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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Calgary > Transportation & Infrastructure

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  #2661  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 12:00 AM
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Other cities around the world are quickly finding out just how expensive it is to maintain a "great" road system. Get ready for tax hikes everyone. The amount that many Calgarians want to see spent on roads makes the peace bridge look like peanuts. People really need to wake up and see the reality of the current status quo of road systems and the pre-conceived notions surrounding them. Roads and sprawl equals MASSIVE costs down the road. 30 somethings, be ready to pay for it in a couple decades or sooner!
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  #2662  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Full Mountain View Post
Dealing with the 2 car consists on trains vs 3 (not 4 yet) currently, the issue right now is that with the current setup the system is at max frequency at peak due to the interlining downtown, build out the 7th and 8th street tunnels and we are good to go!

Point 2 - Are you willing to face a huge yearly increase in your property taxes to pay for your wonderful ideas? (I think most are good)

I know there are often reasons why things aren't done, but perhaps instead of building 4 car stations - at great expense, the money should have went towards the long awaited downtown tunnel. If that was built and allowed faster service then it would have been a better result. Stand by the train tracks heading north from downtown at 5:30. You'll see a lot of 1/2 full train cars. You'll also see surprisingly empty train cars in the morning. I'm not sure what happened, but it seems we no longer need 4 car trains (yet anyway)

You're correct - all idea's come with costs. I think most of the ideas I mentioned though wouldn't be as expensive as 1 overpass. And I certainly wouldn't expect them to occur overnight, or even succeed right away. But future generations might be happy.

(I know I said I'd quit yapping so much, but I'm just replying to questions lol)
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  #2663  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Yahoo View Post
<snip>Oh, I don't know. I think the end user has often got more valuable info than a planner. Particularly a planner unfamiliar with the local needs and feelings.<snip>
That's what Stalin thought in the 1930s Soviet Union - when it came to building dams, he chose to exile many of the engineers to Siberia (many died and of those that survived, many were subsequently executed). He replaced many of the engineers with salt of the earth proletariat (end users) with no knowledge of dam building. I don't have to tell you what that resulted in.

I don't think our planning department is unfamiliar with local needs, quite the contrary. That's not to say that their recommendations should go unchallenged.

Last edited by Blader; Feb 3, 2012 at 1:03 AM. Reason: clarity
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  #2664  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 1:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Yahoo View Post
I know there are often reasons why things aren't done, but perhaps instead of building 4 car stations - at great expense, the money should have went towards the long awaited downtown tunnel. If that was built and allowed faster service then it would have been a better result. Stand by the train tracks heading north from downtown at 5:30. You'll see a lot of 1/2 full train cars. You'll also see surprisingly empty train cars in the morning. I'm not sure what happened, but it seems we no longer need 4 car trains (yet anyway)

You're correct - all idea's come with costs. I think most of the ideas I mentioned though wouldn't be as expensive as 1 overpass. And I certainly wouldn't expect them to occur overnight, or even succeed right away. But future generations might be happy.

(I know I said I'd quit yapping so much, but I'm just replying to questions lol)
A tunnel before changes for longer trains would really hike up operating costs, even before you start thinking about capital efficiency.

Personally, I'm one to think for the most part we need more transit and road investment. I just think the public should be consulted directly on how to fund it, since there will alwys be a limit to how much can be spent out of current revenue sources.
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  #2665  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 1:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Radley77 View Post
I'd be curious what traffic patterns would be like with the Shaganappi to Sarcee Tr SW bridge over the Bow.

There is still a need so that welders, interior designers, Coke delivery truck and such to get across the city and to it's destination. This is a bit different problem than everyday commuters who are technologists, accountants, lawyers, students who work\study near a business\academic node and commute via light rail.

Calgary needs to fund roads adequately and make sure the dollars are being spent on compelling opportunities that improve mobility.

One can spend a shitload of money without a large improvement when there are some sort of geographic, development, or environmental constraints.
I imagine that a bridge between Shaganappi and Sarcee (or connecting the two portions of Sarcee) would immediately cause bottlenecks at Sarcee@Bow and Sarcee@Glenmore and worsen the traffic on the Glenmore Causeway as more people find it easier to reach the SE industrial parks from the NW. By making it easier to reach the SE it would promote more job growth there. In the longer term, with interchanges at Bow Trail and Glenmore, the Causeway would get worse as more jobs move to the SE.

