We’ve Moved To A New Site!

Our new site!

As promised, our second edition of UBC SkyTrain is now complete! The new site is designed to simplify information about the Broadway Rapid Transit Corridor, as well as related information. Along with our site redesign, we also have a new URL. See our full post at http://www.ubcskytrain.co.cc/

Site Upgrade

If you are wondering where we have been in 2010, the answer is really quite simple. We are in the process of making a dramatic upgrade to our existing website. 2010 is actually quite an important year as we move into the second phase of the Broadway corridor study, where a choice in the technology for the UBC line will be made.

Also new to the group is our twitter account. At the moment, you can only follow us on http://www.twitter.com/ubcskytrain, but we hope to expand these interactive services through widgets on our new website. Stay tuned.

Canada Line Delivers A Smooth Ride (and attracts many on transit)

The Globe and Mail reports that the “Canada Line daily ridership breaks 100,000 occasionally, average at 92,852 including weekends!” Just some background information, the 100 000 ridership mark was “a unreasonable projection” from many critics, but they have been obviously proven wrong. This shows how successful frequent and quick rail rapid transit is in Vancouver.

Currently, the Broadway corridor has at least 80 000 passengers just on buses. This doesn’t count the many people who would commute to UBC via 84, 25, 41/43, and 49 routes to avoid the over crowded 99 B-Line. Confidently, the Millennium Line extension can easily achieve a ridership of 120 000 passengers if it is in service today, let alone in 2020.

The Broadway Corridor needs real rail rapid transit to quickly move passengers across Vancouver.   Skeptics were wrong about the Canada Line and will be wrong with the UBC Line.  Like the Canada Line, the UBC Line will connect major destinations and attractions including UBC, South Granville, Cambie Village (connecting with the Canada Line at Broadway-City Hall Station), Mt. Pleasant, not including with the present Millennium Line destinations.

Let’s replicate the Canada Line success with the UBC Line as SkyTrain.

Canada Line delivers a smooth ride

A Canada Line rapid transit train crosses over the Fraser River from Vancouver to Richmond, B.C., as Grouse Mountain is seen in the distance.

A Canada Line rapid transit train crosses over the Fraser River from Vancouver to Richmond, B.C., as Grouse Mountain is seen in the distance. Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

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Vancouver’s new transit line, which connects downtown to the airport and beyond, is already moving up to 100,000 passengers a day

The Canada Line earned Ryan Campbell’s affection by sparing him the daily ordeal of taking four buses and walking two kilometres to get to his job in Richmond.

Much of that grind for the 20-year-old West Vancouver resident has been erased by the $2-billion system, which began running last August and is the first in Canada to link a downtown to its airport.

But it’s the line past the airport to central Richmond that cheers Mr. Campbell.

On a chill, blustery December night, Mr. Campbell is far from the airport, disembarking from Richmond-Brighouse – the southernmost station – for a quick walk to his customer service job at a London Drugs outlet.

“It’s perfect,” Mr. Campbell said when asked about his views of the Line. “If [the Canada Line] wasn’t around, I couldn’t make it to this place I’m working at so easily.”

Because of stops through Richmond and at such Vancouver-area fixtures as the airport, City Hall, the burgeoning Olympic Village neighbourhood, Yaletown and the downtown SeaBus terminal, the Canada Line has picked up considerable support.

Daily Canada Line ridership has occasionally topped 100,000, which is the break-even threshold for the system covering its operating costs. That level comes about three years ahead of schedule.

Including weekends, the Canada Line is averaging 92,852 riders a day, said Steve Crombie, spokesman for InTransitBC, builder and operator of the system.

“The trend is increasing. We’ve been seeing weekly increases since the line started,” he said.

Critics focus on the fact that the Canada Line came before the much-needed Evergreen Line to the northeast, the devastating impact of street-gouging construction on businesses in the Cambie Village area of central Vancouver, and that some bus routes were trimmed or eliminated as a result of its opening.

But the line is crowded with its fans.

They include Steven Nelson, a 34-year-old Bell Canada technician who is in the Lower Mainland from Toronto these days for work related to the 2010 Olympics.

Mr. Nelson, also disembarking at Richmond-Brighouse, said that without the line he would have been relying on buses to get to work, which he suggested was not an enticing prospect.

“Overall, I think the service is great.”

Gordon Price, a six-term Vancouver city councillor who is now director of the city program at Simon Fraser University, said things appear to be going “pretty damn well” for the system.

