No Transit Project Is A Project Unto itself, It Is Part Of The Whole

 

As TransLink wheezes along, planning two very expensive rapid transit projects, the Broadway SkyTrain subway under Broadway and the Surrey LRT, both projects are being built to suit a political timetable and not to provide good public transit. Both projects are being planned to be built to both subsidize developers and land speculators in their efforts in building massive multi story condominiums and to appease car users, by not taking away road space and or building new roads.

The question must be asked; “Why spend over $6.2 billion (that’s right, read on!) on two transit projects that will not reduce road congestion and may force more transit users into cars!

Subways, by there very nature are expensive to build, maintain and operate. So expensive that they are only built on transit routes with large traffic flows which demand both long trains and long station platforms to accommodate them.
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Despite claims of high ridership on Broadway, it doesn’t equate to the present traffic flows that are present today. B-Line bus service, only has a mere 20 articulated buses per hour in the peak giving a capacity of under 2,500 pphpd; with the trolley bus service added, traffic flows on Broadway are less than 4,000 pphpd.
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The minimum traffic flow recommended for a subway is 15,000 pphpd, which means the subway will be heavily subsidized, with money cannibalized from the rest of the transit system.
Subways also do not attract ridership and by their nature being user unfriendly, do not reduce congestion, in fact subways may increase congestion!
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The cost of the proposed Broadway subway has now passed $3 billion (based on Toronto’s recent subway construction costs) and may approach $4 billion.
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For $4 billion, we could build the Vancouver/Richmond to Chilliwack TramTrain; a road/rail bridge replacing the Patullo Bridge; and a Surrey Centre to Whiterock LRT, which would attract new ridership and help ease congestion.
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The Regional Connector Transit Project is a long time missing link in LA’s LRT network. It will join the Blue, Gold and Expo LRT Lines together, all running through to LA’s Union Station, as well as giving a direct connection to the Red/Purple Subway Line and the area’s Commuter Rail Network called Metrolink.
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The cost of this 1.9 mile (3.04 KM) LRT tunnel I imagine, is what has always kept it from being built. The total cost of this project is $1.756 Billion (US). The tunnel will have 2 new obviously underground intermediate stations and has a direct connection to existing underground 7th ST/Metro Center LRT station on the Blue Line and a relocated underground, Little Tokyo/Arts District Station on the Gold Line. The existing Little Tokyo/Arts District Station is a surface LRT station. The project is being paid for by the 1 cent area sales tax and matching funding from the State of California and the FTA (Federal transit Administration) of the federal US government. This tunnel will see 88,000 riders a day passing through it 20,000 will be new to transit. The tunnel is already under construction and is set to open in early 2021.
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The subway will prove to be very expensive to operate and maintain and in my humble opinion, not worth the money for 20,000 new transit riders, if they materialize at all, but in the United States, grossly overbuilt transit lines are the flavour of the past two decades.
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That’s $924.2 Million/Mile (USD) or $577.6 Million/KM (US) or $780.5 Million/KM (CAN). Ottawa’s LRT Tunnel is cheap in comparison at $286 Million/KM (CAN).
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I have a link to LA’s Rapid Transit Map and a link to the Project’s Information Sheet.
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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/Los_Angeles_County_Metro_Rail_and_Metro_Liner_map.svg
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The Surrey LRT is just being planned as a not so cheap “poor man’s” SkyTrain, taking all the ills that comes with the light-metro but forgetting all the positives of modern LRT. As a long time supporter of LRT, I am appalled at what TransLink has done with Surrey’s LRT!
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A reminder that the Canada line was built on the cheap by the former Liberal government, due to spiraling subway construction costs. The Canada line has puny 40m long station platforms and can only operate 41 metre long trains, thus as built, the Canada Line has slightly more than one half the Capacity of the Expo and Millennium/Evergreen lines, which stations have 80m long platforms or longer. The cost today to increase the Capacity of the Canada line to match that of the E&M/E Lines is now about $1.5 billion!

Comments

2 Responses to “No Transit Project Is A Project Unto itself, It Is Part Of The Whole”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Ottawa’s Stage 2 LRT program will cost $3.6 Billion but will provide 38km of service.

  2. Haveacow says:

    Keep in mind that, although the tunnel or “Regional Connector” is expensive it will make possible many other projects. The Los Angeles LRT system is hardly under strain from over patronage, this is a crucial missing link that, will provide the ability to create a much longer and more elaborate functioning network of LRT lines. Which is something that a very large, multi-polar urban area like the LA Basin needs for its urban rapid transit system to be able to properly serve it’s residents.

    Expensive yes, but needed if the LRT network wants to grow. You are right 20000 new riders is an excellent reason to not build. My main problem with this project was the adding of a below grade station complex that is almost doubled the final cost. This new station was the primary concern of me and a large group of local citizens. A crucial missing operational link is put in jeopardy because a spiffy new station has been proposed instead of a good basic one, at a much lower cost.

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