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Transit Referendum on TransLink 10-Year Plan and Broadway Subway (UBC Line)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by milquetoast, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. milquetoast

    milquetoast Senior Member

    Update: The proposed funding method will be a municipal sales tax in the form of a higher PST (7.5%) for Metro Vancouver.

    This is the referendum question:
    Do you support a 0.5% increase to the provincial sales tax in Metro Vancouver, dedicated to these transportation and transit improvements, with independent audits and a public review of spending? Yes or No.


    There will be a referendum about the 10-Year Transit Plan coming likely end of March or early April 2015. Spread the word! This is an important issue that is at risk of being overshadowed by the municipal elections. Many people do not even know that there's a transit referendum coming very soon.

    Metro Vancouver residents will be given the opportunity to vote on how we want to fund new transportation projects throughout the lower mainland. Examples of funding sources could include:
    • A regional tax on carbon (i.e. an extra tax on fuels such as gasoline and diesel)
    • Bridge, tunnel, or road tolling
    • A new sales tax
    • A levy on vehicles
    Wherever you stand, please take the time to educate yourself for this referendum. Transit expansion is essential for the growth of this city. Please note that even if you do not take transit, the projected increase in congestion over the next few decades affects car users too! More transit options help everyone. Projections put about 1 million more people and 3.5 million more automobile trips/day in Metro Vancouver by 2041.

    The 10 Year Transit Plan is a $7.5 billion expansion plan put forward by the Translink Mayors' Council in June 2014 includes:
    • Broadway Corridor Rapid Transit Project (UBC Line)
    • Surrey Light Rail Transit
    • 200 more kilometres of B-Line routes: 11 new limited-stop services that can be faster than driving
    • 25% increase in bus service across the region: Adding 400 more buses to the existing fleet of 1,830
    • More frequent all-day service: More corridors with service every 15 minutes or better, seven days a week
    • More frequent peak-hour service: So that commuters spend less time waiting
    • 50% more SeaBus service: Every 10 minutes during peak hours, and 15 minutes the rest of the day
    • More service to new and growing lower-density neighbourhoods across the region
    • 80% more NightBus service: Increased service for those who need to get around late at night
    • 30% more HandyDART service: Improved service for those who cannot use transit without assistance
    • Upgrades to the Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines: 129 additional fleet vehicles and stations upgraded to meet growing demand
    • More West Coast Express service: 10 additional fleet vehicles and one new locomotive
    • 13 new or expanded transit exchanges across the region to serve growing demand and to make the system easier to use
    • 2,700 kilometres of bikeways, including 300 kilometres of fully traffic-separated routes
    • Better connections to transit through pedestrian improvements at or near transit stops and stations
    • Four-lane $1-billion replacement of the Pattullo Bridge
    VCC SkyTrain Extension to Arbutus
    This would be the first phase of the Broadway Corridor Rapid Transit Project or the UBC Line. It will be a 5.1 km extension of the Millenium Line SkyTrain from VCC-Clark to Arbutus using tunnel boring methods (not cut and cover, so businesses won't be affected). Projected cost is $2 billion. A second future phase will complete the line’s route to UBC.


    Surrey Light Rail Transit


    Proposed B-Line Routes:
    • Lynn Valley to Downtown Vancouver
    • Metrotown to Capilano University
    • Dundarave to Phibbs Exchange
    • Downtown Vancouver to SFU Burnaby
    • Victoria Drive
    • Coquitlam Centre to Maple Ridge
    • Joyce Station to UBC
    • Richmond-Brighouse to Metrotown
    • Surrey Centre to Langley
    • Scott Road Exchange to Newton Exchange
    • 96-B Line to White Rock Centre
    For more information see:
    Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation
    KPMG Report on UBC-Broadway Corridor
  2. Superchecker

    Superchecker Active Member

    While I am in favor of these proposals, I don't see how the the funding question will pass... The electorate will NOT vote in favor of any increase in funding for TransLink...

    They (TransLink decision makers) quite often appear as over paid idiots who are out of touch with the everyday Joe who uses their systems...

    TransLink has been crying poverty since day #1, and has rarely ever appeared to be using the existing funds wisely...
    milquetoast likes this.
  3. bill barilko

    bill barilko Full Member

    Quite agree.
  4. Bine

    Bine Full Member

    The Broadway subway is a waste of money, even the Translink trip numbers don't justify the project. Yes there are pass ups in the morning and during rush hour but in between it is common for buses to be 20% full at best. The ridership simply doesn't warrant spending $3 billion+ for the morning and afternoon rush. Skytrain is so financially intensive that needed services throughout the system must cut in order to maintain the budget. Skytrain debt and servicing accounts for over 25% of the budget while carrying 10% of the passengers. It is a money pit.

