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  #7481  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 3:59 AM
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It's about time I post the pictures I took of the new pedestrian trails.

First, here is the view of downtown from the new Jordan River Parkway bridge over the railroad tracks:


Lots of powerlines, but still pretty neat. I'd love to get a picture of a Union Pacific 'Z' train departing town from this angle. Maybe this summer when it doesn't get dark so soon.

Next, I rode the Mountain View Corridor Bike trail! There really is nothing out there except dirt and a big steep mountain to go up and over, but the trail was already busy the evening I rode it, so it is benefiting somebody.
It is just amazing how many bridges can be built for pedestrians so long as highway funds are allowed to be used! And what's more, some of these bridges are comically overbuilt, using the same foundations and beam-types as the highway bridges next to them.

Here's an example of a regular pedestrian bridge (over 5400 South):


...and here is an example of a beefy bridge (over Upper Ridge Road):


The trail is well grade-separated. It gets really steep in certain places, but it is built for speed with no sharp corners at all. In one location the trail needs to go under the highway, and it makes a big cloverleaf loop to get underneath itself rather than the more common switchback:


A very nice touch was building a pedestrian bridge over 4100 South, where the Mountain View Corridor currently ends, so that cyclists/pedestrians can get to the north side of 41st South without needing to negotiate the intersection with crosswalks. I had thought a frugal UDOT would leave such a project for the next phase of the corridor, but I guess safety prevailed and the built the pedestrian bridge now. Good work, UDOT!


So for the record, that's 4 big pedestrian trail projects/improvements completed in about 2 moths' time. What other new trails or improvements are coming next?
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  #7482  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 1:03 PM
bob rulz bob rulz is offline
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Originally Posted by Always Sunny in SLC View Post
Bob's New Year's resolution: Get less speeding tickets and then shop around for better car insurance rates.
I don't actually have a car, I was just assuming.
Even then, the maintenance costs associated with a car + gas feels like it would still add up to more than riding transit.
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  #7483  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 4:40 PM
stayinginformed stayinginformed is offline
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Originally Posted by bob rulz View Post
I don't actually have a car, I was just assuming.
Even then, the maintenance costs associated with a car + gas feels like it would still add up to more than riding transit.
The federal government uses a reimbursement rate of $0.535 per mile to include the gas and wear and tear on a vehicle. Below is a more accurate breakdown of commute by length of round trip:

10 mile round trip: $5.35
20 mile round trip: $10.70
30 mile round trip: $16.05
40 mile round trip: $21.40
50 mile round trip: $26.75

Hopefully no one on here is commuting more than 50 miles round trip.
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  #7484  
Old Posted Dec 28, 2017, 6:32 PM
Always Sunny in SLC Always Sunny in SLC is offline
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Hatman, those are great pictures. The Wasatch Front is developing a real nice network of trails on the West end. Damn, I wish there had been this foresight when the East side of the valley was developing. It is very regrettable that we didn't preserve all the land around every creek and river. I live in Murray and the value of Big and Little Cottonwood Creeks is largely lost to the public because private development abuts right to those creeks almost the entire length. It would be great if you could ride your bike out of the Cottonwood Canyons and continue along a trail(s) that connect all the way to the Jordan River. I am depressing myself.
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  #7485  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2018, 7:47 PM
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It is sad that there are no bike/ped trails parallel to the major creeks on the east side. A small sliver of hope may yet exist in the idea of building a ped trail next to I-215 from the cottonwood area down to the Jordan River Parkway, just like Parley's Trail did with I-80 - but obviously it wouldn't be the same thing as a nice quiet ride next to a creek. Great for speed and utility, but not exactly peaceful.
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  #7486  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2018, 7:47 PM
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Here's an issue to watch for during the legislative season this year:

Utah could soon change the legal definition of driver to include a machine
http://fox13now.com/2017/12/29/utah-...-to-a-machine/
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  #7487  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2018, 8:07 PM
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So over the break I read this Tribune editorial about how TRAX is unpleasant for people getting on at a 'main trunk' station (between Fashion Place West and Ballpark) because the seats have already filled up in the 'branches' (blue and red lines south of Fashion Place). So my thought was 'Great - here's a reason to make the extra Red-Line service between the U and Fashion Place permanent!'

