March 15, 2013
Contribution to the debate:
Adam is sharing an illustration to support his proposal, which has been the object of a Sun column:
As many, the Adam’s proposal apparently assumes that the main demand is on UBC. It is worth to mention that the numbers ran by Translink suggests that the highest demand is on the central Broadway portion 
The Translink ridership predictions west of Arbutus (4000pphpd) is in fact less than a third of the one predicted on Central Broadway
This finding effectively strongly question the relevance of a subway west of Arbutus, or at least justify a phasing of the subway construction, a solution we have started to investigated in our previous post. In fact  has studied a first phase ending at Arbutus, costed at $1.5B, and states that:
The economic assessment of phasing RRT is positive with a benefit:cost ratio of 2.7, vs. 2.3 if built to UBC initially
 UBC Line rapid transit study: Phase 2 Evaluation report Steer Davies Gleave, August 2012
March 11, 2013
Post edited after comment number 3
I have noticed that Translink has made public on Monday its full study , which looks pretty comprehensive, so I have to swallow back some chuncks of this post, to recognize this fact. An important figure from this study is how the line affect ridership region wise, and more especially the busiest segment of the Expo line:
2041 AM peak transit flow on on the Broadway-Commercial / Main-Terminal segment
|Business As Usual||23,104|
The above illustrates that not extending the Millenium beyond VCC Clark, impose a cost on the Expo line… just to be able to cope with the demand on its busiest segment. This cost can be eventually tremendous,  has advanced number above $1 Billion to upgrade the Expo line capacity above 20,000pphpd.
Lot of activities on the Broadway subway front those days:
- A KPMG study financed by the City of Vancouver
- The finding of what is presented as a Phase 2 of the UBC line rapid transit study: One year study for a 9 pages pamphlet :
Isn’t it pathetic?No, now Translink has made available the full 406p study on its site 
- A Vision’s campaign for the Broadway subway, with its Town hall meeting sunday March 10th
The results of the KPMG study are unsurprisingly aligned with the buyer expectation, City of Vancouver. Nevertheless, the study addresses an important global economic aspect of why rapid transit is needed, and we will have probably the opportunity to develop on this aspect in the future
The March 10th Vision town hall meeting, or Broadway subway Rally
A gray hair, subway hostile crowd was out in full force at the St James Community Hall in the heart of Kitsilano, and was seeming to set a pretty dominating adversarial tone for this meeting. It turn out that the Geoff Meggs presentation  was able to keep their ire under control. After that, the “anti subway” lobby was not really able to come with any constructive comment/question: Usually sarcastic, and more often that not fear-mongering and deriding UBC students.
The refreshing voice of one of them was in fact framing the debate:
- The young from UBC, representing and wanting to be the fuel of the future of the regional economy vs
- The gray hair, living on over-inflated real estate, contemptuous of everything West of Alma, and East of Arbutus, and representing a past era.
- It needs to make sense from a Transit network perspective to allow to leverage the new line, and provide an efficient reworking of the bus network
- More well access to tunnel could be necessary
- Duplication of starting cost and acquisition of expensive machinery like tunnel boring machine (TBM)
- The drawback is that we can have a sleeping investment not generating revenue, if we end up to build unused tunnels
In that sense, this meeting probably achieved its key objective. Some tried to make the case for an LRT, based on the premise that for a subway, you can have many LRTs. Geoff Meggs admitted that he has to believe the Translink engineer more than the “engineer” Patrick Condon (the champion of this idea).
The Phasing of the Line
Richard Campbell questioned about that, and it is probably the only way to see this line someday as well as the best way to move forward as suggested before and potentially enable to defer technology choice west of Arbutus to a later date. Below some useful numbers from an Ottawa study ; which are relatively inline with a Parisian study ; for the matter relevant to the Broadway Subway:
|Component||Ottawa Cost ||Paris Cost |
|Twin bored tunnel (3m radius)||$45M/km|
|Single bored tunnel (4m radius)||€25M/km|
|Underground Station (up to 30,000pph)||$40M||€32M|
|Open air Station (up to 30,000pph)||€27M|
The total leads to a $2Billions for the Broadway line, adding a 50% contingency fund as assumed in , brings the cost to $3Billions, not including rolling stock and land acquisition.
