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  #7921  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2018, 10:51 PM
asies1981 asies1981 is offline
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  #7922  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2018, 3:16 AM
jtrent77 jtrent77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Always Sunny in SLC View Post
Is there any initial indication of how popular it was on opening day?
I past by most of the route last week and there are no stations fully complete and construction is very much still going on. My guess is we won't see a good amount of riders until after construction is finished completely
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  #7923  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2018, 3:46 AM
Dogwata Dogwata is offline
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Originally Posted by jtrent77 View Post
I past by most of the route last week and there are no stations fully complete and construction is very much still going on. My guess is we won't see a good amount of riders until after construction is finished completely
I've been going on it during non-peak hours and there are usually 6-7 people on board one bus simultaneously. I'm sure it'll get more crowded next week when school starts for some though.

And 700 N and UVU stations are complete from what I could tell.
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  #7924  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2018, 5:03 PM
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Hatman Hatman is offline
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Thanks for the report!
Yes, the 700 N and UVU stations should be the only two open, though I believe there is still more work to be done on the canopy at both stations (ie, they don't have one yet).
Also, the BRT lanes on 700 North should be operational. Beyond that it should be just like riding the old 830 bus route.

And from your description of the ridership, it sounds like it hasn't attracted more than the usual 830 crowd yet. That's a little disappointing, but not unexpected since UTA didn't really bring the fanfare to this opening that it has with other new lines. I agree that ridership ought to pick up once students return, but it will also really pick up once all the stations are opened later this year.

Has it been nice to ride for free?

And now a quick report on the S-Line siding extension project. Progress has been slow, and utility and underground communications work is still ongoing:

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  #7925  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2018, 5:32 AM
Dogwata Dogwata is offline
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Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
Thanks for the report!
Yes, the 700 N and UVU stations should be the only two open, though I believe there is still more work to be done on the canopy at both stations (ie, they don't have one yet).
Also, the BRT lanes on 700 North should be operational. Beyond that it should be just like riding the old 830 bus route.

And from your description of the ridership, it sounds like it hasn't attracted more than the usual 830 crowd yet. That's a little disappointing, but not unexpected since UTA didn't really bring the fanfare to this opening that it has with other new lines. I agree that ridership ought to pick up once students return, but it will also really pick up once all the stations are opened later this year.

Has it been nice to ride for free?
To be fair the frequencies have also gone up so i'm sure ridership has increased. I've also been riding at random times like 10:30 am, 3:00 pm, 9:30 pm, etc. and there are still people riding. I also talked to many of my college friends and they all seem super excited, though I am friends with a more progressive crowd admittedly. And i believe there are canopies on both sides at UVU now.

I really do think them adding the previously-proposed creamery station would increase ridership significantly, but with all those NIMBYs it gets quite annoying.
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  #7926  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2018, 3:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Dogwata View Post
To be fair the frequencies have also gone up so i'm sure ridership has increased. I've also been riding at random times like 10:30 am, 3:00 pm, 9:30 pm, etc. and there are still people riding. I also talked to many of my college friends and they all seem super excited, though I am friends with a more progressive crowd admittedly. And i believe there are canopies on both sides at UVU now.

I really do think them adding the previously-proposed creamery station would increase ridership significantly, but with all those NIMBYs it gets quite annoying.
I love your insights. Thanks for sharing!

Rumors among the project managers (of the BRT project) is that once the BRT shows it has a solid ridership, UTA will move quickly to build the Creamery Station as an infill project. Now that UTA has the support of BYU, the station will be much easier to get past the NIMBY's.
This is just a rumor though, and I can't find any paperwork on it.
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  #7927  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2018, 4:28 PM
Makid Makid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
I love your insights. Thanks for sharing!

Rumors among the project managers (of the BRT project) is that once the BRT shows it has a solid ridership, UTA will move quickly to build the Creamery Station as an infill project. Now that UTA has the support of BYU, the station will be much easier to get past the NIMBY's.
This is just a rumor though, and I can't find any paperwork on it.
I can see this happening though. Having BYU's backing for the station would do a lot to quell the NIMBY's.

