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Thread: Getting On Track

  1. #1
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    Default Getting On Track

    The founder of High Speed Rail Canada explains why the rest of the world has already embraced high-speed rail.

    With a perfect safety record, projected job creation of 1,750 jobs per year over 25 years, and estimated emissions savings of over 2,700 tonnes of CO2 per year in the U.S., it’s hard to see why a country as vast as Canada hasn’t started building high-speed rail.

    

High-speed rail (HSR) reaches speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour and has been operating in France for almost 30 years and in Japan for 46. 



    Our two prime corridors for true HSR are Calgary-Edmonton and Windsor-Quebec City, where travel times would be cut in half. 



    Countries around the world are embracing HSR. HSBC forecasts that the biggest beneficiary of stimulus money in 2010 will be the rail sector, which should receive $64 billion USD. China is also getting on board by building 7,000 kilometres of dedicated HSR routes.



    Even our neighbours to the south realize its importance. In January, U.S. President Barack Obama announced $8 billion in grants for the country’s first national, high-speed intercity rail service—which is projected to create or save tens of thousands of jobs. And switching from an auto-dependent society to a multi-modal system that includes a greater role for passenger and high-speed trains is good for the environment. But when will Canada decide to get on track?



    Two studies have been completed on the viability of a Calgary-Edmonton route in the last six years, and a private company, Alberta Rail Inc., is interested in operating the line. In 1985, passenger service came to an end after 94 years, but recent public opinion polls in the province strongly support the development of HSR.

    

For the Windsor-Quebec City route, there have been about 12 studies done in the last three decades. All these studies supported the implementation of HSR in this corridor. Currently, the City of Quebec and the Chamber of Commerce have supported a study by the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF)—French National Railways—on the possibilities of HSR between Ontario and Quebec.



    This is being done at the same time that the 1995 joint Federal/Ontario/Quebec government High Speed Rail Project study is being updated. Both these studies are supposed to be completed by now.

    

While there have been many studies, no action has been taken to date.



    Kinder to the earth



    HSR is a big part of reducing our impact on the planet. Lower greenhouse gas emissions, less oil dependence, and less energy consumption can all be achieved through switching to greater train use. The 1995 Federal/Ontario/Quebec study states, “By the year 2025, annual emissions of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide related to inter-city travel within the [Windsor-Quebec City] corridor would drop by 24 per cent and 11 per cent [respectively] with the introduction of 300kph technology.”



    The 2006 High-Speed Rail and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Study by the U.S. Center for Clean Air Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology calculated that passengers would—assuming all proposed U.S. HSR lines were built—take 112 million HSR trips in the U.S. in 2025. This would result in 29 million fewer automobile trips and nearly 500,000 fewer flights. The U.S.’s total emissions savings: over 2,700 tonnes of CO2 per year. 



    Switching from air and auto travel will also reduce our dependence on oil. The California High-Speed Rail Authority estimates its planned line will save 12.7 million barrels of oil per year by 2030, even with future improvements in auto fuel efficiency. This is in part because high-speed trains need one-third the energy of an airplane and one-fifth the energy of an automobile trip to carry a passenger one kilometre.



    Safer for the public



    Wouldn’t it be great if the evening news stopped featuring tragic stories about lost lives relating to an automobile accident?



    Taking a modern high-speed train is far better than participating in the daily gridlock of Ontario’s treacherous Highway 401 or the dangers of driving in the winter on Highway 2 between Calgary and Edmonton.

    

HSR reduces the amount of automobiles on the road, so there is a corresponding reduction in the number of auto-related accidents. According to the 1995 Federal/Ontario/Quebec study, 40 per cent of high-speed riders will be former auto users.



    It has been 29 years since the Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) made its maiden voyage from Paris to Lyon in 1981. France currently has 1,500 kilometres of high-speed railway lines and a fleet of 400 high-speed TGV trains, built by ALSTOM and owned by SNCF. The latter provides service with over 650 TGV trains every day and they have a 100 per cent safety record.



