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  #221  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2007, 5:54 PM
ATXboom ATXboom is offline
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Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 11:29 AM CST

Southwest Airlines Co. is adding nonstop service between Austin and the City of Brotherly Love.

The airline says nonstop flights between Philadelphia and Austin will begin on March 17. It also announced nonstop services between Denver and San Diego, and between San Francisco and Phoenix.

"Our customers want this service, and we are happy to provide it," says Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO. "We said when we entered Denver, San Francisco, and Philadelphia that it was just the beginning. These new destinations and additional flights continue to prove our commitment to these cities and to prudently growing the Southwest system."

This week, Southwest (NYSE: LUV) began flying nonstop from Austin to Denver.
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  #222  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 3:37 PM
DrewDizzle DrewDizzle is offline
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
Mikey addressed most of it - but the key here is that this S-turn doesn't buy you very much for the trouble anyways. Downtown workers don't want to go to Seaholm; they want to go to 6th and Congress. It might be worth the trouble if it got the train up to the Capitol and UT, but just to Seaholm, at a cost of losing an entire downtown block?

Cities fall way too much in love with this intermodal crap. Nobody wants to transfer as part of their daily commute. A fraction of possible commuters will put up with it, but that's an argument for avoiding these things, not for trying to route traffic to them.

BTW, Brewster McCracken's office finally wrote back. I'll be summarizing in the other rail thread when I get some time (not today).
I know this idea would, for obvious reason, be precluded from a start light rail line however I am curious if there is any thought to tunneling a line for more effective downtown stops - even two or three underground stops would suffice. If and/or when Austin has shown itself to be a good mass transit investment opportunity, I think leadership akin to Wynn's style could push for funds to expand the downtown stops and possibly submerge, at the very least, a few areas to really lend itself to a more accessible downtown and campus area, which can only be a good thing for mass transit, yes?
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  #223  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2007, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DrewDizzle View Post
I know this idea would, for obvious reason, be precluded from a start light rail line however I am curious if there is any thought to tunneling a line for more effective downtown stops - even two or three underground stops would suffice. If and/or when Austin has shown itself to be a good mass transit investment opportunity, I think leadership akin to Wynn's style could push for funds to expand the downtown stops and possibly submerge, at the very least, a few areas to really lend itself to a more accessible downtown and campus area, which can only be a good thing for mass transit, yes?
Honestly I am not a mass transit guy but I know it would cost tons of money to build under ground due to the solid rock beneath the dirt.
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  #224  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 1:09 AM
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But that's the thing. It's expensive to tunnel now, but it'll be way more expensive in the future.
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  #225  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 5:12 AM
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Originally Posted by southsideatx04 View Post
Honestly I am not a mass transit guy but I know it would cost tons of money to build under ground due to the solid rock beneath the dirt.
True but how else do you get to the dense parts of town that needs to be reached via railed transit?
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  #226  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 6:12 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
There isn't going to be a lot of interest in transferring from one DMU to another DMU. And the ASA rail isn't going to happen. And, of course, it doesn't help with UT and the Capitol (unless magical fairy dust lets us build reserved-guideway rail up/down Congress and Guadalupe even though it never hits the burbs). And of course, it's not feasible to have stops that close together with DMUs.

Other than that, it sounds good. (How was the play, Mr. Lincoln?)

Guys, if I sound like a broken record it's because you don't listen: the decision to go with DMU technology and that commuter rail route has precluded a lot of other good things from ever happening.
I can understand what you're saying, and how you feel tried of repeating yourself. But, it's what we're stuck with. So we need to figure out a way to make it work as much as we can. Like I've said before, I agree with you 95% of the time, but you make it hard a agree with you when you come across the way you do. It's getting to the point were I don't want to listen to what you have to say even though it's most probably correct. I'm not trying to be mean or a dick about this. I mean it as constructive criticism.
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  #227  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2007, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southsideatx04 View Post
Honestly I am not a mass transit guy but I know it would cost tons of money to build under ground due to the solid rock beneath the dirt.
I would bet that the larger chunk of change would be the utility relocations, actually. Regardless, the exercise would not be a cheap one, either now or in the future.
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  #228  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kingkirbythegreat View Post
I can understand what you're saying, and how you feel tried of repeating yourself. But, it's what we're stuck with. So we need to figure out a way to make it work as much as we can.
The only way to make this work is to hope it fails quickly, tear it up, and build something that _will_ work. Even though the city's saying the right things about urban rail, the Feds aren't going to fund a route which doesn't go to the 'burbs, and we can't afford to build it ourselves without cheaping out on essentials like reserved guideway.

That's the message you should have gotten from the broken record.
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  #229  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 2:37 PM
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Originally Posted by M1EK View Post
the Feds aren't going to fund a route which doesn't go to the 'burbs
All other parts to your message without argument, this part seems odd to me.

The Feds won't explicitly care--and they don't have a paradigm agenda otherwise--as to whether a new line reaches the burbs or not. For federal funding, it must meet a wide range of criteria, most notably the revised cost-effectiveness criteria.

Unless you are suggesting that the only way to attain this criteria is to, in fact, have a line reach the suburbs (i.e. outside the extent of the current Cap Metro service, which plays a role in that criteria), then I'm not sure of this being a necessarily foregone conclusion.

As a sidenote, welcome back.
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  #230  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 2:39 PM
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'That's the message you should have gotten from the broken record.'

