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DavidW

Winnipeg's ongoing Rail vs. Busway debate

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The Free Press has another article today about Mayor Katz's continued lobbying for a rail transit system instead of the busway.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/cit...s-95678324.html

The article is illustrated by a photo of Vancouver's short-lived Olympic Line. The Mayor identifies the provincial government as the main obstacle to chosing rail over busway for the transitway currently under construction. The article mentions Vancouver, Portland, Seattle and Toronto (204 cars on order from Bombardier) as examples of the type of system proposed.

The article also reports that according to the consultants a rail transit line would cost $50 Million per kilometre, "32 per cent more expensive than bus rapid transit" (which implies the Transitway as a busway is costing $39 Million/km).

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The Free Press has another article today about Mayor Katz's continued lobbying for a rail transit system instead of the busway.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/cit...s-95678324.html

The article is illustrated by a photo of Vancouver's short-lived Olympic Line. The Mayor identifies the provincial government as the main obstacle to chosing rail over busway for the transitway currently under construction. The article mentions Vancouver, Portland, Seattle and Toronto (204 cars on order from Bombardier) as examples of the type of system proposed.

The article also reports that according to the consultants a rail transit line would cost $50 Million per kilometre, "32 per cent more expensive than bus rapid transit" (which implies the Transitway as a busway is costing $39 Million/km).

one or the other stop talking and just build it.

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one or the other stop talking and just build it.

It's an interesting situation because to me it looks like Winnipeg Transit and the Mayor are not on the same page, and probably haven't been since he was elected. So far I would say Transit is winning given the busway construction is well underway but the Mayor hasn't given up. Considering that City Council is effectively Transit's Board of Directors and the Mayor is chairman of the board the disagreement can't last forever.

I wonder about the timing of all the concrete poured between Harkness and Corydon already, a good 18 months before any bus will run on it. It could have been poured next summer. I'm not aware of how tracks could be pinned to continuous concrete slab so it would have to be cut into or removed for a rail option. "Oops," Transit Tom got ahead of the Mayor's rail study. Imagine that. Well... you know... contracts and stuff...

The notion that funding for phase two might be held up for "studies" (i.e. until Transit agrees to rail) is playing nasty but if the Province is deaf to the Mayor hell might freeze over first. And while we wait for that to happen phase one will open as a busway. Transit still wins.

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Just look back to 2004/2005, Katz has ALWAYS been against the busway. It was then Glen Murray's golden egg. Rick Borland was then Winnipeg Transit Director and a huge supporter of the busway concept. He stuck his neck out; he was forced to resign by Katz after many years of service.

Since then, Katz has not had his way, even after appointing Dave Wardrop and conducting a new rapid transit proposal in 2006. In fact the forces against Katz have prevailed. Most of the senior Managers within Winnipeg Transit did and continue to feel sympathy for Rick Borland and do not support the LRT concept. As well, most of city council does not support LRT, Gerbasi being the most vocal. On the Provincial level, busway also clearly wins.

Another example could be the newly RAV line in Vancouver, BC. The Campbell Government pushed it through even though significant opposition from Translink (Vancouver regional transportation governing body) existed, the RAV line won the day.

I'm sure the busway will win the day. It is just waiting for Katz, the only holdout.

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It's an interesting situation because to me it looks like Winnipeg Transit and the Mayor are not on the same page, and probably haven't been since he was elected. So far I would say Transit is winning given the busway construction is well underway but the Mayor hasn't given up. Considering that City Council is effectively Transit's Board of Directors and the Mayor is chairman of the board the disagreement can't last forever.

WT has also successfully (so far) bucked Russ Wyatt's proposal last year to bring back trolley buses.

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Made-in-Manitoba solution?

New Flyer offers bus rapid transit for Winnipeg

By: Geoff Kirbyson

Paul Smith, executive vice-president of New Flyer Industries, with one of their buses destined for Miami. (JANEK LOWE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

If the City of Winnipeg is still looking for rapid transit options, it might want to check its own backyard.

New Flyer Industries, the largest heavy-duty urban bus maker in North America, said a home-grown solution is available but it's only going to fly if some long-held stereotypes can be destroyed in the process.

"The public's perception of transit is a dirty, noisy, rattling bus," said Paul Soubry, CEO of New Flyer, which is headquartered in Transcona. "Our latest offering, which we've been delivering for a few years to North American customers, is a very different bus. It's got Wi-Fi, it's more comfortable, it's fuel-efficient with lots of natural light and it has ease of entrance and accessibility for disabled people."

