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  #221  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2012, 7:21 PM
Rizzo Rizzo is offline
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Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
Just noticed this map, but I question why there's no bus stops in Sterling Heights, but a lot of them on Hall Road. That stretch of Hall Road is all mega strip malls and parking lots and the least pedestrian friendly corridor in the whole tri-county area. Yet the Sterling Heights route takes it directly through residential areas where there's more pedestrian activity. Seems kinda backwards to me.
You aren't alone on this thought. The Hall road route seems to be a point of contention. I certainly wouldn't want to board a bus in that area. Part of the transit experience is getting to the bus. I don't know of anyone who likes waiting for a bus on a large open roadway in the middle of winter, or even trying to get to it without the presence of at least some structural protection against the elements on their walk to the stop....aka "a city." If it's park and ride facilities, then I have more faith in the Hall Road route.
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  #222  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2012, 7:31 PM
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http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...it-light-rail/

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The project will have to be built right: Even at just 3.4 miles, the line could serve as a quick, reliable connector between the waterfront and the New Center, via Midtown, but that will only be possible if trains run in their own lanes, if they run frequently, and if they are funded with no negative effect on the city’s already under-financed bus system. There is evidence that those conditions will not be met. Yet the project’s design has yet to be completed — Detroit transportation advocates could successfully fight for the appropriate implementation of this first stage of Woodward Light Rail.
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  #223  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2012, 8:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
My fear is that even after LRT is built, people will start complaining about safety issues. Cars turning in front of LRT vehicles, blocking tracks, pedestrian /vehicles accidents at stations,etc. Really, an elevated DPM in a landscaped median would do and you wouldn't have to worry about complex signaling at street level.
That was my problem with this some years ago when they first announced this idea. Metro Detroiters aren't very accustomed to sharing roads with anything but cars and trucks... Motorists in the Detroit area don't even share roads well with people. And the M1 Rail plan is even more dangerous than the city's plan, since M1 wants to run the train lines along the curb. For some reason, they are convinced that running a rail line along the curb is more appealing to pedestrians and riders than running it in the center median...

But anyway, I thought the problem with extending the DPM is that the technology is obsolete? I do like the idea of extending the DPM, though, if possible. They could just phase out some of the excessive stops downtown and so that the train won't be too slow. To save money they could just construct a single ROW up the median of Woodward and run the inbound/outbound tracks on the outside of the platform.
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  #224  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2012, 8:49 PM
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Am I the only one confused with those various discussed plans? Okay, I guess that at least they've got several options to choose between, which is still a good thing. LMich, Wikipedia says the $150-200 million expansion of the PM would not have gone beyond New Center. Wasn't the $500 million LRT to go up to 8 Mile Road? That would explain the insane difference of expense. The article just posted by J. Will mentions a $125 million cost for developing the 3.4 miles light rail line.

Don't you guys think the aerial rails of the PM would look awkward along Woodward, though? Just asking because the cityscape seems totally different from downtown there, it's all straight and far much less dense. While the weaving PM loop still looks cool within the downtown core, it could well look weird and boring all along Woodward. And although the PM is automated and likely faster than any light rail, it doesn't make that buffer zone that I like very much between cars and pedestrians (all needed but often annoying one another) which the involved investors might have on their minds too with their LRT, thinking about various subsequent developments along Woodward.

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My fear is that even after LRT is built, people will start complaining about safety issues. Cars turning in front of LRT vehicles, blocking tracks, pedestrian /vehicles accidents at stations,etc.
Boh, why wouldn't people rather get used to it? It works in hundreds of cities all around the world.
The Grand Circus station is the obvious spot where PM and LRT should meet indeed.
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  #225  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 3:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
Am I the only one confused with those various discussed plans? Okay, I guess that at least they've got several options to choose between, which is still a good thing. LMich, Wikipedia says the $150-200 million expansion of the PM would not have gone beyond New Center. Wasn't the $500 million LRT to go up to 8 Mile Road? That would explain the insane difference of expense. The article just posted by J. Will mentions a $125 million cost for developing the 3.4 miles light rail line.

