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  #1821  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
You're reaching, big-time. Local money needs to be involved in the city's urban rail program - but Capital Metro has already spent about all the local money that would normally be available for transit capital projects. Additionally, there's little indication that this streetcar money will be large enough or go far enough to be a real alternative to the normal process.

Nice try, Dave.
Dave's not here. You may refer to me by SAM or Sir; anything else is unacceptable.

The City is planning a bond election this fall to fund the first phase of urban rail. The City has much greater bonding capacity than Cap Metro. The idea is to use the first phase investment as a local match for future expansions, just like Houston did. Cap Metro might be able to do the same with the Red Line under the more flexible funding environment. There might also be another round of ARRA Stimulus Funding coming, and the Transportation Reauthorization is more than a year overdue. Cap Metro has already received $5.6 M in Stimulus Funds to add passing tracks at key locations on the Red Line that will facilitate more frequent service.
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  #1822  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 2:26 AM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
By the way, New York is also spending BILLIONS of dollars to move the LIRR terminus to Grand Central - because even in New York, even there, yes, even in New York, a lot of potential passengers aren't using the LIRR because of the transfer requirement for most passengers. The justification for going to GC is all about walking distance to offices (something like 70% versus 25% at Penn).
True for the future, and then only for a small percentage of the total number of LIRR trains. But the roots of the LIRR have been in existence since 1832. Looks like one terminating station in Manhattan has done fine for almost 180 years. The subways first started running under Manhattan in 1904, 70 years later.

Did Austin even exist in 1832?
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  #1823  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 4:02 AM
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Wikipedia says Austin was founded in 1835

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin,_Texas
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  #1824  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 2:40 PM
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Originally Posted by SecretAgentMan View Post
Dave's not here. You may refer to me by SAM or Sir; anything else is unacceptable.

The City is planning a bond election this fall to fund the first phase of urban rail. The City has much greater bonding capacity than Cap Metro. The idea is to use the first phase investment as a local match for future expansions, just like Houston did. Cap Metro might be able to do the same with the Red Line under the more flexible funding environment. There might also be another round of ARRA Stimulus Funding coming, and the Transportation Reauthorization is more than a year overdue. Cap Metro has already received $5.6 M in Stimulus Funds to add passing tracks at key locations on the Red Line that will facilitate more frequent service.
Which is $5.6 million that could be spent better just throwing it out of a helicopter, since, once again Dave, double-tracking the Red Line, just like double-tracking Tri-Rail's CSX tracks, doesn't make them go anywhere more useful.

It's worth noting that despite your attempt to draw parallels here, "Houston" did not, in fact, use their first line as a local match; METRO did - their transit agency, unlike ours, actually tried to serve its constituents instead of a state legislator. There is zero chance that anybody at the FTA would view the Red Line as enough local investment of enough quality to be worth counting as a local match.
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Last edited by M1EK; Jan 26, 2010 at 5:39 PM. Reason: fixed tag
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  #1825  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 2:43 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
True for the future, and then only for a small percentage of the total number of LIRR trains. But the roots of the LIRR have been in existence since 1832. Looks like one terminating station in Manhattan has done fine for almost 180 years. The subways first started running under Manhattan in 1904, 70 years later.

Did Austin even exist in 1832?
Again, for the record, even in New York, the mecca of rail transit in this country, choice commuters are being discouraged from riding in large enough numbers (due to transfers) to make this 6-billion-dollar investment worthwhile. Yet people like electicron and SecretAgentMan want to pretend that residents of Central Texas will gladly switch from their cars to a transit commute consisting of a drive to a suburban park-and-ride, a ride on the Red Line, a transfer to urban rail, and then a walk to their office.
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  #1826  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 2:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PartyLine View Post
Thanks for pointing this out. I just had to correct it - yet another site still claiming 2000 projected riders when 2000 was the CAPACITY with the original plans to use 5 trains (now they're only going to use 4; and the projected ridership was originally 1500-1800; now 1500 is the likely capacity).
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  #1827  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 7:42 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Yet people like electicron and SecretAgentMan want to pretend that residents of Central Texas will gladly switch from their cars to a transit commute consisting of a drive to a suburban park-and-ride, a ride on the Red Line, a transfer to urban rail, and then a walk to their office.
Check out the Trinity Railway Express numbers once more. 10,000 commuter riders arriving in Union Station in downtown Dallas do precisely that.

Next you're going to suggest Texans in Austin and Dallas are different.
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  #1828  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2010, 10:58 AM
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A 12 lane tunnel is not a bad idea, it would also require expanding from the muller development, and were IH 35 over Lady Bird Lake also back to south Austin and it could work, cause think about it were IH 35 and the double deckers meet its all ready below ground expand it another 4 lanes both ways taking out all the feeders and double deckers make it a tunnel system fill it up were it's at grade level put access roads above it... the tunnel system would start were the double deckers would meet and end before lady bird lake just think of the possibilites you can have over the tunnel a huge park over more denser development, even a light rail over the tunnel could work.

Last edited by JoninATX; Jan 22, 2010 at 11:11 AM.
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  #1829  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2010, 11:09 AM
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the possibilites of the imagiation
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  #1830  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2010, 2:45 PM
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Originally Posted by JoninATX View Post
A 12 lane tunnel is not a bad idea, it would also require expanding from the muller development, and were IH 35 over Lady Bird Lake also back to south Austin and it could work, cause think about it were IH 35 and the double deckers meet its all ready below ground expand it another 4 lanes both ways taking out all the feeders and double deckers make it a tunnel system fill it up were it's at grade level put access roads above it... the tunnel system would start were the double deckers would meet and end before lady bird lake just think of the possibilites you can have over the tunnel a huge park over more denser development, even a light rail over the tunnel could work.
You know, I've thought of that crazy idea myself before. Interstates thru downtown are such a no-man's-land, it would be wonderful to be able to convert all that land into usable, livable space. However, I think that would be so enormously expensive that it's just not going to happen, especially in this political climate where investment in infrastructure is just not supported (unless it's a new road, of course). I'm thinking of all the funding gyrations they went through to get the Waller Creek tunnel approved. Still, a giant highway tunnel would be super-cool!

