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  #681  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2016, 3:37 PM
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Seattle's Link light rail line reports an 82.4% May-over-May weekday passenger increase after the recent northward extension. Also 17.2% more for the two heavy rail commuter lines that run during rush hours. And 2.7% more for the Sound Transit's express buses. (This doesn't include King County Metro, our primary bus agency.)

http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/de...nce-report.pdf
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  #682  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2016, 8:11 PM
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Measurements of Light Rail’s Impact on House Prices Are Uneven

Read More: https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/nor...erty-values-up

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In November, Virginia Beach, Virginia, voters rejected — for the second time — a light-rail line that would have connected their city center to the center of Norfolk, 18 miles west. A campaign against the project argued that the cost was too high, that it would not actually alleviate traffic and that it would lead to increases in crime.

The anti-light-rail campaign also cited Norfolk’s light-rail system, the Tide, which went ahead with construction despite Virginia Beach’s first rejection in 1999: The 11-station line, which travels from Norfolk’s center to its eastern boundary, opened with prediction-smashing ridership, but has seen decline ever since. Despite the fact that the Tide remains one of the biggest money losers per ride in the country, operator Hampton Roads Transit has argued that at least light rail has contributed to economic development in downtown, pointing to a figure of $532 million in investment since 2011.

Now a new working paper from the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank asks whether Virginia Beach is missing out on economic benefits by comparing housing prices along the Norfolk Tide and the proposed but unbuilt Virginia Beach extension. To the lead author’s surprise, they found one of the largest negative impacts of light rail on housing prices in the existing literature. “I didn’t think that the light-rail line would be a significant benefit,” says Gary Wagner, lead author, vice president and senior regional officer of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank. “But I did expect, most of the literature had tended to find a small positive effect.”

Instead, he found that homes within 1,500 meters of a Tide station sold for approximately 8 percent less than similar homes in the Virginia Beach control group. They also found homes close to the Norfolk line are on the market longer, and sell for 2 percent less on average below the asking price. “By a lot of those different metrics, at least in that [metropolitan statistical area], people do not view it as being favorable to be near to the light-rail station. They in fact viewed it as a negative,” says Wagner.

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  #683  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2016, 7:03 PM
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All of this talk about light rail and Los Angeles; the city building more LR than any place in north America while simultaneously expanding its Heavy rail subway to Beverly Hills, is barely mentioned in this thread. We've had 2 major extension open this year. One to the beach in Santa Monica, and the other in the San Gabriel Valley. We have a train under construction to LAX, the 5th busiest airport in the world, and a new LR subway in downtown LA. We also have planning on how our light rail will get from LAX directly to Hollywood which is a big space of contention. LA is reigning king over the hybrid LR system and dialogue in how it's being built can become a question/answer to other cities
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  #684  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2017, 10:20 PM
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Phoenix South Central Light Rail Extension To Be Completed By 2023

http://kjzz.org/content/420939/phoen...completed-2023

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.....

- City planners said the Federal Transit Administration has granted a significant environmental approval for the planned South Central Light Rail Extension. The approval means final design work on the extension can begin. The study looked at potential impacts to the neighboring environment including noise and vibration, air quality, as well as historical and archeological resources. The proposed five-mile project will connect with the current light rail system in downtown Phoenix and run south to Baseline Road. The South Central Extension was originally slated to be finished in 2034, but its completion was moved up to 2023 after Phoenix voters approved a transportation initiative two years ago.

.....
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  #685  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2017, 8:18 PM
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RTD R-Line begins service Friday to Aurora, Denver and Lone Tree

Read More: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/02/23...one-tree-free/

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.....

The 22-mile R-Line, which runs from Lincoln Station in Lone Tree to Peoria Station in Aurora allows commuters to ride the new line to Peoria and easily transfer to the University of Colorado A-Line, which provides access to downtown Denver and to Denver International Airport. According to the RTD schedule for the R-Line, a trip from end to end should take just under an hour.