Don't you guys think the aerial rails of the PM would look awkward along Woodward, though? Just asking because the cityscape seems totally different from downtown there, it's all straight and far much less dense. While the weaving PM loop still looks cool within the downtown core, it could well look weird and boring all along Woodward. And although the PM is automated and likely faster than any light rail, it doesn't make that buffer zone that I like very much between cars and pedestrians (all needed but often annoying one another) which the involved investors might have on their minds too with their LRT, thinking about various subsequent developments along Woodward.


Boh, why wouldn't people rather get used to it? It works in hundreds of cities all around the world.
The Grand Circus station is the obvious spot where PM and LRT should meet indeed.
I actually have nothing against street level LRT. Both aerial and grade have their pros and cons. I'm just worried we'll have a Houston MetroRail situation here where there's crashes on a regular basis.

Why wouldn't they get used to it? Well they better! BRT or LRT these vehicles have the right of way.
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  #226  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 8:28 AM
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LaHood is ramping back up the talk of helping fund the downsized line:

Quote:
LaHood: Light rail in Detroit could get new $25 million fed boost

By David Shepardson | The Detroit News

January 9, 2012

Washington - Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the government will consider awarding Detroit's light-rail project up to $25 million - on top of $25 million awarded for a bus rapid transit system for Metro Detroit.

LaHood told The Detroit News Monday that he is willing to offer additional government funds if the M-1 light rail coalition can show it's financially viable.

On Friday, LaHood met with Gov. Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Michigan's two senators and Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, and business advocates of light rail Roger Penske, Dan Gilbert and Matt Cullen.

"Over the next 90 days, we will be in the room working with them on their proposal to invest $100 million - leveraged with federal dollars - to make the light rail project work as a part of a regional program for Detroit," LaHood told The News. "We're in the red zone on this. We're just about over the goal line on the light rail - but it has to be part of a regional focus."

...
BTW, I'm only concerned about the LRT if they insist with the silly curb-running option. Either way, Detroit will have to get used to it, and to be quite frank, the avenues are so wide and traffic so much lighter than it used to be on them, that most of these avenues could spare at least one traffic lane, Woodward especially. In fact, Detroit should be a leader in road diets. Hell, the streets were oversized when the city had a population density upwards of 13,000 ppsm.

Looks like we're going back to the original proposal:

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Last edited by LMich; Jan 10, 2012 at 8:41 AM.
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  #227  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 1:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
I actually have nothing against street level LRT. Both aerial and grade have their pros and cons. I'm just worried we'll have a Houston MetroRail situation here where there's crashes on a regular basis.

Why wouldn't they get used to it? Well they better! BRT or LRT these vehicles have the right of way.
According to the M1 Rail plan, it would be a streetcar and intermingled with traffic... And also running at the curb next to the parking lane. I actually don't think this is a good idea anymore:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1195254.html
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  #228  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 2:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Hayward View Post
You aren't alone on this thought. The Hall road route seems to be a point of contention. I certainly wouldn't want to board a bus in that area. Part of the transit experience is getting to the bus. I don't know of anyone who likes waiting for a bus on a large open roadway in the middle of winter, or even trying to get to it without the presence of at least some structural protection against the elements on their walk to the stop....aka "a city." If it's park and ride facilities, then I have more faith in the Hall Road route.
Even with park and ride, that area can get hectic. I sort of think that park & ride stations would increase congestion in the area (if people found it useful to use BRT out there), so I'd think they would have to get pretty creative on where and how a park and ride stop would be set up.