The numbers suggest that a first phase VCC Clark/Arbutus could come at a $1.3Billion price tag.
For matter of comparison, the 6km extension of the metro line 14, including 4 new stations North of Paris, in a arguably much more complex typology, is costed at €1.2Billion .
 estimates a first phase ending at Arbutus, costed at $1.5B and states that:
The economic assessment of phasing RRT is positive with a benefit:cost ratio of 2.7, vs. 2.3 if built to UBC initially.
Phasing can arise some challenges,
if tunnel is done in several phases
So it is fair to examine the idea to build all the component potentially requiring a TBM in a single phase, and defer later investments at an ulterior date.
The twin tunnels option should also be considered as a starting default point, not as a political statement, like it seems to tend to be done in Vancouver. Considering the topography and traffic level, a cut and cover method could be applied reasonably as soon as West of MacDonald under 10th avenue. This method properly deployed doesn’t need to be despised on the ground of a bad experience, and is still routinely used around the world, including under temporary decks :
The advantage of it, is that it allows a good phasing of the line in the vicinity of Arbutus.
It is also possible that in the case of the Broadway line, especially East of Arbutus, an single large bored tunnel accommodating stacked tracks north of Broadway could make sense, since, taking account of the topography, it could allow a better access to platforms in both directions:
It is worth repeating that there are host of options, and none should be despised on pure political ground, and the one selected should be on the ground of best value for the $.
 It was in fact a rehash of a presentation done by the Vancouver engineering department to city council: Broadway Rapid transit, November 27, 2012
 Development of a downtown Transit solution and network implications, MacCormickRankin Corporation and Delcan, April 2008
 Prolongement de la ligne 4 du metro parisien, Lot 1, des techniques variees pour un lot complexe et delicat, V. Dore, B. Bizon, F. Billon, S. Leroux and L. Petit Jean. Tunnels et Espace souterrain, Nov/Dec 2010.
 UBC Line rapid transit study: Phase 2 Evaluation report Steer Davies Gleave, August 2012
 Expo line upgrade strategy SNC Lavalin and Steer Davies Gleave, September 21, 2010
 Arc express Etudes, insertion de traces, impact sommaire et redaction du DOCP, Setec Tpi, Xelis and Ingerop, 2009
 Metro ligne 14: Prolongement de St lazare a mairie de St Ouen, April 2012
February 27, 2013
December 12, 2011
When it is time to discuss of what makes a “Grand Boulevard”, it is interesting to get the view of the impressionists, contemporaries of the Parisian Haussmann period, which is traditionally attached to the notion of Boulevard.
I have always loved the immense streets of Paris, shimmering in the sun, the crowds of all colours, those beautiful linear and aerial perspectives, those eccentric fashions, etc. But how to do it? To install oneself in the middle of the street is impossible in Paris.
Pissarro, was lucky enough to have a room with view on the Boulevard Montmartre, allowing him to epitomize the qualities of the “Grand boulevard”:
This 35 meters wide boulevard opened in 1763, pre-date the Hausmann’s work in Paris, but carries most of the features usually attributed to the typical Haussmannian boulevard. It pertains to the orthodox Parisian definition of the Grand Boulevards :
- The boulevards are linear and offer an open perspective (like the one opened by Haussmann), changing direction only at major intersections
- Notice the intense level of traffic and how the lamppost are sitting in the carriage way, to not use the pedestrian realm
- …and how wide is the pedestrian space
Usually sidewalks use around half of a typical Parisian boulevard width, This has not varied since the French second empire (1852-1870). Below is a compared cross section of Boulevard Montmartre in Paris and Broadway Street (at Cambie) in Vancouver .
