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  #161  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2008, 5:59 PM
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Originally Posted by eduardo88 View Post
The Canada Line doesn't serve the Broadway Corridor, it's a North-South line, which will also add to transit use along the Broadway Corridor. The B-Line is up to capacity, it would be a disaster to leave things the way they are. With regards to density out west, that is slowly changing, I can see that with the extension to UBC, within 10 years of that being complete the entire Broadway/10th corridor should be at the very least mid-density buildings of 4+ stories, with much larger buildings around every station.
Actually the Canada line stops at Broadway around the City Hall area. This could be the new terminus of the B Line, but I'm not exactly sure what the plans are for this line. I think the extension to UBC would be pointless if a UBC Surrey campus is built, that is if they offer much of the same programs. You would not have the strain of the Fraser Valley commuters travelling through the transit network to go to the Vancouver campus. I can assure you that all of these students would rather travel From the Valley to Surrey, rather than all the way to Vancouver.
     
     
  #162  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2008, 6:12 PM
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Originally Posted by nickinacan View Post
Actually the Canada line stops at Broadway around the City Hall area. This could be the new terminus of the B Line, but I'm not exactly sure what the plans are for this line. I think the extension to UBC would be pointless if a UBC Surrey campus is built, that is if they offer much of the same programs. You would not have the strain of the Fraser Valley commuters travelling through the transit network to go to the Vancouver campus. I can assure you that all of these students would rather travel From the Valley to Surrey, rather than all the way to Vancouver.
I know it stops at City Hall, but one stop hardly means it serves the Broadway Corridor. Even if UBC were to open a large campus in Surrey, that doesnt mean that Broadway doesn't need rapid transit. B-Line is just insufficient for future growth!
     
     
  #163  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2008, 6:39 PM
deasine deasine is offline
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Originally Posted by nickinacan View Post
Actually the Canada line stops at Broadway around the City Hall area. This could be the new terminus of the B Line, but I'm not exactly sure what the plans are for this line. I think the extension to UBC would be pointless if a UBC Surrey campus is built, that is if they offer much of the same programs. You would not have the strain of the Fraser Valley commuters travelling through the transit network to go to the Vancouver campus. I can assure you that all of these students would rather travel From the Valley to Surrey, rather than all the way to Vancouver.
As many of us had said earlier, SkyTrain down Broadway is not only serving UBC commuters. Metro Vancouver is giving the Broadway corridor/10th Avenue priority for developments in order to increase density and increase the number of jobs in the area. Current B-Line and #9 bus is not enough to serve the area already, can you imagine what will happen in 2020? That's why there is a need and demand for a SkyTrain. UBC commuters only represent a small fraction of the other commuters of the line.

Again, the UBC satillite will not become a replacement. Don't think we need to state this again.
     
     
  #164  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2008, 7:44 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Burnaby --> UBC
Coquitlam -- > UBC
North Short --> UBC
East Van --> UBC
New West --> UBC
Richmond --> UBC
Lots of places that would go to current UBC over Surrey. (Maybe not New West, depending on where in Surrey)

UBC Surrey would essentially open a market for a flood of NEW students, not existing ones.

Existing students either relocate closer to UBC or live closer. Not many students from Abbotsford or Langley end up going to UBC, unless they move closer. They will go to Kwantlen or UFV for the first year and transfer (probably moving closer)

Just like the Rav line will be used FAR more in Vancouver than Richmond, the UBC Line will be used FAR more for the Broadway corridor than UBC.
     
     
  #165  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 12:27 AM
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OK so I have some problems with this proposed project

1. When is it starting??? I noticed they're doing construction on Highway 1 east of the Port Man Bridge. But according to a sign they're building an interchange. When does construction on the second bridge begin??? Its a huge under taking and I am worried it won't be finished by 2012

2. What are they going to do about the overpasses on Highway 1?? There are several that have no room underneath them to accommodate more lanes.
     
     
  #166  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by northwest2k View Post
OK so I have some problems with this proposed project

1. When is it starting??? I noticed they're doing construction on Highway 1 east of the Port Man Bridge. But according to a sign they're building an interchange. When does construction on the second bridge begin??? Its a huge under taking and I am worried it won't be finished by 2012

2. What are they going to do about the overpasses on Highway 1?? There are several that have no room underneath them to accommodate more lanes.
Not you again...
     
     
  #167  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 12:45 AM
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Not you again...
     
     
  #168  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 6:48 AM
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Deja vu.
     