    The reason for the Skytrain push is pressure from the developers that got Gregor elected in the first place. It is an obsolete system that has long since been surpassed by modern LRT's and dedicated bus lanes that cost a fraction of the price. This is why no new cities have built a "Skytrain" type system since the 1980's whereas, 100's of LRT systems have been built since at a fraction of the cost.
  5. milquetoast

    milquetoast Senior Member

    @Superchecker I see your point, especially with the poor implementation of the Compass pass. I don't know how true this is but someone on their executive management said there is pressure on the media to put a negative spotlight on TransLink leading up to the referendum. I figure they are trying to hold the referendum while university students are still in session as they are likely to vote yes.

    Compared to other cities in North America, our existing infrastructure is overcapacity without enough room to grow to meet demands. Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto all have public transit improvement plans. It's clear we need these transit upgrades.

    What I'm not clear about is what will happen if the referendum fails to pass. I've been told there's no "plan B" but what that means exactly I'm not sure. Would they try to find other funding sources or will the 10-Year Plan be scrapped entirely?
  6. Bine

    Bine Full Member

    Also...It is interesting that Translink and the city no longer make mention or confirm the existence of the Steer Davies Gleave report they commissioned in 2009 that shot down the project as "wasteful" and "inefficient". Translink paid $6 million for the report and dismissed it because it didn't produce the desired results. Hence they use the later KPMG ($5 miillion) report that was sympathetic to the project.
  7. milquetoast

    milquetoast Senior Member

    I disagree. The Broadway corridor is one of the busiest in North America and it's clear there needs to be some form of Rapid Transit there.

    There's been extensive surveys and studies on what the best options are and an extension of the SkyTrain came out on top in terms of speed, capacity to grow, less negative impact of businesses and traffic. They considered many many options including LRT, increasing bus service and combinations. The problem with LRT is that while it is cheaper, it is slow and essentially has no capacity to scale up. It would also screw up traffic on Broadway (no left turns, loss of parking and lane closures).

    Here is the full document highlighting the pros and cons of each option: http://www.translink.ca/~/media/doc...sit_study_alternatives_analysis_findings.ashx

  8. milquetoast

    milquetoast Senior Member

    That's interesting. I was not aware of such a report. Do you know if it's available to the public?
  9. Bine

    Bine Full Member

    I have a copy but the neither the city nor Translink make it available to the public unless you file an FOI and pony up $500+. There is likely a copy of the study out at UBC. I know that Prof. Patrick Condon (UBC) was consulted for the study as he was the first one that openly questioned the validity of Translinks initial trip numbers. The reality is that any dedicated system whether it be bus, LRT or subway is more than adequate to do the job, the question is project creep and money. Of the current 55,000 trips (27,500 each way) that maximum hourly flow is in the mornings and afternoon that take up 50% of all daily trips along the corridor. Increased frequency using articulated buses that connect with the six West Side Skytrain stations would alleviate the current pass-ups for a fraction of the cost of a rail system.

    The daily potential boarding number are a red herring as ridership would have to increase almost seven fold in order to justify the capital expense and that is not going to happen in any of our lifetimes.
  10. milquetoast

    milquetoast Senior Member

  11. Bine

    Bine Full Member

    This seems to be an "updated" version of the original 2009 study. The original input from the report was somewhat different. I notice the "efficiencies" of volume and projected traffic in 2041 are still absolute nonsense. The added densification that would be required to justify these numbers would be absolutely staggering. But then again, THAT is the reason for the subway push - to densify Broadway and make a killing for the developers that line VISION's pockets. The tax base in Metro is not big enough to sustain a system as costly as our current system is. When one looks at the price per km for our current system is fairs badly compared to every other urban transit option.
  12. bill barilko

    bill barilko Full Member

    You must have seen very very little of North America-the Broadway corridor is a sleepy country lane compared to eastern North America.
  13. Superchecker

    Superchecker Active Member

    The ridership is already there for the Broadway line, BUT the $4 Billion to build it isn't....
  14. milquetoast

    milquetoast Senior Member

    @Superchecker indeed. What I'm wondering is why there are so many barriers to transit projects whereas expensive bridges doomed to fail get green lighted without much public consultation? How much money have we lost on the Golden Ears and the Port Mann?

    Sorry I meant busiest bus route, not traffic overall.

    "Broadway is the busiest bus corridor in North America, carrying over 100,000 transit riders per day, twice the ridership of the SkyTrain Millennium Line and equal to the Canada Line."
  15. RRTforSurrey

    RRTforSurrey Guest

    milquetoast likes this.
  16. John M.

