August 6, 2015

Slow Streets: The Case for a Georgia Bus Lane

Here’s a preview from Slow Streets; they’ll be releasing the full report tomorrow here.

The Case For a Bus Only Lane on Georgia Street provides evidence that Vancouver’s Georgia Street would benefit greatly from implementing one East and West bound bus-only lanes.


The Case for Bus Lanes on Georgia St Summary - Slow Streets - Aug 2015

Click to enlarge.


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  1. Georgia Street’s a good case and the City should do it yesterday. However, does anyone know how often a peak-period Bus and/or T3 lane has been proposed over the Lions Gate? I can imagine the Ministry’s and North Shore municipalities’ feelings about such a study and I can guess the likely findings, but I’m curious. This isn’t a quiz. I’m really asking. Anybody know this history?

  2. It’s not just Georgia, I made an argument (below) there needs to be a dedicated east-west bus lane matching up with the Granville Mall. Such that buses don’t suddenly get bogged down after having this dedicated street (and I’d argument there’s a case for bus lanes other places, like Howe/Seymour on days the City banishes buses off the Mall). There are 16 routes that go eat-west across the peninsula that regularly get severely delayed in DTES traffic, there is very good justification for some kind of dedicated lanes there (not even necessarily on the same street, you could do west on Hastings, east on Cordova for example).

    Far too much money is being wasted with buses being stuck in traffic, we could get increased service with the current service hours if the buses were able to flow more freely. Particularly with the No vote, this is one area municipalities could help transit issues without any kind of sizeable investment. Paint a few lines, put up a few signs (maybe enforce compliance with cameras? please?).

    The amount of bunching that’s happening where service is greatly degraded because buses get further and further behind schedule because of traffic is largely avoidable with proper transit priority measures. And if the cities won’t act, I’d be all for Translink sending the bill to the cities for the extra money being spent having buses stuck in traffic.

    1. Seymour and Howe are probably better streets for buses than Granville anyway.

      A pedestrain mall and transit really aren’t comparable when there are large volumes of both as is the case on Granville. It doesn’t work well for either. Probably thf worse is the intersection at Robson where the buses turning to and from Granville have to wait and wait for all the people walking.

      Switching back and forth between Granville and Howe/Smithe is really confusing for people as well. Best to pick streets and stick to them.

  3. Hi Gord: What’s the name of the guy you’ve written about who’s so astute on suburban infrastructure costing: Charles Maroht???

    Peter Ladner 604-760-1445 (cell/text) @pladner


  4. Wobbly buses are not useful as a backbone for rapid transit. Only subways ( or LRTs on less dense areas) are as they are far faster, less wobbly and air conditioned.

    Why not toll all bridges and build subways with it ?

    We need a carrot and a stick to get people from cars to public transit: far higher parking fees, road tolls, and faster transit than cars.

    Anything else is just a socialist pipe dream onto the least common and slowest denominator such as this bus scheme.

    1. Sounds great Thomas but the political reality is that it will never happen. Voters expect free roads, this dedicated bus lane is a politically feasible solution.

  5. A couple of questions: Is this assuming the viaducts staying or going? If the latter, an estimated additional 18,000 vpd will be using the westerly end of the present Georgia Street, diverted from the eliminated Dunsmuir viaduct. The westerly end of Georgia presently carries about 55,000 vpd. Would eliminating two lanes in the West End help or hinder the level of service there?

    1. And I predict that they would run some bus routes along the new eastern end of Georgia (where it would meet Pacific.) so they would be a factor too.

        1. I don’t know but I think that Dunsmuir could be made two way and end in a south turn onto Citadel Parade. (Just my own theory.)
          Since Georgia will now go all the way to Pacific, they could put a bus route on it. I can see an express bus from Main and Terminal to Horseshoe Bay which would connect, Skytrain, Bus, Amtrak, etc to BC Ferries.

    2. Having a permanent bus lane…could hold up traffic on Pacific, which is wide enough to have a bus lane too.

      It doesn’t have much bus traffic anyway, thought, I advocate for an extension of the North shore bus routes up to Main street on the below model

      rational for it here (the relocation of Mount Pleasant Hospital, reinforce that).

      On Georgia, the issue is more in the east direction:
      3 signalled lanes on Burrard is barely enough to flush the incoming traffic from the Lions gate bridge (2 unsignalled lanes) …which affect the buses…

      1. I don’t see how a permanent bus lane on Georgia Street would hold up traffic on Pacific Boulevard. Georgia Street is a major bus route and I think the article above speaks for how important this operation would be for Transit in Vancouver. It’s also a change that’s extremely easy to make, costs very little and would save money long-term.

      2. it was a reply to Franck Ducote,
        The West bound traffic pattern at Pacifcic#Georgia will be probably similar to the the East-South traffic pattern from Pacific to Burrard…

        I agree that a bus lane in the west direction should have little adverse effect on the general traffic.

  6. If there is going to be a bus lane on Georgia, it makes sense to extend that down the new Pacific then through a Kingsway Connector. You would have BRT like speed from 7th and Main right into the heart of Downtown. Fast service without having to transfer at Main street station for Mt. Pleasant and points east.