SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/index.php)
-   Transportation (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=25)
-   -   Cities Making the Most and Least Transit Progress (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=249665)

lrt's friend Jan 14, 2022 12:30 AM

Cities Making the Most and Least Transit Progress
 
Share what you think are the North American cities currently making the most transit progress and which cities are the worst laggards.

SFBruin Jan 14, 2022 7:28 AM

I honestly have no idea.

Seattle's making progress, largely through a lot of funding.

I assume it's a little more than most.

UrbanImpact Jan 14, 2022 2:29 PM

Miami is currently being connected to Orlando by high speed rail and has plans to expand the metro rail (heavy rail), metro mover (downtown people mover), and add an additional commuter rail line on the east side of South Florida (same tracks the HSR run on). It's
far from being the most, but, there is hope. Hopefully it all happens.

ardecila Jan 14, 2022 5:24 PM

The worst laggards have got to be in the Midwest. Conservative state/county governments plus stagnant populations don't lead to much popular demand for transit. It also seems to correspond with how toxic the racial attitudes are - you need regional support from cities and suburbs alike to fund and operate a major transit system, but if the white suburbs hate the black inner-city then there won't be much progress on transit.

Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cincinnati all failed to pass regional transit initiatives, but managed to build miniature streetcar lines because the core cities could build those on their own with Federal grants. Indy is a similar story, but there the core city is building BRT instead of streetcars. And since it's the state capital, the legislature keeps trying to kill it.

Cleveland has a legacy rail system that was modernized decades ago and now is crumbling. There is no money to replace railcars or rebuild/maintain track and infrastructure.

Columbus seems to have zero interest in regional transit, despite strong growth/gentrification in inner-city neighborhoods.

St Louis built 2 light rail lines, but lost its appetite for future expansions.

Chicago has an enormous legacy transit system, but it seems the best we can do is tread water rather than expanding the system or reworking it for 21st-century needs.

Only Minneapolis really has an aggressive transit expansion program, so they would be the clear leader in the Midwest... but it still doesn't compare to what LA, Denver, Seattle, or Dallas are doing. Or even Austin for that matter.

jmecklenborg Jan 14, 2022 5:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9503345)
It also seems to correspond with how toxic the racial attitudes are - you need regional support from cities and suburbs alike to fund and operate a major transit system, but if the white suburbs hate the black inner-city then there won't be much progress on transit.

Throughout the Midwest, black residents are moving out to postwar suburbs and the children of white suburbanites are moving into the cities to take their place. This is happening on a pretty large scale.

mrnyc Jan 14, 2022 6:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9503369)
Throughout the Midwest, black residents are moving out to postwar suburbs and the children of white suburbanites are moving into the cities to take their place. This is happening on a pretty large scale.

i would characterize that as all the poors are getting pushed out to the banlieues as whitey has rediscovered downtown. :shrug:

mrnyc Jan 14, 2022 6:07 PM

worst laggard by far is columbus. biggest city with no rail transit and a weak to ok bus system. where the hell was cota with the ready to go rail plans when when uncle joe was handing out that infrastructure money?

jmecklenborg Jan 14, 2022 6:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 9503415)
worst laggard by far is columbus. biggest city with no rail transit and a weak to ok bus system. where the hell was cota with the ready to go rail plans when when uncle joe was handing out that infrastructure money?

Mayor Coleman treaded ankle deep in streetcar fever back around 2007-2010. There was a tentative plan to build a streetcar on High St. from German Village up to maybe 15th St., a little south of OSU. They didn't have enough money to build up to OSU and maybe Lane Ave. without raising money with a special tax. I don't know if they applied for a TIGER grant or not.

There have been pseudo-official proposals to build a light rail subway under High St. between the Ohio Statehouse and OSU.

Columbus has the really weird circumstance of High St. being relatively narrow but 4th and Summit being wide. So there have been various light rail proposals for parallel tracks on 4th and Summit, but that was always a bad plan because those aren't commercial corridors.

mrnyc Jan 14, 2022 7:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9503427)
Mayor Coleman treaded ankle deep in streetcar fever back around 2007-2010. There was a tentative plan to build a streetcar on High St. from German Village up to maybe 15th St., a little south of OSU. They didn't have enough money to build up to OSU and maybe Lane Ave. without raising money with a special tax. I don't know if they applied for a TIGER grant or not.

There have been pseudo-official proposals to build a light rail subway under High St. between the Ohio Statehouse and OSU.

Columbus has the really weird circumstance of High St. being relatively narrow but 4th and Summit being wide. So there have been various light rail proposals for parallel tracks on 4th and Summit, but that was always a bad plan because those aren't commercial corridors.


yeah i know. no tiger no nothing was done or planned for.

one big thing is campus and downtown really do not have much to do with each other.

however, unless they ever build a subway up high street, which is unlikely, then light rail has always been the fantastic idea for up and down 4th and summit. those are parallel to high street and keep the trains off of the narrow street. there is some business along those streets heading into downtown and it would be a big hit in columbus.

i do not think that will happen first though. i would bet there will be a focus on connecting downtown to the airport as proof of concept. and probably rightly so. then the city can build off of that.

lrt's friend Jan 14, 2022 8:41 PM

For a city that I have visited a few times and a city that has experienced a boom, Raleigh North Carolina has failed to introduce a good rapid transit system so far. The city and area seems to be based on massive residential and business sprawl that makes planning a useful rapid transit plan very difficult. How do others feel about Raleigh's transit potential?

