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Improving Transit and Transportation


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#1 Bernard

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:02 PM

Let me open this can of worms and see where it goes.

I figure the Malahat is an issue to consider, but the people that use it tend to work in Victoria but are not voters in Victoria, Saanich or anywhere else in the CRD.

Transit - no one seems to be very interested in the basics of transit, out network of buses and anyway, our local governments have no power over it.

Spencer Road interchange and related development - clearly an issue in Langford, but no one else gets a say.

Rail transit - lots of people like trains, but I do not hear about anyone running for office talking about how the trains will be paid for.

A problem I can see coming that needs to addressed for road infrastructure is the Tyee and Bay intersection. Soon it is going to hit gridlock.

#2 Mike K.

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:19 PM

A problem I can see coming that needs to addressed for road infrastructure is the Tyee and Bay intersection. Soon it is going to hit gridlock.


I live in this area and frequently find myself delayed a bit in that traffic, but realistically speaking it moves very, very quickly compared to other congested areas of the city. The longest I expect to wait between 2PM and 5PM is not more than 5 minutes and on an average day the delay is 2 or 3 minutes.

Fact of the matter is the cars that make up the bulk of that gridlock are heading towards the western communities or Esquimalt. Increasing capacity will only lead to heavier traffic.

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#3 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 09:35 PM

Well, I guess this could just as easily fit into our "rail" thread, but let me post it here...

Interesting article in Seattle's Crosscut, re. The case for more rail, by Ben Schiendelman:

The case for more rail transit

The region has tried a largely bus solution for 40 years, and by now the capacity flaws are apparent. If we are really serious about building density, we need to lay more rails.

(...snip... [lots of interesting stuff, go read the article... and then also this bit:])

Cities follow transportation. The ability to trade, in goods and ideas, is the primary driver of human development. Paris and London sit on rivers, Chicago on a lakeshore, Seattle alongside a storm-protected harbor. Fundamentally, cities develop to take in raw materials of every kind, then to add value by combining them into more specialized goods. Originally this meant iron ore, coal, and wood shaped into products and buildings. Now it also means software, genetic sequences, and circuitry.

These businesses and ideas don't occur in a vacuum. These ideas are brewed by discussions with the friend you run into at the coffee stand down the street. Every urban area's success is reliant upon its ability to foment face-to-face crossings between inventors and implementers, and these crossings happen proportionally to how dense and walkable our urban centers are.

Federal highway investment and other factors have long worked to shift these businesses from accessible but expensive downtown office buildings to widely spaced office parks. The diversity of experience in life and work was put in jeopardy and with it the United States' dominant role in innovation. Our urban vitality has been choked out by a lack of concentration.

We need to reverse this trend.

I thought this was interesting, re. buses (vs. rail): "The flexibility argument — that buses could follow shifting concentrations of passengers, unlike fixed rail — was always a straw man."
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#4 Sue Woods

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 07:21 PM

Traffic congestion: I've heard there had once been some discussion about widening (twinning) the Bay Street Bridge. Does anyone have info about that?

Commuter Rail: I would love to see people getting out of their cars and commuting together by rail to address pollution, gridlock and the rising cost of fuel. It would require all the municipalities and the CRD to agree - but I think its in everyones best interest. Victoria Real Estate Board stats show we have an annual migration of at least 2,500 new residents - and the Western Communities will continue to experience the largest growth. But no matter where newcomers choose to live in the CRD the majority need to commute into downtown. The existing line is owned by CP Rail but what about building a new line alongside with two or three spurs to outlying areas to fit under the umbrella of BC Transit (like Skytrain in Van - and Go Train in Toronto)? Capital costs to build platforms/stations etc could be subsidized by the Province. Opportunities to create more revenue beyond user fees could be through display advertising similar to the buses (but obviously posted inside the railcars).

At one time Victoria had five rail lines (2 went out to Sidney). Not related to this discussion but I think interesting.