     
  #169  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 7:30 AM
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  #170  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 7:39 AM
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Port Mann Bridge twinning gets green light
Last Updated: Friday, June 13, 2008 | 12:54 AM ET Comments11Recommended6
CBC News
The four-lane Port Mann Bridge was built in 1964 when the population of Greater Vancouver was just 800,000. The four-lane Port Mann Bridge was built in 1964 when the population of Greater Vancouver was just 800,000. (B.C. government)

The B.C. government has given the go-ahead to the Port Mann Bridge/Highway 1 expansion project.

Environment Minister Barry Penner made the announcement in Vancouver Thursday after the $1.5-billion project passed a provincial environment assessment.

A selection process will begin to choose a construction contractor who will adhere to the environmental management planning put forth in the assessment, Penner said.

"A successful proponent is expected to be chosen this summer, with construction starting in the fall," he said in a release.

The huge project includes constructing a bridge adjacent to the existing Port Mann Bridge and widening Highway 1.
A futuristic view of a twinned Port Mann Bridge that will connect the City of Vancouver and Langley. A futuristic view of a twinned Port Mann Bridge that will connect the City of Vancouver and Langley. (B.C. government)

It also involves upgrading interchanges and improving safety between McGill Street in Vancouver and 216th Street in Langley, a distance of approximately 37 kilometres.

The project is part of the province's $3-billion Gateway Program established in 2003 in response to the impact of growing regional congestion

Opposition transportation critic Maurine Karagianis said building a new bridge and widening the highway is not a long-term solution.

"The reality is that a new bridge will simply be as congested the day it opens as it is today," the NDP MLA said on Thursday.

Environmentalists want the government to invest in public transit, arguing more roads mean more cars and an increase in greenhouse gases.

But Michael McBratney of Get Moving BC, a group that supports twinning the Port Mann Bridge, said it's not realistic to expect transit to solve all the problems.

"I think it's a good news story and it puts us a big step closer to getting the project underway," he said.
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  #171  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 12:28 PM
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Go Falcon Go! Hey, wait a second...

     
     
  #172  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 3:54 PM
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Originally Posted by b5baxter View Post
I am not sure I can agree with that. Metro Vancouver is way behind many other world class cities when it comes to transit.

The modern approach is to not build highways or to actually remove highways.
To a degree. As has been mentioned above, it's nearly impossible to compare Vancouver to European cities. For one, most European cities on the list are about 500-1000 years older than Vancouver. For two, the entire design and layout of Europe is much different than the expanses here in the west. We have a lot more land and a lot more trees for one. For three, the cities are all designed completely different.

Most major cities in Europe have VERY large bypass highways that circle the city. Rome is a good example of one. These highways are typically 3 times the size of Highway 1 through Vancouver and they allow you to circle around the outside of the city without going in. Then they have spokes of transit to get into the city itself.

It's designed much much differently. That and half their transit wouldn't pass for acceptable here in Vancouver. I hear a lot of people bitch and complain about SkyTrain being dirty or run down. Compared to most trains I've been on in Europe in my travels, SkyTrain is like a Veyron and those trains are your VW Bug. If people are bitching here about having to take a Veyron to work, I dunno.

It's easy to point at a city and go "We should be like that that's the best." but quite frankly it doesn't all apply and some people think it does, they should move there. :-P Grass is always greener.
     
     
  #173  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 4:22 PM
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Originally Posted by b5baxter View Post
This isn't technically part of the Gateway program is it? It is part of a separate program which might (subject to funding) be implemented years after the highway expansion project.
They're being done in parallel and it is the transit answer to Gateway. So while you are technically correct, they are tied fairly closely together. Many of the upgrades as part of Gateway will benefit the transit portion. For example rapid bus between Surrey/Langley and Coquitlam is part of the transit plan but requires the expansion of the highway, construction of the twinned bridge, and installation of dedicated rapid transit lanes.

That's the problem sometimes on this forum. You have people that have an opinion on a subject matter but if they take into account the entire scope their opinion suddenly has to modify so instead of doing that, they just cut out the part that counters their argument and then put a rose on it.

Without the expansion of the highway, a major major transit initiative being the rapid bus service to the South of Fraser area is impossible.

Quote:
Given our climate change goals, rising fuel prices, rising asthma rates, etc. it seems to me that the the transit expansion should happen before the highway expansion.
Congestion is also counter climate change goals. Cars and trucks get 0mpg when idling for 1 hour on Highway 1 trying to commute into work. So it can be counter argued (and has been by some more rounded environmental groups) that there is a climate change BENEFIT (omg really?) to expanded highways. And transit shouldn't happen before the highway expansion because the only transit expansion that will happen without highway expansion quite frankly will be in Vancouver and or Burnaby again.