    In Japan, where high-speed trains have been operating for over 46 years, they have never had a fatality. 



    More room for everyone




    HSR lines require significantly less space to move a greater numbers of people than our present highway systems. The 2004 Van Horne Institute Study on the Calgary-Alberta high-speed potential line finds that 16,000 people can be moved using only 30 per cent of the space of a four-lane divided highway—which can only move 10,500 passengers.

    

This means less wetland, forest, and farmlands being wiped out as a result of infrastructure construction. 



    More jobs for everyone




    True HSR will require significant infrastructure investment—the 1995 Federal/Ontario/Quebec study estimated $10 million, and the 2004 Van Horne study estimated as high as $3.5 billion. A high-speed track needs to be separated from roads and existing freight and passenger rail lines.

    On entering large cities, high-speed trains may share track with existing freight and passenger rail.

Not surprisingly, then, the 2004 Van Horne study found that up to 52,000 person-years of construction employment and $1 to 2 billion in associated employment income would result from the line’s construction. The 1995 Federal/Ontario/Quebec study projects the creation of 1,750 jobs per year over 25 years.

    

And constructing HSR can happen using all-Canadian jobs. Bombardier, a Canadian company that is an international leader in passenger rail equipment, already operates a passenger rail car manufacturing plant in Canada. They, among many other HSR manufacturers, are interested in bidding on HSR projects in Canada. 



    A better way to travel



    High-speed trains run on time and are smooth riding. In Spain, if the high-speed train is more than five minutes late, passengers get a full refund. It’s hard to imagine that happening here.



    This article was written while riding the 328 kilometres from Ottawa to Guelph, Ontario on the VIA Rail train. The trip took about six and a half hours—actually, more since the train was late—and it cost $200. Even though part of this VIA trip was first class, compared to a TGV first class HSR ticket from Paris to Strasbourg, France, which is 400 km long, it takes less than half the time at only three hours and costs less at $175.



    The time to modernize Canada’s passenger rail system is now. Let’s get vocal and let politicians know our future must include HSR.

    -- Paul Langan

  2. #2

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    Found this website by the author, plan to read it more...

    http://paullangan.ca/

    "If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get
    cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places,
    you get people and places." project for public spaces
    I also believe the author is involved with this site as well

    http://highspeedrail.ca/

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    "If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get
    cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places,
    you get people and places." project for public spaces
    "And if you plan for overly expensive and unneeded trains, you get overly expensive and unneeded trains."
    Last edited by RTA; 06-05-2010 at 11:29 AM.
    Strathcona City Separatist

  4. #4

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    well, one could argue that cars and traffic are not inexpensive either... 11 billion dollar Anthony Henday, 275 Million 23rd Avenue interchange for starters...

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    ^ Sure, everything costs money. But looking a cost/benefit ratio, those projects were needed. LRT projects are needed. HSR is not needed. And this thread is just going to devolve into the same circular arguments as the existing HSR thread.
    Strathcona City Separatist

  6. #6

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    well, one could argue that all threads are just going to devolve into the same circular arguments as the other threads... LRT/HSR/Arena/Airport/Expo/Innercity schoools/etc

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    ^ you forgot "cement trucks" vs "concrete trucks"
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    This country was largely founded due to the railway, so it would be nice to see it make a modern return to our country. Air travel has become a mess in many ways. I would rather take a high speed train across Canada than fly. Way too much hassle going through security nowadays.

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    I am not sure where you travel or your history but how is it a hassle to get through airport security? You take your bag, drop it off at the luggage counter or take it through US Immigration (put it on the conveyor belt), walk over to the metal detector and walk through (meanwhile your carry-on is scanned). Not much of a hassle and gets you to your destination in a fraction of the time using technology and infrastructure that is already built. Seems like the only way to go (and is cheaper!!).