Quality of the Urban furnitures is important and got noticed (many of them has been designed by Gabriel Jean Antoine Davioud):
…But one of the main feature of the Parisian boulevards, is the buzz/energy surrounding them: the gentle crowd, the trees, the play of light, is why people will like to mingle here (last picture in the post also gives a strong incentive to do so!)
The above and ample sidewalks provide a fertile ground for the development of coffee patio, in adition of the Boulevard theatres.
The formal avenue de l’Opéra opened in time for the Universal exposition of 1878, is an exception. It is bereft of trees (and the sidewalk could have been reduced accordingly) on the insistence of the Opera’s architect, Charles Garnier, this to preserve the perspective onto its masterpiece . The move has been appreciated enough to keep this avenue bereft of trees up to today . Another architect request- to have the street free of urban furniture- has been lost in time…
In the Pissarro and others impressionists paintings, ornamental and architectural details of the buildings lining the boulevards are basically absent.
Haussmann designed the Avenue of the Opéra, but it has been built after his 1870′s “resignation”, (associated to the fall of the Napoleon III regime), this between 1876 and 1878. When Haussmann was providing architectural template to the properties developers, the new regime, pressed by the deadline of the 1878′s exposition, had been far less stringent in their building request:
- They have divided the area in 55 lots, sold in 1876, to almost as many different landowners, required to build in a 2 years time frame to the maximum height authorized by the by-laws, and that all principal horizontal lines in each block should coincide, which ensured that all the windows would be at the same level. Balconies were obligatory . Other pre-existing regulation ensured the aesthetic unity of the avenue.
That is what Pissarro expresses in his canvas, where the militaristic rigor of the buildings is gently counter balanced by the chimneys disorder on their roofs, and colorful shopkeeper awnings at their feet.
The traffic on the Grand Boulevards (boulevard des Italiens, des Capucines et Montmartre) is qualified of “intensive” by the Paris Prefecture in 1904, while the one on the 30 meters wide Boulevard Haussmann, (depicted by Raffaelli below), is qualified of “active” by the same source . This, in addition to the facts that it is in the immediate vicinity of the most used -by far- railway station of the time- Gare Saint Lazare-, and nearby department stores, are the reasons why we see a street much more dominated by pedestrian activities.
Most of the carriages seen in this picture and others are fiacres, (carriage for hire which has been replaced by taxis), and “omnibuses” (which has been replaced by buses). Private carriage was a rarity so street parking was not a problem. In those days (1891), it was counted 45,085 vehicles of all sorts in Paris but number was growing much faster than the population and was reaching 65,543 in 1906 (automobile accouting for a mere 4,077) …The Prefecture of Paris was numbering fiacres at 15,775 (today, there is roughly the same number of taxi!) and 2,572 tramways and “omnibus” , the equivalent of bus, already carrying in the vicinity of 220 millions passenger circa 1865 …The 3 horses omnibuses seen in the Pissarro painting are the largest of the days (2.45m by 8 meter long including horses: they are considered “monsters” by the witnesses of the days . Capacity number are, of course, irrelevant.
The other Boulevards
The impressionists like Degas, Monet, Gauguin, Renoir…, dedicated numerous painting to the Grands Boulevards in the immediate vicinity of gare Saint Lazare (all the canvas presented so far has been drawn in a 10-15mn walk from gare Saint Lazare, which itself has also been the attention of Monet among other). This railway station was also the termini of train from the Vexin français -area around Pontoise- where most of the French impressionists have elected residence at one moment of their life, and this fact can explain why this little area of Paris got far most attention than others…
Nowadays, the probably most photographied avenue is the Champs Elysees. in the XIX, it is pretty much out of reach to most of the people. Even the fiacres are rare, and traffic seems dominated by the much more exclusive landau transportation mode. Notice how the horses manures are speedily removed in the Jean Béraud‘s canvas below:
The Parisian lower class can be found around the Boulevards exterieurs (around 40 to 45 meters wide). Boulevard Clichy is one of them. Edgar Degas lived and died there but this boulevard didn’t inspired him, at the difference of Paul Signac, Vincent van Gogh and Pierre Bonnard, which we choose, for its naturalist qualities, to illustrate this boulevard:
The Boulevard exterieurs, marked the limit of Paris before its amalgamation with neighbor suburbs in 1860 at the initative of Haussmann, and have been opened in 1864. They eventually were synonym of life condition that the Haussmann contemporaries were trying to escape (Signac, Vuillard will paint the Boulevard exterieurs under snow, which, by its rarity, in some sort represent an escape of the usual condition).