We need something out here.

Quote:
But only 8% of the traffic on the Port Mann is truck traffic. The current bridge has excess capacity for truck traffic. If we give SOV drivers an alternative (transit).
You're not going to remove 8% of the cars from the road due to transit. There are a lot of factors that go into driving one's car to work. I have to pick up my kids after school. I have to drop them off. I have to go pick something up right after work that happens to be in Burnaby. I need to go visit with a client in Richmond. Those are just some reasons why someone may pick to drive to work.

Bus quite honestly works well for people that live in a really high density area and go from point A to point B, every day. A lot of people don't live life that way and since it will be another 50 years before Surrey is anywhere as dense as Vancouver, you won't be getting rid of that element anytime soon.

And let's face it, Vancouver has done more for climate change in just AirCare over the last how many decades, than any other city in North America. When you look at the statistics of that alone, we've got a few brownie points we can spend for a change. Let's also face with the facts that a small industrial town of about 10,000 people in China puts out more pollution in a day than the entirety of Vancouver in a week.

There is such a thing with being environmentally conscious, and there is such a thing as wanting to live in a cave and bang sticks on the ground to make fire.

Quote:
But doesn't the overwhelming evidence suggest that highway expansion will just lead to more congestion?
No because the overwhelming evidence never takes into account the fact that a study zone is increasing in population. They rarely tie those two together and go "Oh well there were 100,000 cars on the road when the population was 1 million, we just expanded the highways and now they are clogged up @ 200,000 cars.... but yet the population is 2 million. Who would have thunk it?"

Which is why you have to take into account total regional population transit ridership percentages. Case and point, our transit ridership is up after building the East-West connector and Alex Fraser bridge. That means those two main road ways didn't have a negative impact on cars on the road. The additional cars on the road are simply a result of natural population growth.

You can't really have 1 without the other is what people seem to always miss.

Let's take New York for example. A city that people always say has a high transit ridership. Density wise and population wise it has Vancouver region beat by about 4 times. You have 8 million people in NYC alone not counting surrounding areas.

So they get say 54% ridership or whatever the number was above.

They have 20 main transit lines just for rail alone. We have 4 lines. (4 x 4times = 16) so we're not too far off for our population density.

Now let's take highways, we have 9 what I would consider major highways (99, 91, 1, King George, Fraser Highway, 176, 17, Lougheed, Barnet). New York has 20. Now 9 x 4 = 36 which is nearly double New York, but we then have to look at capacity of those highways.

Our widest highway right now is Highway 1 with 2 main lanes + 1 commuter lane. The Henry Hudson Parkway alone is 3 lanes either direction. Many highways in New York are at least 3 or more lanes wide, so that 20 highway count suddenly bumps up to 40 or 50 equal of the Lower Mainland's highways.

When you look at road capacity, we are more behind most major cities than we are transit wise. So just New York shows that they have a much more expansive highway system than we do, they have about the equal of transit to us per population capita, and they have a more than double transit ridership than Vancouver.

So I don't buy the argument that we need more transit as a regional #1 exclussive priority ignoring everything else in the process which is always suggested when talking about Gateway. Like you have to do 1 without the other or the stars and moon will explode.

Anyway just my take. I'm not trying to really convince anyone to think differently if they disagree with Gateway, just trying to encourage people to think of the other side of the subject.

I am 100% for Gateway WITH transit additions. I am 100% against ONLY transit or ONLY Gateway.
     
     
  #174  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 6:34 PM
b5baxter b5baxter is offline
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Originally Posted by jhausner View Post
Without the expansion of the highway, a major major transit initiative being the rapid bus service to the South of Fraser area is impossible.
Actually Translink had planned on introducing rapid bus service over the PM in 2007 without highway expansion (just queue jumper lanes). Pressure from the province may have forced them to drop the plan.