- The R-Line, which serves 16 stations and is expected to have daily ridership of 12,000 one year after it opens, jumped from concept to reality nearly five years ago, when RTD picked Kiewit Infrastructure Co. to complete the unbuilt portion of the line through Aurora. At the time, Kiewit said it expected to finish the line in November 2015 at a cost of $350 million. RTD spokesman Scott Reed said Kiewit’s costs were in line with its estimates, but with right-of-way acquisitions, environmental studies, the purchase of 19 light-rail vehicles and insurance, the total project cost was closer to $700 million.

.....



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  #686  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2017, 1:05 AM
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22 miles of light rail and only 12,000 ridership expected. Wow!
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  #687  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2017, 1:34 AM
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Only 19 vehicles! Over/under that they hits crush capacity immediately, then lose ridership because it's too full and too infrequent?
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  #688  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2017, 5:30 AM
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22 miles of light rail and only 12,000 ridership expected. Wow!
The extension is only about 10 miles. The R-line runs along other corridors for a total of 22 miles - suburban to suburban service.
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  #689  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2017, 9:43 PM
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QLine start date announcement a few weeks away

....

It's been expected for some time that the streetcars, which have been running tests along the route, will launch formal service in April after the Detroit Tigers begin their season — barring any problems during the testing process. The launch will formally mark the end of a decade of work to develop, fund and build the line.

"We are going through a very thorough training and testing program. It's always been our expectation to start operations at some point after Opening Day and we remain on track to do that. A launch date isn't expected to come for a few more weeks, but streetcars will be on the road nearly every day from now until passenger operations," QLine spokesman Dan Lijana said via email.

The reddish-orange and white streetcars began test runs in December along the 6.6-mile Woodward loop, and about 1,000 federal and state checks will have to pass muster before service is authorized to begin. Construction of the line's 20 stations will be 95 percent done by the end of March, Lijana said.

Matt Cullen, CEO of the nonprofit M-1 Rail that operates the QLine, told Crain's at that time he'd prefer to not start passenger service close to Opening Day for the Tigers, when downtown is a mass of fans. The team begins the 2017 season at Comerica Park on April 7, and Cullen said ideally service will begin — and any early quirks worked out — while the Tigers are on the road. The Tigers are at Minnesota April 11-13, and then gone again April 17-23, so those are possible windows for service to begin.

In the meantime, M-1 Rail has launched a public education program for pedestrians and motorists to share Woodward with streetcars. A safety video is being circulated and the next seminar is Thursday.

...

The six-car system is expected to operate as a pair of two-car trains during regular operations, with the other two cars as backups or for use during especially busy times downtown. Fewer cars may operate during off-peak hours. They're manufactured by Brookville, Pa.-based Brookville Equipment Corp., which signed a $32 million contract in May 2015 with M-Rail for the streetcars, spare parts and support services. The first streetcar was delivered in September, and delivery of the final two is expected soon, Lijana said.

The three-piece articulated cars are 66 feet long and able to carry 125 passengers on average. There are 34 cloth seats along with a slew of loop handles for standing, mostly in the center portion of the streetcars, which are lower at either end. They're air-conditioned, heated and come equipped with bike racks and Wi-Fi. Passengers enter from grade-level station platforms, and each side of the streetcars has two large sliding doors.

....

The system, which is intended to be handed over to the regional transit authority in coming years, will be operated by Lombard, Ill.-based Transdev Services Inc., a private transportation management firm, under a five-year, $15.5 million contract signed in 2016.

Base fares will be $1.50 and end-to-end rides are predicted to take 22-25 minutes. There are 20 stations, which will be heated and branded for the system's various corporate financial backers. M-1 estimates 5,000-8,000 riders per day. Hours will be 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m.-midnight Friday; 8 a.m.-midnight Saturday; and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. Those could be adjusted after service begins and M-1 Rail has data on passenger usage, Cullen said.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...few-weeks-away
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  #690  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 4:38 PM
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The Loop Trolley Really Is Hitting the Tracks This Month

Read More: http://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsb...cks-this-month

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The ding-ding-ding of the trolley bell sounded in St. Louis this morning — although you'll still have to wait a few more weeks for the clang-clang-clang of the cars moving on the tracks.

