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  #801  
Old Posted May 30, 2019, 4:09 AM
lrt's friend lrt's friend is online now
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This isn't true. Toronto's suburbs have far higher transit ridership than typical Canadian burbs. In fact, the burbs have higher transit ridership than many Canadian inner cities.
What is the basis of this comment? Only the Toronto area has separate suburban transit systems, so how can you compare with other Canadian suburbs which operate with a singular transit system?

Naturally, larger cities with bigger congestion problems will have higher ridership.

The original point was valid, that most larger Canadian cities have surprisingly high suburban transit ridership.

The quality of transit service is bigger determining factor on ridership than immigrant status.

The fact that Canadian cities did not trash their transit systems has helped Canadian cities to maintain ridership as competition with private vehicles increased.
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  #802  
Old Posted May 30, 2019, 7:33 AM
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What is the basis of this comment? Only the Toronto area has separate suburban transit systems, so how can you compare with other Canadian suburbs which operate with a singular transit system?
He was talking about the suburbs built in the 60s and 70s - Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, and parts of Mississauga, which have transit ridership comparable to an inner city. Only Mississauga is served by a separate system, the rest is served by TTC. It is true there is a more gradual drop off in ridership and service outside of the inner city of Toronto, but I think that is true across Canada. Toronto's suburban ridership just stands out because it has the most ridership overall.

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Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
Really?

Most BART stations outside the ones in SF proper and core Oakland have enormous park and rides at the expense of integrating with their surroundings. Even West Oakland and North Berkeley have surface lots surrounding them. Look at every station north of Berkeley, south of coliseum, millbrae, and so on. Warm Springs, Milpitas are new and have hugebgarages and turn their backs on the adjacent underwhelming TOD, Pittsburg Antioch is a damn freeway median station in the middle of nowhere.

SF is just more urban and transit oriented and downtown Dallas is full of parking lots and served by a radial tollfree freeway system.
I never said BART has no park-and-ride, just that it is not the only option. Park-and-ride is not unusual for subway and LRT and suburban rail stations. What's unusual is how much the DART system relies on it.

The built form and freeway capacity of Dallas doesn't seem that different from San Antonio, Austin, Houston, but its transit ridership is 30-35% less than those cities. The lack of bus riders especially makes them stand out, even among Texas cities. Those other systems don't rely as much on park-on-ride.
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  #803  
Old Posted May 30, 2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
My family comes from Vietnam. Transit in Vietnamese cities is non-existent, even worse than Dallas.
You're telling me there are no buses, taxis, rickshaws or other forms of transit? Vietnam is too poor for every household to have 2-3 cars, so unless every single person is getting around by motorbike, there's no way there isn't some communal form of mobility.

And Vietnam isn't among the top immigrant groups to Canada.
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
Quebec City's transit ridership is around the San Francisco level, 90-100 unlinked trips per capita. Despite the lack of immigrants, it still has typical transit ridership for a Canadian city.
Quebec City is a very urban, centralized metro, unlike Bay Area, and much poorer than Bay Area. Not surprising it would have high ridership. And I'm not saying immigration is the only factor, but it's a factor.
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  #804  
Old Posted May 30, 2019, 1:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
He was talking about the suburbs built in the 60s and 70s - Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, and parts of Mississauga, which have transit ridership comparable to an inner city. Only Mississauga is served by a separate system, the rest is served by TTC. It is true there is a more gradual drop off in ridership and service outside of the inner city of Toronto, but I think that is true across Canada. Toronto's suburban ridership just stands out because it has the most ridership overall.
Yes, exactly. If you compare, say, Etobicoke or Scarborough to, say, Windsor or Winnipeg, I would wager that transit share in the former is significantly higher, even though the built form is generally more car oriented.

