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  #981  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2015, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by swimmer_spe View Post
I wonder, if the new government gave Halifax $100 million to improve transit infrastructure, what would it be spent on?
I'd wager half of it would go to new buses, and expansion of the Burnside garage to store said buses. Hopefully this would finally spur on some serious transit investment that becomes all the more necessary when one of our bridges can't open for a morning rush hour.
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  #982  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2015, 1:00 AM
Colin May Colin May is offline
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I wonder, if the new government gave Halifax $100 million to improve transit infrastructure, what would it be spent on?
Dominic Leblanc, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communities and Infrastructure. He'll be the Atlantic regional boss and Geoff Regan will be NS boss. LeBlanc will make sure the money is spread around every riding, Cuzner/Eyking is first out of the gate asking for money for the rail line. McNeil needs lots of money for a new hospital; does anyone really believe it will take 5 years to fit out 2 floors at Dartmouth General ?
Fillmore will have a seat at any Halifax announcement and speak when told to speak. Perhaps he'll fill the empty condos/apartments with refugees.

Last edited by Colin May; Oct 24, 2015 at 7:52 PM.
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  #983  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2015, 6:04 PM
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  #984  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2015, 6:06 PM
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Yep. This may be a bit cynical, but the reality is that these federal dollars are essentially "free" from the perspective of individual cities. They pay in a small percentage, and the money will be spent somewhere. If it does not go to Halifax it will be spent in another town. Either way, HRM taxpayers pay the same federal taxes.

This was part of what was so sad about the Commonwealth Games, and why Halifax fared so poorly for government investment for years. HRM council did not understand how their infrastructure spending has the potential for a multiplier effect in terms of attracting funding from other sources, to say nothing of the economic growth and job creation.
Bang on.

It is hard to read comments about how if we forgo a bridge, or a stadium, or a highway, or whatever, more money can go to health care or to social assistance.

It just doesn't work that way. It will go to another city's infrastructure projects instead.
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  #985  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2015, 6:46 PM
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The local governments have to find money to pay their portion of course.
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  #986  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2015, 7:01 PM
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The local governments have to find money to pay their portion of course.
Halifax is actually in a pretty good position to invest in projects like commuter rail. The municipality is quite large (unlike some other metro areas that have a patchwork of small cities) and its debt is low.

It is perfectly reasonable for the city to take on a $100M transit project with cost sharing between the different levels of government.

If commuter rail does move forward I just hope that investment is channelled appropriately. This means exploring things like the Hollis Street extension, which would make a big difference to a larger number of commuters, rather than focusing on service in lower density suburban areas that could easily be served by buses.

The city also needs transit improvements in the urban core. Commuter rail is really only a suburban service. I think it would work well with investment in bus lanes or streetcars on the peninsula. A system with 1-2 streetcar lines, BRT/express bus (MetroLink) and ferries for Dartmouth, and commuter rail for the Bedford Highway corridor would be pretty decent.
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  #987  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2015, 7:25 PM
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Now that Metro Transit will eventually be getting a new chief, maybe someone who can see there are alternatives to just adding buses to our overcrowded, obsolete road network will move it in a different direction. The place badly needs a total shakeup.
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  #988  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 5:15 AM
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Now that Metro Transit will eventually be getting a new chief, maybe someone who can see there are alternatives to just adding buses to our overcrowded, obsolete road network will move it in a different direction. The place badly needs a total shakeup.
Boy, I hope you're right. If they bring in a ringer from outside, there is hope. If it's an add from within, better look forward to Trudeau buying us some more buses.
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  #989  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 7:09 AM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is offline
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I thought I read on here that a study confirmed that rail transit was not cost effective. Yet we have new posts about it every day and all kinds of fantasies of it being done. So nobody believes the study?
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  #990  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 8:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ILoveHalifax View Post
I thought I read on here that a study confirmed that rail transit was not cost effective. Yet we have new posts about it every day and all kinds of fantasies of it being done. So nobody believes the study?
Just look at how GO Transit, AMT and West Coast Express have flourished.

