If you build it they will come, and if you reach capacity you need to add more capacity. That mantra comes in handy with the overwhelming success of the King Street pilot project in Toronto which does a “vehicular road diet” on cars on the street to facilitate faster streetcar times. As reported in the Toronto Star , researchers from the University of Toronto found that  “during the evening rush hour period of 4 to 7 p.m., the mean travel time for westbound streetcars in the pilot area has been cut by 24 per cent, to 17.3 minutes, from 22.8 minutes before the pilot began. The mean travel time for eastbound streetcars has been reduced by 20 per cent, to 16.4 minutes from 20.6 minutes.”
For an investment of just 1.5 million dollars a reliable and more efficient street car service is now available and has been wildly popular, serving tens of thousands of transit users. Cars are forced to exit right at major intersections  if they enter King Street, and police officers enforced this behaviour by aggressive ticketing cars that did not leave the street. On street parking was removed from the pilot area, and streetcar stops relocated to the far side of intersections for passenger safety, convenience and efficiency.  The streetcar carried 65,000 passengers a day before the pilot project, with 10,000 cars a day hampering streetcar movement.
It’s no surprise that the streetcar’s efficiency is maximized at rush hour when there is little other vehicular traffic on King Street. Toronto’ Transit Commission is evaluating the pilot and will be releasing data on transit service and the car traffic in mid December.


  1. C O V & other municipalities could have done the same along with bus lanes and signal priority They whined about the lack of senior government subway funding instead..

    1. If municipalities had to pay transit operating costs,,,,,,, their road use policies would permit a cost efficient bus system

    1. Granville Transit Mall is often clogged with taxis, delivery vehicles, lost tourists and belligerent motorists bypassing other congested streets.
      There is no apparent enforcement. Ditto the bus/bike lane on Pender.

      1. To be fair, the bus/bike lane on Pender doesn’t even have proper signage. I don’t think it’s enforceable as is. Most of the diamond markers are gone, and the signs are strangely mounted.
        This all goes into the CoV’s traffic department generally having terrible standards for signage, illumination and marking.
        Compare Pender St. to the MoTI signage for the Hwy 99 bus lane. There’s nothing on Pender that says “BUS LANE”, “Only Authorized Vehicles”, “BUS LANE BEGINS”, or “BUS LANE ENDS”. There’s also not really a significant amount of solid lines to show that you’re not supposed to change lanes.

        1. There is a similar lack of enforcement on central broadway. had to double check the signs for the effective hours yesterday afternoon because there were so many cars using the curb lane.

  2. Another obvious decision after years of transit under-funding and excessive construction of high-rises like in Vancouver.

  3. Meanwhile in Vancouver….
    From the Vancouver Streetcar Feas. Study RFP
    * 1st Ave through Olympic Village has a median that was originally
    intended to accommodate a streetcar. Currently there is a strong desire
    for All Ages and Abilities (“AAA”) cycling facilities along this section of
    the route, as per direction in Transportation 2040. Further investigation
    will determine the final design for this section and whether the
    streetcar is in a dedicated right of way or in mixed traffic with
    additional traffic calming to ensure enough transit priority is maintained
    for the streetcar as compared to the dedicated median; and
    * Similarly, the alignment on Quebec Street from 1st Avenue to Pacific
    Boulevard was envisaged to be in a dedicated right of way on the west
    side of the street. As part of the North East False Creek master
    planning, it was determined that the streetcar would run primarily in
    mixed traffic through this section (north of Terminal). Transit priority
    measures need to be considered to finalize the best possible reliability
    and station placements. Through ongoing design of the streets in North
    East False Creek, the intention is to preserve the ability to integrate a
    future streetcar system in mixed traffic. Work on this continues but
    some constraints exist which will need to be addressed in the future.
    Are we chumps or what?

    1. This is why Vision does such a good job of bugging me. There is a parallel “AAA” bike facility 150-200 metres away. A second grade separated facility isn’t needed, and certainly isn’t worthy of sacrifices.
      Why would you sacrifice service speed, cost effectiveness, quality and reliability for both transit and road traffic for less than 5% of transportation trips.
      If the streetcar isn’t projected to have enough people on it to justify good service, then don’t build it. There are dozens of important projects that could use that money. The 50 bus has no capacity problems. It’s not even articulated or frequent.
      If they want to induce ridership, then make it have bloody good service.

      1. well the 50 bus might have no capacity problems because it is such a terrible service. I walk an extra 4 blocks to avoid it because it is so ponderous.

        1. There won”t be much need for route 50 IF Granville island ever ( after 30
          years) gets around to providing stair or elevator access to the bridge.

        2. A low (ped and bike only) bridge is from GV Island is required to Yaletown roundhouse.
          Require sailing boats to lower their masts. Problem solved !
          Granville and Burrard bridges hail from an industrial age 70+ years ago. We need new thinking in line with the 21st century i.e. lower bridges across False Creek.
          Imagine the hail of protests if anyone wanted to build Burrard or Granville bridge today in the current format.