There really isn't a problem with goods movement in this city. Most of the road network has spare capacity 95% of the time. The majority of routes are only congested during either the AM or PM rush. A slim minority of areas see congestion during both peaks and only have spare capacity 90% of the time. These areas include the inner portion of Deerfoot (perhaps between Peigan and McKnight), segments of the Crowchild-Glenmore corridor, and Macleod near Chinook (particularly before Christmas). There are very few areas that see any real congestion more than 10% of the time (Crowchild between Bow Trail and 24 Ave N might barely qualify). Goods should be, and generally are, moved during the 90% of the day when spare capacity abounds. Trying to make the AM and PM peaks congestion free is a great way to spend billions on a goal that will never be realized and will not affect the transportation of goods in a significant way.

I'm not really opposed to fixing Crowchild between Bow Trail and 24 Ave N. It really should be on a, pretty small, to do list of roads projects. The thing is, it would be very expensive. The kind of expensive which puts it in the same realm as the 8 Ave Subway, replacing our fleet of U2s, getting a good start on funding for the SE LRT, and a number of other projects that really ought to be a higher priority. Until we reach the end of the current infrastructure's lifecycle, Crowchild can wait.

I know that no one here has expressed this idea but now seems as good a time as any to comment on the Sun comment board's bizarre concept that there had been a war on cars under Bronconnier that has continued under Nenshi (except when they're complaining about making Airport Trail an expressway). We have thrown tons of money at our road network over the past decade. It has been getting its fair share of attention.
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  #2666  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 2:25 AM
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I know there are often reasons why things aren't done, but perhaps instead of building 4 car stations - at great expense, the money should have went towards the long awaited downtown tunnel. If that was built and allowed faster service then it would have been a better result. Stand by the train tracks heading north from downtown at 5:30. You'll see a lot of 1/2 full train cars. You'll also see surprisingly empty train cars in the morning. I'm not sure what happened, but it seems we no longer need 4 car trains (yet anyway)

You're correct - all idea's come with costs. I think most of the ideas I mentioned though wouldn't be as expensive as 1 overpass. And I certainly wouldn't expect them to occur overnight, or even succeed right away. But future generations might be happy.

(I know I said I'd quit yapping so much, but I'm just replying to questions lol)
We need 4-car trains. We needed them 7 years ago. I get on at Canyon Meadows station in the morning and it's standing room only. This is the third stop on the south line.

We also need the 8th ave subway along with SE LRT pretty badly.
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  #2667  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 3:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Yahoo View Post
It may be a "well understood phenomena" that on some roads the demand increases as new capacity is added. But you can't broadly paint an entire city and every single road with that brush. If you did then eliminating all main roads would fix road congestion. Surely you wouldn't agree with that?

Perhaps cite an example of that phenomena in Alberta? I suspect you can't because our population hasn't reached the level where this occurs.

<snip>Oh, I don't know. I think the end user has often got more valuable info than a planner. <snip>
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.
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  #2668  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 5:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Yahoo View Post
I know there are often reasons why things aren't done, but perhaps instead of building 4 car stations - at great expense, the money should have went towards the long awaited downtown tunnel. If that was built and allowed faster service then it would have been a better result. Stand by the train tracks heading north from downtown at 5:30. You'll see a lot of 1/2 full train cars. You'll also see surprisingly empty train cars in the morning. I'm not sure what happened, but it seems we no longer need 4 car trains (yet anyway)

You're correct - all idea's come with costs. I think most of the ideas I mentioned though wouldn't be as expensive as 1 overpass. And I certainly wouldn't expect them to occur overnight, or even succeed right away. But future generations might be happy.

(I know I said I'd quit yapping so much, but I'm just replying to questions lol)
The half full train cars wont be that way for long. Those are usually just the downtown line anyway. The crowfoot / shawnessy line is always packed during rush hour and getting more and more packed everyday. I appreciate the observations and the fact that you care to comment, but the trains are never half full on the line that actually goes somewhere. When the west LRT is connected, there wont be anymore half full trains. Part of the really selfish me wishes that they would always be half full on the downtown line...oh well, at least I got 3 years riding basically half-full trains!
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  #2669  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 4:24 PM
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Stoney isn't a proposed freeway. It's already a given.
The SWCRR is very much a proposed freeway.

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In any case, Stoney Trail is technically a bypass of the city. I'd call it a highway, more than a city freeway. But it will soon become a city freeway no doubt. But man, that's not always a bad thing. We need to be able to transport goods. Roads aren't evil, they're just transportation corridors.
Freeway, Highway, Bypass. Call it what you like, it's the same road. (Though I believe the road standard is called a 'Freeway' and that the Transportation Association of Canada does not have a classification of 'Bypass' or 'Highway').

