Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Learning From Others

All Aboard?

A typical Portland Streetcar

Last week Brent Graham addressed Township Council on behalf of South Fraser OnTrax to discuss streetcars and the interurban. During his presentation, Brent talked about the large LRT system that he runs (project director - rail) in Melbourne, Australia. Brent said that like any system, they have made all the mistakes and that gives us the opportunity to learn from them and avoid the same mistakes.

Brent is partially busy upgrading some of those older design issues, but they are sometimes costly to retrofit. I was in Portland, OR last week on business and decided to photograph some of the issues that came up during that council presentation, and how Portland has resolved some of these for us to learn from.

Problem: Ugly Electrical Cables on the Streets of Australia

Solution: Portland's single cable with tree-lined boulevards

Can you see the wires? Look close...

And do they connect like an ugly Vancouver bus? No, look how clean this is!

Yeah, but sight lines at intersections will look terrible, right? Look how clean the sight lines are in this typical intersection...

So, getting this streetcar or LRT system in Langley means that we will lose on-street parking? No, take a look...

and this...

Councillor Kim Richter asked a very reasonable question of the cost of a tram system for Langley. While there are many factors to consider, South Fraser OnTrax is carefully researching a basic per kilometer costing for such a system. We will report back to Township Council and Councillor Richter in writing, and all inform all of you here. Stay tuned!

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