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 ai???defectai??i?? 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 />
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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 ai???fundamental defectai??? in the necessary paperwork threatens to undo the cityai??i??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 ai??i?? the provincial body that deals with land and development disputes ai??i?? thatai??i??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, BILDai??i??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. Whatai??i??s more, BILDai??i??s lawyers say planning justifications for the subway extension are flawed and ridership numbers exaggerated.

For the full story………..

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One Response to “The Other SkyTrain Saga”
  1. eric chris says:

    “Subway lines correlate strongly with urban sprawl, road congestion and non-affordable housing”

    In Metro Vancouver as in Metro Toronto: subway and s-train lines correlate very strongly with urban sprawl, road congestion and non-affordable housing. In fact, subway lines are synonymous with transport misery in Canadian cities which don’t have 10 million or more people and can’t sustain subway lines. Making the subway line in Vancouver even more perverse is its very limited transit capacity owing to its connection to elevated s-train lines having short stations limiting the practical and intrinsic capacity of the subway line to no more than about 14,000 pph, at best.

    According to the s-train guru at TransLink: “Short trains gave way to longer trains (4 to 6 cars of our first generation vehicle; typically 4 cars of the newer 17-metre “Mark II” vehicles). In addition, service frequency has been further improved, with only a limited increase in line staff. Sustained headways of 108 seconds are now operated on the inner 22km during weekday AM and PM commuter peaks, allowing the system to deliver an average of 14,000 pphpd”

    This implies a service frequency of over two minutes as people have to board and alight the s-train, too. Based on the 14,000 pph intrinsic passenger capacity with 128 seconds taken as the combined headway and dwell times (service frequency) of s-train in Vancouver, each s-train can carry about 498 people on average (14,000 people per 3,600 seconds * 128 seconds = 498 people) which is modest compared to LRT (tram) due to the relatively short 80 metre long (maximum length) s-trains which can be accommodated by the small and elevated s-train stations.

    Going beyond 14,000 pph for the s-train is virtually impossible and this limits the passenger capacity of any subway here to 14,000 pph which is lousy and makes subway lines for s-trains extremely dumb. On the hand, the tram line along Broadway has the potential intrinsic-passenger-capacity of about 24,000 pph making the subway on Broadway ridiculous and untenable for the extra billions of dollars needed to bore the tunnel for the subway.

    I have more to say on intrinsic and extrinsic transit capacities in 2016. As a prelude to the end of TransLink in 2016, the tram line with 25 stops in each direction from Commercial Drive to Arbutus Street over six kilometres in Vancouver has an extrinsic passenger capacity which decimates the extrinsic passenger capacity of the subway from Commercial Drive to Arbutus Street over six kilometres in Vancouver. That is, in real time and at any instant along Broadway, the proposed subway from Commercial Drive to Arbutus Street over six kilometres in Vancouver with five stations spaced 1.5 kilometres apart can only take about 4,980 people off the roads (or pedestrians off the sidewalks) at most: 5 stations * 2 s-trains per station * 498 people per s-train = 4,980 people. This is the extrinsic passenger capacity of the s-train in the concrete tunnel (subway) with two s-trains heading in opposite directions at each s-train station.

    In contrast, the tram line with 25 stops in each direction along Broadway can hold five times the number of people of the s-train at any given instant. Transit systems are like sponges and the more stops that they have, the more people that they can hold to remove drivers from the roads. In other words, the s-train or subway along Broadway is the biggest blunder that the buffoons at TransLink are attempting to make since the inception of TransLink in 1999. Planners at TransLink won’t be making this blunder. They are going down before they do. Academics, engineers and others are working on bringing down the house of cards at TransLink in 2016. Adios dirt-bags at TransLink; your days are numbered and nothing that you do now will prevent your imminent annihilation:

    Most sane people who aren’t ignorant are of the opinion that the tram offers the quickest commute for the median trip distance of five kilometres on public transit in Vancouver (there are dummies, however, who don’t get it). It does not take a genius to realize that spending the extra 10 minutes or less on the tram from Commercial Drive to Arbutus Street over six kilometres in Vancouver to avoid the 15 minute to 20 minute delay riding the feeder diesel bus to the s-train in Vancouver is worth it.

    In short, the tram has much greater intrinsic and extrinsic passenger capacities than the intrinsic and extrinsic passenger capacities of the subway for the low population densities in Canadian cities, including Vancouver. At any instant in time, transit users can only access transit at stops, and the tram having many stops can carry far more passengers than s-train having few stops. In Vancouver, s-train is a disaster, and Gregor Robertson who is too dense to see this has to go if he doesn’t brighten up soon to notice or care.