There are studies that indicate that it is quite feasible:
http://www.transitlab.ca/index.php?o...d=64&Itemid=60


Quote:
Originally Posted by jhausner View Post
Congestion is also counter climate change goals. Cars and trucks get 0mpg when idling for 1 hour on Highway 1 trying to commute into work. So it can be counter argued (and has been by some more rounded environmental groups) that there is a climate change BENEFIT (omg really?) to expanded highways.
There is no evidence to support this. Highway expansion has never resulted in a decrease in emissions. And with more people using hybrid cars this argument becomes even more ridiculous. Some hybrids can produce zero emissions when idling and moving slower.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhausner View Post
And let's face it, Vancouver has done more for climate change in just AirCare over the last how many decades, than any other city in North America.
AirCare has done ZERO for climate change. AirCare reduces other harmful emissions but does not reduce CO2 the most common green house gas. In fact during the last couple decades average ghg emission from vehicles has increased not decreased.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhausner View Post
There is such a thing with being environmentally conscious, and there is such a thing as wanting to live in a cave...
You are equating advocating for modern high speed electric trains, street cars and trolley buses to living in a cave?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhausner View Post
When you look at road capacity, we are more behind most major cities than we are transit wise.
But those decisions about road capacity were made decades ago. Long before we understood climate change or peak oil. We should not be making decisions about transportation priorities based on old ways of thinking.

How are we going to meet our climate change targets without reducing kms travelled by SOVs? And how are we going to reduce SOV kms when we expand highways?

On the Gateway Program Environment Canada stated that: “A review of the sizeable scientific literature suggests that new highway capacity generally encourages more vehicle kilometres travelled, influences land-use planning, enables car-dependent lifestyles and decisions, and induces traffic for vehicle trips that would otherwise not occur. These factors can contribute a significant volume of traffic beyond business-as-usual growth projections.”
     
     
  #175  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 7:07 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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I agree with a lot of what you said jhaus... but imo you can't compare vcr to nyc in scale.

It doesn't really work like 4x4 = 16... you can't directly compare the two mathematically like that. transit is more than just number of lines, number of lanes.

It's a perception that transit will get you where you want to go and that it's a good alternative.

New York is a completely different beast with a central core of businesses and lines that go everywhere.

Vancouver is not.

Gateway is needed. However, I DO think that Gateway needs to focus more on integrating transit and getting it to the forefront. For example, instead of "allowing" for rail across the Port Mann... why not plan for rail or make efforts to secure a ROW for rail parallel to Hwy #1? (Parallel in function, not in route)

If Gateway really is supposed to unclog the #1 artery from Langley through to Vancouver, complete the circulation system with more concrete plans for people-based transportation too.

Just as the body needs more than one circulation system to survive, so does a city.
     
     
  #176  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 8:47 PM
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Gateway has always been this catch 22 for me. I mean, from a driver's perspective, this expansion is great. But from an urbanista's, transit rider's, and environmentalist's perspective, it's a whole different story.

Ultimately, my opinion comes down to cost and priorities. We should be prioritizing the construction of transit that is quick, comfortable, and convenient, and transit that will attract the choice riders (i.e. trains not buses!).

Spending billions of dollars on highway expansion, especially today knowing what we do about both climate change and peak oil, seems almost backwards. Those billions could be far better spent, not on rapid buses, but on streetcars, LRT, and electric commuter rail. That is a truly progressive policy.

Oh, and saying that highway expansion is good because it enables transit or will reduce congestion (thus reduce GHGs) are quite frankly terrible reasons for Gateway. A transit first policy would also enable the expansion of transit, if built for choice riders it would reduce congestion, and will do far more to reduce our GHGs than "allowing the free flow of cars" will ever do.
     
     
  #177  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2008, 5:52 AM
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I have half/half views on Gateway.
I STRONGLY support the South fraser HWY. It is imperative to get those monster trucks off Surrey/Langley roads and onto a freeway to the DeltaPort. One thing people in Vancouver also forget that much of the truck traffic is heading to the ferries at Twassen. Getting anywhere in the valley {north or south side of the Fraser} to YVR and/or the ferries is a nightmare.
The need for the South Fraser is immediate and as far as I'm concerned it should get first priority. For people coming in from the valley/interior using transit to YVR or the ferries is literally imposible. My concern with it is cutting thru Burn's Bog. I think they should be the hwy and then as soon as it gets under the AlexFraser just join up with River Road and twin/improve it to freeway standards past #99 thru Ladner all the way to the ferries.

Twinning the Port Mann is unfortunatly a must do. The population is growing too fast and a good hwy system is imperative for a city to grow. As far as I'm concerned they should HOV it all the way to Chilliwack. If they coordinate its construction with transit it could be a plus not a negative.

I do not agree with the North Fraser Hwy.

As far as this argument that if you build freeways then it will hurt transit ridership.......that's bullshit. The US is an anomoly in the world. Also poor transit ridership there has more to do with non-existent downtowns , cheap gas, and lack of transit.
Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa all have comprehensive, elaborate and very high capacity highways and Vancouver hardly has a freeway network but they have transit ridership levels that Vancouver can only dream of and probably will never achieve parity.
All European cities have comprhensive freeway systems that would put Vancouver's to shame but very high transit usage.