At a press conference to show off the new trolley cars and detail upcoming developments, project managers made it clear that the rollout should start by mid-March, but that their schedule includes a series of lengthy phases.First, in approximately two weeks, testing will begin. That involves a trolley car being pulled along the line by a truck — a step that will allow the project's managers to make sure nothing is in the way of the cars, and also that the trolley cars align properly with the platforms.

Only after that step — late March at the earliest, according to project impresario Joe Edwards — will actual trolley runs begin. And this will be nothing like the real ride, much less open to curiosity seekers. The first runs will be at 10 miles per hour, gradually increasing until they get to 25 miles per hour. All the switches and signals will also be tested during this phase. After that, they can begin actual test runs. Before the general public can get on the cars, each trolley car should have 300 miles of test runs completed.

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  #691  
Old Posted May 20, 2017, 8:17 PM
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Kinda hard to imagine them expanding the system with the same size streetcars.

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QLine goes through teething pains
By BILL SHEA. Crain's Detroit. May 20, 2017.



As it turns out, operating a streetcar in Detroit for the first time in six decades is harder than expected.

Despite months of testing, managers of Detroit's new $187 million QLine streetcar system are struggling to cope with what they say are unexpectedly high early ridership numbers after one week of service, and they're learning to co-exist with the realities of traffic on Woodward Avenue.

Why QLine executives were surprised at the scope of the initial wave of curiosity, which saw riders fill streetcars starting from the first stop at Grand Boulevard and remain on the train for the entire train loop, isn't clear. But it's certainly far too soon, after just a week, to proclaim the QLine a success or failure.

After seeing an estimated nearly 50,000 riders in the line's first seven days, QLine officials on Friday delayed paid passenger service until July 1, keeping it free another six weeks rather than introducing another element of confusion and delay — how to pay to ride — for a system that's a week into its teething phase.

The scramble is to help ensure the system builds a loyal, content clientele instead of creating a chorus of critics who avoid the streetcars because of a perceived reputation as needlessly overcrowded and slow.

....

The QLine said it intends to use more of its six-car fleet to trim ride time during peak periods. Each can carry about 125 or more passengers, and during the first weekend every car was regularly packed, QLine officials said. They didn't expect that.

....

The line is expected to see additional rider demand with the Movement electronic music festival over Memorial Day weekend, increased Tigers crowds once school is out, and when the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons move into new Little Caesars Arena — which has its own QLine stop — beginning in September.

...

If the line averages 5,000 riders a day, that still leaves it with fewer passengers than the oft-maligned Detroit People Mover, the downtown elevated 3-mile monorail loop that opened in 1987 and was intended as a piece of a wider system that failed to develop. The 12-car People Mover last year had 2.1 million riders, averaging nearly 6,000 a day — numbers that get inflated because of events such as the Detroit auto show and Red Wings games. It has 13 stations, while the QLine has 20 stations spread over 12 stops.

...
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...teething-pains
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  #692  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2017, 9:37 PM
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A Trolley And A Dream: Texas Border City Aims To Boost Ties With Mexico

Read More: https://www.fastcompany.com/3069087/...-with-trollies

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El Paso has launched an ambitious project that defies the current political climate: Rather than wall off its south-of-the-border neighbors, it is hoping to one day run routine roundtrip trolley service to nearby Juarez, Mexico.

- Construction is already well underway for the first leg, which will stay within the confines of El Paso. The second cross-border leg is still in the discussion stage but the momentum is real. Thousands of “hardworking Mexican national shoppers took their dollars and pesos and spent it in American businesses,” says El Paso City Representative Peter Svarzbein, 36, who grew up in the Southwest Texan city and recalls a time when American-Mexican relations were far more honored and encouraged than today’s news headlines would suggest.

- Svarzbein, one of the major advocates of the streetcars, convinced the Texas Dept. of Transportation to earmark $97 million for phase one, and next year, refurbished vintage streetcars will connect the newly revitalized downtown to the city’s university district. Juarez will have to wait. Inadequate staffing for border patrol screenings at El Paso’s three check points of entry means a lengthy waiting process that can take hours for the 80,000 people who travel between the two cities each day.