I think immigration plays a role, alongside greater congestion, greater job concentration, and higher home prices.
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  #805  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2019, 12:32 PM
AlpacaObsessor AlpacaObsessor is offline
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
DART. I think the criticisms are relevant and should be taken seriously. However, there are some facts and hopefully future developments that hasn't soured me on DART:

1. TOD development, definitely north of Dallas, has been tremendous. When we look at how successful a rail system is, I think its important to see how much development has sprung up next to the lines. And not only calculate how much development but to gauge the developments urban qualities vs what would have been built without rail.
The only ones that come to mind are Las Colinas, Downtown Plano, Cityline, and Gatalyn Park, which is 5 out of about 50 non-downtown stations. Respectable, but I'd hardly call that tremendous.

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2. With the Cotton Belt line being built, even more suburban commuters will be riding rail. Hopefully, this increases ridership going downtown too.
The sad thing about Dallas is that a huge portion of the office jobs are located out in the north suburbs (I actually did the numbers a while back and Dallas ranked close to last among the country's largest 35 cities in terms of what percentage of office space is located downtown vs in the suburbs). So although I'm sure there'll be at least some people using the line to commute downtown, it won't be many.

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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
3. When D2 is finally built Dallas will double its amount of light rail stations downtown and increase the amount of land that is within 5 minutes of walking to a station. It will also help with headways
This is one thing I'm looking forward to. Although it should be noted that the D2 alignment is only a couple of blocks east of the existing at-grade stations, so it's not exactly like its unlocking a huge amount of previously transit-starved land or anything.

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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
4. Connecting Dallas's two streetcars will make a singular line which will have much more utility and also add many more streetcar stops in downtown, therefore increasing, just like D2, the number of people downtown within a 5-minute walk to a rail station.
Connecting the two would certainly be nice but I'd argue the only one that serves any real utility is the Oak Cliff line. The M-Line trolley is really more of a neighborhood novelty than anything else. It's slower than riding a bike, lacks heating/air conditioning, and the only people who ride it seem to be suburbanites visiting the neighborhood for the first time and the very few people who live and work directly on McKinney Avenue. Sadly though I don't believe there are any formal plans to connect the two anytime soon.

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5. The apparent suburban nature of DART today can be seen one of two ways; A total failure or an opportunity. I think if DART starts focusing on the actual city of Dallas(I know the politics of this, but I think it could easily happen) by expanding rail in a smart fashion to serve their central city residents, it will increase ridership, increase density, and overall make Dallas a much more transit-oriented city.
100% agree on this. I think Dallas is at least on the right track after getting rid of it's DART appointees that initially voted yes on the cotton belt extension and replacing them with ones that seem to have the interests of Dallas at heart. But again, the political reality stands that there is still an equal number of suburban board members that are focused on creating more of a commuter style rail system instead.

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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
6. Downtown Dallas has barely scratched the surface when it comes to residential construction. Compare Dallas in the last ten years to Austin. Dallas is now beginning to build more residential units downtown and I see no reason why this should slow down. This will increase the density of downtown, add more transit users heading to suburban areas, and create more demand for downtown services. The building of more residential units downtown will also accompany four new parks being built that will greatly increase the attractiveness of downtown and give more reason to get on the train to head down there.

7. HSR. *If* this happens, it will help DART out a lot. Also, it will help spur development in south downtown(most of the development seems to happening in the northern part of downtown.
These two points are true and I'm looking forward to it. It seems like there are a lot of property owners in that area (KDC and Mike Hoque for example) that are just waiting until something happens with the HSR project before planting shovels in the ground.

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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
I think DART is in a slump right now. Maybe it built too much suburban rail too quick. Gas prices are low as crap, the economy is humming along nicely, and lyft and uber are around. However, I think once gas prices go up, lyft and uber begin to charge prices necessary to make a profit, and the economy slows down a bit, you will see rail usage go up and places like Dallas will be thankful they have such a large system in place, and hopefully a system that continues to grow.

