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[Johnson Street Bridge REPLACEMENT] General, technical, design and naming discussion


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#61 Bernard

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:03 AM

Commuter rail, as opposed to rail based rapid transit, can work but you need the numbers and you need to have enough service hours to pay for costs of buying and maintaining the rolling stock. This is what kills commuter rail in most locations.

The commuting population that could potentially use the E&N line remains small and is unlikely to ever be big enough to warrant commuter rail without a very,very large subsidy. Is that really what we really want to do?

Rail cars are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. The number of operating hours per year for a commuter rail car would by in the range of 750-800 hours a year. For a bus it is more like 3000 to 4000 hours per year. For SkyTrain it is close to 6000 hours.

For it to make any sense, the ridership has to close to 100% capacity and there needs to be a surcharge on the fare. You would also need trains with multiple cars to reduce the overall operating costs.

While the E&N would make sense for commuter rail to the naval base, it does not work well for downtown because the terminus is not close to where people work.

Let us assume three trains from Duncan to downtown, one of which could manage a second run, and these trains have three cars each with a capacity of 90 people, this would mean it could move about 1000 people a day.

Would it be economical to operate the trains during the day between Westhills and Downtown? Hard to say.

Ultimately the problem remains that not a lot of people live on the Westshore and north of the Malahat and not a lot of them are looking to go where the E&N goes. To run a commuter rail service will likely require a very high subsidy per rider to make it feasible.

#62 G-Man

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:06 PM

In a commuter rail operation you run the trains in and then they return in the evening.

#63 Schnook

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 11:27 PM

Tourism is important to Victoria.

That used to be true before the credit crisis halted American economic growth. (Americans constituted the largest segment of visitors.) The next chapter in the Western economic smackdown is just beginning. We will never see the numbers that we experienced during the peak debt-driven Boomer period of the 90s. This is part of the reason why the project needs to have limited scope; the old volume of tourist revenue ain't gonna return.

It's amusing to hear people refer to Victoria as a 'megalopolis.' We are small fry.

Suggestion: We have good bus service with hybrid buses, and it's getting better. What would be wrong with simply adding a third lane to the bridge to serve exclusively as a BUS LANE???

#64 G-Man

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 08:08 AM

With attitudes like that we will never achieve anything. There are plenty of cities in the world that are smaller than Victoria that attract more tourists. It is about marketing and having a product that is marketable.

I personally think that if people actually believed in our city the way Victorians did in the 1880's that we could see tourism grow, more business come into the city and the population increase. Unfortunately the majority of the population seems to either want to keep Victoria like a starving person on rations because they like things the way they they are or they have a perverse hate on for the city where they actually wish the city worse off than it is.

#65 Schnook

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:29 AM

With attitudes like that we will never achieve anything.

My attitude is irrelevant. I'm just raising the issue of what's about to happen, about which most people seem unaware. The knee-jerk response is usually to castigate the speaker for being 'negative.' Pffft. Nobody can say they weren't warned.

There are plenty of cities in the world that are smaller than Victoria that attract more tourists. It is about marketing and having a product that is marketable.

You can advertise until you're blue in the face, but it's for nothing if your market is dried up. Remember that tourism is a discretionary expense.

I personally think that if people actually believed in our city the way Victorians did in the 1880's that we could see tourism grow, more business come into the city and the population increase. Unfortunately the majority of the population seems to either want to keep Victoria like a starving person on rations because they like things the way they they are or they have a perverse hate on for the city where they actually wish the city worse off than it is.

You're right. It's better to just think positive and ignore the negative. "Smile and the world smiles with you," and all that.

I still think a third bus lane would be a good, cost-friendly alternative.

#66 gumgum

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:13 PM

You're completely ignoring the emerging growth of tourism from China and other Asian countries. There is more than a massive potential there.

#67 Schnook

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 02:52 PM

Point. That is an unknown variable. I can say from experience that Chinese domestic tourism is booming. We are forbiddingly expensive due to their cheap Yuan. That's bound to shift as Western currencies decline, but it is still hard to say whether our 'Olde British' product can ever attract them in sufficient numbers to fill the American gap. China has cities and attractions that put ours to shame. We will be competing with their own industry for market share. But people can surprise you. Maybe we'll come up with something akin to the 'Green Gables Mania' that drew busloads of Japanese in the 90s.

Slight tourism bump forecast: Olympic impact expected this year, Chinese visiting already, CEO says (28-Jan)

Gialloreto said at some point this year they expect to finally get the tourism bump from the Olympics, but he said the Chinese impact is already being felt. "We're already seeing feet on the sidewalk," he said, noting tours from China started last summer and continued early this year.


Chinese tourism boost not translating into sales, say retailers (21-Jan)

A report by the Canadian Tourism Commission said arrivals from China grew 19.8 per cent between October 2009 and October 2010. Zhang says this increase is linked to approved destination status.
However, it’s becoming clear approved destination status won’t yield the expected 50 per cent increase in Chinese tourism dollars for Canada, says Zhang.