Vancouver needs an effective transportation system which means transit and roads not one or the other. Emphasis should definatly be put on transit but it alone can not go it alone.
     
     
  #178  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2008, 10:16 AM
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If some of you think European cities lack highway infrastructure then you very mistaken. The highway infrastructure in most European cities would put any Canadian city to shame, and many American cities. Regarding investment, well guess what pretty much all European cities and countries invest allot more in to highways and roads then they do in to transit.
Hell the city that I call my second home is building two city ring roads, and 9 new highways radiating out of the city and all being 3 lanes in each direction. This also includes over 20km of tunnels. At the moment 6 ofthe highways radiating out are partially or fully completed and about 40% of the iner and outer rings roads is complete, this all for a city of 1.2mill, which by the way has probably one of the best transit systems in the world, which is heavily used and is faster then a car for most trips within the city. Yet congestion is huge and business are relocating elsewhere because of it.
You need both road and transit infrastructure, but one thing is for sure...a city can get by with only road infrastructure but it cant with only transit infrastructure.
Also 3bill for Gateway is nothing and is infact a imberesmant on the part of the government because our highway and road infrastructure needs alot more work. Build fix and expand our dam highways and charge a toll, that way the people who can choose alternatives will and those who cant have quality and eficent roads to use and the tolls they pay they pas on to everyone else via wages or business costs. Manufacturing industries and so on that rely on the road network and dont rely on our market can be encourage to move further out of the core to avoid the high costs or recieve some type of toll rebates to keep the region competetive.
     
     
  #179  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2008, 3:02 PM
eduardo88 eduardo88 is offline
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Originally Posted by jhausner View Post
That and half their transit wouldn't pass for acceptable here in Vancouver. I hear a lot of people bitch and complain about SkyTrain being dirty or run down. Compared to most trains I've been on in Europe in my travels, SkyTrain is like a Veyron and those trains are your VW Bug. If people are bitching here about having to take a Veyron to work, I dunno.
You're definatly not talking about Germany, France or Spain there...
     
     
  #180  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2008, 1:05 AM
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Been a busy week, but to get to some of the replies...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhausner
I think your post Bert has some good points. While I don't agree 100% on it all,
Thanks. You made some good ones yourself that I'll try to address. They certainly required some time and thought to answer, not to mention a lot of space (so much so that I've got to use headings again).

High-Speed Internet
Quote:
I do think high-speed infrastructure in today's economy is as important as physical infrastructure though where we would disagree is that you should have 1 instead of the other or BOTH.
As taxpayer dollars are scarce, I can't agree with spending them in a way that will give us short-term congestion relief at the expense of long-term pain in the form of compounded congestion and sprawl, and end up with a more powerful road transportation lobby and a less sustainable (road transportation-heavy) economy.

Quote:
I'll also point out that telecom infrastructure is private not public in this country currently so i don't see how our tax money would go to a highspeed infrastructure unless the government decided to in essence re-invent the wheel.
The two models the task force suggests are 1) the Infrastructure Support Model (some kind of supply side incentives) and 2) the Community Aggregator Model (some kind of demand stimulation). If you want to read all the details, it's in Appendix G of this report.

South of Fraser Line Routing
Thanks for your comments on line routing, also. I'm certainly not married to any particular alignment, but my main point which you did agree with is that transit improvements are badly needed South of the Fraser. I still wouldn't say a 104th to 96th Ave. line is completely pointless - perhaps LRT is overkill for now, but I'm sure some form of rapid bus with traffic signal priority (together with the installation of some crosswalks on 96th Ave.) could be supported right away. The buses there today experience several pass-ups during peak, despite the horrible service (about half the drivers randomly decide they must crawl on the highway instead of speedily rat-run the side streets for whatever reason) and the lethal, run-for-your-life-to-thread-the-needle-between-speeding-big-rigs-as-there's-only-one-crosswalk-for-5km pedestrian environment. Since I must have missed it before, could you please link me to your argument against it?

Density, Congestion, Utility, and Consumer Choices
Quote:
Vancouver is never going to be Hong Kong. If you study how cities are built in regions, density is typically NOT a result of congestion of infrastructure. Density is typically a result of congestion of land. Hong Kong build up why? Not because their roads are full. No it's because there is no more land to build on so they have to go up.

