My Flipboard feed turned up an article on ekinaka at nippon.com. It was not a new idea me because I’ve seen such ekinaka first-hand on my visits to Japan. However, the term is new to me. Ekinaka literally means “inside the station.”
June 30, 2015 (Tuesday) – Our fifth day in Paris started with a visit to the Musée d’Orsay. It was a 30 minute Metro ride on the green Line 12 from our Marcadet-Poissoniers. Even though we got to the Museum early, it was already a long line-up to get into the d’Orsay. We had our Paris Museum Pass that allowed us to go through a different line. However, that line was just as busy as the regular ticket line this morning.
The Musée d’Orsay was another high priority on my visit to Paris. One of my clients had talked about how much she loved the Musée d’Orsay over the Louvre Museum. I know that the Musée d’Orsay houses many of the great works of the great artists. I had high expectations and I was not disappointed.
As a transit traveller, I inevitably find myself drawn to all things transportation. The Tai Po Railway Museum is a small, but perfectly affordable destination. Nothing is more affordable than free!
The Tai Po Railway Museum is actually the renovated station area of the Old Tai Po Railway Station. The station was built in 1913 and was converted to a museum in 1985 after the new Tai Po Market railway station was open. Although built in the 20th Century, the old station was built with Chinese architecture and ornamentation. Even the Chinese is meant to be read in the old, traditional right-to-left style.
If you travel along the Expo Line in Metro Vancouver, you may have noticed some major station upgrades underway. The most obvious upgrade at this moment is happening at Main Street Station. However, big changes are also afoot at Metrotown Station.
Main Street Station has been under renovation for the past few months. The whole east end of the station has been cut off under the cover of renovation and upgrade for a few months now. I currently pass through Main Street Station every morning. The whole east end of the station looks like it’s been extended out. I can’t tell if they are adding escalators or not, though. However, something that has been missing since the opening of the Expo Line way back in the 80’s is now being added to the station. An enclosure. For the first time ever, there will be a semi-enclosed structure around Main Street Station. Originally, the station was left to be totally open to allow for drivers along Main Street to have a view of the North Shore mountains (heaven knows why we still cater to drivers’ views when they are busy trying to navigate the street at eye-level).
The big disruption will come later in 2014 when they close the west side of the station for renovations. Service will only be single-track in the station itself. Expect some hefty delays at that time, especially if you are trying to access Main Street Station itself. This will be a good test of how TransLink deals with wayfinding for passengers trying to figure out this temporary set up. Good luck.
At Metrotown Station, the changes have not quite started yet, but major plans and renderings were discussed by Vancity Buzz. The station looks to increase its footprint by a fair margin. There are 3 planned entrances to the station – east, centre, and west entrances are all to be added to or upgraded. One other rendering shows a set of four escalators. That will be a relief since there is currently only one up escalator serving the whole station at the moment.
One of the major changes that travellers in and out of the station will miss, though, is the removal of the pedestrian overpass. TransLink plans to move the bus exchange off the shopping mall property of Metropolis At Metrotown and onto street level along Central Boulevard and Beresford Street. So the overpass is no longer necessary to access the buses. However, the pedestrian overpass was also key for getting into the shopping mall itself. It’s not as going to be as easy to get to the mall from the station without the overpass. Imagine all those shoppers crossing Central Boulevard just to get in the mall. I’m not sure what traffic is going to look after that overpass is removed.
Joyce and Commercial-Broadway Stations are also slated to undergo major renovations. Some of these are still in the planning phase at the moment. For now, Main Street Station’s changes are well under way. Metrotown’s changes should start to take place soon in 2014.
I was up in Edmonton back in July. I was up there for about a week or so. On days that I had to myself, I made it my goal to ride the Edmonton LRT. Previously, I never really had a chance to try it, so I was bent on doing so this time. Being a transit geek, this was only natural for me.
My plan was to get out to one end of the LRT with a DayPass and then make my way to most of the stations along the way. So I headed out to Clareview way out in the northeast of the city. This is where this transit journey begins.
There was not much within walking distance out at Clareview Station. There were two transit exchanges on either side of the station. Then there was the large park and ride parking lots. Beyond those were some 4-5 storey apartment buildings. Oh and a giant overpass just south of the station which offers a tiny view of the downtown skyline. However, it is quiet out this way if you are looking for that.
The biggest landmark around Belvedere Station would be the Century Casino. There are the standard bus exchange and park and ride parking lots around the station. On nearby Fort Road there are a few businesses and a collection of detached single family homes. Most are more accessible by car than by walking from the station.