I think the only practical solution is to somehow divert the "through traffic" away from I-35 and keep the downtown part of the highway for local use. This assumes, of course, that a good chunk of our traffic is non-local. I did some Google Earth measuring, using I-35 and 130 intersections as the beginning and ending points. Going by I-35 is 42.4 miles. Going by 130 is 53.8 miles. Now, at the height of rush hour it probably would be faster taking the 130 route, but most of the time it's still probably more attractive to take I-35.

I guess that's what M1EK's proposal to toll I-35 and make 130 free is all about, to divert more traffic to the loop.
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  #1831  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2010, 7:50 PM
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Originally Posted by priller View Post
You know, I've thought of that crazy idea myself before. Interstates thru downtown are such a no-man's-land, it would be wonderful to be able to convert all that land into usable, livable space. However, I think that would be so enormously expensive that it's just not going to happen, especially in this political climate where investment in infrastructure is just not supported (unless it's a new road, of course). I'm thinking of all the funding gyrations they went through to get the Waller Creek tunnel approved. Still, a giant highway tunnel would be super-cool!
I couldn't agree more, Priller. It would be great, for example, for a place like UT to reclaim the land over IH35 and connect the university's holdings on the east side to the rest of campus (ie Disch to the Erwin Center). I'd like to see something similar happen in San Antonio with IH35 near UTSA Downtown and IH37 near Sunset Station. But I can't help thinking of Boston's Big Dig - which if I recall correctly will end up costing something like tens of billions of dollars. Austin (and San Antonio for that matter) just doesn't have the political or economic clout for something like that. Another great idea that will never happen.
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  #1832  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2010, 9:38 PM
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All I will say, is that if in early 2000 someone told me that downtown Austin would look like it does today, or that 183-A, Loop 1 extension, 45 North, 130, 45SE, along with the other highway projects completed in the 2000s would be built, I would have told you something along the lines of, "Yeah right."

I'm not saying I-35 will be expanded in the coming decade, but I do think at some point it will. Whether that involves a viaduct, a trench, a tunnel, double decking, or a combination of all of the above I do not know, but it will happen.

I don't buy that the government of this country will be too poor to build infrastructure in the coming decades. Even third-world countries still build new highways, and mass transit systems. Look at our neighbor to the south as an example.
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  #1833  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2010, 12:14 AM
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Eventually, the local Regional Transportation Council, usually one part of the local Metro Planning Council, will want to rebuild I-35 through Austin. With Texas and the Feds slow to increase gas taxes, or other highway taxes, they will look at what Dallas and Houston are doing, using Managed Lanes in which the new added lanes are tolled while the free lanes remain free.

If it were me, I would make the elevated lanes Managed Lanes, and use the money collected from them to rebuild the oldest lanes at grade while adding a few more free lanes.....or something to that effect.
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  #1834  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2010, 12:30 AM
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Lightbulb CapMetro latest letter to FRA

http://capmetroblog.files.wordpress..../fraletter.pdf

Good luck! Looks late we all might be riding the train by late March.
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  #1835  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2010, 7:56 PM
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Ih-35 Mis

I found these images from the TxDOT Major Investment Study for IH-35 done 7 or 8 years ago. They were proposing 6 main lanes, 6 collector / distributer lanes and HOV lanes north and south of downtown, placed is a trench through the downtown area.







The City sponsored a follow-up study that examined building over the blocks between 4th and 8th Streets with buildings and parks.





TxDOT cancelled the study in 2004.
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  #1836  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2010, 8:04 PM
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That would have been wonderful. Probably the best damn thing that could be done with 35.
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  #1837  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2010, 2:43 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
Check out the Trinity Railway Express numbers once more. 10,000 commuter riders arriving in Union Station in downtown Dallas do precisely that.

Next you're going to suggest Texans in Austin and Dallas are different.
10,000 riders in Dallas is basically equivalent to 2,000 riders in Austin, adjusted for metropolitan area population. In other words, you proved my point.
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  #1838  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2010, 2:44 PM
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The I-35 rebuild study, like various Mopac plans, was sound and fury, signifying nothing. It would have required a budget equivalent to about ten years of normal highway construction, at a time when our highway construction budget has dropped to a fraction of the old 'normal'.

Not. Gonna. Happen.
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  #1839  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2010, 3:58 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
The I-35 rebuild study, like various Mopac plans, was sound and fury, signifying nothing. It would have required a budget equivalent to about ten years of normal highway construction, at a time when our highway construction budget has dropped to a fraction of the old 'normal'.
Not Gonna Happen.
I'll agree TXDOT isn't going to build it. But why not Centra, after making the HOV lanes Managed lanes? Centra is funding and rebuilding I-820, SH 183, and I-635 in Dallas-Fort Worth, projects that have been waiting decades for TXDOT to fund.
Governor Perry's Trans Texas Corridors may be dead, but scraps of it are still alive and well.
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  #1840  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2010, 3:53 AM
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Quote:
Cap Metro details final steps to rail opening

By Ben Wear | Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 03:40 PM


The long and winding road that has been Capital Metro’s commuter rail project is in its last stages, increasingly confident agency officials said today, including work to complete late-in-the-game changes in the line’s signal and communication systems.

...
http://www.statesman.com/blogs/conte...nal_steps.html
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