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Old 05-14-2017, 10:18 PM   #41
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I don't think the point is really about traffic or potential riders, but existing Transit ridership - which is WAY higher in the North Central than the SE. It's easy for the line to be successful because the Transit ridership along Centre Street is proven - it's the highest ridership Bus corridor in the City.
That's what I was asking. Couldn't see the article posted. If the ridership numbers are reasonably higher in the north, I guess there is a case for the north leg to go before the south.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:25 PM   #42
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BRT Route 301 (North-Downtown): 11,300 riders/day
BRT Route 302 (S.E.-Downtown): 3,700 riders/day
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:36 PM   #43
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BRT Route 301 (North-Downtown): 11,300 riders/day
BRT Route 302 (S.E.-Downtown): 3,700 riders/day
Assuming those numbers are correct, and I have no reason to think they're made up, then it kind of seems like a good reason to go north first. The only reason I can think of that they'd go south anyway, is to capture more ridership. The SE seems like an absolute goldmine for an LRT. Not just the residential areas, but also the industrial areas. Not everybody works downtown.

Doesn't matter to me, I live by the red line. Just speculating.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:47 PM   #44
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Assuming those numbers are correct, and I have no reason to think they're made up, then it kind of seems like a good reason to go north first. The only reason I can think of that they'd go south anyway, is to capture more ridership. The SE seems like an absolute goldmine for an LRT. Not just the residential areas, but also the industrial areas. Not everybody works downtown.

Doesn't matter to me, I live by the red line. Just speculating.
On the other hand, the reason the North ridership is higher could just be that more people in the SE drive because transit from there is such a PITA. So they may get more people converting to transit from the SE than they do in the North as they already use it there.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:51 PM   #45
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Calgary transit could look at it as a cost savings by going north. They already have crap service in the south. By going north, they take a lot of buses off the road.
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:53 PM   #46
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Calgary transit could look at it as a cost savings by going north. They already have crap service in the south. By going north, they take a lot of buses off the road.
Why take buses off the road when you could take cars off the road?
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:53 PM   #47
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If Phase 1 goes ahead as recommended, what it does is makes for several (2, 3, or 4) nicely sized expansion projects to finish the line to North Pointe. They'd be a few hundred million apiece, take 2-3 years each, and each hit sweet spots geographically (McKnight, Beddington and North Pointe, for example) that add value/payoff.

At that scale, it is much easier to find and get inventive with funding. It's also easier to make the case politically, say in the next election cycle, for mayoral or councilor candidates.
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.

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Also, after the line reaches Shepard in the southeast and 16th Avenue in the north, I think people will treat it like two separate lines and that extensions won't compete with each other as much and may happen concurrently, just like when the northwest and south ends of the red line were extended concurrently in the early 2000s.
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.

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As a political exercise, it was important to marry the two sides of the Green Line together so that the central section could be done right and also wouldn't be the expensive hurdle associated with either side of the line, blocking either from getting done. It was also important to flesh out the concept of the north central line going up Centre Street instead of Nose Creek.
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.

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For the north central line, I think strong Ward 4 and Ward 3 councilors/candidates will make the difference as to when it gets fully built out. That it even got to this stage (building out the tunnel section to 16th Avenue) is a miracle and a big win
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.

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Not sure about that taxpayer appetite thing. Transit projects have had widespread support among Calgarians for decades. The NDP has been pretty wishy washy on the funding of this project (I think it's partly a timing thing, they want to fund it heading into 2019), but the federal Liberals have shown clear signals and willingness to increase the funding package to cities for transit infrastructure.
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. 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.

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Old 05-14-2017, 11:00 PM   #48
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Assuming those numbers are correct, and I have no reason to think they're made up, then it kind of seems like a good reason to go north first. The only reason I can think of that they'd go south anyway, is to capture more ridership. The SE seems like an absolute goldmine for an LRT. Not just the residential areas, but also the industrial areas. Not everybody works downtown.
The problem going SE is that it takes a lot of track to reach the major population areas. A major reason why supposedly the Green Line needs the SE LRT to be built first is the maintenance facility is at Shepard, but that's (by my rough counting of the track) 18 km away from central downtown Calgary, which would make it longer than every other leg in the CTrain system. Since so much track needs to be laid in the SE, there's no money left to do anything in the NC, where 18 km north of downtown Calgary, you're past Keystone and looking at farmland and Cross Iron Mills in the east.

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Old 05-14-2017, 11:19 PM   #49
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The problem going SE is that it takes a lot of track to reach the major population areas. A major reason why supposedly the Green Line needs the SE LRT to be built first is the maintenance facility is at Shepard, but that's (by my rough counting of the track) 18 km away from central downtown Calgary, which would make it longer than every other leg in the CTrain system. Since so much track needs to be laid in the SE, there's no money left to do anything in the NC, where 18 km north of downtown Calgary, you're past Keystone and looking at farmland and Cross Iron Mills in the east.
But if Calgary Transit gets a massive influx of new customers, the ROI is higher and faster than merely upgrading the experience for people that already use the north BRT.

