gave a bold renewable energy proposal the green light.

While the pitch may conjure up images of trams with rooftop panels on them like the family home, the power would instead be generated at two new solar farms the project proponents plan to build near Swan Hill and Mildura.

The company behind the bid, the Australian Solar Group, have held quiet talks over four years with different arms of the government to try get the project off the ground, but has so far not got final backing.

The two solar farms would generate 80 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, about the same amount used by Melbourne’s tram network, which is the world’s largest.

Under the proposal the government would back the project by signing Public Transport Victoria (PTV) up to a power purchase agreement with the solar farms, creating a reliable revenue source alongside the renewable energy target.

The proponents say the project has been designed to ensure the cost of tram tickets would not rise, nor would it add to PTV’s power bill. It would cut 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year from running trams and give the city an obvious global selling point (see the mock-up tram design above), according to the pitch.

WHO BACKS IT?

The Australia Solar Group was founded by businessmen Adrian Critchlow​ and Dave Holland. Mr Crtichlow previously helped start companies Booking.com and AlertMe,​before successful sales of both. Mr Holland was formerly the head of Solar Systems, a company that was building a large solar project in Mildura before financial collapse in 2009.

Mr Holland said Australia Solar had tried to get almost all elements of the tram project ready to go before it sought final financial backing.

“This project is virtually ready to go. We can’t see any barriers that would stop it from here,” he said.

The tram project has been supported behind the scenes by members of the Melbourne City Council, including Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. Councillor Arron Wood said it ticked many boxes, from contributing significantly towards the city’s renewable energy target to creating employment and training opportunities in rural Victoria.

“Ultimately, whether this project proceeds rests firmly with the Victorian Government. I just hope they take the action necessary to get it done,” Cr Wood said.

A spokeswoman for the Andrews government said: “We are interested in how the project progresses and will continue discussions with the group.”

IS THE PROJECT VIABLE?

Australian Solar says the solar farms would span across 80 hectares and use 130,000 panels to track the sun throughout the day. It has planning and grid connection approvals for its Swan Hill site, with permit processes underway for the second site at Red Cliffs.

Study Supports LRT

Someone should tell the SkyTrain Lobby that no one builds with SkyTrain anymore; even the Canada Line isn’t SkyTrain!

Modern light rail made SkyTrain and light metro obsolete decades ago, yet no seems to read the news in this part of the world, with many people still championing SkyTrain, a transit system that costs more to build; more to operate and more to maintain, than LRT.

So who are you going to believe, Shirocca Consulting, a professional transportation consulting group or Daryl Dela Cruz a teenage college student, with no formal back ground in transit? I’ll place my money on Shirocca Consulting.

Surrey defends LRT plan with economic study

Light rail transit in Surrey might look something like this street-level train in Dublin. - Surrey.ca

Light rail transit in Surrey might look something like this street-level train in Dublin.

— image credit: Surrey.ca

The City of Surrey is trumpeting its case for two light rail transit (LRT) lines with a study that claims the system will generate big economic benefits.

The report’s release is officially aimed at forming part of the business case to secure federal funding for the $2.1-billion project.

But it also comes as city officials seek to quell continued opposition to the choice of ground-level light rail technology over elevated SkyTrain from some critics in Surrey and Langley, and to help ensure the project proceeds even if the Metro Vancouver transit funding referendum is defeated.

The Shirocca Consulting study claims 24,600 direct and indirect jobs would be created in B.C. during construction and $1.4 billion would be paid in wages and salaries.

The provincial government would collect $132 million in taxes and $354 million in tax would flow to the federal government, and still more would accrue over the next 30 years of operations.

Mayor Linda Hepner argues the taxes generated will help offset the capital grants she wants senior governments to make to finance Surrey LRT.

She said it’s the most cost-effective rapid transit option to connect the city’s town centres.