One last thing, take a good look at downtown Dallas on googlemaps. It has the land area and enough empty lots to create a wonderful urban environment. It already has a lot of jobs located there...Imagine if they can triple the amount of residents, create a subway line, connect two streetcar lines, and add four new parks while increasing the number of services. Dallas has a LOT of potential, I think that is what keeps me interested in the city. Some cities have it mostly right today(SF, Seattle, NYC, Chicago) and some will never develop into a large urban center for many reasons. Dallas is primed to become much more urban in the next twenty years and I think DART will have a big part in this.
As somebody who's lived in Dallas for nearly two decades before leaving I'm glad to see the place finally start to develop an urban core outside of just Downtown/Uptown. It seems like up until ~2014 that's where most of the walkable projects were being constructed but the past 3-4 years have seen a lot of new projects go up in Victory Park, Deep Ellum, Farmers Market, The Cedars, and Bishop Arts as well.

Despite these encouraging trends in residential construction, I remain extremely skeptical that DART will play any serious role in the revitalization efforts. For one, there's the issue of the cotton belt line which was pretty controversial at the time of its approval since it puts the transit agency under a serious debt load and risks future funding for the downtown D2 Alignment. Then there's the simple fact the rail network just fundamentally isn't very useful for getting anywhere other than downtown. And the fact that for some troubling reason the vast majority of employers are still deciding to locate in the suburbs. Dallas currently ranks something like 30th out of the country's largest 35 cities in terms of how much construction is occurring downtown vs in the suburbs (the statistic is 18% just so you know). One theory I have is that most of the companies deciding to locate in DFW aren't exactly chasing the best talent but are moreso looking for the cheapest places to operate their back-office operations which are naturally drawn to the suburbs for cost-related reasons, but that's sort of getting into a different conversation altogether.

I'm just gonna end on the note that my personal vision for a multi-modal Dallas involves lengthening the Oak Cliff streetcar a few miles down Davis or Jefferson and a mile or two into downtown, maybe even construct a new one down Singleton or Commerce in West Dallas, creating a decent grid of high-frequency bus routes connecting all of the downtown adjacent neighborhoods, and jettisoning a couple of suburbs out of the agency for some more autonomy. Just my 2 cents.
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  #806  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2019, 3:29 PM
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Despite these encouraging trends in residential construction, I remain extremely skeptical that DART will play any serious role in the revitalization efforts. For one, there's the issue of the cotton belt line which was pretty controversial at the time of its approval since it puts the transit agency under a serious debt load and risks future funding for the downtown D2 Alignment. Then there's the simple fact the rail network just fundamentally isn't very useful for getting anywhere other than downtown. And the fact that for some troubling reason the vast majority of employers are still deciding to locate in the suburbs. Dallas currently ranks something like 30th out of the country's largest 35 cities in terms of how much construction is occurring downtown vs in the suburbs (the statistic is 18% just so you know). One theory I have is that most of the companies deciding to locate in DFW aren't exactly chasing the best talent but are moreso looking for the cheapest places to operate their back-office operations which are naturally drawn to the suburbs for cost-related reasons, but that's sort of getting into a different conversation altogether.

I'm just gonna end on the note that my personal vision for a multi-modal Dallas involves lengthening the Oak Cliff streetcar a few miles down Davis or Jefferson and a mile or two into downtown, maybe even construct a new one down Singleton or Commerce in West Dallas, creating a decent grid of high-frequency bus routes connecting all of the downtown adjacent neighborhoods, and jettisoning a couple of suburbs out of the agency for some more autonomy. Just my 2 cents.
Wow! You want DART to concentrate its efforts providing a better service to 18% of Dallas' economic growth, and not to concentrate its efforts to providing a better service to 82% of Dallas' economic growth. That's a formula for ultimate failure. DART needs to provide better transit services to everyone, urban and suburban alike. It certainly taxes everyone the same.

