The vancouversun has a story about a man claiming it is not clear enough to where you have to validate your ticket. He could have a point:

Brighouse station: ticket vending machines are easy to spot, but where are the ticket validators machines?

Whether you are a bit distracted, it can be very easy to find yourself without properly validated ticket on the train. Not only nowhere there is a physical line reminding you to validate your ticket, but ticket validators are rather hidden in some stations. without going to turnstiles, that doesn’t need to be as I have already mentioned here


smartcard access to the subway of Rennes, France, is done without turnstile. Nevertheless, notice how the smartcard readers are placed in proeminent position on the farepaid zone line. credit photo wikipedia

Bridge Traffic

December 1, 2010

For purpose of illustration, below is a map overlaid with the traffic volume on the main bridges of the Vancouver area.

Traffic on the Main bridges of the greater Vancouver area (click on the map for more detail)

Some comments on it:


  • Traffic volume distribution is hourly, for weekday, and estimated when data is not available [3]
  • truck traffic on Knight bridge is estimated at 15% of the overall traffic
  • Red line indicate the capacity of the bridge, assuming a 1400 vehicle/hr capacity per lane
  • For bridge over the Fraser, A suggested Congestion pricing toll [5] has been added in yellow

below is the tabulaton of weekday daily traffic, and source for the considered bridge

Bridge Juridiction Lanes Traffic
Arthur Laing Bridge YVR 4 84,000 [2]
Oak Bridge Province 4 80,700 [1][4]
Knight Bridge Translink 4 99,500 [2]
QueensBorough Bridge Province 4 84,000 [2]
George Massey Tunnel Province 4 89,500 [1]
Alex Fraser Bridge Province 6 117,500 [1]
Pattullo Bridge Translink 4 74,500 [2]
Port Mann Bridge Province 5 116,000 [1]
Iron Workers Bridge Province 6 127,400 [1]
Lions gate Bridge Province 3 63,000 [1]

Comments on the Congestion pricing data

They come from the thesis of Peter Wightman [5], which is the most complete work I have uncovered on the topic applied on the Vancouver area, but still limited on the Fraser crossing bridges.

  • toll is applied once the traffic volume exceed the road capacity
  • Price elasticity demand is assumed at -0.2 peak hours, and -0.25 off peak, That is pricing evaluation has been done in 2006, assuming the transit option of the time, i.e. no Canada line and no transit over Port Mann bridge. Another study suggests a price elasticity demand closer to 0.35, in case of improved transit (i.e. Congestion regulation could be achieved with significant lower toll that those envisioned by [5], and revenue of congestion pricing too)

For information, below are the estimated revenue of congestion pricing, in the case of all bridge crossing the Fraser tolled (this assuming the 2006 situation, and a relatively low elasticity of -0.2 peak, and -0.25 off peak period) according to [5].

Bridge daily revenue (South dir) daily revenue (North dir)
George Massey Tunnel 89,600 64,400
Alex Fraser Bridge 126,000 67,200
Pattullo Bridge 35,000 21,000
Port Mann Bridge 271,600 90,300
Total (daily) 765,100
Total Annual 191,275,000

It is worth to note that congestion pricing could apply only when bridge reach capacity. At the exception of the Port Mann bridge West bound, that is an average of only 4 hours per bridge (or put in other way, crossing a bridge could be free 20hours per day),… but still generating close to 200 millions of annual revenue only on the bridge crossing the Fraser river.

it is also worth to notice that under a congestion pricing scheme as proposed by [5], the Port Mann bridge toll could have been lower than the one considered by the province (in green on the map above) most of the time…and the Pattullo bridge needs to be tolled less than 3hrs per day (per direction).

[1] Number from BC MOT as of Sept 2010 (weekday average on the month

[2] Number from Bridging the Infrastructure Gap, Get Moving BC, Sept 2008. Data are mostly from 2006

[3] I got hourly distribution only for BC MOT bridge, hourly distribution is estimated for other bridge to provide an idea of level of congestion on them (and eventually pricing level/period). While data Provincial bidge are from 2010, and other bridge from 2006, it has been no noticeable increase in traffic in the interim, what is consistent with a longer trend already exhibited in a gateway program definition report of january 2006

[4] There is a discrepancy with number from the MovingBC report[2] eventually due to the fact, that the authors of this report overlooked the fact that the traffic counter is installed south of the Sea Island exit ramp on the Highway 99 south bound. That explains why there is a traffic increase on that bridge

[5] From Freeway to feeway: Congestion pricing policies for BC’s Fraser River crossing, Peter Wightman, Simon Fraser University, 2008

[6] Estimating Commuter Mode choice: A discrete choice Analysis impact of road pricing and parking charge, Washbrook, Haider and Jaccard, Transportation, 2006.