“We can get one and a half to two times as much light rail compared to SkyTrain,” Hepner said. “And it also animates and develops and shapes the community instead of acting as just a simple mode of transportation.”

A Langley Township transportation manager recently cautioned that LRT seems designed to move Surrey residents within the city at the expense of a no-transfer, more reliable and likely faster ride for passengers from Langley through Surrey if the Fraser Highway line is built with SkyTrain instead.

Although the province overruled the original local choice of LRT for the Evergreen Line in favour of SkyTrain, Hepner said she’s confident the province understands the need for LRT in Surrey and noted it has the agreement of the Metro mayors’ council.

“It was chosen under the mayors’ plan as a priority project and agreed regionally that light rail was the way to go in terms of connectability and what we could get.”

The Surrey LRT project proposes a 10.9-kilometre “L-line” linking Guildford, Surrey City Centre and Newton that would open by 2023, and a 17.1-kilometre line from City Centre to Langley City opening by 2028.

Service is assumed to be every five minutes, falling to every three minutes with an expected service upgrade in 2041.

Light rail would have more stations than SkyTrain and be more pedestrian-friendly, offering “both eyes on the street and from the street visibility,” the report said.

“Unlike Rapid Bus or SkyTrain alternatives, the LRT will have a permanent physical presence in their exclusive rights-of-way and yet be at a human scale and have a gentle footprint in keeping with the lower density portions of the line.”

The study argues the light rail lines will be a magnet for other high-tech and health sciences employers, resulting in more jobs springing up along the network.

It notes access to Surrey Memorial Hospital would improve, accelerating the development of that area as a growing health technology centre.

And it predicts increased investment in high-quality residential, commercial and civic development that would increase the tax base and add jobs in both Surrey City Centre and Langley’s town centre.

More households may be able to afford homes in the area, it says, because the line will allow more residents to forego a car.

SkyTrain for Surrey advocate Daryl Dela Cruz said the Shirocca report appears to emphasize economics and development because the actual transit improvement case from LRT is weak.

“Commuters don’t want to know about these vague details – they want to know if they’ll be able to get around easier,” Dela Cruz said.

His group proposes SkyTrain to Langley on Fraser Highway – which would get riders boarding in Langley to Waterfront Station in under an hour – and bus rapid transit instead of light rail on other corridors.

Light rail on King George would be only one minute faster than the existing 96 B-Line express bus to Newton, he said, while 104 Avenue would end up more congested with the loss of a lane of traffic to LRT.

“It would seem that the results have more to do with appeasing developers, business prospects, pro-light rail advocates and other such entities as opposed to transit riders and the actual stakeholders on the proposed lines,” Dela Cruz said.

Tram problems in Toronto

Next time, forget Bombardier and buy from Siemens or Alstom!

TTC’s new streetcars plagued with manufacturing problems

CEO Andy Byford wants customers to know initial cars were slow to hit the street because they were badly built.

A TTC worker changes the track for a new model streetcar at the TTC Hillcrest Complex, where the cars are tested before hitting the street.

Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star Order this photo

A TTC worker changes the track for a new model streetcar at the TTC Hillcrest Complex, where the cars are tested before hitting the street.

By: Transportation reporter, Published on Tue May 12 2015

Laminate that wouldn’t adhere to the parts, and under-frames so badly out of alignment with the walls Bombardier tried to rivet them together: The first vehicles in Toronto’s new $1.2-billion streetcar fleet were so poorly manufactured, the TTC wouldn’t accept them for fear they would break down on bumpy city streets, transit CEO Andy Byford has revealed.

The European design for the streetcar parts simply wasn’t translating to the Mexican manufacturing facility that is supplying parts to the Thunder Bay assembly plant.

“Thunder Bay was finding when they went to attach the under-frame to the sidewalls they weren’t square. You either accept that or try riveting it to create that square alignment. We rejected that. We don’t want it riveted. We want it built properly, because rivets pop,” Byford said.

