Author Topic: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line  (Read 6522 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« on: February 19, 2010, 05:35:50 AM »
Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line



Vancouver's 1.12 mile modern streetcar demonstration project proves that through creativity and opportunity, rail systems can be developed at a low cost, with a short implementation period, and still be considered attractive. Jacksonville should take note.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-feb-affordable-streetcar-vancouvers-olympic-line-

tufsu1

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2010, 08:09:18 AM »
I vote for Prime Osborn to Cathedral District....it might increase my home's value  ;)

BridgeTroll

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 08:27:53 AM »
Quote
The Olympic Line was constructed on a partially abandoned and seldom used existing rail corridor.  With no money needed for the purchase of additional right-of-way, local funding was used to completely rebuild the corridor to support frequent modern streetcar use.

Lake... As stated in your article quoted above the cost was low partially because they used existing ROW.  Is this the case with with the examples you cite?
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

thelakelander

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 08:36:12 AM »
Yes.  We should not have to purchase ROW for a streetcar system.....unless we just want to make it more expensive then it has to be.
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Miss Fixit

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Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2010, 09:06:37 AM »
How expensive are the streetcars themselves?  I notice that Bombardier donated the cars for the Olympic Line test project.

vicupstate

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 09:30:33 AM »
Doesn't Bombardier have a significant Jax presence, or did?
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thelakelander

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2010, 09:47:52 AM »
How expensive are the streetcars themselves?  I notice that Bombardier donated the cars for the Olympic Line test project.

JTA's streetcar study claims somewhere between $800k (heritage) to $1.5 million (modern)/each.  They can be had for cheaper.  Ocklawaha can give you more accurate numbers.

http://jtafla.com/pdf/Streetcars/StreetcarRReport090808.pdf

You can also work deals with other cities for used stock.  For example, Nashville's Music City Star commuter rail system purchased their cars from Chicago for a $1 a piece.  If you can work out a demonstration deal, perhaps a rail car manufacturer will give you the ability to use a few for free during the trial period (that's a way to market their product).  In the end, we should have options if we don't limit ourselves.
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Miss Fixit

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2010, 10:11:07 AM »
Doesn't Bombardier have a significant Jax presence, or did?

Bombardier Capital handled leasing of railcars to transportation companies and was headquartered in Jacksonville.  I believe that subsidiary was moved and perhaps is winding down.

AaroniusLives

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 01:07:27 PM »
Some interesting notes on this very cool looking streetcar line.

As said in another post, one of the largest differences between [COMPARISON REGION] (in this case, Vancouver,) and Jacksonville is political will. The people of Vancouver, en masse, want a well-developed transit system. Consider this, from wikipedia's "Transportation in Vancouver" link.

Quote
Unlike many large metropolises, Vancouver has no freeways into or through the downtown area. A proposed freeway through the downtown was rejected in the 1960s by a coalition of citizens, community leaders and planners. This event "signalled the emergence of a new concept of the urban landscape"[1] and has been a consistent element of city planning ever since.

Much like DC and it's immediate suburbs, Vancouver didn't want a freeway culture to be dominant. Moreover, enough of them didn't want this dominant freeway culture to achieve critical mass and politically swing the region towards "a new concept of the urban landscape." That's something somewhat unknown about Jacksonville and the Jacksonville MSA: how many people don't want to continue the highway/suburb culture? Is that a critical mass percentage that can affect change, or is it a loose coalition of New Urbanists, skyscraper geeks and SimCity players that come to this forum?

(I'm not even a damned resident, and I love this site. But I'm a New Urbanist, and I left South Florida for DC to live an urban life, in a metro region that has said critical mass percentage.)

If you don't have enough residents who want a change in the make-up of the city/region/MSA, than it's a waste of time and money. Even if it's cheap and affordable to build, a 1-ish mile streetcar line that little-to-nobody uses is a failure. It shows as a failure and can be used to demonstrate the futility of trying for projects such as these in the future (see: Skytrain.)

Again, I'm not saying that you shouldn't try. And I'm not saying that Jacksonville shouldn't have a streetcar. But...find out how many people will use the streetcar. Build a coalition of people in the city and the region that will politically demand the streetcar. Make certain that once its built, there's plenty of awareness of the streetcar, so the transit numbers stay up. If you can't get the first part (enough demonstrable, tangible, statistical interest in streetcar use,) then pursuing the other parts are futile. Also, since Jacksonville is already in the car-loving-hole, so to speak, you need more than numbers that say how many people could use the streetcar. A projection is nothing. I'm sure several more tens of thousands could use the Skytrain, no?

Nope. You need petitions signed by citizens pledging to actually use the streetcar. You need those citizens to organize and campaign for the streetcar. You need to demonstrate to the powers that be that there are real people behind those rosy projections.

Vancouver didn't need to overcome this with their streetcar. They have a vast network of transit options under the banner of Translink that move the region. They have the political desire to have transit. Does Jacksonville?