Vancouver downtown is densifying why? Because Vancouver has 0 land left. Congestion remaining as it is, it won't slow or stop any sprawl or single house construction in the suburbs for one simple reason, they all still have land.

What people are missing with Gateway is that it overall is de-centralizing the region and focussing the region on South of the Fraser. People may argue against urban sprawl but it's already done for the most part. While it does continue, you aren't going to reverse the sprawl already out here in the South of Fraser area. So Gateway both the road network portion and transit portions are going to help focus Surrey Central as a downtown hub where a second densification can be done.
I'm not an economist or an econ major/minor, but I'm interested in the subject and have taken a handful of courses - in one of them, I did indeed study location and land settlement theory. Here's what I've learned: cities are shaped primarily by transportation. Hong Kong is an extreme example of one factor (land constraints) affecting transportation - you can't live where you can't go. Typically, congestion of traffic, land constraints, the form and technology of transportation infrastructure, and zoning (though zoning is usually based on transportation infrastructure, so it's much less of a factor, despite what the MoT would have us believe) all affect density via transportation - it's not a case of one factor. While sprawl is definitely not stopped by congestion, it is most certainly slowed down. It goes back to utility. Why would anyone live so far from your job if it takes you so long to get to work due to congestion?

Now, even if sprawl can't be halted, slowing it down has some great benefits. For example, it lets a critical mass to support transit grow. As the transit network expands, there's demand for more and more, just as there's demand for more and more highways as the road network expands. I view PMH1 as a tipping point for our region. The timing of road vs. transit expansion is critical due to this snowball effect.

Outside of downtown and a few pockets here or there, we barely have any walkable neighbourhoods in the GVRD. For the most part, this is because we've planned our neighbourhoods in an auto-centric fashion. For example, although Metrotown is relatively high density, it still makes many provision for automobile traffic to the detriment of the pedestrian environment. Although there's evidence our municipal planners are realizing this, if you do not slow down sprawl, then the situation will not improve. The Brentwood highrise district at least holds a promise of one day having an urban, walkable street - Dawson St. At today's pace of development, that probably won't happen for 25 years. By implementing system-wide tolling and enhancing the transit system, we would boost demand for high density (as I'll explain in more detail below), which could bring a walkable neighbourhood to Brentwood in 15 years. On the other hand, remove the incentive for high density development by building PMH1 and it won't happen for 50 - I don't know about you, but I'd like to see some positive changes occur well before I'm a decrepit old man, if I even live that long.

Let's do a hypothetical case study. Let me preface by saying this is not a big, computer-based model like the MoT's EMME or whatever, but, perhaps more importantly, it's a simple, open model that everyone can see, understand, and criticize, rather than simply being forced to accept the results.

Mary lives in Walnut Grove (let's say roughly 208th St. and 90th Ave.) and works in Metrotown. Mary's destination (but not origin) is adequately served by transit. Mary's commuting options are driving or transit.

Current Scenario: Today
If Mary drives in current congestion, let's say the journey averages 60 minutes each way with maybe 2 minutes of walk total, and it costs $7 per way (for gas/maintenance/insurance). If Mary takes the bus, let's say it's 15 minutes walking, and a 55-minute transit journey which costs $2.50 per way (based on a 2-zone bus pass). Plug in these numbers into our trusty utillity function (from my previous post, #143 in this topic), and we get:

U_driving = - 0.147*2 - 0.0411*60 - 0.32*7.00 = -5.0
U_transit = - 0.147*15 - 0.0411*55 - 0.32*2.50 = -5.3

Today, Mary prefers driving (-5.0 > -5.3), but is actually not too far away from being indifferent. In fact, continued gas price increases alone would eventually get Mary onto transit. Actually, I understand that many people in similar situations to Mary, near the margin between driving and transit, are currently switching to transit due to gas price increases recently, which is putting a strain on the transit system.

But what you don't see directly in these high absolute value utility numbers is Mary's opportunity cost of not living in a higher density residential area, such as Metrotown or anywhere along the SkyTrain line. When it becomes feasible to move, Mary will, in order to significantly minimize the negative utility of commuting (even if real estate costs/rents are higher, the real cost of housing is lower near a SkyTrain station due to the transportation advantage). Jhausner, this explains how transportation congestion contributes to high density, since areas with relatively high densities of jobs, linked by transit (i.e. Downtown, Metrotown), will attract residential density at all points from which fast transportation is available (i.e. near stations along the SkyTrain line). Side note: as UBC and Broadway are massive employment centres, I don't think we can "pooh pooh" them in terms of a line, but at the same time, Surrey and Langley badly need it to contain sprawl. I'd probably prioritize the South of Fraser lines, but there's no doubt about the importance of the Broadway M-Line extension in terms of attracting higher residential densities at all points along the rapid transit network.

