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  #7981  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2018, 7:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Makid View Post
Last I heard the blue line is supposed to be extended as UTA already owns the ROW. The new line would meet up with the future Red Line extension and then that line (Red Line) would meet up with the Blue Line around the Plurasight HQ in Draper.

The map hasn't been updated since the last legislative session that started the move of UTA to the State and allowed State Funds to be used for transit projects.
I hope that's correct because having the Red line go down and dead-end at Rosecrest is a really stupid idea. A lot more people will ride the section from MVVillage to Draper Frontrunner than would ride to Rosecrest.
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  #7982  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2018, 7:52 PM
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I hope that's correct because having the Red line go down and dead-end at Rosecrest is a really stupid idea. A lot more people will ride the section from MVVillage to Draper Frontrunner than would ride to Rosecrest.
There may be a branch going into Herriman as well for an eventual connector to a Saratoga Springs Trax Line from Lehi. Currently it is listed as BRT/LRT. MAG wants BRT but the cities are pushing hard for LRT and have talked about refusing to give up ROW and possible funding for anything less than LRT going out towards Eagle Mountain from Lehi.
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  #7983  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2018, 9:07 PM
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Would people really use light rail to Eagle Mountain? I can't imagine a more car-oriented area.
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  #7984  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2018, 11:50 PM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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Would people really use light rail to Eagle Mountain? I can't imagine a more car-oriented area.
That and I wish would would worry less about connecting all the suburbs and exurbs to LRT and instead focus that cash on having really good system in areas willing to zone more densely.
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  #7985  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2018, 12:04 AM
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http://www.rideuta.com/-/media/Files...umm.ashx?la=en

Future of Frontrunner Final Report

Most interesting takeaways from the two most attractive options:

(High Investment) Full electrification and 34 additional miles of double track would allow 15 minute headways and equate to 62,000 daily riders at a cost of $2.8 billion.

(Medium Investment) Continued diesel operation with 46 miles of additional double track would allow for 15 minute headways and equate to 58,000 daily riders at a cost of $1.4 billion, but adds 9-10 minutes from Ogden to Provo.

I know there has been a big push for electrification, but if the other option produces nearly the same results at HALF the price, a significantly quicker build, and establishes much more double track, I think that option (medium investment in the report) is the best path forward, at least initially. It establishes a better base to jump off of for future full double tracking/electrification.

Last edited by Wasatch Wasteland; Oct 14, 2018 at 12:35 AM.
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  #7986  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2018, 4:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Wasatch Wasteland View Post
http://www.rideuta.com/-/media/Files...umm.ashx?la=en

Future of Frontrunner Final Report

Most interesting takeaways from the two most attractive options:

(High Investment) Full electrification and 34 additional miles of double track would allow 15 minute headways and equate to 62,000 daily riders at a cost of $2.8 billion.

(Medium Investment) Continued diesel operation with 46 miles of additional double track would allow for 15 minute headways and equate to 58,000 daily riders at a cost of $1.4 billion, but adds 9-10 minutes from Ogden to Provo.

I know there has been a big push for electrification, but if the other option produces nearly the same results at HALF the price, a significantly quicker build, and establishes much more double track, I think that option (medium investment in the report) is the best path forward, at least initially. It establishes a better base to jump off of for future full double tracking/electrification.
Does anyone have the full report? I am only able to get the first 19 pages.

It looks like nothing is decided until at least 30 miles have been double tracked, at that point it will need to be looked at.

For the numbers, it also looks like the extensions from Brigham City to Santaquin help ridership but the infill stations only add roughly 900 boardings daily. That may not account for the growth of Vineyard or the future growth of the Prison redevelopment area for the Bluffdale station.

Some of the costs however could be reduced in any of the scenarios with creative thinking such as the costs for parking at the stations. Working with nearby businesses or nearby churches and running shuttle buses would be better than building new parking structures. This also allows for building TODs near the stations to provide better ridership. Even incorporating additional parking within the TOD could work as paid parking to help subsidize the shuttle bus service.

