July 21, 2015
Some remarks on the report to be presented to the Standing Committee on Planning, Transportation and Environment , On July 22.
Bus stop and line of sight at Burrard#Pacific
As mentioned in a previous post’s comment, the COV planners indicated some line of sight involved by the Burrard street concave alignment at Pacific were cause of concern for CMBC toward the implementation of a South Bound bus stop on the South West corner of the intersection. The problem is illustrated below:
Hindered lines of sight for bus leaving a stop, due to a concave alignment of the street, exist in multiple locations on the Transit bus network. a short list below:
- University Blvd at UBC
- 41st avenue at Mc Kinnon
- Kingsway at Patterson
- The exit of the Bridgeport bus loop
While the line of sight concern are legitimate, they could have been overblown in the case of Burrard bridge. They can be addressed by external safety mirror, as often seen in Europe. Here there is sufficient room to accommodate an articulated bus at an angle preserving the line of sight for a safe pull-out:
We were admittedly too optimistic to see the City elaborates on the above solution. Instead, The line of sight concerns expressed at the open house, have since been replaced by the concerns on the preservation of a cypress tree which could not have been endangered by a bus bay on the south side.
We tend to see all that as excuses for inaction. Whether not, the restoration of the south bound bus stop on the North West corner of the intersection should have been in order. However, after feedback of the public, the initial proposal to move the South Bound bus stop further north has been given up. Instead, the bus stop will be moved south by half a block (from Burnaby to Drake). It is a step in the right direction, but insufficient: It seems nothing more than paying lip service: Transit accessibility is still much worse than it was in 2009 and before.
Pacifc East West bike connection
Our above proposal integrate them with an island to create a protected bike box, which can be given and advanced signal. the design to be submitted to the council also propose a bike box, but in what seems to be a more clumsy way:
The Suicide prevention barrier
This part was not presented at the open-house, and “popped up” afterward, the reasons why are unclear, since the City is supposed to have engaged with stack-holders ahead of the general public open-houses, where the issue could have been identified. Burrard bridge being such a iconic bridge, its alteration by suicide barriers, which also hinder the view of the bridge span, and affect negatively the user experience, raise some legitimate concerns from heritage groups.
Due to this, the request for more consultation seems reasonable. The city could explore alternative to physical barriers. The Mapo bridge in Seoul, Korea, using technology to detect suicide attempt, and then connect victim with help, could be an option to consider, after having a correct assessment of the experience 
Overall, The Burrard North end project seems to be a bit rushed.
 Many medias, especially in North America, have reported the experience as failure, because the reported “suicide attempt” have increased by a 600% after the introduction of suicide prevention measure. However many observers consider the experience as successful, since the effective number of committed suicide has been reduced by 77% . One can conjecture that distressed people could target Mapo bridge, knowing they get a chance to be recognized as such and get helped. On the Authority side, it also help to locate those distressed people, and provide them with the needed help to prevent suicide in general.
 Burrard Bridge Upgrades and North Intersection Improvements, City Of Vancouver, Lon Laclaire, July 13, 2015
 BC Transit Infrastructure Design Guidelines, Nov 2010.
 here we provide a design maximizing the line of sight. However, the required length of the line of sight could be shorter, allowing to reduce the angle of the bus bay.
June 2, 2015
Beside the removal of the accident prone slip lanes, and the reopening to pedestrians of the East side of the bridge deck; granted by a new bike lane; there is little improvement for the cyclists and pedestrians: Many connectivity options are still forbidden, either by law or by design:
Notice that the design allows to do a left hook turn from Burard Northbound, or Pacific Westbound since the intersection presents a Dutch interesection characteristic on its North side
- Same could be possible on the South side, albeit at the price to add a traffic signal cycle, to allow unimpeded bike/pedestrian East-West movement on the South side of Pacific. (but what are the priority of the city?)
- Alternately, the construction of ramps to allow to use the bridge underpass (lane on the south side of Pacific), could provide a solution if such is possible
Worth also to note that the planters separating the bike lane on Burrard Street would be gone:
- Such planters are insulating the bike path too much of its environment, what create a safety hazard at interesection
That said such a wrong step seems to be taken on Pacific
All in all, due to the non addressing of prohibited turns for active travel mode, the proposal looks more as a missed opportunity to improve connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians than a real improvment: in some sort, the whole exercise seems more guided by the ideological desire to remove a lane of traffic on the Burrrad bridge than anything else.
All that could be not that bad if the proposal was not used as a weapon to attack the city buses once again.
The Transit issue
When the West side bike lane has been built in 2009, the southbound bus stop at Pacific#Burrard has been decommissioned: another bus stop has been implemented at Burnaby#Burrard. Especially due to the steep terrain nature in the vicinity , that has defacto put the south side of Pacific street out of reach of the Burrard buses, hence the Frequent Transit network, while he Burnaby bus stop is widely redundant with the Davie bus stop in term of coverage:
Far to improve this dire situation, it is suggested to make it worse, by relocating the Burnaby bus stop ever farther away: the new Burnaby bus stop could be a mere 30 meter away of the Davie bus stop!
