Sorry to resurrect a year-old thread, but I think this fits:
*click to enlarge*
Line – Red: Mixed with Traffic (with signal priority), Blue: Right-of-Way, Orange: Mixed with pedestrian traffic
Stations – Green: Park-and-Ride, Bold: Interior shelter or station (heated, cooled)
Coloured circles - 500 metre radius around the stations.
I explain the whole thing on my blog, OnUrbanism.Wordpress.com
, but here's the outline:
This is my proposition for a tramway line from Aylmer to Ottawa. There are five elements in particular I’d like to explain:
The Tracks and the Trains
The Station types
The Bank st. Bridge
1. The Tracks and the Trains
Installing Tramway tracks has traditionally been a costly business – you have to first dig up the entire street, displace the sewers and pipes and wires, place a foundation, put the long rails on and then repave the street. However, a new type of tramway tracks, LR55, by integrating just the grooved part of the rail into concrete foundations which can be laid in the pavement of the street, removes the need to displace underground utilities which eliminates the need to dig up the street to save a lot of money, time and grief. At an installation rate of about 200 m per day (16h), the entire 16 km of track could be laid in three months, whereas traditional track-laying techniques would require more than a year and a half. That’s a lot of labour costs saved and much less disruption for the businesses along the affected streets.
A comparison: Whereas the LR55 track only keeps the rail that the train will run on, traditional tramway tracks have the whole rail which requires foundations under it to displace utilities and requiring to dig up the entire street instead of just the pavement.
The model of train is a detail to me, but one thing is important – low floor trams. Not only do they provide better accessibility for people with strollers or restricted mobility, but it just looks a hell’a’va lot better on a street when you don’t see the entire propulsion system of the train and it makes stations a lot easier to build when the only have to be 25cm from the ground.
2. The Station Types
As far as tram/LRT stations go, there are two big categories: at-grade and grade-separated. In my proposal, all but the Maison du Citoyen stations would be at-grade. The previously mentioned stop would be on the beginning of the bridge and would be placed about a storey above Laurier. But I digress.
The at-grade category has three types: centre platform, side platform or ‘other’. The centre platform stations have the benefit of being smaller and cheaper as well as being an efficient type for stations that have an almost uni-directional flow (like the Cormier or Des Allumettières stations). However, they’re ill-advised for busy stations in busy areas since you often need to have people cross the tracks to get to the centre platform which leads to a risk of someone being in the path of a train when there’s a lot going on (don’t worry though – when coming in to a station, trains are never going fast enough to seriously injure). I’d recommend centre-platform stations for the ROW stations that don’t have large numbers of people getting on or off like at UQO.
Side-platform stations are handy on the street since the stations can be permeable (people can pass through like a bus stop on a sidewalk) and therefore take up less dedicated space. It can also handle more people getting on and off quickly if the sidewalks are wide (like on Sparks st or Rideau). However, you need to put infrastructure (shelters, maps, benches…) on both sides, which costs a bit more. I’d recommend side-platform stations for the busiest stops as well as the stops in shared traffic areas like Downtown or in Aylmer.
Some features that a successful system would require in the stations are maps, ‘Next Train’ screens, Shelters designed with the surroundings for passive heating and cooling in addition to closed and heated/cooled shelters at some of the stops and lots of places to sit.
3. The RoW
A lot of the proposed route is RoW (i.e separate), not because I don’t want the trams to interfere with traffic, but I don’t want traffic to interfere with the trams. in the shared traffic areas, there’s relatively little vehicular traffic, so the tram can comfortably run. But the root cause of traffic is a too great number of vehicles, and not even prioritized signals could guarantee the trams a comfortable ride on Chemin d’Aylmer. That’s also why I don’t want to run the line along Alexandre-Taché: not only is there too much traffic, but there’s too little space for ROW, let alone stations. Instead, I’d want it to run along the former Aylmer railway from Val-Tétreau to Terraces de la Chaudière (much of that railroad still exists) behind the Université de Québec en Outaouais (UQO). The other ROW area, on Des Allumettières is ROW just because there’s plenty of space in the median. No other reason, really.