Doady Jan 14, 2022 9:44 PM

Not many US cities saw any transit progress at all, let alone most vs. least. It might be better to discuss which transit systems declined the least and which ones declined the most. Those were Milwaukee and Cleveland, each with a whopping 33% decline from 2014 to 2019. The 29% decline of Transit Authority of River City in Louisville and the 25% of Metrolink in St. Louis are also notable.

The numbers are sad, difficult to find US cities which even held ridership steady, let alone saw transit ridership growth, and Las Vegas was the biggest I could find with 5.9% growth from 2014 to 2019, followed by Houston with 4.5% growth during the same period. Of course, there is Seattle, with King County Metro and Sound Transit seeing combined 3.8% growth. Then there is Columbus and Pittsburgh with 1.2% and 1.9% growth respectively.

Columbus and Pittsburgh. As Rust Belt cities, Columbus and Pittsburgh might be the most interesting. And for Columbus, it is also a long term trend, 29% growth from 2004. Las Vegas is also unusual as a pure, post-war, sprawling Sunbelt city seeing gradual and consistent transit ridership growth, a 17% increase total from 2004. What are places like Las Vegas and Columbus doing differently? These systems never get talked about but maybe they deserve more attention.

Crawford Jan 14, 2022 11:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lrt's friend (Post 9503646)
For a city that I have visited a few times and a city that has experienced a boom, Raleigh North Carolina has failed to introduce a good rapid transit system so far. The city and area seems to be based on massive residential and business sprawl that makes planning a useful rapid transit plan very difficult. How do others feel about Raleigh's transit potential?

I can't imagine Raleigh ever achieving decent transit share. No dominant regional center, everything super sprawly and practically no prewar, walkable neighborhoods. A 1980's neighborhood is basically "vintage".

skiesthelimit Jan 15, 2022 2:52 AM

As car dependent we are in Phoenix, our light rail is currently expanding to the North, South and soon the West. Tempe’s new Streetcar should be opening pretty soon now and talks are already occurring to expand the Streetcar further east into Mesa. There’s study for BRT on Rural (major arterial road) as well. IIRC, there’s a study for valley-wide commuter rail ongoing and Amtrak recently said they’re planning to return to Phoenix.

Prahaboheme Jan 15, 2022 2:31 PM

LA seems to be leading the pack with its mass transit infrastructure expansions between heavy rail and light rail extensions.

iheartthed Jan 15, 2022 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lrt's friend (Post 9503646)
For a city that I have visited a few times and a city that has experienced a boom, Raleigh North Carolina has failed to introduce a good rapid transit system so far. The city and area seems to be based on massive residential and business sprawl that makes planning a useful rapid transit plan very difficult. How do others feel about Raleigh's transit potential?

It's a city built around stroads, so I would say it has effectively no potential.

Emprise du Lion Jan 15, 2022 5:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9503345)
The worst laggards have got to be in the Midwest. Conservative state/county governments plus stagnant populations don't lead to much popular demand for transit. It also seems to correspond with how toxic the racial attitudes are - you need regional support from cities and suburbs alike to fund and operate a major transit system, but if the white suburbs hate the black inner-city then there won't be much progress on transit.

St Louis built 2 light rail lines, but lost its appetite for future expansions.

We've been studying a north/south line for the MetroLink for God knows how many years at this point, but there's very little movement. MetroLink ridership also has been declining for years, even before the pandemic, so I wouldn't be surprised if the line ends up becoming a BRT route instead.

That said, Illinois is funding an extension out to MidAmerica Airport, and they did it immediately. So now both local airports will be connected to the MetroLink system.

We also built a useless trolley in the Delmar Loop that Bi-State doesn't want, and we're about to have to pay the federal government back the $37 million they gave us for its creation unless we get it up and running again.

lrt's friend Jan 15, 2022 6:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Emprise du Lion (Post 9504302)
We've been studying a north/south line for the MetroLink for God knows how many years at this point, but there's very little movement. MetroLink ridership also has been declining for years, even before the pandemic, so I wouldn't be surprised if the line ends up becoming a BRT route instead.

That said, Illinois is funding an extension out to MidAmerica Airport, and they did it immediately. So now both local airports will be connected to the MetroLink system.

We also built a useless trolley in the Delmar Loop that Bi-State doesn't want, and we're about to have to pay the federal government back the $37 million they gave us for its creation unless we get it up and running again.

Unbelievable! I watched the development of that line in this discussion group. Why do cities invest in these minimal streetcar projects?

Doady Jan 15, 2022 8:50 PM

The city that expanded their transit system the most in the past 20 years in Canada was most likely Brampton, Ontario and likely it was the leader in North America. Brampton Transit ridership grew from less than 8 million linked trips in 2003 to over 31 million in 2019. By US standards, that would be around 10 million unlinked trips to over 40 million, almost 4 times increase. Granted, this followed years of neglect and underfunding, and coincided with rapid population growth, but it is still almost doubling of the ridership per capita from 22 to 47 riders per capita within a 15 year period. Hard to beat that.

Unfortunately, Brampton Transit recently announced major service cut and many routes cancelled as a result of ridership loss from the pandemic, and these changes are to come into effect on Monday.