Kicking suburban cities out of DART and concentrating transit to Dallas alone is not going to change where that economic growth is occurring by itself. I believe DART is doing far better job providing needed transit to more people under the current board than it would under you. Following you, BART would not have any transit at all in the East Bay, the tunnels under the Bay would never have been built, concentrating all transit services to just San Francisco; or MTA of New York concentrating all transit service to just Manhattan alone, let Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island fend for themselves. I repeat, that is a formula for ultimate failure.

If you want downtown Dallas to flourish much better than it is today, look at the City Council to change things and not at DART's Board. When developers from around the world invest in property and are denied building their dream real estate projects by actions taken by the city, do not expect downtown to grow much. Every project delayed and cancelled is one less project around to spur even more growth from other developers.

Last edited by electricron; Jun 3, 2019 at 3:45 PM.
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  #807  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2019, 5:34 PM
AlpacaObsessor AlpacaObsessor is offline
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Wow! You want DART to concentrate its efforts providing a better service to 18% of Dallas' economic growth, and not to concentrate its efforts to providing a better service to 82% of Dallas' economic growth. That's a formula for ultimate failure. DART needs to provide better transit services to everyone, urban and suburban alike. It certainly taxes everyone the same.

Kicking suburban cities out of DART and concentrating transit to Dallas alone is not going to change where that economic growth is occurring by itself. I believe DART is doing far better job providing needed transit to more people under the current board than it would under you. Following you, BART would not have any transit at all in the East Bay, the tunnels under the Bay would never have been built, concentrating all transit services to just San Francisco; or MTA of New York concentrating all transit service to just Manhattan alone, let Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island fend for themselves. I repeat, that is a formula for ultimate failure.

If you want downtown Dallas to flourish much better than it is today, look at the City Council to change things and not at DART's Board. When developers from around the world invest in property and are denied building their dream real estate projects by actions taken by the city, do not expect downtown to grow much. Every project delayed and cancelled is one less project around to spur even more growth from other developers.
I totally agree that cities need to take a more 'market urbanism'-minded approach to planning and density, and I'm not against the idea of public transit in the suburbs, but I just don't see the current dynamic working very well as it seems to me that the agency is spreading itself too far at the moment. To clarify a little more on my armchair-planning thoughts, I'd be happy if the Collin County suburbs formed their own agency if they want rail for their portion of the metroplex, but I'd rather not have DART expending their dollars to fund rail in an area that is antithetical to the idea of easy access without owning a car since I believe there is simply more utility in putting those dollars to work in areas that are already built for easy pedestrian access and population density.

Ideally I'd like to see a dynamic similar to Chicago's transit agencies, where you have the CTA which focuses on providing high frequency train and bus transit within the city limits and inner ring suburbs, METRA which operates the commuter rail system which seamlessly whisks suburban commuters in and out of the city and acts as an anchor for many suburban town centers, and Pace which provides bus service to the suburbs using METRA stations as nodes. All three of which fall under the purview of the RTA (Regional Transit Authority). Dallas' situation just gives us suburban-like transit planning in the central city, and rail projects in the suburbs that will ultimately end up under-utilized. Again, I'm not opposed to rail in the suburbs, but it's currently being done at the expense of projects in the central city where the same dollars would generate larger marginal effects.
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  #808  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2019, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by AlpacaObsessor View Post
Ideally I'd like to see a dynamic similar to Chicago's transit agencies, where you have the CTA which focuses on providing high frequency train and bus transit within the city limits and inner ring suburbs, METRA which operates the commuter rail system which seamlessly whisks suburban commuters in and out of the city and acts as an anchor for many suburban town centers, and Pace which provides bus service to the suburbs using METRA stations as nodes. All three of which fall under the purview of the RTA (Regional Transit Authority). Dallas' situation just gives us suburban-like transit planning in the central city, and rail projects in the suburbs that will ultimately end up under-utilized. Again, I'm not opposed to rail in the suburbs, but it's currently being done at the expense of projects in the central city where the same dollars would generate larger marginal effects.
Does it really matter how the trains are divided when everyone is funded by the same RTA? DART shares the costs of the TRE (Chicago's METRA equivalent) with FWTA because the railroad corridor is owned by both. DCTA runs on a DART owned railroad corridor, but pays for its own operations. TexRail runs mostly on a DART owned railroad corridor, but pays for its own operations. DART's Silver Line will also run on a DART owned corridor, and DART will pay for its own operations just like it does all its other rail lines; Red, Blue, Green, and Orange. Oh, by the way, DCTA and FWTA (now Trinity Metro) only levy a half cent sales tax to subsidize their operations, while every DART member city levy a full cent sales tax. The DFW metroplex is far more complicated than RTA because of the different sale tax rates, and the multiple of independent transit systems.

