The Skytrain & Towers Paradigm

In the Greater Vancouver region we have been buildng Skytrain since 1986. Read about the many disadvantages to an ‘elevated’ system here.

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2 thoughts on “The Skytrain & Towers Paradigm”

  1. One reason for all that fencing on SkyTrain at ground level is that it is a driverless system – and having intrusion alert systems (such as are installed at the station) the length of the network is prohibitively unreliable. Touching electrified rails is not recommended on any system!

  2. The problem with the Skytrain barbed wire fence comes from an urban design principle: maintaining the continuity of the ground plane. Something that is best observed in pedestrian precincts such as Granville Island and Gastown.

    The same issue presents when the MoTH, or a local municipality, erects fences to prevent pedestrians crossing high volume streets—i.e. King George Highway (King George Skytrain Station), Lougheeed Hwy. (near Lougheed Skytrain Station); Lougheed Highway & Shaughnessy Street, (Port Coquitlam).

    I recently noticed that the same condition (barbed wire fences each side of Skytrain) takes place when Skytrain dips under the Viaducts. The City of Vancouver recently held a competition about the eventual removal. But I don’t recall any of the entries dealing with the fact that if Viaducts go away, then ‘the liberated ground plane’ will have to labour under the barrier of Skytrain-at-grade.

    The other example is at Begbie Square in New Westminster. Skytrain-at-grade at this site presents a barrier against the square being part of the experience of Columbia Street.

    To be fair, the plan for the Capital City—with Nanaimo, the two best pieces of urbanism west of Winnipeg—has had a long history of abuse. For example, when one of the off-ramps of the 1950’s Pattullo Bridge wiped out the intended site for a crescent.

    Of course, the Evergreen Line will build the worst example. It will be argued that a continuous barbed wire fence seen against the CPR tracts—the CPR in the last decade have fenced off their entire right-of-way—will not be an intrusion. My reading is that it will greatly diminish the experience, and redevelopment potential of Clark Street.

    Let’s wait and see. I fully appreciate that just because a technology is christened “Skytrain” does not eliminate the need to put it on grade to meet specific circumstances. My more general point is that Skytrain and Towers is not ‘good’ urbanism.

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