I don't know. Sort of seems like one of those slaps in the face you get when you see a commercial for your own cell/cable/internet provider offering shiny new things for new customers, but the existing faithful can GFY. Business is business?
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:39 PM   #50
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I guess you could look at it in terms of what would bring in new ridership. The north central ridership already exists and isn't going anywhere, so building it would just be rewarding existing riders with a better system. Still, I think it sucks that this announcement seemingly came out of nowhere after the expectation that we would be getting Ctrain service out here.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:59 PM   #51
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You can blame council for perpetuating that assumption. They knew almost 7 months ago that it would be done in multiple phases and wasn't going very far north to start.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:09 AM   #52
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Has the Green Line Project always included the north? For some reason, I don't recall the north line being discussed alongside the SE line when the whole thing first started. Was the north added in to get voters to agree with the project?
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:11 AM   #53
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It's going to take a whole lot of luck and wishful thinking to see the Green line being done by 2040, and at that point it will be done two full generations after it was needed. And the West line will continue to sit there as a monument to wasted spending.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:20 AM   #54
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But if Calgary Transit gets a massive influx of new customers, the ROI is higher and faster than merely upgrading the experience for people that already use the north BRT.

I don't know. Sort of seems like one of those slaps in the face you get when you see a commercial for your own cell/cable/internet provider offering shiny new things for new customers, but the existing faithful can GFY. Business is business?
The reason to move from Bus to LRT is fundamentally a capacity question. The North Central Corridor is really congested, buses are full, and the many buses there are clog Centre Street and in particular downtown streets. Further ridership growth becomes untenable on buses for a long time.

The SE on the other hand really does need improvements on the routes, more dedicated space to make it faster and more efficient, but it'll be a while before the SE bumps up against capacity constraints being served by bus.

I think Gondek's suggestion is that you need to build the north line to effectively serve the corridor, it is less costly to build (not having to build 10+ bridges and tunnels to traverse rivers, railways, industrial areas, and major roadway the SE has to) and therefore there could be budget to dramatically improve SE bus service as well as build North Central LRT.

There is merit to that argument for sure.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:38 AM   #55
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The reason to move from Bus to LRT is fundamentally a capacity question. The North Central Corridor is really congested, buses are full, and the many buses there are clog Centre Street and in particular downtown streets. Further ridership growth becomes untenable on buses for a long time.

The SE on the other hand really does need improvements on the routes, more dedicated space to make it faster and more efficient, but it'll be a while before the SE bumps up against capacity constraints being served by bus.

I think Gondek's suggestion is that you need to build the north line to effectively serve the corridor, it is less costly to build (not having to build 10+ bridges and tunnels to traverse rivers, railways, industrial areas, and major roadway the SE has to) and therefore there could be budget to dramatically improve SE bus service as well as build North Central LRT.

There is merit to that argument for sure.
How would you connect the Shepard maintenance facility then? Do you feel the city would somehow expedite the required land purchases, expropriation and eventual court challenges associated with going north for the whole route?

Also, the tunnel is a huge chunk of the cost. The only articles I could fine were from Nov 2016, but they peg the cost of the underground section at $1.95 billion. So you'd still be spending that money if you go north instead of south to start.

Do you have a cost breakdown for the remaining $2.7 billion on a per km of track/station basis for both north and south routes?
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:40 AM   #56
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Has the Green Line Project always included the north? For some reason, I don't recall the north line being discussed alongside the SE line when the whole thing first started.
The NC LRT I think has been its own thing ever since the beginning of the CTrain and even while it has the necessary ridership for it, the city has never seemed to want to go through the effort of building it.

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Was the north added in to get voters to agree with the project?
I think so, there wasn't really the economic justification to spend several billion on a stand-alone SE LRT project and there would be no way NC communities would accept being passed over again. But by "combining the two" and strategically placing the maintenance facility so far in the SE, now you get the stand-alone SE LRT.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:43 AM   #57
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How would you connect the Shepard maintenance facility then?
You could build it somewhere else, possibly at Aurora Business Park by 96th Ave or even farmland that's still closer to the Calgary downtown then Shepard since the scenario described in Bunk's post has the NC line being the priority.

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Old 05-15-2017, 01:03 AM   #58
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You could build it somewhere else, possibly at Aurora Business Park by 96th Ave or even farmland that's still closer to the Calgary downtown then Shepard since the scenario described in Bunk's post has the NC line being the priority.
I think the land at Shepard is already owned by the city and anything else would need to be purchased/expropriated. Can find out tomorrow for sure though.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:38 AM   #59
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Old 05-15-2017, 11:12 AM   #60
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I heard a rumor that the province is unlikely to come through on the funding which could nix this whole thing - anyone else heard this?
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