There should have been about 50 of the new streetcars running on Toronto streets by now, according to the original schedule. But there are only five, with two more expected to come online shortly.

Bombardier spokesperson Marc-André Lefebvre said the company was aware of the manufacturing problems and has been working to fix them.

Video cameras instead of mirrors, air conditioning and touch-screen technology are some of the highlights in the cab of the new streetcars.

“I think Mr. Byford’s comments were obviously on items that we have already discussed with the TTC,” he said. “Those are items in the past that we have already acknowledged.

“We took action to make sure that the vehicles we delivered to Toronto were at the highest quality possible.”

Conscious that customers are eager to see the new fully accessible, air-conditioned cars in service, Byford said he is now pushing to have the manufacturing schedule ramped up, first to two cars a month, then by fall to delivery of one every five days.

There should be 30 cars in Toronto by the end of the year, with the Harbourfront, Spadina and Bathurst lines fully furnished. He is adamant that Bombardier meet its 2019 end-date commitment for delivery of the entire 204-car order.

Lefebvre said the company was on track to meet its delivery targets.

It’s been a tricky balancing act between the desire to get the cars and the need to get them right.

“I’m not striving for absolute perfection, because equally customers want the new vehicles,” said Byford, who plans to visit Thunder Bay with TTC chair Josh Colle in June.

There are still issues with loose screws, wiring and electrical connectors; the latter can only be tested once the streetcars are running on the track.

Bombardier is retooling its Mexican operation and the production line in Thunder Bay is getting new quality-assurance processes that catch problems before they get to Toronto. But Byford said he’s made it plain the TTC is not a happy customer.

A new model streetcar is seen here at the TTC Hillcrest Complex.

Marcus Oleniuk/Toronto Star

A new model streetcar is seen here at the TTC Hillcrest Complex.

“Where a defect is not critical and can be rectified later, we do accept the vehicles. There’s been some panels where the aesthetic appearance isn’t perfect. That’s not going to make the vehicle break down. We’ll allow that, on the written assurance that when there’s enough of them that vehicle will go back and get rectified,” he said.

Byford said he was sharing the extent of the quality assurance issues so that TTC riders would understand why they’ve been waiting so long for new vehicles that were ordered in 2010.

“I wouldn’t want them to think we’re passive here. On the contrary, we are hammering Bombardier,” he said, adding that he speaks to his counterpart there regularly and there are daily meetings between the manufacturer and the TTC.

TTC engineers are already helping Bombardier with the commissioning of the new vehicles. To leave Thunder Bay, the vehicles need a partial acceptance certificate (PAC). It is then shipped by train to the TTC’s Hillcrest complex. TTC engineers then issue a final acceptance certificate (FAC). Until that happens, the TTC doesn’t own the vehicle and no money changes hands.

“We will not FAC and therefore pay for, with Torontonians’ tax dollars — we will not accept a sub-optimum vehicle,” said Byford.

The cars now in service “have proved superbly reliable,” he said. One of the two-stage wheelchair ramps has failed once and a Presto device was out of service for about two hours, but otherwise the vehicles have been problem-free.

The TTC has set a target of 35,000 kilometres between failures for the new cars, compared with about 7,000 kilometres on average between failures on the old fleet.

With files from Eric Andrew-Gee

TransLink dumps planning veterans Tamim Raad and Brian Mills – Adios Surrey’s LRT?

It seems anyone who even breathes light rail in Metro Vancouver is quietly terminated from TransLink.

UBC educated Tamin Raad, was a supporter of light rail and understood the issues surrounding light metro.

TransLink CEO Tom Prenderghast was forced out of TransLink because he dared to challenge the SkyTrain Lobby, by supporting light rail and now, more are being eased out, which means only one thing, whether the plebiscite passes or fails, a Broadway SkyTrain subway will be built and LRT in surrey will probably will not.

