Transportation: TransLink dog and pony show selling snake oil

Transportation: TransLink dog and pony show selling snake oil

Langley Advance October 15, 2010

Dear Editor,

I see that TransLink is taking its well-honed dog and pony transit show to Surrey, and I hope residents watch out for the snake-oil that passes as transit planning.

TransLink doesn’t care for modern light rail, and prefers to build with it’s expensive, old standby, the bureaucratic and politically prestigious SkyTrain light-metro system.

To this end, TransLink pulls out all the stops to make LRT seem inferior to SkyTrain, which has worked well with the rubes on the north side of the river. One hopes Surrey folks and politicians can see through TransLink’s hype and hoopla, and see the slick-willies for what they are.

Despite TransLink’s claims that modern LRT can’t carry much more than 10,000 persons per hour per direction, in the real world (beyond the GVRD), modern LRT is defined as mode “that can deal economically with traffic flows of between 2,000 and 20,000 passengers per hour per direction, thus effectively bridging the gap between the maximum flow that can be dealt with using buses and the minimum that justifies a metro.”

LRT, with its inherent high passenger-carrying capacities, combined with economic construction costs, made the SkyTrain metro system obsolete decades ago, but TransLink lives in the world of “Pixie-dust” planning, where facts are contrived to continue building with SkyTrain. Sadly, TransLink’s current transit plans are “fruits of the poisonous tree” and not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Noted American transit specialist, Gerald fox, in a letter to a Victoria (BC) transit group, summed up TransLink’s mania for SkyTrain on the Evergreen line: “It is interesting how TransLink has used this cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding. In the US, all new transit projects that seek federal support are now subjected to scrutiny by a panel of transit peers, selected and monitored by the federal government, to ensure that projects are analyzed honestly, and the taxpayers’ interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US.”

TransLink, embarrassed by the Rail for the Valley/Leewood TramTrain report, is hoping once again to bamboozle Surrey residents with its anti-LRT rhetoric that has worked so well for them in the past.

Malcolm Johnston, Light Rail Committee, Rail for the Valley

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