Brampton Transit to temporarily cut routes, reduce service due to COVID-19
Changes will take effect on Jan. 17, service to be restored 'as soon as possible': city
The Canadian Press · Posted: Jan 13, 2022 7:57 AM ET | Last Updated: January 13
Quote:

Brampton Transit is temporarily cancelling service on some 20 routes, citing COVID-19 related staffing shortages and reduced ridership.

The city northwest of Toronto says its transit agency it will also reduce service on more than 20 other routes to ensure the system can continue to operate.

The city says the changes will take effect on Jan. 17 and service will be restored as soon as possible.

The announcement comes days after the regional transit agency Metrolinx cut back service by roughly 15 per cent across its network due to COVID-19.

...
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toron...pton-1.6313321


As for the least progress in Canada, that award would have to go the neighbouring agency, York Region Transit, which saw very little ridership growth even after major expansion of services starting in 2005, including BRT and transitways and even TTC subway expansion into their territory. As the result of lack of ridership growth, and even some ridership loss in recent years, even before the pandemic, they had to scale back a lot of the new services anyways. After all, riders and fare revenue are the main source of funding for any transit system, and York Region shows how important it is for agencies to make sure ridership meet expectations and not let that ridership fall.

Problem with York Region is all those BRTs and subway didn't fix their main problem: the lack of continuous corridors for transit, especially east-west corridors. One major east-west corridor is broken, and there is another that is not broken that York Region refuses to service because it is already served by Toronto and the TTC. So the result is an incomplete system with some very big gaps, forcing people to have to walk too far to be able to use transit.

When I look at Raleigh, when I look at their road network, I see the same problem. No matter how much they are willing to spend on transit, their transit system is going to have some big gaps in it. It will be an incomplete system no matter what. Successful transit is more than spending more rail and bus service. A city has to spend to lay the foundation for transit even before that by building the right roads.

"Permeability" is arguably the biggest difference between an inner city and suburb, and it isn't just important for walkability, it's also important for high transit ridership. You don't just need a lot of corridors for people to walk on, you also need a lot of corridors for transit vehicles to operate on. Lack of "permeability" is what has held York Region back despite being the most aggressive and ambitious in expanding transit in Canada in the past 20 years, and the lack of such will also hold any of Raleigh's efforts back.

SAN Man Jan 15, 2022 8:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prahaboheme (Post 9504190)
LA seems to be leading the pack with its mass transit infrastructure expansions between heavy rail and light rail extensions.

SD might be not be too far behind LA if SANDAG's $160 BILLION transit plan becomes a reality.

https://timesofsandiego.com/politics...s-mileage-tax/

Crawford Jan 16, 2022 12:37 AM

I'm a transit supporter, but why the hell would the U.S. spend $160 billion in San Diego of all places? The city will never be transit oriented. It's almost completely unwalkable except for short stretches, the downtown core has minimal employment share, and almost the entire region was built post-autotopia.

If SD and CA want to spend a couple of hundred billion on SD transit projects, that's fine, but no way should there be a major federal role. SD makes LA's transit potential look like the next Tokyo in comparison.

Atlas Jan 17, 2022 4:00 PM

Don't sleep on SLC, folks. We haven't seen much rail construction in the last 5 years but that will change soon. The commuter rail (FrontRunner) finally has funding for double tracking and there are plans in motion to extend it farther north and south. We have a new BRT line under construction and two more are actively being planned. LRT expansions downtown and to Utah County are being studied, as well as a potential cog rail or gondola to get skiers up into the canyons. SLC will be a different city by the time it hosts the Olympics again.

Then there's this beautiful idea which got featured on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune today. That article actually has a shoutout for SSP! Credit to SSP user Hatman for the idea and pushing it to this point!

https://www.buildingsaltlake.com/wp-...W-1024x508.png

mhays Jan 17, 2022 5:02 PM

That's a hell of a proposal for SLC. The 18-page booklet makes a compelling argument. It makes a lot of assumptions that need to be vetted of course.

Innsertnamehere Jan 17, 2022 6:29 PM

I'd say Toronto is the clear winner here. By July of this year there will be 86.5km (~54 miles) of LRT and subway lines under construction in the city - equivalent to over doubling the entire network length of the city's rapid transit network today.

Plus, the GO expansion program is expected to begin major construction around then as well, which will electrify 263km (163 miles) of commuter rail track and provide 15-minute frequency rail services across 210km (130 miles) of those tracks with much more all day, 30 minute to hourly frequency services operating across Southern Ontario.

Plus there are more lines in the pipeline, like an LRT for Hamilton, additional Subway and LRT extensions in Toronto, and an ever increasing scope of GO expansion which keeps increasing frequencies, extending lines, and adding new stations.


All of this will be built by 2030 basically. It's an insane transformation.

In terms of the US, I think Seattle has the most transformative network under construction and planned. The City will go from having very little rapid transit to having an effective city-wide network in only a few decades.

Ottawa also has an honorable mention, which is going from basically 0km of rapid transit to a 62km (38.5 mile) rapid transit system over about a decade, and again, with more lines planned. And while it does use LRT vehicles, it's fully grade separated and functions as a metro line, which makes it all the more impressive, especially since it's serving a city of only about 1.2 million.