Future Scenario 1: PMH1 Expansion with Proposed Level of Transit Improvement Only - aka. Our Apparent Future
Driving time is suddenly cut to 30 minutes and Mary's driving cost per way is still $7: $4 for gas/maintenance/insurance (in today's dollars) + $3 in tolls. Transit time improves slightly - perhaps by 7 minutes per way, mainly due to relieved congestion (as the new highway route isn't going to help much). Now:

U_driving = - 0.147*2 - 0.0411*30 - 0.32*7.00 = -3.8
U_transit = - 0.147*15 - 0.0411*48 - 0.32*2.50 = -5.0

Mary is definitely driving. In fact, Mary can move way out along the highway to a cheaper house, and not do much worse in terms of driving time. So, that's exactly what Mary and thousands of others will do when the opportunity arises, leading to a major sustainability challenge. Decreasing the negative utility of car transportation through highway expansion represents a decrease in the real cost of low density housing. Blake: this addresses your point. I don't believe that a shift in consumer demand from high density to low density housing will result in more demand for high density housing in the long run due to escalating low density prices, as you say. Nothing I've ever seen in economics has a rebound effect stronger than the initial effect.

Future Scenario 2: Further Transit Expansion and Tolling without Road/Bridge Expansion
Congestion is reduced by tolling. Mary's driving time is cut to 45 minutes. Mary's cost per way is now $8.50: $5.50 for gas/maintenance/insurance (in today's dollars) + $3 in tolls. Transit time improves markedly - by 3 minutes from the reduction in congestion plus another 9 minutes from transit expansion and priority measure, while a closer bus route cuts Mary's walking time by 5 minutes. Note, when I talk about transit expansion here, I'm talking about a lot more than what is planned - that is, what can be built for $1.5 billion plus using the tolls as a funding source. Is

U_driving = - 0.147*2 - 0.0411*45 - 0.32*8.50 = -4.9
U_transit = - 0.147*10 - 0.0411*43 - 0.32*2.50 = -4.0

Mary is definitely taking transit. Interestingly, people who still drive may actually be no worse off than before, as the toll together with the transit shift is effective in cutting congestion. A toll may prevent a "tragedy of the commons" - overuse of an unpriced resource (our roads), resulting in a suboptimal social outcome (excessive congestion creating vast inefficiency). This explains how drivers may actually be better off with tolling (-4.9 with tolling in this scenario > -5.0 without tolling today).

Future Scenario 3: PMH1 Expansion and Further Transit Expansion - Big-time Spending
Well, just combine our U_driving from Future Scenario 1 with our U_transit from Future Scenario 2.

U_driving = - 0.147*2 - 0.0411*30 - 0.32*7.00 = -3.8
U_transit = - 0.147*10 - 0.0411*43 - 0.32*2.50 = -4.0

Although Mary is less unhappy than today, the relative numbers are similar - a slight preference to drive. That is, if we do both, nothing changes for today's marginal driver in terms of the driving/transit choice. Nothing changes for people like myself who have a much stronger utility preference for driving either. If I plug in my numbers, I would only switch to transit under "Future Scenario 2: Further Transit Expansion and Tolling".

Scenario Conclusion
What does change in Scenario 3 is the numbers are both much smaller in absolute value than today, allowing people to live further away from their jobs (where nominal housing prices are lower) without being any unhappier in terms of transportation. For corridors served by rail transit or heavily prioritized BRT, "rail sprawl" isn't too big a deal at all. Those transportation systems are scalable and generally do not get any slower when they get busier (i.e. longer loading delays are offset by shorter train/bus intervals). High density also creates localized commercial markets which provide several amenities and services within easy walking/biking distance.

On the other hand, the several kilometres surrounding a highway corridor will be built up in a sprawling manner as vehicles allow access to relatively cheap and plentiful land. However, when sprawl gets overbuilt (as it always is), we encounter what's known as a "tragedy of the commons", as mentioned above. Once roads become congested, they begin to lose efficiency extremely rapidly, as we witness today - that is, road transportation scales poorly compared to transit. Guys like Falcon come along and try to build our way out of the mess with more roads, but that just doesn't work. Fast forward 20 years after the expansions, and we'll be right back where we started, with packed congestion from regional growth and the shift in preferences favouring low density sprawl.