***************************

From the Georgia Straight

TransLink pushes out senior transportation planning veterans Tamim Raad and Brian Mills

by Charlie Smith on May 8th, 2015
  • null
  • Transit riders have lost two of their supporters at TransLink with the ouster of Brian Mills and Tamim Raad. Stephen Hui

In the midst of a Lower Mainland transportation plebiscite, TransLink has given walking papers to two transit experts.

 The Georgia Straight has learned that the director of strategic planning and policy, Tamim Raad, and the director of systems planning and research, Brian Mills, are on the way out.

This comes less than three months after the board of directors replaced CEO Ian Jarvis with interim CEO Doug Allen.

The Straight has asked TransLink media relations for a comment. Nobody has responded as of this writing.

Raad and Mills are both UBC graduates and each reported to recently appointed vice president of transportation strategy, Tim Savoie.

Savoie, former director of planning and development services in Port Moody, has extensive experience as a municipal planner. However, he does not have nearly as much experience in dealing with transit as Mills or Raad.

Mills has been involved in this work for 27 years and led TransLink’s long-term vision and strategy document, Transport 2040.

Raad has been with TransLink for 16 years. In February, he told the Georgia Straight that the regional transportation authority’s goal was to create a “frequent-wide transit network” serving 70 percent of the population.

“You head out your door—in Surrey, say—and walk a few blocks,” he explained. “You don’t need a schedule. A bus comes every 15 minutes. Average wait: seven-and-a-half minutes. That’s the plan.”

Last year, Raad told the Vancouver Sun that TransLink “thinks a light rail line from Commercial to UBC is workable”.

The Vision Vancouver–controlled council has adamantly demanded a more expensive subway. This was included in the suite of projects supported by the Mayor’s Council and put before voters in the plebiscite.

Even if the plebiscite passes, the provincial and federal governments will each have to kick in nearly $700 million to build the subway. If it’s constructed, trains would travel underground from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street.

 

 

Understanding the benefits of modern light rail

What is good for New South Wales in Australia, is certainly good for BC.

The benefits of building with light rail and I so wish local politicians take the time and read the following.

ITLS_presentation_5_May_2015_-_McKibbin_-_Light_Rail[1]

The key building with light rail is building it right, serving major transit destinations as well as areas of housing, giving the transit customer a seamless (no transfer) journey. A lesson TransLink has yet to learn.

Metro Madness

In one of the silliest items written in Canada about public transit, The Globe and Mail’s (Mop & Pail) Jeffery Simpson has inked a article about how the taxpayer in the lower mainland should vote YES to build subways because Asia builds them.
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Why then are subways built?
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The answer is simple, subways are built on transit routes when ridership on the route demands long trains and large stations with long platforms that would make surface operation impractical.
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What then are the traffic flows that would demand subway construction?
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There is no firm answer but in the 21st century a transit line with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd would only then be considered for a subway.
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Does Vancouver have a transit line with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd?
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The only transit line that has traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd is the combined Millennium and Expo Line operation sharing the grade separated route from Columbia Station to Waterfront. The Expo Line is at capacity and until stations are enlarged with longer platforms to accommodate longer trains, the capacity of the Expo Line will not increase.
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I would suggest that Mr. Simpson actually read a book on the subject or interview real transit experts before writing such clap-trap. The Vancouver region has had enough of the subway lobby’s nonsense, for building and operating subways on routes without sufficient ridership means that the subways must be heavily subsidized and in the Metro Vancouver region that means transit customers south of the Fraser will suffer for vanity subway projects that are demanded by the City of Vancouver.
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Oh by the way Mr. Simpson, the Canada line operates in a subway in Vancouver, but with pygmy stations with 40 metre platforms, that can only accommodate two car trains, the Canada Line is limited to a capacity of about 7,500 pphpd! In fact, the Canada Line has less capacity than a modern streetcar!

Seoul, South Korea – op-ed: Asia builds subways; lesson for Canada ??