The large boulevard median was not to separate traffic directions, The 2 ways seen in the painting was existing on both side of the Wall of the Farmers general which has been destroyed in 1860: A canvas of Pissarro better illustrates that fact (the street on side of the median will be converted to one way traffic much later)
The circulation on the Boulevards exterieurs was considered as active in 1904. As the canvas represents, the type of circulation is much more different than the one seen on the Grand Boulevards, and if there is nowadays no more cabs in Paris than it was fiacres more than a century ago, those are now more evenly spread on the whole Paris area, making them looking rarer.
Life outside the Boulevards
We couldn’t close this chapter, without mentioning what was the life condition outside the Boulevards in the Haussmann century. Charles marville‘s photographies illustrate what Paris was looking before Haussmann:
 Mon cher Pissarro – Lettres de Ludovic Piette à Camille Pissarro, Ludovic Piette, Paris 1985
 Broadway Street, Vancouver: cross section from beyond the B line, City of Vancouver 1999. Notice it is not the worst configuration found but the existing one…the proposed introduction of a LRT makes things worse with proposed sidewalk as narrow as 2.70m in the 1999 study. Currently Boulevard Montmartre, Paris, has been one way since 1951 but is considered to be reversed back two ways, and it is this configuration which is presented here. You will notice the bus getting out of its lane to avoid a cyclist – that is per design: Bus+bike lanes is the modus operandi in France, wholly supported by the Green councilors of Paris, at the very much difference of Adriane Carr in Vancouver (her position on the topic being summarized here)
 Etudes sur les transformations de Paris et autres écrits sur l’urbanisme, Eugène Hénard, 1903-1909. as reedited by éd. L’Équerre, 1982.
 The longest carriage is 20 meters, it is used for beam transportation by carpenter: it s then considered as an exceptional convoy
 There are several Boulevard denominations in Paris, the grand boulevards being the ones built in replacement of Louis XIII city’s wall, according to the 1676 Pierre Bullet’s plan under the Louis XIV reign)
 The perspective has also been obtained by the leveling of an hill, the buttes des Moulins, which will have provided a convenient pretext to a slum cleansing operation in the whole Opera area.
 The autumn of Central Paris: the defeat of town planning 1850-1970, Anthony Sutcliffe, MacGill-Queens’university press, 1971
 It didn’t, and remarkably enough, Louis Dausset, on budget Committee was stating as soon as 1909
- “When we built the Metropolitan and encourage the development of trams, we gave our citizens and visitors a test for moving about…So underground transport does nothing to reduce surface movement in Paris; on the contrary, it multiply it” ( citing C.M. report no 128, 1909).
Among Haussmann’s achievement was also the reorganization of the Public transit services, with the creation of the Compagnie Generale d’Omnibus created at the occasion of the universal exposition of 1855, this on a model not much different of the one used by Seoul, Korea.
