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View Poll Results: Is SEPTA doing a great job in regards to bus, subway, and commuter rail overall??????
YES 30 44.78%
NO 37 55.22%
Voters: 67. You may not vote on this poll

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  #21  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2009, 5:02 AM
volguus zildrohar's Avatar
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Quote:
its ridership is low because it doesn't connect to enough points to make it convenient for many people to use. if it were expanded and more integrated with the overall city plan, it would be used like crazy. as it is now, the only way to transfer from one line to the other is either at city hall or at 8th and market (if you use the broad-ridge spur.)
Correct. The system as it is now is laid out not unlike Atlanta's. There are two lines that meet at a central point and otherwise basically never meet. Although here there are several key transit nodes located along both lines with 8th and Market, 30th Street and 69th Street as the only ones with rail connections (all long The El/Blue Line, which may help explain why it's the busiest route on the system). Connectivity is the issue. As I said before, it's simple to ride the subway to some point and transfer to a bus but it isn't convenient, terribly fast or efficient with the way SEPTA runs its schedules.

Also, again, the ridership isn't "low" (as in only used at rush hour), it's simply a case of fewer people seeing it as an option when it's optional (i.e. a night downtown) because of the lack of convenience. Even if the system ran 24/7 what in the world would it connect to? For once I find myself in agreement with miketoronto.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 12:15 AM
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I've probably been the biggest booster of mass transit expansion within Phila and the Delaware Valley. For commuter rail, it's simple: just revive all the former PRR and Reading branches, with the Exception of the Norristown and Chestnut Hill lines, which would be integrated with the subway system (West Chester, Reading, Allentown, Easton, Kennett Sq), and NJT should do the same for for South Jersey (Vineland, Cape May, Ocean City, and all the White Horse and Black Horse communities).

The Phila subway system should be with expanded lines of the BSL and MFL going both directions (from Chester to Jenkintown for the BSL, and Darby to Forest Hlls in the Far NE for the MFL), a 5th St-Passyunk line through SW Philly to Darby and North and NE Philly to Fox Chase, another crosstown line from Chester through SW Phila via the airport line and connecting 30th St the Zoo, and North Philly points via the Amtrak line and Erie Ave w/ a subway, and the NE also via State Rd to Bensalem Blvd w/ a Parkway shuttle to the Library, museums, and ending at the zoo and an express airport shuttle connecting to 30th St via Arch St to Penns Landing. And also, the Norristown and Chestnut Hill lines to CC, 30th St, and UC via a North Philly subway line adjacent to the old Reading main line and JFK Blvd.

I feel that PATCO should stick to their original expansion plan of connecting to Maple Shade and Woodbury, with extensions also to Cherry Hill NJT Station and Deptford Mall via two Camden subway tunnels and a Vine St subway connecting to the Pkwy and 30th St. The long distance commuter service (Glassboro, Medford, etc.) should be handled by NJT.

But alas, all this should've been done in the past, and this makes me want to go back in time an do all this myself!!!
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  #23  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 1:02 AM
zilfondel zilfondel is offline
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Question: would these radial routes be serviceable by at-grade light rail with their own right-of-way?

That way you could put some of the roads on a road diet and make them more pedestrian friendly. And light rail would be much more likely to be funded than a subway, capital costs being an order of magnitude lower. Also, if short hops in-city are what you're after, speed is actually less of an issue - although light rail is faster than a bus, especially when they have their own ROW.

Articulated vehicles have a higher capacity than the single-unit streetcars you are currently using.

It's also a great street-beautification project courtesy of the US Government.

Thoughts?
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  #24  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 3:34 AM
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Originally Posted by zilfondel View Post
Question: would these radial routes be serviceable by at-grade light rail with their own right-of-way?
What's at-grade light rail? I'm a novice in this field but I assume light rail systems are above ground for the most part. If so, I don't know what streets would be suited well for them other than Delaware Ave that have access to downtown destinations.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 5:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwp View Post
What's at-grade light rail? I'm a novice in this field but I assume light rail systems are above ground for the most part. If so, I don't know what streets would be suited well for them other than Delaware Ave that have access to downtown destinations.
The term "At Grade" light rail means running on the surface of the planet.

