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Posts Tagged "SkyTrain"

16Sep

Here’s what SkyTrain users told TransLink they want for the new cars

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Alyse Kotyk, CTV News Vancouver


Published Monday, September 16, 2019 11:18AM PDT


Last Updated Monday, September 16, 2019 11:19AM PDT

Transit users want to see more open and flexible spaces in SkyTrain cars, a survey conducted by TransLink says.

Earlier this year, about 13,500 transit users weighed in on changes they’d like to see inside SkyTrain cars as the transportation authority prepares to get more than 200 new cars. 

Results from the survey, released Friday, found that front-facing seats were the most popular, with 53 per cent of respondents preferring them. But perimeter seats were firmly in second place, with one-third saying they’d like some side seating in the new cars. 

Transit users were also very interested in seeing more leaning rails next to windows, particularly for those who have difficulty sitting. Across both its public survey and the TransLink Listens survey, 90 per cent of transit users were in favour of leaning rails. 

Opening up areas entirely for flex space was also a popular option, with about 60 per cent of respondents saying they’d like to see flex space on trains doubled. Right now, the newest train cars have two flex space areas – one at each end of the train. In those flex spaces, two-thirds supported bike racks being included. 

SkyTrain users also wanted improved signage showing the upcoming stop, destination and exit side. 

They also called for policies on washrooms to be reviewed. Currently, only washrooms at SeaBus terminals or on the West Coast Express are open to the public. There are also staff washrooms at stations, which are only accessible to the public with the permission of a TransLink staff member. 

However last December, TransLink’s board of directors approved a recommendation to create a policy that would see public washroom facilities on the transit system. 

According to a January staff report from the City of Richmond, TransLink staff have developed a washroom demand index for all stations and bus exchanges. Based on Compass card data, a draft “score” has been given to each station that considers the number of visits each site has per day. 

Data on those scores has not yet been released and there is no timeline on washrooms being made available at stations. 

The request for proposals for design and delivery of new cars will close at the end of this year. The new train cars will be used to replace the oldest “Mark 1” cars and will be in service sometime between 2024 and 2027.  

Read through the full report below.

14May

A SkyTrain to the North Shore? B.C. studying rapid transit across Burrard Inlet

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CTV News Vancouver


Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:09PM PDT


Last Updated Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:27PM PDT

The B.C. government has announced it will explore rapid transit options between downtown Vancouver and the North Shore in response to the worsening congestion on the routes connecting the two areas.

“Our government recognizes commuters on the North Shore are frustrated with congestion,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena said in a statement. “With this feasibility study, we’re exploring potential solutions that help people move around more easily, which will improve quality of life.”

Adding transportation options across Burrard Inlet is one of the several recommendations put forward in the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project led by North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma.

“Traffic congestion is intricately connected to issues like housing affordability,” Ma said. “Over the years, the high cost of housing has forced people to move further from the places they work, resulting in longer commutes and serious traffic issues. This feasibility study is an extremely exciting addition to the many initiatives we have implemented so far and continue to work on to get the North Shore moving again.”

An INSTPP report from August 2018 recommends “evaluating the benefits and costs of, and conditions for rapid transit between the North Shore and Burrard Peninsula, connecting to the regional rapid transit network, and focusing on connecting Lonsdale City Centre with Vancouver’s metropolitan core.”

A rapid transit option in the vicinity of the current SeaBus route would likely lead to the largest increase in ridership, the report added.

“Some of the new transit ridership would come from a shift from automobile use, but most of the increase would be from new trip patterns,” the document read. “For example, a North Shore resident who shopped locally might shift their activity to downtown because of improved transit accessibility and vice versa.”

While INSTPP did not discuss specific types of transportation that could link the two areas, it did say “municipal partners have stated a preference for ‘rail’ rapid transit.”

According to the report, widening the Lions Gate and Second Narrows bridge is “not possible due to structural limitations,” and the idea of a third bridge isn’t part of any current transit plans for the region.

There are also no plans to replace either bridge in the near future.

The government also said the study could consider an expended passenger ferry service across Burrard Inlet.

The province says it will work with TransLink and local governments to look at the feasibility of various options plans for future land use in the area.

The study is expected to get underway this summer.

INSTPP’s full report follows. Viewing this on our mobile beta site? Tap here to see a compatible version.


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31Mar

TransLink issues open call to make waiting for bus or Skytrain more pleasant

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TransLink has issued an open call for submissions to make waiting for the bus or SkyTrain more pleasant — although it won’t include large investments into brick-and-mortar projects to make that happen.

Kevin Desmond, the regional transportation authority’s CEO, says the goal of the open call is to partner with the private sector, students or academics to come up with better ideas than the transit authority could on its own.

“We want to tap into innovators who can move a lot faster than we can as a public organization,” Desmond said.

