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  #701  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 8:29 PM
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Originally Posted by GlassCity View Post
Yep, just a terrible fad to market the city as urban and modern without actually helping anything and spending a lot more money. The streetcar/light rail boom will be taught similarly to the freeway boom in future transportation classes.
light rail≠streetcar

Most recently constructed light rail systems (e.g. Phoenix and Seattle) have outperformed ridership expectations and continue to experience growing usage. These lines operate over longer distances than streetcars, have their own rights of way, and link cities with suburbs.

The results are less promising with streetcars operating over short distances in mixed traffic. Detroit's Q Line is one of those. If Detroit had been able to muster enough regional cooperation and funding to build a true light rail line -- perhaps an L-shaped route from Oakland County down Woodward into Downtown Detroit and then heading west through Dearborn to the airport in Romulus -- that would be a whole different scenario. The Q Line, however, seems like rail for the sake of rail, more linked to economic development dreams than actual mobility.
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  #702  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 9:00 PM
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Originally Posted by exit2lef View Post
light rail≠streetcar

Most recently constructed light rail systems (e.g. Phoenix and Seattle) have outperformed ridership expectations and continue to experience growing usage. These lines operate over longer distances than streetcars, have their own rights of way, and link cities with suburbs.

The results are less promising with streetcars operating over short distances in mixed traffic. Detroit's Q Line is one of those. If Detroit had been able to muster enough regional cooperation and funding to build a true light rail line -- perhaps an L-shaped route from Oakland County down Woodward into Downtown Detroit and then heading west through Dearborn to the airport in Romulus -- that would be a whole different scenario. The Q Line, however, seems like rail for the sake of rail, more linked to economic development dreams than actual mobility.
To be fair to Detroit’s transportation planners, they proposed a 10+ miles long publically financed light rail corridor on Woodward, not the significantly shorter privately financed Q-Line using streetcars.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a shorter rail line, no matter which type, is not going to attract as many commuters if it restricts the number of residents capable of using it. A short streetcar line that only connects immediately adjacent neighborhoods is not going to attract commuters traveling further. I have no doubt that if the Q-Line was extended further out to 10, 11, or 12 Mile Road as originally planned,or even further, its ridership would increase exponentially.

Detroit is well laid out for at grade rail lines within wide city streets, whether the rails share lanes or run in dedicated lanes, along several boulevards radiating out from the city central business district. But it will take public funding for it to occur, private enterprise will not be able to accomplish that full rail network. Private enterprise will only be able to achieve Q-Line length rail lines, better for businesses participating but not necessary good for commuters. I look at the Q-line as a seedling of what could be.
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  #703  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
These articles seem inherently anti-streetcar.

As far as financials, the QLine is something like 75% privately funded. Even if no one uses it, the costs of construction and operations have been paid for for the next 5 years. Obviously, it'll be an issue if ridership stayed low during that time, but it isn't expected to with the influx of new residents moving into downtown Detroit.

As far as actual mobility problems, those issues are far bigger than the QLine could ever be, and even if it reached X number of miles into whatever suburbs, Detroit would still have those same mobility issues. The QLine might be a better success, but it wouldn't solve the issues that overhang the region as a whole.

The QLine was never meant to solve any transit issues, but start as the foundation for a system to grow from.
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  #704  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 9:44 PM
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Originally Posted by exit2lef View Post
light rail≠streetcar

Most recently constructed light rail systems (e.g. Phoenix and Seattle) have outperformed ridership expectations and continue to experience growing usage. These lines operate over longer distances than streetcars, have their own rights of way, and link cities with suburbs.

The results are less promising with streetcars operating over short distances in mixed traffic. Detroit's Q Line is one of those. If Detroit had been able to muster enough regional cooperation and funding to build a true light rail line -- perhaps an L-shaped route from Oakland County down Woodward into Downtown Detroit and then heading west through Dearborn to the airport in Romulus -- that would be a whole different scenario. The Q Line, however, seems like rail for the sake of rail, more linked to economic development dreams than actual mobility.
I know light rail is different from streetcars, doesn't change my feelings that both suck. I've gone on that rant on this thread before, so I won't bother you guys with it again, I just couldn't help myself in replying to that one topic specifically.
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  #705  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 9:25 PM
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3k daily riders on a 3 mile streetcar in Detroit seems like a huge success to me. What am I missing? Transit usage there is quite minimal and the line is very short. It just needs to be extended!
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  #706  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 9:29 PM
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3k daily riders on a 3 mile streetcar in Detroit seems like a huge success to me. What am I missing? Transit usage there is quite minimal and the line is very short. It just needs to be extended!
Yeah, half a billion dollars to serve 3,000 riders/day is a great successful investment. How many of those people already took the bus one wonders too - previous case studies show it's most of them.
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  #707  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 9:36 PM
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500 million was for the whole 10 miles. FOH... this portion cost 137 million which includes facilities etc which are a one-off expense. Every system must start somewhere and this is an encouraging start.
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  #708  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2017, 9:49 PM
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Okay fine, I still think $137 million would have gone much farther in terms of ridership (and actual mobility, which seems to be the most forgotten part of transit infrastructure) improvements if invested in the bus system.
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  #709  
Old Posted Oct 10, 2017, 3:15 PM
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City and Potawatomi strike 12-year, $10 million streetcar presenting sponsorship agreement, includes free rides for the first 12 months