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    I took a quick look at this post and thought a little fact checking was in order.
    Without getting too deep into it I looked at this quote
    "In Japan, where high-speed trains have been operating for over 46 years, they have never had a fatality. "
    A quick search led me to this article: 
http://preview.bloomberg.com/apps/ne...d=apEtbwviYawA
    Then I looked at this quote: "they have a 100 per cent safety record." regarding French TGV's.
    This led me to this link: http://www.trainweb.org/tgvpages/wrecks.html 


    Both links were on the first page of the searches I conducted and these were the first and only searches I did.
    How much more BS do we have to be fed about HSR before its' proponents lose any shred of credibility they might have?

  12. #12

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    I think a high speed train would work fine between Calgary-Edmonton-Ft.McMurray.
    Considering how many workers from both Calgary & Edmonton work in Ft. Mc.
    It would also be good for tourists. Travel a broad area in a short time.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

  13. #13

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    Would and should work in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor which would connect 10 million people or more.

    Calgary-Edmonton corridor just doesn't have the population base @ only ~2 million people. You'd be relying only on the people travelling between central Edmonton and central Calgary. Nobody is going to drive/take transit from the south side of Edmonton to the train station, take a train, get off in Calgary, and then try to get alternate transportation out to Canmore (for instance).

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph60 View Post
    I took a quick look at this post and thought a little fact checking was in order.
    Without getting too deep into it I looked at this quote
    "In Japan, where high-speed trains have been operating for over 46 years, they have never had a fatality. "
    A quick search led me to this article: 
http://preview.bloomberg.com/apps/ne...d=apEtbwviYawA
    A crash hasn't happened to a high speed bullet train (there was a very bad accident on a slower commuter train), claiming someone dumb enough to jump on the tracks is a fatatily that it has caused, is a bit of a stretch. No transportation system is perfect, but rail is as safe as you can get. To quote from one of your links:

    High Speed Rail Safety
    High speed rail is one of the safest modes of transportation anywhere-- don't let the pictures here fool you into thinking otherwise. The safety figures for the TGV system are exceptional; there have been no fatalities in high speed operation, ever since service started in 1981. Today TGV trains accumulate on the order of 10 million passenger-km per year on the high speed lines alone.
    Last edited by moahunter; 07-05-2010 at 12:17 PM.

  15. #15

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    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe...nel/index.html
    Five trains with about 2,000 passengers stopped running Friday night inside the Channel Tunnel, also called the Chunnel, which runs between Britain and France. A sixth train broke down Saturday after Eurostar tried to run four trains from London to the Continental mainland in order to prepare for the resumption of normal service. About 700 people were aboard when that train stopped in the Ebbsfleet area of Kent.

    Train engineer was texting just before California crash
    The Metrolink commuter train plowed into a Union Pacific freight locomotive on September 12 in Chatsworth, California, killing 25 people and injuring 135 in the worst train accident since 1993.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0152835520081002
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

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    Moahunter, my point wasn't about the safety of rail systems, that is undeniable. My point was about the accuracy of the claims made in the column. I looked at two of the claims, did quick searches and found stories that contradict the claims with no effort at all.
    Ironically the statement you make in reply to my post "No transportation system is perfect" is exactly opposite of a claim made by the column's author regarding Frances TGV's: "they have a 100 per cent safety record."


    This is the B.S. I objected to.

  17. #17

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    Going by the previous replies the safety record is overblown and the breakdowns are too regular for an, expensive to build and expensive to ride, mode of transportation. But I feel the main thing about this Highway 2 corridor for the Alberta rail line, our climate does not allow this kind of rail line to run without high maintenance costs. If there is this supposed need for this kind of transportation, why have CN or CP not put a Dayliner Rail Service to test the market?
    Time will tell on this new Alberta Government.