More and more people are moving away from the core, even when they work in the core. Remember, you have the CF property which employs 10,000 people alone.
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  #991  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 1:09 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by ILoveHalifax View Post
I thought I read on here that a study confirmed that rail transit was not cost effective. Yet we have new posts about it every day and all kinds of fantasies of it being done. So nobody believes the study?
http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1...not-quite-dead

http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/1...-varied-topics

And, it appears that our new PM is intent on funding infrastructure, including rail transit:
http://thechronicleherald.ca/federal...it-in-montreal
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  #992  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 1:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ILoveHalifax View Post
I thought I read on here that a study confirmed that rail transit was not cost effective. Yet we have new posts about it every day and all kinds of fantasies of it being done. So nobody believes the study?
City staff concluded that it wasn't cost-effective, but many on council and elsewhere beg to differ.

Here's Tim Bousquet's take, which I think is pretty apt from this link):

I’m starting to come around on the commuter rail proposal. Oh, to be sure, the cost per-passenger when the line opens will be ridiculously high, but only if you ignore the future costs of the Bayers Road/BiHi widening project, which I estimate at a billion dollars — that’s billion, with a B. If we’re to move forward with commuter rail, however, it has to be with the understanding that the Bayers Road/BiHi project won’t go forward — it should be removed from the regional plan and provincial highway network plans before council commits to commuter rail.

I know that people just love road widening, and I have no idea whether Bousquet's cost estimate is accurate, but over and over and over again, road widening has been shown to provide only temporary relief of traffic congestion. Those extra lanes just fill right up within a short period of time as more people decide to drive. There is a possibility that a well-done commuter rail system could move more people, more cheaply. But yes, people would have to leave their car behind before coming downtown. Which some people might have a hard time with, but you know, it's part of our urban maturation.
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  #993  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 2:08 PM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is offline
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Something is terribly wrong when anybody with some so called smartz on urban planning starts looking to Tim Bucket for knowledge.

The rail line was determined by council as not being cost effective. I think it is very unlikely that a rail line with a few thousand passengers is going to relieve traffic enough that 102 and Bayers Rd will never require widening.

You cannot force all the people who come into the city from Herring Cove, Spryfield, Purcells Cove to drive over to Rockingham to get on a train that does not go near to where they need to go, not many jobs at the train station. You will not force all the people who drive in 333 and 103 to go to the a train station to go for a joy ride thru the rail cut to get where they don't need to go.
You will not force many from Hammonds Plains to drive to the train to go where they don't want to go.
You might get a few who come in 101 to find the train in Bedford to go down the south end but traffic will be bad in Bedford and unless the train is right there waiting they might tend to drive right downtown and park close to the office.

May I suggest that a street car line on the peninsula would eliminate many of the buses and free up traffic and should be very cost effective because of the number of riders. Following that how about another line again on the peninsula. All off peninsula buses could stop and/or start at the street car
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  #994  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 2:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ILoveHalifax View Post
Something is terribly wrong when anybody with some so called smartz on urban planning starts looking to Tim Bucket for knowledge.

The rail line was determined by council as not being cost effective. I think it is very unlikely that a rail line with a few thousand passengers is going to relieve traffic enough that 102 and Bayers Rd will never require widening.

You cannot force all the people who come into the city from Herring Cove, Spryfield, Purcells Cove to drive over to Rockingham to get on a train that does not go near to where they need to go, not many jobs at the train station. You will not force all the people who drive in 333 and 103 to go to the a train station to go for a joy ride thru the rail cut to get where they don't need to go.
You will not force many from Hammonds Plains to drive to the train to go where they don't want to go.
You might get a few who come in 101 to find the train in Bedford to go down the south end but traffic will be bad in Bedford and unless the train is right there waiting they might tend to drive right downtown and park close to the office.

May I suggest that a street car line on the peninsula would eliminate many of the buses and free up traffic and should be very cost effective because of the number of riders. Following that how about another line again on the peninsula. All off peninsula buses could stop and/or start at the street car
Council didn't say it wasn't cost-effective, that was staff. And there are a lot of questions about the assumptions they made.

The VIA station is a heck of a lot closer to most downtown offices than, for example, Toronto's Union Station is to much of that city's downtown office district. But people manage, many with a 10-or 15-minute walk, others by getting on the subway for a few stops. I agree the distance is an issue, but it's nothing that can't be dealt with--a rush-hour shuttle that meets the train and makes a loop of the downtown, for example.

A train on a righ-of-way had the potential to be far faster than driving, even in free-flowing traffic, so I think yes, people will take it.

I agree about a peninsula LRT though.