Bus rapid transit, or BRT, also has the flexibility to adapt and add routes with a fraction of the infrastructure costs of light rail transit (LRT), he said.

Soubry said BRT has proven to be a very cost-effective means of moving people around in mid-sized to large cities, including Halifax, Ottawa, Brampton and Cleveland.

"If you invest in the assets and make it complementary to the existing bus fleet, (BRT) can be a very progressive way for a city to get people out of cars and into public transit," he said.

It didn't take long to twist the arms of Cleveland residents. The Ohio city spent about $200 million -- including $950,000 each for 21 buses -- on its own BRT, which went live in the fall of 2008. (All figures are in U.S. dollars.) Within the first 12 months, ridership was up 48 per cent.

Its system includes exclusive BRT lanes, buses with doors on both sides, cameras at the rear and sides and bus stops on the far side of traffic lights. There's even a feature called "signal prioritization," which keeps green lights lit longer so buses can get through the intersection, shortening commute times.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority even found a pair of hospitals willing to pay for the naming rights of the BRT corridor -- dubbed the HealthLine -- which will provide $250,000 per year over 25 years to city coffers. Sponsors of each of the 26 stations shell out another $30,000 annually. In total, between $15 million and $18 million will be collected and reinvested back in the line by 2033.

Joe Calabrese, general manager of GCRTA, said it looked at every possible people-moving option and went with the bus route.

"The BRT will cost one-third to build and one-third to operate as LRT. The one question we heard over and over again was, 'Will development happen around the stations?' The answer is yes, it will, without any doubt. We've seen much more development around our BRT than with any of our light or heavy rail systems," he said.

Calabrese said more than $4 billion of new development along the corridor, including retail, housing and factories, has sprung up or is in the planning stages.

A City of Winnipeg spokeswoman confirmed a meeting has taken place between New Flyer executives and city officials.

New Flyer provided information on its product offering, some perspective on the competitiveness of BRT versus LRT and invited Glen Laubenstein, the city's chief administrative officer, to come to its plant and check them out. Laubenstein accepted.

"In terms of any decisions being made or whether we're looking at going further and signing on with New Flyer, it's all premature," city spokeswoman Michelle Bailey said.

Paul Smith, New Flyer's executive vice-president of sales, said it can also provide different propulsion systems, such as hybrid vehicles or electric trolleys. The latter existed for many years in Winnipeg until the infrastructure was torn out in the 1960s.

"We can put electronic trolley service back in with rubber wheel transit. You don't need steel wheels to put that in but there are a lot of infrastructure and maintenance costs with it," he said.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Mad...a-solution.html

Its good for New Flyer to do this!!! I personally would want BRT rather than LRT. It would be a miracle if the BRT goes with trolley's running on it! :)

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I heard that the Mayor's "streetcar" LRT report was complete and at Transit for their comments on Wednesday June 30th.

I think it goes to council (or EPC?) with Transit's comments sometime this week.

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http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/bre...--97942439.html

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

EPC approves plan to endorse light-rail transit

By: Bartley Kives

7/07/2010 10:18 AM

WINNIPEG -- City council's executive policy committee has approved a plan to endorse light-rail transit as Winnipeg's preferred mode of rapid transit.

EPC voted unanimously to approve the idea, as well as a plan to direct transportation planners to incorporate LRT into future plans and continue to look for federal public-private partnership funds to pay for the completion of the second phase of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor.

Ottawa and Manitoba have offered Winnipeg $130 million in Building Canada Funds to complete the $220 million Phase Two as a busway. Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz wants to use Building Canada cash to fund road and bridge projects instead.

The unanimous vote followed an acrimonious exchange between Katz and Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasi over rapid transit.

Environmental consultant Ken Klassen and Thomas Novak from the Winnipeg Rapid Transit Coalition also lectured EPC.

Slightly longer CBC article on the same:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/20...t-winnipeg.html

and article on the Global Winnipeg website:

http://www.globalwinnipeg.com/Streetcar+pl...6978/story.html

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In any case, the first portion of the South Pembina busway to Jubilee Avenue is underway and will be completed whether an immediate conversion to LRT or not.

A street car type LRT system to the likes of what Portland has will not work in Winnipeg. Winnipeg's a cold winter city; funneling people directly to their destinations with minimal transfers is very important. That's why Winnipeg Transit has a hub and spoke system to attempt to cover the major innercity corridors with needed frequent service and outer corridors with less frequent but nonetheless direct branches. I found Winnipeg Transit to be both efficient and reliable as a result.