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    It looks like the City has penciled in the south->east circulator LRT line across the HLB. I'm all in favour of that, but I think an open and (out of the box) study needs to be done to see what all the options are in the context of the new Walterdale bridge & future LRT, HSR and potential regional rail lines. Working on some graphics - will post soon.
    Proposing solutions to problems that don't exist since 2007

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    When talking about the safety record of trains lets look at the safety record of our highways. How many fatalities on QE2 each year? How much in insurance payouts are paid as a result of accidents both fatal and non? Between that and maintenance, financing, fuelling and insurance premiums, I'd argue that indeed it would be cheaper over the long haul to get people out of cars and onto rails.
    Proposing solutions to problems that don't exist since 2007

  20. #20

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    "On rails" is a reasonable statement/attitude, which does not specify if u do or do not agree with the overpriced high speed rail suggestion.

    As far as drivers costs for insurance and fuel costs, these are desired/chosen costs to individuals, whereas the costs for an overpriced speed train are cost to all taxpayers, as this high speed rail would have to be subsidized by taxpayers for construction and to be operated year after year, whether they ever use the train or not.

    If there is a true need for passenger rail service along Highway 2 then CP or CN would see the potential profit for returning a Dayliner rail service. To date they have not offered this Dayliner type travel, so it is obvious a high speed train would defininely not be profitable, therefore requiring taxpayer subsidy year after year after year.

    This is a topic that is just good Political fodder. When we get close to elections or the CONS need to divert peoples' attention away from another one of their screw ups, then they start talking about this speed train idea, or chasing after hookers and drug dealers by putting more police on the streets etc.
    Last edited by whynow99; 01-06-2010 at 12:38 PM.
    Time will tell on this new Alberta Government.

  21. #21

    Default Unsustainable

    Quote Originally Posted by RTA View Post
    "If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get
    cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places,
    you get people and places." project for public spaces
    "And if you plan for overly expensive and unneeded trains, you get overly expensive and unneeded trains."


    Currently, public transit (ETS) receives slightly more than a 55% subsidy for operating expenditures. I say "not sustainable." For the huge expenditures on public transit, the City provides approximately 1% of the city's transportation (measured by passenger-kilometers). In addition to the operating expenditures, the citizens of Edmonton get the bill for the bulk of rail infrastructure costs, and the finance charges insure Edmonton sinks more and more into debt. Yes, Edmonton, in a province of plenty, has joined the thousands of hopelessly in debt municipalities in North America. Many people don't see much of the harm, but deferred maintenance and infrastructure costs await this community of sleeping babes.

    For sure, eventually the City will likely need some mass transit to relieve congestion in the last legs of the work commute, but rail fanatics have perverted this reasonable goal into an unsustainable nebulous goal without clear paths to the endpoints. Just imagine no roads and no cars. I see it now, firemen waiting for the LRT, police waiting for the LRT, ambulance drivers awaiting the LRT, construction workers bringing concrete for construction by LRT, store inventories delivered by LRT. Of course in this new world of rail, roads and therefore buses will not exist.

    Please folks, LRT will not provide point to point travel. Networks of a few hundred kilometres would not do it, and much more than 100 kilometers will bankrupt Edmonton.

    Our City council needs more business people, more accountants, and more engineers to get hold of our financial house. Take a good look at the bio's and voting records to see what I mean.

    Even the carbon footprint of public transport has a soiled record. (Good during peak hours but atrocious during off-peak hours.) I'd like to see some meaningful data on the carbon footprint of the infrastructure, and meaningful data on induced carbon due to induced traffic congestion. Without much higher passenger loads not only must the taxpayers continue to subsidize rail transportation, but things such as the carbon footprint of infrastructure become significant because not enough people share the carbon cost.

  22. #22
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    @ wayne

    if LRT expansion were to be halted , gas emission will go through the roof and road rages will increase. Yes, it will going to happen, accidents on the city streets or hwys will never goes down and will go up every year. city have enough people with talents to take care of the city here, we have lots of good engineers and accountants too. What more city wants to take a hold of financial house ??

    most important right now is think about pros and cons just about everything that Edmonton need.

