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The impacts of Vancouver’s Skytrain

30 years ago Vancouver didn’t have a passenger rail system. Then in time with the 1986 expo they built their first skytrain line, initially between the Waterfront and New Westminister. Other lines and extensions were made later to give the network that exists today.

What is interesting though is to see the change in the landscape that has occurred largely in response to the existing of the line. This video is perfectly synchronised up and shows the difference from 1986 to 2013

It would interesting to be able to do the same thing in Auckland in 30 years time.

H/T Gordon Price

93 comments to The impacts of Vancouver’s Skytrain

  • That… is one of the reasons why I love being a public transport nut so much….

    I wanna pose a interesting challenge…

    If the Auckland Council and Govt gave the green light for a project such as this to go ahead that would link all of Auckland together to provide a quick and efficient transport system, how would the route look like?

  • In three years the SkyTrain will be 30…. let me see; under current NZ evaluation systems it is about to be of no value what so ever. In evaluating things like the CRL no benefits after 30 years are calculated. I have no idea what they are expecting, the whole thing to disappear suddenly, need total rebuilding? As you can see from the video above even the stations look the same on the 27 year old SkyTrain, it’s the surrounding neighbourhoods that have obviously developed but the train just keeps going, no doubt with more trains and people, but the main infrastructure is still there and functioning.

    in fact the oldest subway system in the world in London is still running in tunnels under that city that were opened in 1863. 150 years ago. So how our evaluation systems are structured automatically favours short term investments where the benefits come early, regardless of how long lasting the value of a project maybe.

    Roads that are often great when they first open but soon clog up due to the traffic they induce are particularly favoured, but also any projects that are light on capex but may or may have lasting benefits are more likely to look good under this model. Institutionalised short-termism.

    Maybe there’s hope: http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/06/18/further-evidence-the-cost-benefit-analysis-is-too-narrow/

    • Lloyd

      London Underground: true, some of the tunnels are 150 years old – and it shows! Those sections of the Circle / District / Metropolitan lines are badly designed (by modern standards), which leads to frequent delays, signalling problems, and (relatively) poor services – e.g. one train every 10 minutes on the Circle, which is a long wait for a Londoner – but still better than no train service at all.

      • northshoreguynz

        A little out of context, but is the Bakerloo line still running? I’m sure I read somewhere it was the first underground line in London.

        • Lloyd

          Yep still running – not the oldest line (only 110years if I recall correctly?) but has some of the oldest rolling stock, dating to the late 1960s! But still a very useful little line, and decent frequencies on the core part (every 3mins-ish at peak times). One odd feature is the fact that its southern terminus isn’t very far south at all (slightly north of Victoria Station even, I think) and one of the firmer Tube expansion plans is to extend the Bakerloo further south – Camberwell has particularly parlous transit and would benefit greatly – though that’s at least a decade (and several billion pounds, most likely) away from reality.

  • Such big contrasts – low rise, green space, low rise, cluster of high rises, low rise, high rise. Are they residential apartments close to each station?

    • tuktuk

      Yes – interesting the development pattern, very clustered. What could we do with the town centres that are close to railway stations? New Lynn is looking like a pretty good starting point for high rise residential development close to, or on top of the railway station. I wonder especially at the potential of shopping areas which may be facing competition from nearby mega-shopping malls and which often appear to be struggling. Glen Innes? Mt Albert? Panmure?

  • tuktuk

    Brilliant – loved that slightly faded look on the old footage too. Imagine the changes we can anticipate with say the western line in 30 years. An economic commentator like Rod Oram could straight away see the growth in the value and earning potential of that city Vancouver over the 30 year time span and be able to locate the right sort of figures to back up the visual imagery.

  • Vancouver also has one of the largest trolley bus systems in the Amercas, with several hundred near-new trolleys.

  • Andrew

    <nimby>horrible high rise apartments</nimby>

  • Make It Go

    Love the Mindthings soundtrack.