I don't think people here think of transportation corridors as 'Evil'. I certainly don't. I think we need a healthy road network. And i think that eliminating bottlenecks in roads like Crowchild would probably be a really good idea. My problems start when large sums of money get spent on projects that ultimately end up right where they started, or end up increasing issues, especially when that money might have been better spent on other solutions that might have better long-term benefits.

I am not sure HOV lanes on Crowchild are what that roads need either, but doing a study, gathering feedback and maybe even starting a pilot project are all good things for this city (IMO).

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Upgrading small sections of our main roadways to freeway standards is not the same thing as proposing a new freeway through the middle of the city. And anyway, I don't know of 1 road in Calgary slated to become a freeway except Stoney. Do you? Heck, I don't even know of any city roads being upgraded at all except related to LRT or Stoney construction (and that silly expensive hole at the airport). Do you?
You're right. I meant limited-access expressways, and the capacity and interchange upgrades that add expressway-like features to city roads, like the GE5, Glenmore, Crowchild, Sarcee, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahoo View Post
It may be a "well understood phenomena" that on some roads the demand increases as new capacity is added. But you can't broadly paint an entire city and every single road with that brush. If you did then eliminating all main roads would fix road congestion. Surely you wouldn't agree with that?

Perhaps cite an example of that phenomena in Alberta? I suspect you can't because our population hasn't reached the level where this occurs.
ByeByeBaby covered an example very well. There is no evidence (That I know of) to suggest that Alberta is immune from these effects.

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I've driven on many main roads in Calgary that are exceptions to this congestion rule. The old Sarcee Trail up the hill from 16th to Bow has been double divided for 50 years and it hasn't needed one upgrade or sucked cars into a congested mess. It was built properly a long time ago and has served the city well.
I think you're right. The capacity designed in the 1960s exceeded the demand for the road. Then again, it was also part of the 1950s/1960s Ring Road system that was never fully implemented. It was planned to continue up through Bowness and connect with Sarcee in the north. (As well as connecting to Shaganappi over the river via Edworthy park) so it's fair to say that the expected use and intended volumes were never fully realised.

As others have said, I think that its a good thing when people get involved and start to think and talk about transit issues. It affects us all. I also think that planners should be allowed to explore any and all ideas, because that is how we get better at doing things, including planning and implementing transit solutions.
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  #2670  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 4:29 PM
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I imagine that a bridge between Shaganappi and Sarcee (or connecting the two portions of Sarcee) would immediately cause bottlenecks at Sarcee@Bow and Sarcee@Glenmore and worsen the traffic on the Glenmore Causeway as more people find it easier to reach the SE industrial parks from the NW. By making it easier to reach the SE it would promote more job growth there. In the longer term, with interchanges at Bow Trail and Glenmore, the Causeway would get worse as more jobs move to the SE.
Once the West leg of the Ring Road is built, we won't have to imagine. The SWCRR plans of 2009 called for Glenmore trail to be a 10 lane expressway at the completion of Stage 1, though I haven't seen the City's plans for actually doing that, or doing anything about Glenmore/Crowchild. I think bottlenecks downstream from the SWCRR will be a given, but I wonder to what extent.
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  #2671  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 4:43 PM
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Does anyone know if this kind of thing would normally be decided by the council (as a bylaw or whatever) or would the roads/parks department make that kind of decision?
So long as it doesn't involve actually closing a road allowance I believe that the Roads department can make the change on their own. Bigger road changes though tend to come through council (such as the soon to be realized conversion of 12th and 11th avenues back to two way traffic)
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  #2672  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 5:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mersar View Post
So long as it doesn't involve actually closing a road allowance I believe that the Roads department can make the change on their own. Bigger road changes though tend to come through council (such as the soon to be realized conversion of 12th and 11th avenues back to two way traffic)
As always, thank you!
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  #2673  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 6:50 PM
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So long as it doesn't involve actually closing a road allowance I believe that the Roads department can make the change on their own. Bigger road changes though tend to come through council (such as the soon to be realized conversion of 12th and 11th avenues back to two way traffic)
This is good news!
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  #2674  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 7:16 PM
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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.
16% increase, but travel times still significantly improved for those commuting in the area. I'm okay with this.
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  #2675  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 7:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mersar View Post
So long as it doesn't involve actually closing a road allowance I believe that the Roads department can make the change on their own. Bigger road changes though tend to come through council (such as the soon to be realized conversion of 12th and 11th avenues back to two way traffic)
Wait, what? When is this going to happen. I feel out of the loop. In any case, I think it makes sense, especially considering the opening up of 10th avenue across 14th street (which I take everytime I am coming from or going to the NW back into Beltine- it is much quicker than 11th or 12th.
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  #2676  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 7:59 PM
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That's what Stalin thought in the 1930s Soviet Union - when it came to building dams, he chose to exile many of the engineers to Siberia (many died and of those that survived, many were subsequently executed). He replaced many of the engineers with salt of the earth proletariat (end users) with no knowledge of dam building. I don't have to tell you what that resulted in.