The infill stations outside of the Vineyard station could be added as demand requires. I leave the Vineyard station only because of the current growth rate and the fact that Vineyard is being built more as a high density city than other cities in Utah County so ridership should be naturally higher.

Electrification does allow for requiring less doubling tracking due to faster trains. The ROW costs and the difficulty of expanding the double tracked sections to allow for the diesel trains to run at 15 minute frequencies may also reduce the gap between the 2 options.

Additionally, it is listed in the report that UTA would save nearly $700 Million by moving to Electric rather than keeping diesel at the end of life on the current diesel locomotives. This is also probably not taking into account possible grants/low interest loans available to UTA to switch from diesel to EMU's for the system that may make the total cost 50% to 75% lower than listed.

It is possible that the High Investment option could come in at $2 Billion, giving us an electrified system from Brigham City to Santaquin with peak service at 15 minute frequencies.

This would make adding additional sections of double tracking between Ogden and Provo easier over time as the system would be in place. The sections to look at would be to possibly improve frequencies further to 10 minute peak time intervals or better until the system is fully double tracked.
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  #7987  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2018, 6:00 PM
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Wasatch Wasteland Wasatch Wasteland is offline
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Does anyone have the full report? I am only able to get the first 19 pages.

It is possible that the High Investment option could come in at $2 Billion, giving us an electrified system from Brigham City to Santaquin with peak service at 15 minute frequencies.

This would make adding additional sections of double tracking between Ogden and Provo easier over time as the system would be in place. The sections to look at would be to possibly improve frequencies further to 10 minute peak time intervals or better until the system is fully double tracked.
The extension to Brigham City and Santaquin would be "Diesel Shuttles" as listed in the beginning of the report. 2 trains (4 total) would operate hourly frequencies. 2 additional depots would be built at either end of the system near Ogden and Provo accommodate expanded rail operations as well as the isolated diesel shuttle systems.

When looking at the costs per mile, it is actually slightly cheaper to electrify a mile of double track than it is to electrify a mile of single track, for whatever reason (economy of scale?). Rather than electrifying single track, and slowly adding double track after electrification, double tracking and then electrifying would theoretically be half the cost for electrification done all at once for both tracks per mile.

When looking at the graphics representing difficulty of double tracking, the only section that seems near impossible is the flyover in South Jordan. That might be the only single track bottleneck in a future fully double tracked system. I'm curious as to why they didn't build it with the capacity to add another track like they did with most of their bridges for Frontrunner South. Most of the other bridges owned by UTA that are not double track capable could easily be accommodated by sharing space on adjacent underutilized Union Pacific bridges; bridges that are wide enough for 2-4 tracks but only carry 1 or 2.

After contacting UTA, who directed me to LTK, who directed me to Fehr and Peers, who directed me to some people back at UTA, they finally posted this. I'll email them again and ask for them to post the full report rather than the executive summary.
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  #7988  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2018, 6:12 PM
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This is an interesting graphic for many reasons.
  • Man, our governments are really determined to make use of that prison site.
  • What is that new freeway connection between Lehi and the Mountain View Corridor? Won't the currently planned link between the two of them just south of Lehi be enough?
  • I also haven't seen any discussion about the connection between Bangerter Highway and the Mountain View Corridor, but they show one here plowing straight through the middle of that mountain-view village thing, which I don't think is compatible.
  • Can a circilator line be 'micro-transit?' I thought by definition a circulator is a normal bus route that loops around high density areas. Is this just a code-name for private corporate shuttle busses, or ride-sharing vehicles employees can use between their offices and the FrontRunner station?
  • Has any corridor preservation been done so far for any of the transit lines or the future north-south boulevard? I would be curious to see this map drawn on top of an actual map, not just a graphical representation of the area.