The ROW I propose along Chemin d’Aylmer would take up two lanes of traffic (leaving enough space for a Bike/Pedestrian multi-usage path (MUP) along the line). Now I know that many people might be scratching their heads wondering how on earth removing lanes of traffic can possibly relieve it from congestion, but, as stated in part I, the maximum capacity of a tramway track in one direction is eight times greater than that of a highway lane, let alone a lane of a road. I propose removing what are currently the Aylmer-bound traffic lanes and turning the two remaining lanes into a two-way road like Chemin d’Aylmer was for so many years. Since tramway lanes take up less space than that needed for a car lane, the extra space can be devoted to a MUP, something currently missing from the corridor and in high demand from cycling commuters tired of having to make a 3-km detour to get to work on their own two wheels. Landscaping can also play an important role in returning Chemin d’Aylmer back to the pastural image the city seems so keen on promoting with faux-stone on every neighbouring building (it ain’t pretty). The reason I recommend the Aylmer-bound lanes is because there’s a good deal of traffic from both directions towards the Champlain Bridge (southbound) and, in the spirit of wanting to assure a rapid ride and freedom from traffic, I think it’d be best to have it bypass that intersection to the north. It’s either that or an overpass or underpass, two rather expensive things that would be very restricted by the NCC which owns the adjacent lands. The only major level crossings in the path would be Wilfred-Lavigne, Vanier and Saint-Raymond, all of which could simply be fitted out with priority signals and/or crossing arms so the trains wouldn’t even need to slow down. The tracks would also have to cross Alexandre Taché at the western edge of Val-Tétreau and again to cross towards the Terraces de la Chaudière, so traffic lights or a traditional Railroad crossing there too.
A little note on the intersections: for the RoW areas, since the trains will be going faster, I’d recommend crossing arms when trams pass. For the shared areas, I think that small mounted lights would be enough such as this one in Manchester.
Driveways, and there are about 15 of them, pose a bigger challenge. They should be rerouted if possible and perhaps the MUP could double as a ‘front alleyway’ to eliminate the need for driveways to cross the tracks. If they do, they should also have small mounted warning lights installed. But alas, an issue to resolve.
4. Bank Street Bridge
The new bridge is important because it lets the line serve both downtown Hull and Ottawa directly. The only alternatives are the Prince-or-Wales RR bridge completely outside of both downtowns, the Alexandra Bridge, which would be very difficult to direct downtown because of both the NCC and the American Embassy. Alternatively, there could be a tunnel, but it would have to be very deep and, more importantly, very expensive. Plus, the bridge would definitively have to also incorporate bicycle and pedestrian paths, greatly improving the woefully deficient pedestrian integration of the two downtowns. To reduce costs and to make it more pleasant for other forms of transportation, I recommend not having any automobile traffic, though perhaps buses could pass along with the tramway.
The bridge would begin at the top of the Hôtel-de-ville street in Gatineau before it slopes down towards Laurier. The bridge is almost completely flat, passing beside the raised plaza at the Gatineau City Hall, over Laurier and would end just before Bank st. and Wellington. The Krüger factory, which is set to be demolished anyway, would have to be removed. There are two notable features of the bridge: the pedestrian accesses from Laurier and the Gatineau riverfront as well as the Maison-Du-Citoyen station: the station would serve City Hall and the Museum of Civilization (Harper can call it what he likes, but it’ll always be the Museum of Civilization to me!) and would be located on the bridge just after the Laurier overpass towards the river. It would be the only elevated station on the whole line and you may as well make it special: have it covered and interior and put a big emphasis on the views of downtown which you can get from there (it’s quite breathtaking). It has to be able to accommodate a lot of people and a high frequency of trains since I see a whole network of these trams throughout Gatineau and I’d expect most lines would pass through that station at frequencies as high as a tram a minute per direction for all lines combined).
It will be an exciting design opportunity and I suspect this part could be open to international architectural competition for the best design, though the NCC will certainly have something to say about this.
I've made one or two changes to my plan since I made the map, including extending the ROW just past 'Principale' station, getting rid of the Vanier station (for now) and moving the Victor-Beaudry east about 400m.
But I digress.
In another post, I 'calculate' and compare the speed of a tram to that of a bus and a car, but I take it with a wee bit of a grain of salt since I'd imagine there's a lot more to keep in mind than speed, stops and de/acceleration. But it's a ballpark number at worst, I figure.