VANCOUVER, Toronto and Montreal still haven’t  settled their subway dreams but an op-ed commentary in The Globe and Mail says Asia, instead of voting on subways, actually builds them:

<http://tinyurl.com/ljlh6tt>
Asia doesn’t vote for subways, it builds them

JEFFREY SIMPSON\SEOUL — The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, May. 02 2015

Citizens of British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, unite! You have nothing to lose but your gridlock! Hemmed between the ocean and the mountains, the Lower Mainland is choking now. The traffic contributes to Greater Vancouverites being Canada’s least happy people, according to a recent survey by Statistics Canada.

Imagine what the region will be like in two decades if voters reject the small sales tax increase proposed in a plebiscite to bring new public transit improvements to the region.

We live in a changed country now where doing things collectively is out-of-favour, replaced by a mixture of contempt for government and “I’m all right, Jack.” So the plebiscite might lose, and transit will fall further behind.

In Greater Toronto, Montreal and a few other Canadian cities, urban transit has to catch up to local needs and international realities. Canadians are now largely an urban people, but we have not adequately financed public transit. The result: urban areas that do not function as they should, and not as they need to against world competition.

We stop, we go. Governments do this project, then wait, then do another some years later. There is little systematic, ongoing, year-over-year capital investment.

In the recent federal budget, for example, the Conservatives pledged $750-million (USD $616.7 million) spread over two years beginning in 2017-2018, with $1-billion-a-year (USD $822.3 milliion) thereafter. This sounds like an eye-popping number, until you think about it, which the Conservatives obviously hope people will not.

A billion-a-year divided among, say, the country’s top six or seven cities – and they will all be hungering and lobbying for their share of the pittance – might build another station or two in this city or that. But compared to the need, and to what competing nations are doing, it’s close to a joke.

The Lower Mainland, even more than the rest of Canada, competes with Asia, especially North Asia. There, subway lines are ubiquitous and cheap, as are urban surface rail lines.

In Seoul, for example, with a population a little more than twice Greater Toronto’s, there are nine subway lines. Nine. The GTA will launch on June 6 an airport link to Pearson; in Seoul, there have been for a long time subway links to the two international airports, Gimpo and Incheon. The same goes for Tokyo: direct train links from the two international airports, Narita and Haneda.

Beijing and Shanghai have magnetic levitation trains whisking people from airports at speeds of up to 420 kilometres an hour (260.9 MPH). Toronto, in other words, is playing catch up. Vancouver, happily, has the Canada Line from the airport to downtown. Montreal has nothing.

The cost in Toronto from Pearson to downtown will be $27.50 (USD $22.62). The cost in Seoul from Gimpo, the airport closest to downtown is $6 (USD $4.93), and from Incheon, further away, $17 (USD $13.98). The cost of subway tickets in central Seoul and Tokyo: $1.20-$2.40 (USD $0.99 to $1.97) for systems that offer far more timely, modern and efficient service than anything in Toronto, or Montreal for that matter.

The key in North Asia is the assumption that urban transit is a public good that must be given priority in funding and planning. These countries don’t engage in the fits and starts of Canadian cities; they plan to improve every year. It happens in authoritarian China, but also in democratic Japan and South Korea.

To wit: there are four extensions under way of existing subways in Seoul. Here, they don’t do it like Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne: Making grandiose promises to improve transit in a surge; or the kind of financially fake promise of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with numbers that sound more muscular than they will be in fact.

You might reply: Yes, but these North Asian cities are gigantic. And indeed they are. Tokyo’s population is about 34 million, Seoul’s about 10 million. But Nagoya, Japan, with a population about the size of Vancouver, has 93 kilometres (57.7 miles) of subway; Nagasaki (population 1.3 million) has five subway lines; Osaka (population 2.6 million) has eight lines across 130 km (80.7 miles). The large cities all have buses everywhere and, in some cases, commuter rail.