I also favour using streetcars along historical tram lines downtown - and some weekend street closures so people can enjoy car free spaces. (Cook Street Village? Government St? Inner Harbour Causeway?)

Just some thoughts, Sue

#5 Rob Randall

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 09:53 PM

I don't think twinning the Bay Street bridge will accomplish anything except provide jobs for engineers and construction workers.

A workable goal for the next three years would be to introduce a free transit bus loop in Downtown on an experimental basis. It may be possible to fund this partially using City parking revenue.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#6 Sue Woods

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 10:20 PM

I don't think twinning the Bay Street bridge will accomplish anything except provide jobs for engineers and construction workers.


Hi Rob, I'm interested in why you suggest widening the Bay St bridge will only accomplish employment for the construction trades. How do you envision a free bus service alleviating traffic congestion after the Railyards, Dockside and Roundhouse developments are completed?

Thx Sue

#7 Rob Randall

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 10:34 PM

I don't believe there is a single case of urban congestion that was solved by bridge twinning. the latest research indicates traffic volume increases in response to increased capacity. In other words, build it, and they will drive. Besides, an expanded bridge needs expanded approaches and the idea of a Vic West highway is so 1965, as I pointed out here last year.

Proponents of the free bus loop claim drivers might be more likely to drop their cars off in parking facilities outside the centre of Downtown if a convenient bus could take them closer to their final destination. It makes sense to me.

I believe Roundhouse/Dockside/Railyards residents will not have a significant effect on Vic West congestion. I may be wrong but I'd bet most of it is traffic passing through.

This is one reason I've been bullish on increased parking in developments on the fringe of Downtown, like Radius and Hudson. It's better if we can intercept cars long before they reach Pandora Ave.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#8 Sue Woods

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 10:56 PM

Thanks for getting back to me Rob.

It was residents from the Songhees who mentioned to me that there had been some discussions in recent years about widening the Bay bridge. I don't know the history beyond that.

All the best with your campaign.
Sue

#9 G-Man

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:40 AM

I'd be for widening it so that you could have a transit lane in each way. A bus that loops across the two bridges is useless if it is waiting behind all the cars.

#10 Sue Woods

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 08:09 AM

I'd be for widening it so that you could have a transit lane in each way. A bus that loops across the two bridges is useless if it is waiting behind all the cars.


I don't use Bay Street Bridge every day but lately I've noticed traffic congestion getting worse and I'm often stuck on the bridge sometimes watching two or three light changes at Tyee/Wilson Rd.

I don't know if past discussions about twinning the bridge - 5 or 6 years ago I think - ever made it to council. I'm flying blind here but all I know is that the area is growing fast. As for expanded approaches, maybe one additonal lane (in the centre) from the bridge to Government St. would work similiar to the Lions Gate bridge in Vancouver with alternating lights/lanes to reflect rush hour flow. There seems to be some room to widen Bay Street along that rather short span I mentioned, and it would also work better for heavy industrial truck traffic along Rock Bay.

But as mentioned, I am not a regular user - just reflecting on models used elsewhere to make roads work better for commuters in growing neighbourhoods.

Cheers, Sue

#11 Rob Randall

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:27 AM

Considering it cost nearly $4 million to fix the View/Vancouver intersection, the cost of a twinning or expansion would not be a priority for the City of Victoria, even with Federal and Provincial infrastructure grants. There are too many other pressing infrastructure issues that have to be dealt with now, the most urgent of which is water and sewage pipes.

I know this is of little comfort to Songhees residents and it might cost me votes, but I'm withholding my enthusiasm until I read more on the traffic issue from a qualified consultant. Anyway, it seems to me a Tyee interchange would speed traffic through much more efficiently than an expanded bridge. Would a bigger bridge improve traffic flow, or would it merely allow more cars to idle on it waiting for the light?

