Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rail, South Fraser, Population Density and Insanity

Rail, SF, Population Density

Note that the Interurban Line goes through areas more dense than the Millennium SkyTrain Line

This weekend we received a very cool map that was created and sent to us by Michael Kushnir, a UBC student from Vancouver. Mike has done a great job of mapping the rail lines from Vancouver to Chilliwack, and then including some great population density data in the mix. Michael did this work as part of a project at university. I’m sure you’ll agree that Mike has done a great job of also presenting his data in a very easy to understand graphic format. Take special note of the “Population Density per km” shading.

I spoke with Mike on the phone after he emailed us, and found him to be a very switched on young guy that has tasted the living overseas adventure life that I share with him. Riding the rails of the cities and rural areas of Asia and Europe can sure broaden your perspective and clue you in on what is possible here, if people only had the vision for it.

If we can resolve the arguments about population density and ridership, then we can focus our energy on building the actual light rail and marketing it to the “people of choice” that would get out of their cars if presented with a clean, safe, frequent alternative. Maybe the students of our day, like Michael Kushnir, can soon become the teachers? Thanks for the awesome work Mike, and please keep in touch with us!

Now for the Insanity

On another note we now know that the SkyTrain empire building will continue without fail, as the new Evergreen Line will use the same old proprietary Bombardier technology that is NOT used elsewhere around the world. Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation told the public on Friday that this will cost slightly more to build, but it will be cheaper to maintain. How is that possible Mr. Minister, when only Bombardier uses this technology?

There are over 20 companies (including Bombardier) that manufacture light rail and can support us with choice and price competitiveness. I’m sure that General Electric and the others would be very pleased to manufacture some light rail cars and systems here in BC if we made it a requirement of the bid package.

Its hilarious that even TransLink admits this system of building cars is very expensive, but we are going to do it anyway. Will this exercise in stubbornness even add to the Canadian economy and sustain Canadian jobs? NO. They will be produced in Mexico. What do you say about that Canadian taxpayers?


Grumpy said...

A note on Kevin Falcon's claims about SkyTrain - complete lies!

Calgary's LRT system carries over 250,000 passengers a day, yet its operating costs are about $34 million annually, of which $6 million are driver's wages.

SkyTrain carries less ridership, yet Translink admitted that annual operating costs are in order of $70million annually.

Either Kevin Falcon is deliberately telling lies or he is ignorant of the true operational costs of SkyTrain!

Alas, the Evergreen Line announcement, will entrench the 'Metro' Vancouver region with the obsolete SkyTrain light-metro; light-metro which was made obsolete by LRT!

Oh what fools we mortals be.

One also should read Gerald Fox's "Comparison of LRT and AGT systems".

Anonymous said...

The problem with this map is that it is irrelevant the instant it is published. The south Fraser (Surrey, Langley Township and Abbotsford) is seeing incredible growth, and higher than ever densities.

This would be a far more valuable tool if it included projected densities and population over the next 10 years. If you think we're underserved now, wait until you project ten years out.

Unknown said...

Jordan, I don't think it's irrelevant. It's still useful, and offers us an almost-current picture.

People don't seem so supportive of LRT in the comments on this CBC article, and unfortunately they're just accepting Falcon's falsehoods.

I spoke with Gregor Robertson yesterday and encouraged him to bring up LRT as a viable, sensible alternative to a subway to UBC. He's aware of the manipulation going on with Evergreen, etc. so I hope he's successful...

Joe Zaccaria said...

Great point Jordan! Maybe I'll e-mail our good friend Mike and see if he wants to have some fun with this.

Grumpy said...

I really find it embarrassing to ask a politicians to investigate to see if LRT is viable. Good God, doesn't any of these rather high paid politico's ever read a book?

The NDP are still trying to justify the Millennium Line because it is the only project the media haven't dumped on them. They live in a fantasy land.

We will get SkyTrain in the region until bombardier goes bankrupt or ceases production of the metro. Bombardier see Vancouver and its civic, provincial and federal politicians, as well as the population as suckers, as we are the only ones who keep buying more SkyTrain!

No wonder Vancouver is a crime hub of flim-flam artists and con-men, we are nothing but marks, ready to be taken to the cleaners by "get rich schemes'.

Bre-X or Brick shares anyone? Come to Vancouver and sell them.