Overall, I think this is what happens when people with only a map take things too far. If the intent is simply to connect the highlighted areas in plausible ways then I say well done, it is a pretty good graphic. However, I think it is going to go through some severe revisions upon first contact with reality.
I'm not opposed to a TRAX connection through 'downtown sandy' to at least the South Jordan FrontRunner station - that much is obvious and plausible. Extending that as far down as the prison site isn't a terrible idea, but it is probably overkill. Using that branch as the new mainline into Utah County rather than the existing railroad ROW is going to have all kinds of problems that are too long to list here. If you're building a rail transit line, stick to rail corridors for the optimal implementation. Trying to ram a rail line down a freeway corridor is the equivalent to forcing a square peg into a round round hole - something is going to need to be severely compromised, and it most likely is going to be the peg (see Denver's R-Line LRT and its low ridership for an example).

My guess is that there will be all sorts of meetings and engineering studies about this, costing much money, that will eventually suggest that using the the railroad corridor into Utah County is the best option for its cost, just like what happened with the Draper extension (there was talk of sending it down State Street - can you imagine that?!). LRT will be studied between Daybreak and Draper, but eventually BRT will be deemed more cost appropriate. Perhaps they will make the pretense of building it as a means to upgrade to LRT later, but this will eventually be dropped in favor of a permanent BRT line, just as was done with the new UVX line in ProvOrem.

Same thing for the transit lines out to Eagle Mountain.

The roads, however, will probably be built as planned, so it's probably more important to pay attention to those lines.
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  #7989  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2018, 6:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Wasatch Wasteland View Post
http://www.rideuta.com/-/media/Files...umm.ashx?la=en

Future of Frontrunner Final Report

Most interesting takeaways from the two most attractive options:

(High Investment) Full electrification and 34 additional miles of double track would allow 15 minute headways and equate to 62,000 daily riders at a cost of $2.8 billion.

(Medium Investment) Continued diesel operation with 46 miles of additional double track would allow for 15 minute headways and equate to 58,000 daily riders at a cost of $1.4 billion, but adds 9-10 minutes from Ogden to Provo.

I know there has been a big push for electrification, but if the other option produces nearly the same results at HALF the price, a significantly quicker build, and establishes much more double track, I think that option (medium investment in the report) is the best path forward, at least initially. It establishes a better base to jump off of for future full double tracking/electrification.
This is awesome, thanks for posting this! I have been waiting a long time.

I am amazed that they make no effort to estimate the costs of double-tracking the whole line between Provo and Ogden. I'm less concerned about the electrification, since politics seems to be trending in that direction anyway. (Poor air quality concerns can be addressed with a large electrification project, and with Stadler producing electric trains here in the valley the purchase of electric trains will be seen as a local-job creation opportunity. It's practically a done-deal.)

My concern is that electrification makes double-tracking the line more expensive, thus slowing the process down. It would be far cheaper to add electric cantenary above two existing tracks rather than add a new track and a new electric catenary beside an existing electrified track. Part of this is just the pole and foundations, since one pole can support catenaries over two tracks, but another part is that - unless the second track is already anticipated in the placement of the first track - adding a second track often leads to relocation of the first track, which makes things many times more expensive if the poles and foundations of a catenary system also need to be relocated.

At the very least, I would expect this process to be followed:
1) Draw up detailed plans of where the second track will go, and what change (especially shifting around the existing track) will need to be made to fit that track in.
2) Make these changes so that the current single-track will not need to be moved around at all when the second track is added.
3) Add in the 'strategic' double track under the 'medium' investment scenario (this one has the most double track since the cost of electrification is rolled into more double-track)
4) Then, once all this is done, electrify and upgrade to faster trains.

Somehow this report ignores steps 1) and 2), which will increase costs later on.

Some other things that make me scratch my head, not in any particular order:

- I don't understand why infill stations are being seriously considered. These were studied when the lines first opened, and they already decided then that stopping more often meant that travel times would be slower, thus fewer people would ride. The report shows as much now. I hope this is just for political appeasement for the smaller cities because actually stopping the train more often would be significantly counter-productive to buying faster electric trains; you would be spending millions of dollars to speed the trains up while at the same time spending millions of dollars to slow them back down.