An LRT will only offer diminished bus service due to high cost, minimal travel time savings verses a busway, extra transfer(s) to get to various desinations and contribute greatly to urban sprawl via park and ride lots. With a busway, one could ride from St. Norbert to Downtown in 20-25 minutes. That is very reasonable, and is the type of service that will encourage people to leave their cars at home, by giving people a fast and efficient transit mode directly from their doorstep to where they need to go. When one has to take a St. Norbert feeder bus to University of Manitoba station, then the LRT train, the travel time is up to 30 minutes (12-18 min. ride to LRT, walk to platform, catch train running every 10 min with a 5 min wait to Downtown) with a transfer and does not offer any major improvements over the existing service.

The cost for LRT in Winnipeg is not justified as the bus system will be improved for less cost and better, more direct service as a result. Winnipeg does not have high parking prices in the downtown nor does it have a high number of people white collar workers working downtown. It is true that the University of Manitoba has alot of employment, a busway can serve the campus reasonably well.

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I just hope Katz's hurrys up and builds the LRT so it's a done deal. :(

He's never going to build the LRT. Only thing good about Wasylycia-Leis so far is that she comes straight out and says she'll scrap that idea and get this BRT done to Bison Drive. It is the best system for Winnipeg at the present time and would be even better (and sexier) if we could use New Flyer built BRT trolleys for some of the routes using the line (160 and 183 would be a good start). Made in Manitoba rapid transit solution.

Sam's only reason for pushing for LRT is so that he can look good by having promised BRT money pumped into roads. He did refute Wasylycia-Leis by saying that more buses would be needed to funnel passengers. That's right. Tell everyone straight out that instead of taking one bus you'll be taking one bus and one streetcar to get downtown. Faster service point to point on the streetcar line, sure. Great if you're next to a station. Not so great if you aren't by a station.

I like the original plan. Do the BRT and when and if the passenger volumes and TOD justify it, then start on the LRT streetcar. But lets just get this thing built already, to the U of M. We won't realize the full benefits until this is complete. Thought about it a lot the last while and just this issue alone will give Wasylycia-Leis my vote.

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I'm quite confused about all this debate. The population of Winnipeg is around 700,000 now, and Edmonton is around 765,000. Edmonton has a good beginner LRT system that has planned expansions and new lines. Winnipeg has NOTHING. Winnipeg is growing rapidly, as is Edmonton. Many Winnipeggers don't want LRT because they feel that the city isn't big enough for it yet. Well, then why is Edmonton big enough for it? Winnipeg is smaller in area than Edmonton, but has only a slightly smaller population -- that means that there is more density in certain areas, which is a better reason for a good rapid transit system.

Unless I'm missing something, here's what I think should happen. The whole line should be BRT built completely separated from traffic (like LRT), and use special two-sided articulated buses (to accommodate stations with platforms on either side. There should be proper stations with ticket vending machines, automated announcements, ads, and everything else you'd normally see in an LRT station. The buses would not have fare boxes, as you'd buy the tickets from the vending machines, or use the monthly passes. I don't know what would happen with the sheets of tickets. Then, as ridership increases, begin to plan the conversion to LRT. Unfortunately, the buses would have to leave the dedicated area, and run down the normal street, but I don't suspect that the conversion will take too long since the major infrastructure could be already existing (everything except the tracks and overhead lines). The two-sided articulated buses could then either be sold, or could be originally leased from New Flyer or something like that. Or, they could be converted to regular buses in some way. Or, better yet, they could be used on another BRT preliminary project along say, Portage, awaiting conversion to LRT. At this point, the buses may have reached the end of their useful life anyway, and the conversion to LRT could occur.

Personally, I think that one of the major issues with the above is the conversion after the BRT has already been running. The buses would have to go onto Pembina again, and get slowed down for the whole trip. This could be remedied by creating the line as LRT immediately, and planning the budget expecting ridership to increase over a certain number of years, however this has higher upfront costs. Here in Vancouver, the 98 B-Line (BRT) buses ran down a dedicated busway in Richmond, but had to move to the main road during the construction of the Canada Line. This made for increased travel times, and slightly lower ridership. Since the riders knew that in a couple years they'd have a nice new RRT (rail rapid transit) system that would be even faster than the buses, many stuck with it. Others waited until the Canada Line was built before they left their cars, but did join the public transit network once the line opened.