Read More: http://urbanmilwaukee.com/pressrelea...rst-12-months/

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Mayor Tom Barrett and Rodney Ferguson, CEO of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, today announced that the City of Milwaukee and the Forest County Potawatomi Community have come to an agreement whereby Potawatomi Hotel & Casino will be the presenting sponsor of the city’s streetcar system. The name will be “The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.”

The deal is for $10 million payable over 12 years. The parties intend to sign a letter of intent in the coming weeks with a full contract to follow. The funds will be used to offset operating costs and will include free rides for all for the first 12 months of the streetcar’s operation. The streetcar system is currently under construction. The Phase 1 line is expected to begin service in fall 2018 and the Lakefront Line will follow in coordination with the construction of The Couture development. “This is yet another important and exciting step for the City of Milwaukee and the streetcar. The momentum keeps building,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “We’re thrilled to have Potawatomi Hotel & Casino as our partner in moving Milwaukee forward.”

.....



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  #710  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2018, 11:06 PM
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What's Behind Today's Urban Streetcar Revival?

Read More: https://www.forbes.com/sites/petesau.../#7862ea4c3f07

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The revival of American cities over the last 20-25 years has also coincided with the revival of a relic of the earlier urban heyday -- the streetcar. But don't mistake the streetcar revival for a newfound affinity for mass transit. Today's streetcars -- indeed, streetcars throughout American history -- are about stimulating development and rising property values, and not about improving job or neighborhood access.

By one account from early last year, as many as ten streetcar lines have opened or have been proposed over the last few years. Portland got things started with the opening of a next generation streetcar line in 2001, and soon other cities followed suit. Portland was followed by Seattle, Salt Lake City, Tucson, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Cincinnati and Detroit, with new lines also proposed for Charlotte, St. Louis, Fort Lauderdale, Milwaukee, Tempe, Oklahoma City and even Brooklyn. With discussions underway for even more streetcar lines in other cities across the country, we're definitely in the middle of a new era in streetcar development.

But there are clues that indicate that today's streetcars are more about development and less about access. Some of the new streetcar lines are downtown loops, intended to move passengers around and across growing downtown areas. That's the case in Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. Other new systems are being developed or proposed as connectors that supplement existing systems. Seattle's City Center Connector would connect two existing lines there; Tempe's proposed streetcar would establish a link to light rail in Phoenix and Mesa. The Brooklyn-Queens Connector along the East River would link various neighborhoods between the two boroughs. A few cities are using new systems as the first phase of a potentially much broader, city-wide or metro-wide streetcar system -- Detroit, Charlotte and Kansas City fit this profile.

Curiously, this is happening just as transit ridership seems to be on the decline nationally. From Planetizen's Michael Lewyn back in January: --- Between 1995 and 2015, American transit ridership rose from 7.8 billion trips to 10.6 billion. But over the past couple of years, transit ridership in most cities has began to dip. Between the third quarter of 2016 and the third quarter of 2017, U.S.ridership declined by 3 percent. (Ridership also declined slightly in 2015.) Lewyn examined the data for the four most transit dominant metros (Boston, New York, San Francisco and Washington), where more than half of commuters travel to work on public transit, as well as the next group of transit dominant metros (Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle), where more than a third of utilize public transit, and he found that the decline was consistent there as in metros that were far less dependent on transit.

Lewyn attributes the ridership decline in part to a strengthening economy; that may well be true, but I'd add the impact of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. As for streetcar development in the time of ridership decline, much of that may have to do with the lag between development and construction. Most new systems were likely proposed as ridership was inching upward during the decades preceding the recent slide. But new streetcar systems were never intended to usher in a new transit-oriented urban future. It's been done before. Streetcars were initially developed in the late 19th century to open up new areas for urban -- and suburban -- development. Streetcars enabled the development of areas beyond the edges of old, crowded cities, and led to a new, more dispersed development pattern.

"Concentrated along radial streetcar lines, streetcar suburbs extended outward from the city, sometimes giving the growing metropolitan area a star shape. Unlike railroad suburbs which grew in nodes around rail stations, streetcar suburbs formed continuous corridors. Because the streetcar made numerous stops spaced at short intervals, developers platted rectilinear subdivisions where homes, generally on small lots, were built within a five- or 10-minute walk of the streetcar line. Often the streets were extensions of the gridiron that characterized the plan of the older city." As a tool for expanding the metropolitan area and increasing housing opportunities, streetcar suburbs were a success. They were able to accommodate new residents across the economic spectrum, welcoming working-class newcomers as well as upper-middle class professionals.

