Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Trolley Bus Thread

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Trolley Bus Thread

    (Note-this thread is not intended to rehash any other thread, this is to discuss a specific, unique, proposal.)

    Preamble
    Edmonton's trolley fleet is obsolete. Edmonton's trolley lines are underutilised. Edmonton's trolley system isn't well enough integrated into the grander ETS scheme.

    All true.

    Trolley technology is better for the city's health than any other bus technology except solar provided hydrogen fuel cells. Trolley technology can serve high density routes more cheaply than any other bus technology. Trolley fuel can be (and is) provided by a wider range of primary inputs than any other bus technology. Trolley technology is at worst second quietest among bus technologies. (second to pure battery/capacitor power only.)

    Also true.

    (I am obligated to add, if you wish to dispute any of the above, please consider reading a previous thread on the topic. The intention of this thread is to discuss the specific proposal outlined here.)

    In response to this situation, other C2E members have advocated simply scrapping the system. Here, I will outline another approach we may consider. I won't go into much depth with this post though.

    -----------
    The basic plan: first upgrade the fleet to the highest existing standards as soon as possible, and second, rationalise the trolley network.


    -----------
    The new fleet:
    - 50 or so single articulateds, with battery and diesel backup systems, as well as GPS for realtime scheduling and traffic priority signaling.
    Maybe something like this:


    - 10 or so double articulateds with the same features, plus a second powered axel for greater traction control in difficult road conditions.


    Justification: unlike the current fleet, these busses come off the power lines less often, don't need to stop in traffic if they do come off the lines, can make virtually any neccessary detour with very little problem, are more fuel efficient as they can do regenerative braking, would be far more comfortable (especially psychologically, as they aren't only not embarassing, but maybe even exciting), and are big enough to make a good dent in traffic. For comparison: The double articulateds can carry about as many people as a single LRT car, (around 200 maximum, including standees).

    -----------
    The new system:


    Legend:
    Heavy lines: LRT lines
    - Pink: existing or under construction surface track.
    - Yellow: existing underground track.
    - Red: future LRT possibilities.

    Thinner lines: Trolley lines
    - Blue: existing lines to keep.
    - Orange: existing lines to remove and reconstruct elsewhere.
    - Cyan: proposed new lines.

    Dots: Traffic sources or destinations
    - Dark green: existing.
    - Light green: potential (in most cases TODs, except the U of A South Campus and the YXD land.)

    Justification: Trolleys become more and more economical when they are used a lot, basically because most of the cost is one-time up-front. Putting them on routes to Northgate (via NAIT, Kingsway, Victoria School for the arts, and the Royal Alec hospital), WEM, and Millwoods would let them get a lot of usage. Also having them on a loop connecting Jasper and Whyte keeps them around the areas with the highest population densities in the city, and the most attractions, thus with a high potential for ridership, plus the greatest possible health benefit would be found here as well.

    Trolley lines can be built much more quickly and cheaply than rail systems, and thus they could make a quicker impact not only on traffic but city development (opening more potential TOD sites, bringing more people downtown).

    For the line I suggest could be dismantled: as LRT will soon hit Southgate, it may make the trolleys going there redundant. LRT have basically the same good points, but to higher degrees. We could then do likewise with the Millwoods trolley line, WEM trolley line, and Northgate trolley line, and then redeploy the infrastructure on new developing traffic sources and destinations around the existing city area.

    -----
    That's the basic idea. Thoughts?
    Let's make Edmonton better.

  • #2
    The trolley infrastructure must be dealt with as soon as the decision on the trolley renewal is made. One major extension that has to be built as soon as possible is to Northgate. Three existing routes can be converted to trolley routes: 9, 134 and 140. Route 134 can be renumbered as 9B to simplify the system. A loop overhead can be made on 102 Ave to accommodate 134 and 140. The stretch of 97 St from 111 to 118 has the potential to cause minimal visual impact, due to the tall trees.

    Thoughts?

    Comment


    • #3
      I definitly support the continued use of the trolley system. I think its worth the investment to get proper equipment to make the system as reliable as diesel buses.
      With back up engines, be they diesel, battery banks, hydrogen. You essentially take away the problem of stalls/downtime with disconnection from the overhead catenary system.
      The infrastructure is in place already and the system spans a large area of the City and I believe that this could be a first step to bringing back an actual trolley loop in the Downtown.

      Comment


      • #4
        Also, I kinda disagree on the removal of the trolley overhead along 109 St south of Whyte Avenue. There's too much potential to have it dismantled. Here's my take on what to do along that stretch:

        Route 9A and 9B will dominate the area.