This is where the northeast section of the Edmonton LRT gets more interesting and meaningful to me. Welcome to Coliseum Station and the surrounding Northlands. Northlands is the exhibition grounds for K Days, formerly known as Klondike Days. Northlands is also home to Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers. I was once a giant Oilers fan as a young child. They were Stanley Cup champions in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990. Oh the heady Oilers dynasty days. Good memories.
Then the last of the northeast stations before heading into downtown Edmonton is Stadium Station. The station takes its namesake from the Commonwealth Stadium next door. Edmonton hosted the Commonwealth Games back in 1978. The stadium is now home to Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Edmonton Eskimos brandishing their green and gold trim. This is also where I decided to take a lunch break at a nearby McDonald’s. I thought I’d let you know just in case you’re ever in this part of town looking for lunch.
Our Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Historic Walking Tour of Hastings West made a slight detour from Hastings Street to take a peek at Waterfront Station.
We walked along the elevated walkway above Granville Street in the direction of the Vancouver Sun/Province building. We could see Waterfront Station and the old Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) building down on Cordova Street. However, this CPR building is not even the original train station that stood in this area. The current building is the third incarnation of the CPR railway terminus building.
Maurice passed around pictures of the second CPR building that used to sit right at the foot of Granville Street. It was a gigantic rail-gothic building. Just look at those spires. The first time that I found out about this building was when I watched historic Vancouver streetcar footage from the documentary, City Reflections. As the 1907 streetcar made its way north along Granville Street, this large building appeared at the end of the street. I had no idea what it was. It just seemed to tower as the streetcar got closer and closer to the waterfront. Well, now I got my answer from Maurice.
This photo from the Vancouver Archives shows the excavation of the current CPR building. Cordova Street is on the left, Burrard Inlet on the right, and the second CPR building is just in the back. Through the process of extrapolation, we can “proudly” tell you that a multi-story parking lot now sits on the site of what once was a grand railway station building. Oh progress.
August 17, 2009 – opening day for the Canada Line. Unfortunately for me, it was on Monday. Fortunately for TransLink, they planned it on a Monday. The line ups were crazy even for a Monday. Imagine if they did the fare free day on the weekend. I don’t remember the Millennium Line’s fare-free day being so busy.
I couldn’t get off work until 5pm. My poor wife had to wait 45 minutes for me before I was ready to leave work. We were originally thinking of going to Broadway-City Hall and getting on there, but word was that it was really busy there. We decided to drive down towards Oakridge. As we swung by the station, we could see a little line up forming outside. We ex-nayed Oakridge. We kept going south along Cambie to Marine Drive. There was no line up in sight there so we decided to find parking about 2 blocks away and walked to the station.
At Marine Drive, one of the first things I noticed was the two YVR check-in kiosks. I guess it beats lining up at YVR to check in. I wanted a head on shot of the kiosk, but the sun was starting to make its westward descent and was totally making the screen hard to read. I didn’t see any of the YVR kiosks at the Oakridge Open House, so I wonder which stations have these check-in kiosks.
A Canada Line staffer in his bright green fleece vest and shirt was answering quite a few questions. The platform was amply busy, but not full.
The train was taking a little while so I walked the platform. I really like these new displays. Why? Because they have really useful information now. The SkyTrain ones keep repeating the same elevator closures that have been going on for months. So our train was about to arrive in 5 minutes. So if our train was full, I would have to wait an extra 6 minutes for the next Richmond train. It’s good that I get the time so I can choose to take my chances and wait for the second train or try to pile into the first train.
A few of the Canada Line trains already have adwraps all over them. I’ve already seen another one for Oakridge Centre. I guess the River Rock has enough money to keep that adwrap on the train permanently.
Here’s our train for the day. It was pretty full when it arrived, but thankfully, quite a few people disembarked at Marine Drive and we were able to get on the train. Even at full, the interior is quite large. My wife and I could stand side by side in the aisle with a pair of seats on either side. Way wider than a SkyTrain. My only complaint is that there are enough places to hold onto for shorter folk like me. There are currently no overhead bars or loops available.
We didn’t get off at Bridgeport, but that station looked pretty busy. It’s a great station for the casino crowd. It looks like River Rock also added some new giant sized posters outside of their new parking lot for drawing in more people. All I managed to get a picture of was the Bridgeport name sign through the window.
We got off at Aberdeen Station because we were hungry and aiming to go to a restaurant that a friend had recommended. I managed to capture a quick shot of our train as it continued its way south to Richmond Centre.
The line up on the street to get into the station was really long. It looked like most of Richmond came out after work and school to try the line. The line already looked like 1.5 – 2.0 hours long when we exited the station. We were just hoping that on the way back, the line would be better.