Because the city so far has conceived its bike lane at the expense of Transit. The “legacy” bike lane on most of Burrard looks like below:
An obviously less than ideal pattern, which call for correction: a protected bike lane. That is good, but on the city watch, it is apparently not compatible with a bus stop. Of course it doesn’t need to be…even in Vancouver:
Several ways to address the bike+bus interaction exist, as noticed by Jarret Walker. As him, we prefer a “table” or shared space solutions for the bike lane that alert the cyclist to yield to peds in this situation, as we have seen before:
It looks the city is more leaning toward a floating island concept, which is at least considered for the Burrard#Pacific Northbound bus stop: the important is to see the access to transit to be addressed. What is possible for the North bound bus stops, must certainly be too for the South bound bus stops
In the present case, it looks like the removal of the slip lanes allow for ample room at the south-West intersection to implement a floating island concept with a bus bay (to not impediment traffic) as suggested in the second illustration of this post.
In any case, the lack of connectivity improvement for cyclists and more critically, the absence of consideration for transit, make the city proposal a bad one. On a positive note, those shortcomings are relatively easy to address and we are hopeful to see the proposal modified in a postive direction
 a rule of thumb is to consider that 10 meters elevation change is equivalent, be in time or energy, to 100 meters distance on flat (e.g. the Grouse Grind hike is 2.8km long but with an elevation change of 853meter: that is equivalent to a hike of 11.43km (2.9km+ 10*0.853km) on a flat terrain.
 See also the discussion on Pricetags
June 13, 2013
A follow up of the Knight street Bridge post
We are at the SB on Ramp from SE Marine Drive to Knight Street Bridge (apriori into Vancouver juridiction), the location is 7800 Knight bridge street according to VPD tickets issued right there…But who should get a ticket?
According to the Vancouver Police Department, the ticket issued will look like below:
Nota: It was no movable sign, at the time the ticket was issued, but a police cruiser was parked exactly the same way. The cops, far to be ashamed to block the bike lane, were explaining it was dangerous to ride on the roadway without an helmet. No argument is necessary in such case…
Indeed it is dangerous (the most dangerous spot in Canada by the way!): Could it be the cyclists fault?
The result of it, in the last 5 years,
- 13,154 helmet ticket issued in the last 5 years 
- How many ticket, for dangerous obstruction of a bike lane? 
 Is it illegal to deliberately obstruct a bike lane? apparently not in BC!
 Ticketed cyclists not paying their helmet fines,Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, Sunday June 9th, 2013
December 18, 2012
(Thought he mentions that he “would like to re-open this discussion”, the comment section of his site is closed)
- I don’t think too much of the multi venue idea (also proposed by Bob Rennie ); which if considered, should be region-wise, and not Vancouver centric, to bring culture to people, rather than expect people to travel to the most improbable locations to see a tiny part of what the VAG has to offer.
- I guess the idea to build, even underground, something in Stanley park, is just plain provocative, in a try to generate some media attention: Stanley park should be a nature sanctuary.
That said, a good idea emerges: the use of a bridge for something else than transportation.
The idea beyond the infra-urbanity neologism
Vancouver, is a city of bridges. One has always to cross a bridge to move around and bridges are part of the Vancouver DNA. but so far bridges have been seen only as infrastructure -we like to routinely replace- designed as pure links, like freeways, with no urban contribution whatsoever. That is, the bridge is not considered as a place of exchange or life in itself. Thought some efforts have been suggested to improve the bridge experience, they should be considered as a starting point :
With Granville bridge, we have an opportunity, to change that, be with an art gallery or something else, in its truss, encouraging strolling on the bridge, and taking advantage of it (rain shelter) to bring the city one step forward. In that sense the Michael Green contribution, bringing the old idea of “living bridge” into the debate is welcome.
 A fresh vision for the old art gallery, Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail, Dec 14, 2012
 see Price tags
 Rennie releases proposal for multi-venue art gallery system, Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail, Dec 12, 2012
October 5, 2012
Some Addendum on Nov 23, taking finding of 
The Clark government has decided that the George Massey tunnel need to be replaced, why?
The tunnel is congested
Of course, but how congested is the tunnel (see our bridge traffic post for more context)?
By reasonable standards, the level of congestion in the tunnel is manageable noticing that there is a significant amount of time where traffic is free flow. Beside the lack of substantiation, the announce, that the Delta port extension will generate an additional 1700 daily truck trips , has to be taken with a grain of salt:
- It represents only 2% of the actual traffic, what the Tunnel used to handle in the past
- It represents only 1% of the actual Tunnel capacity
The question one should asks, is:
Never mind the present (or the port),
population growth will make the tunnel congested in the future anyway?