(For those not in the know, UTA sometimes runs extra Red Line trains between Fashion Place West and the University to help with train-crowding issues resulting from FrontRunner passengers transferring onto the Red Line at Murray Central. These trains are able to turn around at Fashion Place West thanks to the extra track and platform there.)

But then I thought 'if that extra service was permanent, shouldn't it be its own color? And then I got sucked into another round of fantasy transit maps and now you all have to suffer through another post of hypothetical transit improvements rather than real news.

Here's my newest idea:


The Red Line from the University only goes as far as Fashion Place West in order to provide more service along the 'Trunk' of the network. A new color line, Yellow, will go out to daybreak, then copy the Blue Line's route to Salt Lake Central. This will provide for the first time direct service from the Daybreak branch to City Center, Temple Square, and the Arena stations. I chose Yellow for this line because of the historical color of the Kennecott Railroad:


I also for fun completed the line along 4th south from Main Street to Salt Lake Central, which allows for another line directly from Salt Lake Central to the University, which I made Orange (I was running out of colors). A circulator route (Pink - really running out now!) was added in the resulting loop.

And then, since all those open-ended gaps bothered me, I went crazy:

Extend the S-Line as I've described before from Central Point to Ballpark then along old abandoned-in-place tracks to Salt Lake Central, then extend eastward along 200 South... But then, turn south on 500 East and end at Liberty Park! Then, since sharp turns slow town trains, let the Red Line continue straight up 200 West all the way up to 400 South, eliminating two sharp curves! And then, if there are tracks along 400 West, build a direct link from the 'Trunk' Line straight out to the airport and North Temple to avoid the traffic of Main Street! This would give UTA 10 different TRAX colors (including the streetcar)! It would be amazing!


But seriously, the idea to increase service along the trunk from Fashion Place West into downtown (not just to the University) is a very worthy one, I think, and it will go a long way toward inviting developers to build big around TRAX stations on the portion of the line. That area is so under-built and underdeveloped- it is amazing to me that so many TRAX stations there are surrounded by parking lots.
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  #7488  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2018, 7:36 PM
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So, the results are in for the 'Free Fare Friday' that happened on December 22, 2017: UTA estimates that 22,000 extra rides occurred that day as a result of eliminating fares.

http://fox13now.com/2018/01/15/uta-r...ent-a-success/

Quote:
According to a press release made by UTA, there was a 23 percent ridership increase on the free day, compared to days where standard fare rates applied.

“Free Fare Friday was designed to encourage people to try public transit – and it worked,” said Utah President/CEO Jerry Benson. “Thousands of riders boarded our buses and trains, and we were able to save several tons of pollution from entering our atmosphere during a critical time of year for air quality.”

FrontRunner, the UTA’s commuter train service, saw the biggest increase in ridership, at 66 percent. TRAX, UTA’s regional rail service, saw a 32 percent increase.

“It’s encouraging to see so many people embraced Free Fare Friday,” said former City Council Chair Stan Penfold, who led efforts to sponsor the event. “This is a small, but significant example that residents of our great community will respond positively to common sense ways to making a difference on the issues we all care deeply about. The success of Free Fare Friday shows that people are willing to take action.”
It's worth noting that this was announced with less than a week in advance, and UTA still got a 23% boost in ridership. Imagine what kind of a boost would happen if fares were free all the time!

It is also interesting that FrontRunner got the most new riders. You can argue and say that it was the most expensive and therefore the biggest savings, but I think it speaks more to a pent-up demand for better FrontRunner service. This experiment should be used as evidence that UTA and the State really need to start work on double-tracking the line ASAP. Imagine what would happen if FrontRunner service were not only free, but was also so frequent you never needed to wait more than 10 minutes for the next train. It would be absolutely nuts!

