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zagox

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An interesting report goes to the Transportation and Transit committee meeting of Council next week, the Route Ahead Prioritization of Future Capital Projects, TT2020-1289. Item 7.3 on the agenda.

Full agenda here: https://pub-calgary.escribemeetings...82a6c2b00d&Agenda=Agenda&lang=English&Item=20

This is the development of a scoring system for the City's planned major LRT extensions and BRT routes, and ranking them based on available information (defined benefits, estimated costs, etc..) to determine which should be funded next. Attachment 2 has the report and rankings:

The list/ranking is here:
View attachment 282682

This snippet, from page 4, shows why some projects may not be listed:
View attachment 282687

The approach seems useful, but they manage to do a lot of analysis while conveniently not saying very much, by leaving out the Green Line. I assume the main prioritization fight coming (assuming the Green Line actually goes ahead and isn't scuttled or scaled back by the province) will be whether the next big investment is Green Line North, Green Line South, or something else (e.g. Blue Line NE extension).
 

Ubran Outdoorsman

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There's a couple interesting projects on there. The one that really catches my eye is the NW hub/west campus mobility. I'm curious what the city has in mind?

Similarly I wonder how exactly they plan on connecting westbrook to MRU?
 

accord1999

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The approach seems useful, but they manage to do a lot of analysis while conveniently not saying very much, by leaving out the Green Line. I assume the main prioritization fight coming (assuming the Green Line actually goes ahead and isn't scuttled or scaled back by the province) will be whether the next big investment is Green Line North, Green Line South, or something else (e.g. Blue Line NE extension).
It's hilarious how Admin refuses to rank future Green Line stages, something Council first asked for Q1 2018 and has been deferred 6 or 7 times now, each time with Admin promising "soon". At some point, Council needs to start firing people

1605477897104.png
 

Disraeli

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I'm disappointed to see the 8th ave subway moved down in priority. I understand capacity on 7th being a big motivator for burying the Red Line through the CBD but my understanding is that by the time the Green Line is built out (whenever that might be), capacity will still be an issue. The Green Line might take ridership away but ridership is still expected to grow for the Red Line in that time period. I guess we'll have to see how ridership shakes out in the coming years with the economy, COVID ext.
There's a couple interesting projects on there. The one that really catches my eye is the NW hub/west campus mobility. I'm curious what the city has in mind?

Similarly I wonder how exactly they plan on connecting westbrook to MRU?
I would guess BRT for the time being. A LRT spur line from Westbrook would be extremely expensive I imagine. I hope i'm wrong though
 

darwink

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There's a couple interesting projects on there. The one that really catches my eye is the NW hub/west campus mobility. I'm curious what the city has in mind?

Similarly I wonder how exactly they plan on connecting westbrook to MRU?
I bet that enough time has passed that by the time the project comes up what we will end up with is extremely high frequency driver-less shuttles on shared roads for the NW Hub. That solution will work well enough for the Hub that the thought to create a higher order connection between westbrook and foothills will slip to near the lowest priority.
 

zagox

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It's hilarious how Admin refuses to rank future Green Line stages, something Council first asked for Q1 2018 and has been deferred 6 or 7 times now, each time with Admin promising "soon". At some point, Council needs to start firing people

My guess is that no one in Admin wants to admit that Shepard to McKenzie Towne will beat any further North extension, especially if there's a good chance the Province kills the Eau Claire to 16 Ave segment. The smart play is to kick the can down the road until it's someone else's fault.
 

accord1999

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My guess is that no one in Admin wants to admit that Shepard to McKenzie Towne will beat any further North extension, especially if there's a good chance the Province kills the Eau Claire to 16 Ave segment. The smart play is to kick the can down the road until it's someone else's fault.
Yeah, I suspect that the Max improvements to the 301 is all that the NC can hope to expect for the next 25-30 years, even though the supposed capacity limitations of BRT for Centre Street N was a big reason why the Green Line needed to skip directly to LRT.
 

Joborule

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Fairly pessimistic back-to-back posts about the prospects of the Green Line crossing the river in the first stage. I believe in the report when it got the updated approval this summer, that admin has some optimism that even more funding could be coming for the Green Line possibly in the near future. I think this is based on funding coming more so from a federal level however.

If things go well, it's possible that construction to extend the green line north of 16th could be happening prior to opening date in 2027.
 

accord1999

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I think pessimism is warranted since the last last time there was good news for the Green Line was when it was originally approved in 2015 as a <$5B for a very useful 40 km to be finished by 2024. It's been downhill since then as the line exploded in costs, forcing the cut to a much less useful 20km that takes longer to build and then again when the deep tunnel through downtown and the river had to be abandoned, causing even more delays.

IMO, if Admin was confident or hopeful of meaningful sums of new funding to build to the north, they wouldn't have gone with surface running on Centre Street N to a surface 16th Ave station. All past options had at least a underground station. And if they did have any intentions of going north, they should have picked it for Phase 2 by now, instead of delaying the decision again and again, all the while not acquiring property on Centre Street N or completing the planning. Anybody see the preliminary designs for the NC LRT that was promised for 2019? Admin has done a heck of job of making sure LRT never gets built to the North.