He said he has been struck by the number of passengers toting and pushing their luggage. Mr. Price said he was skeptical business travellers would be interested in taking a system that compelled them to take their luggage to and from the stations.

“What I hadn’t taken into account was the downsizing of luggage to carry-on and wheels. You can sure see it, pretty dramatic,” he said. “It brought a class of people, who normally didn’t take transit into their thinking and got them aboard … both literally and enthusiastically.”

Mr. Price has been using the line to get from his home in Vancouver’s West End to the downtown campus of SFU, taking a bus to the Vancouver-City Centre stop for the line.

“It’s kind of an enjoyable trip in the sense that I get to see that transit culture in action, which I kind of enjoy.”

He also uses it to get to Vancouver City Hall, the airport, and has used it to go for dim sum at the critically acclaimed Chinese restaurants in Richmond.

His one big criticism: No station in the midst of the shops, restaurants and other businesses of bustling Cambie Village.

“Particularly after the hardship they went through, it would have made sense,” he said.

Via Globe and Mail

ALRT Extension

Kuala Lumpur is again, considering the extension of their Kelana Jaya LRT Line, which uses SkyTrain ALRT technology as well as the extension of the Ampang Line, another LRT line which is quite similar to the Canada Line with a higher capacity.  Clearly, light metros are popular in other parts of the world.

LRT plan gets the nod as residents feel it will ease traffic
By THO XIN YI Thursday December 17, 2009

A FEW residents associations and organisations in Subang Jaya and USJ have given the thumbs up to the LRT extension plan.

They feel that the LRT would be a convenient alternative for residents who have had enough of traffic congestion and poor bus services in the townships.

Subang Jaya Senior Citizens Club president Yeong Teik Boon believed that the extension would shorten the travelling time between Subang Jaya and the city centre.

“Buses here are not punctual and the Komuter station is not easily accessible by all,” he said.

Jamaludin Ibrahim of the USJ 5 residents association welcomed the LRT extension as it would help the people save money and time, while Subang Jaya Consumers’ Association secretary Gan Meng Foo believed that it would alleviate traffic congestion.

However, they hoped that the feeder bus services would be well-planned.

Persatuan Poh Toh Subang Jaya chairman Koay Teng Koon added that the car park facilities must be sufficient to encourage car owners to use the LRT to get to their destinations.

The Subang Jaya Coffee Merchants, Bars and Restaurants Association, meanwhile, urged the authorities to look into the environmental and health aspects when implementing the extension.

Kelana Jaya MCA chairman Ong Chong Swen, who is also the USJ 5 residents association deputy president, is hoping that the LRT extension would change the people’s travelling habits.

“They can take the trains to work and use their own cars for leisure on the weekends,” she said.

Ong added that she was informed by Prasarana that it had received 92% positive feedback on the project.

JKP Zone 4 deputy chairman Shafiee Shariff Abdullah also hoped that construction work would commence as soon as possible.

Subang Jaya resident M. Vivekananda, on the other hand, was concerned about the efficiency of the LRT in solving the traffic problem in the Klang Valley.

“Using the proposed LRT extensions can result in having to travel in a rather circuitous route.

“Additionally, if the existing LRT lines have not solved the transport problem in Kuala Lumpur, how can they be expected to solve the transportation problems in the other areas such as Subang Jaya and USJ?” he asked.

He suggested the authorities look into transport woes in a holistic manner to overhaul the traffic management system.

“By extending the LRT, Prasarana cannot bring about a magical transformation to end the transportation woes. A colossal amount of taxpayers money is involved in this project.

“The authorities need to make a judicious decision in the name of progress and sustainable development,” he said.

Another Subang Jaya resident G. H. Goh suggested that an independent loop be formed along the Damansara-Puchong Expressway for travellers heading to Petaling Jaya to save the time of LRT users who are heading to Kuala Lumpur.

Citing narzey of SSC

Earth to “Rail For Valley”

The “Rail For Valley” group has recently suggested to build a “light-rail line” from Chilliwack to Vancouver. Light rail is in quotations since their plan is more of a commuter rail line than an actual light-rail line.

Much of the route of this “light-rail” line duplicates existing rapid transit investments, which makes very little sense (The Millennium Line has been built, it makes no sense…why are they ignoring the Millennium Line? It’s delusional. Get over it: SkyTrain was built.)