    John M. Guest

    it's too bad transit shot themselves in the foot by mishandling the compass card. no way the public is going to give them more money to squander.
  17. nocandocan

    nocandocan Guest

    Blame Queen Bitch Christy Clark and the Provincial Government for that.
  18. Superchecker

    Superchecker Active Member

    Golden Ears was a TransLink project...

    Port Mann was a provincial government project...

    The Patullo bridge replacement will be a TransLink project...
  19. nocandocan

    nocandocan Guest

    Yes superchecker but the reason for the referendum is Christy Clark and the provincial goons. She made an idiotic election promise to put any transit spending to a public vote.
  20. Kisai

    Kisai New Member

    There is nothing obsolete about the Skytrain, and people who keep repeating that, haven't spent more than 5 minutes researching it, often so they can quickly spout some nonsense about how at-grade light rail is cheaper. One has to be completely oblivious to operational and liability costs to believe this.

    I wish I kept talking points for every time I have this discussion, but it boils down to this:
    At-grade rail, of any sort, is dangerous. You have the potential for human error at the train, the trains do not stop on a dime. More so is you have human error at all the grade crossings. Every light rail system out there, kills a dozen people every year, and has several dozen collisions per year, per grade crossing.

    The Skytrain is not one monolithic piece of technology. The technology is made up of no less than 3 interchangeable parts that can be produced by at least two different companies.

    The CBTC signalling technology (Seltrac) was invented specifically for the Skytrain, and there are now dozens of Metro's that use it. The Linear-induction-motors and guideways are not unique to the Skytrain and are favored by Asian metro's because they allow for smaller tunnels. Lastly, the rolling stock itself is available with Rotary or LIM options, (Bombardier Innovia Metro 300) and has also been produced by other companies.

    Sure there may be a dozen or so companies that can build LRV's, but they still end up costing more than the Skytrain cars to build, operate and maintain. When you add in the liability costs (7 million per fatality, 70 thousand per injury, half a million per LRV repair) the long term costs for at-grade LRT look horrible. At 10 fatalities and 600 collisions or injuries per LRT system, the potential liability cost per year is around 112 million annually. That is without taking into account suicides.

    But I digress, the Translink has put out the RFP's today for the Broadway Subway (To Arbutus) and Surrey Light Rail, likely to finalize a business case for any/all the transit priorities.

    That one light rail segment that was running during the Olympics? Too expensive. And the Historical Street Car is also too expensive(albeit for different reasons.) So why does anyone want to build more when it's already been proven to be expensive and accident prone? Look up "Olympic streetcar collides with Jeep", go look at Yelp reviews for it. Everyone said was slow.

    The business case for above-grade (like the existing viaducts on the Skytrain) are better than a below-grade (Subway) option, but the City of Vancouver has no "Plan B" in case that project only gets funded enough for a cheaper above-grade option. Surrey's LRT project already has a negative business case for at-grade rail, and if the province is going to be forced to pick-and-choose, it would sooner let Surrey build light rail itself than fund such a white elephant.

    If ones entire argument is that "light rail would be cheaper" then we would be better off building only BRT. Nobody wants to build BRT in Metro Vancouver because it's not as sexy as a train. So any argument about how cheap or expensive a form of transit is to build, winds up being completely invalidated.

    The fact is, every part of the existing rapid transit system has been pushed through political meddling.
    The Original Skytrain was pushed by the Social Credit party, if they didn't we'd have ended up with a painfully slow light rail project instead.
    The Millennium line was pushed by the NDP as a make-work project that benefited only NDP ridings, Only 1/3rd of it got built. (The Broadway to UBC and Evergreen line are the other 2/3rds)
    The Canada line was pushed by the Liberal government as a P3 project, in time for the Olympics, so we got the cheapest "full metro" that could be designed, and lost opportunities to save operational costs by doing so.
    The Evergreen line was originally supposed to be part of the Millennium line, but plans to have it as a LRT or Skytrain got pushed back and forth, until the Canada Line promised that it would get built. The business case was better for extending the Skytrain than to switch technology (also note the tunnel cost would be higher.) Again Political meddling is what kept this as a Skytrain project.

    So here we are again, political meddling at the civic level. Nobody promised a rail project in their Provincial election goodie bag, everyone was too distracted by LNG and Oil pipelines. The referendum is a political ploy for the Province to not be held responsible for under-funding the transit system. Surrey may have ultimately sabotaged the referendum for everyone by pressing for Light Rail that it has no business case to build, and yet went to the feds for money before the referendum.

    But since the RFP's have been put out, that means Translink is looking to get actual costs from interested parties ahead of the referendum, and both projects may still get shelved if the business cases for them don't work out.

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