[7] Toll for new Port Mann Bridge will be $5.15 for casual users, Damian Inwood, The province, June 2010.

…or a bike commuting adventure in Richmond

Richmond with its flat land should be a paradise for cyclists, and indeed it offers interesting trails on the dykes and elsewhere. Stephen Rees has extensively covered them and others Richmond related cycling issues in a serie of posts [sr1][sr2][sr4], so here is another view focusing more on utility cycling, that is basically cycling to go to work/study. Below is a snapshot of what makes such cycling an adventurous proposition in Richmond

The bike lanes or lack of…

A B&W sign seems to indicate a bike lane, motorists have a different opinion. A green sign indicates direction against common sense that cyclists also rightfully ignore.

It is not the least advantage of a cycle lane to behave like a legal, safe, and comfortable queue jumper, avoiding inhalation of polluted air by cyclists on congested road, and making this mode more competitive with other commuting choice.

It makes little sense to promote cycling by asking cyclist to breath car exhaust in middle of traffic congestion [5]

… But Richmond replaces the bike lanes when it is most needed, by one of its avatar, the sharrow, as seen below:

horizontal Chevron marking is usually reserved for shared road, carrying calmed or low level of traffic. In Richmond, they are also found on main axis, with predictable effect

As explained by New York City DOT engineers [3], when there is not enough right of way to implement a dedicated lane or traffic is light and calm enough to justify a shared street, a chevron marking (also called sharrow) could be used raise awareness of motorist…Richmond still has to learn how to use appropriate horizontal marking for bike facilities

The network or lack of…

Richmond city provides a cycling map, where the simple fact to draw a bike on a road, seems to justify the classification of it as a bike lane. A ground survey of the bike lane could lead to the more realistic map below:

The richmond bike lanes network has lot of critical missing links

basically, the Richmond city center is serviced by a a backbone of 2 bike lanes, the north-south bike lane,along the path of the former interurban (gardencity, Granville and railway) and on the east of Garden city by an East-West bike lane along Westmintser hwy.
In despite of some commendable effort in the right direction, like the raised bike lane on the road 3, bike lanes are still fairly disconnected and basically don’t provide much needed connections to the Canada line or the Kwantlen college.

Connection to the Bridgeport station

Nevertheless, Bridgeport station is reachable by a bike lane connected to the rest of the network… at least up to a certain point:

bicycle access to the Bridgeport station doesn't seem to have been well considered

Connection to the Canada line bridge

A recent addition to the bike lanes netwok has been the connection of the Canada line bridge to the rest of the bike network through Van Horne road in an industrial precinct…but probably that the 12 meters wide road was judged still on the narrow side, so a bike lane takes place in only one direction! (opposite direction is a shared path).

Notice that in general cyclists use an alternative and more pleasant route via Riverport road.

The 12 meters wide road was judged a bit too narrow to put 2 bike lanes in addition of 2 general traffic ones, so one of them end up on the sidewalk! Notice how the shared path sign is hiding the stop...and which path is shared?

Better to ignore the signage

At Great Canadian way and Sea island way intersection, cyclists are the object of less care than the landscaping, and a cyclist following sign could put himself in an uncomfortable if not outright unsafe spot.

First a satellite view of the situation

the great canadian Way and Sea Island way interstection from satellite or how the cyclist can evolve from West to East?

The cyclist travelling from West to East on Sea island Way will encounter a suite of sign designed to his attention. A first sign suggest he will have to do a right tun where the on ramp lane merge. The sign indicates that the cyclist should be still on the road:

Right at the intersection, the sign tell you that you will have to tun right where the lane merge, but to stay on the road for the time being

A second sign seems to disagree with the first one, since it assumes that the cyclist should be on the sidewalk, and then suggest a very strange procedure to the cyclist obeying to the first one:

after proceeding to where the lanes merge, the sign tell you to turn right to take the bike path, but how the bike is expected to do it

Law abiding cyclist need to be lucky…

or prepared to spend very very long time…at ever red light. This is due to the fact that most of the secondary roads have traffic light activated by induction loop…not triggered by bike

this traffic light goes green only if a car approach it, if you are a cyclist, you have to count on luck, and be prepared to waste tremendous amount of time...for sure another option exist!

