Sunday, May 24, 2009

Winnipeg Street Cars and Toronto Barriers

South Fraser OnTrax board member Bill Taylor wanted to share this website on the old Winnipeg streetcars. Light rail street cars have come a long way from these old 1950 era streetcars. The sleek looks, level boarding, and overall comfort of modern light rail is well-known.

While we are on this topic, you will note that these old streetcars were much like buses in that one is required to climb up stairs to enter or exit. Most light rail communities have instituted LRT that allows for level boarding. Most especially to facilitate an aging population and the handicapped.

Well, there are always exceptions and Toronto will be one of them. Toronto had decided to go with modern Siemens manufactured LRT cars. Then it was switched to Bombardier. This week the federal government and the province announced new funding for the system. Here's the picture and please note the stairs. Does this make any sense to you? Massive bad planning here for sure. Can you imagine designing a system like this with an aging population and handicapped access awareness? Why on earth would you ever build such barriers to inclusiveness and modern convenience? Amazing!

So once again while other provinces tap into unprecedented federal dollars for LRT of some sort, we still mess around with bus, rapid bus and other forms of dinosaur transit options in the south Fraser. With a lack of vision, the people perish. Paraphrased from a wise author.

Update Sunday, May 24, 2009

As our loyal reader Corey pointed out, in April, 2009 the staff of the Toronto Transit Commission did recommend the purchase of Bombardier low-floor light rail vehicles. These LRT cars are known as Bombardier Flex Outlook and is pictured above. The line recently announced by the feds and the province of ON that we spoke about here is an LRT line that will run for Don Mills subway station to Meadowvale Road, connecting to the Finch West LRT. You can read more about it here and here. I believed there is also another streetcar program or two that is yet to be funded.

We aren't sure why the Prime Minister and the Premier did their announcement and photo op on a step-down train, instead of a modern low-level light rail car. Obviously the organizers of this photo op are clueless with regards to transit and as they probably drive a gas guzzler to work every day, would understand why we transportation advocates would gasp at this step-down car. It was red and sparkled as the politicians stepped off, so perhaps that's all that mattered? Thanks for pointing this out Corey!


Corey said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe TO has decided to go with the Flexity Outlook from Bombardier, which is a 100% low-floor design and will be fully accessible. My guess is that the picture is either old, or the politicians have no idea about the difference between old and new streetcars.

You're right though, we need someone with vision here in Metro Vancouver to blaze a light rail path to the future!

Joe Zaccaria said...

Thanks for causing us to dig deeper than the photo op Cory! See my update to the original post.

Corey said...

Very nice streetcars, those.

Now my only beef with your post is that you spelled my name wrong... twice. ;-)

Joe Zaccaria said...

Whoops! Corrections made except for the comment section here as it is impossible to change without deleting. Chalk it up to me not having enough coffee today. Thanks again Corey.