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streetcar

The illustration, above, is from a Courier article by Mike Howell yesterday on the Arbutus Corridor. I posted earlier in the week about potential conflicting visions of the corridor’s use. Howell’s story reflected the same concern:

It’s fairly narrow and I can’t picture a streetcar running through the same swath of land proposed for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists. I guess that’s why I’m a reporter and Jerry Dobrovolny is the city’s general manager of engineering. I spoke to Dobrovolny Monday near the section of existing rail track at Sixth and Burrard.

“You’re actually pointing to the two sections that are the biggest challenge,” he said of the stretch. “From Sixth Avenue here and then going north from here are the narrowest sections. They’re might be some places there where we do things off-street.”

Off-street?

“We’ll look at all of our city holdings, not just the rail right-of-way that we purchased,” he continued. “So it may be that the streetcar runs in the street on Sixth Avenue in that section. That’s the thing about streetcars – in downtown Toronto or San Francisco – is you can run in and out of traffic. If you’re able to keep it separate from traffic, obviously you can move more quickly with less interruptions. But there’s no reason you can’t operate in traffic when you need to.”

Speed has been a major argument for running Skytrain technology eventually to UBC rather than surface rail. In this case, speed appears to be negotiable vis-à-vis other wishes, like a linear park.