The right turn lane…
…or how to make a cyclist like a pin in the middle of a bowling lane

Richmond bike lanes disposition put cyclist in treacherous spot in most of the city intersection

As the above picture illustrates, advanced right turn lane gives way to probably the most disconcerting disposition of bike lanes, de facto defeating the purpose of those bike lanes, which is to provide a secure environment to the cyclist.

Motorists seems unsure on the way to negotiate a right turn with a bike lane in the middle of the road: some will pass a cyclist on the right… some others on the left before tail gating the bike….

In Richmond, yield to cyclist is definitely not an option!

Needless to say, intersections in BC (most of them arranged as above), are especially treacherous for cyclist, where more than 60% of the accidents happen, and going straight seems the most dangerous proposition for a cyclist [4]

Obviously, there is some better way to implement bike lane with advanced right turn lane, and generally, they are implemented like below in Europe

the cyclist doesn't need to be in the middle of traffic to cross an intersection. bike lane is protected by horizontal yielding marking giving priority to the cyclist (what is the law in most of European juridiction)...In North America, additional signage as seen in Portland, OR or Vancouver, BC could be necessary (right)

because the “yield to cyclist” could be not obvious to the BC motorist [1] and horizontal “yield” marking less frequent here than in Europe could be not as well understood [2], additional vertical sign, nowadays rarely seen in Europe, could be required here


In cyclist friendly jurisdictions, Yield to cyclist is the only option!

…and not surprisingly, those jurisdictions have usually much safer road safety record than BC.


Richmond BC, is like a child learning to bike. It seems to be full of good intention, but lack of understanding and method. European cities was not much different a quarter century ago, it is just that Richmond needs to work much harder in order to not fall behind.

[1] While, it is generally the law to yield to cyclist, like to pedestrian, on a right turn in Europe, law seems to be far less consistent across North american jurisdictions which usually don’t treat cyclist as a vulnerable user of the road, see bike lane and right turn difference in Oregon and California or, for a more awkward regulation, the Ontario MTO explicitly indicates that right turning vehicles have priority on cyclists.

[2] European countries, and more generally country adopting the Vienna convention road signage, use thick dashed lane as a horizontal “yield line” marking, the equivalent in North america is usually a line of triangle, used in New York City as illustrated in the video of the NYC DOT[3].

[3] NYC DOT explains Bike Lanes in the Big Apple

[4] number from

[5] It is what is required by the BC motor vehicle act section 158

A bus stop on the Hwy 99

September 1, 2010

updated September 3rd

At the 99 interchange with Steveston Hwy, you can catch one of the suburban bus running on the Hwy 99. It can be a traumatizing experience, especially in the south direction:

While there is a bus shelter, a luxury rarely spotted in Richmond, no one has really thought that people could walk to it!

Eventually to improve the waiting experience, the MOT has installed a 46” screen, on a lamppost, providing residual light at night for the bus stop (to be sure the purpose of the original lamppost is to provide light to the road)

It is part of a pilot project, supposed to give real time information to the transit user [1]. In fact the later one will often see the messages illustrated below.

the route 620 and 404 being not operated by suburban bus Orion V, the transit rider will get no information, real time or not, for them. Notice that the map, apparently a Google road map, display the route covered by the real time system, but no bus routes are displayed at all! Notice also the “quick and dirty” look of the installation: it is really a pilot project

for other bus routes, the system doesn’t give any information, when no bus are present on the route covered by the system, i.e. Bridgeport to Steveston Hwy. To relieve your patience, you can watch the real time video of the bus stop you are waiting at

Imagine,a departure screen at the airport, which warms as some flights are not displayed at all, and giving no information on some other flights because their plane is not en route!

That is what the MOT pilot project is doing for the bus information. We are relieved it is still a “pilot” project, because there is certainly lot of room for improvement.

This project, while looking a nice intention, raises lot of questions:

  • Why a pilot project? is real time bus information such a breakthrough technology, requiring “pilot” project those days?
  • The project, technologically different of the Main street one, rely on a private network:
    Why use a private network, when there is no lack of 3G providers covering not only the freeway corridor but all the metro area, able to provide communication link between the buses and a data processing center?

but the big question is:

  • Why it is a project from the province and not Translink, which could be expected to be the relevant agency to drive such project?

The Hwy 99 bus stop premises being probably under MOT jurisdiction, why the MOT is not trying to improve it first?