    I ask you a question.

    what will people do if gas prices goes through the roof, I am sure people will give up vehicles and take up LRT or city bus.

    what will low income people do if LRT expansion is halted, they need LRT to get around the city faster.

    look at NYC, they have subway to 2 international airport and they got no problem so far, Calgary have LRT tracks nearby international airport too, so why not Edmonton do the same ?
    Edmonton Rocks Rocks Rocks

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by WayneJ View Post
    Currently, public transit (ETS) receives slightly more than a 55% subsidy for operating expenditures. I say "not sustainable." For the huge expenditures on public transit, the City provides approximately 1% of the city's transportation (measured by passenger-kilometers). In addition to the operating expenditures, the citizens of Edmonton get the bill for the bulk of rail infrastructure costs, and the finance charges insure Edmonton sinks more and more into debt. Yes, Edmonton, in a province of plenty, has joined the thousands of hopelessly in debt municipalities in North America. Many people don't see much of the harm, but deferred maintenance and infrastructure costs await this community of sleeping babes.
    How much does the city subsidize road construction, maintenance, sanding, plowing, cleaning, widening, and upgrading? How much of that does the city get back in revenue from drivers?

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneJ View Post
    For sure, eventually the City will likely need some mass transit to relieve congestion in the last legs of the work commute, but rail fanatics have perverted this reasonable goal into an unsustainable nebulous goal without clear paths to the endpoints.
    What's unsustainable about building LRT lines that were promised 30 years ago, and should have been built 20 years ago?

    How is building more roads outward more sustainable? How is continually upgrading and widening existing roads to keep up with demand more sustainable? How is maintenance of all existing roads, plus those new and upgraded roads sustainable in comparison?


    Quote Originally Posted by WayneJ View Post
    Just imagine no roads and no cars. I see it now, firemen waiting for the LRT, police waiting for the LRT, ambulance drivers awaiting the LRT, construction workers bringing concrete for construction by LRT, store inventories delivered by LRT. Of course in this new world of rail, roads and therefore buses will not exist.
    What are you even talking about here? What little credibility your argument had before, well, its lost now since no one ever proposed replacing all roads with rail, or that emergency services should use LRT instead of roads.

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneJ View Post
    Please folks, LRT will not provide point to point travel. Networks of a few hundred kilometres would not do it, and much more than 100 kilometers will bankrupt Edmonton.
    Yeah, like how all those other cities with rail transit as a transportation backbone are now bankrupt, right? And how no one uses those systems either since they are not "point to point?"

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneJ View Post
    Our City council needs more business people, more accountants, and more engineers to get hold of our financial house. Take a good look at the bio's and voting records to see what I mean.
    I've never seen Edmonton more poised for further economic growth as it is now, even despite the massive global recession we just experienced. We're filling in our commercial vacancies, expanding our industry, our educational insinuations are growing, our economy is diversifying. Even despite all the negative nancies, nimbies, and bananas we still hear from, I've never heard Edmontonians more interested or excited about the future of their city as they are now.

    I'd say our current city council is doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneJ View Post
    Even the carbon footprint of public transport has a soiled record. (Good during peak hours but atrocious during off-peak hours.) I'd like to see some meaningful data on the carbon footprint of the infrastructure, and meaningful data on induced carbon due to induced traffic congestion. Without much higher passenger loads not only must the taxpayers continue to subsidize rail transportation, but things such as the carbon footprint of infrastructure become significant because not enough people share the carbon cost.
    Think about how much different the carbon footprint would be without all those trains and buses, putting all those people into cars on the roads.

    Oh and hey, what's the answer to getting higher passenger loads on transit? Guess what, it's -- wait for it -- expanding transit and LRT to make it faster, more accessible, more available, more comfortable, and generally more attractive to use.
    Strathcona City Separatist

  24. #24

    Default Going through the roof not true.