 To give some substance on the level of Traffic, around 10,750 horses drawing vehicle/day has been counted on the Boulevard des Italiens in 1840 ( citing L’œuvre du baron Haussmann, Louis Reau, 1954)
 the Compagnie de l’Ouest very quickly developed suburban services from gare Saint Lazare. In 1869, It was by far the busiest railway station of Paris, handling 13,254,000 a year-more than 80% of them being commuters. The other 6 Paris termini together handled no more than 21,417,000 ( citing La gare du Nord, René Clozier, (a priori a PhD thesis of 1940))
 In his book, “L’assassinat de Paris” (1977), Louis Chevalier mentions that trees has been removed of Avenue de l’Opéra in 1955. Archive photography doesn’t confirm that. What is more probably is that the sidewalk has been reduced in 1955.
April 21, 2011
Friday is the last day to provide input to the phase 2 of UBC Rapid transit study. Below, we consider some challenges associated with a surface solution, noticeably LRT on Broadway
The suggested average speed, in the vicinity of 30km/h, can be considered relatively high: It is the speed achieved by the 99B when traffic is light. Thought such speed is very achievable by LRT, example of LRT running at such average speed in area presenting similarity with Broadway hasn’t been provided.
We could think of the blue line in Los Angeles, one of the busiest in North America, with over 80,000 boarding/day. The inconvenience of this example, is that with over 100 people killed on the track of this LRT line since its inspection in 1990, it is also one of the most treacherous LRT line in North America.
Unfortunately, like I have previously noticed, accident rate and ridership can be pretty well correlated. European tram achieve good safety record by running simply at much lower speed than their american counterpart in urban environment comparable to Broadway.
Confidence in travel time
- Is the modelling for surface transit assuming a perfect world?
On this topic, one will notice that, not unlike other French tram project, the Paris tram T3 average speed had been over estimated by more than 25% during the public consultation. the given reason is that the world was less perfect that expected, since you will find jay walker undisciplined car driver and other behavior affecting the average speed 
An LRT line can move huge number of people, and Translink advance number as high as 10,000 person per hour per direction, but what is the price to pay for it?
At some frequency point, traffic signal priority can’t get granted. That is the reason why Translink provide slower travel time with a BRT (which need to be more frequent) than a LRT.
- what is the highest frequency achievable with the posted travel time. or
- what is the maximum capacity for the system without compromising travel time?
As a matter of reference, In European literature, we will find a capacity limit of a tram at around 6,000 persons per hour per direction, in normal condition (headway enabling traffic signal preemption) .
Again, comparing with the Paris T3 trams with a ridership of 110,000 people, similar to the one envisioned for Broadway…In the Parisian T3 case, the boarding is done at 17 stations with platform of 5 meters width..when the Translink study suggests boarding at as little as 13 stations of around 3 meters width…In Edmonton, the LRT has central platform width of 8 meters.
- That is, the suggested boarding area proposed by Translink could be more than twice smaller the one offered by the Paris tramway T3.
- How platform crowding gonna impact the dwelling time? Waiting experience?
Interference with local bus routes
It has been admitted by the Translink planners that a surface LRT will impact negatively local route along Broadway, what is not hard to fathom…
According to the frequency of the surface LRT it will also impact the travel time of crossing route due to signal preemption by the surface LRT. The measured impact of it has not been provided.
Broadway is not that wide, and implementation of an LRT supposes some compromising. Note surprisingly, parking lanes could disappear, but may be more of a concern could be the reduction of pedestrian space on sidewalk required at station location. Platform wide inline with the one seen on system with comparable ridership, suggest that an broadway LRT could reclaim 11 to 12 meters ROW, at station location, that is close to the equivalent of 4 lanes of traffic to remove. Cyclist are not expected to be on Broadway, and anyway current preservation of sidewalk width could prevent bike parking.
- An LRT is often considered as an opportunity to improve the street-scape but it also imposes constraints
Since Allan Jacobs is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at an upcoming SFU conference on the future of Broadway, it could be interesting to compare Broadway to Boulevard Saint Michel in Paris. the later Boulevard is 30m wide, so similar to Broadway, but with a significantly different space allocation since it has only 4 lanes of traffic making room for ample sidewalks allowing coffee patios…Boulevard Saint Michel is what Allan jacobs consider a Great Streets.
