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London Rapid Transit (In-Design)

kEiThZ

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AFAIK it seems the goal is not a BRT system, but a reserved lane downtown where all the buses funnel through.
Nothing wrong with that. As long as the corridor design has enough throughput they'll be fine.

The easy thing about BRT is that routes can be shifted and incremental investment made. Once in service, might be much easier to convince a future council to build a transit mall on Dundas or Queens.
 

micheal_can

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Some. Go to Blair or Saint Laurent and you will see plenty leftover from the Transitway. The real value comes from the ROW being repurposed. Imagine what the Scott St trench would cost today.

Also, a lot of what is being torn down were relatively low cost glorified bus shelters. Getting 40 years out of them is pretty decent value for money.

You seem to be struggling here with the idea of time value of money. London building LRT now is like a 20 yr old going out and buying a minivan in anticipation of having a wife , two kids and two dogs when he's 35.

You like your taxes being wasted?

Show me existing systems in Canada where they did not change the service it receives, but they rebuilt it. It is just liek the SRT should have either been expanded, or built as a subway in the first place.

Nothing wrong with that. As long as the corridor design has enough throughput they'll be fine.

The easy thing about BRT is that routes can be shifted and incremental investment made. Once in service, might be much easier to convince a future council to build a transit mall on Dundas or Queens.

.... that is not BRT....
 

ShonTron

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Let’s look at Waterloo Region, which is actually a fair comparison with London. After the region merged Kitchener Transit and Cambridge Transit, it focused on rationalizing the route structure, adding new express buses, and improving service. It got ridership to a point where LRT made sense.

LRT also made sense in KW because of its linear nature, with most major destinations on a direct path. What Waterloo also did was encourage urban development in its city centres.

London doesn’t have all its major trip generators all in a row. It also doesn’t have a great record of smarter urban development that could feed a single LRT corridor, but it has three or four worthwhile core routes that it could start beefing up with frequent buses: Wellington-Richmond, Dundas-Wharncliffe, Oxford Street, and perhaps Adelaide Street and Fanshawe Park on a route to UWO that avoids Downtown.

After building ridership and redirecting urban growth, it would have something to work with.
 

littlewill1166

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I agree with that. This is why not doing anything and cancelling the LRT is not the end of the world. AFAIK it seems the goal is not a BRT system, but a reserved lane downtown where all the buses funnel through.
  • For what it's worth, there's a bus loop already, they built it when they decided to rebuild Dundas Street.
  • They did this because they wanted to make Dundas Street a destination.
  • In reality, it had the opposite effect. People taking the bus would often pop into the Tim Hortons, McDonald's, Starbucks, and A&W while waiting for the bus.
  • Now everyone waits at Yonge and Queens to North, and the McDonald's and Starbucks are permanently closed.
  • The new bus loop they're building removes the stops at Richmond Street, and adds a bunch of street scaping, and red paint.
  • This moves transit further away from the core of the downtown (Richmond/Dundas).
  • Unless they reroute north-south routes on Richmond through the bus loop (which will increase travel time on those routes), passengers will end up having to walk further to make connections.
  • I'd rather have London spend money on offering more frequent service, rather than on large capital projects that end up worsening the travel experience.
  • The only times I've been delayed because of traffic downtown, was when there were lane closures for the above projects.
  • For the 2/6/102/106 the main traffic bottlenecks are further north.
  • On Richmond, there is a level crossing with the CP mainline that brings traffic to a standstill for upto 15 minutes. Yet I haven't heard of grade seperation.
  • The University Drive bridge, is single lane, can only handle a certain number of vehicles on it at a time, and was on the cusp of collapsing (and had to be closed a couple years back). Yet, when they closed the bridge a couple years back, they just fixed it instead of replacing it with a more sturdy one (I heard it was for heritage reasons, but I'm not sure).
  • Finally, Western Road between Platt's Lane and Lambton is always bumper to bumper traffic in the mornings, yet there's no talk about bus lanes there.
  • TLDR, the downtown bus loop as currently designed does little to actually improve the experience of riding the bus downtown (and may actually make things worse). The money going towards the loop could have gone towards projects that improve traffic for both car drivers and bus riders.
 