Additionally, while Chicago's transit services are far more frequent than what you will see in Dallas, does it meet its customer's expectations? I read frequently about how unfriendly and run down many of RTA's stations are - that's something you do not read for stations in Dallas. Yet, DART gets criticized by so called experts from other cities, where the trains do not meet customer's expectations, when almost all the DART customer's expectations are met.

Comparing transit services between different cities with different histories and political realities is very unfair. The question to be asking is do the customers, that mean taxpayers, like the services they are getting?

Have you read much from DART's customers demanding they had an all grade separated (elevated or subway) rail system? Have you read much from DART's customers demanding they had more stations along the lines? Have you read much from DART's customers demanding DART move the existing lines blocks in one direction or another? Have you read much from DART's customers wishing they had something else instead of what they have?
I believe you will discover that DART's customers are relativity happy with the trains they have.

Pundits or so called experts are the enemies of what is possible and practical as they propose unrealistic and unsustainable possibilities or alternatives, which thankfully were eliminated during the federally mandated EIS process.

Can the DART system be made better? The answer to that is yes, the planned D2 line mostly under downtown Dallas will allow higher frequency trains on all the light rail lines, which should help ridership climb. Whether it will or not is yet to be seen. Extending or expanding streetcar lines radiating out from downtown Dallas can also be added. Even more light rail or commuter rail lines can be added later. It is a transit system that is growing as the city is growing, who knows how big it will ultimately get?

And the last thing I wish to add, whether the economic growth is higher downtown or in the suburbs (many but not all being DART member cities), the tax revenues will still continue to climb as the economy grows, because it really does not matter where the growth occurs as all member cities levy the same tax. One dollar revenue from the suburbs is the same dollar from Dallas, as far as DART's bank account is concerned.

Last edited by electricron; Jun 3, 2019 at 11:33 PM.
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  #809  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 8:07 PM
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They’re laying track for Tacoma’s streetcar extension. They’re also digging up relics

https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/...231526993.html

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- It’s been over 70 years since trolleys made the climb up South Stadium Way in Tacoma. This week, the first tracks for the city’s new streetcar extension were laid down, and they are so close to the historical line that artifacts from that era are being unearthed by workers. — Contractors working for Sound Transit are installing a 312-foot long section of track on South Stadium Way as a test segment of the 2.4-mile Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension. Sound Transit and its contractor, Walsh Construction Company, spent much of 2018 and this year relocating underground utilities. While there’s more of that to go, construction has entered an above-ground phase.

- Eventually, the line will have two tracks one inbound and one outbound. Only the inbound tracks have been put down, steps away from condos and apartments that occupy the hillside between South Stadium Way and Broadway. The tracks run less than a third of the distance between Division Avenue and South 4th Street, but they are a crucial first step for the system, said Kenn Hallquist, a project manager for Walsh. — “Sound Transit gets two weeks to inspect it, take all their measurements, make sure this is worthy of proceeding forward,” Hallquist said. If approved, track will continue to be added downhill toward South 4th Street. Some time in summer, the outbound tracks will be installed, Hallquist said.

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