Governments here don’t put matters to a plebiscite. They do what governments are supposed to do: they decide. The Chinese don’t care much about Not in My Backyard. Democratic countries have to pay more attention to public opinion. Judging by the public transit in North Asia, people understand that without large and efficient systems, their cities will be less manageable and competitive.

We can only hope the people of Greater Vancouver get the message from North Asia.

Finch Ave. West LRT is a go!

Finch Ave. West LRT is a go!

With thanks from Mr. Haveacow!

In the latest of a flurry of transit infrastructure announcements before and since last week’s launch of Ontario’s 2015 budget, the government of Ontario says it’s finally going to start building a light rail transit line along Finch Avenue West.

At a media event on Humber College’s North campus — the western terminal for the line — Ontario Minister of Transportation Stephen Del Duca and Metrolinx president and chief executive officer Bruce McCuaig declared that “Ontario is working with its agency, Metrolinx, and the City of Toronto to move forward on next steps to building the new…” $1.2 billion line.
The 11-kilometre (6.8-mile) line includes 18 surface stops and one underground station between Humber College and the future Finch West Station on the TTC’s 1 Yonge – University line. The underground station would be at the future subway station, which the TTC is currently building as part of a project to extend the subway to Vaughan. It expects to start construction next spring (2016) and finish the project in 2021.
The Finch Ave. West corridor currently moves 53600 (2013) per day using a total of 44 buses standard and articulated buses at peak. The peak hour passenger volume of 2800 p/h/d is misleading because it is able to maintain peak or near peak passenger loads most of the operating day and well into the late evening . Many of Toronto’s busiest routes do this causing a long term drag on bus resources, hence the need of LRT lines to reduce driver and vehicle operating costs. The LRT line will have 60 metre on street platforms and up to 14, 2 vehicle consists operating at peak. The LRV’s on the Finch West LRT line will be the Bombardier Flexity Swift Model, equipped with standard gauge trucks and will be the same vehicle as the ones which that will be operating on the Eglinton LRT Line. The Eglinton line will use 3 vehicle consists instead of the 2 vehicle LRV’s on Finch. The Flexity Swift is a 5 section (4 articulations) 30 metre long LRV, similar to it’s sister model, the Bombardier Flexity Outlooks operating on Toronto’s legacy Streetcar lines. The Flexity Outlook’s use the non standard TTC streetcar/subway track gauge and can’t be coupled with other LRV’s on most of the streetcar lines because of the very tight on street curves. I have included a line map more information regarding transit projects in Ontario and graphic material.

The Finch West LRT is an 11-kilometre light rail transit line that will run along the surface of Finch Avenue from the new Finch West Subway Station on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension at Keele Street to Humber College.

It will provide rapid transit to neighbourhoods that need it the most; it will travel through two of the City of Toronto’s 13 identified priority neighbourhoods – Jamestown and Jane/Finch.

The Finch West LRT is a $1 billion (2010$) investment from the Ontario government to expand transit in Toronto.

Construction is currently estimated to begin in 2017.

High Capacity

The projected ridership of the Finch West LRT corridor is 2,800 passengers per hour in the peak direction by 2031. The capacity of an LRT is 15,000 passengers per hour per direction. LRT cars can be removed or added easily, thus providing the flexibility to accommodate ridership demands.

Reliable

The Finch West LRT will carry passengers in dedicated right-of-way transit lanes separate from regular traffic, as well as priority signaling at intersections. These two components ensure that the Finch West LRT is reliable and that travel times are more certain.

Convenient

The Finch West LRT will have up to 18 surface stops along Finch Avenue and will have rapid transit connections: Finch West Station to the new Toronto-York subway extension.

Accessible

The Finch West LRT will have multiple entrances and low floors to ensure fast and accessible boarding. In addition, each vehicle will use the PRESTO proof-of-payment system.

Proven Technology

LRT is a proven technology that is used around the world, including cities with variable temperatures such as Edmonton, Calgary and Minneapolis.

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