Streetcars fostered a new era of city-building at a time when cities were actively looking for something new, and many former streetcar suburbs are recognized as pleasing, comfortable, walkable and accessible historic districts around the country. Even I've weighed in on their benefits. As for today's iteration of streetcar development, however, I'm ambivalent. Streetcar development is happening now for two reasons: 1) there is a new and growing demand for city living, and 2) the demand for city living currently outpaces the supply. Streetcars systems are being built as a recognition of those factors, and an attempt to spark similar development in areas where it hasn't yet taken off. Just as parks and highways have been used as economic development tools in the past, streetcar systems are being utilized in the same manner.

.....



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  #711  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2018, 4:17 PM
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Ramsey County backs modern streetcar along West 7th. Construction could start by 2028.

https://www.twincities.com/2018/06/1...long-west-7th/

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.....

- The Ramsey County Board became the fifth and final local government to endorse the proposed Riverview transit corridor — a modern streetcar connecting the downtown St. Paul Union Depot to the Mall of America in Bloomington, primarily along West Seventh Street. --- The next stage will involve environmental review, design and engineering of the $1.4 billion – $2 billion line, which could begin construction as soon as 2028. Daily ridership is projected to reach 20,400 by the year 2040. The streetcar line, which can operate in regular traffic or roll onto light rail track, would use existing Green Line light-rail infrastructure at the Union Depot and in downtown St. Paul, and use existing Blue Line infrastructure south of the Mississippi River beginning at Fort Snelling.

.....



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  #712  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2018, 3:15 PM
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El Paso streetcar

Third streetcar arrives in El Paso with vintage color scheme from 1960s

El Paso Times
July 15, 2018


Streetcar No. 1504 is pushed into the maintenance and storage facility Sunday. RUDY GUTIERREZ/EL PASO TIMES

"Streetcar No. 1504, a Presidents Conference Committee car, was part of a fleet of streetcars that ran in El Paso until 1974. This car has a green-on-green color scheme used in the 1960s. It is one of three vintage color schemes that will be used on the six restored cars. They will be reintroduced to El Paso streets after they go through a testing phase. In the coming weeks, people may see the cars traveling along their new 4.8-mile route, but they will not carry passengers yet. The six streetcars are being returned to El Paso streets due to the $97 million El Paso Streetcar Project managed by the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority. City Rep. Peter Svarzbein says the return of the streetcars “is a way to celebrate who we are both culturally and economically” as the biggest U.S. city on the U.S.-Mexico border..."

https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/ne...eme/786910002/
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  #713  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2018, 3:58 PM
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Sorry but that AC or whatever it is thing on the roof totally kills the style of these PCC's. It looks ridiculous.
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  #714  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2018, 10:42 AM
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^Heavy rail works best in really large cities like New York, Mexico, Chicago, London, Tokyo, Osaka, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc. because they can transport larger volumes of people.

HRT can be just as bad in inner cities as LRT. It just needs to be designed well. It can't rip up neighbourhoods like freeways do, it can't create dead ends for roads, it can't be difficult or somehow confusing to get to the platform, it can't have big ugly barriers separating the ROW from traffic and sidewalk, etc.

Light rail is fine anywhere as long as it's designed well. Usually it works best by taking a lane or two away from an existing road rather than demo'ing buildings or parking lots or parks closest to the existing road and tearing it up for new tracks as it reduces the width of the road making it more friendly for people to walk to their train station. LRT goes through Downtown Vancouver, Downtown San Diego, Downtown Calgary, Downtown Edmonton, Downtown Portland, etc. and are highly used and accessible.
Nice explanation!!
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  #715  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 12:41 AM
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Too bad the light rail boom doesn't concide with a transit ridership boom.

And it's funny that modern light rail advocates try so hard to separate traditional light rail (streetcar/tram) from light rail. You never see BRT advocates say BRT is not bus or something. Just an example of how pretentious and out of touch with reality LRT activism is.
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  #716  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 12:43 AM
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I think light rail is a way of building something that fills the role of heavy rail without the cost. That's what it boils down to.
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  #717  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 2:29 AM
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I think light rail is a way of building something that fills the role of heavy rail without the cost. That's what it boils down to.
Fills the role of making you feel good about your city, sure. As a transportation solution, not even close. Actually, you're spending double for what a bus route could do. Truly the worst of both worlds.
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  #718  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 3:18 AM
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Fills the role of making you feel good about your city, sure. As a transportation solution, not even close. Actually, you're spending double for what a bus route could do. Truly the worst of both worlds.
A comparable BRT system would be almost as expensive as a train with higher operating costs.