  • S

    And what a wonderful tree-lined corridor. Given that Auckland’s corridor is much older than the Skytrain’s corridor, it is a shame that we do not have more trees around it. Most of the corridor is actually quite ugly – the only really nice parts that I’m familiar with are really between Grafton/Newmarket and Britomart, and between about Meadowbank and Britomart.

    • That’s a decision though; compare and contrast with the gardening effort around motorways…. green PR for motoring; urban decay for trains [which I quite like!]

    • Bryce P

      Agree. More trees. Even creepers along the concrete walls. The gardening maintenance is probably cheaper than the graffiti busting.

    • the Western Line in generally very beautiful. Get great sweeping views of Waitakere ranges regularly. Along tracks less so but that is result of double tracking so will improve over time.

    • One of my favourite views is on the western line heading west just as you come in to Avondale. You get a view over pretty much all of West Auckland and on a nice day it looks wonderful.

      One thing to remember of course is that we can’t have trees near the tracks due to the overhead lines.

    • S

      @ Patrick: Sure, there’s a certain romance that comes from the sometimes very faded glory that you get around the railways. I often find the gardening efforts around motorways to be quite ugly.

      @ Bryce: I like the idea of creepers on concrete walls, especially on the section from Penrose – Otahuhu, which is just ugly – especially that old half-demolished building near Southdown. I would like to see them put a layer of soil down and let a garden take over that area, if they’re not going to do anything more productive the space. How’s that for urban decay combined with trees?

      @ Luke: I can believe that that is the case. I might be able to take a trip out there next week to have a proper look. I’ve only really got any familiarity with the line as far as about Kingsland, which is a cool little station itself, the way it is sandwiched between buildings.

      @ Matt: Yes, of course trees need to be kept of overhead lines. I wonder if there will be any problems with existing trees through sections like the Domain and Meadowbank when the wires go in?

  • The other thing you notice from the 1986 – or don’t notice as the case maybe – is the worse frequency. You hardly see another train going in the opposite direction where as in the 2013 video you see them all of the time.

    • Wayne A

      The 1986 version is from before the line was open. You can see yellow tape on all the stations saying ‘do not enter’

      I’ve lived in Vancouver for a year. The skytrain and trolleybus system is amazing. That said they have several times more buses than Auckland for a similar sized population.

  • Icebird

    I was in Vancouver for a couple of days last week catching up with friends. The development pattern in Vancouver has always been to have high-rise developments clustered around transit stations: downtown obviously, but also Metrotown and numerous other places as well. Outisde of those clusters, they have medium-rise high density developments near high-frequency bus corridors (ie Broadway), with detached houses filling in the gaps. Returning to Vancouver reminded me just how *many* residential high-rises there are in downtown Vancouver – but they’ve kept enough viewshafts and green space that it never feels like an oppressive concrete jungle.

    I took the new Canada Line from Downtown to the Airport – very efficient, and only cost me $2.75 (on weekends, you only pay the Zone 1 price to go anywhere on the network – the airport is located in Zone 2). The cool thing about automated transit vehicles is no driver cabs – the Canada line train had nice big windscreen so you could see where the train is going from practically anywhere in the train.

    And my final observation on Vancouver – the new Greenways they’re building are AWESOME. These are the high-quality cycle lanes they’re building around the city. In the downtown area, they basically reclaimed a traffic lane on selected city streets, then turned them into dedicated two way cycle-lanes with concrete barriers or planter boxes (which looked very cool) “protecting” the cyclists from car traffic. I know commentators like Nick have raised the “driveway issue” before as on obstacle to these types of protected cycle lanes, but there must be a few places around town you could make it work (the waterfront side of Tamaki drive, Queen Street

    • TheBigWheel

      “Reclaim a traffic lane” yes please. And in Auckland many of the arterial roads and suburban streets are so wide that you can actually “reclaim a traffic lane” and install attractively designed, segregated 2-way bike lanes without actually reducing the number of traffic lanes.. but just remove the parked cars on one side of the street.