    Quote Originally Posted by jagators63 View Post
    @ wayne

    if LRT expansion were to be halted , gas emission will go through the roof and road rages will increase. Yes, it will going to happen, accidents on the city streets or hwys will never goes down and will go up every year. city have enough people with talents to take care of the city here, we have lots of good engineers and accountants too. What more city wants to take a hold of financial house ??

    most important right now is think about pros and cons just about everything that Edmonton need.

    I ask you a question.

    what will people do if gas prices goes through the roof, I am sure people will give up vehicles and take up LRT or city bus.

    what will low income people do if LRT expansion is halted, they need LRT to get around the city faster.

    look at NYC, they have subway to 2 international airport and they got no problem so far, Calgary have LRT tracks nearby international airport too, so why not Edmonton do the same ?
    Just not true. An LRV car uses about 3.5 kilowatts of energy per kilometer. Because it uses energy from thermal coal, that translates into a little over 3 kg. of CO2 per kilometer, which requires an average load of about 30 passengers for all active LRV's. Maintaining an average load of 30 passengers per LRV requires a lot of care and diligence to remove extra cars, and ensure the schedule of trains matches the passenger load. Unfortunately, the desire to encourage public transit causes the powers running the system to run more trains and LRV's than necessary.

    As I said, during the peak hours LRT does well as far as the carbon footprint, but during the day, evenings and weekends, it does not do well. People debate about whether it saves CO2 or wastes CO2. Of course, the ETS says its saves CO2 but the ETS does not measure passenger kilometers, and it estimates boardings in the evening and weekends, and only measures boardings in September after university classes start. The answer depends greatly on what one uses for the average car and the passenger loads of the average car and what the real LRT load comes in at.

    During the rush hours, the average vehicle carries about 1.1 persons. During the day about 1.5 persons, and in the evenings and weekends about 2 persons.

    BTW I haven't analyzed the latest data for 2009, but in 2006, 2007, and 2008, during the survey period (daytime in September) the Edmonton's LRT provided an average trip of 5 kilometers, and average loads of about 35 passengers during the survey period, which I repeat represents the heaviest loading of LRT.

    These figures align with those from national databases showing what happens throughout North America. Unless a jurisdiction uses hydro power or some other form of clean alternative energy, mass transit requires heavy average loads to lower the carbon footprint. A packed train between short segments, E.g. Stadium and Churchill, does not provide enough of a load to bring the average up.

    The advertising about green transportation does not match reality. Randall O'Toole says it best. If you really care about the environment, get off public transportation.

    He really means more walking, some bicycling, public transportation when available, and small compact cars for general travel.

    *********************

    If gas prices go through the roof, people will reduce travel. Moreover, if gas prices go up, we can expect the prices of other energy sources to go up. Likely people will act much like they did in the 70's and 80's. They panic, get rid of gas guzzlers, and use more efficient autos as well as conserve. After the spike, unfortunately they become complacent and drift back to heavier vehicles.

    ******************************

    As for accidents, and other things such as road rage, perhaps we should stick with facts and not speculation or intuition.

    ******************

    As for copying other places, one has to look at the situation. NYC for example, has about 18 million people in its urban area, and international airports near suburban areas (e.g. Queens). Calgary has more people than Edmonton, a marginally higher density, and an international airport inside its city limits, with double the passenger loads and five times the cargo loads, and an LRT that serves nearby residential communities.

    What one city does or does not do, should never become the mode for Edmonton. But having said that I note, that Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal have general purpose regional airports contrary to the myths propagated by those who would kill the muni. What do they see that our City Council misses.

  25. #25

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    Edmonton will still have a general purpose regional airport once the city center airport closes. In fact, we have many.

    Of those cities listed by waynej, how many are within close proximity to downtown, and how many of them have approaches that limit the heights of buildings to around 16 floors or less over the downtown area?

    Close the city center airport. We have plently of other usable airports in the Edmonton Region.

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