I don't think our planning department is unfamiliar with local needs, quite the contrary. That's not to say that their recommendations should go unchallenged.
Stalin? Really? I wasn't advocating sending our planners to Siberia (or Quebec lol). And I think you know that. My simple point is that a planner from San Diego for example may not be the best choice for Calgary - unless of course he makes an effort to find out what the end users need.

Our planning department is asking about an HOV lane on a section of roadway that narrows to 2 lanes with traffic lights. That to me shows that they have a basic misconception about the problem. Fine, perhaps they're just gathering info - but I think us end users are suspicious that the planners are hoping to institute HOV lanes all over the city. And they aren't needed now. Simple expansion of roadways that have been ignored for years is all we need.

It isn't unsustainable. You see all kinds of examples where money is poorly spent or "planners" missed the ball. The key is to plan wisely but to not lose focus.

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  #2677  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 8:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ByeByeBaby View Post
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.

Last edited by Yahoo; Feb 3, 2012 at 9:08 PM.
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  #2678  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 8:25 PM
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The half full train cars wont be that way for long. Those are usually just the downtown line anyway. The crowfoot / shawnessy line is always packed during rush hour and getting more and more packed everyday. I appreciate the observations and the fact that you care to comment, but the trains are never half full on the line that actually goes somewhere. When the west LRT is connected, there wont be anymore half full trains. Part of the really selfish me wishes that they would always be half full on the downtown line...oh well, at least I got 3 years riding basically half-full trains!
I'm referring to the line between Crowfoot and downtown. People used to be nose to nose packed in the trains. Now by 8-8:30 am going into downtown very few people are standing. Last night ~ 5:30 pm the train cars heading to Crowfoot had no more than 5 people in each of them. I almost wanted to video it and post it here, but people probably wouldn't like getting video'ed

I know that's got to change and it's a weird situation on a main line. Perhaps the extra train cars the city bought did a great job relieving capacity issues? Or perhaps delays and issues on the trains is driving people (pun) to drive - in another interesting phenomena like we see one some roadways that work better when capacity is reduced.

As a resident of Scenic Acres I'm highly annoyed that I have to leave the district just to park at the train station. No doubt to prevent what the city thinks are "evil" shortcutters from using the roads in Scenic Acres. To me, as long as there isn't a big problem people should be allowed to park or drive everywhere. If you'd like to drive or park in front of my house so you can take the train then be my guest. I don't own the roadway. Sadly, rules like this deter many people in Scenic Acres from using a train that's in their back yard (too far to walk, too long to bus, and no parking access - plus not enough spots even though this parking lot was planned at least 30 years ago when there were actually cows walking in what is now the parking lot).
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  #2679  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 8:34 PM
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So long as it doesn't involve actually closing a road allowance I believe that the Roads department can make the change on their own. Bigger road changes though tend to come through council (such as the soon to be realized conversion of 12th and 11th avenues back to two way traffic)
Whaaa? When did this start moving forward?
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  #2680  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2012, 8:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Yahoo View Post
I'm referring to the line between Crowfoot and downtown. People used to be nose to nose packed in the trains. Now by 8-8:30 am going into downtown very few people are standing. Last night ~ 5:30 pm the train cars heading to Crowfoot had no more than 5 people in each of them. I almost wanted to video it and post it here, but people probably wouldn't like getting video'ed

I know that's got to change and it's a weird situation on a main line. Perhaps the extra train cars the city bought did a great job relieving capacity issues? Or perhaps delays and issues on the trains is driving people (pun) to drive - in another interesting phenomena like we see one some roadways that work better when capacity is reduced.

As a resident of Scenic Acres I'm highly annoyed that I have to leave the district just to park at the train station. No doubt to prevent what the city thinks are "evil" shortcutters from using the roads in Scenic Acres. To me, as long as there isn't a big problem people should be allowed to park or drive everywhere. If you'd like to drive or park in front of my house so you can take the train then be my guest. I don't own the roadway. Sadly, rules like this deter many people in Scenic Acres from using a train that's in their back yard (too far to walk, too long to bus, and no parking access - plus not enough spots even though this parking lot was planned at least 30 years ago when there were actually cows walking in what is now the parking lot).
For the most part restrictions on parking in the neighbourhoods surrounding the LRT are there because people compained, not because the city decided that no one should be able to park there
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