      • Lloyd

        Definitely a great idea – Ponsonby Road, for example, has 6 lanes (2x parking, 4x vehicle travel, plus another ~half lane’s width as a median) and could feasibly get by with maybe 2x bus lanes and 2x vehicle lanes (ridiculous to have on-street carparking along such a major arterial) – which would leave 2.5 lanes for additional pedestrian and/or cycle infrastructure. And imagine how much nicer it would be with London Planes or some other type of street tree (yes, there are already a few trees there, but none on the scale of Franklin Road, for example).

        Sadly I doubt this is feasible (politically) as the laziness and selfishness of those who expect to be able to park their cars within metres of their destinations cannot be underestimated.

        • I’m not so sure P-Rd is such an easy nut to crack; you call it a major arterial, I call it my local shopping and socialising place.

          Parked cars do offer a traffic calming buffer between footpaths and moving vehicles. And there are a lot of competing uses for this road space; local drivers and visitors wanting to use the abundant local services, hovering for a park or sniffing out a side street, impatient through routers going to/from the Bridge/City/Newton; cyclists; buses using very poorly placed and designed stops [they shouldn't be mid block, nor should they pull out of lane]; a lot of pedestrians wanting to cross at lots of points; and somewhere for the street trees to go back in.

          Thus far the lower speed limit has been the best change, but more needs to happen.

          I think there’s an answer in some redesign; better bus priority, pedestrian privilege with raised tables at cross streets, reduced right hand turn opportunity at minor side streets [which would do much to reduce conflicts and improve flow as other factors will reduce it] like Vermont St and Mackelvie, in fact upper Mackelvie should be a shared space; Three Lamps one system redesign, with buses going counter flow; Upper St Mary’s Bay Rd a shared space and one way down hill…… and more

          • Sailor Boy

            Agreed Patrick Personally I think that P Rd should be right turn at lights on with central cycling and PT maybe with parking on one side.

            Different solution to the same objectives though I guess.

          • Quite surprised by your comments there Patrick – can I suggest an element of NIMNYism there? :-)

            I personally think (having lived there for a few years in O’Neill Street) that Ponsonby is a prime candidate for a major removal of cars. Being so close to the city, it should be designed into a cycling and PT mecca. Trams would be great but even dedicated bus ROWs would be a massive improvement.

            It has become over time an arterial but that is such a waste of a great space. It could easily be turned into a boulevard with massive footpaths for outdoor dining, cycle lanes and small squares for people to congregate.

            I think for the reputation it has in the city and even the country, it is seriously underdeveloped and hasnt come even 10% to realising its potential. When I think what the Germans or Scandinavians would do with that space…

          • Geoff Houtman

            Pons Rd has a fire station on it which limits things. It’s also part of both the over-height and width routes. It’s also the Main St shopping wise for the Western Bays, we don’t do Malls around here. We prefer shops!

          • Sailor Boy

            Why does the fire station limit things? Surely fire trucks could use tram lanes? And mount a centre kerb to turn right if necessary?

            The fact that it is the main shopping street is surely a reason to remove vehicles?

        • lloyd- there was a post about this in March- http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/03/03/rethinking-ponsonby-road/

          It shows how trams light rail/PT lanes could be introduced WITHOUT taking away the parking the local shops are so keen on.

          - I am a lazy, selfish NIMBY who has been pushing hard for Trams.

  • SF Lauren

    What I found interesting in that video is that they have very tall apartment buildings which apparently seem randomly scattered around the city. I’m sure the buildings themselves are in little town centres however from a distance they appear very out of context.

    • We get it too in places, drive along Remuera Rd or Jervois Rd and tall apartment towers suddenly leap out of nowhere.

      At least in Vancouver they have the strategy of clustering them around town centres with transit stations, sort of what we hope to achieve with Manukau and New Lynn.

      • SF Lauren

        I would argue that in Auckland our few none CBD tall buildings are more centred than what the ones in Vancouver appeared from the front window of that train.

        • Liz

          The majority seemed to be near Skytrain stations. That’s centred, isn’t it?

          • Sailor Boy

            Quite correct Liz.