This may all be gibberish, but I hope to get some comments clarifying what is actually the problem with BRT or LRT. I know that Winnipeg needs something, but I don't know why there is a big debate about it. BRT is a good start as long as it is built in such a way that it can be easily converted to LRT in the future.

Opal

He's never going to build the LRT. Only thing good about Wasylycia-Leis so far is that she comes straight out and says she'll scrap that idea and get this BRT done to Bison Drive. It is the best system for Winnipeg at the present time and would be even better (and sexier) if we could use New Flyer built BRT trolleys for some of the routes using the line (160 and 183 would be a good start). Made in Manitoba rapid transit solution.

Sam's only reason for pushing for LRT is so that he can look good by having promised BRT money pumped into roads. He did refute Wasylycia-Leis by saying that more buses would be needed to funnel passengers. That's right. Tell everyone straight out that instead of taking one bus you'll be taking one bus and one streetcar to get downtown. Faster service point to point on the streetcar line, sure. Great if you're next to a station. Not so great if you aren't by a station.

I like the original plan. Do the BRT and when and if the passenger volumes and TOD justify it, then start on the LRT streetcar. But lets just get this thing built already, to the U of M. We won't realize the full benefits until this is complete. Thought about it a lot the last while and just this issue alone will give Wasylycia-Leis my vote.

For some reason it seems that Katz is making politics out of this. Yes, LRT is probably better in the long-run, but at the present time, a good BRT system that is separated from traffic will suffice. If it is built with stations, etc. that would be even better. Then, when ridership permits, the conversion can be made to LRT.

Opal

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I actually wrote a paper on this:

Since 2003, Bus Rapid Transit has been debated at city hall, and has now just recently in 2009 passed, and construction is finally underway 6 years later. In the early days of Mayor Glen Murray, he had a plan for Winnipeg to become more transit oriented, where he developed a massive city wide plan for Bus Rapid Transit, running on multiple routes across the city, improving the already criticized system. Murray liked the idea of having buses on dedicated roads better than the idea of having a rail system like a subway or having Light Rail. The plan was massive, and was going to be much larger than cities already with BRT like Ottawa and Vancouver. However there was lots of controversy surrounding the plan where many people were saying the plan was too large and the cost wasn’t worth it. In a mini election, Sam Katz was voted into city hall replacing Murray, and he began canceling the plans of the BRT system. By 2004, the BRT plan was cancelled by a very strong vote, and instead, more money would be invested into the current system such as for research into hybrid technology, safety and security improvements and fleet expansion. However, such ideas were only just implemented within the few years, leaving a two year gap of who knows what kind of spending. In 2008, the discussion of BRT was brought back to city hall, by who? Mayor Sam Katz ironically. Many transit riders were complaining about the poor service on the Pembina corridor, especially for the mutual amount of commuters traveling to downtown and the University of Manitoba. City council approved the plan for the BRT corridor along the Canadian Railway tracks down the Pembina corridor. Construction is already under way and the first phase of the plan, from the Forks to Jubilee, is expected to be complete by 2011. Despite the progress for some sort of rapid transit, what I don’t get is the criticism for the old system planned by mayor Glen Murray, and the system that is currently going on. Many people argued that the proposed BRT system planed by Murray was too expensive, and that’s why it was cancelled. But when it was cancelled, part of the money was diverted to improvements on transit. However, it took 2 years for the money to be finally utilized and some transit improvements were seen. Additionally, the costs for two failed bus demonstrations as well no expansion of transit service was seen. With very little being done with transit over the past few years, I think that there was too little funding to transit, and never mind the high cost associated with Murray’s BRT plan; if that were to solve the transit issues quickly, and would last for decades, I think it would be a very good investment into being more transit oriented. Now just suddenly BRT is a major issue and lots of money is being pumped in the project and along with that, more controversy into the costs with the second phase of construction, stretching from Jubilee to Bison Drive and terminating at the University of Manitoba. Murray’s idea of BRT was a little extensive in my opinion, but the plan shouldn’t of been cancelled all together, and parts of the plan should of been kept. In fact, in the BRT proposal, it included a dedicated transitway from downtown to the University and possibly down to St. Norbert, much like the current plan. So to summarize, old mayor Glen Murray proposed a major BRT plan, which included BRT for the Pembina corridor, then it was cancelled by Sam Katz, after large amounts of money was invested into the planning and study of the BRT plan Murray proposed. Then 4 years later, Sam Katz brings up BRT again, spends the same amount of money into planning and research for the Pembina corridor as the original BRT plan, and now finally, BRT is being constructed, 5 years later than the original plan Murray proposed and twice as much money spent. Certainly a waste of money.

