In Part 1, I introduced the Norman D. Wilson Subway system designed in 1959 for the city of Winnipeg. Now, let’s look at it in more detail:
On the left is the drawing provided by TRU Winnipeg, the advocates for the Wilson Subway. The subway system was designed in 1959 to service the city of Wininpeg. If it had been built then, the city would certainly have developped differently, with more density in the core, greater cost efficiencies, healthier people and communities, and better able to handle the current oil price shock and potential future consequences of peak oil.
But, the city instead chose to dismantle its trolley system and replace it with the buses we know and love today. Even the train to Grand Beach was dismantled. Such were the heady days of cheap oil before their were any ecological and other physical constraints to human growth on the horizon. (Some did see future limits to growth.)
However, whether or not Wilson’s plan was good for Winnipeg 50 years ago is a moot historical point. What is being advocated for is not that we go back in time, but that we build the same plan today. So, I thought that I’d take that subway map and draw on it…(click to enlarge)
What you see above is the Wilson Subway Map with circles of radius 750m around each stop. Every building, every residence, every business, everything in the blue area is within less than 10 minutes walk from a station. If this system were built and you were travelling from blue space to blue space, it would be very convenient to ride the subway.
What about a larger walking window? Below are circles of radius 1.5km, or the walking distance for a brisk 20 minutes:
Now, if you were on the edge of the green zone, it would be a solid walk to get to a subway. I’m going to make a judgement call that if people need to walk 20 minutes then they are more likely not to walk to subway. For them, they would need to drive, ride a bus, or bike to get most places. They may also choose to take one of those options to the nearest station. This 20 minute walk is particularily tough at -40C.
Now, let’s combine those…
Now, look at all those colours! You can get almost anywhere!<p>Well, hold on. In reality, Winnipeg is bigger, much bigger…
Put in that perspective, how much of the city’s population would be within walking distance of the subway? Would all the important destinations in the city be on the subway? Would all of 2008 Winnipeg’s major population dense centers be on the system?
Collect current information: survey population density both at home and during the day, review current car traffic patterns and bus ridership patters, survey the population who will pay for the thing to find out what locations they would like to see included on the grid
Analyse the new information to develop a plan that will service Winnipeg 2008
Produce a Cost-Benefit Analysis and new estimate of the cost of building the new subway.
Re-do 1 to 3 all over again for an above-ground rail network and show that this network is not as efficient in terms of service, reliability, climate, building costs, operating costs, and energy use.
If you can produce a thorough, well-researched, engineer-approved, current proposal, I will support you. If you continue to use a 50-year-old plan – no matter how wonderful that plan was for 1959 – I can’t support your proposal.