        Eliminate the southern portion of Route 133, then have Route 9A extended to serve the Parkallen neighbourhood as well, which means special work on the intersection of 65Ave and 109 will need to be upgraded.

        Eliminate the southern portion of Route 7, then have Route 9B to serve the Belgravia neighbourhood. Note that 9B also replaces Route 134 to serve the Spruce Avenue neighbourhood.

        Route 7 and 133 can merge and become route 7, increasing the frequency to 15 minutes during peak hours from the current 30 for each route. Route 7 can once again terminate at Telus Field.

        Diesel Routes 50 and 51 can act as collector routes for the LRT and will only serve the neighbourhoods between Southgate and South Campus (No more trips to University Main Campus). Both routes can mesh together and will instead terminate at the South Campus Station. 50 can become 50A as a clockwise route while 51 can become 50B and as a counter-clockwise route.

        Routes 17, 40, 41 and 42 can no longer serve 109 St once the Southgate LRT station is in service. Route 6, 9A and 9B can be the primary routes that can serve the neighbourhoods of McKernan, Belgravia, as well as parts of Allendale and Queen Alexandra.

        Route 9A and 9B can have a frequency of 10-15 minutes each during peak hours and 15-30 minutes each for non-peak hours.

        Route 50A and 50B frequency can each have 15 minutes during peak hours.

        Please tell me what any of you think.

        Comment


        • #5
          JayBee... I like your map
          One thing it's missing is a trolley route to Abbottsfield Mall...
          and I like the ideas of a trolley to Mill Woods, and what you
          did with the #5, extending it beyond Westmount to WEM.
          I don't like the idea of a trolley on 99 St on the south side,
          not with the amount of truck traffic on that road.
          Yay, summertime!

          Comment


          • #6
            Microbus:
            I didn't show the line out to Abbotsfield because of a catastrophic hard disk failure in which I lost the base document entirely. It was a work in progress, and I simply hadn't gotten the Abbotsfield line sketched in at that point. I wasn't trying to suggest either that we remove it or that it isn't important. I wouldn't mind at all if you (or anyone else) resketched it, or just modify the originally posted diagram to include Abbotsfield. (In fact it won't be until perhaps August that I have time to get everything up and running again, I'm hitting busy season just now.)

            And which road into Millwoods would you support over 99th? I wouldn't mind whichever myself, the concept was to replace route 8 with something that can handle the existing transit demand quickly because it will seem like eons before we can get LRT there. In fact I'd guess that's where we would end up employing most of the double articulateds.

            DanC:
            A downtown trolley loop would be fantastic. Especially for street life. The tremendous frequency of diesel roar the downtown currently hears is numbing, and really puts a damper on street life. If we could get a significant amount of that traffic transfered onto trolleys it would be a heavy compliment to downtown high density residency, patios and rooftops, streetlife generally, and could be a key to taking our festival atmosphere up a few rungs to compete with Edinburgh and Rio and the real heavy hitters.

            Originally posted by RicoLance21
            The trolley infrastructure must be dealt with as soon as the decision on the trolley renewal is made. One major extension that has to be built as soon as possible is to Northgate. Three existing routes can be converted to trolley routes: 9, 134 and 140. Route 134 can be renumbered as 9B to simplify the system. A loop overhead can be made on 102 Ave to accommodate 134 and 140. The stretch of 97 St from 111 to 118 has the potential to cause minimal visual impact, due to the tall trees.

            Thoughts?
            I would agree that ideally we would replace the fleet and extend the trunk lines simutaneously. When I said "First... Second..." I meant those are the two things that need doing, not neccessarily that they should be done in that chronological order. However I'll add, gauging from people's discontent with the current situation on C2E, it does seem that the vehicles themselves are causing more frustration than the overall strategic position of trolleys within ETS. (Although both are definitely on the radar.) But I reiterate, I do agree that ideally we should have the improvements coincide with each other.

            I agree with the 102 street loop as well, that would make for one perfect, self-sustaining line (The Northgate line.) I can't portray that on the map though, for the same reason I just mentioned to Microbus, plus that the fact that the line width I chose for routes obliterates entire blocks at that resolution. I was just trying to represent traffic flows more than exact routings.


            In regards to your second post:
            With this plan I'm kindof advocating that we employ trolleys strategically as a distinct level of service between regular busses and LRT, thus I toy with the removal of that line. It will soon have LRT there, running practically parallel to the trolley line. Wouldn't reusing the wires and transformers and whatnot cut the cost of extending to Northgate or WEM, or down Whyte ave (where street life is already so important)?