I did the math a little while ago and I believe Ontario is set to have more transit under construction this year than the entire US combined, to put it to scale.

ardecila Jan 17, 2022 7:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lrt's friend (Post 9504316)
Unbelievable! I watched the development of that line in this discussion group. Why do cities invest in these minimal streetcar projects?

The Delmar Loop trolley was pitched by a private chamber-of-commerce type group IIRC. It makes sense that the public transit agency wouldn't want it. It serves a limited tourist market linking Forest Park to the businesses on Delmar, but it isn't really useful for commutes or the needs of residents at all.

As for why it was funded, I'm guessing the Obama administration wanted to send stimulus money to as many cities as possible (especially cities and states that voted for him). The streetcar projects were helpful because they were low-cost and the Federal government could basically fund them at 100% with no local commitment. In Cincinnati or KC, the streetcars served a growing downtown population of residents as well as tourists, and it was their first & only rail system... but in St Louis they already have a regional light rail system so the streetcar was built to serve an outlying neighborhood only.

Emprise du Lion Jan 17, 2022 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lrt's friend (Post 9504316)
Unbelievable! I watched the development of that line in this discussion group. Why do cities invest in these minimal streetcar projects?

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9505671)
The Delmar Loop trolley was pitched by a private chamber-of-commerce type group IIRC. It makes sense that the public transit agency wouldn't want it. It serves a limited tourist market linking Forest Park to the businesses on Delmar, but it isn't really useful for commutes or the needs of residents at all.

As for why it was funded, I'm guessing the Obama administration wanted to send stimulus money to as many cities as possible (especially cities and states that voted for him). The streetcar projects were helpful because they were low-cost and the Federal government could basically fund them at 100% with no local commitment. In Cincinnati or KC, the streetcars served a growing downtown population of residents as well as tourists, and it was their first & only rail system... but in St Louis they already have a regional light rail system so the streetcar was built to serve an outlying neighborhood only.

The trolley's biggest proponent was Joe Edwards, a local businessman who owns many of the businesses in the Delmar Loop. It was his vision to have a streetcar line going through the Loop with the faux vintage cars. So many of his business ventures have been such large successes that everyone just sort of went along with it. The system had a total price tag of $51 million, which $37 million came from the Feds. That's what they're threatening to sue us for if the line doesn't get up and running again.

We have until February 1st to tell the FTA how we plan on restarting the thing. A lot of people are against the idea and would prefer that we just pay the FTA back, but that would likely hurt St. Louis' chances of landing any future grants, especially when they finally do want to start building a new MetroLink or BRT line.

IrvineNative Jan 18, 2022 2:26 AM

Outside of SF, Boston, and LA, my picks for the top 3 LRT systems with most ridership circa 2040 are:

1. Seattle
2. Austin
3. San Diego

1. Seattle--very high job concentration in downtown, very big secondary edge city downtown (Bellevue), moderately fast corporate and residential growth to fuel transit-oriented development.

2. Austin--moderately high job concentration in downtown, extremely fast corporate and residential growth to fuel transit-oriented development (fastest growing of the top 100 US metro areas, % growth 2x as fast as Seattle or Phoenix!).

3. San Diego--very low job concentration in Downtown, very little corporate and residential growth to fuel-transit oriented development. Has NONE of the advantages of Austin or Seattle BUT still gets decent ridership (2019 ridership rivalled Portland's MAX).

For a smaller, slow-growing metro area, San Diego is building a shocking amount of TOD (10,000 residential units and 2.7 million sq feet of office space in approved light rail TOD projects in ONE neighborhood alone, Mission Valley, which isn't even Downtown!).

Unlike Portland, San Diego achieves decent ridership without even having a rail connection to the airport. San Diego Trolley has also had the least affected and most resilient ridership of any US light rail system during the past two years. The Trolley also
boasts a farebox recovery ratio of 50+ percent, which is super-high for US light rail. With that financial stability, the Trolley was even able to upgrade Blue Line frequencies to every 7.5 minutes in both directions, from dawn to dusk, Mon-Fri, without interlining--something very few US light rails have done.

In a nutshell: San Diego Trolley looks like it'd get abysmal, Sacramento light rail ridership on paper but in reality actually gets decent, Portland MAX ridership despite having none of the advantages of Portland.

craigs Jan 18, 2022 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrvineNative (Post 9506050)
Outside of SF, Boston, and LA, my picks for the top 3 LRT systems with most ridership circa 2040 are:

1. Seattle
2. Austin
3. San Diego

1. Seattle--very high job concentration in downtown, very big secondary edge city downtown (Bellevue), moderately fast corporate and residential growth to fuel transit-oriented development.

2. Austin--moderately high job concentration in downtown, extremely fast corporate and residential growth to fuel transit-oriented development (fastest growing of the top 100 US metro areas, % growth 2x as fast as Seattle or Phoenix!).

3. San Diego--very low job concentration in Downtown, very little corporate and residential growth to fuel-transit oriented development. Has NONE of the advantages of Austin or Seattle BUT still gets decent ridership (2019 ridership rivalled Portland's MAX).

For a smaller, slow-growing metro area, San Diego is building a shocking amount of TOD (10,000 residential units and 2.7 million sq feet of office space in approved light rail TOD projects in ONE neighborhood alone, Mission Valley, which isn't even Downtown!).

