Transport Action BC

2012, November 25

Transport Action BC opposed to closure of Robson Square to buses

Transport Action BC is concerned with the City’s decision to extend the Robson Street closure between Howe and Hornby Streets for an extended trial that is seems intended to become permanent. The closure has serious implications for transit users that must be considered.

The bus re-route around the closure is circuitous, particularly for those on Robson wishing to use the Canada Line or southbound buses on Granville Mall. TransLink schedules five to seven minutes travel time from Robson & Burrard to Pender & Granville. Transit users wishing to travel south then spend more time getting back to Robson Street. Thus, transit riders are penalised over ten minutes for every one-way trip compared to the direct route on Robson. Walking to Granville Street from Burrard & Robson is quicker for transit connections but this is unattractive for seniors or those with mobility aids, and even less attractive in the wetter, colder months. Additionally, the re-route forces an additional transfer on those who wish to board the Canada Line at City Centre Station.

The net effect of the closure from a transit customer’s perspective is highly unfavourable. Anyone with a choice between transit and driving will find driving relatively more direct and attractive while those without access to a car are taken needlessly out of their way and forced to make additional transfers.

Creating active, pedestrian plazas is laudable. However, it is ironic that in a city aiming to be “green”, the two streets chosen for long-term “activations” are major transit corridors. By routinely diverting transit from these streets the City is reducing the legibility, directness and overall attractiveness of transit. Meanwhile, no effort is spared in providing on-street parking on other streets where corner bulges and wider sidewalks could make permanent improvements in walking conditions throughout the city. Existing plazas, such as those at Robson Square, the Art Gallery and Main Library function far below their potential, presenting off-street opportunities for improving pedestrian amenities.

We suggest that the City take a more holistic view of its transportation priorities before making a final decision on permanently closing the 800 block of Robson to transit. Such considerations must also figure prominently in Viva Vancouver’s seasonal closures.

Buses will play a major role in Vancouver long into the future. It is time surface transit received more respect from City Hall.

Adapted from a letter Transport Action BC sent to Vancouver City Council
More on this topic on Price Tags blog. Circling the Square.

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2012, November 15

URGENT! The future of Canada’s passenger trains is on the line. Are you on board?

Filed under: Announcement, Inter-city rail — Tags: , , — Matthew @ 1:21 am

Today, VIA is once again being forced to chop services on what many consider to be already a minimal rail passenger system. A federal government cut of $41 million in VIA operating funds over the next three years has already forced the discontinuance of several VIA trains. More cuts are coming.

Behind this decision is a long list of vested interests who are – and always have been – hostile to VIA’s existence. They include numerous high-ranking civil servants, certain freight railways and tourist train operators, and some of VIA Rail Canada’s air and highway competitors.

If they get their way, Canada will be the only industrialized nation without modern, effective rail passenger service. It will make us totally dependent on less efficient and unsustainable forms of transportation. We will be socially, economically and environmentally uncompetitive with those other countries that are investing today in
expanded and improved rail passenger service.

What can you do about it? You can join us for one of the numerous National Dream Renewed town hall workshops we will host across Canada this fall. This is your chance to learn more about VIA and voice your opinion about its future. Details of this joint initiative by Transport Action Canada and its five regional affiliates are available on the project’s dedicated website at http://nationaldreamrenewed.com

What else can you do? You can become a National Dream Renewed sponsor. Your donation will help Transport Action take the workshops across the country and give all Canadians a voice in this latest attack on VIA.

The easiest way to donate: By PayPal.ca to ndr@transport-action.ca (PayPal also accepts Visa or MasterCard).

By cheque: for this important public education, consultation and outreach project should be marked National Dream Renewed and made payable to:

Transport Action Canada
Box 858, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5P9

(Registered Charity 119268571RR0001)

An official receipt for income tax purposes will be provided.

We need your help to save VIA and all rail passenger service across Canada!

Please join us in ensuring we finally have the efficient, affordable and sustainable rail passenger service that Transport Action has called for since our 1976 inception as Canada’s only nationwide public transportation education and advocacy association.

Your donation will help to make the National Dream Renewed a reality!

All inquiries regarding donations to National Dream Renewed should be directed
to Elizabeth Hill at lhill@istar.ca or (416) 497-6090.

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