            As for the Southern leg of Route 9, I think it too will become largely redundant, and be relegated to milk run status by the LRT. If we use trolleys on it, of course it will be better than diesel for the area residents, but it's a different niche than the two I've specifically chosen to champion (trunks and streetlife). I just don't think it would constitute prime usage of valuable infrastructure. (Presuming of course that it could be meaningfully re-employed elsewhere.)

            I want to make it clear that I am not in any way open to shrinking the system, only reshaping it. I will not support any line reduction that doesn't coincide with line expansion elsewhere, and I think for every metre removed, there should be a policy of 2 metres added until we reach a rational system.
            Let's make Edmonton better.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JayBee
              Microbus:

              In regards to your second post:
              With this plan I'm kindof advocating that we employ trolleys strategically as a distinct level of service between regular busses and LRT, thus I toy with the removal of that line. It will soon have LRT there, running practically parallel to the trolley line. Wouldn't reusing the wires and transformers and whatnot cut the cost of extending to Northgate or WEM, or down Whyte ave (where street life is already so important)?

              As for the Southern leg of Route 9, I think it too will become largely redundant, and be relegated to milk run status by the LRT. If we use trolleys on it, of course it will be better than diesel for the area residents, but it's a different niche than the two I've specifically chosen to champion (trunks and streetlife). I just don't think it would constitute prime usage of valuable infrastructure. (Presuming of course that it could be meaningfully re-employed elsewhere.)

              I want to make it clear that I am not in any way open to shrinking the system, only reshaping it. I will not support any line reduction that doesn't coincide with line expansion elsewhere, and I think for every metre removed, there should be a policy of 2 metres added until we reach a rational system.
              The southern portion of Route 9A and 9B can be both an LRT feeder route or serve aforementioned neighbourhoods easy access to Whyte Avenue and any commercial services along 109 St. 109 and 82 is like a virtual transit hub for many citizens. Of course, articulated trolleys will not be needed for these routes. Also, some parts of infrastructure for the trolleys aren't worth moving (ie: concrete piles to strengthen the poles).

              Comment


              • #8
                The best route for a trolley to Mill Woods? Realizing that crossing
                the river could be a challenge, and thinking about where the prospective passengers would be.. you ready for this? lol
                Follow the current #9 routing out of downtown, across the High Level Bridge, south on 109 St, then east 82 Ave, south 83 St, west Argyll Rd, south 86 St, Millgate, south 76 St, west 38 Ave,
                south Mill Woods Rd to 23 Ave, then east 23 Ave to Mill Woods Town Centre ( missing Lakewood in the process, but only by 1/3 of a block ).
                Hundreds of passengers a day transfer at 83 St/Whyte Ave to and from the #4 and #8, which this route would cover.
                This solution also prevents any new trolley wires having to be strung up on a bridge, or on some obscene hill
                Yay, summertime!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Should ETS re-invest in trolleys instead NLRT or WLRT?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by microbus
                    The best route for a trolley to Mill Woods? Realizing that crossing
                    the river could be a challenge, and thinking about where the prospective passengers would be.. you ready for this? lol
                    Follow the current #9 routing out of downtown, across the High Level Bridge, south on 109 St, then east 82 Ave, south 83 St, west Argyll Rd, south 86 St, Millgate, south 76 St, west 38 Ave,
                    south Mill Woods Rd to 23 Ave, then east 23 Ave to Mill Woods Town Centre ( missing Lakewood in the process, but only by 1/3 of a block ).
                    Hundreds of passengers a day transfer at 83 St/Whyte Ave to and from the #4 and #8, which this route would cover.
                    This solution also prevents any new trolley wires having to be strung up on a bridge, or on some obscene hill
                    Why would it be a challenge? Hills are the very areas where trolleybuses can show off its advantage over diesel buses. Route 8 alone would fully utilize the overhead in a big way. This should be third in the expansion list (Northgate first, West Edmonton Mall second, Abbotsfield-Millwoods third). Besides, it's the Low Level Bridge, which means less visual impact.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yeah, trolleys ran over the Low Level many years ago too...
                      but I think there'd be better service given if it went down Whyte Ave too.
                      Yay, summertime!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by microbus
                        Yeah, trolleys ran over the Low Level many years ago too...
                        but I think there'd be better service given if it went down Whyte Ave too.
                        I think Route 4 can take fourth on the expansion list to take advantage of the U-Pass. However, I think by then, the LRT may already have the WLRT line in service. Therefore, Route 4 can only terminate at the UofA. With the U-Pass in place, peak hour frequency of Route 4 may be 10 minutes, since the it's been already overcrowded in the last few Fall/Winter semesters, and that's without the U-Pass in place.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          FYI, perhaps people have seen this:

                          http://www.edmonton.ca/portal/server...n+Edmonton.htm

                          (bit of an old link, old info)

                          I'd like to know about the low floor trolley they're trying out. (from Vancouver I believe)

                          Here in Saskatoon they're testing a Biodiesel / electric hybrid - not sure what the diff between diesel and biodiesel is though...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Chump:
                            Yeah, I saw that and everytime I look at it I feel glum. As was stated in another thread, it looked like ETS made up its mind to phase out the system in 1997 as that's when system decline turned more into system drop.

                            The current sad state of the trolleys are only building voter discontent with the system, and if the low-floor trolley test happens at all (I believe it is made out to be with a borrowed Vancouver trolley), I note ETS has already gone ahead and outright bought a diesel-electric mini-fleet for that part of the "test". I'm concerned that minds are already made up at ETS, without them having told anyone.

                            Council itself even seems to have limited power to control ETS. Some years ago they mandated to maximise trolley usage, but not only did the trend not reverse, it seemed to accelerate. But the reason for that is pretty clear: The current fleet and wire system are both seriously impaired in their ability to help the city day to day. The system now, while it has useful components, is simply not able to succeed as a whole, despite all that the basic technology has to offer in theory (and indeed in other cities.) We've let it go for far too long, and it is going to take a serious political commitment to intervene in fate now.

                            I urge those within the city administration (including transportation) to consider the hypocrisy of being a leader in banning smoking, ostensibly in the name of health, and yet on the other hand giving up on an already half built system that is the only economically competitive alternative to diesel exhaust, which is even worse for health than second hand smoke, ppm to ppm.

                            I urge the administration that has won kudos almost universally for trying an end to "crap" architecture, to turn the sights of reason to the transit system and try to reduce "crap" diesels. Is the health of the citizenry not important? Is the prospect of lower noise not akin to the prospect of less ugly buildings?

                            I urge the administration currently responsible for the largest greenspace and some of the most exciting festivals in urban North America to consider the entirely opposite message it is sending with roaring diesels literally encircling our festivals and pluming their way past the Muttart Conservatory.

                            Originally posted by edmowl
                            Should ETS re-invest in trolleys instead NLRT or WLRT?
                            Personally I would hope it's not an either/or thing, and ultimately I think we'll all be better off with LRT on those routes (and Millwoods) in the long run. But if used strategically, we should be able to design a trolley route with future LRT conversion in mind. We could design the electrical system to accomodate LRT upgrading. We could widen right of ways, and build grade separations that would benefit express trolleys every bit as much as they would LRT. But we could build the lines in smaller steps, without all the capital needed at once, and we could defer large amounts of expenditure until after the boom prices ease somewhat.

                            A trolley line could maybe get up and running in 6 months, not including the lead time we'd need for the vehicle purchase, but the transportation department has said it would consider WLRT in 40 years. Yet you can easily see from the size of the double articulated trolley that it is serious transit hardware, and not in any way a mere stop-gap measure.
                            Let's make Edmonton better.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RicoLance21
                              Originally posted by microbus
                              Yeah, trolleys ran over the Low Level many years ago too...
                              but I think there'd be better service given if it went down Whyte Ave too.
                              I think Route 4 can take fourth on the expansion list to take advantage of the U-Pass. However, I think by then, the LRT may already have the WLRT line in service. Therefore, Route 4 can only terminate at the UofA. With the U-Pass in place, peak hour frequency of Route 4 may be 10 minutes, since the it's been already overcrowded in the last few Fall/Winter semesters, and that's without the U-Pass in place.
                              Microbus:
                              On the diagram I originally posted, I have a line up from Millwoods that branches at 82nd to serve both the U of A and Downtown. Isn't that close to the routing you mentioned? (Plus quick service to downtown, perhaps on alternating frequencies.)

                              RicoLance21:
                              Part of the reason I don't advocate trolley use on low density routes is because there is valid concern from a lot of people about "visual pollution" from overhead wires. I think it is a reasonable compromise to minimise the overhead wire network, if we can maximise the usage of the OH we do employ for the most obvious benefit to the city (to quieten important street life corridors, and serve the highest density routes as efficiently as possible.)
                              Let's make Edmonton better.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X