micheal_can

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  • For what it's worth, there's a bus loop already, they built it when they decided to rebuild Dundas Street.
  • They did this because they wanted to make Dundas Street a destination.
  • In reality, it had the opposite effect. People taking the bus would often pop into the Tim Hortons, McDonald's, Starbucks, and A&W while waiting for the bus.
  • Now everyone waits at Yonge and Queens to North, and the McDonald's and Starbucks are permanently closed.
  • The new bus loop they're building removes the stops at Richmond Street, and adds a bunch of street scaping, and red paint.
  • This moves transit further away from the core of the downtown (Richmond/Dundas).
  • Unless they reroute north-south routes on Richmond through the bus loop (which will increase travel time on those routes), passengers will end up having to walk further to make connections.
  • I'd rather have London spend money on offering more frequent service, rather than on large capital projects that end up worsening the travel experience.
  • The only times I've been delayed because of traffic downtown, was when there were lane closures for the above projects.
  • For the 2/6/102/106 the main traffic bottlenecks are further north.
  • On Richmond, there is a level crossing with the CP mainline that brings traffic to a standstill for upto 15 minutes. Yet I haven't heard of grade seperation.
  • The University Drive bridge, is single lane, can only handle a certain number of vehicles on it at a time, and was on the cusp of collapsing (and had to be closed a couple years back). Yet, when they closed the bridge a couple years back, they just fixed it instead of replacing it with a more sturdy one (I heard it was for heritage reasons, but I'm not sure).
  • Finally, Western Road between Platt's Lane and Lambton is always bumper to bumper traffic in the mornings, yet there's no talk about bus lanes there.
  • TLDR, the downtown bus loop as currently designed does little to actually improve the experience of riding the bus downtown (and may actually make things worse). The money going towards the loop could have gone towards projects that improve traffic for both car drivers and bus riders.
So, we think with this "improvement" BRT would be a success from this council or transit authority?
 

littlewill1166

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So, we think with this "improvement" BRT would be a success from this council or transit authority?
I think they could have achieved something better painting a bus lane like Rapid TO and taking a month at most to finish construction. Rather than reconstructing the entire loop over three years.
 

micheal_can

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I decided to clearly explain my point in once simple post.

I am not against BRT.
I am not against express buses.
I am not for LRT.

I am for spending taxpayer money once.
It is a waste to rebuilt an area for express bus just to rebuild it for BRT.
It is a waste to rebuild an area for BRT just to shut it down and rebuild it for LRT.

A car centric city, such as London, which has horrible transit is not going to give up their car for another bus. Regardless of what that bus is doing, they have grown up to hate it. So, something that is not a bus will have them think twice about switching.

Stations should not need to be rebuilt because you were too short sighted. We are not learning from our past. So many of our cities ripped up their streetcars atthe promise of better service with buses, only to now begin to rebuild some of the old system. By the end of WW2, most systems were in dire need ofreconstruction due to lack of maintenance due to the war effort. Had we simply rebuilt the system; basically replace rails that were too warn.

So, now we are trying to rebuild it with a bus and call it BRT.
BRT is:
1) dedicated ROW.
2) Busway that is physically separated from traffic.
3) Fair paid zone. No paying on board.
4) Signal priority
5) Platform level bordering

Of those, if LTC were to do this, there is a good chance for maybe #1, but less likely for the rest given their track record. That means ... It - is - not - BRT......

So why waste taxpayers money?
 

micheal_can

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I think they could have achieved something better painting a bus lane like Rapid TO and taking a month at most to finish construction. Rather than reconstructing the entire loop over three years.

Besides repaving, did much change?
Did they even put in a reserved lane?
 

Bureaucromancer

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Would London be better served by a BRT that covered the whole city in 10 years or an LRT that might cover half the city in 20 years? That's the question.

THIS is the major bit of narrative in this that I really want to reject; first, the proposal on the table when LRT was preferred was for all four corridors to get service, second, even with funding being what it is in Ontario these sort of opportunity cost based argument really don't reflect the nature of funding. In the real world, the city will either get, or not, the package of infrastructure it happens to be asking for when the the province and feds feel like handing out money, and the modal choice is absolutely not going to be all that meaningful in terms of anyone's actual borrowing capacity.

