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Links and Tidbits for April 21, 2011

Interesting tidbits and links about transportation from the last few weeks or so!

If you have any items to suggest, or a photo to showcase on these posts, e-mail me at thebuzzer@translink.ca! (Seriously: photos. Send them to me!)


9 Comments

  • By Cliff, April 22, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    The video of the Houston Metro is a prime reason Vancouver can’t handle at grade LRT. Vancouver drivers are not used to it and many people can’t be made aware of it sufficiently enough to avoid accidents like those in the video.

    During the Olympics, on the demonstration line, with signs and spotters, a driver still managed to hit the train at the only road crossing it had in False Creek.

  • By Steven, April 22, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    This was my interesting find of the week. I never knew that MTA NYC threw their old subway cars in the ocean, I was kind of shocked when I first saw it but evidently marine life love them!
    http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663348/surreal-photos-of-subway-cars-being-thrown-into-the-ocean-slideshow
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/us/08reef.html
    and some more info about 75% thru this page on the MTA’s site:
    http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ffenvironment.htm

  • By Tim Choi, April 22, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    My sentiments re. LRT echo Cliff’s. It also appears that the problem of cars turning into LRT trains is not something that can be solved with the passage of time – a friend of mine in Calgary reports that collisions with cars or pedestrians continue to remain an almost daily occurrence.

    In Istanbul during rush hour (where, admittedly, traffic habits are somewhat less strict than ours), cars have no qualms about turning and remaining on the tram tracks on a red light – naturally, this forces the trams to stop (they operate at fairly slow speeds at such intersections). The trams and cars jockey for right of passage, though I’ve never seen an actual collision.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, April 22, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

    All this talk of street cars makes me feel ill. I can’t believe that there was an accident on the only street crossing, even with signs and spotters.

    Just in case anybody didn’t know, when I volunteered many years ago with the Downtown Historic Railway, there was a very interesting situation. A guy pulls up to the tracks and just stops there, when a train was about to go. A volunteer scolds the driver, and the driver flashes his cop badge and drives off. So, even the cops make that mistake.

    If we need crossing guards because drivers hit children, and if drivers hit trains, then evidently, they are not good at seeing things behind the wheel. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    This might have been a significant reason why street cars were removed from Metro Vancouver.

    At least buses can work their way around traffic congestion. If I were in a rush, then I’d never take a street vehicle on rails.

  • By Steve, April 23, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    @ Eugene T.S. Wong – To clarify, streetcars weren’t removed from Vancouver because they were hitting cars. They were removed because of the high cost associated with maintaining the rails and the higher capital cost of the streetcars compared to buses and the fact that the transit operator did not have to maintain the roadways on which their buses operated.

    I think its important to add that buses get into traffic accidents all the time too. I’ve been in buses that have been rear-ended or cut off by drivers who incorrectly thought they could beat a bus. I don’t the potential of being involved in an traffic accident is a good enough reason to write off Vancouver having a streetcar.

  • By ;-), April 23, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    How much more does it cost to maintain a streetcar vs a bus? 10%? 50%?

  • By Steve, April 23, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    @ ;-) – I don’t have the numbers readily available with me but on a dollar per passenger basis, I believe it costs less to operate and maintain a streetcar than a diesel bus. A couple of reasons are that streetcars suffer less wear and tear and run on electricity. What helps to tip the scale and make streetcars more expensive is that transit companies usually have to incur the cost of maintaining the steel rails, the roadway on which the rails run, and the overhead wires that feed electricity to the streetcars.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, April 23, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

    @Steve

    Thanks for clarifying regarding capital costs.

    I understand that buses will get into accidents. I agree. I mentioned children and trains to describe a spectrum of sizes.

  • By mads, April 26, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

    Love the video :)

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