The current plan, as mentioned previously, is separated by two phases; phase one stretching from Queen Elizabeth Way, all the way down to the Jubilee overpass and the second phase continuing from Jubilee to Bison Drive, and terminating at the University of Manitoba. In the first phase, the construction will include the transitway, as well as active transportation paths from the Queen Elizabeth Way to the Jubliee overpass along the Canadian National Railway, three new stations at Harkness, Osborne and Fort Rouge, and a tunnel underneath the CN tracks to by-pass trains. Current progress on the construction includes new water and sewage systems that will pump water from the tunnel and the transitway to the Red River, re-aligning Donald street to accomodate the transitway, paving the transitway, tunnel work and preliminary work on the active transportation paths. But before you make an opinion if BRT is really worth it and if LRT should be used instead, let me give you an explanation of what BRT is, as many people see it being much slower, less efficient and won’t be better than regular transit.

Bus Rapid Transit or BRT for short is a form of rapid transportation where high amounts of people are transported in a bus, and arrives to their destinations much faster than regular transit service. BRT has been implemented in many cities across North America, however it was first seen on the streets of Curitiba, Brazil, where high capacity buses, dedicated bus lanes and roads, stations and a variety of other major transit improvements were used to get people along a busy corridor to their destinations in more comfort, and more quickly. Since then, BRT has expanded worldwide, with over 50 cities across the United States and Canada alone with BRT. The main and fundamental features of a BRT system over regular transit are bus only dedicated bus lanes or roads, stations, bus priority, off-board fare collecting system, accessible use all throughout the system, and premium built buses, accustomed to passenger’s comfort, such as real time displays, next stop displays, air conditioning, extra padded seating, improved lighting, quieter engines, and a variety of other features to maximize passenger comfort, at the same time improving on performance and getting the passenger to their destination safely and on time. In comparison to light rail, BRT is far less expensive in both construction and operating costs. However, there are some disadvantages to Bus Rapid Transit that light rail would be the solution to. One being the environmental impact. The current plan for BRT says that it will be running on, preferably, hybrid articulated buses. Even though the buses being hybrid, light rail, which in most cases operate on electricity, which would eliminate any pollutants as well as reduce the amount of noise. Another being light rail having a significantly larger passenger capacity than BRT, and it has been seen that LRT can get people to their destinations far faster than BRT. One misconception of BRT is that it will be no better than the current regular transit, but that is not true, as in Winnipeg’s case, a dedicated busway is being built, for buses only, which there would be no traffic, traffic lights or frequent stopping. It wouldn’t be as fast as LRT, but BRT would be significantly faster than the current transit we have running on the streets of Pembina Highway. BRT is certainly the solution to Winnipeg’s expansion issues as not only will it get people along the Pembina corridor to their destinations faster, but it will free up many regular used buses that in turn can be used to give better service to those who need it. The BRT corridor wouldn’t only benefit those on Pembina, but it will benefit all Winnipeggers.

