Vancouver Take Note – Trams In, Cars Out In Sydney, Australia Transport Planning!

Here isA�a news itemA�that should give the City of Vancouver planners and engineers something to think about, make cars defer to trams.

In Vancouver, the hierarchy for transportation is bicycles first, cars second and public transit third. It’s OK to close a city street for cyclists, but its not OK to close a city street for light rail.

In Sydney Australia with a population of 4.5 million, they are providing car drivers with a viable light rail alternative, that links major transit destinations including the central business district, while in Vancouver, providing an affordable transit alternative to major destinations is seen as heresy as transit is built solely to promote high density construction.

This gets Zwei wondering; “Who owns the properties adjacent to proposed SkyTrain subway stations?”

Could it be friends of government and TransLink?

From ABC News – Australia.

Trams in, cars out in Sydney CBD transport plan

The New South Wales Government has unveiled its final transport master plan, which confirms it will build a light rail line through Sydney’s central business district and ban cars from much of George Street.

A 12 kilometre tram line will link Circular Quay and Central Railway Station to the Sydney Cricket Ground, Randwick Racecourse and the University of New South Wales.

Private cars will be banned from about 40 per cent of George Street, between Bathurst Street and Hunter Street.

The CBD’s bus network will also be redesigned to reduce congestion.

The light rail plan is at odds with the 20-year vision for the state outlined in a report from Infrastructure NSW that was released in October.

The advisory body recommended against reintroducing trams to inner Sydney, instead suggesting bus tunnels beneath George Street to serve the CBD.

The Government says it will support 59 of the 70 recommendations included in the Infrastructure NSW report.

Of the 11 recommendations that are being ignored is advice to preserve land around Badgerys Creek to build a second Sydney airport, and to put off building a second harbour rail crossing.

Premier Barry O’Farrell says the Government expects to invest $300 billion into infrastructure over the next two decades, but some Commonwealth funding will also be needed.

Glenn Byres from the Property Council of Australia says owners of commercial, residential and retail buildings in central Sydney are happy with the light rail plan.

“We think it’s got a great opportunity to overhaul the amenity and urban domain of George Street,” he said.

“Of course the disruption that will be caused during construction will have to be managed sensibly and sensitively, but we think on balance this is a good long-term decision for the future of the city.”

But Opposition Leader John Robertson says it is another plan with no details on how it will be funded.

“New South Wales taxpayers have a right to know how each of these projects is going to be paid for,” Mr Robertson said.

“Are we going to see increased fares for commuters travelling from western Sydney or the central coast to pay for a light rail project in the eastern suburbs?”


6 Responses to “Vancouver Take Note – Trams In, Cars Out In Sydney, Australia Transport Planning!”
  1. Richard says:

    I would not get too excited. The $1.6 billion 12km tram only carries a max of 9,000pphpd. The plan also includes lots of other rail and roads. The tram seems to be more of a plan to get buses off the road than people out of their cars thus the huge expenditures on roads.

    Zweisystem replies: Again you are wrong Richard, any LRT/tram line has the potential to carry 20,000 pphpd or more, your mistake is assuming that the starting capacity offered is maximum capacity. Purchasing and operating more cars, increases capacity. Why buy more cars than what is needed?

  2. Richard says:

    Well, here is the link:

    There is not enough details to know whether that is the maximum capacity or not.

    In general though, most surface trams can’t carry reliablely 20,000pphpd. Sure, if they get really lucky on some systems, they might be able to do that every once and a while but there are so many variables in surface operations, it would be hard to move that many people day in and day out reliablely, safely and quickly on the large majority of surface trams.

    This is a lot of people that have to get in and out of the trams and safely cross the tracks. The trams would have to run very slowly meaning that a large number of trams and space to store them would be required.

    Even Ottawa’s $2.1 billion LRT with 3 underground stations with 120 m platforms, the ultimate capacity is only 24,000pphpd. The surface option they rejected only had about half that capacity.

    Zweisystem replies: Richard, are you being deliberately obtuse or just plain…………….. Any dual tracked LRT/tram line can carry over 20,000 pphpd and it is a given. Any knowledgeable tram planner would know. Of course, in Sydney, they are not going to carry 20,000 pphpd and will have only enough trams to maintain 9,000 pphpd. In the future, if demand rises, extra capacity can be obtained by buying new trams or lengthen the present fleet. In Ottawa, the original Siemens plan could have had the potential of 20,000 pphpd, but today, to justify a subway, the claim is made that only half the capacity is obtainable with a surface option. The same bit of BS is being played out for Broadway. By the way Richard, there is a slip of logic with your claims in Ottawa, as a good part of the line operates at grade and if they can obtain 24,000 pphpd in the subway, they can also on the surface section. It seems when planning for transit in Vancouver, professional misconduct is front and centre.

  3. zweisystem says:

    Funny though Richard, for all the hype and hoopla about SkyTrain, no one seems to build with it anymore.

  4. zweisystem says:

    The following is a post to the LRPPro blog regarding capacity on a tramway in central London (UK). 210 trams per hour per direction. max. capacity about 100 per tram, gives a maximum capacity of 21,000 pphpd! And this was pre war!

    Many years ago – probably about 1933-1939, the then London Passenger Transport Board opined that its Victoria Embankment tramway could carry 210 trams per hour per direction, but was at the time operating under that capacity. Reserved track, no traffic lights, only one junction (into the Kingsway Subway) and no road crossings until the trams reached either the southern end of Westminster Bridge or the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge, where they regained the centre of the road.

    Open platforms at the rear of the trams, no doors, conductors collecting fares so no delays there, and in the peak hours when most trams would be running the loading was largely either on or off only.

    For info, westbound pm routes at Westminster Bridge were:

    4 Wimbledon via Clapham

    4A Streatham via Clapham

    4X Merton via Clapham

    14 Wandworth via Battersea Park Road

    18 Purley via Brixton and Croydon

    18X Norbury via Brixton

    24 Tooting via Streatham

    26 Brentford via Lavender Hill

    26X Blackfriars to Clapham Junction – special journeys extended to Brentford

    31 Wandsworth via Battersea Park Road (Subway tram from Hackney)

    33 West Norwood via Brixton (Subway tram from Manor House)

    35 Forest Hill via Camberwell (Subway tram from Highgate Archway Tavern)

    35A Elephant and Castle (Subway tram from Highbury)

    36 Abbey Wood via Old Kent Road

    40 Abbey Wood via Kennington

    62 Blackwall Tunnel via Forest Hill

    66X Forest Hill via New Cross Gate

    72 Woolwich via Lewisham

    84 Peckham Rye via Camberwell

    Those with X were usually peak hour extras, with A were usually short workings or branches.


  5. I. K. Brunel says:

    It never ceases to amaze me and my colleagues how those advocating for a SkyTrain or light metro for Vancouver, will go to confuse the truth, distort facts and generally lie. In the UK, if the same sort of SkyTrain debate existed, the media would be all over it, yet in Vancouver the newspapers and the local radio stations do not do any research at all and seem to form opinions from the last person they spoke to.

    Proprietary light-metros, like SkyTrain or Val, soon fell out of favour when they were replaced by much cheaper applications of light rail. The logic escapes me, why Vancouver would continue with the proprietary SkyTrain system, when the Canada line was built using a conventional railway. Has anyone told the planning staff in Vancouver that light rail could be built as a subway and provide an equal service at a cheaper cost, while retaining the ability to operate on cheaper ROWs if need be?

    More and more, Vancouver is becoming a DIY example of doing it wrong.


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