Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Impact of the LRT on James Bay

The LRT to the Westshore will have a number 'interesting' impacts to neighbourhoods that are not expecting any changes.   One of those neighbourhoods will be James Bay.

At the moment the #30 and #31 both offer service to James Bay.   This is an important local service to many of the older people living in James Bay.   Should the LRT be built, the plans are to end the #30/31 at Uptown which means they will be no longer service James Bay.

Currently the #31 offers 41 trips into James Bay that end at Erie at Dallas and the #30 offers 38 trips to the Beacon Hill side of James Bay and 8 evening trips to Erie at Dallas.

The #27 offers 10 evening trips to the Beacon Hill side of James and the #28 offers 8 trips in the evening to Beacon Hill.

After the LRT, only the #3 will offer any regular service to James Bay and then 38 trips only to the eastern side.  

Currently there are 147 bus trips into James Bay, once the LRT is in place this will drop to 60 trips.   James Bay will lose 60% of its regular bus service.   147 is 296 round trips by buses.   At the moment there is an average of 4 trips to each terminus per hour and 4 departures each hour as well, 16 total trips per hour.   With the change this will drop to 6.7 trips per hour.

Could BC Transit offer a new James Bay bus route?   Highly unlikely as the operating expense of the LRT will mean that there will be no scope for any new services and likely a reduction of existing services beyond what can in theory be replaced by the LRT.   I am assuming BC transit seeks a 16% property tax increase and a $0.50 fare increase to fund LRT operations and not have  dramatically reduce bus service throughout the region.   If there is no fare increase or property tax increase, there would have to be the loss of 15% of the current bus service hours beyond what is replaced with the LRT.

At best one could re-route the #3 during the day and the #27 and #28 in the evening  so that the routes split to go to Erie at Dallas as well as Toronto at Huntingdon.

Another impact will be the downtown terminal of the LRT.   It is slated to be on Humbolt, about 600 metres away from where the #50, #60, #70, #72, #73, and #75 all currently end their run, which is on Government on the east side of the Legislature.   As discussed above, the #30 and #31 will be replaced by an LRT ending far short of their current terminus.

There are a significant number of government workers located in and around the Legislature.   With an LRT they will have to add an extra 600 metre walk to each end of their daily commute.   Normally 500 metres is seen as the furtherest an average person will walk from transit to a destination.  It is not only these government workers, but all the staff at all those major hotels just to the west of the Legislature.  There are also people that work at Ogden Point that need the #30 to get there.

The terminus of the LRT will act as a disincentive to transit for many people currently taking it.   Odds are not only will transit use not grow, it will shrink in this neighbourhood.   I am often down there and I know there is space left for people to park in the lot just to the west of the Legislature.

For residents of James Bay and people that work on the south side of the inner Harbour or at Ogden Point, the LRT will be a significant down grade of transit service.
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