        3. “A low (ped and bike only) bridge is from GV Island is required to Yaletown roundhouse.”
          False Creek at Granville Island is about 150 m wide. Granville Island to Yaletown at Davie St. (Roundhouse) is about 1.2 km. Review the map.
          Do you have a cost estimate to span 1.2 km, and to buy up all the water leases?

    2. The AAA facility 150 metres away is the Seaside Greenway. 1st is the direct connection from the CVG, which went along Great Northern Way then dropped down to 1st. The new 1st Ave section supplements the seawall, so that faster cyclists are not mixing it up on the seawall. That strategy has worked well with Charleson Road, and this is just filling in the gap between Main and Charleson.
      That is from a cycling route perspective. It makes sense to have a protected bike route along here.
      From a streetcar perspective, if they are called streetcars, why can’t they be in the street? I don’t see the City implementing streetcars soon, unless Translink (who actually does do transit) suddenly finds itself with so much funding that this route gets prioritized. I would think there are a lot of other routes that Translink could invest in before this one.

    3. Perhaps the streetcar needs to go on 2nd where it would increase its catchment area slightly and have a better connection to Olympic Village Station. Eliminate street parking so it can have its own r.o.w.
      West of OV Station it could deke back to the existing rail line.

      1. Streetcars are far too slow, clog cross streets and have no place in Vancouver anymore. Think subways or fast priority signalled buses. Look no further to the utter mess in Edmonton with the LRT NAIT extension from downtown.

      2. Why would you put it on Second? We already built the RoW on First. It was set aside solely for this purpose. I haven’t checked van-map, but I’d imagine there’s a distinct lack of utilities under that median.
        Building it on Second would be a slower system with just as many compromises as this aforementioned idea in the RFP. There are a lot of traffic movements that can’t be removed from second. Would you like to block the VPD from turning into their building? How about preventing turns at the Cambie St. bridge?
        Merica, 2nd has never had a subway proposed for it. It would be the opposite of ideal being in landfill and alluvial soil. Mining through that junk would be a lot of money. This isn’t Midtown New York, 2nd and Broadway don’t both need subways.
        All I’m saying is that as a city, it’s a good idea to follow through and build things on set aside routes. It’s like baking half a cake, then deciding you want it to a different recipe. It’s stupid to change your mind with such frequency.
        If we wanted a “AAA” bike path, then Gregor and pals should have made the setback on the road that much bigger when it go redeveloped. Every building on the south side of the street is essentially new. We had plenty of opportunity.

  4. Because a mixed-traffic streetcar is essentially a liability that is not worth building in 2017? I think that was one of the logical things you can infer from the article.
    Building an slow / ineffective system is just as short sighted as building a Starbucks in the middle of the railway RoW at Granville Island. We’d be stuck with this decision for a long time.
    There are easily 2 adjacent parallel corridors which would be used as a CVG extension to Commodore Rd. Either of Walter Hardwick or Althetes Rd. could be turned into 1 way streets and extended on both ends as a 4m wide path through their respective parks.

    1. That’s right. If you’ve ever taken the Portland Streetcar (not the LRT), which is in mixed traffic and stops frequently, you’ll see that walking is a viable free alternative to riding the streetcar. There must be some incentive to ride the streetcar.
      And if you’re then asking – why build it? there are some benefits.
      IF frequent enough, it would be a good feeder to and from a number of SkyTrain Stations (future Arbutus & Broadway Station, Olympic Village Station, Mian St. Science World Station, Waterfront Station and Yaletown Roundhouse Station).
      It would also provide the “last km” link from SkyTrain for several destinations:
      – Granville Island
      – BC Place and Rogers Arena (from the Canada Line side (Yaletown Roundhouse Station))
      – Gastown / Chinatown (from Main St. Science World Station or Waterfront Station)
      – Stanley Park

    2. Extend elevated skytrain to (near ) granville island instead. Then later to (west) downtown. Both canada & expo lines are already close to capacity from broadway

  5. A streetcar is not necessary on the Arbutus Greenway or into downtown. If the cycle path on the AG is sufficiently wide (5-6m) then it will safely and conveniently provide the capacity to move more people more quickly than would a streetcar. I do hope that we don’t focus so much on a possible future streetcar that we hobble the bike path so much as to make it less viable.

    1. That debate is exactly why the City RFP was issued for consulting services on planning for streetcars. Not because of a plan to put one in, but to understand what would be required to futureproof for streetcars, given the immediate demands for space. Arbutus Greenway is one. 1st Ave near Olympic Village is another. Gastown Complete Streets is another. Georgia Gateway West is another. NE False Creek’s new road network is another. All of these projects have considered the potential issues with a potential future streetcar. The RFP is for consulting services to be an umbrella over all of these individual examinations of streetcar space allocations.

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