It's also interesting to note that a great deal of this political desire may be driven by population need. 2,116,581 live in Metro Vancouver on 1,111 sq mi of land. Jacksonville's city/county combo has 807,815 people living on 885 sq mi of land. That's about 20% less land for Jacksonville, and yet...the entire metro region of Vancouver has nearly double the population density of Jacksonville's city/county combo: 1,905.2/sq mi versus 1,061.6/sq mi.

Still, I think it's a matter of political will at the end of the day. There are places much less populated than Jacksonville who have found the political will to create New Urbanism, and build affordable, reliable transit. And there's an example in your own state (South Florida,) with a land area about equal to Metro Vancouver's (deleting the Everglades: 1,116 square miles) and a population density much, much higher than Metro Vancouver's (4,407.4 per square mile, or more than twice the density,) that just doesn't really embrace mass transit (566,810 use a variety of South Florida mass transit options daily...or barely 10 percent.) 489,863 hopped on Vancouver's options daily for about 25% of the population taking transit as their option.

Not a huge amount...but I'm sure the political will makes up for the rest.



urbanlibertarian

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2010, 04:06:13 PM »
IMO, if downtown streetcar happens here in the next 10 years the funding for construction will come from somewhere other than COJ or JTA.  A private source (a person or business betting their own money) would bode better for something that people would actually use.
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thelakelander

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2010, 05:29:16 PM »
Quote
Even if it's cheap and affordable to build, a 1-ish mile streetcar line that little-to-nobody uses is a failure. It shows as a failure and can be used to demonstrate the futility of trying for projects such as these in the future (see: Skytrain.)

Salt Lake City - 45,200 riders/day - 19 mile system

Houston - 31,100 riders/day - 7.5 mile system

Buffalo - 22,300 riders/day - 6.4 mile system

Charlotte - 20,000 riders/day - 9.6 mile system

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_light_rail_systems_by_ridership

I think these communities are real life examples that prove the theory mentioned above flat out wrong.  Ultimate success of mass transit has more to do with creating systems that take people where they want to go in a reliable, attractive, timely and cost efficient manner moreso than what a region's suburbanites may think.

Thus, if you're starter segment can link actual pedestrian friendly destinations/anchors with fairly densely populated residential areas, in an attractive manner, it will attract riders.  If it can not deliver these things, it won't.

By the way, I would also never use the skyway as an example of why rail won't work in Jacksonville.

1. Its not a rail system.

2. JTA runs it like a red headed stepchild (not reliable)

3. It does not connect any dense residential area with pedestrian friendly destinations/anchors (doesn't take you where you want to go)

4. Not integrated well with regular bus system (not efficient)

If we're going to use the skyway as an example for anything, it should be what not to do.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 05:34:40 PM by thelakelander »
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urbanlibertarian

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2010, 06:03:37 PM »
lakelander wrote "If we're going to use the skyway as an example for anything, it should be what not to do."

This is why transit should be developed by or with the help of people who have been successful at pleasing customers.  Politicians and bureaucrats have other conflicting goals.
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 11:35:06 PM »

SKYTRAIN


SKYWAY


VANCOUVER HERITAGE STREETCAR (interurban) OWNS THE OLYMPIC STREETCAR DEMO LINE.

If you don't have enough residents who want a change in the make-up of the city/region/MSA, than it's a waste of time and money. Even if it's cheap and affordable to build, a 1-ish mile streetcar line that little-to-nobody uses is a failure. It shows as a failure and can be used to demonstrate the futility of trying for projects such as these in the future (see: Skytrain.)

It's also interesting to note that a great deal of this political desire may be driven by population need. 2,116,581 live in Metro Vancouver on 1,111 sq mi of land. Jacksonville's city/county combo has 807,815 people living on 885 sq mi of land. That's about 20% less land for Jacksonville, and yet...the entire metro region of Vancouver has nearly double the population density of Jacksonville's city/county combo: 1,905.2/sq mi versus 1,061.6/sq mi.


Skytrain, is ALRT which is "Advanced Light Rapid Transit," or, "Advanced Light Rail Transit." The system basically uses automated (Skyway style) trains, made up of operator-less Light Rail Vehicles, which are much larger then our Skyway cars.  There are no motors aboard Skytrain, as it is induction driven, using the pull of a magnetic field. It operates on regular railroad track, and has superior acceleration and climbing abilities, with a top speed of about 80 kph.

The futility of these projects? Skytrain? You do know that Skytrain is about to surpass the ridership projections that were set for it, some 2-5 years AHEAD of schedule. Hardly the failure you paint it to be.

Vancouver is now looking to expand the Skytrain into a more dense network with several new lines in the planning or design stages. One of these, the "Canada Line," will be yet another hybrid with more LRT like vehicles and operations on the Skytrain tracks, something we should watch carefully.


By the way, I would also never use the skyway as an example of why rail won't work in Jacksonville.

