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Shift London
#1
London has spent a couple of years now talking about the possibility of BRT. The most likely candidates are the north-south Wellington-Richmond corridor (from Fanshawe in the north past the University to White Oaks in the south) and the east-west Oxford corridor. The London Transit Commission (LTC) has been operating the 90 and 91 express services, which are limited stop peak-service routines, for a while, presumably to help make a case as to why BRT is needed.
 
Shift London is the public consultation process launched a few months ago. The site asks for feedback on a number of different routings, but the London Free Press has more recently reported that Oxford and Wellington-Richmond are the “preferred corridors.” It seems to be the general consensus that the plan is BRT, but the possibility of LRT has been maintained. Most interesting to me from that Free Press article is the plan for a tunnel on Richmond to avoid the tracks crossing near Central Ave; that would be a huge proportion of the plan’s cost.
 
The proposed cost of this system is apparently $380 million, and London expects to seek provincial and federal contributions (naturally).
 
There are a lot of similarities between LTC and GRT. Both serve similar-sized populations, though LTC’s ridership is considerably higher. As in Waterloo, UWO (along with Fanshawe College) is a huge trip generator, and students are a huge part of LTC ridership.
 
But I think it differs from Waterloo in that there is no one logical corridor in which most travel occurs. I would also argue that London sprawls more than Kitchener-Waterloo does, and that, to serve enough people to get widespread support, a rapid transit system would be much longer than 19 kilometres. London is also a single-tier municipality, represented by ward councillors who might be especially unwilling to vote to fund higher-order transit in someone else’s ward. There are no regional councillors representing broader areas at large as in Waterloo Region.
 
For those reasons, I think that BRT would likely be the better choice than LRT in London. I’m surprised, though, that there seems to be relatively little mention of LRT. Certainly Londoners have not (yet) had the same debate about technology that happened in Waterloo.

I think it will be an interesting one to follow. The attitude in London towards transit is very typical of many smaller cities in North America: the bus is for students, and people who cannot afford cars. There is some hope that this could change with the new mayor and council, and the departure of the LTC earlier this year, but it may be a challenge to convince Londoners to pay for a big-ticket rapid transit system. Particularly when they discover it involves losing car lanes, and maybe a few front yards.
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#2
(05-25-2015, 01:27 PM)MidTowner Wrote: There are a lot of similarities between LTC and GRT. Both serve similar-sized populations, though LTC’s ridership is considerably higher.

Just a small point, but LTC's ridership is only 2 million per year higher than GRT's, less than 10% higher.
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#3
(05-25-2015, 11:00 PM)mpd618 Wrote: Just a small point, but LTC's ridership is only 2 million per year higher than GRT's, less than 10% higher.

That's a good point; I had in my mind a bigger difference. LTC has had a bit of an upswing the last few years, but less growth in ridership than GRT if I recall correctly. So they are quite similar systems in terms of size and service populations, with service areas that differ in a few ways.
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#4
Let's make something very clear here: there was no technology debate here. While the matrix showed 10 possible technologies, the region decided on BRT and LRT, and skewed the selection matrix to make sure that those were the options selected.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#5
(06-02-2015, 06:16 PM)Canard Wrote: Let's make something very clear here:  there was no technology debate here.  While the matrix showed 10 possible technologies, the region decided on BRT and LRT, and skewed the selection matrix to make sure that those were the options selected.

Having at the outset of the current process (way back in 2005) been a proponent of the monorail option, I now tend towards a different perspective. Namely, that it is reality that is skewed towards those modes, and the selection process merely reflected that.
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#6
(06-02-2015, 06:16 PM)Canard Wrote: Let's make something very clear here: there was no technology debate here. While the matrix showed 10 possible technologies, the region decided on BRT and LRT, and skewed the selection matrix to make sure that those were the options selected.

I remember having a lot of conversations with people about which technology would be most appropriate for Ion's corridor. If you feel that the official process was rigged, that's one thing, but there was a debate.

From what I hear from people who have been talking to people "who ought to know" in London, the powers that be will be pushing for LRT on at least one of their 'L' corridors. Maybe the process will be rigged there, too, or maybe people will claim it was. Who knows.
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#7
After a lengthy meeting last night, London voted to scrap the planned tunnel under Richmond Street (which would have allowed buses to avoid the rail crossing on Richmond. That was a very contentious piece among business and property owners.

The other contentious (it seems less so) part was the portion near John Labatt Centre. The decision was to move one direction of BRT to Queens Avenue to reduce the loss of car traffic lanes and parking.

Losing the tunnel is a big deal. The objections relate to the disruptions, but also the cost, of it. I don't see why that is such a big issue given the importance, and the fact that the municipal government was intending to ask for the funding from higher levels of government: it has said that it will "cap" its portion, no matter what system was decided.

London has gone from a $880,000,000 proposal with a mix of LRT and BRT; to a cheaper proposal of BRT on both lines, with a tunnel minimizing delays through Richmond Row; to a $440,000,000 proposal of BRT with no tunnel.

