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  #61  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2022, 11:35 PM
homebucket homebucket is online now
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Originally Posted by IrvineNative View Post
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.
Disagree. Like the CTA system, a lot of the improvements have been behind the scenes, with improving reliability with new track, cabling, and other critical components. Transbay Tube seismic retrofitting has been ongoing since 2017 and should be completed by early 2023.

BART also has a new fleet of 775 train cars being incorporated into service with improved digital screens and dynamic system mapping, more doors, and new wheels to reduce noise by 50%.

There are also station modernization programs and multiple TOD projects being built and proposed on BART-owned property adjacent to the stations. So far, over 4000 units have been completed with another 2000 more in the pipeline.

BART extension to SJ has been slow, but I'm not sure how that's different than any other transit extensions currently underway in the US.

Then we've also got the Muni Central Subway extension and the new Van Ness BRT line.

Obviously there could be a lot more done. A second Transbay Tube, a Geary subway line either BART or Muni, a Dumbarton rail crossing, and completed HSR are all on the bucket list, but that's obviously limited by the amount of funding is received and our nation's miserly attitude towards transit investment, not a Bay Area specific fault.
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  #62  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 11:13 AM
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SF will gain a lot from the opening of the Central Subway and Caltrain electrification.
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  #63  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 2:24 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by IrvineNative View Post
I'm just concerned that LA's light rail is largely slow and street running unlike Seattle's Link, whose future expansions will be grade separated and be as subway like as possible.
No it's not "largely slow and street running". The original Blue Line runs in the street in downtown Long Beach and for 1-2 miles approaching Downtown Los Angeles. Otherwise, it runs on its own ROW between the two cities, and has always had a northern terminus in a subway station. This line, of course, will soon run below ground through the rest of DT LA to the old Gold Line ROW, which is almost entirely exclusive ROW, except for a slow surface-running section in Pasadena.

The Expo Line only runs in mixed traffic between DT LA and USC, a distance of 1-2 miles, on trackwork shared in part with the above-mentioned Blue Line. There has been a lot of chatter regarding improvements to this section.

The Green Line is pretty much the only light rail in the United States that is completely grade-separated.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 2:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
No it's not "largely slow and street running". The original Blue Line runs in the street in downtown Long Beach and for 1-2 miles approaching Downtown Los Angeles. Otherwise, it runs on its own ROW between the two cities, and has always had a northern terminus in a subway station. This line, of course, will soon run below ground through the rest of DT LA to the old Gold Line ROW, which is almost entirely exclusive ROW, except for a slow surface-running section in Pasadena.

The Expo Line only runs in mixed traffic between DT LA and USC, a distance of 1-2 miles, on trackwork shared in part with the above-mentioned Blue Line. There has been a lot of chatter regarding improvements to this section.

The Green Line is pretty much the only light rail in the United States that is completely grade-separated.
They honestly could make the Green Line a light metro (if it isn't already) for minimal cost, not only is it already grade separated its already high floor and uses some pretty high-speed LRVs relative to other cities.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 4:46 PM
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If BART has 15 min. headways, that's pretty impressive for U.S. standards.

BART is functionally a commuter rail line. Living somewhere like Hayward and having a train every 15 min. to Oakland or SF is pretty good. Washington Metro is more of a hybrid subway/commuter rail line, so should have somewhat shorter headways.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 5:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post

The Green Line is pretty much the only light rail in the United States that is completely grade-separated.
STL's metrolink system isn't 100% grade separated (there are some at-grade street crossings, particularly on its run through a mostly vacant east st. louis), but it does run 100% in dedicated ROW, has high-level boarding platforms, and runs at higher speeds because it is never in mixed traffic, so it ticks most of the "light metro" boxes as well.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Jan 27, 2022 at 5:39 PM.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 7:02 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
STL's metrolink system isn't 100% grade separated (there are some at-grade street crossings, particularly on its run through a mostly vacant east st. louis), but it does run 100% in dedicated ROW, has high-level boarding platforms, and runs at higher speeds because it is never in mixed traffic, so it ticks most of the "light metro" boxes as well.
I believe that some of the speculative expansions of the green line south toward Torrance have at-grade running with a few grade crossings, so the line might lose its anomalous status.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 7:22 PM
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^ there's often bound to be a few places on most systems where an at-grade street crossing or two occur.