- I may not be reading the charts on page 11 and onward because I can't find a color key. But it looks like in no scenario - not even the medium investment scenario that features the most double-track - is a second track added between Centerville and Farmington. This means that during one of the fastest, straightest sections of the line with no grade crossings and where there is the potential to raise the speed limits up to their theoretical maximum (110 mph or higher), they are going to throw in a 40-mph switch to reduce the two-track system down to a single track line. This is stupid. I don't care how efficient the scheduling of the trains is, if you're going to add any double track north of Woods Cross, take it all the way north to Farmington. They have the ROW for it, why not build it?

This seems to be a common trend at all the station sidings, where they will show the sidings extending for a mile or two beyond the station but then reducing to single track for the rest of the way. This is a really bad design. Unless they mean to install super expensive and maintenance-intensive high-speed switches, the trains will have to slow down to 40 miles per hour to go from single to double track and visa-versa. By extending the siding length you may believe you are increasing the system fluidity by giving trains more opportunity to pass each other, but what you've really done is slow down the whole system by cutting train's top speed between stations from 80 mph down to 40 mph, especially when PTC is taken into consideration.

- In reality the only way to beneficially add a second track to FrontRunner is to add it between station pairs. For all the grief I give about the S-Line adding double track for only a few hundred feet at least they are linking two stations with double track!

- I refuse to believe that with electric trains and a full double-track that the end-to-end trip time will still be an hour and 45 minutes. What will it be without those infill stations? I'm guessing it will be under an hour and a half, which would be much more useful.

- In no scenario do they advocate getting rid of the obvious slow curves between Lehi and Draper. That hillside is being quarried away, and once it is gone there will be no need to make slow 45-mph turns. Go straight through at 90 mph, you will save a lot of time!

Honestly I'm more than a little disappointed by this study. It feels like either it was done by people who don't know the system they're working with very well, or that there was too much consideration given to politics. Probably both. I hope that this is only the starting point for better thought-out plans later on.

Last edited by Hatman; Oct 15, 2018 at 10:41 PM.
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  #7990  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2018, 2:47 AM
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Wasatch Wasteland Wasatch Wasteland is offline
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Hatman,

A lot of your points on missing information or untouched topics are covered in the full report, such as full double tracking, track alignment, and cost to phase in ekectrifcation infrastructure on progressively built double tracked sections. These are just the first 16 pages of a 387 detailed and comprehensive analysis. I contacted them and they posted the summary, but I’m working on getting them to post the full version.
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  #7991  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2018, 3:57 AM
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Thanks Wasatch. I really appreciate your posting the first few pages - and I guess I need to be more patient before I react too much. I hate waiting.

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  #7992  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2018, 4:23 PM
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A great article!

CityLab | Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.

Here are a few key quotes...

----

"To this day, in most parts of American cities, it is all but impossible to get anywhere on a Sunday at 8 p.m. by transit, and if you miss the bus you might be waiting an hour or more for the next one. Such a situation is virtually unheard of in most other developed countries, where even many small villages have a relatively regular bus."

----

"Unlike their American counterparts, European planners designed new suburbs in ways that made transit use still viable. Many new towns were built around train and metro stations."

----

"Early U.S. suburbs like Levittown, New York, on the other hand, were built along highways and had virtually no transit service at all. They’re almost all still built on the model developed in the 1940s: single-family homes on isolated streets, with stores surrounded by parking lots a decent drive away."

----

"For another example, take Munich, a German city with a population roughly comparable to that of Denver or St. Louis. It has 95 kilometers of subway—only about half the length of Washington’s Metro system. But on top of that, it has 434 kilometers of S-Bahn, which is like American commuter rail, except that it uses the same fare as the local bus and metro service and its trains come every 20 minutes, all day. Through the downtown core, all the S-Bahn routes combine into one underground line that acts as a kind of super-subway, with trains every two minutes."

----

"In Germany, for example, high-speed Autobahnen go just about everywhere. The land of BMW and Mercedes-Benz boasts a strong car culture, and its plans for a national network of expressways were first formed in the 1920s; indeed, these highways helped inspire America’s interstate build-out. But Germany never stopped building rail systems.

"The U.S. did stop building rail, despite much talk among American planners of “balanced” transportation plans that included both highway and public transit improvements. There were nearly no significant rail projects between the New Deal era in the 1930s and early ‘40s, and the Great Society era of the 1960s."