Still, at least they did not divert buses to Wharncliffe. And maybe the current plan won't garner enough detractors to derail it.
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#8
(05-16-2017, 06:32 AM)MidTowner Wrote: After a lengthy meeting last night, London voted to scrap the planned tunnel under Richmond Street (which would have allowed buses to avoid the rail crossing on Richmond. That was a very contentious piece among business and property owners.

The other contentious (it seems less so) part was the portion near John Labatt Centre. The decision was to move one direction of BRT to Queens Avenue to reduce the loss of car traffic lanes and parking.

Losing the tunnel is a big deal. The objections relate to the disruptions, but also the cost, of it. I don't see why that is such a big issue given the importance, and the fact that the municipal government was intending to ask for the funding from higher levels of government: it has said that it will "cap" its portion, no matter what system was decided.

London has gone from a $880,000,000 proposal with a mix of LRT and BRT; to a cheaper proposal of BRT on both lines, with a tunnel minimizing delays through Richmond Row; to a $440,000,000 proposal of BRT with no tunnel.

Still, at least they did not divert buses to Wharncliffe. And maybe the current plan won't garner enough detractors to derail it.

I haven't followed this since my parents left the city, so I'm just making assumptions here.

I take it business owners would rather loose parking and traffic capacity than have a tunnel, that's very progressive of them, taking space from single occupant vehicles to save the money on a tunnel might not be all bad.  Oh wait, you're saying that because it's BRT they're just going to compromise the system instead.  *sigh*....this is why BRT is bad.
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#9
BRT can be great, or bad. Ride on the streetcar on King in Toronto, and it's easy to see that the same is true of other technologies, too.

The complaints about the tunnel were the cost, and (I suspect more so) the disruption of the construction. Plenty of people felt it should have been made costlier and more disruptive so it could also accommodate cars, though.

Yes, the system will be compromised, but not because it's BRT. This particular issue with the Richmond Street tunnel likely would have played out very similarly if council had opted for LRT, too.
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#10
(05-16-2017, 06:55 AM)MidTowner Wrote: BRT can be great, or bad. Ride on the streetcar on King in Toronto, and it's easy to see that the same is true of other technologies, too.

The complaints about the tunnel were the cost, and (I suspect more so) the disruption of the construction. Plenty of people felt it should have been made costlier and more disruptive so it could also accommodate cars, though.

Yes, the system will be compromised, but not because it's BRT. This particular issue with the Richmond Street tunnel likely would have played out very similarly if council had opted for LRT, too.

I have to disagree.  It is far easier to argue that buses can and should run in mixed traffic than LRT trains.  We see this in the actual implementation of both BRT and LRT systems across the country.  I don't agree with the Toronto example, those streetcar lines pre-date modern transit.  Look at pretty much every modern LRT system installed in North America in the last 30 years.  Compare that with the bus routes labeled "BRT".

You're right, that BRT *could* be good, and I think it could even be good without a tunnel, provided we were willing to take the space from single occupant cars and put it towards the BRT, but apparently that just doesn't happen.  Of course, this is the goal of the BRT 'advocates'.  Basically reduce and diminish until there is nothing left, then point at that and claim transit doesn't work.
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#11
"You're right, that BRT *could* be good, and I think it could even be good without a tunnel, provided we were willing to take the space from single occupant cars and put it towards the BRT, but apparently that just doesn't happen. Of course, this is the goal of the BRT 'advocates'. Basically reduce and diminish until there is nothing left, then point at that and claim transit doesn't work."

BRT is great in many places. To say segregated lanes "just doesn't happen" is wrong- plenty of cities have exceptional BRT. It can be done. It is done.

And I don't see why you bring up this issue in the context of Shift. As it stands now, BRT will run in its own right-of-way. There won't be a tunnel, which means the northern line will be subject to the delays caused by trains, but it will still have its own lanes.
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#12
Get out your umbrella. The great BRT watering down is upon us.

The grade separation would never be axed if it were LRT.
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#13
"Get out your umbrella. The great BRT watering down is upon us.

The grade separation would never be axed if it were LRT."

Grade separation hasn't been axed, has it? Just the Richmond Street tunnel.

Anyway, there are examples of LRTs (both historic and "modern") being made to run in mixed traffic.
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#14
(05-18-2017, 12:40 PM)MidTowner Wrote: "Get out your umbrella. The great BRT watering down is upon us.

The grade separation would never be axed if it were LRT."

Grade separation hasn't been axed, has it? Just the Richmond Street tunnel.

Anyway, there are examples of LRTs (both historic and "modern") being made to run in mixed traffic.

No there aren't.  Any "LRT" running in mixed traffic is legally a streetcar.

Lets not confuse the two.  Our LRT is *not* a streetcar because it lacks the equipment and legal certification to operate in mixed traffic, thus *must* operate in it's own right of way.
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#15
Is that really a legal distinction? Is it defined somewhere that an LRT that might run in mixed traffic for a few blocks of its route is actually called a "streetcar"?

I guess that is one advantage of BRT, though: when needed, it can operate in mixed traffic. Which apparently LRT can't (at least not without having to be called something else).
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