I would hope that both Orem and Provo would also work to increase the dedicated ROW for the line. Even if it is 1 block at a time, the extra length of dedicated ROW can improve run times while decreasing traffic interference.

While I haven't been down to check out the line myself, it does sound that the UVX has already attracted increase ridership from what has been stated here and what I have heard from others. It may be because of the cost and frequency but at least people are using it.

I think we will see some news stories about the line and ridership on it towards the end of next week. That way there will be a larger sample of riders on the route.

I hope that UTA will provide an estimate as well maybe on the 27th for how many rode it from the line the week of the 20th through the 24th. I would like to then have the same data to compare against it for the same week in 2019. I wonder what a year of service and having the stations fully built would do for ridership on the first week of school.

I would be okay with UTA doing a Specialized Annual Route Ridership Report. They could do this for specific routes over specific weeks.

UVX would be great for the opening week for BYU/UVU since they open the same week and ridership is both known and expected to grow dramatically.

Trax gets problematic only because it is hard to break apart ridership. I was thinking of using the State Fair for the Green Line and some how splitting the Red and Blue between Comic Con and the U for school/football. With them all happening the same week the last few years, it might not be possible to split Trax apart anyway.

MAX I don't think should count until it gets proper bi-directional lanes. It isn't enough BRT to count as BRT and should be fixed.

FrontRunner I don't think would be possible for any special weekly report unless it is just picked at random.
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  #7928  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2018, 11:19 PM
Makid Makid is offline
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APTA finally released the Q1 2018 report:

https://www.apta.com/resources/stati...rship-APTA.pdf

Nearly every agency was down for all modes of transit. Some were down 20% or more. There were some bright spots as well.

As mentioned before, FrontRunner reported its first ever quarterly decline. The numbers for Q2 however show it is back on track to show an increase again.

FrontRunner: 17.7K average daily riders. Down 0.31% from Q1 2017.
Trax: 59.5K average daily riders. Down 5.17% from Q1 2017.
Bus: 68.8K average daily riders. Down 4.42% from Q1 2017.
Total: 154.2K average daily riders. Down 4.32% from Q1 2017.
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  #7929  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2018, 12:09 AM
Liberty Wellsian Liberty Wellsian is offline
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said the Mayor. “I urge residents to study the bond, make an informed decision and then vote on the future of Salt Lake City streets.”

^lol

Way to take a strong position there Jackie. Really put yourself out there. You’re such a leader. You so leaderly.
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  #7930  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2018, 3:50 AM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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Originally Posted by Liberty Wellsian View Post
said the Mayor. “I urge residents to study the bond, make an informed decision and then vote on the future of Salt Lake City streets.”

^lol

Way to take a strong position there Jackie. Really put yourself out there. You’re such a leader. You so leaderly.
Ugh. I hope people do that when it is time to re-elect her. I long for Ralph. Lack of leadership indeed. We are now in a place where politicians don’t want to take any risk and just want to punt to the public. I am a big fan of representative democracy. I like to vote and then trust the person elected.
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  #7931  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2018, 7:17 AM
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I got to ride the UVX!

Here is what I saw...

(long, gushing post alert...)

The first amazing thing that happened today was that the FrontRunner train I took to Orem had 4 bombardier cars and no comet car:


Either UTA is having a shortage of comet cars right now or they are using Saturday to test a 4 car consist for Bombardeir cars. For all stations north of Salt Lake Central (except North Temple), this will result in the bombardier closest to the locomotive stopping at the low platform, creating a step up of 16 inches (24 inch car floor height minus the 8 inch tall low platforms). I think that is too high to be considered safe in public, so I wonder how they dealt with that problem. The funny thing is that these cars are actually designed to stop at low platforms; the metal grating between the car and the platform is usually mounted eight inches lower so that it can be used as a step (creating two eight inch steps):



It only occurred to me today that UTA could buy more bombardeir cars and assign some of them to be 'low platform cars' by mounting the step where everyone else in North America does. This way UTA could extend the low platform section of the platforms to be like Ogden and Salt Lake Central and not need to reconfigure all their stations (since extending the high block portion of the platform would require at least one pedestrian access per station be moved). Perhaps this could be a test of such an idea? After all, it doesn't surprise me that ridership seems to have peaked - there is litterally no more capacity during rush hours! UTA needs to add more cars! ideally you would add more frequency, but since that will take many years to be possible (double tracking, etc), this is the first thing UTA will need to do.

