Monday, November 3, 2008

The BRT Week or Biggest Rant This Week

Peter over at SF Bike Blog has been ranting about BRT all week. I just thought I would point you all over there to take a look at the weeks commentary.

Problems with BRT Part 1
Problems with BRT Part 2
President Bush Loves BRT
The Case Against BRT Melbourne
Dehli BRT Mows Down Peds
No Proof BRT Works
Giving Cities to Cars a Big Mistake
BRT Not a Stepping Stone to Light Rail
Transmilenio in Pictures and Words
True BRT: Bike Rapid Transit

Now while I agree with some of the points in his posts, there are a lot of things I don't. But I invite everyone to take a visit to the largest anti-BRT rant I've ever seen in one week and on one blog. If anything, it will create some interesting conversation.


Peter said...

wow - that's some serious hate for BRT that guy's got. he's probably just another bike nut.


M1EK said...

I agree with nearly 100% of it, as you might have guessed. Some people have no clue how much car drivers dislike the bus (and how much of their dislike is completely rational rather than the simple classism some people like to ascribe). It's amazing that this dude, who appears to be a full-time biker, actually has this good a handle on the suburban driving mentality - usually bikers are less likely to be clued in this much.

Cavan said...

He has some good arguments. However, he does not put his thoughts together as well as he could.

That being said, the author is correct that BRT is not a replacement for anything rail. At best, it can be its own service, or supplementary to a rail backbone.

Reid said...

I have long thought that it made no sense to view BRT as a step towards light rail. For one, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right the first time. Second, once you have a BRT set up, how are you going to construct the light rail? The BRT is in the way. Add to it the inevitable cries from drivers that us transit folk just aren't going to be happy with anything.

Anonymous said...

We don't call it Bogus Rapid Transit for nothing!

arcady said...

Much of his criticism makes sense, especially when you consider his perspective as a bike advocate, and thus his somewhat limited knowledge of transit. Anyway, part of the problem is that BRT can mean many different thing, from Curitiba's system to freeway HOV lanes to merely having a bus painted red. In this case, what is meant by BRT is some kind of urban line with reserved lanes, and possibly some level of grade separation. In the TransMilenio/Curitiba case, there is considerable grade separation and the ROW is at least four lanes wide, to allow for passing lanes. System capacity is large because there are lots and lots of buses, and because riders are crammed in them like sardines. This is basically a system that can only work in the third world, where drivers are cheap and riders are poor, and this really is kind of like rapid transit with buses.

What San Francisco wants to build on Geary is basically a pair of bus lanes in the middle of the street, rather like a median-running light rail. This system will have about the same capacity as the current combination of local, limited, and express buses, but will be somewhat faster. Unfortunately, the problem on Geary is really that there isn't enough capacity, and BRT won't do much to improve that. Only LRT, with its multiple-unit trains can help, and only LRT can bypass the real slow sections of the line, east of Van Ness, via a subway, while the BRT project will not address this section at all.

Justin said...

I am not a huge fan of BRT, as most BRT systems in North America, are not true BRT.
Only OC Transpo's Transitway in Ottawa, the Silver Line Phase 2 in Boston, and and Seattle's Metro tunnel is true BRT. Eugene's EmX is close but lacking some key features. The blogger reflects much of the criticism I have about BRT applications in North America.

Justin said...

Oh yeah. The Euclid Ave BRT(Healthline) open Oct. 24, and features bike lanes.

Matt Fisher said...

You know how much I can't stand BRT. I'm most opposed to it when it's built in the form of a busway - and it's just a weak attempt to convince the public that rail can wait indefinitely. I know I live in Ottawa, heralded by BRT proponents as a model, and I'm pissed that in neighbouring Gatineau, Quebec, they're planning a busway. How stupid it is!

BRT is just a weak attempt to convince people that rail transit isn't needed and can wait indefinitely. I agree with many of the blogger's points, especially since when I moved here from Newfoundland 10 years ago, I was convinced the Transitway was "just like rail, but cheaper". (About the phrase I wrote in quote marks, if you look at certain blog postings when you search it on Google, you will notice that some of these postings are by me.)

The idea that BRT is a "foot in the door" for rail is a trap to trick people into agreeing with the bus boosters that BRT should be legitimized.

I also found another Curitiba posting that would be considered part of the series. BRT busways that have happened in North America were put in the wrong place, and this is how it will be in other places considering this crap. Why a place like Winnipeg would do it is beyond me. A disgrace.

Matt Fisher said...

I do, however, want to make a few clarifications regarding my comment:

1. I didn't really write the postings. I just commented in these postings.
2. Actually, Winnipeg is considering a busway - and they've tried before. They should just stop it. As the city is in Manitoba, and winters there are so harsh, the city has been nicknamed "Winterpeg".
3. Even if the new Euclid Corridor in Cleveland is an improvement (I haven't been to Ohio in my life), it appears to be worse than what it could have been with rail transit.

Still, attempts to push BRT as a supposedly superior alternative to rail, as "Better Rapid Transit" (a propaganda slogan used by BRT apologist Bill Vincent), and as "greener" than rail, even reaching the "liberal media", embarrass me. It's obviously an attempt to sway some people.