----

"People shouldn’t have to pay a transfer penalty or a double fare just because they switch from bus to rail, transfer between agencies, or travel across the city limits. A transfer is an inconvenience—you shouldn’t have to pay extra for it.

"Fares should be set for the convenience of riders, not government agencies. A trip of a similar distance should have a similar fare, regardless of whether it’s on a bus or train, or if you have to cross city limits. Commuter rail shouldn’t be a “premium service” that only suburban professionals can afford.This is the kind of unfairness that infuriates people and drives them away from transit."


-----

"The suburban York Mills subway station, for example, is surrounded by surface parking, a golf course, and multi-million-dollar houses on large lots. It sounds like just about the worst environment imaginable for a subway station. And yet, it gets 10,890 riders a day--more than many stations in Manhattan, and most in Brooklyn."

"York Mills also isn’t atypical. In fact, it’s one of the less busy suburban stations in Toronto."

"Nearly every Torontonian is within a 15-minute walk of a 24-hour bus route. Virtually every one of the major roads on the city’s grid has a bus route that comes at least every 10 minutes, all day long."


----

"In some ways, the story of American transit is not so unique. Europeans and Canadians also like to drive. Their countries have also built big expressway networks. The difference is more basic, yet profound: When transit service isn’t good, few will choose to use it."
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  #7993  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2018, 4:10 PM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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For those more in the know, what are some of the future ideas for easing East-West traffic? We are really good at accommodating North-South (15, 215, Mountain View, Bangerter), but E-W still is a nightmare many times. I personally am a fan of BRT (exclusive bus lanes in the middle of the road with light priority) that is free. With that said to accommodate the strong car culture, why not eliminate as many of the intersections along roads such as 54th, 106th, etc. as possible? I would have the "junior" road pass under so the busier road doesn't need to stop. Are there examples around the country or world of this working? I know you have businesses on these corners, but I would just have the pass through lanes go under while the turn lanes stay at grade. Is this crazy talk?
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  #7994  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2018, 7:39 PM
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For those more in the know, what are some of the future ideas for easing East-West traffic?
Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has a rough guideline for suburbs that show a freeway every six miles. Applied to Salt Lake County, we are actually doing quite well:



The southern end of the valley is a bit lacking. That's why:
  • 5400 South has reversible lanes
  • 11400 South was built with a 45 mile per hour speed limit and some access control (restricting driveway spacing).

Ideally there should freeways on or near those corridors, but with how built up the areas are, it is not likely. Instead, it appears the state has focused on trying to beef up all the east-west corridors to make them flow as well as they can. Converting Bangerter Hwy to a freeway helps reduce east-west wait times at its signals, as well as on adjacent north-south streets (since more traffic will use Bangerter).

One thing to keep an eye on is a future (currently unplanned) connection between the southern end of Bangerter and MVC. That could serve as another east-west freeway route.
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  #7995  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2018, 10:58 PM
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I will be X's.
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  #7996  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2018, 1:04 AM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has a rough guideline for suburbs that show a freeway every six miles. Applied to Salt Lake County, we are actually doing quite well:



The southern end of the valley is a bit lacking. That's why:
  • 5400 South has reversible lanes
  • 11400 South was built with a 45 mile per hour speed limit and some access control (restricting driveway spacing).

Ideally there should freeways on or near those corridors, but with how built up the areas are, it is not likely. Instead, it appears the state has focused on trying to beef up all the east-west corridors to make them flow as well as they can. Converting Bangerter Hwy to a freeway helps reduce east-west wait times at its signals, as well as on adjacent north-south streets (since more traffic will use Bangerter).

One thing to keep an eye on is a future (currently unplanned) connection between the southern end of Bangerter and MVC. That could serve as another east-west freeway route.
Regarding my proposal of removing many of the intersections along some of the busiest East West routes, do you think that is feasible?
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  #7997  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2018, 5:50 AM
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It's tough to say. I think a picture is worth a thousand words:




I have superimposed the the 7800 South and Bangerter Highway grade separation onto 5400 South. This is the tightest (most compact) grade separation that I am aware of in Utah. It can't be shorter because that would make the climb uphill too steep. It can't be any narrower because the intersection needs ramps to allow motorists to connect to 3200 West.