hell, even on chicago's heavy rail el system, 4 of the lines (purple, yellow, brown, and pink) have some at-grade street crossing at their extremities.

in fact, i live right at the spot where the brown line transitions from steel elevated structure to running at grade. my local el stop is one of the unusual at-grade ones right at an at-grade street crossing.


source: https://www.chicago-l.org/stations/rockwell.html


and i grew up in suburban wilmette a couple blocks away from an at-grade street crossing at the very end of the purple line. i guess i just have a thing for that sort of thing.

i wonder if any of the other heavy rail rapid transit system in the US have any at-grade street crossings?
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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 7:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i wonder if any of the other heavy rail rapid transit system in the US have any at-grade street crossings?
BART doesn't have any off the top of my head. There's some areas where it runs at street "level" or other times where it runs past people's backyards, or in a trench, but then the street goes underneath the tracks, so it's still separated.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 7:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
No it's not "largely slow and street running". The original Blue Line runs in the street in downtown Long Beach and for 1-2 miles approaching Downtown Los Angeles. Otherwise, it runs on its own ROW between the two cities, and has always had a northern terminus in a subway station. This line, of course, will soon run below ground through the rest of DT LA to the old Gold Line ROW, which is almost entirely exclusive ROW, except for a slow surface-running section in Pasadena.

The Expo Line only runs in mixed traffic between DT LA and USC, a distance of 1-2 miles, on trackwork shared in part with the above-mentioned Blue Line. There has been a lot of chatter regarding improvements to this section.

The Green Line is pretty much the only light rail in the United States that is completely grade-separated.
But the East SFV LRT will run almost entirely if not entirely in street medians. The Gold Line to East LA runs mostly in street medians. The Crenshaw Line has street running sections.

I'll give credit for the Regional Connector, but Crenshaw Line construction is a disaster. Crenshaw began construction in 2014, is only 8.5 miles long, and has a street running section/grade crossings. San Diego's Mid Coast Trolley broke ground a full two years later, is 11 miles long, is fully grade separated, and opened on time and on budget in November. Meanwhile, Crenshaw is still under construction and over budget.
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  #71  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 7:56 PM
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If BART has 15 min. headways, that's pretty impressive for U.S. standards.
Not really. MSP Blue and Green lines, Seattle's Link Light rail, LA Expo Line, and San Diego Blue Line from Santa Fe to San Ysidro all have better headways. SD Blue Line has 7.5 minute headways from before dawn to after dusk every weekday, without interlining. And the Blue Line does this even with a street running section through Downtown while all BART lines are fully grade separated and thus should have higher frequency. Alas, a 2nd Transbay Tube hasn't even broke ground and will take 20 years to build...
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 8:06 PM
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15 minutes both directions is great for a hybrid rapid transit/commuter rail, S-Bahn type of system. It is a one-of-a-kind system in North America, not comparable to anything else.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 8:09 PM
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Disagree. Like the CTA system, a lot of the improvements have been behind the scenes, with improving reliability with new track, cabling, and other critical components. Transbay Tube seismic retrofitting has been ongoing since 2017 and should be completed by early 2023.

There are also station modernization programs and multiple TOD projects being built and proposed on BART-owned property adjacent to the stations. So far, over 4000 units have been completed with another 2000 more in the pipeline.
All of this is fine and dandy, but other systems like DC are buying new rolling stock, building much more TOD, AND building new lines on top of all that. I should have been more clear: the Bay isn't completely regressing, it is making some progress, but not as much progress as other big transit systems like LA or Seattle.

2000 residential TOD units in the pipeline for a system with as much ridership as BART isn't a lot. And how much of the TOD is office space? Office TOD generates more ridership than residential TOD. But with big corporations moving out, not moving to, the Bay Area, I doubt there'll be lots of office TOD popping up near BART stations soon.