How to pay for free fares? The article provides some interesting clues near the end:
[IMG]According to General Manager of City Creek Center Linda Wardell, the shopping center saw a boost in foot traffic throughout the day. “The size of the crowds streaming off TRAX trains and into the Center throughout the day and evening was amazing. Stores were packed and some of our restaurants stayed open late to serve hungry shoppers and visitors,” Wardell said.[/IMG]
There is an idea out there called Value Capture, in which the stores and businesses that benefit from the close proximity to transit pay a special fee or tax that in return pays for the transit. There are many ways to make this work, and it isn't hard to see that if making fares free really does bring in so many more riders, that a value capture system would go a long way to making up for the shortfall in fare income.

I hope UTA does this again soon. I took my extended family downtown on TRAX and took a bus home, and everyone had a great time.
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  #7489  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2018, 9:34 PM
Makid Makid is online now
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Hatman,

I was wondering the same thing. The Tribune has the numbers for the day:

https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics...tly-on-trains/

Quote:

He says bus ridership usually falls by about 5 percent on the last workday before Christmas, as many people take off to shop or stay home instead.

Because bus ridership remained essentially the same, “it’s like having a 5 percent increase.” He added, “As I drove around a bit that day, the freeways were pretty empty. A lot of normal commuters took that day off.”

The agency said the single-day ridership on FrontRunner commuter trains was up by 66 percent for a total of 30,016 boardings. (A boarding is anytime someone enters a train — and a single trip may have several boardings depending on transfers).

Ridership on the TRAX light rail was up by 32 percent, for a total of 79,825 boardings.

Bus ridership increased by only 278 boardings, Arky said, for less than a 1 percent increase for its total of 61,735 boardings that day.
So while Bus service was only slightly higher (278) or basically flat, Trax was up by 32% or just under 80K. FrontRunner was the highest at 66% or just over 30K for boardings.

I think that with it being free year round, the numbers would be a lot higher as people would be used to it and know about it. This 1 week notice was more helpful in showing that people would use it if it was cheaper/free.

With previous studies, FrontRunner was/is projected to have ridership levels increase by 100% if it was able to run at 15 minute intervals. Trax and Bus ridership was/is projected to increase 50% with free fares.

This would put Bus and Trax just over 90K each for average weekday daily ridership. With the 66% increase for FrontRunner with 1 week notice, I wouldn't be surprised if it fully doubled to around 36K if UTA was completely free. Double tracking FrontRunner enough to get to 15 minute frequencies may be costly but if the ridership increase is still 100% at that time, that would launch FrontRunner close to 72K daily.

I know that this is pretty much a dream at this time, but it is nice to think that we could be close to 220K daily on Bus, Trax and FrontRunner without any expansions or upgrades. Just with Free Transit. This would improve the air, reduce traffic and incentivize TOD's. It would also put a push for transit expansion in place as more people would want it going to more places.

Last edited by Makid; Jan 16, 2018 at 10:07 PM.
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  #7490  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2018, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
ridership on FrontRunner commuter trains was up by 66 percent for a total of 30,016 boardings
Quote:
Ridership on the TRAX light rail was up by 32 percent, for a total of 79,825 boardings.
Thirty Thousand boardings on FrontRunner?





To put this in its proper context, Los Angeles, the second-biggest city in the USA, has a commuter rail system of 7 separate lines that cover over 500 miles of track, and their average daily ridership is 39,000.
Guys, for 1 day, we were only a few thousand rides away from overtaking freakin' LA.