          • Liz

            Patrick: I figured. Also fairly incoherent at times. But I hadn’t been paying attention to that aspect of development the first time I watched the video so I wanted to check.
            At least most of the commenters on here are fairly civil, even when not making much sense.

          • SF Lauren

            Liz. As I said “I’m sure the buildings them selves are in little town center’s” and “than the ones in Vancouver appeared from the front window of that train”

            I never said they weren’t in centres just that “they appeared very out of context”.

            The incoherence comes from my phone throwing random words around, changing words, hiding text and refusing to let me change things.

  • Vancouver is also the second most congested city in North America.

    • Got a link for that?

      Also, imagine how much more congested it would be without the nearly 400,000 weekday trips taken on the Sky Train:
      wiki: Passengers on the SkyTrain network made an average of 396,500 trips on weekdays during the fourth quarter of 2012.[1]

      And congestion is a sign of success for a city in many was; no congestion in Detroit or Eketahuna.

      • Here it is http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2013/04/vancouver-second-most-congested-city-in-north-america/

        If you read a bit deeper (other articles) into the civic politics there appears that public transport has consumed the lions share of funding.

        Some obvious road bottlenecks in the city have not been addressed.

        You also note that there are no central motorway systems, there are many light controlled highways like Te Irirangi.

        • SF Lauren

          Good to see that backs up my age old observation that Vancouver is an extremely hard and slow city to drive around, and hence why PT is such a competitive mode.

        • Interesting the solution suggested in that article:

          “The truth is Vancouver started to build its rapid transit network at a late stage in the city’s development and now it’s playing catch-up and the funding for such projects just isn’t there. Our transit system is good, but it can be better and definitely cover more of the city.

          Increasing density around transit nodes is another real solution to the congestion problem. To encourage users to take transit it has to be accessible and fast. Buses just don’t cut it and extra density should be allowed all rapid transit stations.”

          So pretty much what Auckland is aiming to do now.

          What exactly is your argument though? Auckland hasnt invested in PT at all and only in roads and has terrible congestion. Vancouver invested heavily in PT and almost nothing in inner city motorways and has congestion.

          That suggests that a balanced approach is needed and Auckland now needs to invest heavily in PT – so great lets do that.

          Based on my experience of living in transit rich cities like Prague, I bet however that Vancouver is in general a much easier city to get around than Auckland for the majority of people. And no worries about parking or having to devote huge areas of the city to storing cars for 8-10 hours a day.

          • Sailor Boy

            @SF so what if it is difficult to get around a city in a car? It is difficult to get around Auckland if you aren’t in a car yet you have no issue with that.

          • SF Lauren

            Sailor boy, im simply pointing out one of the reasons why there is a high level of PT usage there. There is nothing really wrong with there bring somr limitations on car usage, just that it comes at the cost of freedom and flexibility.

            As for it being hard to get roung auckland without a car. I actually find it rather easy, pretty much the same as Sydney and Melbourne.

    • And Los Angeles is first, Honolulu third…Who cares how congested it is if you don’t have to be stuck in it. I’d much rather try and get around in Vancouver than LA or Honolulu.

      • My experience of the traffic in VC was that it was a real struggle to get anywhere at peak time.

        The point I am trying to make is that the best transport system is one which offers the most choice (motorways, rail and buses).

        Here is another article which is particularly pertinant to the new Southern Bus Network.
        http://www.railforthevalley.com/latest-news/zweisystem/after-over-8-billion-invested-in-skytrain-vancouver-is-the-most-congested-city-in-canada/

        • Yeah citing a pro-LRT anti-skytrain lobby group’s propaganda isn’t going to prove much except that everyone loves LRT, apparently.

          Why is the most choice the best transport system? Is it an efficient system, cost effective? Cheap to build and to use? Sounds like building lots of everything would be very expensive and use up lots of land. So we need highways, and motorways, and roads, and heavy rail, and light rail, and metro rail, and local buses, and express buses, and BRT buses, and cycleways, and cycle paths and cycle lanes, and footpaths and scooter paths, and HOV lanes, and toll lanes, and truck lanes, and monorails, and PRT pods… the more choice the better right?

