Tag Archives: Vancouver

Harland Bartholomew: “Sowing the Seeds of Sprawl” via A Town Square

Bartholomew and Assoc, 1929

Article: Sowing the Seeds of Sprawl | A Town Square.

Harland Bartholomew was a transportation planner about 90 years ago or so.  He’s blamed by many for the auto-centric planning in many cities.  Certainly, he was commissioned to do “major street plans” for many cities, Oakland, Vancouver, Rochester, N.Y.,  and Los Angeles, among them, but it could be that he was just responding to demand.  After all, look at this:

Bartholomew & Assoc, 1929

No one saw this slowing down (it did … eventually) so it was not an irrational decision to plan for more automobiles and their motorized friends.

But I don’t care:  I like the art!

There is actually a good paper about this – see below.  This is where I first saw the drawings.  You can find the paper if you google around but this link should work if you are .edu.

  1. Jeffrey R. Brown, Eric A. Morris, Brian D. Taylor
    Journal of the American Planning Association
    Vol. 75, Iss. 2, 2009

Real-time transit planning!

Watch ‘Real-Time’ Transit Planning Help North America’s Busiest Bus Line

OK, so totally stolen from KMW’s blog post but so cool.  So, so cool.  On a bunch of different levels.

That’s the kind of project I’d like to do as a planner.  I note that it was Nelson\Nygaard doing the work here – same folks that recently designed COTPA’s Metro Transit’s EMBARK’s new network.

Semester pressures are affecting my brain.  It was more like 35 years ago — 1978 — not the 45 I said in the comments, and the bus my sister and I rode went up Hwy 99 (near as I can figure) and was not the 99 B-Line bus.  Of course, the B-Line network of frequent buses didn’t exist back then, either.

I think there is something in the water in that whole area — Portland, Seattle, Vancouver — or maybe it’s the damp air?  Moss in their brains?  Anyway, I like the way they think even if the climate isn’t quite to my liking. Vancouver decided against freeways right into the heart of the city and things like SkyTrain (their automated rapid transit lines) and B-Line buses are the result.  Lots of transit, all the time.

The B-Lines are billed in some sources as BRT, but are more like the Metro Rapids in LA or the SBS lines in NYC – no separate right of way, hence, not truly rapid transit, but limited stops and short head-ways.  Proof-of-payment fare collection allows all-door boarding to shorten dwell time at stations.  Whatever you call them, they are successful.  Apparently TransLink uses them as pre-cursors to SkyTrain extensions – the 99 used to run further east but now ends at the SkyTrain line that replaced it.

Look, too, at this chart on TransLink’s site.  It shows their most and least successful routes.  Note that, with very few exceptions, the most successful routes are straight and the least successful are convoluted.  If you go into transit planning, keep that in mind.  Somewhere along the line, Jarrett Walker of Human Transit has blogged about this very subject, so it’s not exactly a revelation.  Nonetheless, it’s an important factor in network design.