Originally Posted by Policy Wonk
Those 9 to 5ers hop on and off the LRT all day moving amongst downtown, but trying to replicate that in a corridor such as a hypothetical high-density Centre Street, which would probably be substantially residential and retail seems like a fool's errand.
Policy, I got to say you are one determined SOB, which I really do appreciate. While I disagree with others on this forum, I always find when I disagree with you, it is an educational experience. The arguments are presented well, and it makes me really consider my positions on things, even if it strengthens them and makes me believe them more.
If you would like to indulge me, what are your thoughts on the following points re: the Nose Creek vs. Centre Street Alignment.
1. Headway capacity on 7th
. The NE, South and NC lines would all have to share the eastbound headway on 7th (assuming the 8th avenue subway is not built before the SE and NC LRTs). This means that the 1st, 3rd and 4th (South, NE, NC) largest catchments would be sharing headways, while the 2nd and 5th (NW, West) largest catchments would be sharing as well on 7th (this is prior to the 8th avenue subway). With the 2nd Avenue subway, the 6th largest catchment (SE) would have its own ROW through the downtown, and the ROW that has the highest capacity at that. Doesn't it make more sense to share headway capacity as equally as possible, rather than put the greatest amount of pressure on the ROW that has the least capacity for it? As well, doesn't this help justify the investment into the 2nd avenue subway?
2. Short Turning trains on 7th.
If the NC and NE share a ROW with the west line, trains will either have to run half empty to 69th street, or will have to short turn on 7th, which AFAIK, would not be possible with the West LRT operational. Currently, the imbalance between the South/NE headways and the NW headways is solved by short turning trains on 7th at 10th street station. With the West LRT line opening, that imbalance cannot be resolved and will have operational cost impacts. Is this something the Nose Creek alignment just has to accept, or is there another solution?
3. Delaying the 8th (and 7th) Avenue subways.
Currently 7th is at operational capacity. Better switches can help, but the problem is also caused by boarding/alighting times and trains having to wait at intersections for vehicle traffic. 4 car trains may be able to increase capacity while reducing headways slightly, but this will not last for long. Essentially, Nose Creek cannot be added on 7th currently. That means that the 8th avenue subway will have to be built prior to Nose Creek going ahead. We can talk about delays on the North Central line caused by the cost of a tunnel on Centre Street, but realistically, that same delay would be caused by having to build the Stephan Avenue Tunnel anyway. By using the 2nd Street subway, the Centre Street alignment effectively delays the necessity of the 8th avenue subway for many years (if not a decade) and the same goes for the 7th avenue subway (which IMO, will never be necessary if NC doesn't use 7th). This is actually the recommendation Steer Davis Gleave made to Calgary Transit. The Centre Street alignment may actually save us a tunnel through the downtown and delay another one significantly. Would you agree with this assessment, or would the timing of the 8th avenue subway not be much affected by nose creek, and would the 7th avenue subway still be required (36 trains/hour seems sufficient for the NE line to me)?
3. Transfers to a BRT
. One argument I have made for a Centre Street alignment is that it better facilitates transfers to a future crosstown BRT running on 16th (stations at 16th and Centre can be designed to facilitate transfers). This seems very difficult with the Nose Creek alignment. Either transfers between the two lines would have to be foregone, or a station would have to be built at 16th avenue and Nose Creek for no other reason than transfers. Seems like an expensive station for nothing but transfers. Conversely, the station at 16th and Centre for the Centre Street alignment is a good station location anyways (more office in that area), and makes transfers easy. This would facilitate transfers by NC riders going to the Foothills Hospital, SAIT, Alberta Children's Hospital, Peter Lougheed Hospital and, depending on the trip length, the UofC. Do you think this is a significant detraction from the Nose Creek Alignment, or is transferring to a 16th avenue BRT not worth it?
4. Operational costs of BRT on Centre
. With a Nose Creek alignment, bus service on Centre would still be needed to serve the area south of Beddington. Therefore, we would have to support the continued operational costs of this service. Seeing as labour costs are typically the largest part of a transit authority's budget, wouldn't the labour savings of a Centre Street alignment be worth the additional investment?
I always appreciate your responses.