They can be within their own right of ways, in their own dedicated lanes in streets, or in mixed traffic lanes in streets.

Here's a few examples:
Dedicated ROW:





Dedicated ROW in what use to be a city street





Dedicated lanes in streets:





In mixed traffiic in streets:





Light Rail can also run in subways:





Light Rail can also go elevated:



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  #26  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 3:39 PM
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we already have light rail...the Subway-Surface lines could be considered this.

BTW the MFL used to exit the Eastern portal and "Y" with one leg turning South and running along basically the same route as the proposed PATCO expansion. It was torn down (in the 40s?) due to low ridership.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 6:44 PM
miketoronto miketoronto is offline
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My idea for the current Septa rail system.


SERVICE UPGRADES

Broad Street Subway
Service every 7 minutes or less at all times during regular operating hours, seven days a week.

Market Frankford EL
Service every 7 minutes or less at all times during regular opereating hours, seven days a week.

Regional Rail Lines

R6: Service every 10 minutes or less during the day Mon-Fri, and every 15 minutes or less weekday evenings and weekends.

R6: Service every 15 minutes or less seven days a week between Center City and Manayunk Stations.

R3: Service every 10 minutes or less during the day Mon-Fri, and every 15 minutes or less weekday evenings and weekends, between Center City and Clifton-Aldan Station.

R2: Service every 15 minutes or less seven days a week between Center City and Sharon Hill Station.

R8: Service every 10 minutes or less during the day Mon-Fri, and every 15 minutes or less weekday evenings and weekends on the entire line.

R7: Service every 10 minutes or less during the day Mon-Fri, and every 15 minutes or less weekday evenings and weekends between Center City and Chestnut Hill East.

All other regional rail lines would have service operating seven days a week with service every 30 minutes or less.

Streetcars

Route 101/102 would both operate seven days a week every 15 minutes or less, for a combined service of every 7 minutes or less between 69th Street Terminal and Drexel Hill.

Click the link below for my idea of which sections of the regional rail lines should operate every 15 minutes or less.
The downtown section I did not draw a line as it is a given it would operate frequent with all these routes meeting there.
http://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?source...f837488e2fd406

Enjoy.
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Last edited by miketoronto; Jan 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 9:55 PM
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You didn't mention the R2 Warminster line. That also needs to have more frequent service. Instead of one 4 or 5-car train every hour, they could have one two-car train every 20 mins. I hate it when I miss my train and have to sit at the station for an hour until the next one.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2009, 10:05 PM
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He also didn't mention either side of the R5.

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  #30  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 1:11 AM
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I agree with Mr. Toronto that the Regional Rail needs to be improved. But 15 minute service is a stretch. Start with 30 minutes, and increase it later.

With the subway, your "idea" is already in place.
I checked the latest schedule from SEPTA, and the subway runs every 10 minutes during the weekend, with 15 minute late night service. That's not that shabby, and it ends at around 12:00. AND there is 24 bus service along the line, and it runs every 10-15 minutes until the subway opens.
During the weekdays, the Market line runs every 4-6 minutes. This is quite good.
Are you going to take credit for a schedule that as been in place, since August?

I am only looking at the Market line, but to me, the service is excellent.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 1:24 AM
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I thought the subway ran less often than that. Or maybe that is the Broad Street line that does. I will check.