San Diego Trolley has very little TOD outside of Downtown currently. But they have a whopping 10,000 residential TOD units and 2.6 million sq ft office space approved or under construction on the Green Line alone, and that's not counting downtown Projects. That's astonishing for a smaller, slower growing metro area.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2022, 9:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post

i wonder if any of the other heavy rail rapid transit system in the US have any at-grade street crossings?
According to this, Chicago is the only active rapid transit system system with third-rail grade crossings:
https://cs.trains.com/trn/f/742/t/156685.aspx

The LIRR definitely has third rail crossings, but it's not rapid transit.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2022, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by IrvineNative View Post
All of this is fine and dandy, but other systems like DC are buying new rolling stock, building much more TOD, AND building new lines on top of all that. I should have been more clear: the Bay isn't completely regressing, it is making some progress, but not as much progress as other big transit systems like LA or Seattle.

2000 residential TOD units in the pipeline for a system with as much ridership as BART isn't a lot. And how much of the TOD is office space? Office TOD generates more ridership than residential TOD. But with big corporations moving out, not moving to, the Bay Area, I doubt there'll be lots of office TOD popping up near BART stations soon.

San Diego Trolley has very little TOD outside of Downtown currently. But they have a whopping 10,000 residential TOD units and 2.6 million sq ft office space approved or under construction on the Green Line alone, and that's not counting downtown Projects. That's astonishing for a smaller, slower growing metro area.
It looks like you deliberately took out the part where I mentioned BART has ordered 775 new train cars, 286 of which are already currently in service, for a total rolling stock of 798 train cars — the most that has ever run on the system before.

Muni Metro (light rail) also has new trains, 68 of which are currently in service, with another 181 incoming in the next 3 years for a total of 249 new train cars. Muni buses are already quite new with their biodiesel-electric hybrid buses (all built 2013-newer with most being built 2015-on) and New Flyer Industries electric trolley (all 2015-newer), and they're testing a small fleet of battery-electric buses to see if it is viable to have an all-electric bus fleet by 2035.

As for office TOD, so far over 500,000 sq ft has been completed, with another 2.04 million sq ft in the pipeline.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2022, 1:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
If BART has 15 min. headways, that's pretty impressive for U.S. standards.

BART is functionally a commuter rail line. Living somewhere like Hayward and having a train every 15 min. to Oakland or SF is pretty good. Washington Metro is more of a hybrid subway/commuter rail line, so should have somewhat shorter headways.
BART is also a hybrid system. In San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, lines converge, stations are more numerous/closer together, and trains usually arrive more frequently than once every 15 minutes, so it acts more like a conventional metro. But outside of that area, it's more like a commuter system, with only one or two stops per suburb, and less frequent trains.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2022, 1:38 AM
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Originally Posted by IrvineNative View Post
Not really. MSP Blue and Green lines, Seattle's Link Light rail, LA Expo Line, and San Diego Blue Line from Santa Fe to San Ysidro all have better headways.
Those are all low capacity light rail lines. BART is a high capacity heavy rail system.

Yes, bus and light rail lines frequently have 15 minute or better frequencies, even in moderate density corridors.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2022, 1:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
According to this, Chicago is the only active rapid transit system system with third-rail grade crossings:
https://cs.trains.com/trn/f/742/t/156685.aspx

The LIRR definitely has third rail crossings, but it's not rapid transit.
LIRR and Metro North both have third rail, and a few crossings left, but none on the main lines. There used to be a fair amount on the LIRR, but those were eliminated in recent decades.

If you take a train from Penn Station to Babylon, or a train from Grand Central to North White Plains, you'll never have a crossing. In fact for most of the main lines, you're never at grade. You're on an elevated structure, an embankment or a trench.

In the postwar decades, they converted the busiest lines to rapid transit-level infrastructure.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2022, 3:53 AM
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Those are all low capacity light rail lines. BART is a high capacity heavy rail system.
That's the point. A high capacity heavy rail system should have better frequencies (without interlining) then a light rail system.

From the rider's perspective, smaller, more frequent trains offer more convenience than bigger, less frequent trains.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2022, 2:54 PM
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The term frequent means different things in different contexts. From the rider's perspective, it's also about the speed of the route and distance covered. I'd be fine waiting 15 minutes for a fast train to go 30 miles across the metro area but I'd rather just walk than wait 15 minutes for a service to go 1 mile within the nabe. In other words, I'd consider the 15 min service frequent in one case and infrequent in another. That has nothing to do with whether it's light or heavy rail though.
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