I DO grant that the friendliness of BRT toward incremental work is a strong argument in an urban without a truly singular spine, but on the other hand, the LRT as proposed DID a pretty damn good job of creating the basis to create that sort of spine where it can be established. Similarly, the LRT that was proposed really was a fairly high quality implementation, while IMO everything about London screams that they are very at risk of de-scoping "BRT" into meaninglessness.

In other words, will BRT work just as well if built properly? Yes.

Was the LRT a better piece of infrastructure than they have any chance of getting now (short of reviving rail)? Also, definitely, yes.

Frankly, my hope is that by building a south BRT first London will end up asking for the LRT staff wanted to begin with once that has been running for a few years, and that will put them in line for whatever the next round of funding after Hamilton, Cambridge and Brampton extensions are built (in other words, it might be an election goodie come 2030).
 

ARG1

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And here's what I'm saying.
I decided to clearly explain my point in once simple post.

I am not against BRT.
I am not against express buses.
I am not for LRT.

I am for spending taxpayer money once.
It is a waste to rebuilt an area for express bus just to rebuild it for BRT.
It is a waste to rebuild an area for BRT just to shut it down and rebuild it for LRT.

A car centric city, such as London, which has horrible transit is not going to give up their car for another bus. Regardless of what that bus is doing, they have grown up to hate it. So, something that is not a bus will have them think twice about switching.
None of those people will give up their car for a tram either. Regional/Commuter Rail maybe, but that's not what's on the books.
Stations should not need to be rebuilt because you were too short sighted. We are not learning from our past. So many of our cities ripped up their streetcars atthe promise of better service with buses, only to now begin to rebuild some of the old system. By the end of WW2, most systems were in dire need ofreconstruction due to lack of maintenance due to the war effort. Had we simply rebuilt the system; basically replace rails that were too warn.
Stations don't have to be rebuilt. Ottawa rebuilt their stations because they were old and cheap, and they found the money to redo them - and most importantly improve them. If you have on street operations, there is no reason why any stations will have to be redone, just lay down tracks and you're good. Don't forget that most infrastructure have life expectancy at around 30 years before they need major renovations or improvements in maintenance. Even if 30 years from now you need to renovate the stations to better accommodate LRT, that is perfectly normal, and would be done even if LRT was built at first.
So, now we are trying to rebuild it with a bus and call it BRT.
BRT is:
1) dedicated ROW.
2) Busway that is physically separated from traffic.
3) Fair paid zone. No paying on board.
4) Signal priority
5) Platform level bordering

Of those, if LTC were to do this, there is a good chance for maybe #1, but less likely for the rest given their track record. That means ... It - is - not - BRT......
Uh, what?

1) Its getting that
2) That's a specific type of BRT called a Rapidway and Transit - not necessary for BRT.
3) I don't think I know of any BRT that has this fully. Now Off board payment does exist, and there is no reason why London couldn't have that.
4) That's fair
5) While that's technically possible on BRT, its basically never fully implemented. What BRTs like Viva aim for instead is heightened platforms, where most people can get on without having the bus tilt down. You still will need ramps for accessibility in almost all BRTs.

Its also important to note that most LRTs do not fulfill most of these points, so again I'm struggling to figure out what your point is.
So why waste taxpayers money?
You're right, let's not build anything at all.


The fundamental problem here is that your arguments are confusing, contradictory, and most importantly - based off wrong facts or unreasonable expectations - despite our best attempts to prove to you using tons of data that all of your assumptions are wrong.

You claim that an LRT should be built instead of a BRT because a BRT "is a waste of money", but personally speaking I find most LRTs to be way more expensive than they're worth. They cost up to 10x as much as BRT, while only carrying 5x the passengers. You argue that LRT attracts more ridership, but you have failed to back up that point in any substantial way. The only time you have even remotely tried to back it up was when you assumed that Streetcar ridership is way higher than busses in Toronto - yet you didn't actually do the research which would've told you that that isn't true. You also fear monger that if we build BRTs, that in the scenerio it becomes overcapacity that converting to LRT will be a pain and a half, yet not only do you fail to back up how such a thing will happen - only referencing what happened in a different city that has a completely different network layout, but continue to insist that BRT will actually attract no ridership. Either the BRT will be overcapacity, or nobody will use it, pick one.