We went to dinner after getting off. We went a small place called Cafe de Waraku. It’s a Japanese-style Italian restaurant. I guess the nori seawood topping on the pasta and the stirfry makes it Japanese-style. I’m not sure. Taste-wise, it was okay. However, the meals were amazingly light after finishing. It must be a combination of the olive oil and no MSG in their cooking. The restaurant wasn’t that busy at 6pm on a Monday night, but perhaps the new Canada Line will help to bring customers their way.
After dinner, we walked through Aberdeen Mall for a little bit until it closed at 7pm. We walked back to Aberdeen Station and the line was still as long as it was an hour ago. We searched out the end of the line to discover a young volunteer standing there. She was there with a pylon and sadly informing people that the line was cut off and that we’d have to take the bus back.
So we walked down to the B-Line bus stop. Got on the 98. It was pretty full after we got on and the bus passed up those waiting at Capstan Way. At Airport Station, I spotted the #100 in the bay and we quickly got off the 98 and got on the 100. The 100 is a twisty route through Marpole and it took at least 20 minutes to get from Aberdeen to Marine Drive. Whereas if we were on the train, it would have taken about 5-7 minutes at most.
And that marked the end of our opening day experience. A short ride on the new line. I will definitely try it out more in the days to come. I have a bus pass, so no worries for me hopping on and hopping off.
Haha…I am over a month behind on my post here. I’ve been sitting on tons of photos. The summer gives a lot of opportunity to take pictures, but it’s a pain to sort, organize, and post-process them. Plus, the recent heat wave didn’t help because I did not want to sit in front of my computer trying to work through a blog post.
It wasn’t an overly hot day, but warm enough that I didn’t want to stay outdoors for too long. However, I did suckered into a giveaway line. It looked like the line lead to an Olympic themed table. However, it was apparently a beauty department table giving away fragrance samples. Nice sample, but I didn’t really want to stand in the sun for 5 minutes.
The festival was a nice use of the usually vacant plaza at Cambie and 41st Avenue. There was a performance stage and lots of booths with handouts. When I first arrived, there was a martial arts demonstration complete with nunchuks. Later on, there was a trio of older gents belting out possibly Yiddish music. I’m not totally sure. I think they had a Jewish-themed music of some sort. It was pretty catchy. The one thing about the plaza, though, is that it is a very uneven pavement. There’s even a sign that warns people about how uneven the ground is.
One of the things I thought about when they first talked about the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver (RAV) line was about how they could transform the plaza at 41st and Cambie. Obviously, the mall and InTransitBC have taken the cheaper approach of very little change. I thought they could have sunk the plaza deeper to match the platform level. Or they could have created a graduated slope throughout the plaza so that the slope would lead people to the Canada Line platform. I think some sort of plaza integration would have been creative opportunity for new public space. Unfortunately, the new Canada Line station is not even integrated into the mall in anyway.
As it currently stands, there will only be one main entrance into the station. This entry is on the southwest corner where the Oakridge Centre plaza is. To save costs, they have installed only up escalators and down staircases in the station. I believe the system is all like this with a few exceptions, namely YVR station. Unfortunately for a person in a wheelchair, the elevator was not in service yet. So the open house was far from accessible. I even saw parents carry their baby strollers up and down the stairs that day.
There is a large lobby area that greets you once you are at the platform level. They had a few tables set up at the open house. A couple of them were TransLink related tables. One table, however, belonged to Jugo Juice. A Jugo Juice representative told me that there will be Jugo Juice at every Canada Line station from 41st to Waterfront. That’s pretty impressive. I hope the venture works out.
These in-station shops are partly a by-product of Kevin Falcon’s visit to Hong Kong and seeing that the MTR stations there are teeming with shops. The new Canada Line stations are nothing compared to a Hong Kong MTR station. Hong Kong MTR trains are about 40 doors long, if I remember correctly. That makes the trains 3-4x longer than a regular 4-car old SkyTrain. So a Hong Kong station is easily 3-4 times larger than any SkyTrain station in town. Canada Line stations are even smaller than a regular SkyTrain station. So we will likely see less than a handful of shops in any new Canada Line station.
Directly behind the lobby at the same level is the southbound platform for trains going to Richmond and YVR. Currently, there are no gates that separate the lobby from the platforms. With all the talk about gates, I’m sure the gates will come eventually. Not sure when, though. However, seeing that the trains are right there in plain view from the lobby, I can envision people jumping the gates just to try and get to the train.