... Also, that number of 30,000 seems very familiar. Let me repost some numbers from the UTA Network study (PDF LINK), where they have some projected ridership numbers for future UTA Projects
Page 53

2040 No-Build scenario, all new growth = sprawl:
FrontRunner Daily Ridership: 17,000 (about what we get today)
TRAX Blue Line: 27,000

2040 No-Build scenario, new growth is added density:
FrontRunner: 24,000
TRAX Blue Line: 44,000

2040 with Improvements Made (double-track+electrify FrontRunner, extend the Blue Line to Lehi), all new growth = sprawl:
FrontRunner: 27,000
TRAX Blue Line: 40,000

2040 with Improvements Made (double-track+electrify FrontRunner, extend the Blue Line to Lehi), all new growth is added density:
FrontRunner: 37,000
TRAX Blue Line: 58,000

So if the end goal is to increase ridership, we can either build out our transit networks for millions (if not billions) of $$$, or we can just eliminate fares and get that ridership boost now. Imagine how that will change the development patterns, if suddenly transit popularity were to essentially double!

Also, while the biggest boost was to FrontRunner and the bus network got essentially nothing, it is worth noting that big prominent and well-defined transit routes - rail transit or BRT - are usually the 'gateway' for most new transit riders. Once they get familiar and comfortable with trains and well-defined BRT routes, they will be a little more willing to branch out and use the bus network as well, which does take some acquired skills to use well.
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  #7491  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 1:11 AM
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S-Line double track

I don't know if this has been discussed already, but there is an rfp or something out for double tracing the streetcar line.
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  #7492  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 2:01 AM
Liberty Wellsian Liberty Wellsian is offline
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East Side Trunk & Spur BRT

Combined frequency
200 S 600 W to 7th E - 10 min or better
7th E 200 S to ~4800 S - 10 min
9th E ~4800 S to 6600 S - 15 min
9400 S 700 E to S.J. station - 15 min

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  #7493  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 4:12 AM
Makid Makid is online now
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There is one issue going forward for too much increase in ridership quickly.

From the same article I linked above:

Quote:
But UTA said in a news release that only limited opportunity exists for more free-fare days.

It said, for example, offering free fares on all poor air-quality days “isn’t feasible, as UTA requires fare revenue to operate.” Also, the agency said the system has limited capacity “and can’t accommodate thousands of extra riders when universities are in session.”
So even if we wanted to see a good increase in ridership quickly, it appears that UTA can't even support it when the Universities are in session. This is something that needs to be taken care of quickly by UTA and the State. If there isn't enough excess capacity, this will cause people to have second thoughts on transit.
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  #7494  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 4:45 AM
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Fair point about the capacity. However, I think this is a real chicken-and-the egg problem. Should the capacity be put in place before there is demand, or should we use the added demand to get an increased capacity?

Historically we've built the capacity first; both the West Valley and South Jordan TRAX lines were originally supposed to be 2030 projects, but these were accelerated by popular demand in order to spur the right kinds of development. For FrontRunner, space was left for 10-car trains at all stations and sidings, so the capacity is theoretically there long before the demand is.

But in this case, I'd be willling to abolish fares and then let the transit system get swamped with demand. I have a feeling that images of crowded buses and people not able to fit into trains will cause lawmakers to accelerate transit projects much more quickly than any study would. I think this is part of the reason roads keep getting funded more than transit - because there are traffic jams and the system is perceived as 'failing,' even though it is just very popular.

As far as buses go, I don't think there is much of a capacity problem. If buses are regularly crowded, there is very little keeping UTA away from running more buses on that route. Maybe a shortage of buses. If that's the case, they'll just have to either 1) manage the buses more efficiently 2) cut service on less-popular routes to provide better service on the popular ones, or 3) borrow/buy more buses - second hand from other agencies will suffice. I'm not picky.

For TRAX, there is plenty of room for service increases. There's long been talk of running 12 minute frequencies (5 trains an hour) or even 10 minute frequencies (6 trains an hour), which would mean 50% more trains on the tracks at a time. The track and infrastructure can handle this, or will soon be able to once the half-grand union on Main Street and 4th South is upgraded. The real problem is that UTA doesn't have all the TRAX vehicles it needs for this. More cars would need to come from somewhere, since they are already stretched pretty thin. UTA has the option to buy at least 100 more cars from Siemens at the price they paid for the first batch of S70 cars, but the fixed price is $3.6 million per car. This is a problem they are going to have to solve not only to handle more demand in the future, but also if they want to open the mythical Black Line.