I've personally always thought the east section of Hall Road should be converted into a limited access freeway like the west side, but I digress.
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  #229  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 9:18 PM
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I've said it in other threads, and I'll say it again. That any city would build a new streetcar/light rail line in this day and age without separation from traffic is mind-bogglingly stupid.
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  #230  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 9:51 PM
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Their streetcar idea is nothing definitive, Dieu merci:
Quote:
Originally Posted by huffingtonpost.com
"The outpouring of support for light rail does give me some hope," Owens said, pointing to the region's members of Congress, instrumental in reviving the latest version of light rail. "I just hope we don't have to start from scratch with both this regional [bus rapid transit] and streetcar."
Wait & see for their final plan. Looks like if they came up with their "streetcar" only, the feds wouldn't help them anyway.
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  #231  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2012, 8:19 AM
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The streetcar pick is pretty darned definitive, if you ask me. In fact, before the 9 mile line went off the rails, the biggest contention between the city and the private investors was whether it would be a light rail or a streetcar. The private backers had been pushing for a curb-running streetcar from the very beginning. It was only with the introduction of, and planning primacy of, the Detroit Department of Transportation that we got the plan that included running it like a light rail from the fairgrounds to downtown, and then running it like a streetcar within the immediate CBD.

With the city now taken out of the picture, I don't see how this isn't going to revert back to being an in-traffic tram. Dan Gilbert, who seems to be one of the major spokesmen and backers of this thing, has been dead-set on the beginning about a side-running tram, and this is the problem with the business leaders having so much say. They aren't transit guys, and it's shown in Gilbert's (empirically false) belief that the only way this can be successful is if it picks people up at the curb.
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  #232  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2012, 1:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMich View Post
The streetcar pick is pretty darned definitive, if you ask me. In fact, before the 9 mile line went off the rails, the biggest contention between the city and the private investors was whether it would be a light rail or a streetcar. The private backers had been pushing for a curb-running streetcar from the very beginning. It was only with the introduction of, and planning primacy of, the Detroit Department of Transportation that we got the plan that included running it like a light rail from the fairgrounds to downtown, and then running it like a streetcar within the immediate CBD.

With the city now taken out of the picture, I don't see how this isn't going to revert back to being an in-traffic tram. Dan Gilbert, who seems to be one of the major spokesmen and backers of this thing, has been dead-set on the beginning about a side-running tram, and this is the problem with the business leaders having so much say. They aren't transit guys, and it's shown in Gilbert's (empirically false) belief that the only way this can be successful is if it picks people up at the curb.
See, although I agree with nearly all of your comments here, Gilbert is probably looking at this from the perspective of a sports team owner. They wanted side-running trams because could you imagine what it would be like for an entire 2-car unit evacuating at a stadium if the line ran down the center? How many people fit into two cars? 150 people crossing the road at once on the main artery of the city? Mark my words, the only reason these business owners want this system is to pipe people in for games. Leave their cars upstream and trolly them in. The land downtown will get much too valuable for surface lot parking if the business leaders get what they want, so they need a system to safeguard their investments, particularly their sports teams.
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  #233  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2012, 5:18 PM
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Originally Posted by subterranean View Post
See, although I agree with nearly all of your comments here, Gilbert is probably looking at this from the perspective of a sports team owner. They wanted side-running trams because could you imagine what it would be like for an entire 2-car unit evacuating at a stadium if the line ran down the center? How many people fit into two cars? 150 people crossing the road at once on the main artery of the city? Mark my words, the only reason these business owners want this system is to pipe people in for games. Leave their cars upstream and trolly them in. The land downtown will get much too valuable for surface lot parking if the business leaders get what they want, so they need a system to safeguard their investments, particularly their sports teams.
I think the land would be more valuable with a true light rail line... but whatevs. It's clear that they just want a parking lot shuttle. I don't support the project any longer if that's what will get built.
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  #234  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2012, 5:27 PM
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I think the land would be more valuable with a true light rail line... but whatevs. It's clear that they just want a parking lot shuttle. I don't support the project any longer if that's what will get built.
My thoughts exactly.
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  #235  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2012, 7:46 PM
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Kind of changing my mind after all these comments, maybe the light rail lanes would be better if they were central instead of between cars and sidewalks, I just don't know after all. Trying to figure it out but we don't have such a big experience of that kind of rails yet over here, only 3 lines of that big metro network we've got for now and people simply call them "tramway". If you asked them - streetcar or light rail? - most would go like - wut? We just don't know what that means.
Since we all like tramway cause it's much friendlier, less boring than underground subway lines to users (it's also obviously smaller though, subway and tramway capacities are nothing the same), the 3 existing lines are being extended and 4 new ones developed. Those light rail things seem to have a big future everywhere.