    TransLink is staffed by unelected and corrupt individuals who are overturning community plans to build their expensive hub to hub transit in defiance to the wishes of businesses and citizens. They are circumventing the democratic process to undermine the transportation planning by the mayors elected in Metro Vancouver and are running roughshod over businesses and citizens who oppose them.

    Before or after he was elected as the mayor in Vancouver, fare evader, Gregor Robertson put on a great show and lamented over the plight of individuals whose lives were ruined and who were trampled upon by the politically or criminally motivated individuals behind the subway along Cambie Street. He called it a travesty of justice.

    Of course, all of this is history now to Gregor Robertson who wants to repeat much of the misery along Cambie Street with his planned subway along Broadway. Gregor Robertson is nothing more than a stooge to his developer friends who want the subway along Broadway to have Broadway rezoned for high rise condos to market in China. Unless Gregor Robertson abandons his ruinous pursuit of the subway to UBC, other shrewd politicians will realize the potential of the tram line to UBC and defeat him by making the tram line to UBC an election issue in the next Vancouver municipal election. There is no money for the subway to UBC and no environmental or financial justification for the subway to UBC. It is a foolish pursuit.

    If urban sprawl and single family housing weren’t exploding in Delta and Surrey from families fleeing the high density development along transit corridors, claims of high density development and hub to hub transit by TransLink making Metro Vancouver sustainable might be true. Unfortunately, the opposite of this is true. Transit corridors and over development along the transit corridors have driven out many middle class families to turn Vancouver into an enclave for the ultra-rich. Middle class families who once lived and worked in Vancouver have been displaced. They have been forced to live in Delta and Surrey for affordable housing and to drive into Vancouver for work. Transit by TransLink has been the impetus for this. Ironically, transit touted by TransLink as the solution to road congestion has increased traffic on the roads and bridges to worsen road congestion.

    Affordable housing has been wiped out along subway and s-train lines. Low density housing has been replaced by high rise condos which have increased the population density and the number of cars on the roads designed for low density housing. Roads along transit corridors with high density housing are not designed for high density housing and are not being upgraded for it. This isn’t the recipe for reduced road congestion and improved quality of life.

    Employees at TransLink are essentially go-betweens for firms using them to embezzle billions of dollars from taxpayers. These firms are building expensive and unnecessary transit infrastructure which isn’t meeting the purported objectives of reductions in road congestion and air pollution.

    Employees at TransLink have awarded firms lucrative contracts for the Compass debacle, s-train lines, subway lines and b-line buses under the pretext of doing so to unclog the roads and bridges or to improve transit is some way. Has anyone taken the time to look at the traffic to and from the Lions Gate Bridge, Oak Street Bridge, Alex Fraser Bridge or Massey Tunnel, recently? How about our road congestion which is the worst in Canada, is anyone awake?

    How many bridges crossing water does Metro Vancouver have, fewer than 10 to 20? “A 2006 study determined that Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, and with its proximity to three major rivers and countless hills and ravines, Pittsburgh is known as The City of Bridges”.

    If the objective of TransLink is to unclog roads and bridges to improve air quality, more spending on hub to hub transit (subway to UBC, especially) relying of diesel buses clogging up the roads and degrading the air quality is misguided. Who is measuring the performance of TransLink and making the necessary changes to meet its stated objectives – cleaner air and less traffic?

    What will work to reduce road congestion from too much traffic? More spending on bridges and road improvements (not more freeways) to unclog the roads and bridges will reduce travel times and road congestion for drivers and transit users. This slashes carbon emissions from vehicles. At the same time, at grade transit (tram or LRT) taking diesel buses clogging the roads, off the roads, will reduce road congestion, improve air quality and cut transit costs.

    Both Gregor Robertson and Gordon Price at SFU have committed fraud repeatedly by continually deceiving gullible individuals with impossible or improbable claims about transit by TransLink (claims contradicting reality). Gordon Price from SFU receiving grants by TransLink for “research” has a conflict of interest, and it is not appropriate for him to comment on anything related to transit by TransLink. I’ll have all of the grants from TransLink to SFU ended.

    Not having transit by TransLink reduces road congestion according to scientific research, engineering calculations and empirical evidence. In 2001 during the transit strike, road congestion improved. Taking all the mostly empty and polluting diesel buses off the roads for transit users to not take transit, reduces traffic snarls. “Although there are likely more cars on the road because of the strike, our members are reporting faster travel times and less-than-usual congestion during the past five weeks in the Lower Mainland, says Landry.”


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