Archive for LRT
Calgary’s West LRT line opens on December 12, 2012.
Here’s a preview ride from 69th Street Station to Sunalta Station on the edge of downtown.
West LRT has a bit of everything – featuring a minimal number of level crossings, it’s elevated, underground and open trench.
Calgary has one of the most successful LRT systems in North America.
That success is taking its toll on the oldest LRV’s.
Calgary’s overworked and ancient LRT fleet is getting a much-needed tune-up as Calgary Transit rejigs and rethinks the way its mechanical crews deal with the vehicles, especially the most breakdown-prone ones.
The city’s Siemens U2 light rail cars date back as far as the system’s 1981 inception.
Last year, at the same time as the city prepared new orders to replace the oldest vehicles, it was beset with a string of rush-hour system shutdowns that focused public frustration on service reliability and prompted Mayor Naheed Nenshi to admit: “We have to do a better job.”
A recently released transit report details the city’s $500,000, three-year commitment to squeezing more life and fewer bungles out of the fleet.
However, the boxy, fibreglass U2 cars break down twice as often as the sleeker, steel-body Siemens SD160s, which were introduced to the fleet barely a decade ago.
Calgary is considering different train manufacturers for its next order of 50 LRT vehicles, which will help usher in four-car service and allow some of the oldest trains to hit the scrapyard.
But the delivery of those trains is pegged for 2014, so all the 82 U2s still in use will keep wheezing into service.
Davies’ goal is modest: a 10 per cent improvement in reliability rates in two years. That would bring the failure rate down below a dozen car failures per month, the manager said.
“It may not sound like a lot,” Davies said of his new program’s aim. “But there’s an awful lot of work that needs to get done, and you have to do it across the whole fleet.”
Who is the other LRV manufacturer the city is considering? Bombardier? What model? What’s the advantage for Calgary in switching? Will there be an open bidding process?
Here in Calgary, the 2011 Census results were recently released.
Calgary is a smidge under 1.1 million people. There’s not enough money for all the infrastructure projects we would like and need to build.
Instead of just waiting for the provincial or federal governments to hand us money I have advocated that Calgary ask for an increase in the gas tax to fund specific projects. I have suggested a 10-12 cents increase in the gas tax via an one cent per month increase over 12 months.
This would go towards funding LRT projects such as building a combined SE/Centre Street LRT and putting both this line and the existing South/NW line underground downtown.
I would also reroute SE LRT to serve the Stampede Grounds and rebuild the existing South line at the Stampede to allow the Stampede Board to achieve its goal of reopening 17th Avenue as a main Stampede entrance.
I have often thought that cities like Calgary and Vancouver should be working more with Canada’s Pension Funds and REIT’s to create win/win scenarios with building rapid transit and creating good projects in connection with Transit Oriented Development.
Canada’s Top 100 Pension Funds had assets of $753 Billion. If cities like Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto could tap into 2.5 – 5% of that, that’s an investment pool ranging from $18 – 37 Billion dollars.
Pension funds are no strangers to real estate investment, to give one example, The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTTP) investment in Cadillac Fairview is worth close to $17 Billion.
Here’s an article from New York wondering if there are lessons to be learned from Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, our beleaguered MTA has struggled with debt and disrepair for decades, despite the fact that it is the backbone of one of the richest cities on the planet.
With a bit of MTR-style tweaking, some of this wealth could be harnessed to keep the transit system healthy, reliable and efficient.
While it may seem extraordinary to have a transit company operating like a profit-making company, it’s not novel. Private streetcar lines made money more on real estate deals than the nickel fares they received.
In numerous cases, electric utilities – PSE&G in New Jersey, for one – owned the streetcar companies and used them to stimulate development, which created demand for electric power contracts.
hat tip – 2nd Ave. Sagas
Ottawa has been working on a LRT plan for a 13.5km long route featuring a 3.2km tunnel downtown. Ottawa’s plan has attracted much attention because of the tunnel segment.
Here’s the link to Ottawa’s LRT site.
Calgary has one of the most successful LRT systems in North America. Calgary put more money into building more track and the trade-off was going on the surface downtown. Calgary’s success has now made downtown the main chokepoint in the LRT system.
Calgary needs a tunnel downtown.
Ottawa has improved its LRT plans by reducing the cost of the downtown tunnel segment.
As reported by the Citizen in advance, the revised plan moves the downtown tunnel portion of the 12.5-kilometre line to a straighter path under Queen Street that will be roughly half as deep as the version the city had been working on, which is more appealing to riders.