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#12 Sue Woods

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:47 AM

I know this is of little comfort to Songhees residents and it might cost me votes, but I'm withholding my enthusiasm until I read more on the traffic issue from a qualified consultant. ....
Would a bigger bridge improve traffic flow, or would it merely allow more cars to idle on it waiting for the light?


I dont know that there is enthusiasm or not behind "expansion". And I have no info to suggest that it is even being looked at by traffic consultants at this point in time.

Would be good to hear the views of those Vic West/ Songhess folks impacted - or soon to be when all the development is over.

#13 jklymak

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:57 AM

I agree with Rob: a few more bottle necks in the system will encourage people to get out of their cars. Unless there are serious impacts in moving freight around, impeding commerce, I am not in favour of expanding this bridge.

Since I'm not running for council I can freely say that I think the quasi-suburban car-oriented design of Songhees is one of the greatest tragedies of urban planning in Victoria. Building expensive infrastructure to please its residents wouldn't be high on my list of priorities.

#14 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:07 AM

I know this is of little comfort to Songhees residents and it might cost me votes, but I'm withholding my enthusiasm until I read more on the traffic issue from a qualified consultant. Anyway, it seems to me a Tyee interchange would speed traffic through much more efficiently than an expanded bridge. Would a bigger bridge improve traffic flow, or would it merely allow more cars to idle on it waiting for the light?


It seems to me that tinkering with the light timing at Bay and Tyee during the PM rush could fix things a bit.

#15 Sue Woods

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:20 AM

Since I'm not running for council I can freely say that I think the quasi-suburban car-oriented design of Songhees is one of the greatest tragedies of urban planning in Victoria. Building expensive infrastructure to please its residents wouldn't be high on my list of priorities.


With all due respect, and since I am running for council, I do not see any benefit in undermining the potential needs of one specific neighbourhood based on personal opinions about a community's design success or liveability.

I am strong supporter of getting people out of cars and onto commuter rail/bus/cycling but cars are a reality for those not in a position to live and work downtown.

#16 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:35 AM

Since I'm not running for council I can freely say that I think the quasi-suburban car-oriented design of Songhees is one of the greatest tragedies of urban planning in Victoria.


Not many people that buy a $750,000+ condo don't own a vehicle.

#17 jklymak

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:53 AM

I agree that city planning decisions certainly shouldn't be based on personal opinion.

However, I would argue the point of city government is indeed to design successful liveable communities for the good of the whole city. If that comes at the expense of the perceived "needs" of individual communities, all I can say is that real change isn't easy on everyone. Saying you are all for transit and getting people out of cars, but that we need to widen the road to get those cars moving seems at cross purposes.

Its fine to say "cars are a reality". Of course they are. But if we don't make them so darn convenient people might try to stop living so far from their workplaces. I'm not saying blow up the Bay Street Bridge, I'm just saying waiting for a couple of lights isn't the end of the world, particularly if it gets more people to take the bus, walk, or ride their bikes.

#18 Sue Woods

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 12:53 PM

I'm just saying waiting for a couple of lights isn't the end of the world, particularly if it gets more people to take the bus, walk, or ride their bikes.


I agree with what you say - more transit options will attract more users which would be an ideal situation. And its good news that we have cutting edge green developments going into that area.

I think I may have misunderstood the purpose of this forum. I was using it to ask questions (in this case to see if anyone knew about past discissions on the issue and where they ended up) when I think it is more intended for candidates to state their specific views and goals. In that regard, I would like to clairfy that I've never suggested that we need to, or I that want to, twin the Bay Bridge.

Thanks for engaging with me.
Cheers, Sue

#19 Caramia

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 01:02 PM

We definitely want to hear your views. But you should feel free to ask questions too. This is a great opportunity to get to know some of the candidates - and that includes getting to know how they handle dialogue, consultation and disagreement.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#20 Baro

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:50 PM

The ability to honestly ask questions rather than just making up an on the spot opinion and sticking to it is a very GOOD thing in a potential councilor!
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

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