The past trend suggests otherwise: the region has already experimented a significant population growth, which has not prevented a declining trend for the traffic into the tunnel:
But why people see it differently?
The Province has engineered a funnel effect at the tunnel portals, that is feeding the tunnel with more lanes than it can handle, this in the disguise of Transit investment:
In light of the above, one must asks: Is the George Massey tunnel replacement the best we can do to improve the lower mainland traffic?
The Clark government seems already have made his mind on it, but where are the studies and analysis supporting the replacement choice?
Is building more road the way to alleviate congestion?
Is it some other solutions?
At least two avenues deserve to be explored: better transit and road pricing, both working better hand in hand
Currently, the transit modal share in the tunnel is nothing to cheer about:
|Transit modal share||Lions gate Bridge||George Massey Tunnel|
|overall (all day all direction)||> 20%||~ 11%|
|AM peak hr To Vancouver direction||> 36%||~ 19%|
|PM peak hr leaving Vancouver direction||> 28%||~ 18%|
It is not better than the average mode share in the region, way far below than what is witnessed on the Lions gate bridge, and even much lower than the 2020 provincial transit plan’s target, 17% . There is no reason for such dismissal modal share when a level of transit similar to the one witnessed on the Lions gate could remove enough car (~12000 per day, or 1200 peak hour NB, that is almost the capacity of a full lane!) to make the tunnel virtually congestion free. Transit offer could be much better for people coming from south of the tunnel. It doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment (Proper bus lane and queue jumper are among them) and we believe a lot can be done in the current Translink budget, some suggestion below:
A Vancouver network more accessible from the South of Fraser
First, Translink needs to recognize that not all people are heading to downtown and has to provide a larger access to Vancouver from south of the Fraser. A suggestion already made in a previous post is to extend most of the North South Vancouver bus route to either Marine Drive or Knight Bridge.
A Richmond network more accessible from the South of Fraser
A Proper branding
Lastly, when the service level is objectively good, people need to know it. Branding is important as we have already seen with the suggestion of code sharing to create a B #699 line between Ladner and BridgePort, leveraging the existing #601 and #620 routes.
What is the cost of congestion in the tunnel?
Phenomenal will tell some…some more substantiated studies will tell at which level a toll needs to be set to avoid congestion (That is the real economic cost). In the case of the George Massey tunnel, it is at a level such that the congestion toll need to be in effect not much more than 5hr per day, and could rise only $46 millions  as we have already seen in a previous post.
…that barely pay for the interest of a $1Billion debt…
Regarding the George Massey tunnel, the choice the Vancouver region should face is not “do you prefer a tunnel or a bridge as replacement” but do you prefer:
- Pay an infrastructure toll, at all time, to help to finance a new crossing, knowing the toll will probably not be enough and taxpayer money will be required
- Pay a congestion toll, that is a toll only at time where congestion could occurs, the toll revenue helping to finance transit alternative reducing the demand pressure for road space (see our congestion charge post for more detail)
The first solution needs 10 years time frame to be implemented and doesn’t resolve transit funding issue. The second solution, which doesn’t preclude the first one in due time , can be implemented overnight and resolves the congestion issue now as well as provide transit funding. Which alternative is the best?
We humbly suggest that the best alternative is the one requiring the less tax-payer and user fee money.
That said, some other parameters need to enter in consideration, like
- Structure resilience to earthquakes
- Road safety issue
- Marine traffic
On the later, some rumors suggest that the presence of the tunnel is limiting the possible amount of marine traffic, due to draft restriction. The Nautical chart of the Fraser river tell another story. In fact the depth along the channel is around 11 meters, 12 meters above the Tunnel.
Allowing ships with greater draft than allowed now could require considerable dredging of the Fraser channel, from the Stevenson jetty far end to East of the tunnel, as well as significant on going maintenance, due to constant build up of sandspit. That certainly has a non negligible ecological cost as well. The economic rational of this is pretty unclear, and we notice that around the world, ports don’t seem to develop operation inland…beside barging (option here restrained by the railway bridge at New West)… since not all ports can count on a government building road for free to them.
 Delta port truck gate hour of operation are 7am-12pm and 12:30pm 4pm Monday to Friday
 From Freeway to feeway: Congestion pricing policies for BC’s Fraser River crossing, Peter Wightman, Simon Fraser University, 2008
 Christy Clark announces plans to replace George Massey Tunnel, VancouverSun, September 29, 2012
 BC MOT
 Lions Gate Bridge / Marine Drive Transit Priority Study: Summary of Technical Study , Translink/IBI. peak hour number are extrapolated of hourly traffic graph
 Highway 99 corridor assessment, draft v.1.5, Januray 2009, BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (report got thru civicsurrey.com). Notice: thought the transit numbers of this report pre-date the advent of the Canada line, they are based on a bus count (36 in peak hour/direction), which is the same as of November 2012.
 The Provincial Transit Plan, 2008