Please, spend some time and do some research about different transit systems around the world and see how they build things, and how what they build impact things like ridership. Listen to some talks and conferences held by actual experts in the field like Johnathan English who will tell you the exact same thing I've been trying to explain to you for the past 4 pages on this thread.

If you believe that anything I say is wrong or not going to happen, back it up with EVIDENCE, something to physically show that what you believe will happen will happen. Examples of other cities that have perhaps implemented BRT and that failed in doing so. We can look at those examples, see where they went wrong, and use that knowledge to know where London could improve, or perhaps see if LRT is the right choice. We have given you a ton of real world evidence to disprove all of the things you are claiming, and the only thing you have given us is an anecdote about what someone you know is claiming.
 

ssiguy2

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London does not have a horrible transit system and for it's size it's actually a pretty decent one.

ShonTron is absolutely right, London does not have the long-linear urban design of KW or Ottawa. The downtown is in very rough shape right now with homelessness, drugs, rising office vacancy rates {mostly due to COVID}, and basically being in complete lockdown for the last 4 years between COVID and the Dundas Place and BRT Loop construction. All this made worse by Farhi who owns half of the downtown core and seems to have no problem leaving buildings and lots empty.

That said, I am one of the few who see the downtown brightly. Despite all these challenges, the downtown population is soaring with 5 new building well under construction and many more proposed and approved. The city has spent a king's ransom on the core in last few decades and when COVID is finally over and the population grows and all the damn BRT construction is done, the city has laid the groundwork for a very prosperous and vibrant downtown.
 

ssiguy2

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In terms of transit, I think London made the right choice with BRT. London doesn't have the linear development of K-W-C to make LRT viable. The BRT was to Fanshawe and south to White Oaks via Wellington is an excellent idea. and these are already 2 very heavily used routes.

As for going north and west, there were many problems chief of which was Richmond Row merchants and the damn CP rail crossing on Richmond. This is why a tunnel was proposed under Richmond to get around the rail tracks. It however was stopped by Richmond Row merchants and I can't say I blame them. It would have required years of construction but worse, would have meant the destruction of many building along RR destroying much of the vitality of the street which is the most vibrant one in the city.

There is an alternative however. In order to go north over the rail lines, the city can run a parallel along it. Piccadilly at the juncture has few homes and no real street frontage commercial properties and yet runs along the route but south of it so it would not need to cross it. The city could build a BRT busway along Piccadilly and a new bridge over Oxford {right beside the current CP one} and follow the corridor to Hyde Park with BRT branches off Western Road , very densely populated Cherryhill, Wonderland, and servicing many high rises on Wonderland & CP rail overpass, and on to Hyde Park. All 3 routes would merge off the "transitway" going north to Masonville/Western, Wonderland and north and ditto for Hyde Park Road and the northern part of the city is the fastest growing.
 

DirectionNorth

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Time for a massive reply dump.
Streetcars to bus.... Ok... Show me a bus route in Toronto that is busier than the busiest streetcar route.
You're comparing bus routes in suburbia to a downtown route. Stop with the bad faith arguments.
What is the improvement that will work to draw more people to VIVA? Short answer, not much.
You said it yourself, higher frequencies. Seems easy to do.
If there isn't a demand for 5 minute frequency due to ridership, that would be a waste.
Agreed. If there isn't demand for 5 minute frequency on a bus route, an LRT is a waste.
Define good transit. Do you really think London Transit or London city council can create a better bus system? What has stopped them up till now? It would be better if it is done right the first time. K/Wdid that. Ottawa and York Region didn't.
? You're trying to say something?

If London Transit can't do a good bus system, what makes you think they'll be competent at an LRT?
There is no "crosstown" route that would work. I can think about 6 different points that it would need to hit. None of them would be on the same route. That would mean you would need to build out 6 different directions to BRT. Then you need to upgrade them all eventually to LRT. To see the Ottawa stations torn down is such a waste, when if they had built them better, or had they just did the LRT from the get go, it would not be a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Outside of Alberta, which had so much money they didn't know what to do with it, no city of 500,000 could afford an LRT in the 1970s.