- Other superlatives also help tell the El Paso story. The region is a major hub for manufacturing and international trade, the second most important trade point on the border and the 11th largest exporter in the U.S. More than 86% of what is sent out of El Paso heads to Mexico—$24.6 billion worth, according to the International Trade Administration. “We see the border as an opportunity, not an obstacle or a challenge,” explains Jessica Herrera, interim director for the El Paso Economic and International Development Department.

- Although the trolleys won’t debut until mid-2018, it’s already impacted the local economy by redefining the downtown layout and encouraging new investments. Developers, upon learning of the route, began bidding on vacant buildings to turn into multi-apartment units, hotels, and restaurants. The boutique Indigo Hotel, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, specifically began construction on one street corner in 2015 because of its proximity to a trolley line stop. Since then, two more hotels sprung up in the same area.

- For Phase 2 of Svarzbein’s plan—the Juarez leg—to become reality, it’ll have to cross numerous regulatory hurdles, including local, state, and federal nods. While El Paso is the only one considering a transnational trolley, other U.S. cities have their own collaborative projects. For example, San Diego in late 2015 unveiled the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) air terminal, an enclosed pedestrian skywalk bridge exclusively for Tijuana Airport passengers who cross the U.S./Mexico border.

.....


















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  #693  
Old Posted Aug 3, 2017, 4:16 PM
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A tug-of-war between Metro, Metrolink intensifies as thousands switch to cheaper Gold Line

http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-ne...aper-gold-line

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.....

- Thousands are switching from riding Metrolink, a commuter rail, to taking the Gold Line light rail. Both go to Los Angeles but the Gold Line is much cheaper, offers more trains more often and less waiting. Thousands are switching from riding Metrolink, a commuter rail, to taking the Gold Line light rail. Both go to Los Angeles but the Gold Line is much cheaper, offers more trains more often and less waiting. --- This rail-to-rail migration from Metrolink, a locomotive-powered heavy rail line, to Metro’s suburban-reaching light rail doesn’t remove cars from the traffic-snarled freeways nor does it reduce air pollution since these commuters weren’t driving anyway.

- Instead, it’s creating competition and causing friction between the two agencies that will only get worse once the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority builds the next leg from Glendora to Montclair, creating duplication of services at three Metrolink stations: Montclair, Pomona and Claremont. --- “We certainly find it interesting to place two public transportation options — rail and light rail — right next to each other at Pomona, Claremont and Montclair stations,” said Scott Johnson, Metrolink spokesman during an interview Friday.

.....
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  #694  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2017, 7:15 PM
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  #695  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2017, 5:56 PM
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A ride along of the new Blue Line extension in Charlotte during its testing phase, from its northern terminus on the UNC Charlotte campus down to 9th Street station where it connects with the existing line in uptown. Also shows the artwork at each station. Expected opening March 2018.

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  #696  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2017, 9:13 PM
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City Council Endorses Downtown DART Subway Alignment

Read More: https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburne...way-alignment/

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The City Council this morning gave the nod to the Victory-Commerce-Swiss alignment of DART’s D2 project, the long-and-still-awaited subway line that will run through downtown Dallas. Councilmembers also approved a preferred alignment for a new streetcar line, along Elm and Commerce.

- The Young and Main alignments, respectively, remain under consideration if things don’t shake out with the Elm-Commerce line. Engineering studies, financing, and the vagaries of time stand between those dotted lines on a map and an actual subway line, but if everything miraculously proceeds as planned, expect the streetcar project to be finished by 2023, the D2 subway by 2024.

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  #697  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 5:24 PM
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Seattle to spend $177M on new streetcar line amid questions about ‘unrealistic’ revenue, rider projections

Read More: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-...r-projections/

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Seattle is slated to break ground soon on a streetcar line running along First Avenue. Officials say it will provide a crucial link through downtown, but streetcar lines aren’t meeting projections, and critics say the city’s assumptions aren’t realistic.