Unlike Portland, San Diego achieves decent ridership without even having a rail connection to the airport. San Diego Trolley has also had the least affected and most resilient ridership of any US light rail system during the past two years. The Trolley also
boasts a farebox recovery ratio of 50+ percent, which is super-high for US light rail. With that financial stability, the Trolley was even able to upgrade Blue Line frequencies to every 7.5 minutes in both directions, from dawn to dusk, Mon-Fri, without interlining--something very few US light rails have done.

In a nutshell: San Diego Trolley looks like it'd get abysmal, Sacramento light rail ridership on paper but in reality actually gets decent, Portland MAX ridership despite having none of the advantages of Portland.

San Diego also just opened an 11-mile extension of the Blue Line (light rail) northward to one of the, if not the, largest urban nodes in greater San Diego. It will serve, in addition to a large shopping district and dozens of midrise office buildings, UC San Diego's massive campus and the region's VA hospital.

Some forumers scoff at investing in public transportation in San Diego, but back before COVID it was a not-so-distant fifth in the nation for light rail ridership with 117,700 workday riders, (barely) behind Portland at 119,600, Boston at 137,700, San Francisco at 157,700 and Los Angeles at 161,300. SD buses feed the train system, too, which that quarter carried some 163,000 daily riders--more bus riders than in Dallas, the same as in Miami, and comparable to bus ridership in Minneapolis.

IrvineNative Jan 19, 2022 10:19 PM

As for transit laggards, I'll actually say San Francisco, because we aren't talking about which cities have the worst transit, we are talking about cities that fail to make much progress, including cities that have rested on their laurels.

Even pre-COVID, SF transit was a disaster. BART violent crime per capita was quadruple that of the DC Metro. BART headways were abysmal, 15 minute workday rush hour frequencies if your station was served only by one line. (Even DC Metro stations served by only one line have 6-8 minute rush hour frequencies). And Muni Metro was the slowest urban rail transit system in the nation, averaging less than 10 mph.

And expansions like the Silicon Valley BART were moving at a snails pace with cost overruns second to only NYC. A second Transbay tube has been discussed for ages but so far no progress. Ditto with Caltrain to Downtown. Meanwhile, SF spent over 2 billion on a lavish Transbay Transit Center for a high speed rail and Caltrain extension that may never come.

And topping off the Bay Area transit fiasco is VTA light rail, which gets some of the lowest ridership of any light rail system in the country and actually closed a light rail spur (the Almaden shuttle), which I believe is the first LRT line in the US to close in fifty years.

The only bright spot is Caltrain, which was the second busiest commuter rail line in the nation, featured express service, and is even electrifying most of the line to provide 10 minute headways during rush hour. But even CalMod has been delayed.

202_Cyclist Jan 19, 2022 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrvineNative (Post 9508139)
As for transit laggards, I'll actually say San Francisco, because we aren't talking about which cities have the worst transit, we are talking about cities that fail to make much progress, including cities that have rested on their laurels.

Even pre-COVID, SF transit was a disaster. BART violent crime per capita was quadruple that of the DC Metro. BART headways were abysmal, 15 minute workday rush hour frequencies if your station was served only by one line. (Even DC Metro stations served by only one line have 6-8 minute rush hour frequencies). And Muni Metro was the slowest urban rail transit system in the nation, averaging less than 10 mph.

And expansions like the Silicon Valley BART were moving at a snails pace with cost overruns second to only NYC. A second Transbay tube has been discussed for ages but so far no progress. Ditto with Caltrain to Downtown. Meanwhile, SF spent over 2 billion on a lavish Transbay Transit Center for a high speed rail and Caltrain extension that may never come.

And topping off the Bay Area transit fiasco is VTA light rail, which gets some of the lowest ridership of any light rail system in the country and actually closed a light rail spur (the Almaden shuttle), which I believe is the first LRT line in the US to close in fifty years.

The only bright spot is Caltrain, which was the second busiest commuter rail line in the nation, featured express service, and is even electrifying most of the line to provide 10 minute headways during rush hour. But even CalMod has been delayed.

IrvineNative-- can you please post some photos of the Orange County streetcar construction?

IrvineNative Jan 20, 2022 12:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 9508164)
IrvineNative-- can you please post some photos of the Orange County streetcar construction?

Unfortunately, no, since I don't live in Irvine anymore.

I actually oppose new streetcar lines. They are more expensive than bus lines and provide no better service than articulated buses.

Cities should save up the money from not building a streetcar and put that towards improving bus and light rail service.

jtown,man Jan 21, 2022 1:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 9503413)
i would characterize that as all the poors are getting pushed out to the banlieues as whitey has rediscovered downtown. :shrug:

That would be false though.

In Chicago, poor blacks are leaving areas of the city that no one with a choice would move to. Its not like we are swapping out one black resident with one white resident. Whites are mostly moving to areas that are either sparsely populated (relatively) or populated with mostly white or Hispanic populations.


But the narrative sure does sound good:

Whites are moving back in and raising prices which are kicking out blacks!

Nope, whites moving to the South Loop are not causing blacks to leave Englewood. Englewoods insane crime rate and lack of opportunity are forcing blacks to leave.

jtown,man Jan 21, 2022 1:42 PM

I have given up on American transit. It's horrible.

Crime, nastiness, horrible wait times, and then you get to your destination and the chances that it is a hostile pedestrian environment are extremely high.

