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LRT Safety

Took the bus and LRT last week for the first time in a while. Was relatively clean and safe, no one loitering at stations. HOWEVER, the LRT entrances/stairs continue to be a huge issue. While there's security in the station and concourses, they can't monitor each stairwell 24/7 and the one I took was full of garbage and people blocking the stairs doing drugs. Very unfortunate given this seems to happen winter and summer.
It's still very, very bad.

The stairs on 104st at Bay are often impassible, full of drug use, needles, meth smoke and blocked from passage.

I've never, ever seen anything like it in my travels.
 
Maybe I caught it on a better day yesterday, but saw only one questionable person on the stairwell here and he was actually going and not blocking anything. He might have been smoking something, but not sure.

When I have gone generally in the early afternoon, the stairwells haven't been blocked and if anyone is there it is usually only one person or two.
 
^I would say that it is improving, but still often the case when I go by.
 
I would say overall it's much much better. However the LRT entrances still are an on-going issue. Peace Officers are attending them regularly but there's so many and a bit of a weird transition space.
 
Putting the doors at the top for mechanical reasons was a serious mistake.
 
I agree, it’s mostly a cleaning and maintenance issue. Letting garbage and grime pile up anywhere hurts the felt experience, plus people who shouldn’t be in the spaces.

But I do think there’s room for improving our street entrances and pedways. The dingy, concrete, 1990s looking designs aren’t great. New blatchford/stadium stations are gorgeous. Upgrading our most used stations to that quality would help imo. Churchill should be an architectural masterpiece!

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I was just thinking about the comparison with Vancouver. Could it just be that the entrances are too narrow/small in Edmonton, therefore they concentrate the undesirable behaviour in a tight space that is almost impossible to get around?

When I use Broadway/Commercial in Vancouver, the busiest station on the system, there is plenty of drug use (and sales - so much that I hardly notice it), but it's easy to get around because the entrances are fairly wide.
 
I was just thinking about the comparison with Vancouver. Could it just be that the entrances are too narrow/small in Edmonton, therefore they concentrate the undesirable behaviour in a tight space that is almost impossible to get around?

When I use Broadway/Commercial in Vancouver, the busiest station on the system, there is plenty of drug use (and sales - so much that I hardly notice it), but it's easy to get around because the entrances are fairly wide.
I'd argue that's a sizeable part to it. The big entrances make it feel "big city" and also just reduce overall unease based on perception.
 
Look at how different Stadium station feels pre and post reno. As Ian noted, CPTED principles being adopted do make a big change in the perception of safety, many such cases.
 
The difficult problem to solve with our downtown LRT stations is they are mostly built in an area with a lot of existing buildings and other infrastructure, so they were squeezed in.

We don't seem to have picked up at all on what is nicely done in some other places, which is use a building like entrance to the LRT, rather than isolated small stand alone street entrance.

I don't know, maybe it was more expensive, or it was hard to get building owners to give up space, but it is worth more thought and exploration.
 
Most of Vancouver's underground station entrances are standalone boxes. Granville is somewhat integrated both in the Bay building off Granville from back in 1986 as well as the sketchy entrance of Seymour that has our Central Station's Empire Building entrance vibes. Then also in the early 2010s when they built The Hudson.

Broadway-City Hall Station was supposed to have a connection to the new commercial building kitty corner from their standalone building but it never happened. Burrard Station was also supposed to connect to Bentall 5 which was built at the same time as Skytrain and Bentall 5 even has provisions for that connection, but it also never happened.

With the Millennium Line extension, only South Granville Station entrance will be integrated into a building, the rest will be standalone boxes. Many of them are no bigger than Churchill Connector. They were largely safe when I last lived there in 2015 although I recall an incident in 2012 at Gateway Station where I detoured through the accessible entrance because someone who gave me bad vibes was at the main ticket hall. They do have a history of crimes, the brutal sexual assault by Edmonds Station in the late 80s, numerous suicide attempts, many of them successful, fights, the Stanley Cup riots of 1994 and 2011, but like Edmonton they've also had an uptick of disorderly conduct to serious crimes since the pandemic. I also recall hearing of a lot of groping incidents since I left.
 
Well a couple things that I noticed on my recent trip to the Philippines and in particular, Manila with its LRT and MRT systems. First of all they of course have the turnstiles controlled by their "beep" system where you must tap to get in and tap to get out. Despite massive amounts of people, especially during rush hour, the gates cleared relatively quickly. Oh and the gates were almost right near the platforms in a number of cases. For those without the beep card, they can purchase a single ride pass that they tap on the way in and insert on the way out. This system works quite well as far asI can see. Second thing. At each station they had at least one LRT security officer to keep an eye on and actually maintain order and safety in the stations. There would also be one officer overseeing the turnstiles. With the amount of people on the platforms the order and safety was quite well managed and the stations felt very safe to me. Now one other thing that was quite interesting too was on the MRT. On each train there was a small section that was reserved for only seniors, pregnant women, and disabled individuals. The part of the train was typically at the end of the train which was also typically the closest area to the entrances of the stationwhen stopped. In this section of the train there was another train security officer. This added security made all that were in that area feel much more secure.

One major observation too is that both MRT and LRT tracks were completely grade separated from car traffic.

Manila also is in the process of building a subway line which wasn't open yet, but I look forward to going back to see how it looks when completed.
 
I saw some things over the last 2 weeks.

1. Getting train from coliseum at lunchtime to Churchill. Some indigenous youths blasting music ( kill the %%^$^ etc), feet up on the lrt. Another guy with tattoos comes along, sits down and opens up his bag to show them his knife ! I was standing at the exit. He and I both got off at Churchill. I walked behind him pretending to not notice and looking for a cop. He eventually went up to street level and I never did find a cop.
2. Going home from work, waiting for LRT at Churchill. Some guy was looking intensely at the tracks. He wandered down the stairs at the end of the platform ( you walk past the No Entry signs). Nobody else paid too much attention, but it was end of day and I was not having this low life disrupt the trains. I shouted down the tunnel at his asking WTF he was doing. He muttered something, got up and left. Sometimes security are watching their cameras and will yell...but not this time.

One more observation, some guys were huddled together at Belvedere LRT station ( close to the stairs) then the nice announcement voice come on stating drugs and that kind of activity are not permitted. Oh well, I've never heard an announcement like that. Surprised that they have a announcement like that. Would have been better if it was a booming voice !
 

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