At any rate, the matter of Chinese traffic is too new to serve as any basis for estimating future tourist revenue, much less as an argument to support a rail project.

#68 jklymak

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 03:04 PM

With attitudes like that we will never achieve anything. There are plenty of cities in the world that are smaller than Victoria that attract more tourists. It is about marketing and having a product that is marketable.


I think the major tourism effect of the bridge will be its aesthetics - lets hope its for the best as it certainly has a high bar to meet compared to the existing structure! I'm not very convinced that up-island train rides require the extra 200 m this $12 million bridge requires. Most tourists will be fine walking that far if they've already made it all the way to Johnson.

#69 Mike K.

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 03:38 PM

The train would likely stop just shy of Catherine Street in Vic West. It's a 15-20 minute walk from there to Douglas and Yates.

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#70 Nparker

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:19 PM

Is it me or has this thread become terribly de-railed? Can we please get it back on track? Cheers! :P

#71 G-Man

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:07 AM

^^ That is my point. You stop the train at Catherine Street and I give Via a week and half before they shut down operations. If train is not included on the bridge passenger service on the Island is likely over.

#72 jklymak

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:52 AM

Why can't the new station be closer than Catherine St.?

#73 Hotel Mike

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 02:14 PM

Too bad the BMW property isn't available for a station.

#74 Mike K.

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:02 PM

Why can't the new station be closer than Catherine St.?


There is nowhere else along the route that can accommodate a proper platform and adequate vehicle access.

Many people who voted in support of the replacement project were partly sold on the concept because the City and various special interest groups implied that rail access to Victoria would be preserved (recall the cycling coalition's pro-replacement pamphlet citing rail as a done deal).

Now that the smoke has cleared the City of Victoria is all but giving up on rail and the CRD is tactfully trying to evade any monetary contributions. Meanwhile westshore municipalities that at one point said they would financially support the rail extension haven't been heard from since.

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#75 Bingo

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:43 PM

Why can't the new station be closer than Catherine St.?


It can. Refurbish the present bridge.

#76 Bingo

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:45 PM

Traffic congestion and the harbour bridges...

Adam Stirling comments,

"I’ve written in the past that the loss of two lanes of Douglas is a change that should not be taken lightly. During the debate over whether to replace the Johnson Street Bridge the city told us losing two lanes on the Blue Bridge would result in an economic impact of over ten-million-dollars, even though the nearby Bay Street Bridge would still be open to traffic.

Why aren’t numbers like this being talked about in relation to the plan to permanently close two lanes of the critical Douglas Street corridor?"

read more;
http://www.cfax1070....hp?newsId=17458

#77 G-Man

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 03:16 PM

^ They are very different examples. I am all for saving the Johnson Street Bridge but that doesn't mean we should have 21st century transit. Playing projects off on another when they are so different is masking the real issues.

1. The Upgrade to a new bridge leaves us at the status quo or decreases (no train) for volume coming into town.
2. Putting RT on Douglas increases the amount of volume that can move along the corridor.

#78 Bob Fugger

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 03:34 PM

^ They are very different examples. I am all for saving the Johnson Street Bridge but that doesn't mean we should have 21st century transit. Playing projects off on another when they are so different is masking the real issues.

1. The Upgrade to a new bridge leaves us at the status quo or decreases (no train) for volume coming into town.
2. Putting RT on Douglas increases the amount of volume that can move along the corridor.


They may be different, but the outcomes are the same. I don't understand how City Hall can argue that businesses along Johnson Street will whither and die if you cut off bridge traffic for 12 months (or whatever doomsday scenario they had predicted for refurbishment) temporarily, but it's OK for a thoroughfare of exponentially greater importance to have its capacity cut in half permanently. Well, which is it?

#79 Bingo

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 03:39 PM

^ They are very different examples. I am all for saving the Johnson Street Bridge but that doesn't mean we should have 21st century transit. Playing projects off on another when they are so different is masking the real issues.


I think what Adam Stirling was talking about was traffic congestion, so I don't think mentioning that the businesses were going to be upset when it was treatened that the Johnson Street Bridge would be closed for a year if it was to be refurbished, or reduced to two lanes of traffic.

If Douglas Street is torn up for one year to install bus lanes or whatever, the impact to businesses would be similar to closing the bridge.

The impact of narrowing Craigflower and Esquimalt Roads and installing center medians has already had an impact on commuters and businesses, and that project is still ongoing at Four Mile Hill.

Where is the study that says that people are ready to give up their cars?
That needs to be addressed before we spend all this money on transit dreams, only to have it backfire.

What happens to either bridge over the harbour is an important piece to the puzzle, and is part of any transit study if we are to get it right.

#80 jklymak

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:42 PM

but it's OK for a thoroughfare of exponentially greater importance to have its capacity cut in half permanently. Well, which is it?


While I agree the citiy's arguments about the bridge were specious, I disagree that Douglas is anywhere near capacity, so cutting the lanes in half may cut the capacity, it won't significantly cut the volume that travels the street.

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