Anyway, I was supposed to be talking about the UVX.

I got on the bus in Orem, and my first impression was that UTA had made things very easy - signs everywhere to make sure no one got lost. That's strangely proactive of them.


Here is my first view of the bus:


The bus platforms here were finished in 2012, back when UTA had thought that they would use buses with a 15 inch tall floor. The buses they actually bought have a 14 inch tall floor, so one of the main concerns had been wheelchair and stroller access via the deployable bridge plate. As you can see the plate does have to rise up to meet the platform, but due to some clever platform grinding and precise 'docking' by the bus, this isn't really that big of a deal:


The inside of the bus, from the back row:


One of the neat features of these buses is that they are diesel electric hybrid buses, meaning that the diesel motor powers only a generator, and that generator sends the electricity to the motors that make it go. In theory this means that the diesel engine can run at a constant (more efficient) speed and let the batteries buffer the amount of energy required by (or in braking mode, produced by) the motors. This should result in a quieter ride.

In practice, though, I couldn't tell the difference. The engine revs up and down as the bus accelerates and decelerates (I thought I was feeling engine braking, but that can't be right - can it?), and though I'm sure if you had a decibel meter with you it would be obvious that the bus was quieter than other buses... but in practice it still felt too loud to talk to the people next to me without raising my voice.

And the buses certainly aren't as zippy as the electric buses they've got in Park City. I mean I really could feel the bus accelerating - this is especially true in the back section, since the driver begins to accelerate out of curves when he/she has exited the curve but the rear portion has not - but it wasn't anything amazing. If I hadn't been expecting it, I would have missed it.

And boy, did the hill east of UVU cause us a problem! It may have been the speed limit being low, but it felt like the bus was working as hard as it could to grind its way up the hill. At the top were a bunch of UVU students at a local bus stop, and when the UVX crawled past them they threw up their hands like 'Whaaat?" because they thought that the bus was slowing down for them. Perhaps more outreach about where the UVX stops and where it does not is in order.

But let's jump back a bit, all the way to the UVU stations. They are open, but not the part below the canopy. Instead, you get off on the sidewalk beside the canopy, which is still fenced off.
Westbound (which, now that I look at it, seems to be open after all):


Eastbound:


These are looking good. I heard the goal is for these to be done before the students return, and I think there is a fair chance that they'll make it.

But getting to these stops felt like it took forever. The promised signal priority is obviously not yet in effect, as all three left turns (out of the station, onto University Parkway, off of University Parkway) all took well over a minute to complete as we sat in the left-turn lane waiting for the endless stream of cars to go by. This is an issue that will not be fixed until 'Phase 2' is completed, which will apparently build a BRT/HOT-lanes bridge over I-15 directly from UVU to Orem Central Station. I wonder how fast that will come? I can see students choosing to simply walk to the FrontRunner station from campus on the new pedestrian bridge, whenever that opens, since the circuitous bus ride will take at least as long as that.

After UVU, the buses make another left turn (sigh) onto University Parkway. I had been prepared to see stations being far from completion, but I was completely surprised to see that the pavement of the road was also not yet competed! The top layer of asphalt has not yet been placed, not in the bus lands and not in the inner mixed traffic lane! Amazing!
Also, the stations in this section have not yet had their platforms poured; the pipework you can see is the snowmelt tubing that will be encased in the platform slab once that is poured:


(And obviously the pavement beside the stations will be concrete, but the lanes themselves beyond the stations will be asphalt, which as I said still needs another layer added to it.)