- Your fares cover about 40 percent of operating costs for Sound Transit’s Link light rail. Fares cover about 31 percent of the cost of King County Metro buses. Seattle’s two streetcar lines cover 23 percent of their costs with fares. But once a streetcar is built along First Avenue in downtown Seattle, the city Department of Transportation (SDOT) expects fares to cover a whopping 56 percent of operating costs for the three lines. That would be among the highest rates of any transit agency in the country. And it’s one of a number of optimistic financial projections contained in Seattle’s plans to expand a streetcar system that is performing far below expectations.

- Early next month the city will break ground on the $177 million, 1.2-mile Center City Connector line that will run along First Avenue. When complete — its scheduled opening is 2020 — it will link the city’s two fragmented streetcar lines and connect South Lake Union with downtown and the Chinatown-International District before looping around like a bobby pin to reach First Hill and Capitol Hill. The city anticipates $83 million from the federal government to help pay for the project, $58 million of which has been approved by Congress. The remaining $94 million will come from local taxes and utility bills. Previous reports listing the cost at about $152 million did not include the costs of public water and electric utility work.

- Once the system is complete, however, it will run in mixed traffic at both edges, having to contend with traffic snarls around Mercer Street, the International District and on Broadway. Through most of South Lake Union, downtown and the International District, trains should run every five minutes, while in Little Saigon, First Hill and Capitol Hill trains should run every 10 minutes. The city admits that the streetcar lines are underperforming, but officials say there is demand for an easy-to-understand streetcar that would link neighborhoods in Seattle’s booming downtown.

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  #698  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2017, 7:30 PM
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Count me as a skeptic. This is like a bus that can't get around the incessant intersection blockages we already do nothing about.
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  #699  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 4:35 PM
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The Rail That Fails

Read More: https://www.citylab.com/transportati...lready/541365/

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A few weeks after the city of Detroit began charging riders a few bucks per ride on its brand-new downtown streetcar, ridership dropped 40 percent, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sadly, few observers were surprised. “The streetcar doesn’t even connect directly to the city’s primary bus station,” remarked the transit consultant Yonah Freemark on Twitter. “It runs a total of 3 miles in a huge region. Set up to fail.”

- The streetcar, dubbed the QLine, is carrying 3,000 riders per day, short of the projected 5,000 to 8,000 per day required to break even. Sure, it’s still early; the line opened in May. But a similar story is playing out across the country’s other 21st century streetcars: Pokey, infrequent, and generally disconnected from other transit, line after line keeps bottoming out. --- Atlanta saw a 60 percent drop in ridership after its 1.3-mile line, which opened in 2014, started asking for $1 per go. The line is in the process of being transferred from the city’s authority to the metro’s transit agency, which may consider making it free again. But it’s been bedeviled by administrative and financial issues.

- Since it opened in September 2016, Cincinnati’s Bell Connector line has seen about two-thirds of the daily ridership consultants predicted. Salt Lake City’s Sugar House line has fared even worse, with just about one-third of the passengers originally projected. Even Seattle, for all of its other transit successes, is seeing about the same sorry share of original predictions. --- Overall, as critics have often pointed out, the record is pretty poor when these projects are judged as transit. Which might be the wrong frame. Actual transit riders aren’t well served by them, but developers and downtown business boosters tend to be pleased.

- Nothing is inherently wrong with a streetcar beloved by developers, so long as developers are paying for it. But they’re not, at least not on their own. Taxpayers are picking up most of the bill for the 21st century streetcar renaissance—money which could otherwise support more effective forms of public transportation. Overall mobility suffers when transit dollars are diverted to projects that are more about real estate than riders. --- And yet more and more business-friendly streetcars keep coming. Milwaukee is tearing up roads now to build one of its own. Boise is taking another swing at its downtown, rail-based circulator.

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  #700  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2017, 7:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Count me as a skeptic. This is like a bus that can't get around the incessant intersection blockages we already do nothing about.
Yep, just a terrible fad to market the city as urban and modern without actually helping anything and spending a lot more money. The streetcar/light rail boom will be taught similarly to the freeway boom in future transportation classes.
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