Desmond points to projects like Google Maps and the Transit App — which use open-source data on bus and train routes to help people plan their trips —  as successful public-private partnerships that help transit customers without costing TransLink any money.

The successful proposal for the open call will get support from TransLink in the form of funding to develop the project and access to TransLink data or information. 

But Desmond says the open call likely won’t fund brick-and-mortar projects that also affect transit users’ experiences — like washrooms, for example. Those are part of a different project underway.

While the open call may not fund new washrooms, Desmond says it may fund an app that helps connect transit users to public washrooms near transit hubs. 

The goal of the open call is to stretch the agency’s money by partnering with an external agency or person, Desmond says. That way TransLink can focus its money on operating more trains and buses. 

“More and more, public organizations are going to be reaching out to private sector and private sector innovators to come up with great new ideas,” he said. 

Focus on core services

Mike Soron, founding director of public transportation advocacy group Abundant Transit, says he’s onboard with TransLink stretching its dollars to create better experiences for its users. 

However, he noted that safe, secure, comfortable washroom facilities for people should not be considered innovations. “That should be considered a core responsibility of TransLink.” 

Soron agrees that the private sector is better poised to find innovative technical solutions — and accept the financial risks of doing so.

This is the second open call TransLink has issued. Last year it focused on the theme “seamless mobility.”

The successful proposal was a partnership between car and bicycle-sharing companies Modo, Evo and Mobi to provide their services at transit hubs so people can easily switch from one form of transportation to another. 


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15Feb

TransLink mayors’ council votes “yes” on SkyTrain to UBC

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Buses and riders at the UBC bus exchange on January 30 2019.


Gerry Kahrmann / PNG

The TransLink Mayors’ Council has endorsed SkyTrain as the technology for the transit extension to the University of British Columbia.

At a meeting Friday morning, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted in favour of moving ahead with planning for SkyTrain, with only two mayors opposed. The decision was in line with a recommendation made by TransLink staff in late January.

Ahead of the decision, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said that in the interest of acting “collaboratively” on a regional decision, he would not be calling for a weighted vote.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum told the council he’d heard from UBC students and employees in his city who were looking forward to getting to campus by rapid transit.

“We’re certainly fully supportive of it,” he said.

Several mayors said they supported transit to UBC, but had concerns about the cost of the line and its priority over other transportation projects.

“It is not the only important transit project in the region,” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan, adding “we need to look at the long-term needs of the region.”

White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker worried the council seemed to be “rushing headlong into something several years out,” without really knowing what future growth of the region would look like.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart had questions about SNC-Lavalin and its involvement in future SkyTrain projects.

A staff report included in the meeting’s agenda said staff believe “an extension of the SkyTrain Millennium Line is the only technology option that can provide sufficient capacity to meet demand beyond 2045.”

The report also noted other potentially lower-cost alternatives, including light rail transit (LRT), had been “thoroughly explored and eliminated because of capacity limitations and deliverability challenges.”

Ridership for a new rapid transit line from Arbutus to UBC is projected to exceed 118,000 in 2045, which is more than the current Millennium Line corridor.

During the meeting, the mayor’s council also heard from several people who work at UBC and supported the line. Some spoke about their difficulties getting to and from campus on existing transit.

A representative of UBC’s Alma Mater Society said the line would promote “accessibility and equity of education and employment.”

Engineering student Kevin Wong told the council he commutes for two to three hours each day, some days leaving home at 6 a.m. and not returning until 11 p.m.

“SkyTrain to UBC would cut my commute in half,” he said.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has been a strong advocate of extending rapid transit to UBC.

In late January, Vancouver city council voted nine-to-two to endorse a SkyTrain extension from Arbutus Street to UBC, and to direct staff to “advance the design development including public consultation to determine station locations, vertical and horizontal alignment.”

Procurement has begun for the Millennium Line extension from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus through a bored tunnel under Broadway. It’s estimated that the project will cost $2.83 billion and be completed in 2025.

The second phase of the 10-year transportation plan for the region set aside $3 million to develop concept designs and undertake pre-business-case work for the line to UBC. The last evaluation of options for the line was done in 2012, so last year TransLink hired a consultant to do a study to consider technology, operating assumptions, demand forecasts and costs.

Four options had been considered: optimized B-Line bus service, light rail from Arbutus to UBC, light rail from Main Street-Science World to UBC and SkyTrain from Arbutus to UBC.

The updated study found that by 2030 the B-Line and parallel corridors would be overcrowded. By 2045, both light-rail routes would be near or over-capacity, and parallel corridors would be crowded. SkyTrain would also be nearing capacity, however, it could be doubled with higher frequency and longer trains.

A preliminary cost estimate, in 2018 dollars, for a fully tunnelled SkyTrain extension would be $3.3 billion-$3.8 billion. However, the report notes inflation would push the cost to $4.1 billion-$4.8 billion if procurement begins in 2025 and the project is completed in 2030.

With files by Jennifer Saltman

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