In my opinion, I think that BRT is a great approach to solving the issue of slow transit service, especially in the Pembina corridor because of the cost, the amount of passengers given, and the pre-existing infrastructure. Firstly, BRT is good for Winnipeg because of the cost. Comparing other BRT systems such as the Orange Line in Los Angeles, the total cost for the 22km transitway, came to $324 million, which is little compared to the over $700 million for a light rail system. The operating costs for a BRT system would also be reduced as maintaining buses and the busway is less than half the cost for maintaining the light rail vehicles, tracks and overhead wires. In Edmonton, they have just recently purchased 36 new light rail cars, and at a cost of $3.8 million each, that would put a hefty price on just getting enough vehicles to run the line. Compare that cost to the $750,000 per BRT vehicle, made locally by New Flyer Industries in Winnipeg, so by purchasing BRT vehicles, you are also making the economy in Winnipeg much larger. Looking at Toronto, they operate BRT to a neighboring community, where there are more than one line, and the cost for installing a rail based transit system was way to high because of the structure of the system and the pre-existing infrastructure already in place. The BRT system of ‘VIVA,’ which runs 5 routes and 59 stations, the cost for $500 million, and since then, ridership has been so successful, they are expanding their system even further. Recently, city council just released their 2010 budget, which didn’t include phase two of the BRT project. The mayor put it off the infrastructure budget because he says that there are more important projects that need to be done, and there needs to be more research into the effectiveness of implementing BRT over LRT. However, I think the stalling of the project is not necessary as I think that Winnipeg is not ready for a light rail, as I observed through Edmonton’s LRT and current ridership on buses, especially in the Pembina corridor. In Edmonton, LRT ridership is about 74,400 daily boardings, and the total ridership per day in Edmonton is 354,440, where Winnipeg’s total ridership is 112,000 daily boardings. Of course comparing that would be flawed as Winnipeg has a significantly smaller population than Edmonton. However looking at the numbers, 21% of all Edmonton passengers ride the LRT, and if Winnipeg follows the same trend the rapid transit line would only receive 23,530 daily boardings, which is a comparable size of daily passengers to the Los Angeles Orange line at around 21,500. A BRT line would be most effective as it provides better service than regular or express busses, but less service than an LRT line, which wouldn’t be worth it. With the options of the BRT busway to be converted to an LRT line, I think that once Winnipeg is ready and outgrows the BRT system, conversion to LRT should be considered. Lastly, I think BRT is a great idea because of the already pre-existing infrastructure ready for BRT. The Graham transit mall in downtown for example, is already a dedicated busway that gets passengers along the downtown corridor to their destinations very quickly. This would save on money that would need to be spent to redo a street and add in rail tracks and other LRT infrastructure to be installed. Additionally, there are plenty of existing signals and passenger information systems at bus stops and intersections that would go to waste if an LRT system would be built as the recently installed bus priority signals would need to be taken out and be replaced with railway crossings and other equipment. It simply is too inconvenient to install LRT infrastructure, as well it just seems logical to utilize the already existing infrastructure, especially if it is fairly new and perfectly good for BRT use.

But despite all the advantages to Winnipeg’s BRT plan, there are some key advantages that LRT still takes that would make a successful system. Firstly, it would attract more passengers taking public transit, most likely more passenger attraction than having BRT, which would then result in far less cars on Pembina Highway and reduce emissions significantly. In comparison to Edmonton again, ridership prior to the LRT was average, but when the LRt was introduced, it drawed people to ditch their cars and take the LRT as it was a faster alternative, and this wasn’t only people living along the line taking LRT, but other people from across the city began using the LRT as it was becoming to be the main source of transportation. Today, the LRT is used by many in Edmonton and one in five passengers will use it to get to their destinations and is continuing to expand further to ultimately become the central source of transport. Secondly, it would reduce costs in the long run as there would be no need for conversion in the future if BRT is decided. The money going towards the BRT project right now can be used to invest into LRT, and for larger price, LRT can be built and there would be no cost for the construction of BRT then the conversion in the future. Plus, if the LRT attracts enough passengers, the money coming from fares can cover or partially cover the costs of the extra maintenance and operating costs. But despite all the advantages, there is a risk to implementing a LRT line. In Los Angeles, an LRT line was built called the Green Line, but it is criticized for being a flop and waste of money as many people in the area say that it would be better if BRT was installed as the ridership on the Green Line is low compared to other LRT lines in the LA, and even low ridership compared to much of the continent. Many say that they have constructed the LRT too prematurely, and that BRT would be a cheaper and more effective alternative. The same risk can be applied here, that if we install LRT too prematurely, we could end up like the Green Line in LA, with very low ridership.

Therefore, in my opinion as a frequent bus rider along the Pembina corridor and has observed the impacts of LRT, I come to the conclusion that some form of rapid transit is needed along the Pembina corridor, whether it be LRt or BRT, however, I would recommend BRT as I feel Winnipeg is not ready for a LRT system because of the ridership trends, the costs and the current infrastructure we already have ready for BRT use.

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Unless I'm missing something, here's what I think should happen. The whole line should be BRT built completely separated from traffic (like LRT), and use special two-sided articulated buses (to accommodate stations with platforms on either side. There should be proper stations with ticket vending machines, automated announcements, ads, and everything else you'd normally see in an LRT station. The buses would not have fare boxes, as you'd buy the tickets from the vending machines, or use the monthly passes. I don't know what would happen with the sheets of tickets. Then, as ridership increases, begin to plan the conversion to LRT. Unfortunately, the buses would have to leave the dedicated area, and run down the normal street, but I don't suspect that the conversion will take too long since the major infrastructure could be already existing (everything except the tracks and overhead lines). The two-sided articulated buses could then either be sold, or could be originally leased from New Flyer or something like that. Or, they could be converted to regular buses in some way. Or, better yet, they could be used on another BRT preliminary project along say, Portage, awaiting conversion to LRT. At this point, the buses may have reached the end of their useful life anyway, and the conversion to LRT could occur.