That picture is of the 400 West station, now called the Lakeview Station (and labled as 390 West by some overzealous engineer who probably rounds to 5 decimal places... c'mon! if the station can only be accessed at the intersection of 400 West and University Parkway, it is functionally located at 400 West! Nobody cares about the exact spot at which you physically board the bus!)... Here is the Main Street station (infuriatingly labeled as "10 East University Parkway" (!!!) ):



Riding the bus along this section of road is - for the present - exactly the same as riding the old 830 route. The bus is stuck in traffic more often than not because it needs to pull out of traffic to get to the curb, then fight its way back into traffic when the stop is completed. The funny thing is that because the UVX buses are 20 feet longer, the back door opens up onto landscaping instead of the concrete pad designed for the local 40-foot buses. The landscaping is brand new and was completed as part of the PROTRIP project, so well done getting the trees and grass planted before completing something as important as, say, the actual bus route. What's funny is that people line up at the doors to get off at each station, including the back door that doesn't fit - then when the doors open and they are presented with an eight-inch step down into fresh woodchips and tree branches, there is a mad rush up to the middle door, and this happens every time. Upon reflection, I guess we should have designed the 'local' stops to be able to comfortably accommodate the longer bendy buses, since who knows when the platforms will have a catastrophic accident and need to be taken out of service for a while? It's something to think about for next time.



Inside the bus is this awesome map, and I think it is the best map UTA has yet created. You see how each stop has little boxes beside it? Those are all the local bus routes you can transfer to at each stop! ImaJem, if you're still out there, your suggestion has been taken seriously! And since this map is held in place by the two brackets, it can easily be replaced after each new Change Day. Seriously, FrontRunner and TRAX really need something like this. The FrontRunner maps are already outdated since they still show Pleasant View, so now is a good time to change to this new bracket-mounted-transfers-included map scheme, just sayin'.

Also, as you can see, the UVX route currently runs only as far as Provo Central Station. at that point the buses terminate and go back to Orem, while a separate route called the 'East Bay Shuttle', which is also free, serves the south section using normal 40-foot buses. Not the most ideal solution, but until the UVX buses can get out of the traffic, I doubt UTA has enough of them to run the full route yet.

Also inside the bus are these cool new vertical bike racks, which are spring-loaded and adjustable and so much more stabilizing than the vertical racks they have in the S70 TRAX cars:


I love it, and these ought to become standard in MAX (BRT) and TRAX.

Here is the view zooming down the hill into Provo on the newly-widened 8 lane (!!!) (if you include the two bus lanes) University Parkway. The bridge creates quite a pinch-point, but in the end (and with lots of retaining walls) everything just fits. The bus lanes here are done, at least.


The westbound station at the BYU Stadiums:


It's not open yet, but it is getting close. These side stations will probably open before the other University Parkway stations, possibly even before Students return to class. Fun fact, the bike lane jumps up onto the sidewalk at this location and runs behind the station, meaning the cyclists don't need to worry about getting pinched between the big 60-foot buses and the platforms.

Here is the MTC (or rather, BYU North Campus) station:


And now my favorite station - the BYU South Campus station!


It is my favorite because UTA was the boldest here about fitting its station into the tightest possible space. It is a really elegant solution and is far better than the stop a block and a half farther east. See, BYU? BRT can fit in on your campus, if only you let it! These stations are no where near getting competed though, so I imagine they will open later than the two north BYU stations.

And now the one part of the BRT line that actually operates like a BRT line! 700 North probably did not need to have its own bus lanes, since those are really only important where traffic is bad, such in downtowns. As it is, cars will probably be passing the buses along this stretch. It was important, however, to put bus lanes here so that at least 51% of the route had its own lanes, since that is the threshold at which federal funding becomes available. The UVX is exactly 51% exclusive lanes, thanks in part to some shenanigans allowing the bus pullouts at each side station to be classified as exclusive lanes, even though they really aren't... but whatever gets the paperwork filled, so be it.

Here is the 700 North Station, now called Joaquin (and marked as 424 East on the map - just say 400 East!)


