Sunday, December 05, 2010

Bus is Best – downtown is (and will be) too small

This post was written by John Shortreed.
  • LRT will cost over 1 billion, local taxpayers will put up 500 million – for example grade separation at tracks in Kitchener is estimated at under 10 million – will be 30-40 million
  • Bus Rapid Transit will be about half the cost of LRT and have lower operating costs
  • LRT is a commuter rail system to bring commuters from Elmira – park at mall then go to downtown Kitchener – LRT will not intensify development in the existing cities
  • BRT will intensify land use with more stops, will serve Sun Life (LRT has no stop there)
  • BRT will serve Bauer Lofts (that’s right LRT has no stop at Bauer Lofts, 144 Park and new Red condos) Where LRT will have one stop, existing King St. Bus has 10.
  • UpTown is one of three “Region and Provincial Growth Centers” but it will reach target population and employment before the LRT could be built
  • LRT, a commuter rail system, has one stop between UpTown Waterloo and downtown Kitchener –LRT can not intensify development in the prime 2.5 km redevelopment area
  • BRT is flexible, if there is an accident it can go around the accident, LRT sits there. Santa Clause Parade and Buskers only possible with BRT not LRT
  • If a station is in the wrong place or more stations are needed (they will be needed), BRT can change cheaply as no tracks, curbs, LRT involves major expense.
  • BRT would not have curbs and left turns into businesses on King would be possible, with LRT no left turns into Adult Rec Center from King St. north, or the 2 Funeral Parlors.
  • BRT can be integrated into some Cross town routes without transfers, while all LRT connections are transfers
  • Region’s ridership estimates are 2 to 3 times higher than ridership in Buffalo which has a better system, double the population and more than double the downtown employment
  • With realistic ridership the annual LRT subsidy will be at least 10 million more than forecast and few ways to reduce it other than stop running the trains
  • Transit expenditures have been increasing by almost 10% a year and revenue by about 2% with most of the new riders being University Students with passes (which is good)
  • In 2011 Transit expenditures will be about 80 million per year (operating plus capital), with about 20 million revenue – overall return on investment is 20%.

And by 2031 cars will be more energy efficient than the LRT.

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