Thursday, June 13, 2013

Big trams need big space

I  read in an electric newspaper that there is agitation to ban cars from Acland Street in St Kilda. It has been done before and traders were horrified and thought their businesses would be killed. In my memory, it was only a couple of weekends and shopkeeper pressure soon had cars back in Acland Street.

You would probably expect me to say, go ahead, ban cars and give the street over to pedestrians and trams, but no not this time.

Cars travel very slowly along Acland Street. It is one of the few streets in Melbourne where you could walk out in front of a car and not get a blast from a horn. There are a number of car parking spaces along the street that will not be available if cars are banned, but it is a very limited number.

At times cars when reverse parking delay trams, but this happens all over Melbourne, so nothing special there. So where is the push coming from?

I expect the push is coming from Yarra trams which is about to start receiving delivery of the new E Class tram. Yarra trams like a terminus big enough for two trams, in case one becomes defective, another can come over the top of it and continue the service. The E Class trams are 33 metres long, so two make 66 metres and a bit of extra space, around 70 metres of tram terminus. Add a disability compliant tram stop with a raised platform, and you can see why trams want to take up the whole street with no room left for cars.

R asked me why trams bothered to go to the end of Acland Street and not stop at Luna Park. I suggested a  reason was to connect with long gone Victoria Railways tram in Barkly Street. For other reasons, I was looking at a map (I am a map obsessive) from when Melbourne had cable trams, and the cable tram went to the same terminus, so clearly my Victorian Railways tram theory was wrong as that was not built until much later.

If it was up to me, I would keep the 96 tram going down Acland Street and swing into Barkly Street and perhaps along Broadway and give the densely populated Elwood a tram service but that won't happen.


16 comments:

  1. Our old home town of Sheffield has a wonderful tram system
    I kind of miss them
    Clean, quick and kind of old fashioned

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    1. John, I have heard about Shefield trams but I've not taken a good look at them yet.

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  2. I can't quite get my head around public transport being the evil empire and the car being the downtrodden. I'm a tram fan too and after years of construction and serious cost over runs the Edinburgh tram system will soon start.

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    1. Craig, was the budget around £370 million and it is now well over £1 billion for the Glasgow tram plus years behind schedule. And, it doesn't even go as far as it was supposed to. Over engineered, it has been suggested.

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    2. Yes correct Andrew. It's been quite the political hot potato. But it's Edinburgh, not Glasgow. Glasgow's infrastructure budget is being put into facilities and housing for the 2014 commonwealth games. And from what I can see it's well managed with excellent venues and life after the games are long gone for both the facilities and the housing.

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    3. Sorry Craig, I was thinking of the You Tube video of the last Glasgow tram as I was typing about Edinburgh. Well worth a look if you haven't seen it. Interesting that Glasgow is shaping up well for the Games. My nephew lived in Paisley and worked in Glasgow for a couple of years, so I know a little about the city.

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  3. Andrew, to my eye Sydney's current trams (light rail, as we keep calling them nowadays) look to be very wide; wider I believe than Melbourne's. Is that the case?

    I've thought all along it is strange that Sydney's new stock is so wide given that one of the reasons our old tram system was dismantled was that it was too obstructive of other traffic in our narrow, bendy streets.

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    1. I will check in time Victor. The existing light rail cars look wider. Sydney and Melbourne trams I think are the same gauge, standard gauge and your old ones could and did run on railway lines, whereas ours couldn't because our trains were broadgauge. Trams run in narrow streets all over the world. No big deal. I will grant they used to delay traffic, but now with bad traffic congestion everywhere, it is not really an issue and may mean less cars.

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  4. From afar, I see no problems with having slow cars and trams on the same street. I've been to Acaland Street and visited the pastry shops. It is a fabulous street. Keep it as it is, trams, cars and all.

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    1. Agree Bill, but something will change.

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  5. It would seem that the real problem is that the new trams are larger. Perhaps they should stick with the old size and just add an extra car to them. I hope they get things sorted satisfactorily.

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    1. River, they will be just as long then and we have never had coupled trams in Melbourne, unlike Adelaide which used to. The tram company likes big trams because they can run less of them with less staff.

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  6. You're right onto the real agenda HR. The vibrant traffic confusion of Acland Street is absolutely charming and safe. and lucky -
    A cattle dog jumped off a ute one day, and my friend caught it and got with it up to the ute before it turned into Barkly, that's how slow the traffic moves. he had no idea the dog had made a break for it.

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    1. Ann, was it when we with you where we saw a cattle dog in the back of a ute in Acland Street? It looked a bit out of place.

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  7. you can't ban cars - as it is the streets are often too uneven for anyone in a chair to use - Until they create adequate transport for people with wheelchairs and other. Trams are not always accessible and I have seen bus drivers and taxis ignore disabled because it requires a small effort on their part...would be good if the disabled had the rights that bike riders do...a nice smooth area so they don't get tipped over or fallout as have seen

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    1. MC, I very much for one banning them in some streets in the city, but generally not elsewhere. I laugh at the 40 limit in Chapel Street, as you crawl along at 10 if you are lucky.

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