On the lower half, I have shown possible property buy-outs required and the accesses (local streets, driveways) that would have to close or be significantly reduced to accommodate the ramps.

To answer, yes -- it is possible. But that's true in civil engineering if the budget is large enough. Is this really a good use of money? Is it good for the community it is intending to serve? Not really.

My rationale is that in order to make 5400 S work with grade separation, a bridge would need to be built about every 1/2 mile. At that kind of spacing, it wouldn't make sense to let driveways remain between interchanges for safety reasons -- and by the time we are done, we'd have to demolish all the businesses along 5400 S and have basically built a freeway. What good is a freeway to serve a community when we demolish the community?

I don't know what the correct option is, but I tend to focus on improvements to the 201 freeway, building the Bangerter connector to MVC, and making the rest of the roads as good as possible. Yes, Utah screwed up royally by not planning an east-west route around 5400-6200 South, but that's water under the bridge now.
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  #7998  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2018, 5:43 PM
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If things like seismic codes and stopping-sight distances are disregarded all kinds of silly stuff would be possible:



That picture is funny for many reasons, but it isn't far from this actual suggestion from the Federal Highway Administration, of all people:



Source: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publication.../09060/009.cfm

The idea is that left turns really gum things up, and things like 'THRU-TURNS' only shift the problem to other locations. So why not grade separate the turning movements so that people still can turn left, but do it independently of the through-traffic?

I think this type of infrastructure will become possible, but only once cars are computer-driven. Grade separating entire intersections costs a lot of money and is unsightly, causes noise for far longer distances into residential neighborhoods, and can be rough on pedestrian traffic. But what if autonomous cars operate in platoons so that more traffic fits into fewer lanes? Grade separating just one or even two lanes in each direction (especially if they are 8' lanes for autonomous cars only) isn't nearly so invasive or expensive. And what if autonomous cars don't need to have as long of stopping-sight distance, meaning vertical curves can be tighter? Then the bridge can be shorter, which makes it even more cost-effective.
Urban roads could really begin to look like a TRON arena with unmarked tubes or bridges going everywhere, with the robot cars seemingly navigating through them like magic. I hope I live to see the day.

But back in the present, the S-Line was closed this last weekend in order to install the new switch on the west side of the new track. The east-end switch will be installed in November. I am happy it only takes two days to install these switches rather than an entire week (as was the case for road closures during the construction of the new crossings), and the secret is that parts of the concrete around the streetcar rails can be removed prior to the entire track being taken out of service. I think this is really cool:

The track, in service, on Thursday the 18th. A lot of the concrete is already removed in preparation for the switch being installed:


Now this morning with the switch in place:


Other views:

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  #7999  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2018, 8:25 PM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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These are great responses, thank you. What image is in my head is not like what 215 has shown. The lower traffic road would go below grade, but the turn lanes (left and right would remain at grade. I don't have the illustration skills, but this screenshot of the underpass on State as it travels under TRAX line would give a flavor. The difference is the road would obviously have to drop below grade much deeper and you would only have the through lanes below grade. Hopefully that makes sense. I just don't know enough about the engineering to know if that is feasible.

Edit: Here is a hilarious attempt at illustration of what I am thinking about. Except in this one I am ramping up but those lanes would be remaining at grade while the others drop.

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Old Posted Oct 22, 2018, 10:51 PM
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Given the money and the space I'm sure we could make something like that work.

Right now I think UDOT is focusing more on expansion rather than improvements - ie, building new MVC miles and connections. The only urban grade separation I've heard of was State Street - University Parkway in Orem, but as far as I know that got dropped after a study said it would cost far too much.

I think it would also be worthwhile to include the Timpanogos Highway Commuter Lanes in this discussion, since it is basically this exact idea (using grade-separations to turn a street into a freeway-like corridor), only in a more rural area. If the geometry of that road could be tightened up for a more urban setting I think we would get a good idea of what Sunny's idea would look like if built today.
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