I see no point, outside of a few cities, to even care about transit besides moving the poor horribly. The car is so much more useful for the average person. Its nice to drive to work and not have to worry about a homeless person's piss splashing around in an open bucket (saw this a few years ago) or a roving gang of teens looking for their next victim.

Sorry, until we:

Fund transit correctly
Deal with the insane cost of transit projects here
Deal with unions
Deal with crime
Deal with homeless people
Bring headways down

I see zero hope. And now you have a large portion of large cities that have basically destroyed their downtowns because of their obsessive fear of covid. As most American transit systems are designed to move people to and from downtown, this will lead to even less people taking transit.


Like at what point do we stop simping for transit and realize how futile this is(outside of a few select cities*)?

tdawg Jan 21, 2022 2:10 PM

Atlanta residents passed a sales tax in 2016 to expand MARTA. Not sure what effects the pandemic has had on the timeline but here's an overview of the projects included:
https://transitcenter.org/how-long-u...et-more-marta/

IrvineNative Jan 21, 2022 4:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9504547)
I'm a transit supporter, but why the hell would the U.S. spend $160 billion in San Diego of all places? The city will never be transit oriented. It's almost completely unwalkable except for short stretches, the downtown core has minimal employment share, and almost the entire region was built post-autotopia.

If SD and CA want to spend a couple of hundred billion on SD transit projects, that's fine, but no way should there be a major federal role. SD makes LA's transit potential look like the next Tokyo in comparison.

Your city can be a sprawling sea of McMansions but as long as you have high Downtown employment share and lots of islands of TOD among the sea of sprawl, and frequent rail service you're still going to get awesome ridership.

Does San Diego fit the bill? Unfortunately, not quite. San Diego Downtown employment share is very low because the adjacent airport limits building height to 500 feet, limiting density. Furthermore, San Diego's economy really isn't attracting big corporations, unlike Seattle.

BUT while San Diego currently has very little TOD, things are changing. For a metro area of only 3.3 million, San Diego will build a shocking amount of TOD in the future. Whether this TOD will actually boost ridership remains to be seen. This TOD is mostly residential, and residential TOD just doesn't drive up ridership as much as office TOD does. And unfortunately, with California's high COL, taxes, and regulations, corporations aren't flocking to build mega campuses in San Diego anytime soon, thus driving down office TOD demand.

The bright side? In spite of a weak downtown and no airport rail service, San Diego Trolley 2019 ridership rivaled the Portland MAX.

hipster duck Jan 21, 2022 4:54 PM

The region with the most progress underway right now is Toronto. This is not me being a homer - for decades we severely underbuilt what we needed given our growth rate, and now we're playing 40 years of catch-up.

I'm not counting sunbelt cities with less than 5% transit mode share in my "least progress" category, since rail lines in those cities don't move the needle at all in terms of regional transportation dynamics.

So, I'd say that the worst performer right now is either Philly or Chicago. Actually, Philly doesn't have to do any construction, they just need a shift in operations mentality. I can't believe the embarrassment of riches that Philly just sleeps on. In terms of fixed capital, they basically have what a German city has: they have fully-electrified regional rail, a quad-track tunnel running under downtown enabling the regional rail system to form a cross at 30th St. station, and a parallel subway and streetcar subway system running in a pair of tunnels. Cities like London and NY are spending tens of billions of dollars to get what Philly already has.

mrnyc Jan 21, 2022 5:24 PM

welp in the latest news columbus is getting two intel semi conductor plants on 1000 acres that will have 3k jobs immediately and will start in 2025, so i would bet rail transit will finally pop into a serious transit mix for that area. :tup:

https://time.com/6140476/intel-building-factory-ohio/


https://3gz8cg829c.execute-api.us-we...nsionOhio2.jpg

mrnyc Jan 21, 2022 5:38 PM

nyc is making unbelievable progress in transit, at least as compared to decades past, so it has to be in this mix. from smaller things like older station elevators, three brand new staten island ferries, expanded water taxi services, traffic calming, bike lanes and brt busways, to the most expensive project in north america with east side access. second avenue subway phase two to east harlem is coming, as are four new mnrr stations in the bronx. recently gov hochul wants to revive the triboro rx plan, for crosstown boro service between brooklyn and queens. empire station includes a redo and expansion of penn station and the neighborhood, as well as new gateway transit tunnels under the hudson. throw a new port authority bus station and some sort of tba rail connection to lga into that mix as well. so ... never a dull moment.

IrvineNative Jan 21, 2022 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 9509891)
I have given up on American transit. It's horrible.

Crime, nastiness, horrible wait times, and then you get to your destination and the chances that it is a hostile pedestrian environment are extremely high.

I see no point, outside of a few cities, to even care about transit besides moving the poor horribly. The car is so much more useful for the average person. Its nice to drive to work and not have to worry about a homeless person's piss splashing around in an open bucket (saw this a few years ago) or a roving gang of teens looking for their next victim.

Sorry, until we:

Fund transit correctly
Deal with the insane cost of transit projects here
Deal with unions
Deal with crime
Deal with homeless people
Bring headways down

I see zero hope.

Quote:

Originally Posted by hipster duck (Post 9510123)
The region with the most progress underway right now is Toronto. This is not me being a homer - for decades we severely underbuilt what we needed given our growth rate, and now we're playing 40 years of catch-up.