          I’d rather just have one thing that works that a whole lot of choices that don’t.

          • An article from the Vancouver Sun was the basis of the commentary.

            I agree making all existing transport systems more efficient should be the main goal. I did not mention anything about building more of everything.

            Click on my name if you want to learn about alternative public transportation that does not build anything, is cost neutral and solves traffic congestion.

            There are some learnings from VC in that in that you need to make sure that every dollar spent on Public Transport has a corresponding modal shift of vehicles to public transport.

          • Sailor Boy

            Solves traffic congestion?

            No such thing mate.

        • SF Lauren

          Im with you there to a degree, however id suggest that Vancouver is hard to get around during off-peak times as well.

          If you happen to live by one of the sky train stations and want to go somewhere also by one of the sky train stations you are set, however go anywhere else and you are stuffed.

          Of course this is only around the older grid parts of the city, once you get futher out they have a rash if motorways and have probably gone too far in the other direction.

          • I’ve never been there but as I understand it the Skytrain system is heavily integrated with the bus network which could mean it’s quite easy to go places that aren’t located at a skytrain station. I have one report that says the incredibly quick frequency on the skytrain means that they don’t need to coordinate bus-train connection times. Instead they pulse time their bus to bus connections, which makes it much faster and easier to connect between the arterials of the bus network.

            The same report says that every skytrain station has an integrated bus platform or at least adjacent stops, and that 55% of skytrain trips involve a connection to or from a bus, ferry or regional train. In other words more people use the skytrain to go to or from somewhere beyond the skytrain network, that use it to go from one skytrain station to another only. Doesn’t sound like they are stuffed.

          • Exactly SF Lauren, Auckland is a breeze to get around ouside of peak travel times due to our excellent central motorway network.

          • BBC

            “Of course this is only around the older grid parts of the city, once you get futher out they have a rash if motorways and have probably gone too far in the other direction.”

            Vancouver was easy to get around by bike, walking and PT at all hours when I was there. Unlike us who have a ‘rash’ of motorways all over the city and pretty well nothing else. I don’t know of a single route in Auckland that can be walked without having to cross an uncrontrolled road every few metres, such is the priority handed over to cars in this city.

          • The city of Fez al Bali in Morrocco is a city of 400,000 with streets only 2m wide (some arterials were an almighty 4 or 5 m), not a single vehicle in the whole place. It was an awesome place, and very easy to get around on foot.

          • SF Lauren

            Well to be honest BBC and Nick, I find it very easy to walk from my bedroom to the kitchen but what that has to do with anything I don’t know.

            If the only trips you guys are concerned about are the ones that are “easy to walk” ie 2km or less then it would seem that a rail line or any other form of transport would be a complete waste of time or money as you can just walk.

            Can I ask that you try and maintain some level of context in the conversation. There is no nt concomplaining about 20km trips in Auckland and then comparing it to a 200m walk to the corner shops in another city.

        • Toa says: ‘My experience of the traffic in VC was that it was a real struggle to get anywhere at peak time.’

          But those 400,000 weekday riders on SkyTrain network [plus the cyclists and other Transit users with priority] say; ‘so what’. They all got to work, play, study, or whatever without being stuck in traffic. The question to ask about a city’s effectiveness is not how easy is it to get around in a single occupant car; but how accessible and efficient are the combination of the networks. You’re only looking at one mode.

          But I guess that’s no surprise coming from Auckland; the Queen city of mono-modality.

          Toa also says: ‘Auckland is a breeze to get around ouside of peak travel times due to our excellent central motorway network’

          Let me fix that for you: Auckland is a breeze to get around ouside of peak travel times due to our overinvestment in one mode that is built to meet deamand at the peak of the peaks; therefore there is lavish oversupply of roadspace on most parts of the motorway network at all other times.