(As far as road widening, I dunno. If we look at development trends, population growth in the suburbs is giving way in a huge way to central areas. Single-family housing starts are projected to only be around 400-500 for the next few years, as compared to thousand of units in multi-family construction, mostly in the regional centre. If that keeps up maybe we really won't need wider roads.)
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  #995  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 2:56 PM
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I don't see how we can, in the immediate future, treat it as "either/or". We do have a traffic congestion issue that may need to be solved by adding road capacity. Adding trains or light-rail will neither happen quickly nor will it solve the current congestion on its own, and as long as this congestion exists it is a damper on this city. On the other hand, continuing to assume that we can just forever increase the width of roads as the solution is also a broken model. We need better mass transit if we are going to break this cycle.

I am very very torn on the commuter rail vs light rail on the peninsula. The commuter rail on its surface seems like a low hanging fruit, and it might change the dynamic of how this city thinks of transit. On the other hand, I truly think the actual longer term impact is bigger if we had a good on-peninsula light rail system with buses and park-n-ride that fed into it. Tough call. The former will certainly cost less to implement, the latter is more supportive of the long term plan to encourage the majority of future growth closer to the core.
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  #996  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 3:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Council didn't say it wasn't cost-effective, that was staff. And there are a lot of questions about the assumptions they made.

The VIA station is a heck of a lot closer to most downtown offices than, for example, Toronto's Union Station is to much of that city's downtown office district. But people manage, many with a 10-or 15-minute walk, others by getting on the subway for a few stops. I agree the distance is an issue, but it's nothing that can't be dealt with--a rush-hour shuttle that meets the train and makes a loop of the downtown, for example.

A train on a righ-of-way had the potential to be far faster than driving, even in free-flowing traffic, so I think yes, people will take it.

I agree about a peninsula LRT though.

(As far as road widening, I dunno. If we look at development trends, population growth in the suburbs is giving way in a huge way to central areas. Single-family housing starts are projected to only be around 400-500 for the next few years, as compared to thousand of units in multi-family construction, mostly in the regional centre. If that keeps up maybe we really won't need wider roads.)
it was actually a consultant who said it wasn't cost effective, but the comparison was simply adding more buses to existing routes. Compared to road widening, or building dedicated bus rights of way, its very cost effective.

transit sucks because buses get stuck in the same traffic people in cars do. if you put transit on its own row, schedules become reliable, and you can then run shorter bus routes originating at the train stations.

also lets not forget the proposed route/technology is simply reestablishing a service that via rail provided and cut in 1989. Rail actully has the ability to convert drivers to transit users in a way a bus cant.
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  #997  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 3:24 PM
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Rail actully has the ability to convert drivers to transit users in a way a bus cant.
I remember reading one time about how, all else about transit modes being equal (say they have the same frequency, total capacity, cost etc) rail compared to buses not only changed people's perception of mass transit, but also their perception of their own neighbourhood. The hypothesis was along the lines of the fact that the permanence of rail and its visible infrastructure gave a certain weight to the idea and role of rail transit in their city. This encouraged development along the rail lines because there was that sense of heft and permanence that could never come from a bus route (which could be moved to another street next month).
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  #998  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 3:29 PM
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Originally Posted by beyeas View Post
I remember reading one time about how, all else about transit modes being equal (say they have the same frequency, total capacity, cost etc) rail compared to buses not only changed people's perception of mass transit, but also their perception of their own neighbourhood. The hypothesis was along the lines of the fact that the permanence of rail and its visible infrastructure gave a certain weight to the idea and role of rail transit in their city. This encouraged development along the rail lines because there was that sense of heft and permanence that could never come from a bus route (which could be moved to another street next month).
Sounds about right. If I still lived in Halifax, and my home was in the suburbs and convenient to a commuter rail station, I would take the train to work 100% of the time.
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  #999  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 3:29 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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also lets not forget the proposed route/technology is simply reestablishing a service that via rail provided and cut in 1989.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangeline_%28train%29
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  #1000  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2015, 3:49 PM
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I don't see how we can, in the immediate future, treat it as "either/or". We do have a traffic congestion issue that may need to be solved by adding road capacity. Adding trains or light-rail will neither happen quickly nor will it solve the current congestion on its own, and as long as this congestion exists it is a damper on this city. On the other hand, continuing to assume that we can just forever increase the width of roads as the solution is also a broken model. We need better mass transit if we are going to break this cycle.
It might be either/or, though, if it's cost prohibitive to do both. And again, there's reams of data indicating that road widening is useless in the long run to relieve congestion.
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