1605845603362.png


If things go well, it's possible that construction to extend the green line north of 16th could be happening prior to opening date in 2027.
But things could go even more wrong. Anybody follow Honolulu Rail Transit? It was originally a major city-shaping project on the same scale as the full Green Line (~$4B for 32 km of elevated track), but like the Green Line its costs have exploded and construction taking far longer. The latest update says it won't be complete until 2033 and cost $10.2B for construction and $1B for financing.

 
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darwink

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What a schmozle... their contracting strategy was to split the project in many ways (each station was contracted separately!) to ensure island companies were engaged, not understanding that they would have been subcontractors under a single master contract. So the city/district/county had to try to coordinate many many contracts, and unlike a single master contract, if one fell behind, resources couldn't be brought in from other components nearly as easily. So the project has delays and budget problems TTC style!
 

CBBarnett

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What a schmozle... their contracting strategy was to split the project in many ways (each station was contracted separately!) to ensure island companies were engaged, not understanding that they would have been subcontractors under a single master contract. So the city/district/county had to try to coordinate many many contracts, and unlike a single master contract, if one fell behind, resources couldn't be brought in from other components nearly as easily. So the project has delays and budget problems TTC style!
There's some politics and misleading that goes into the idea that the Green Line was $4.5B for 46km, and is now $4.5B for 20km = horrible cost overrun. The original 46km project was more of a concept of the route and a bucket of assumed money that we could access. Following along with the engagement and design work it over the years, it wouldn't have been surprising that costs increased when routes were pushed above or below ground and the alignment shifted a bunch of times based on increasing level of detailed analysis and feedback from the public. Changing the scope dramatically at an early stage isn't exactly a cost overrun in the same way a signed contract for $4.5B is actually delivered for $8B.

Whether that was a good idea to present the two numbers side-by-side ($4.5B / 46km) is another matter entirely, as it clearly confused some people and was used as a political tool to attack the project. I think it's a tricky one: as the money wasn't secure the Green Line needed to build political and project momentum using the imagined future state, but to realities of building 46km of transit aren't understood widely by the public (there will be phasing, over many years/decades, and project is likely to change as we actually start looking at the details of specific alignments). It's very easy to perceive the process as misleading in this way.

Relatedly, I think it's pretty much impossible for the public to materially evaluate projects at this scale too. Consider these multi-billion dollar options:
  • $4.5B but European tram-style low-floor, high attention to public realm and no grade separation for 46km
    • my preference, but few have seen this and how it works, fewer understand the trade-offs and benefits that you need to make it work, and none have implemented this on the continent so it might not be possible anyways given consulting practices and engineering practices
  • $4.5B but 36 Street NE style LRTwith limited/no grade separation for 46km
    • Everyone is familiar, but it doesn't work well and is a horrible example of how to integrate transit into a community. Memory of 36th Street NE triggers a lot of people to demand grade separation (similar to a suburban Torontonian's memory of being stuck behind a streetcar so demands subways even when they don't warrant it in the deep burbs)
  • $4.5B but for what was proposed. Some grade separation, ~4km of tunnel and about 20km overall
I much prefer if major transit was developed by some sort of a-political regional authority. Sure, it incorporates public feedback, but it's ideal route to maximum impact/usefulness is locked in early for any project as the public can't really give you a ton of helpful advice on the biggest, more costly decisions. It's the only way I see to avoid all the scope changes and water-down of the vision to push it up a layer and be treated more like a utility. This could take the form of some sort of regional transit authority or - if you don't want to create another layer - the Province.

Of course, if you handed large scale transit projects to the Province and (the highway only) Alberta Transportation as they are today, the results would be disastrous as public transit doesn't fit their ideologically-driven world view. Ideally, public transit should be viewed more like a utility or a highway - it's just a boring and necessary network of infrastructure in any modern, major city region, regardless of ideology.
 
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zagox

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Fairly pessimistic back-to-back posts about the prospects of the Green Line crossing the river in the first stage. I believe in the report when it got the updated approval this summer, that admin has some optimism that even more funding could be coming for the Green Line possibly in the near future. I think this is based on funding coming more so from a federal level however.

If things go well, it's possible that construction to extend the green line north of 16th could be happening prior to opening date in 2027.

Shepard to McKenzie Towne is good bang for the buck in terms of incremental ridership per capital $, and it is super simple and low-risk, so it wouldn't distract much from delivery of the rest of the line. The crummy part of the SE leg in terms of return on investment is Ramsay to Shepard, so if that gets built everything further South looks much better.

The NC expansion will be complex, expensive, and contentious due to the right of way and design issues which are unresolved. Admin is running in the other direction every time they are asked to think about them. Unless Gondek becomes Mayor I find it highly unlikely that it will advance much in the next 10 years.
 

Surrealplaces

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Sky of Blue

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Now City is saying piss ramp won’t be torn down until Spring. I seriously want the grade level crossing and it gone. It’s usually full of junkies completely whacked out or actively smoking up/shooting up and I’m tired of running the gauntlet to get to the C-Train.
 

darwink

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52nd St MAX BRT infrastructure sounds like it is a go! (Edit: this is only a downpayment - the funding requested at less than $15 million doesn't come even close to what would be needed for onstreet MAX type service)

"provide transit lanes, queue jumps and traffic signal upgrades along 52 Street SE"

 
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