That's pretty much the plan. Stations will be built such that they can easily converted to LRT, and if it's the low floor streetcar style the platforms won't even need to be raised. Fare collection will still be needed though as buses will be venturing off the BRT line into the suburbs. None of the stations being planned have centre platforms so doors on both sides won't be needed. Unless plans change, at least the first 2 years of operation with be with regular 40' diesel buses.

I actually wrote a paper on this:

Separation of paragraphs would make this more readable.

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Separation of paragraphs would make this more readable.

They are in 3 separate paragraphs based on my school's outline to writing. Sorry, I should have organized it better to be read on a thread!

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They are in 3 separate paragraphs based on my school's outline to writing. Sorry, I should have organized it better to be read on a thread!

I copied it into Word to make it readable. I'll likely read it again tomorrow when I'm more awake! You had some grammatical errors in there.

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Council votes in favour of moving towards light-rail transit

http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CT...ub=WinnipegHome

And the best part of the article... :D

"Two years ago, the mayor promised a bus-way from downtown all the way to the University of Manitoba. Then, he changed his mind and thought maybe trains…tomorrow he might wake up and say he wants nuclear-powered rickshaws or a cable-car from the top of the Richardson Building, but it's all a fantasy,"

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Council votes in favour of moving towards light-rail transit

Good and bad, really. I hope they do this the right way and I hope it doesn't backfire on them. I hope it doesn't result in the scrapping of the project altogether because LRT is more expensive. That is my biggest concern about going with LRT right off the bat. I know that in the long run it will be useful, IF it gets built. For some reason now I have serious doubts that NOTHING will get built because of the costs involved. BRT would have been a good start that has a good cost, but LRT requires a larger investment. Not saying it's bad, because it's great, but I just hope that the dollar signs don't get in the way of the project now.

Opal

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Good and bad, really. I hope they do this the right way and I hope it doesn't backfire on them. I hope it doesn't result in the scrapping of the project altogether because LRT is more expensive. That is my biggest concern about going with LRT right off the bat. I know that in the long run it will be useful, IF it gets built. For some reason now I have serious doubts that NOTHING will get built because of the costs involved. BRT would have been a good start that has a good cost, but LRT requires a larger investment. Not saying it's bad, because it's great, but I just hope that the dollar signs don't get in the way of the project now.

Opal

I find it difficult to determine if the Mayor is genuinely determined to see LRT built or if he's mostly interested in shifting the BRT funding into roads or something else non-transit. He snatched the money away once before. I don't want to be duped again. Funding for his LRT notion (not really a "plan" yet) seems uncertain. The Feds seem open to picking up their share. The province would rather see Judy win the Mayoral election in October.

BRT still has a hue of "cheap fake rapid transit" to it in many people's minds (including mine, sad to say) but the extra expense of LRT has always seemed beyond Winnipeg's reach financially. Ridership in the Pembina corridor has fallen in the 37 years since the BRT was selected. In those days PEMBINA buses ran every two to three minutes in rush hour, and every five or six minutes much of the rest of the day. Today they run every 9.33 minutes most of the day (winter), and a bit more frequently in the rush (every 5 minutes?). Fewer riders should make both options more expensive per rider. That might widen the cost-comparison gap between LRT and BRT.

As a transit enthusiast I'm much more interested in an LRT. As a daily rider on the Pembina corridor, LRT would be a superior experience hands down. As a Winnipegger I want to see something practical and affordable, now and for the foreseeable future. As a voter, I'm tired of false promises and being lied to.

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How about getting this BRT done but put the tracks in the roadbed now so when the funding and justification for this flexi streetcar is in place it can be done simply by finishing the tracks into downtown and from Pembina into the U of M? There no reason that we can't have BRT and LRT on the same dedicated right of way.

Good idea but it won't happen because Sam Katz wants to look good by trying to divert BRT funding into roads. I think we'll be lucky to see any rapid transit built beyond Jubilee by 2020.

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