It means the tunnel can be built for about $493 million, according to city estimates, rather than $700 million, and helps keep the expected total price tag to $2.1 billion, even after inflation.
Deputy city manager Nancy Schepers, who is in charge of transit and urban planning, explained that the original concept for a deep tunnel was based on guesswork about the rock conditions beneath downtown, but core samples taken over the last year have given the city better information.
“We went back and challenged our assumptions,” Schepers said. And that led planners to conclude that if, a shallow tunnel was a possibility, Queen Street was the best route.
Furthermore, she said, because there’s very good information about what lies close to the surface along Queen (thanks to previous construction projects), both the city and potential builders can be much more confident in their cost estimates than they would otherwise have been.
I’m about three months late putting this up here.
This is my presentation to Calgary City Council during the public presentation section of the budget process. This is the second time I’ve spoken during this opportunity. I briefly touch on the budget and then move to what I really want to talk about.
Your Worship, members of council, my name is Robert Zalischuk and I am a resident of Ogden in Ward 9.
I will try to cover four items.
Your worship, last night I read your budget proposals and I applaud the work you have done.
I wouldn’t mind cloning you and replacing the top layers of the administration.
I would only add that we do need zero-based budgets, and we do need budget documents that plainly state what money is going where and what for.
The 96 Avenue underpass or the Airport Trail tunnel.
Members of council, let’s be clear. The pro-tunnel mayoral candidates got over 350,000 votes. Calgarians want that underpass. No excuses, let’s get it done!
The combination of Stoney Trail and Airport Trail will become the preferred way to get to the airport for hundreds of thousands of Calgarians and extending LRT service to the airport from the NE line makes very good sense.
Your worship, as a resident of Ogden, SE LRT will directly benefit me.
As a Calgarian, I would say a Centre Street LRT is equally as important, but…we are currently stuck with the rather dumb and completely unacceptable idea of running North Central LRT in the Nose Creek Valley.
That’s something I expect this council to change.
Based on the current situation, council should approve initial construction of the SE LRT to Douglas Glen. I invite members of council to come to Ogden Road, come to 18th Street, and wave to the endless stream of traffic.
One change I would suggest is that between downtown and the Crossroads Market, the SE LRT should be rerouted to serve the Stampede Grounds at a new Stampede Station that would also allow the reopening of 17th Avenue as a main Stampede entrance.
I also suggest that Southeast LRT be combined with a Centre Street LRT route and that city council seek additional gas tax funding to build this combined line running from North Point into downtown, to the Stampede and going out to the SE Hospital in Seton.
Do the fifteen of you have what it takes to do something incredible for Calgary?
If anyone here is serious about “Plan It Calgary” then we should be planning for four or five underground LRT lines downtown.
To that end, I would suggest that a Central Underground LRT station downtown be planned in combination with a new Central Library and a new Glenbow Museum. My suggestion is that the Bay Parkade block be the starting point for this project. And again, I suggest that gas tax funding be a key component in funding what would be a much more significant world class project than a pedestrian bridge.
The Globe and Mail’s Marcus Gee writes about Calgary’s LRT system.
Metro Toronto has what is called the Transit City plan.
My reading of Transit City is, that for the most part, it has very little in common with Calgary’s use of LRT.
A commentator on Gee’s article writes….
Light rail is a technology… How it is deployed, planned, and configured is the most important.
‘Transit City’ has almost nothing in common with Calgary’s light rail.
For almost all purposes. “Transit City’ is street car… not rapid LRT.
A key issue in places like Calgary and Vancouver is the funding of more rapid transit.
Gas taxes, property taxes, hands out from the provincial governments are just a few of the options.
Something I would like to see more of is – the transit agencies profiting from the development that occurs around LRT or Skytrain stations, perhaps in a partnership with Canada’s pension funds.
The Rail + Property technique is something that comes in handy in Hong Kong.
Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic has this item on it.
It first worked in Vancouver helping build the Canada line.
Now it’s in Calgary helping build the West LRT.
Here’s the route animation for West LRT.
The Big Yellow Thing has its own Facebook fan group.
Click on the first photo to go through them, or click for the slideshow.
194th Avenue South
Most Calgarians quickly realize that the city is short several river crossings. Day after after, year after year, this costs Calgarians in time and money and you better believe it adds up to big $$$.
Here are some of the river crossings I would to see built in Calgary, in no particular order here is bridge number one
A high level bridge for 194th Avenue South would provide a direct connection between MacLeod Trail and Deerfoot Trail. It would be a backup when the 22X (future Stoney Trail) is blocked and will also improve access to the new SE hospital.
There’s also the option for a LRT route connecting the South and Southeast lines.