The 15 minute service I reccomended was not for all lines. It was only for the ones I listed, and those particular sections serve mostly the inner city of Philly, close in suburbs, or major destinations like universities, etc. That is why I said to have 15 min service, because they would basically be rapid transit lines. The regional rail network in the inner city and inner burbs is more like rapid transit where people can walk to stations. It is not these mega stations with 5,000 parking spots like Toronto's suburban stations.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 1:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winxs View Post
Instead of one 4 or 5-car train every hour, they could have one two-car train every 20 mins.
I would assume that this would cost at least 75% more than the current service. The vast majority of the operating cost of any US transit system is labor, not the energy to run the trains. Two trains equals double the labor (or at least close to it) of one train, even if the trains are half as long.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 1:28 AM
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Mike, looking at a map of a transit system 500 miles away does not make you qualified to say which lines need what frequency of service.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 4:41 AM
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I've tried telling him that.

There are some at-grade options for light rail in the city, zilfondel. Many arterial streets outside Center City can take the loss of a lane or two for a ROW. The issue is downtown, where many streets are barely wide enough for the traffic they have now. The idea of a transitway was toyed with in the 70's along Chestnut Street downtown and it failed - particularly as traffic increased in Center City. There is an unused underground ROW just north of Center City that SEPTA purchased a few years ago that it already tried and failed to launch a service for with federal funds. Light rail can handle the capacity and I think it would be a good alternative for swiftly getting people around the city - essentialy a better alternative to the bus for key locations such as Manayunk, parts of the Northeast and Southwest Philly. It would also make sense for the Sports Complex as another transit choice to compliment the Broad Street Subway which is often at crush after games.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 5:59 AM
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Does the Broad Street Spur still operate? What's the story with that?
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  #36  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 12:25 PM
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The Broad-Ridge spur is was supposed to be part of a loop much like Chicago, but it, along with small sections of tunnel under Arch street were all that ever got built.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 1:27 PM
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The Broad Ridge spur still operates.

Here is the schedule for the Broad St. Line:

http://www.septa.com/service/sched/pdfs/BSL.pdf

The schedule says "Local Trains operate every 8 Minutes until 6:30, and then 10-12 minutes after. Then a night bus that run every 10-15 until the subway opens.

For me, when I visited Philly last year, was that SEPTA operated fairly well, but was lacking something. I just cannot put my finger on it, though. I am not a fan of the fare structure, either.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 5:06 PM
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Mike dude, you're not increase midday regional rail service to every 10-15 minutes when most suburbanites are inside at work. lol. And what about equipment? You know how much things like these cost? And some of these lines run on Amtrak, What would they say?

NYC has several subway lines that don't run every 7 minutes on weekends(even on weekdays, ie SIR, G, J, M, V & W). What makes you think Philly would? The Spur barely gets riders when they run about every 20 minutes in the middle of the day, and that's a small train; 3-4 cars? 10 minutes on weekends is enough.

EDIT: I'm impressed they added express Saturday service on the BSL.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 6:33 PM
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It is not just about commuters. More frequent regional rail service would make it easier for students and others to get around.

Suburban rail in other world cities operate every 15 minutes or less including in little Adelaide, Australia which only has a metro pop of 1 million.

You have to beef up the transit service or people will not use it. Actually the fact that only just over 100,000 riders a day are carried on such a large regional rail network, shows that the system is not capturing as many people as it could.

Another issue with SEPTA is their bus routes. If you look at a map it is very easy to see that the suburban bus routes are really only designed to get poor people from inner city Philadelphia to suburban work destinations and malls. The routes are not designed at all for suburbanites to use to get around to access rapid transit.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2009, 7:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
You have to beef up the transit service or people will not use it. Actually the fact that only just over 100,000 riders a day are carried on such a large regional rail network, shows that the system is not capturing as many people as it could.
You have to have enough service so that people are wiling to depend on transit, but I wonder if demand would ever call for commuter rail running at 15 minute intervals during off peak times. I used to ride the R5 (many years ago) and it ran at 30 minute intervals throughout the off peak hours (usually a two car train) and it would be pretty empty. If people aren't using it between stations on the Main Line - which is essentially a linear city with most retail, restaurants, and institutions within a short walk of the train stations - I wonder if any suburban corridor would need that kind of frequency?
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