I love how, between the guitar guy and the paper taped to the station column, it already feels like a used and very public place. And its less than a week old!

The gap between the bus and the platform is a pretty substantial gap:


I wonder if UTA hasn't yet installed the 'wear boards', which will help close the gap and would be the rubbing surface in the event of a bus getting too close to the station. As it is right now, you better take a very long step.

This obelisk appears to have a screen in it:


I actually don't know what all the features of the platforms will be, so perhaps I am wrong and this will be just a static sign for the station, but it would be sort of cool if this was where the digital message board went.

Passing an opposing bus while in the dedicated lanes:


I decided to get off at the 300 North station and walk down University Parkway, since the bus just running in mixed traffic. Here is an example of a temporary UVX station, with the bus caught in traffic immediately beyond it:


An amazing amount of work still needs to be done on this street. In many places, all the pavement is still ripped up. Signal mast arms haven't been installed yet, let alone the traffic signals:


From what I observed, the traffic signals for the buses are already working, showing the white horizontal and vertical bars beside the conventional red, yellow, and green lights for the regular traffic. I'm not sure in which scenario the buses would ever get their own 'go' light (vertical bar), but that functionality is already there.

It's also worth noting that in these sections where the buses have their own dedicated lanes, everything between the sidewalks - and in many cases, including the sidewalks - had to be completely rebuilt. The road surface, the gutters and drainage, many utilities had to be relocated, and of course all the landscaping. Everything. This project was so much bigger than bus lanes it is sort of ridiculous. This is why am not optimistic that dedicated bus lanes will soon be taking over the salt lake valley - it has taken far too many years just to get these 5+ miles of lanes built in Provorem! Bus Plus is the way to go except in downtowns (which this was, so it had to be done).

A temporary pedestrian push-button pole at the corners of Center Street and University Avenue, awaiting a permanent one to be installed (no signs yet of that):


The center street station (marked 12 S University Avenue (!?!) ):


A large new apartment complex on University Avenue, with future bus lanes in the foreground. These are obviously built because of the LDS temple (yes I will still abbreviate that!), but they certainly won't hurt the BRT's ridership:


Panoramic shot of the second crossing of State Street, at University Avenue and 300 South. It is such a hugely massive thing it makes even me scared:


A UVX bus docked at Provo Central:


The gap when a bus docks on the north side:


It isn't easy to line up the bus after making that hard left turn, so that gap is going to be wider on this side. Strangely, even though this is another 15-inch tall platform from 2012, this platform seems to be perfectly level with the 14-inch tall bus floor. Weird.

The bus from two pictures up, plus the bus I arrived on, queuing up to make the northbound trip:


Note the wood beams placed at the bottom of the platform. These are what the wheels are meant to rub against so that the buses don't grind against the concrete.

Also at Provo Central is the 'test build' site, where samples of the stations were constructed so that managers could get a feel of what the finished project would look like. I think it will look very different once the tan paint gets applied everywhere:


One last bonus shot of the Town Centre Boulevard station under construction. It is much closer to being done than last time, and amazingly most of the landscaping is in place. If only the concrete could cure as fast as the flowers and trees can be transplanted...


***

So, that was my first trip on the UVX. I wasn't expecting much since most of it is still under construction. But man it was good to ride on that bendy bus and see how people are already using it. My buses were generally pretty full, with only a few seats to spare at any given moment, which isn't bad given it was a Saturday and the buses only ran every 15 minutes. I was very pleased to hear so many people pointing out to each other many of the same details I've pointed out in this thread - there is a whole group of people who are super stoked about this project and love it just as much as me, and that is fantastic! I love how UVX is already becoming a part of the community.

I can't wait to go back again when all the lanes have been completed and see if it really lives up to the hype. So far it does.
Great work UTA, we need more of this!

Last edited by Hatman; Aug 19, 2018 at 7:27 AM.
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  #7932  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2018, 3:23 AM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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Well I guess they have their foot in the door in Utah County. They seem to have a long way to go to have a really impressive BRT system. Hopefully within the year things are humming along and the buses are full of people. I would hope they can convince the municipalities to commit more than 51% to bus travel as the years go on.
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  #7933  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2018, 6:29 AM
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SLCdude SLCdude is offline
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I haven't posted here in ages! and started lurking here again.

