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Old 05-15-2017, 10:38 AM   #59
frinkprof
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accord1999 View Post
But the problem here is that the NC line doesn't really become functional until a few expansion projects goes through, and where it'll be competing against expansion of existing lines where the marginal value would be higher. I'd expect Shepard to Seton to win out over 16th to 40th or McKnight.

But then difference there is the Red Line has two functional legs, while for the Green Line, after Phase 1 there is a SE leg that is almost functional and a NC leg that is essentially non-existing.
It's true that the stub of the line to 16th Avenue falls short of the bigger "payoff" territory, but it's far from useless. A tunneled rapid transit line that's a straight shot to downtown under the geographic barriers of the river and the hill isn't without significance. The first extension that includes a robust bus loop (probably McKnight) is where you start to leap over that functionality hurdle. If the north of Beddington feeder buses are transferring to the line, then the line/extension is pretty close to fully functional as a concept (Twitter conversations have revealed that these buses would continue to run downtown instead of terminating at 16th Avenue with the transfer). Building it to 16th knocks off the most expensive part of the line, and sets in stone the Centre Street route, which is a huge part of making the thing work. Extensions from that are very logical and much easier in every way.

It's absolutely true that a Shepard to McKenzie Towne extension (or further) is cheaper and easier than a 16th to McKnight or Beddington extension. Agreed there. I don't think the North Central line will languish at 16th for as long as you and others seem to think though. Getting it to 16th means that the heavy lifting is done and the payoffs for future extensions from there are big.

Quote:
Originally Posted by accord1999 View Post
Looking back, it seems the biggest benefit was that by using the ridership of the NC, it helped cement the SE LRT well before it could have if it was only a stand-alone project. It seems NC LRT supporters really screwed themselves by not supporting a NC only line.
Both lines needed the other to get to here, or else neither get built this soon. Remember that the North Central line was planned to go up Nose Creek valley with the downtown connection being a very dubious transfer to the NE line or sharing 7th Avenue. To visualize and sell the more logical Centre Street route, it had to be linked to the SE line's downtown route. Then, to sell the high (but necessary) cost of the central route (16th to Ramsay), you needed to link it to two lines and not just one. Politicians and enough of the populace would have balked at the cost of the SE line if it couldn't share the high cost with another line.

"Supporting a NC only line" probably gets you Nose Creek or nothing, which are both terrible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by accord1999 View Post
I doubt anybody in the NC sees that puny amount of construction north of the riveras a big win, and frankly I think the planners only put it there as a bone for the NC, and fully expect it to be the first things that get canceled if (and more likely when) the SE LRT goes over-budget.
I'm saying that it's a big win in the context of who is representing the North Central communities politically. Sean Chu actually said early on that the North Central leg wasn't needed right now. Yes, he advocated against infrastructure in his ward. That the north central is getting the bone it is, is a win in that context.

As for the "first things that gets canceled" bit, that won't be happening. If this is the phase 1 that gets approved, that's what's getting built. The whole first phase will be built concurrently and any cost overruns won't jeopardize either end because they will be mostly built by the time they would be realized. It's not like they will build the SE portion, see how it goes, then go ahead with the line to 16th Avenue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by accord1999 View Post
But there's never been a project this expensive and challenging, and a new LRT project has never been undertaken so quickly after the last. Look how long has it's taken to assemble the funds to build a new line after the West LRT and that was a much smaller project.
The bolded is incorrect. The south line was finished in 1981, the NE in 1985 and the northwest in 1987. Actually, the northwest line was originally supposed to go ahead of the northeast, was delayed due to some politics (mainly with it running through established northwest communities), and then got restarted quickly to have it in time for the Olympics (sound familiar?).

Actually, the LRT has been almost entirely built in two extended building booms. The first was from 1978-1990 (the three lines mentioned above, plus an extension to Brentwood), then there was a long period of inactivity in the 90s (extensions to Crowfoot in the NW, Somerset in the south and the West Line were all planned and could have been built then). The second big building boom for the LRT was from 1999-2014. This included extensions to Fish Creek-Lacombe in 2001, Dalhousie in 2003, Somerset in 2004, McKnight-Westwinds in 2007, Crowfoot in 2009, Saddletowne in 2012, Tuscany in 2014 and the whole West line in 2012.

I believe we're about to enter another extended building boom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by accord1999 View Post
And if there are years of continued reports of overruns and need for extra money, than the appetite would definitely shrink. Look at what's happening at Honolulu Rail Transit, whose rapidly increasing budget and increasingly hostile Federal Government may mean it gets cancelled while already under construction. And even the local inhabitants are getting frustrated, where the most recent poll has about as many people are against it as for it. Even if they do complete it, Honolulu is not going to get money for another large rail project for a generation because no one is going to trust it with money.
You can't compare the American experience with building transit to the Canadian one. Full stop. Generally, in everywhere but New York City, the conversation in American cities is closer to "should we have transit?" In Canada it is "awesome, when do we get to build this thing?"

The appetite for transit projects in Canada's big cities is huge. The West LRT went over budget, but that's barely a blip on the political radar.
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