Originally Posted by RyLucky
(3) Alternative revenue generation. Parking fees city wide.
I think this whole post was pretty spot on, but if ever there were to be a single panacea policy, this would be it. Imagine if for every individual occurence of non-residential parking, that parker would have to pay at least the price of the equivalent transit ticket. I would make a rough guess that there are 500,000 of these per day in Calgary. So while staying rough, let's say 1.5 million in additional revenue per day or about 0.5 billion per year.
But the additional revenue raised here is only just the beginning. Trips that might have been made by better suited modes (based on system costs, as well as what then become lower generalized costs by the trip maker) are actually made by these modes.
With the presumable supplementary affect that parking lots become more redundant, less utililized, therefore less desired and ulimately of lower value, higher value uses would occur, ie: re-development and densification, thereby positively reinforcing and making the trips stated above by non-car modes more attractive and more frequent.
This cycle might seem that it would then negatively affect parking revenues as stated above, but having a subsequent lower demand for road space (therefore less building and maintanence,) as well as increased transit fare revenue would make up revenue shortfalls.
Of course this is the ideal case, but let's not forget that the flipped version of this policy (free parking) is exactly what got us here to begin with. However, this would obviously require unheard of political will and I'm guessing lead to hundreds of property rights issues...
Hence, one more reason why road pricing, regardless of Steven Snell's latest column
(which was decent in my opinion) is an alternative solution, although itself a "second best solution."
What I think Snell fails to take into account is that providing alternatives to a mode, while still having that mode (the car) being the most attractive in terms of utility maximization fails to bring about much significant mode shift, and this has been seen many times empirically.
Anyway, thus goint back to the SE and NC lines themselves as well as the downtown tunnel and building off some of the previous posts:
While it is granted that the SE industrial area(s) are large trip generators, it is unclear (at least to anyone that doesn't have an OD matrix - which presumably, is all of us,) where the majority of the workers are coming from (their origin.)
Two things are of interest here. The captive riders as was mentioned - essentially those on lower incomes or new to the country without a vehicle, and, well, the non-captives who can simply drive to their destination.
If looking at the non-captive or the potential choice riders first, one has to think, for how many people is an LRT line skirting the industrial areas going to lower their generalized costs? Even assuming perfectly timed transfers to feeder buses, and high frequencies in both directions, it is hard to imagine that anyone living in the entire NW, NE and SW quadrant are going to see a negative reduction in their travel time. Since it is a wealthy city, it is also pretty apparent that travel time reductions need to be substantial anyway to overcome peoples' value of time. Thus, it leaves the SE alone, and even here it is doubtful, that unless one is within a few minutes walk of a station (which is largely not the case in looking at planned stations, and becomes even more so when including Park n Rides,) that they would choose the LRT to get there (the industrial location of their concern.)
I say a few mins walking, because essentially no one in Douglasdale, Macenzie Town or Seton etc, is going to get into their vehicle and drive to a Park n Ride station to then take the LRT, nor are they going to choose to take a feeder bus, trunk (LRT line) and another feeder bus, no matter how well timed they are, and
especially when there is still free parking at their industrial destination
. Take a look at the much touted disaster that is Quarry Park. Who is taking transit there and why would they when they can easily park there.
As for the captive riders. I'm going to make an assumption here, and it may be a little off or can (should) be contested, but the NE region of the city contains the highest proportion of this population. Let's, for arguements sake say that this isn't the case, and they are evenly distributed within each 4 quadrants. The only quadrant where making use of the LRT network would then make at least a bit of geographical sense, is the NW, as that would be the shortest geographical way of travelling - diametrically through the city center on the NW line and then onwards. This is a possibility, but is made much less attractive by the prospect of the onerous above ground downtown section and then a subsequent transfer, that (as it seems from the current planning of the stations, is pretty much BS in its design) is also not made easy, hence bringing the downtown tunnel project back into the whole equation as well.
The point being that, especially from the NE where this demographic is likely more prevalent, that cross-town (or non-radial) lines would be much more suitable with regards to travel time savings as has been hinted at by Fusili. These could be made attractive by a trunk "BRT" as Calgary likes to call it line, using timed transfers with feeders and for god-sakes, some bus prioritization. Much cheaper and more effective.
Finally, that leaves what seems to be the other area being championed - Seton, but if including it's neighbours as above, the posit here does not change much either. Seeing as how it is unlikely that the industrial areas are going to see much LRT mode share, that leaves the two areas at either end of the line as the other big trip generators. If one part of the objective (as Otacular has pointed out) is to get people out of their cars - these thus being those going from the deep SE to downtown (or perhaps vice-versa), then an LRT would indeed be an attractive option, as if they haven't already been deterred from high parking prices (going back to Value of Time,) then reducing travel time remains the only other option.
I've made the same suggestion before in the NCLRT debate, but then why not a true BRT style bus on Deerfoot? A lane gets set aside (what is Jersey barrier these days - $250/m?) exclusively for buses. Doing some rough calculation again, to replace one lane at saturation capacity (a generous 2000 veh/hr) an maybe an occupancy of 1.2, let's say 2400 people. An articulated bus with a capacity of 100 to make it easy, that gives 24 buses, and a subsequent headway of about 2 mins, whereby not all would start in Seton, but also in Mackenzie or Douglasdale etc. Much, much cheaper to implement, with even lower travel times (due to more direct services) and gets more vehicles off of the road, because reducing one lane gives the added "push" or "stick" that is what is actually needed in most cases as it again, increase generalized costs. I've obviously simplified this a lot, because those kind of headways (not that they would necessarily materialize) would become very interesting downtown. Of course the whole thing takes some more serious political will power as real solutions often do. However, it seems it is felt that waiting 20 - 30 years is a better solution.
I guess to summarize a bit, with the current transportation policy in general, we aren't going to get very far very fast. I would be very vary of the SE line to generate the kind of ridership it needs to justify its existence especially when there might be much cheaper ways of obtaining what seem to be the main objectives. I wouldn't say concretely that the either the NC or SE line should go first, but the NC line has more assuridity, arguably a greater need - for about the last thing you want to do is loose choice riders that get fed up with what might become a congested and crowded bus system, and finally could aid to legitimize further and push the whole LRT network generally into a transit system that is useful outside of commuter hours, and thereby allowing for better justification of future more unassured lines. Nor should the DT tunnel be left out of the equation, for its non-existence is hampering the current network to fully function as a network, almost causing the NW-S and soon NE-W line to act as two radial lines respectively (as opposed to diametrical,) and not being overly conducive to future lines underground lines that would need to interact with the above ground existing ones.
Sorry for the essay.