I’ve got (a) little time right now, so here’s a little math (yuck) on the proposal detailed in the last post.
So, the maximum operating speed of LRT is generally about 80 km/h. I’m an optimist, so let’s roll with that.
Max speed: 80 km/h
The breaking distance and time (which by some bit of randomness is also generally the needed time and space to accelerate), according the the design guidlines of the Edmonton LRT are, respectively, 190m and 18 seconds. Because I’m really not mathamtically-minded, I’m just going to assume that, what with accelerating and decelerating, I’m just going to assume that it takes 18 extra seconds per stop than if the train chugged along at 80kph because even though it’s not going as fast, a decelerating train is still moving forward so just saying 36 seconds would be wrong.
A stop on the New York subway when it first opened was about 15 seconds and I can’t seem to find any other information, so let’s say about 15.
Time per stop: 30 seconds
So every station costs about 30 seconds. In my plan, there are 25 stations, so that makes in total about 13 minutes.
I’ve also divvied up the line into different speeds, ranging from 30-40 km/h to 80, from shared areas to ROW, which makes the entire 17 km system a 17 minutes without stops at 60 km/h on average. Add the stops to it, and it’s about 30 minutes from the very edge of Aylmer to Rideau Centre at an average of 35 km/h. You may think this seems rather slow, but it’s very much on average with full LRT systems.
Dallas (Red Line) 33
Dallas (Blue Line) 30
Denver (Alameda-Littleton) 61
Denver (Downtown-Littleton) 41
Los Angeles (Blue Line) 38
Los Angeles (Green Line) 61
Salt Lake City 38
At 8h30 on a weekday, an STO bus will do the same trip in just under an hour (59 minutes according to the Plani-bus), or at the sluggish speed of 17 km/h, or a leisurely bike ride. However, should there be traffic (there usually is, for the reasons explored in the second post), it can take almost an hour and a half for a 17-kilometre trip, crawling along at 10 km/h, or the speed of a very brisk walk.
Cars, on their part, aren’t much better: though (according to Google Maps) the trip can be as fast as 40 km/h (22 minutes) along Des Allumettières, most trips are done at a sluggish 22 km/h (40 minutes) on a good day. Bad days can see trips over an hour (15 km/h). A tram, however, would run at the same speed at all times except when Principale and Front streets are busy (which is only during festivals, 4 days per year (Saint-Jean (3) and the Santa Claus Parade).
So here’s everything summed up:
Peak.........~40 minutes (22 km/h)......~80 minutes (12 km/h)............. 30 minutes (35 km/h)
Non-Peak.....22 minutes (40 km/h)......59 minutes (17 km/h)............... 30 minutes (35 km/h)
Now doesn’t that look nice? Plus, that’s the entire line. A trip from the Galeries d’Aylmer or Vieux-Aylmer would be about 20 minutes.
That means that taking the tram would save about 2 days from the average government worker’s year (assuming 2 weeks of vacation and 5 days a week) that would have otherwise been spent in traffic. And that’s not even taking into account what can be done on a tram that can’t be done in a car: add WiFi to the cars, and tada! you’re ride is not only faster, it’s productive (if you resist the Facebook siren call…).
And, should you chose to take the car, the roads will be clearer: as we saw in Part I, trams have very high attraction rates even (maybe even especially) from automobile-drivers. And at maximum headway capacity, there could be a train leaving every 5 minutes. Assuming trains of 200 people (the normal capacity for a tram), more than 2400 people could be comfortably transported per hour, per direction. For argument’s sake, we’ll say they’d all drive otherwise and the average car ‘density’ is 5 m of lateral space for every person. That means that the tram could remove a maximum of 12 km of traffic per hour, or roughly the distance between the Galeries d’Aylmer and the Rideau Centre. Whew. But this is entirely theoretic: not all new riders will come from cars and not all automobilists will take the tram. However, it would be logical to deduce that traffic, should you need to take the road, would be much lighter.
I'd be interested in getting some feedback, since I'm half-serious about the idea, especially considering the ideas circulating in the municipal council (rant in my first post
I've always struggled with reality. And I'm pleased to say that I won.
Last edited by Aylmer; Oct 28, 2012 at 8:59 PM.