This light-rail supporters also assumes that such a line would be able to use the existing right-of-way (ROW) rail corridor. The thing is, Translink must negotiate with the different rail operators to be able run such a line. Depending on the situation, transit service schedules must be planned around the schedule of the rail operators, which isn’t as easy a task as it sounds, especially for busy rail corridors like the ones used by Vancouver’s Amtrak and Via Rail. In recent years, the City of Vancouver and CP Rail have gone to court, fighting over the Arbutus ROW’s usage. (Keep mind that there will be more rail freight service as Vancouver grows as an Asian-Pacific Gateway, making it more difficult for transit planning).

The plan also assumes that Broadway is a wide boulevard that can handle centre medians when light-rail is built (thus, the absurd low estimates on the construction costs they have for LRT). Unfortunately, that is not the case, which is what UBC SkyTrain Group has been stating all along. Broadway will be restricted to one to two general lanes of traffic per direction, with kilometres of parking restrictions. Referring to previous engineering plans conducted in the 1999 technical study, there will be little room for centre median stations and almost no room for station expansions.

Service frequencies for such a line will also be low and will be more akin to a commuter rail line rather than a proper frequent light-rail line.

Rapid transit has many modes, and light-rail is just one of many modes: it is not the solution for every corridor and to every situation. It’s about time that light-rail supporters grasp that concept and figure out what they really want.

Not just for UBC

It’s astounding how the UBC SkyTrain is portrayed by some as the SkyTrain to UBC, and nothing else but UBC in between.  Right?  Wrong…terribly wrong. 

Let’s focus on potential station areas.  This is why the term “Millennium Line West Extension” should perhaps be used instead.

  1. Finning Station – There are many plans in redeveloping False Creek Flats area.  Initially part of False Creek, the area was filled in for industrial use early in the 1900’s.  Today’s, it’s still largely industrial but it is also the home to Great Northern Way Campus (a technology post-secondary campus formed by UBC, SFU, Emily Carr, and BCIT).  The campus is slated for a massive overhaul, which will be designed and planned largely around the station built in the middle of campus as part of the Millennium Line extension.
  2. City Hall Station – Linking up with the Canada Line, the City Hall area is already bustling commercial and residential area.  It is the Central Broadway Business District, an extension of the Downtown Vancouver core.
  3. South Granville Station – The South Granville area is one of the largest outdoor retail areas outside of the Downtown core.  The corner of Granville and Broadway is still busy area even when the transfer point for Richmond/suburbs bound passengers has been moved to Cambie/City Hall area. It is part of the Central Broadway Business District.

Of course, there are many more in between, but these areas are growing, have plans to grow, and will continue to grow.  The Millennium Line extension simply acts as a catalyst for increasing development.  Is this a line just for the students of UBC?  Sure, they can use it, but it’s not just for them. 

A full list of Millennium Line West Extension stations from the existing VCC-Clark Station:
– Finning
– Main Street/Kingsway
– Cambie (connects with Canada Line)
– Oak Street/Vancouver General Hospital
– Granville Street
– Arbutus Street
– Macdonald Street
– Alma Street
– Sasamat Street
– and finally, UBC

Notice how the proposed Millennium Line West Extension station locations parallels the stops on the existing 99 B-Line bus service, which carries more than 60,000 passengers per day. 99 B-Line bus stops:
– Commercial/Broadway
– Clark
– Main
– Cambie
– Willow/Vancouver General Hospital
– Granville
– Macdonald
– Alma
– Sasamat
– Allison (UBC Village)
– UBC Loop (UBC Terminus)

One Pass Now

It’s been a while since we haven’t updated the blog, but there have been many developments in transit infrastructure in Metro Vancouver.  One of which is One Pass Now, a campaign for $25/month for all post secondary institutions.  UBC and SFU have been pretty spoiled with the U-Pass, but we too believe that all students attending post secondary should have access to this.  If you have a minute, check the site out by clicking the image above or by going to http://www.onepassnow.ca.

We at the UBC SkyTrain Group, are fully supporting One Pass Now.  It’s also important to note, as this pass will encourage more students to be using transit, the need for a SkyTrain to UBC will grow.  You might be thinking: UBC already has a U-Pass.  Not VCC.  VCC already has a SkyTrain on the south side, but passengers coming from the west do not have direct access to the college unless they are taking the local routes.  The missing Broadway SkyTrain connection will allow passengers from the west side to VCC-Clark, making the current terminus busier and safer.