An interchange doesn’t need to be dull, as the picture below can witness. More than that, studies could tend to correlate beautifully landscaped highway with safer highway [2].

this nicely landscaped plot is the Highway 10 and 210 interchange in Redlands, CA. and there is no bus stop here, so it is only for motorist to enjoy the view (credit photo zIDEAz)

the information pilot project come in addition of an HOV lane currently under construction on the Hwy 99 North bound and the extension of the southbound one, north of Westminster bridge.
There is no doubt that significant dollars are spent to improve ths bus experience on the Hwy 99 north of the George Massey Tunnel, and there is no doubt that improvement are needed

the Highway 99 at Westminster Road (left) and Blundell (right) around 1pm weekdays. Westminster road bridge is currently a bottle neck, since the HOV southbound start only south of the bridge. The extension of it north of the bridge will be a welcome relieve… the buses share the current HOV lane with vehicle of 2 occupants or more. According to the MOT, that has no effect on the buses operations [3] : on the picture, the traffic on the HOV lane move at around 40km/h for a posted limit of 80km/h…

Transit advocates should apriori applaude such initiatives, but they left a sour taste: Why?

From the Highway 99, we are seeing erected components which could raise the hwy 99 as a corridor for a BRT or for buses with a high level of service. Unfortunately those initiatives lacking of coordination, starting by the apparent non implication of the transit agency, Translink, will probably provide a result inferior to what it could have been, whether a more integrated goal could have been followed, for the same overall budget

[1] B.C. pilots dynamic transit display, Jennifer Kavur, 09 Aug 2010, ComputerWorld Canada

[2] Landscape improvement impacts on roadside safety in Texas, J. H. Moka, H. C. Landphair b, and J. R. Naderi, Landscape and Urban Planning 78 (2006) pp263–274.

[3] Southbound Hwy 99 HOV lane opens to more commuters, Press release, AUg 29, 2008, BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure


August 30, 2010

Steveston can offer a bucolic retreat, step of the city, easily accessible by bus from Richmond brighouse (like pretty frequent 410)

some warehouse asking for restoration on the south dike. the beefs you can see pasturing when on the west dike, come from the Steves farm

But the main reason to come there will be to stroll and shop on its fishermen wharf, which can be pretty busy when fish is announced as abundant like in this season for the sockeye.

To be sure it is not Sai Kung next to Hong Kong, but it is probably the best place in BC, where to buy fish directly from the boat, or for that matter to be able to buy local sea-food in a BC fishing community, what can be very challenging, when not possible, legally, at all, in other BC fishing localities.

Apparently, disregarding the catch of the day, the Vancouverite will like to head here to enjoy a fish and chips. Nevertheless, the Steveston food scene has matured a bit in the recent years and you will be able to find some more decent food proposition, like at the Tapenade restaurant which could be to the fish and chip, what the DB bistro is to the hamburger. In the meantimes, local learn happily how to make the best use of their resource what is certainly promising for the future of the community.

Richmond’s Mayor Malcolm Brodie learn from Tojo‘s nephew and aid, how to prepare local sea food at a cooking demonstration during the wild bc sea food fest.

But there is still some strange things in Stevenson. the urban landscape, while showing historic potential, seems to be under exploited and the pedestrian seems to be object of little if any consideration. Indeed, in some instance sidewalk, right in front of the fishermen wharf can be lacking. That is not inviting to stay a bit longer, to explore other streets.

The streetscape could be significantly more friendly, for the good of the community. Bayview street at the fishermen wharf could be more inviting to ‘soft mode’, like pedestrian and cyclist, using maybe a more shared streetscape.

the transit rider will arrive via the depressing Chatham street. Used mostly as a parking lot, this street present no interest : folk will head quickly south toward the riverside, and will be relieved to find Moncton street enroute, which seems to do fairly well, thanks to having a critical mass and combination of keys business, and looking more a rural “main street”. but it is still not as appealing as it should be

Asphalt has became the dominant element of Moncton street: may be narrower lanes to the benefit of more comfortable sidewalk and tree lining could improve the street experience, in addition to provide some traffic calming….also burying the electric wires could help. (credit photo

that being said, Saturday was a good day for Steveston, and not only for fishermen.

May be, synonym of “bohemian sophistication”, Steveston has a real baker at RomaniaBread, making probably one of the best bread around (he bakes real pain de campagne what is pretty rare to find, especially good one which can last several days). he got a good day.