Thursday, January 24, 2008

Trip to the City of Victoria Archives

I had some time to kill while waiting for my car to be serviced and since I was close to City Hall, I dropped in on the archives. I only had a short time there but took a look as some old maps while I was in there.

The pictures are all from BC Archives .Gorge park had a loop turnaround for the streetcars.

I had no idea that BC Electric operated a yard for streetcars at Burnside and Harriet. The location is now a series of houses and a 7-11.

This is one of the series pictures from the end of the streetcar era in 1948. In looking through a lot of the pictures of the streetcars in Victoria from the 1890s to the 1940s, one thing I see that changes over that time is the typical traffic on the street. Before World War 2 the number of private cars is very limited, but by as early as 1948 there is an explosion of cars.

In cities that have streetcars and cars sharing the roads, the traffic intrusion of the streetcar is much higher than what would happen with a bus.

This phot being the process used to remove the tracks from the streets. It is sad to see something cool like streetcars no longer with us, but they simply do not mix well with other road uses and can not be used in a versatile way as a bus can.

Having ridden a bike in a city that has streetcars I can tell you the tracks are a cyclists nightmare. They are traps waiting to either break some spokes if you are lucky to horribly flip you through the air.

I can imagine what would happen if anyone seriously suggested bring back streetcars. The shop owners along the route would scream about the loss of trade due to the construction. The people living along the route would complain about the noise - steel on steel on a curve typically has a nasty high pitched metal scrapping noise. And finally people would scream about the ugliness of the overhead wires needed.
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