Well, in short it seems that this will always go back to that same conclusion: if only there was the state transit authority to manage this whole thing for an ambitious project. Maybe nothing should be done before the state transit body is.
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  #236  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2012, 12:38 AM
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Basically, yeah. The private investors are putting their money into it because they believe that it will increase the value of their real estate. Each one is only putting a few million into it (the rest of the private money was from grants and matching dollars and stuff like that), and they'll easily make their investments back.

I don't remember the details but I remember reading that the curbside rail with a ton of stops is stronger for the real estate/development aspect than the same stretch with fewer stops in the center. At least I think that applies to the number of stops, the curb-running aspect might just be Gilbert's personal preference.

Of course, what makes the land even more valuable is being along a line that's part of a functioning light rail system, and it looks like that's not happening.


The discussion here makes expanding the People Mover sound appealing. I've never thought it would be a good idea, but if it would really cost that little to add more track it wouldn't be bad. There are already a bunch of extra trains, so you'd get a lot of value by just throwing some tracks around. Someone mentioned the aesthetics of elevated rail on Woodward, but I think Woodward is so barren that People Mover tracks might help make it feel more intimate. The only area it would hurt aesthetically is by the DIA/Library. Since the trains need to turn around anyway it could split off into a narrow loop on Cass and John R from Warren until New Center. Also, my understanding was that one of the main cons to expanding the People Mover was that the technology wasn't used anymore, but the company that makes it is still in business and Vancouver has been very busy expanding their system recently.

Last edited by Jasoncw; Jan 12, 2012 at 1:23 AM.
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  #237  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2012, 5:57 AM
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The company is Canada's Bombardier.........the world's largest manufacturers of LRT.
The ICTS technology is used in Vancouver and they are expanding their system by another 30 km in the next 9 years but note.......the trains you use haven't been made since the last millenium. They are reffered to as MK1 cars, the newer ones, MK11 are the length of 3 of those cars articulated {35 meters} and are MUCH quieter {inside and out}, smoother, spacious due to articulation, brighter with bigger windows, have wider doors, and are also somewhat wider. If you weren't told they were the same technology, you would never guess it. The MK11 cars are great but have somewhat larger turning radiouses and are a bit taller so you would have to make sure they would be useable on the current PT or any extension. Toronto's small 6 km line cannot handle the MK11 so instead of just spending a few million to upgrade a tight turn they are going to spend $1.2 billion to tear it up and put up an LRT line.............only in Toronto.
Anyway I just thought I would let you know what any new PM trains would be like.
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  #238  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2012, 6:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasoncw View Post
Basically, yeah. The private investors are putting their money into it because they believe that it will increase the value of their real estate. Each one is only putting a few million into it (the rest of the private money was from grants and matching dollars and stuff like that), and they'll easily make their investments back.

I don't remember the details but I remember reading that the curbside rail with a ton of stops is stronger for the real estate/development aspect than the same stretch with fewer stops in the center. At least I think that applies to the number of stops, the curb-running aspect might just be Gilbert's personal preference.

Of course, what makes the land even more valuable is being along a line that's part of a functioning light rail system, and it looks like that's not happening.


The discussion here makes expanding the People Mover sound appealing. I've never thought it would be a good idea, but if it would really cost that little to add more track it wouldn't be bad. There are already a bunch of extra trains, so you'd get a lot of value by just throwing some tracks around. Someone mentioned the aesthetics of elevated rail on Woodward, but I think Woodward is so barren that People Mover tracks might help make it feel more intimate. The only area it would hurt aesthetically is by the DIA/Library. Since the trains need to turn around anyway it could split off into a narrow loop on Cass and John R from Warren until New Center. Also, my understanding was that one of the main cons to expanding the People Mover was that the technology wasn't used anymore, but the company that makes it is still in business and Vancouver has been very busy expanding their system recently.
Bombardier is huge and most definitely still makes parts for ICTS vehicles. While replacing existing rolling stock with shiny new ones would be nice, they could easily be rehabilitated and last another 10 years. Heck at least Detroit is running trains in AC current.....here in Chicago we finally got ours....in 2011!! Not to mention we have vehicles from the late 60's still operating.

