This is the first of what will hopefully be a series of picture heavy postcards from great transit cities. City number one is Vancouver, something of a poster child for how to retrofit transit, walking and cycling to a young new world city.
First up we have the amazing skytrain system, which despite the name also runs underground and at ground level. These trains are small but have very high capacity and frequency due to the efficiencies of driverless operation. Also as they are custom designed for passenger transit only, they can manage very steep grades and tight curves. Note the curve coming into the station below, and also notice the clear example of transit oriented development being built. The last picture also shows the silent alarm that switches on the camera and microphone system and alerts the transit police. I’m convinced this is the sort of system we should use for any new rail line in Auckland, especially on the North Shore where the steep grades, tight curves, narrow width and small cross section would care billions off the cost of a new rail line. Also the driverless operation would make super frequent all day service affordable. If we want metro style service levels, this is how.
Next we have a cycleway, classic two way separated cycleway retrofitted to a busy city street. Let’s do tons of these in Auckland. I also noticed the pedestrian phases at intersections are automatic and very frequent, and their intersections don’t splay out into a zillion turning bays and pockets for every intersection. If it’s a two lane road it stays two lanes, and sometimes you just have to wait.
Finally some shots of the SeaBus ferry to North Vancouver. Extremely efficient operation, two of these ferries shuttle back and forth every fifteen minutes. They dock in a custom designed receiving bay with multiple automatic gangplanks either side. You board from the middle but exit to the outer side like many busy metro stations. This thing can turn over a full load of several hundred people in a minute or two. At the city end it has an air bridge style connection to the main metro and bus station, while on the north side it has an integrated feeder bus system. Devonport eat your heart out.