Originally Posted by ByeByeBaby
In each of the two years before the Glenmore/Elbow/5th St interchange opened, the average annual daily traffic on Glenmore between Macleod and Elbow was 81,000 vehicles a day. In each of the two years since the interchange opened, the AADT in the same location was 94,000 vehicles per day. That's a 16% increase on a road not located near any new development, and it's from a stable level both before and after; i.e. it's not a trend, it's the new capacity being filled up as it was created, i.e. it's induced demand.
Also, it's not like planners are some sort of mythical half-lion half-badger creature that only survives in climate-controlled pods. They're people who also live in the city. So they're both end users and planners.
Why someone who lives in the city and takes the LRT would design an LRT station like Heritage or Anderson for example I'll never know. On day 1 the escalators were broken - oops, they forgot that hundreds of people would be riding them at once apparently - so you can't design a system that breaks under the weight of a dozen people .
And it wasn't -30 the day they designed the large heated indoor area. The heated indoor area where you can't see the trains coming - and where you can't stand and wait for trains. I was in high school and I noticed these flaws on the day the LRT opened. Why didn't the planner? - likely because he wasn't there. And who planned the train cars - so you have to touch knees with the stranger sitting across from you? Or that kids use as muddy footstools? Or that wastes valuable space? Many non-planner citizens noticed that flaw right away too and wrote into The Herald, yet that's the seating config our planners ordered.
I agree that our planners most likely live and use the city and likely care very much about what they do. But just because they're planners some people assume that they somehow know the needs of the people better than the people themselves do. (I work in IT but when we design systems it's based on the needs of the end users - not my personal preferences or what I find the most interesting). A planner that lives in Lake Bonavista may not truly understand the issues of Crowchild Trail north, anymore than I'd understand the road issues in the deep south. It's like with the pipeline protests - we don't want certain groups hijacking the review for/against the project when they might not actually represent the views of the majority.
Someone referred to Stalin in an earlier post. That's the problem with people imposing their will on people - they're often wrong or completely uncaring about the needs of other citizens just because their needs are different. I love the fact the city is asking about HOV lanes. But scared about it too, because they may just use it to broadly change policy before citizens or even city council knows what's happening.
And as for the "expanding roads actually causes congestion" phenomena I don't think it's any mythical mysterious thing that's beyond comprehension. As I mentioned with the road collapse in San Francisco. Perhaps if you studied the BART (transit) system expansion and the layout and design of the intersecting roadways it would be obvious that the design was flawed or came at the wrong time in history. If they just introduced the BART system, then perhaps a lot of people quit driving. Or if the intersecting roads just caused congestion with poorly designed interchanges (as in Crowchild/Shagganappi tie ups in the morning) then the designers blew it. One poor design choice and the 5 lanes by that Crowchild interchange can bottleneck because of a few people heading into a mall on a different roadway. (my examples with BART etc are just examples - and may not be factual - I'm just saying there must be an explanation).
Glenmore may be seeing more traffic, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything unless you study it in detail. Does the traffic actually flow better? In which case it's a success. Did people abandon transit because of the better roadway (and the desire to cut their commute time)? Did other roads get relieved? The fact that this road is a major choke point means the traffic doesn't have many alternatives.
Ideally perhaps cities would have better flowing streets if traffic wasn't forced to take huge roadways to travel around the city. Perhaps, especially in cities without a lot of geographical barriers requiring bridges, the layouts we've been using are wrong. More little roads where you can get to point B without having to chose between only a few main roads. I'm not sure if that would be better or not though since there would be a whole lot more intersections. And of course even if we now discovered that it's a better way to lay out the city we couldn't really do that now. Perhaps we could unblock some of the intentional barriers we've put up though.
I don't think people are suggesting that we could have solved the problem on Glenmore by reducing the number of lanes instead of adding them? Are people suggesting the complaints about the narrow section of Crowchild Trail are wrong? And that a 2 lane main road is all we really need forever? People get lost in this interesting phenomena and their judgement gets clouded. They obsess on one thing and suddenly think it's the solution to everything. I wish there was a solution to everything, but there isn't.
One thing I think planners should start using is simulation software. One would think that you could model roadways and semi-predict how they'd work. Simulations might not be prefect yet, but one would think you could build a computer model of Crowchild or even the whole city then simulate what will happen with varying traffic patterns. Although one would think lights could be timed properly in the city so perhaps that art hasn't arrived yet.