FrontRunner is in a real pickle in terms of capacity. They've got extra Comet Cars that they could add onto their existing trains to increase seating, but these longer trains don't fit on the platforms (and in places like Provo, the train sticks out into the grade crossing). Also, the Warm Springs yard isn't designed to handle longer trains, so some serious upgrades would be needed there. Should UTA decide to fix the platform and yard issues, they would probably also want to get more Bombardier cars to match the lengthened platforms, but these cars also cost in the range of $2 million each. Lastly, UTA has no way of increasing frequency on the line without seriously adding more time into the schedule. They don't have the trains to increase frequency, and even if they did it would add something like 15-20 minutes into the schedule between Provo and Ogden, since trains would need to pass at every single station. Delays would be enormous. The long-term solution is to double-track and electrify, but that would cost the equivalent of 1 large freeway project, and that kind of money doesn't come around often (for transit, that is).

So there we are. UTA is right at the edge of their capacity. I'm almost proud of them for running a very efficient operation for the money they've been given, but it's also really bad because there are no more low-hanging fruits for them to pick in order to grow. Everything will cost many millions of dollars, and unless the legislature gets serious about UTA reform, it isn't likely that these millions will be secured in any meaningful time frame.

Am I missing anything?
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  #7495  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 4:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liberty Wellsian View Post
East Side Trunk & Spur BRT

Combined frequency
200 S 600 W to 7th E - 10 min or better
7th E 200 S to ~4800 S - 10 min
9th E ~4800 S to 6600 S - 15 min
9400 S 700 E to S.J. station - 15 min

I love it. I imagine that leaving Salt Lake Central these are all traveling together on 2nd South? From SL Central to 7th is going to have a bus every 3 minutes or so. That would cause me to use the 'stunned' emoji again.
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  #7496  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 4:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Orlando View Post
I don't know if this has been discussed already, but there is an rfp or something out for double tracing the streetcar line.
Yep. The S-Line is getting a second track... for 2 blocks. The existing siding at 500 East is being expanded west to 300 East, and this will supposedly allow for 15 minute frequencies on the line. The project will start in 2019 and be complete in 2020. I expect the streetcar will shut down during construction time rather than run at 30 minute frequencies, but perhaps I'll be surprised.

I've ranted at length about how they don't need to do this to get 15 minute frequencies. The cars sit for 10 minutes on both ends of the line, so if that turn around time was to be cut to 5 minutes, they could already do it now. But this is impossible, I'm told, because the operators are contractually obligated to receive a certain amount of 'break time,' so to shorten the turn-around time would necessitate using a third or fourth person to operate the line while some of them rest - essentially doubling the cost of operating the line, which is annoying. I'm not sure how a longer siding will solve this problem. My assumption is that with the construction money is also a change in contracts, or maybe even some assistance in operating costs from the city/state, but that's my own speculation.
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  #7497  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 7:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
Yep. The S-Line is getting a second track... for 2 blocks. The existing siding at 500 East is being expanded west to 300 East, and this will supposedly allow for 15 minute frequencies on the line. The project will start in 2019 and be complete in 2020. I expect the streetcar will shut down during construction time rather than run at 30 minute frequencies, but perhaps I'll be surprised.

I've ranted at length about how they don't need to do this to get 15 minute frequencies. The cars sit for 10 minutes on both ends of the line, so if that turn around time was to be cut to 5 minutes, they could already do it now. But this is impossible, I'm told, because the operators are contractually obligated to receive a certain amount of 'break time,' so to shorten the turn-around time would necessitate using a third or fourth person to operate the line while some of them rest - essentially doubling the cost of operating the line, which is annoying. I'm not sure how a longer siding will solve this problem. My assumption is that with the construction money is also a change in contracts, or maybe even some assistance in operating costs from the city/state, but that's my own speculation.
They need to pad with extra time to ensure that the cars meet up at 500 east. With single track lines, delays build and build. 10m is critical to making sure that any sort of point delay can be mitigated within one trip rather than spilling over into future trips.
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  #7498  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 5:24 PM
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I agree that the 10 minute layovers have a purpose as far as mitigating delays, but I disagree that they need to be 10 minutes long. Here, I made everyone a neat chart to look at:



What I've done is I've found the layover times for each endpoint by looking at these schedules (Blue Red Green Silver) and then I took the layover time and divided it by the time it took the train to reach the layover location. Basically, since it takes 51 minutes for a Blue Line train to get from SLC to Draper, and the layover time is 6 minutes, the layover is 12% of the trip time.