- Does the need to accommodate an LRT will not compromise a similar fate for Broadway?
But more important, as noticed by Allan Jacobs, with the Champs-Élysées Avenue, and as we know it here with Granville Street, a street could needs several iterations of work before becoming a “great street”.
- Does the permanence of an LRT will not compromise the ability to correct unavoidable mistake, or rather to allow the streetscape to evolve in function of new and unforeseen future needs?
 Keegan Bursaw
 Живые улицы
 Simon Chambers
 BHLS or tramway in France : scope of application and choice, Sébastien RABUEL, CERTU, French Ministry of Transportation, July 13th – 2010
 Great Streets, Allan jacobs, MIT Press, 1995
April 5, 2011
Post updated on April 6th
As mentioned by Stephen Rees, I was at “a special blogger breakfast” about the project where Jeff Busby and Margaret Wittgens from Translink provided a description of the different options and was answering our questions . Translink has provided significantly more material in this phase than in phase 1.
The consultation process
Like in Phase 1, translink has scheduled several workshops. In those workshops, Translink staff engage conversation where you have the opportunity to discuss your concerns, opinions not only with staff but also with your ‘neighbors’ and understand others viewpoints. It is a very constructive approach, and I warmly recommend people to attend those workshops and provide feedback as soon as possible in the process to Translink.
In the preliminary phases, it was unclear what Translink was meaning by “LRT”, an LRT in the American sense, or a tram in the European sense? A later solution apparently favored by noticeably UBC professor Patrick Condon and a relatively active Broadway merchant group called BARSTA.
- The Phase 2 gives a clear answer: the option is an LRT in the american sense.
Compared to the “business as usual case” (assumed to be the bus 99B)  the cost required to attract additional ridership is around $25,000 per new rider, as suggested by the graph below comparing the different solutions proposed by Translink
That is, the additional ridership could be at the expense of local bus routes, so if the goal is to increase the Transit mode share, and that is a goal of both the Province and the City of Vancouver , the figure become more striking, and solutions providing net gain time on the Commercial Drive to Central Broadway seems at a net advantage in term of “buck for the bang”.
Some solutions provide clear advantage in time of access time from Commercial to Cambie, and convenience from the Millenium (lack of Transfer), over others; and at least from the cost/additional rider perspective, looks reasonably priced. Obviously it couldn’t be the only metrics to look at…among others are the travel time to UBC , operating cost…
Under this regard, the lately added Combo 2 , RRT+BRT, could require more refinement:
The redundancy of service East of Arbutus doesn’t seem to provide the bang for the buck, noticeably in term of serviced area. We could have preferred something looking more like the rubber tire version of Combo 1 or looking like the figure below
The regional perspective
That is, as reported of this week workshops, and already outlined here, it is hard to ignore the regional significance of the connection of the Millennium line to the Canada line, which could have a “shaping” effect probably as great as if not greater than an extension of the existing Skytrain in the confins of the GVRD.
A discussion has been engaged by Stephen Rees on the trip model used to generate ridership. It appeared that Translink consider the Evergreen line built in its modelling. That says, they also rely on growth projection provided by external agencies; and this growth projection could not have considered a transit network effect
The network effect
On this topic, Jeffrey Busby mentioned that the scope of the study is really the Broadway corridor, and not addressing the question of the “extension” or not of the Millennium line.
- According to the selected option, this question could be still open, leaving customer of the Millennium line to their frustration for very long time.
In that sense, an apparent cheaper solution, not based on an extension of the Millennium line could prove to be a costly mistake, but obviously all of that need to be quantified and LRT could make sense at least on part of the corridor
 The choice to prefer to compare travel time between Commercial and central Broadway rather than UBC is deliberate since UBC bound riders, mostly students, could be less sensitive to travel time than the more general users.
 Illustration from Jarret Walker