The stations are just large bus shelters. They could have been reused, had the city chose to do so, but they wanted level boarding. Source: living in Ottawa for a few years.
I haven't said nowhere else has done BRTs. I will say that it does not seem that most systems remember the (R)apid part. Ottawa forgot that downtown.
Ottawa's downtown segment was too successful and too high ridership. If that's failure, I want more!
Edinburgh has a tram line and lots of commuter rail lines.

Seoul has various rail transit too.....

Not really disproving my point......
Your argument was that we can't have BRT in urban areas.

Edinburgh and Seoul are also large cities. If they can do it, so can London.
What if Ottawa built this as an LRT when they acquired the ROWs Wouldn't their system be about the same as their Phase 2?
No, because they would have had to build a tunneled ROW to get the capacity which they have now. That would have costed as much as the rest of the Transitway put together.
Well, if I were to believe London is serious about transit, then I would expect what Kingston did. Notice how that is not happening? This isn't about what is best for everywhere. This is about what is best for London. What I am seeing is BRT will be a flop.
You can either have an overcapacity BRT or a useless BRT. Pick one, then stick to it.
So, the constant issues with their new operational system should be ignored too?
The issues stem from poor maintenance, which a smaller system can easily have. If OCTranspo is that bad, imagine LTC doing it.
My biggest concern is whether it will be done to true BRT standards or will it be just a reserved lane that is blocked by who knows what else that wish to park there.
LRT would have the same problem. But right, it's a choo-choo, and @micheal_can can't live without those!
So, imagine 20-30 years from now that happening to Londonites. Why waste the money now? Why not improve the existing system instead of spending more money just to see it wasted decades from now.
I thought you said it was going to have low ridership because it's a bus which is for poor people?
No. I am saying that if the plan was to go LRT, doing BRT, especially in a city know for bad bus transit is a bad idea.
Again, if they're bad at operating bus service, what makes you think that they'll operate good LRT service?
Let's look at the just buses and see why they are so busy.

The only 2 are Winnipeg and Victoria.

Winnipeg is where New Flyer is based out of. I am thinking the city council is very open to showing how good the bus can be. I'll bet that Winnipeg gets to over 1 million residents before they think of doing an LRT.
Operations > construction. If you can change the operations to get a similar result for less, then that's the way to go.
Victoria has a horrible traffic problem and very few routes that it funnels through. Their buses get stuck in the same congestion, but it is better than driving as the price of gas is one of the highest in the country. $1.65/l is a good reason to park the car.
Isn't that ideal for a fixed-route LRT?
The rest alllllllll have LRT or other rail transit.
So? Is this a dick measuring contest? If not, then "they have it so we have to have it too" doesn't count as an argument.
I agree with that. This is why not doing anything and cancelling the LRT is not the end of the world. AFAIK it seems the goal is not a BRT system, but a reserved lane downtown where all the buses funnel through.
And? What are you trying to say?
You like your taxes being wasted?

Show me existing systems in Canada where they did not change the service it receives, but they rebuilt it.
What are you trying to say?
So, we think with this "improvement" BRT would be a success from this council or transit authority?
You think LRT will be a success? I think you're just operating on bad-faith arguments.
I decided to clearly explain my point in once simple post.
LOL.
I am not against BRT.
I am not against express buses.
I am not for LRT.
Really? Doesn't seem like it.
I am for spending taxpayer money once.
It is a waste to rebuilt an area for express bus just to rebuild it for BRT.
It is a waste to rebuild an area for BRT just to shut it down and rebuild it for LRT.
Is London going to rebuild the BRT for LRT? Or is this another fantasy scenario that you've farted up?
A car centric city, such as London, which has horrible transit is not going to give up their car for another bus. Regardless of what that bus is doing, they have grown up to hate it. So, something that is not a bus will have them think twice about switching.
Is this more useless arguments with zero proof?