The people mover is a bit jerky and loud because of all the curves, which probably is hell on the bearings overtime. Some upgrades might help quiet it, but it's not as old and aged as people tend to make it out to be.


EDIT: I was posting mobile and just saw the post above with similar answers, sorry for repeating a lot
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  #239  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2012, 10:33 AM
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This blows my mind...

Quote:
Farmington officials say they want better regional transit, opt out of SMART

Bill Laitner | Detroit Free Press

January 19, 2012

After a major service cut last month by the SMART regional bus system, Farmington officials voted Tuesday evening to opt out of the bus service starting Oct. 1.

"It was a tough decision, but SMART just wasn't working for us," City Councilman Greg Cowley said.

With Livonia, Novi and West Bloomfield already shunning support for SMART, Farmington's vote is being seen as another blow to the system's western service area. Farmington Hills officials plan to vote next week on whether to remain in the SMART system.

"All of us believe in regional transportation. But what SMART offers is really not a regional solution. The prime example is, of the more than 60 communities in Oakland County, only 23 are in SMART and the remainder have opted out," Cowley said Wednesday, a day after the vote before a capacity crowd. Many of those in the crowd said they depended on the bus system.

Cowley voted to opt out, along with two other council members -- JoAnne McShane and Kristin Kuiken. Voting for the service, which is expected to cost city property owners about $250,000 in property taxes this fiscal year, was Mayor Pro Tem Bill Galvin. Mayor Tom Buck was absent.

Cowley said the decision followed notification about two months ago by SMART that it was reducing some of the bus service.

A SMART representative offered, "at the last minute," to add back one of the Grand River routes, "but we had no way of knowing if it would still be there in six months," Cowley said.

Farmington's decision to opt out was "certainly disappointing, but I will admit I somewhat understand," said Megan Owens, executive director of the nonprofit, Detroit-based Transportation Riders United, an advocacy group for bus riders and mass-transit users.

"This just points up the fact that we truly need a regional system, instead of this patchwork where each community decides for itself what to do" about funding bus service, Owens said Wednesday.

...

"It really pained me to do this," McShane after her vote. She said she was ready to opt out two years ago for reasons including that the city couldn't find out from SMART how many residents use the system. Despite reassurances from SMART, not only did things not improve, she said, "they pulled the rug out, too."

"We have a fragmented, inconsistent, low value ... bus to nowhere," the councilwoman said. "I want to see a viable, integrated system."

...

Local units of government in Oakland County have to decide by Jan. 31 whether they will participate in SMART for the next two years, Cowley said.

Some cities, such as neighboring Livonia and Novi, have already opted out of SMART.


...
I totally get why Farmington think SMART sucks: It does. I get that with the constant cutting that it's making less and less sense, and Farmington isn't served as well as it should by it, and that allowing individual communities to opt in and out of the system makes it completely untenable in the long run. That said, it's one thing to leave the system, the justification is entirely another. It be different if they were leaving the system to hook into another, but to say the system suck and then just strand existing passengers with no Plan B is about as irresponsible as it gets. What stinks more than a SMART that leaves much to be desired is to completely leave stranded your community's ridership. This is a bogus, weasely excuse.

I sound like a broken record, but short of the creation by the state legislature of the regional transit authority for Southeast Michigan, we are looking very much at the possibility of the bankrupting of SMART or at the very least it being cut down to such a degree that all it'll be able to support is dial-a-rides.
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  #240  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 8:49 AM
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Quote:
"All of us believe in regional transportation. But what SMART offers is really not a regional solution. The prime example is, of the more than 60 communities in Oakland County, only 23 are in SMART and the remainder have opted out,"
So do all these other communities have their own transit systems if they aren't part of SMART?
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