Jhausner, your Scenario 3 (which requires significantly more transit expansion than currently planned Scenario 1, and is by far the costliest) just brings us back to the status quo once built - drivers will still drive and transit usage will be stuck - but there is so much more capacity for drivers that it will eventually be filled, and we'll have to work so much harder to reverse the situation in the future rather than stopping it now.

Now, Scenario 1 - PMH1 as planned - is nothing short of an urban disaster. Many thousands of today's transit commuters will reevaluate their transportation utilities once PMH1 is complete, and realize that driving suddenly makes them better off. Many of these commuters will also choose to live in sprawl too, since, for several years, the commute will become quite tolerable in light of the lower shelter costs farther out. PMH1 will thus turn our region's sustainability clock backwards by maybe 2 decades or more, and, as I described with the Brentwood example above, much of our region's urbanization efforts thus far will have been for naught.

Here are a couple of links I found which corroborate what I'm saying:
Truck News Blog - this one is written in plain language, also makes the connection to density, and is the first time I've seen a trucking industry person advocate tolls (trust me: he is definitely a tiny minority voice there).
Berkeley - this one is a little economics-heavy, but all the links on the left are worth exploring for those who are interested. Note that the problem raised on this page of inequity for low-income workers who have no reasonable transit option can be easily solved similarly to the BC carbon tax's climate action credit for low income families.

Location Theory and Industrial Siting
Quote:
What _will_ happen is as things get more difficult traffic wise, companies will relocate to where the bulk of their workers are located. You are already seeing it and have for the last 5 years with transportation companies. Vitran, Van Kam, and many others of the type are or have relocated out to Surrey and surrounding areas out of Vancouver because logistically it makes more sense for them and the bulk of their workers are out this way. That reduces commute times and it also actually reduced truck trip times.

And don't expect it to slow out here. With YXX growing in services and a lot of businesses reliant on air travel moving towards Abbotsford because there is no land or the land is far to expensive around YVR, the workers for those businesses will want to or already are relocating this direction.
What you've described is just the classic pattern of city development according to location theory. Industry is typically pushed out of the market centre as a city grows since this lets them minimize their total procurement and distribution costs - companies generally don't care about where their workers live; if they did, then they probably wouldn't move away from the centre (as many long-term workers would have already moved closer to their workplace in the centre, anyway). On the other hand, the centre's denser population mass allows it to support other commercial activities. One type of economic activity is not particularly superior to the other - it's just that location often determines what type of activity can be supported. Again, transportation (in Vancouver's case, congestion) shapes city development.

Road Freight Transportation and the Need for Gateway
Quote:
You're never going to get rid of the need for transportation. All of the items sold in retail locations from downtown Vancouver to Langley get to those locations via truck. No transit or train system will ever replace that ever.

When we're talking trucks and cargo moving around, the less congestion for them, the better, since we can't get rid of the trucks.
Interestingly, the subway in Shanghai is used for goods transportation - I've seen several people lugging big suitcases and bags of merchandise on there. Still, I certainly understand the truck's role in intracity freight transportation, having worked in the industry. However, Gateway is largely about growing the intercity (rather than intracity) freight transportation business - a business that I explained before why I don't think is worth using our tax dollars to attract in comparison to alternatives.

Even if we wanted to grow the transport industry, very little has specifically been put in place to protect goods movement capacity with Gateway (i.e. no commercial lanes).

Also, if Gateway was so badly needed for road transportation (whether for intracity/intercity goods transport or personal transportation), due to increasing congestion, why don't we see it appear much in consumer prices (as business proponents claim)? Vancouver has the lowest consumer price inflation of any major (over 500,000 population) Canadian city since 2002, just 0.1 above Quebec City.

A more in-depth look on StatsCan's site shows that from 2000 to 2005 (the latest figures available for inter-city comparisons), Vancouver went from having the 2nd most expensive consumer prices in Canada, at 6% above average, to just 2% above average. During the same period, the transportation cost component of CPI in Vancouver went from the most expensive in Canada at 109 points to the least expensive at 94 points! I'm not sure what we've been doing right, but it looks like we're doing fine without PMH1 or the rest of Gateway. Note that even in the Gateway report, the MoT doesn't put real numbers to business benefits, saying they are hard to quantify.

So, where's the need? And, if it's just a small need, as it seems, why can't it be met by tolling to discourage non-essential vehicle trips and prevent the huge tragedy of the commons we're currently seeing?

Last edited by Bert; Jul 2, 2008 at 1:48 AM. Reason: Updated stats
     
     
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