          • SF Lauren

            Patrick, you make one very large and incorrect assumption, that being that people who take the sky train at some stage use it for every single trip, you also assume that taking the sky train is their preferred option when there are no constraints and another assumption that people who take the sky train find it easy even though nick has already told us that 65% of trips require a transfer.

            Being such a PT promoter you must surely know that they most effective way to get people to use PT is too much all other options worse in comparison. Vancouver has done a great job at this and likely to such an extent people would likely prefer to get their teeth pulled than drive to work.

          • SF Lauren

            Oh and what mode is it that is built to meet demand at peak? Are you talking about rail as roads certainly aren’t designed that way.

          • BBC

            Ummm yes motorways are built to try and meet demand at peak, if that wasn’t the case we wouldn’t be seeing the constant widening of every single motorway in the city, and the fact that outside of a couple of hours at peak they’re basically empty. Stop being a troll.

          • Bryce P

            @SF Lauren I know of a local road that is 100% built for peak traffic and AT will not look at 2 laning it because of peak traffic.

          • SF Lauren – just some slight edits and it seems just as applicable, doesnt it?:

            “Being such a motorway promoter you must surely know that they most effective way to get people to use motorways is too make all other options worse in comparison. Auckland has done a great job at this and likely to such an extent people would likely prefer to get their teeth pulled than take PT to work.”

            Accurate?

          • Liz

            Transfers are easy. I’d say that most successful PT systems in the world are transfer based. What’s your point?

            I agree with BBC, stop being a troll. I usually like the quality of debate on this blog, but it’s very tiring to get bogged down answering silly comments all the time. Have you actually tried living in a city with a decent PT system? Maybe do that first and then you might see why we are so keen to make Auckland’s PT system better.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, are you trying to tell me that building the busway, duplicating our single rail sections, upgrading our train stations, building britomart, putting bus priority all over the city, making Grafton bridge bus only and much much more has all made PT worse in Auckland?

            You sure are a hard man to please.

          • SF Lauren

            BBC your incorrect. Motorways are designed to have a safe and tolerable level of congestion during peak time. You will also notice that they are busy running pretty all day and that it’s only really between 9pm and 5am that they are almost empty.

            If rail was designed to handle peak loads like a road you could expect to wait at the station for about 20mins before there was enough space on the train to get your turn.

            Not trolling but rather correcting people’s deliberate lies.

          • Bryce P

            @SF The NW motorway could comfortably be a 4 lane road during times other than peak periods.

          • SF Lauren

            What road is this you talk of Bryce? And is it really free flowing and congestion free at peak time?

          • Bryce P

            Te Atatu Rd – Peninsula side. No, it’s not congestion free at peak times but for the other 20 hours of the day it is. Even at peak times, the northbound lanes could be a single lane quite easily as afternoon traffic tends to be a bit more staggered. The motorway bound lanes only appear congested because of the cars heading for the eastbound on-ramp. The inside lane (heading for Tat Sth) is pretty much clear except at 3pm (when the motorway bound lane is clear).

          • Nick R

            How about Victoria St in the CBD. 9.30 am and I could walk right down the middle without a car in sight.

          • SF Lauren

            I agree with you there Bryce in that Te Atatu road is larger than it currently needs to be. But Te Atatu has been lined up for intensification for quite some time as so whereas it’s currently rather wide in the not to distant future that width would be justified, particularly one all that empty grass land where the port was once going to be gets developed.

          • SF Lauren

            Bryce, the the north western is currently 4, 3, and 2 lanes per direction. Or are you saying 2 lanes each way.

          • Bryce P

            I’m just saying that, other than peak times, the NW ‘could’ be just a 4 lane road (2 each way). Hence it has been, and is being, built for peak times.

          • Bryce P

            @SF. Re that empty land. That is designated as open space and as long as I’m breathing, I’ll fight for it to stay that way. As for intensification around the rest of the area, the mode share has to change and will do so with the new bus network (once it gets here).