Light rail is such a broad category. It includes lines and systems which are similar to streetcars, ones which are similar to metros, and everything in between. Instead of building obligatory grade-separated heavy rail metro with third rail for the entirely of a corridor, you can run trains that have overhead wires and can cross roads and walkways at grade.

Look at the Seattle East Link. It's almost entirely elevated or in a tunnel and reaches the the cores of Seattle and Bellevue with underground stations, but there are a few parts of the line that go through industrial areas along side streets and a couple stations that don't have a huge capacity requirement. LRT saves money over HRT, which is what that line would have been otherwise. BRT would be ridiculous in that alignment. You aren't going to dig miles of tunnel and build several subway stations for buses. Seattle already tried that.

Even in Houston where the Metro Red Line isn't grade separated and runs in the street, it is probably better than what it used to be like. The buses that used to run on Main caused traffic congestion because there were too many of them and they stopped in the outer lane. To improve the situation with buses would just involve tearing up the street and building something almost exactly like the light rail which is there now except without rails. If you didn't want the diesel buses they would have to be electric and need a charging depot, or you could have catenary. At least the longer trains have more capacity so there are fewer of them blocking intersections and because they run on tracks they ride smoother and make significantly less sound.

Last edited by llamaorama; Aug 3, 2018 at 3:29 AM.
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  #719  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 3:55 AM
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A comparable BRT system would be almost as expensive as a train with higher operating costs.

Light rail is such a broad category. It includes lines and systems which are similar to streetcars, ones which are similar to metros, and everything in between. Instead of building obligatory grade-separated heavy rail metro with third rail for the entirely of a corridor, you can run trains that have overhead wires and can cross roads and walkways at grade.

Look at the Seattle East Link. It's almost entirely elevated or in a tunnel and reaches the the cores of Seattle and Bellevue with underground stations, but there are a few parts of the line that go through industrial areas along side streets and a couple stations that don't have a huge capacity requirement. LRT saves money over HRT, which is what that line would have been otherwise. BRT would be ridiculous in that alignment. You aren't going to dig miles of tunnel and build several subway stations for buses. Seattle already tried that.

Even in Houston where the Metro Red Line isn't grade separated and runs in the street, it is probably better than what it used to be like. The buses that used to run on Main caused traffic congestion because there were too many of them and they stopped in the outer lane. To improve the situation with buses would just involve tearing up the street and building something almost exactly like the light rail which is there now except without rails. If you didn't want the diesel buses they would have to be electric and need a charging depot, or you could have catenary. At least the longer trains have more capacity so there are fewer of them blocking intersections and because they run on tracks they ride smoother and make significantly less sound.
I know light rail is a broad category. I use it as short-hand for urban, in-street non-grade separated rail, and I always assume others do too, so that's my bad. I do think however that the common freeway/railway alignments alternatives, even when grade-separated, are stupid for a different set of reasons. But yeah, when I criticize light rail, I'm thinking Portland Yellow Line, Minneapolis Green Line, Phoenix light rail, etc.

In any case, yes there are places where it's done better than others, in that it comes much closer to metro standards. My beef is with those where they just plop it down into a street and that buses could do just as well. Comparable BRT systems don't cost nearly as much as LRT systems cost, and they're much easier to replace with real rapid transit one day.

If we're using specific examples, a Vancouver suburb wants to replace a bus line with an LRT line right now. The projected time saving is ONE minute off the current bus route, that doesn't even have its own lanes or anything. At a cost of $2 billion. I'm sure the LRT is an improvement in Houston, but it's not even close to the improvement a metro would be. Plus, shifting buses to inner lanes could be done too, and "not building rails" saves a ton of money.

Either way, my argument's less about buses this time and more compared to metros. In-street urban light rail is significantly slower than grade-separated metros, so no, I don't think it fills its role at all. It might fill its role as the primary spine of the transit network, but that's a job that a real metro could do so much better, and though it's more expensive, you'll get much more value for your money.

Sorry, I know that was all over the place, but I'm exhausted. If this discussion continues I hope to give you a much more coherent response tomorrow
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  #720  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2018, 6:01 AM
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Sorry but that AC or whatever it is thing on the roof totally kills the style of these PCC's. It looks ridiculous.
It might look funny, but in 110-115 F heat they will be appreciated by everyone riding the streetcars. The original configuration of these streetcars in El Paso had tarp canvas roofs and windows that slid open. Now they have windows that are double paned and a metal roof heavy enough to support a heavy air conditioner.

I don't know of a single canvas material strong enough to support a few tons of heavy HVAC equipment. Imagine your home air conditioner sitting atop a canvas roofed convertible in your driveway or in your garage. Yes, you're going to want to beef up the support of that rag top aren't you?
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