Housing
September 26, 2018

Why traffic congestion is like the housing market

Traffic congestion on Georgia and Pender last night.  What could we possibly do about it?  Scott de Lange Boom provided a perspective.

Lets assume each car has one person and the congestion extends all the way to the viaducts. That is 1.9 km, lets assume 15 percent of that is intersections. Assuming each car occupies about five metres, each lane would have 323 cars. With five lanes of traffic, that is 1,615 people. An articulated bus can carry 104 people. That is about 16 buses worth of people.

Those 16 buses would occupy one lane for two blocks.

But here’s the thing: it wouldn’t take 16 buses full of passengers who shifted from driving to get the traffic moving – maybe only two or three, depending on the latent demand.

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On the emerging election issue of a subway to UBC, we have a few diverging opinions — within the same big tent. I suppose it’s healthy, but it does seem to be less a matter of opinion and more a matter of missing homework.

Then we have Bowinn Ma, MLA, P. Eng., schooling the twitterverse on transportation’s immutable law of induced demand, and its vicious circle of negative effects on city-building. Ms. Ma is BC NDP North Van-Lonsdale MLA. Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink.

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From bclocalnews:

“There was something about Vancouver’s abomination that stood out. Maybe it was the sad guy in the white shirt. Maybe it was the ugly jersey barrier. Maybe it was just the desolation,” wrote Gersh Kuntzman of Streetsblog.

The Pitt Meadows bus stop nominated as the “sorriest” in North America has won that dubious distinction. In a contest of online voting, the stop along the Lougheed Highway’s westbound lane, just before the Pitt River Bridge, got the most “support.”

The contest was put on by usa.streetsblog.org.

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Nathan Pachal is a councilor in Langley City, and a friend of Price Tags.  HERE, he discusses the business case (105-page PDF) just released by TransLink on the Surrey-Newton-Guilford light rail project.  This SNG-LRT is Phase One, with Fraser Highway to Langley to follow as Phase Two.

Transportation nerd quiz:  what percentage of trips that originate South of the Fraser end there? Write down your answer, then read on. Prepare to be astonished.

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Headline from Global: “Former minister responsible for TransLink still supports LRT …:

Suggested revision:

Former minister whose government imposed a referendum to ensure rapid-transit would never get funded in Metro Vancouver now thinks a ton of money should be spent to get it to his riding.

What percent of voters in Langley opposed funding for Translink?

75 percent.

That was Peter Fassbender’s riding – the BC Liberal minister responsible for Translink at the time.  He’s now running for mayor of the City of Langley.

Before he says anything else, it’s time he apologized for that disastrous referendum (which looks to have resulted in millions more in costs) and acknowledges the political cynicism that rationalized it.

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Just announced – again.  

Major rapid transit projects to ease congestion in Metro Vancouver

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, have announced more than $3 billion in federal and provincial funding for two major rapid transit projects in Metro Vancouver: the Broadway Subway project and the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Light Rail Transit project.

The Broadway Subway project will add 5.7 kilometres and six stations to the line, bringing frequent and reliable SkyTrain access to one of the most congested transit corridors in Metro Vancouver.

The Surrey-Newton-Guildford Light Rail Transit project (LRT) will create the first light-rail transit system in British Columbia. With 11 new stations along 10.5 kilometres of street-level track, the LRT will provide much-needed transit services in underserved areas, connect and revitalize communities, and make it easier to travel across the Lower Mainland.

Quick Facts:

  • The Government of Canada will contribute $1.37 billion to the two projects, the Government of British Columbia will contribute $1.82 billion, and Translink, the City of Vancouver, and the City of Surrey will contribute $1.23 billion.
  • The Broadway Subway will be able to move 5,100 more passengers per hour, per direction than the existing B-Line bus service it will replace, increasing capacity by 250%. It will also be built to accommodate additional future capacity increases.
  • In Surrey, the Light Rail Transit project will take people from one end of the line to the other in approximately 27 minutes. The line will operate within dedicated train-only lanes on the road, allowing the trains to bypass traffic queues, making it an attractive public transit choice.

Announcement here.

A few things to notice:

Note that one of the routes is now called “The Broadway Subway.”

Note the head: Apparently the purpose of transit is to “ease congestion.”  Implicit, of course, is that the congestion is vehicle traffic.  If it was to ease transit congestion, it would say so.  

Further, rapid transit really won’t ease congestion all by itself over time.  Any capacity on the roads that will be freed up, in areas of high growth, will be filled by induced traffic (unless those areas are connected with a frequent transit network too.)  The Broadway Subway may well help the City maintain the level of vehicle trips while growth is accommodated by the so-called alternatives, which will actually provide the majority of trips.  But it will also create more transit passenger congestion on stations elsewhere on the connecting lines.  The next major projects may in fact be ways to add and maximize capacity on the Expo and underbuilt Canada Lines.

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Big things start with people coming together over big ideas. In this case, it’s a set of ideas to foster and increase regional growth through economic integration between Metro Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.

PT has previously covered Cascadia material HERE and HERE.

Your chance to mix, mingle, network and learn is on its way to Vancouver.

2018 Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference

Vancouver (Hyatt Regency Hotel)

Tuesday October 9, 2018
Specialized sessions, Registration, Kick-off reception

Wednesday October 10th, 2018
Main Session

p.s. It’ll cost ya $C 400.

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