          • SFLauren – so after 60 years where local and central government: destroyed the tram network, u-turned on a multi modal transport plan from 1951, routed SH1 through the central city despite earlier plans, killed Robbie’s Rail in the 70s/80s despite wide spread support, built the CMJ and destroyed large areas of the city or cut them off from the traditional CBD, privatised and destroyed the bus system etc, etc, etc – we should now be satisfied with a few crumbs thrown our way in the last 10 years while 97% of the transport budget is used to build more roads?

            You sure are an easy man to please.

            But I realise it is difficult to be objective in your situation.

            Have you ever lived in a really good transit city or only in Auckland? I have and I can tell you that in terms of getting around (off peak, peak – whenever) it is FAR better than the road based disaster that is Auckland.

          • SF Lauren

            Nick. What Victoria st are you talking about? Certainly Victoria st West is full of cars every time I go for a meeting in the city.

            To assist you however, the width of local roads are set by planning conditions rather than traffic volumes as a minimum. They reason for this is that when you build a new local road it is going to be there for a few hundred years. Just imagine what our CBD would be like if every road was only 2m wide because when it was first made that was all it needed to be.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, you do realise that buses, pedestrains and cyclists run on roads don’t you? You also realise that the tram network was replaced with buses to provide a better level of service than what the trams offered?

            And yes I have lived in good transit cities such as London, in addition I’ve lived in inner Sydney and Melbourne along with Ottawa.

            In each case I have felt rather constrained in my freedom to travel dispute the ease of getting to work.

          • SF Lauren

            Bryce, that empty land was acquired under the public works act for port activities. I agree with you that it should stay as open space. It’s one of the best things about the place from my limited knowledge of it.

          • SF Lauren

            Oh and goosoid, these crumbs you talk of came in at the cost of about $3 billion over the last decade. Those are some mighty big crumbs you refer to, about the same size as the bread itself intact.

          • SFLauren – Cyclist shouldnt run on roads as the Netherlands and Scandinavia have demonstrated. Pedestrians run on roads? Where? I usually see them on footpaths.

            Whether the service provided by the buses was better is purely a matter of opinion – I think many people at the time would have disagreed considering the protests against their removal and the lack of consultation on the decision.

            Having lived in Melbourne and London I can tell you that they are barely adequate compared to the services offered in Prague, Bucharest or Copenhagen (especially once you figure in mobility by the fantastic cycle network). In general Anglophone cities are not good examples of transit cities.

            Cars and roads are great for small cities and intercity journeys. Cars are a disaster in my opinion in large cities as they destroy the cities fabric and soul as you can easily see in Auckland.

            “imagine what our CBD would be like if every road was only 2m wide because when it was first made that was all it needed to be.” – my answer would be – awesome! Small winding roads like Prague and other European cities with regular PT stations. What a dream.

            If you felt constrained by PT then you probably just dont like big cities. Do you mean that it constrained your ability to get out of the city? I just dont know how you can really say that all the roading in Auckland has created a better more liveable city.

            Again, I realise it is hard for someone in your position to be objective.

          • “Oh and goosoid, these crumbs you talk of came in at the cost of about $3 billion over the last decade. Those are some mighty big crumbs you refer to, about the same size as the bread itself intact.” – really? What proportion of the total transport infrastructure for Auckland did they represent over the last 10 years? Evidence please.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, a road is a transport corridor which includes a carriageway, footpaths, cycle paths, grass berms and service berms. So yes pedestrains, cyclist, commuters, buses, trams, service and freight trucks all use them.

            In regards to you thinking the CBD would be great if all the roads were 2m wide. You cleuarly have no idea how small 2m is, most of the current footpaths are already over 5m in width and are too small for the number of people whouse them.

            es for feeling constrained getting around. The constraint is that it takes just so god darn long constantly stopping, waiting and transferring. I’m a man of diverse interests and limited time who likes to explore. PT I find is time wasting and requires conformance and repetition, hence why it is so good for commuting to work or big events.

          • SF Lauren

            Also those cities you reference, none of them area actually large. In area they are about the same size as Hamilton.