Please, if you're going to argue anything, provide some sort of evidence.
Stations should not need to be rebuilt because you were too short sighted. We are not learning from our past. So many of our cities ripped up their streetcars at the promise of better service with buses, only to now begin to rebuild some of the old system. By the end of WW2, most systems were in dire need of reconstruction due to lack of maintenance due to the war effort. Had we simply rebuilt the system; basically replace rails that were too warn.

So, now we are trying to rebuild it with a bus and call it BRT.
BRT is:
1) dedicated ROW.
2) Busway that is physically separated from traffic.
3) Fair paid zone. No paying on board.
4) Signal priority
5) Platform level bordering
Unless your precious LRT is getting those too, don't try to argue with that.
Of those, if LTC were to do this, there is a good chance for maybe #1, but less likely for the rest given their track record. That means ... It - is - not - BRT......

So why waste taxpayers money?
Why waste even more taxpayer money for an LRT that's going to have the same operational deficiencies?

It's clear that you think that LRT would run like Ottawa's while BRT would be like the Eglinton East lanes, while in reality, the LRT would run on the same lanes as the BRT.
It's clear that you've made contradictory statements about ridership.
It's clear that you think an agency which can't run buses well would run a train well.
It's clear that you haven't got any actual evidence for what you're saying, just a bunch of cobbled together anecdotes.
 

kEiThZ

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Again. Just a reminder that we have actual evidence of what works for a midsize city. There's a lot of cities that built LRT. But Ottawa built the Transitway with dedicated ROWs, and a very bare bones shelter at each stop and achieved modal share comparable to cities that were much larger:

canadianridership.jpg


London can learn from the experience of Ottawa or make its own very expensive mistakes (like many of the American cities above).

As for the argument about wasted spending, there really isn't much too them. The stations were just concrete slabs with bus shelters on them. This, for example, is Strandherd "Station" when it opened:

1280px-Strandherd_Transitway_Station_1A.jpg


Most of the downtown Transitway stations in Ottawa looked like larger versions of the above. So really, after getting a few decades out of them, there's no real loss tearing them down to build proper rail stations. With the exception of a few that needed elevators, most of the Transitway "stations" probably cost less than a million dollars and the OC Transpo got 30-40 years out of them. The LRT stations that replaced these are $30-50M cathedrals built to service the city for a century. There is no way Ottawa could have afforded them when it had 600k people. Look at the LRT systems in Calgary and Edmonton. No downtown tunnel in Calgary, and stations that are comparable to the Ottawa Transitway. Edmonton's system is really small. These are all consequences of building LRT well before they needed it and having the cost of maintaining those systems hurt expansion. Ottawa shows cities how to scale transit capacity as a city grows and set aside corridors that can be developed for rail later. Not just London. Larger cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, could learn from Ottawa too.
 

kEiThZ

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Let’s look at Waterloo Region, which is actually a fair comparison with London. After the region merged Kitchener Transit and Cambridge Transit, it focused on rationalizing the route structure, adding new express buses, and improving service. It got ridership to a point where LRT made sense.

LRT also made sense in KW because of its linear nature, with most major destinations on a direct path. What Waterloo also did was encourage urban development in its city centres.

Even Waterloo is really debatable. Given its rather small geography, the transfer time from bus to LRT and possibly back to a bus, is large enough to have a noticeable impact on travel time. Way easier to drive. They would arguably have achieved better results with BRT.
But at least Waterloo didn't go nuts on Ion. It's not grade separated and fully segregated. It's not designed with huge stations. It's basically an upgraded version of the St. clair streetcar. Thankfully, the definition of LRT is flexible enough that glorified tram now qualifies and makes people feel good.

You're right, let's not build anything at all.

It's easy to be passionate about being right, more than caring about transit, when you don't have to live in the place that you are discussing.

My wife has a few family members in different parts of London. My FIL owns a prominent small business in the core. So I've gotten to experience LTC from a bit of a local perspective. Whatever they build needs to cover the city. LRT that goes out in just 1-2 directions from the core and still needs a transfer (or two) from the bus, really isn't going to motivate people to ditch their cars. They really need bus lanes. This video comes to mind:

 

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