I think few people realize that a couple of the new stations (namely Oakridge and Langara Stations) require passengers to go through an underpass to reach the opposite platform. Pictured above are the stairs to the underpass to reach the northbound platform. So anyone wanting to go north to Broadway or Downtown from this station will have to run under the tracks and then up again on the other side.
This design with the underpass was meant to save money. By building most of the tracks closer to the ground via cut-and-cover, InTransitBC was able to save costs. A larger hole that would have accommodated a deeper tunnel and a mezzanine level for shops, gates, and ticket machines would have been a lot more expensive and take longer to build. This particular design was on the design boards for public consultation. It was obvious at that time that the underpass was set in stone for the design. I personally really don’t like having to run under the tracks to get to the other platform. Some Toronto subway stations (Dundas and Queen Stations on the Yonge Line) have a similar underpass design. When I lived in Toronto, I found it a pain in the butt if I was lugging around something large in those stations.
Some of you may have already seen the new Canada Line trains running along the tracks above Richmond. According to the Buzzer Blog, the trains are running the full schedule to warm up for opening day. That’s pretty exciting to me. What you see in the picture, though, is what you get for the train. It is about the same length as a new Mark II SkyTrain. The station is only the length of the train. So again, the Canada Line stations are really small compared even to our original SkyTrain stations. The smaller stations definitely save money in the short run, but if the line becomes popular like the Expo Line, then we will have to put down some significant coin to upgrade the stations.
The interior of the train is significantly wider than even a new SkyTrain. Two people could get past each other even between the seats. Many who come from Hong Kong may feel a slight sense of familiarity with these trains. The trains were built by Rotem-Hyundai of Korea who also builds many of the new MTR trains in Hong Kong. The seats here are forward or backwards facing with some upholstery. In Hong Kong, there would be only steel benches lining the sides and everyone else has to stand. North American sensibility says that we like to sit facing forward. Practicality would have dictated that the benches are sufficient and then you can fit more passengers on the train.
Near the bendy articulation portion of the train is a huge empty space. I suspect this will be where bicycles and luggage can be placed while riding the train. I’m not sure if this will double as a wheelchair spot or not. I really should have asked one of the staff on hand, but I was busy snapping photos. One of my friends who rides the West Coast Express told me that bicycle spots are where the fold-down courtesy seats. She hates having to ask a person to vacate that seat just for her bike. However, given the nature of the WCE, she can’t just wait for the next train. She has to find a spot to safely park the bicycle while the train is moving. So I’m not sure if these spaces will have the same issues. However, the Canada Line trains run every 5-10 minutes, so waiting for the next train is not as a big an issues as it is with the WCE.
Here’s a shot of the tunnel looking south. This is the southbound tunnel. So the trains will go along this tunnel to Langara and Marine Drive Stations in Vancouver, then onto Richmond or YVR. The yellow rail to the left side should be the “third rail” or the power rail. So heaven forbid, if you ever fall into the tracks, do not touch the yellow rail. This a big difference compared to SkyTrain tracks on the Expo and Millennium Lines. Those lines use special Bombardier Linear Induction Motor technology which places a huge metal power plate in the middle of the track. The Canada Line tracks use more conventional and cheaper technology to power their trains.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a clear shot of the train head or tail. Only the head and tail are coloured in the Canada Line blue and green colours. A lot of people ask why they didn’t colour the trains red. A logical question to me since somebody in the powers that be insisted that the line be called the Canada Line. The answer that I heard is that the blue and green colour design were always planned since they are West Coast colours. Never mind that we have an Evergreen Line on the drawing board which will likely be coloured green on our future maps. In any case, the red would have been kind of cliche in my opinion. The blue and green are nice.
I actually didn’t take a photo of the new transit connections map, but I got this one from Tafyrn of Canada Line Photography Blog. The Canada Lne is coloured as greenish-blue line now. The Expo Line continues to be dark blue and Millennium Line is yellow. All the B-Line and major express buses are now coloured orange instead of the green on current transit maps. Included in the orange lines are also connections to the ferry terminals.
All the lines look impressive on paper, but how well will the system run with the pending budget shortfall. We may have built ourselves into the red with the Canada Line. We can only hope that ridership will be higher than expected. TransLink will have to pay for any shortfall in numbers and revenue to the private operating partner.
As for a trip to the airport, rumours seem to suggest that there will be an extra $2.50 surcharge for taking the train to Sea Island. So coming out of Vancouver, that would mean that you pay your $3.75 2-zone fare, plus another $2.50. A total of $6.25 to the airport. [Out of Richmond, I suspect it will be 1-zone fare of $2.50 plus the surcharge for a total of $5.00.] That’s okay if you are a single rider. For two people, the cost of $12.50 may cause some people to think twice about taking the train to YVR.