          • SF Lauren

            Do you want to compare it to motorway building or all road building and maintenance?

          • Well you are obviously against PT and I completely disagree with you about the ease of getting around. “constantly stopping, waiting” would describe the process of travelling by car in Auckland. I would say that getting around by car in Auckland is 100 times worse than travelling by public transport in a good transit city. Let alone the freedom from a really good cycling city.

            Compared to European cities I feel like a virtual prisoner in my home, especially when I lived in auto dependent areas like Ellerslie/Greenlane. And that isnt even taking into account trying to find a park when I do get there.

            Those cities are not 98 sq/km (Hamilton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton,_New_Zealand).

            I dont know where you got your figures from. Copenhagen metro area is 3,030 km2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_metropolitan_area) and Prague is 496 sq/km just in the city while the metro area is 6.977 km2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague)

            If you want to try and show evidence that Auckland has spent more on PT in the last 10 years than roads, whoy dont you do a post on it? I think it would be great to see that evidence.

            What is your vision for the future Auckland? I would really like to know. How would you solve all the problems as you obviously think PT is a waste of time and useless? Why not put out some positive messages of your vision rather than just running down the PT vision put forward here? All I see is negativity with no alternatives.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, I find your reading and comprehension rather interesting. I say “hence why PT is so good for commuting and big events” and you somehow imagine that to mean I’m against PT and that it’s a waste of time and useless. How you came to this conclusion I really don’t know.

            Based on your companies about Auckland I think I see what your issue is. It seems you choose to drive to places like the CBD and going to work but then try and take PT when you are going between outer suburbs and doing intricate and varied trips. So it seems you choose the worst mode in each case. For myself I find getting round Auckland rather easy even though I use PT for most trips.

          • Ah the ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. It had to come eventually.

            No I actually use my electric bike and PT to take about 90% of my trips.

            I notice you didnt actually address any of the points I raised or address the fact that I refuted one of your points. I realise now that you are really trolling. I am embarrassed I fell for it and I wont bother to engage any further.

            Good luck to you.

          • SF Lauren

            Goosoid, I’m trying to discuss the fact that making all other modes other transport other PT impracticable inherently makes PT the desired mode. Not of which relates to your abusive descriptions.

            In regards to Prague. If you measure around the core city excluding the separated tions you get a 40km perimeter. Do the same for Hamilton you get a 35km perimeter. Do it again for Auckland you get a 115km perimetern each case boxed off to get the smallest value. So from that, as I said before Prague is a small city about the size of Hamilton in area. About 10 times the size in population however.

            As for you mode if travel, I never made any claims about what mode you use sondon’t get upset at that. It seems you don’t drive much however and so likely know little about how hare or easy it is here.

          • “but how accessible and efficient are the combination of the networks.” Yep bang on all networks should be accessible and efficient. I am not advocating more motorways but I will insist that the dollars spent on PT creates a net benefit of modal shift of vehicles to public transport.

  • Sailor Boy

    Thats a lot of trips! 100,000,000 weekday trips annually!

  • The technology of Skytrain is pretty cool. All fully automated without drivers. The full network is monitored and controlled to maximise efficiency. In the future our roading networks will be able to work this way.

  • Great article here on how Vancouver has increased its population while decreasing the traffic (hint: it doesnt involve building massive highways):
    http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/08/05/in-vancouver-traffic-decreases-as-population-rises/

    I also found a couple of the comments interesting:

    1. Someone commented that congestion was bad in Vancouver and another person replied that the people using PT or cycling (i.e. most of the people now heading into downtown Vancouver) dont care – in other words the Vancouver equiavlent of the Congestion Free Network is just that, congestion free.

    2. Someone commented that inner city housing in Vancouver was expensive. The reply I thought was fascinating – that the reason for this is because there is so little quality urban stock in North America in general and so of course it is expensive. There is lots of suburban housing in sprawling cities so that is cheap. That is very applicable in the Australasian context as there is a paucity of good quality housing close to the centre in any Australasian city – so of course it is expensive. I think that is a great point.

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