Right there. Everything is fine, until you have to insert a comment like that.
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  #231  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 2:54 PM
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Was performing a quick search to determine exactly what is the federal policy on funding light rail and found this site. Not what I was looking for but interesting non-the-less. Also has some good references a the bottom.

http://www.reason.org/ps244.html

http://www.lightrailnow.org/ - Another good one
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  #232  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 3:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JAM View Post
Was performing a quick search to determine exactly what is the federal policy on funding light rail
Here are some links that should help:
http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-AIR/...-12/a29718.htm
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/expect...1125.2003.html

What is interesting and noteworthy in the policy is that existing transit service is effectively counted against you when planning a new line. I can not speak to the particulars of impact here in Texas, but back in Minnesota, a new commuter rail line had to be significantly trimmed due to the express buses that had been in place where the line was planned. And the second planned LRT line in the Cities will have a huge time-effectiveness hurdle as it would largely supplement existing local and express bus service (between the two cities themselves).
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  #233  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 3:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Mikey711MN View Post
All other parts to your message without argument, this part seems odd to me.

The Feds won't explicitly care--and they don't have a paradigm agenda otherwise--as to whether a new line reaches the burbs or not. For federal funding, it must meet a wide range of criteria, most notably the revised cost-effectiveness criteria.

Unless you are suggesting that the only way to attain this criteria is to, in fact, have a line reach the suburbs (i.e. outside the extent of the current Cap Metro service, which plays a role in that criteria), then I'm not sure of this being a necessarily foregone conclusion.

As a sidenote, welcome back.
Thanks. Yes, I am referring to the cost-effectiveness metric - the most expensive part of the line to build is the urban part - and you only get the urban half of the riders there. Remember again, 2000's LRT line hit all the major suburban centers hit by 2004's commuter rail line, AND the urban density in central Austin, AND hit all three major employment centers.

By the way, for the "I'll walk from the Convention Center every day" people, I took the family to PF Changs last Tuesday night and ended up having to park about a block past the future rail stop. The walk to PF Changs confirmed every one of my preconceptions about how unlikely it is that office workers will make a trip of this length every day rather than just drive.
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  #234  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 3:21 PM
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My rail update is finally up here (referring to conversation with McCracken).
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  #235  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 3:37 PM
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Re: cost-effectiveness metric, I'd wager that's why they didn't even try for federal funding on the commuter start - given that the express bus travel time to UT and the Capitol is likely quicker than the commuter rail + shuttlebus travel time, and the time to downtown is only a little better for commuter rail (because it goes so far out of the way and stops so far away from the office buildings).

LRT would still have done fine in our case given how much of a congestion penalty the #1/#101 pay in that corridor (and the fact that the train would have stopped right in front of UT and the Capitol means it would have opened up a pretty big time advantage over even the #98x buses).
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  #236  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 4:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mikey711MN View Post
Thanks for the links. Found my way over to:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/news...ment_2608.html

Looks like all of these docs include number of low income housing served as major criteria for funding. Running routes thru low income area's looks like it may be a major factor in obtaining funding.

If you dig down, this link brings you over to a word doc and spread sheets used in the calcs.

http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/news...ment_2619.html
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  #237  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 9:38 PM
DrewDizzle DrewDizzle is offline
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pointing out that the #1/#101 are the most ridden buses we've got, proving a strong demand for transit in the corridor even today, even with bad bus service as the only option.
M1EK, that's from your blog. My response:

So, help me understand - what benefit is it to build rail where riders already ride buses? There's no benefit for traffic.
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  #238  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2007, 9:51 PM
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Drew,

Good question. The buses are gradually losing riders proportionally because they suffer worse than cars from traffic congestion - and the operating costs for rail are lower than for buses, so Capital Metro would also benefit (especially if, as is being discussed, somebody else swallows the capital costs). When you get to the point where you're running buses at sub ten-minute headways (I forget the number, but it's single-digit minutes), you also interfere with other bus traffic to the point where the corridor is better off as rail. 1L/1M runs at 10 minute headways now, and 101 also runs in same exact corridor, so during rush hour they're already there.

Mainly, though, bus ridership in a corridor just gives you an estimate for the FLOOR of rail ridership - i.e. if there's 5000 bus riders per day, you can assume 5000+N rail riders. As long as the corridor is the same, of course; the 183 corridor express buses go straight to UT and the Capitol and downtown offices, while commuter rail, of course, doesn't, so it can't even count on getting those folks unless CM does something squirrely with those buses.
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  #239  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2007, 7:34 PM
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Just a quick sidebar...I just got back from a luncheon where Brewster McCracken was the guest speaker. Pretty interesting stuff, but primarily focused on VMU. Of course, due to the inherent tie between development and transportation, the latter came up in a few questions.

Anyway, I figured I'd stop him afterwards to have a chat. He was, of course, very excited at the VMU overlay and the prospects for various parts of town along "core transit corridors". M1EK, to address something you brought up a few posts ago, it appears that East Riverside has by far and away the most significant development activity according to the new VMU guidelines, and as such, is being looked at as a natural rail transit corridor. (something like 8 or so projects under Council consideration, with a recent pretty cool looking 4-story VMU just approved)

We didn't delve into the particulars on what transit type may be implemented where, but we exchanged contact info as I expressed interest in one of the task forces for Wynn's transit desires. He seemed very receptive to what the engineering community had to say about it all.
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  #240  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2007, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Mikey711MN View Post
it appears that East Riverside has by far and away the most significant development activity according to the new VMU guidelines, and as such, is being looked at as a natural rail transit corridor.
Not that I've checked demographics, but it would appear that East Riverside seems to be at low income level - another natural condition for a rail corridor..

This would fall right in line with:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/news...ment_2608.html

Looks like all of these docs include number of low income housing served as major criteria for funding. Running routes thru low income area's looks like it may be a major factor in obtaining funding.
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