This percentage is what is really important. A Blue Line train can be 12 percent late arriving in Draper and still be able to leave northbound on time. A Red Line train can be only 10 percent late arriving at University Medical and still be able to leave on time. But the S-Line? It can be 100 percent late, or take twice the time it usually takes to get to either end of the line, and still be able to depart on time.

What I'm suggesting is that since the S-Line is only 2 miles long, it should have the shortest layover times compared to the other TRAX lines. Instead it has the the longest of any line. What kind of delays will the streetcars accrue in 2 miles? 2 minutes? 3 minutes? Not nearly enough to cause 100% delays, and not enough to justify a 10 minute layover. Let's hold the S Line to the same standard as the Red Line at Daybreak, and let it have a 22% layover. That would give the S-Line 2.5 minutes of laying over. Then lets be generous and give them another 2.5 minutes, just in case. We now are at a 44% layover, or 5 minutes. That means we could run the S Line every 15 minutes right now and not need to wait until 2020 to do it.
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  #7499  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 7:35 PM
Liberty Wellsian Liberty Wellsian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
I agree that the 10 minute layovers have a purpose as far as mitigating delays, but I disagree that they need to be 10 minutes long. Here, I made everyone a neat chart to look at:



What I've done is I've found the layover times for each endpoint by looking at these schedules (Blue Red Green Silver) and then I took the layover time and divided it by the time it took the train to reach the layover location. Basically, since it takes 51 minutes for a Blue Line train to get from SLC to Draper, and the layover time is 6 minutes, the layover is 12% of the trip time.

This percentage is what is really important. A Blue Line train can be 12 percent late arriving in Draper and still be able to leave northbound on time. A Red Line train can be only 10 percent late arriving at University Medical and still be able to leave on time. But the S-Line? It can be 100 percent late, or take twice the time it usually takes to get to either end of the line, and still be able to depart on time.

What I'm suggesting is that since the S-Line is only 2 miles long, it should have the shortest layover times compared to the other TRAX lines. Instead it has the the longest of any line. What kind of delays will the streetcars accrue in 2 miles? 2 minutes? 3 minutes? Not nearly enough to cause 100% delays, and not enough to justify a 10 minute layover. Let's hold the S Line to the same standard as the Red Line at Daybreak, and let it have a 22% layover. That would give the S-Line 2.5 minutes of laying over. Then lets be generous and give them another 2.5 minutes, just in case. We now are at a 44% layover, or 5 minutes. That means we could run the S Line every 15 minutes right now and not need to wait until 2020 to do it.
I'm of the opinion that 15 min frequency still won't be enough anyway. The line is so short and the train so slow that it probably needs a higher frequency. As close to on demand as we could reasonably get it, which means the whole line needs to be double tracked.
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  #7500  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 7:53 PM
Liberty Wellsian Liberty Wellsian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
I love it. I imagine that leaving Salt Lake Central these are all traveling together on 2nd South? From SL Central to 7th is going to have a bus every 3 minutes or so. That would cause me to use the 'stunned' emoji again.
Well I figured that the three southbound lines probably couldn't be justified at 15 min frequencies(Murray Holladay road, 13 th east in sandy, 7th east in sandy). I put them at 30 minute frequencies, at least to start. That means that 200 s between 6th west and 7th east would have 10 minute frequency guaranteed with the University line adding 4 more trips an hour. 7th east would have 10 minute frequency and 9400 south to 7th east 15 minute.
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