According to the TransLink Canada Line rider page, there will a YVR Add Fare exempt trial period. So the first few months of operation will likely not have any surcharge until 2010. I don’t mind paying the surcharge if I ever have to go to YVR to catch a plane. Unfortunately, you’re not getting any special service for the surcharge. Some places have nicer trains running to the airports for the extra cost. I don’t forsee that happening here.
To end today’s post, I’ll show you the way out … er … exit. Isn’t “exit” easier to understand than “way out”?
The “Queen” of Vancouver blogging got a special last Friday and got to ride the Canada Line from end to end. She has some great photos on her page and her Flickr.
Also, the nicest part is the video. Great quality as you watch the train roll into the station and watch the train as it exits the tunnel near Marine Drive and cross the new North Arm Bridge. If you look to the right of the track, you will see one of the best features of the new bridge, a bike and pedestrian onramp for the bridge.
I look forward to riding the train and riding my bike across the north arm of the Fraser River. Looks promising already.
Current rumours are that the line will open before Labour Day, but no official announcement yet. I guess InTransit BC is eager to make their money back. TransLink is also eager for the Canada Line to make back its money; otherwise, they will have to pay the private partner for any shortfall in revenues.
A very important article in the back of the Vancouver Sun’s Tuesday edition. Usually you find important transport information on Friday’s when nobody is reading, but this one is a guest opinion-editorial from the looks of it.
Municipal regulations requiring urban developments to provide on-site parking seem innocuous and receive little attention in public policy discussions, but they do in fact have serious consequences.
They stimulate urban sprawl, encourage excessive use of cars, create inequitable social outcomes, reduce housing affordability, and suppress economic development. Wiping parking regulations from municipal planning codes across Canada is arguably the most urgent policy reform Canada’s municipalities can make.
That’s a pretty strong thesis, in terms of what it is proposing. However, if you sit down and think about it, it is very true that parking can induce car travel. Perhaps, parking can induce more travel than even a freeways and bridges. If you don’t have anywhere to park your car when you arrive at your destination, then how likely are you to drive?
The cost of parking can be substantial. The Toronto Parking Authority estimated that the cost of providing a single parking space could be up to $40,000.
That’s not a surprising figure. Condo developers have been asking Vancouver city hall to relax their parking regulations for many of the new condo high rise developments in downtown. Developers know that downtown has enough amenities, walkability, and public transit that they can get away with less parking spots in new projects.
I know my friends who bought condos in downtown Toronto had to also buy their parking spots separately. Some of them use the spots as mortgage helpers. If you don’t have a spot and need one, then you can rent a spot or put your bid in for a spot when a parking spot becomes free.
Unlike many deregulation initiatives, the removal of minimum-parking regulations does not need to be sudden or disruptive. If parking regulations were removed today, Canada’s urban areas would adapt slowly over years with new developments having only small impacts on the demand for parking. Instead of regulating the supply of parking, municipalities would need to shift focus to managing demand for parking, which they can do through the use of time-limits and ultimately prices.
I think we’re already seeing this sort of deregulation in Toronto and Vancouver. Especially since developers are asking for less parking so that units can become more affordable. Toronto has parking that is not packaged in with condos automatically. Vancouver is starting to have new developments with units that have access to a car share (e.g. the Capitol Residences).
One good example of less parking, or no parking in this case, is The Hub at Commercial Drive/Broadway SkyTrain stations. There are a few offices, restaurants, and large pharmacy, but no parking at all. It’s attached to the SkyTrain stations, so it makes sense not to have parking. The City of Vancouver made a special exemption for this site, if I remember correctly.
A really sad example of minimal parking regulations is actually across the street from The Hub. It’s the CIBC on the southeast corner of Broadway and Commercial. I learned about this case at a talk a few years ago where someone from Via Architecture was speaking. Via wanted to develop that site with no parking spots. That makes sense since it is also right beside the SkyTrain station. I believe the City of Vancouver was willing to make an exemption for this site as well. However, CIBC has a policy of minimum parking spots for its patrons. I believe the number was 3 minimum parking spots. So it wasn’t municipal parking regulations getting in the way here. It was the bank. If we look at that intersection, we would realistically say that most of the bank’s patrons walk to it either solely by foot or from transit. The southeast corner of Broadway and Commercial is still prime for redevelopment as some sort of mixed use site. Having only a bank and its few parking spots occupying that space seems like an awful waste.