Hmm, I think a big reason why Toronto doing much better in transit than a comparably dense American city (Chicago) is because inner city Toronto is much safer, cleaner, and has better schools and less homeless than inner city Chicago does. Which means Toronto proper is growing faster than Chicago proper. Which means Torontonians feel much safer walking on the streets and taking transit than Chicago. In Chicago only men might take transit alone while in Toronto everyone, including women and children, will take transit alone.

Sure, Toronto is making a lot more investments in the subway than Chicago is in the L, but why? Probably because Toronto has a massive population growth and livability that force it to expand transit while Chicago has neither.

edale Jan 21, 2022 7:23 PM

I've always thought that having a mostly above-ground train system made no sense in one of the coldest big cities in America. If I lived in Chicago, there's no way I'd choose to wait for a train outside on a blustery elevated platform on a cold winter day. Should have been underground.

tdawg Jan 21, 2022 7:57 PM

The systems I'm most excited about and watching closely in the States are Seattle's expansion and the planned Austin rail system.

mrnyc Jan 21, 2022 8:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edale (Post 9510339)
I've always thought that having a mostly above-ground train system made no sense in one of the coldest big cities in America. If I lived in Chicago, there's no way I'd choose to wait for a train outside on a blustery elevated platform on a cold winter day. Should have been underground.

its not that bad. the cold is one thing, but you can easily shield yourself from the blustery up there or even wait in the station entrance area until the train comes.

also out here, outlying commuter rail stations at least have small heated waiting areas. i know in minneapolis they have heated areas for people waiting on busses too. bus waits are by far the worst, those should be everywhere where it gets cold.

Skintreesnail Jan 22, 2022 12:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hipster duck (Post 9510123)
The region with the most progress underway right now is Toronto. This is not me being a homer - for decades we severely underbuilt what we needed given our growth rate, and now we're playing 40 years of catch-up.

I'm not counting sunbelt cities with less than 5% transit mode share in my "least progress" category, since rail lines in those cities don't move the needle at all in terms of regional transportation dynamics.

So, I'd say that the worst performer right now is either Philly or Chicago. Actually, Philly doesn't have to do any construction, they just need a shift in operations mentality. I can't believe the embarrassment of riches that Philly just sleeps on. In terms of fixed capital, they basically have what a German city has: they have fully-electrified regional rail, a quad-track tunnel running under downtown enabling the regional rail system to form a cross at 30th St. station, and a parallel subway and streetcar subway system running in a pair of tunnels. Cities like London and NY are spending tens of billions of dollars to get what Philly already has.

I can kind of agree with the Philly point in terms of unrealized potential. SEPTA has recently been upgrading old infrastructure though and have plans to turn the trolleys into something more like Boston's green line or the streetcars in Toronto. during the pandemic there was a lot of talk about finally using regional rail like an s-bahn. They're installing raised platforms at many stations that didn't have them, which I assume is in support of this.

SIGSEGV Jan 22, 2022 5:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edale (Post 9510339)
I've always thought that having a mostly above-ground train system made no sense in one of the coldest big cities in America. If I lived in Chicago, there's no way I'd choose to wait for a train outside on a blustery elevated platform on a cold winter day. Should have been underground.

Stations have heaters, it's not a big deal.

Emprise du Lion Jan 22, 2022 8:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SIGSEGV (Post 9510796)
Stations have heaters, it's not a big deal.

Not to mention that many of them have in closed lobbies that you can wait in.

ue Jan 22, 2022 9:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Innsertnamehere (Post 9505617)
I'd say Toronto is the clear winner here. By July of this year there will be 86.5km (~54 miles) of LRT and subway lines under construction in the city - equivalent to over doubling the entire network length of the city's rapid transit network today.

Plus, the GO expansion program is expected to begin major construction around then as well, which will electrify 263km (163 miles) of commuter rail track and provide 15-minute frequency rail services across 210km (130 miles) of those tracks with much more all day, 30 minute to hourly frequency services operating across Southern Ontario.

Plus there are more lines in the pipeline, like an LRT for Hamilton, additional Subway and LRT extensions in Toronto, and an ever increasing scope of GO expansion which keeps increasing frequencies, extending lines, and adding new stations.


All of this will be built by 2030 basically. It's an insane transformation.

In terms of the US, I think Seattle has the most transformative network under construction and planned. The City will go from having very little rapid transit to having an effective city-wide network in only a few decades.

Ottawa also has an honorable mention, which is going from basically 0km of rapid transit to a 62km (38.5 mile) rapid transit system over about a decade, and again, with more lines planned. And while it does use LRT vehicles, it's fully grade separated and functions as a metro line, which makes it all the more impressive, especially since it's serving a city of only about 1.2 million.

I did the math a little while ago and I believe Ontario is set to have more transit under construction this year than the entire US combined, to put it to scale.

Toronto is probably the winner, you're right. The urban rapid transit expansion underway is pretty impressive considering the relatively minor expansions over the past few decades. Hopefully they don't take as long to come online as Eglinton is. And then of course, as you mention, there's the GO upgrades and expansions, which aren't totally about Toronto, but for GO all roads lead to Toronto.