Thanks for the post, Hatman! I'm out of state and have been trying to get my eyes on this.
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  #7934  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2018, 4:04 PM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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https://www.buildingsaltlake.com/edi...ways-not-less/

She has made it clear she is not a friend of the biking community and the vision for low stress bikeways. The mayoral election can't come soon enough for me.

Last edited by Always Sunny in SLC; Sep 10, 2018 at 4:17 PM.
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  #7935  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2018, 5:03 PM
Makid Makid is offline
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Originally Posted by Always Sunny in SLC View Post
https://www.buildingsaltlake.com/edi...ways-not-less/

She has made it clear she is not a friend of the biking community and the vision for low stress bikeways. The mayoral election can't come soon enough for me.
At least all new roads and completely redone roads will require bike lanes though. That is 1 big reason that I am happily voting for the road bond. We get more bike lanes just by the nature of the City requirements of Roads within the City.

Any new road or road that is substantially replaced is required to have protected bike lanes. The only exceptions that I can think of are State owned roads and residential roads.
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  #7936  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2018, 7:06 PM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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At least all new roads and completely redone roads will require bike lanes though. That is 1 big reason that I am happily voting for the road bond. We get more bike lanes just by the nature of the City requirements of Roads within the City.

Any new road or road that is substantially replaced is required to have protected bike lanes. The only exceptions that I can think of are State owned roads and residential roads.
You are right. It is important to note that progress is being made, but I laugh at the idea that white lines painted are considered "protected". That would be like the local jail telling us their facility is protected because they painted a border instead of using a fence.
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  #7937  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2018, 11:06 PM
Liberty Wellsian Liberty Wellsian is offline
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1300 South from 200 West to 700 west is ridiculous with how it handles bikes. A shared bike lane through a busy intersection and an underpass with on ramps followed by a shared lane over an overpass. I can't imagine needing to take this route to get to the Trax station. It would be awful
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  #7938  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2018, 11:25 PM
Makid Makid is offline
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Originally Posted by Always Sunny in SLC View Post
You are right. It is important to note that progress is being made, but I laugh at the idea that white lines painted are considered "protected". That would be like the local jail telling us their facility is protected because they painted a border instead of using a fence.
I do agree. The image of painted lines as a border instead of a fence and small signs set up every 30 feet as a reminder to respect the border or face a penalty.

They need to use something, rumble strips would help and are relatively cheap to implement and don't cause problems for fire trucks.

I do think that over time, once more people are used to the lanes, the city can go back and add additional protective measures to the bike lanes similar to 3rd South or 2nd West.
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  #7939  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2018, 4:32 PM
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Hatman Hatman is offline
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Yep, its pretty silly to be getting rid of bike lanes.

In happier news, the S-Line second track project is getting close to actually building something visible. Signs are up announcing that the 300 East crossing will be closed all next week, implying that the crossing will be reconstructed with a second track during the closure. Rails have finally been laid out along the alignment and are being moved into position by specialized rail-maintenance equipment.

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  #7940  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2018, 4:25 PM
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While the 300 East intersection is closed all this week to add the second track, the 400 East intersection has reopened with its second track in place:



This intersection will become the most interesting crossing on the S-Line, since there will be two tracks but trains will not stop. At the other two intersections that will have two tracks (500 and 300 east) there will be stops, so motorists and pedestrians will be safer. 400 East is also the location of the only fatality on the S-Line so far, and they recently upgraded from the stop sign they used to have to a full stop light. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

Also interesting will be how long the S-Line will need to close for. They could probably close it down for a week to put 'cut in' both ends of the second track, but there is the potential that they close it for two (one week for each end). I also don't know if they plan to keep the switch just west of 500 East or if they will relocate it down to the new 300 East location. That would be the simplest thing to do and would remove some redundancy and extra maintenance from the system.
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