Quote
1. Its not a rail system.


It IS A RAIL SYSTEM, just not "steel wheel on steel rail," but otherwise should qualify for all of the financial perks being thrown at the rail systems today, but of course, we are asleep at the wheel and not asking.


Quote
2. JTA runs it like a red headed stepchild (not reliable)

Absolutely an outrage, our public howls over it's percieved failures, while belly aching over $4 Million a year in operational subsidy, rather then putting JTA's feet to the fire and demanding nothing less the excellence. How does that $4 Million stack up to a paint job on a bridge? a fountain in a park? new flex space? and how much less would it be if the Skyway operated as promised back in the 80's?

Quote
3. It does not connect any dense residential area with pedestrian friendly destinations/anchors (doesn't take you where you want to go)

Exactly, as it is it serves only as a bridge over the river, but not as the approaching highways. Thus one can cross the bridge, but can't access the "towns" on either side as the roads are NOT BUILT. Imagine us demanding the Fuller Warren function perfectly but with us never having built I-95! Wouldn't be too damn useful would it?

Quote
4. Not integrated well with regular bus system (not efficient
)

Again, right on target, a failure of planning, a failure of will, a failure of JTA management, but NOT a failure of either the Skyway or the Buses themselves. In fact a REALLY good football team, and no coaches.

Quote
If we're going to use the skyway as an example for anything, it should be what not to do.

I would qualify that by saying not so much what not to do, rather, how not to execute what they attempted to do. A prime example of empty promises, unfullfilled construction, schedules, connections, and expansions. The failure is HUMAN, not technology, train or even concept.


lakelander wrote "If we're going to use the skyway as an example for anything, it should be what not to do."

This is why transit should be developed by or with the help of people who have been successful at pleasing customers.  Politicians and bureaucrats have other conflicting goals.


No politician or bureaucrat should have a conflict with improving the quality of life of the city they serve. The Skyway is an attempt to do exactly that, which got wildly distorted and caught up in our own Convention Center Bubble. The original planned routes, all included a phase one from the COURTHOUSE/and ANNEX to The Landing and hence north into FCCJ. Had that been built, we would be talking about a completely different Skyway today then the one we love to hate. Notice we never completed a single one of those station goals and City Hall thinks it's the "auto loving" citizens that have failed "them!"

I've said it before (for like 30 years) I would NEVER have built the Skyway as a huge amount of the "what it can do" could be done for pennies on the dollar with streetcar, light rail or commuter rail. Having invested nearly $200 Million in capital costs, and having the most expensive parts behind us, it is time to reassess the Skyway and look at it's strengths. We should calculate how another $150 Million +/- would give us an elevated "EXPRESS" transit system from the heart of downtown on both banks, to San Marco, 5-Points, Shand's and A.P. Randolph. Look at how that meshes with the Light Rail System or Streetcars that MJ has been pounding into the city's head. A matrix, CHOICE, over and under, around and through, intertwined and connected, seamless, transit choice would make us that URBANEST paradise we seek.


OCKLAWAHA

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2010, 10:21:41 AM »
If a street car line were to be built, I'd say we should start with the 5 points to Skyway (yellow) line first. This the only line I see on that map that connects a place where people live to a place where people work. Once that section were well established and extension towards Avondale seems very possible (although I'm not sure about whether easily obtainable ROW exists past 5 points).

Skyway to stadium would be my second choice because it would receive a lot of exposure during game day and connects some of these far spread destinations like the sports complex to the Bay St. entertainment district to the Landing. But the real downside is would that line receive enough traffic during the off season and during the week to be able to show that people are really interested in rail transit?

I think that Prime Osborne to Cathedral district line would be a waste. Skyway already runs through there so people have an automatic argument against it because it duplicates services, and I don't think there's enough traffic moving through there to justify it. The public would think of it as Skyway ground shuttle. It may work as an extension, but I think it's a poor starter line.

urbanlibertarian

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: Vancouver's Olympic Line
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2010, 03:26:58 PM »


lakelander wrote "If we're going to use the skyway as an example for anything, it should be what not to do."

This is why transit should be developed by or with the help of people who have been successful at pleasing customers.  Politicians and bureaucrats have other conflicting goals.


No politician or bureaucrat should have a conflict with improving the quality of life of the city they serve. The Skyway is an attempt to do exactly that, which got wildly distorted and caught up in our own Convention Center Bubble. The original planned routes, all included a phase one from the COURTHOUSE/and ANNEX to The Landing and hence north into FCCJ. Had that been built, we would be talking about a completely different Skyway today then the one we love to hate. Notice we never completed a single one of those station goals and City Hall thinks it's the "auto loving" citizens that have failed "them!"

Exactly my point.  How did we get away from the original plan to what was built?  Did the politicians and bureaucrats really believe they improved it?  Or were re-election and other considerations put ahead of pleasing customers?  IMO it's just the way government usually does things.
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