I'd say the second place would be Montreal, just due to the REM. It's not quite as impressive because it mostly involves repurposing existing ROWs, but it will result in 67km of 'light metro' service around Greater Montreal. I think it'll be a game-changer as the suburbs have mostly just had slow commuter rail and buses into the city.

Ottawa is probably third. Another laggard until very recently, it's really aggressively expanding the O-Train and not skipping a beat, despite its existing line being rife with issues. Far out suburbs like Orleans are going to soon have very easy access to Downtown Ottawa, uOttawa, and VIA services.

After that I'd say Edmonton. It's currently undergoing the largest single increases in track to the LRT system since it first came to be in the late '70s. There's currently 27km under construction (in two phases - the first is just wrapping up and the other has recently begun construction), with extensions to the existing lines either under construction or soon to be.

Calgary and Vancouver, which were probably the most aggressive rapid transit expansionists in recent decades seem to be taking a bit of a break. But Calgary has the Green Line and Vancouver has the Broadway extension to look forward to. Calgary also just recently implemented a BRT system.

kittyhawk28 Jan 22, 2022 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lrt's friend (Post 9502722)
Share what you think are the North American cities currently making the most transit progress and which cities are the worst laggards.

Southern California, probably has by far the most rapid rail transit expansion programme in the country over the next 2 decades. LA Metro is doubling the size of its rail network in the next 10 years to 200 miles, and will likely triple the current network at full planned buildout by the 2040s-2050s (pending likely new rail transit tax measures) to up to 300 miles of light rail/subway across LA County. San Diego, as mentioned earlier, has a $160 billion vision to expand and reshape rail transit across the county. The Link Union Station Project will almost double Metrolink/Amtrak frequency and capacity by 2028, and Metrolink's $10 billion SCORE program will ensure at least 30 minute bi-directional frequencies on all Metrolink lines by 2028 through increased double tracking. Not to mention countless BRT projects planned.

LA Metro's Planned 2028 Rail Network under Twenty-eight by '28 (likely by 2030s):
https://i.redd.it/aq6if9i0fca81.png

LA Metro's Full Planned Buildout (Funded + Unfunded Projects):
https://i.imgur.com/9JjNZsp.png

tech12 Jan 23, 2022 2:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IrvineNative (Post 9508139)
Even pre-COVID, SF transit was a disaster. BART violent crime per capita was quadruple that of the DC Metro. BART headways were abysmal, 15 minute workday rush hour frequencies if your station was served only by one line. (Even DC Metro stations served by only one line have 6-8 minute rush hour frequencies). And Muni Metro was the slowest urban rail transit system in the nation, averaging less than 10 mph.

And expansions like the Silicon Valley BART were moving at a snails pace with cost overruns second to only NYC. A second Transbay tube has been discussed for ages but so far no progress. Ditto with Caltrain to Downtown. Meanwhile, SF spent over 2 billion on a lavish Transbay Transit Center for a high speed rail and Caltrain extension that may never come.

I'm not sure how a transit system as extensive and widely used as Muni or BART could be called a disaster. As for Muni's average speed, train lines aren't averaging 10 mph (not in the subway or surface areas that aren't shared with traffic), and neither are certain bus lines, especially at non-rush hour times. But it is true that buses (which carry most Muni passengers, by far) and trains on some of the above ground sections, are often slowed down by traffic and the constant intersections and bus stops. Muni has been dealing with that by adding bus-only lanes to a bunch of streets, and eliminating some bus stops, and is also working out some new train route configurations to make the subway flow more efficiently, as there were too many train lines converging on the market street subway.

BART and Muni have both been expanding over the past several years, with the Central Subway, Van Ness BRT, and BART extensions to SJ, Antioch, and the Oakland airport. Muni also plans to extend the market street subway to SFSU/Park Merced, in the southwest corner of the city (replacing existing surface rail), and to possibly extend the central subway to North beach and Fisherman's wharf, as well as build a BRT line down Geary Blvd. A new transbay tube is also officially in the works, with BART and Capitol Corridor planning to have it built by 2040. That's a long time from now, but at least the idea is more than just talk these days. The rumors are that it might include a new subway through western SF (Geary blvd and 19th ave), but we'll see. Both systems are also currently updating and expanding their train fleets.

In addition to that and Caltrain electrification, there was the construction of SMART in the north bay, and its planned expansions, as well as expansions of the ferry system.

Pretty much all of this stuff has had delays and cost overruns, but that kind of thing isn't unique to the Bay Area.

Yeah, things could be better (I'm jealous of LA's rail plans!), but I don't think SF/the Bay Area has been doing terrible by American standards.

SAN Man Jan 23, 2022 2:52 PM

When the extension of the Purple Line opens, the Red Line is no longer going to serve Downtown LA? It's seems weird that you would have to make a transfer to get from Hollywood to Downtown.

lrt's friend Jan 23, 2022 5:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SAN Man (Post 9511497)
When the extension of the Purple Line opens, the Red Line is no longer going to serve Downtown LA? It's seems weird that you would have to make a transfer to get from Hollywood to Downtown.

The maps don't show interlined sections properly.

kittyhawk28 Jan 23, 2022 9:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SAN Man (Post 9511497)
When the extension of the Purple Line opens, the Red Line is no longer going to serve Downtown LA? It's seems weird that you would have to make a transfer to get from Hollywood to Downtown.

It does, Google Earth Pro unfortunately obscures the interlining


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:16 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.