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  #481  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2014, 2:27 PM
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Light-rail: Dope or Nope? Coolio says yes

Read More: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-...722-zvosj.html

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American hip-hop legend Coolio has hailed Canberra’s light-rail project as “dope” and told Yarralumla residents concerned their suburb could turn into a ghetto that it probably already is one.

- The rapper, otherwise known as Artis Leon Ivey Jr and famous for the timeless classic Gangsta’s Paradise, has weighed in on some of Canberra’s more contentious urban planning issues ahead of his upcoming Australian tour. While members of the ACT Legislative Assembly continue to trade blows over the viability of a light rail network in Canberra, the boy from Compton remained steadfast in his commitment to horizontal electric transportation.

- “I think a light rail system is dope,” he told the Canberra Times. “It's a very inexpensive form of transportation and very easy to get around, so yes, it's dope.” --- But Coolio, a man with diverse credits including the creation of the Ghetto Gourmet cuisine, didn't stop there. The dreadlocked rapper had some advice for Yarralumla residents worried their leafy suburb will be transformed into a “ghetto of crime and god knows what else” by the residential development of the former Canberra Brickworks. --- “Don't worry about that because if you are it's probably already a ghetto,” he said. --- “If you growing and coming up in the hood find a way to make it better or find a way to get out Shaka Zulu!!”

.....



Artist's impressions of the proposed Capital Metro light rail.






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  #482  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2014, 10:53 AM
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A tour of the control tower at Roanoke airport:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKE4FHRD2ZU
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  #483  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2014, 7:09 PM
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Building Cloverleafs Won’t Inspire Americans to Pay More for Transportation

Read More: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/07/2...on/#more-98275

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The federal transportation fund is running out of money, threatening the country with potholes, stopped construction, and economic downturn. Congress, which has kept the program solvent with short-term patches for years, now finds itself unable to do more than buy a few months’ time.

- Mainstream opinion pins the blame for this state of affairs on partisanship and anti-tax extremism. But the crisis has a deeper cause. In transportation, as in so many areas of American politics, the terms of debate are controlled by an elite that has lost touch with the rest of the country. --- Voters on both the Tea Party right and the urban left have lost the desire to pay higher taxes for new roads. Yet powerful highway bureaucracies and their political allies insist that added revenues must go toward ever more cloverleafs and interstates. They keep searching for money to build what voters don’t want to pay for, a quest doomed to end in futility. --- The roots of the congressional deadlock are best seen far from Washington.

- During most of the twentieth century, owning an automobile of any kind was a mark of prosperity. Drivers took pride in their cars. They felt the lure of the open road and paid willingly to indulge that desire. Taxing gasoline was an unobjectionable way to raise revenue, and building roads was a popular way to spend it. --- That political formula has gone out of date. In today’s suburbs, driving is mandatory. A mid-price car is no status symbol; it is the vehicle of the killer commute. The mental image associated with filling up the tank is a traffic jam. No one wants more of them, and the tax on gasoline is deeply disliked.

- Meanwhile, people under 40 are driving less. They prefer to go where sidewalks are wide, streets narrow, and parking scarce. Best of all are places you can reach by train. The young, and many older drivers too, want better transit, and they are willing to pay for it. Los Angeles, long wedded to the automobile, approved a sales tax increase by a two-to-one referendum vote to pay for an ambitious subway-building plan. In the Washington, D.C. area, a 2010 poll found a 62 percent majority favored expanding transit rather than roads, even though 77 percent travel by car most or all the time.

- The disconnect between voters and the political elite surfaced last year when Maryland raised its gas tax by 20 cents. The state needed money to build a pair of light rail lines in Baltimore and the Washington suburbs. Balky legislators demanded new cloverleafs in their districts in exchange for their votes — and then pointed to the rail lines when justifying the tax hike to their constituents. --- Elsewhere, road builders counter public skepticism by coating their plans with a transit veneer. Costly widenings of interstate highways, they argue, are good for the environment because buses will share toll lanes. A vague promise of “bus rapid transit” decorates New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $4 billion plan to replace the still-sturdy Tappan Zee Bridge with a wider span.

- The funding crisis will end when the transportation on offer is what the voters who are open to higher taxes want. This requires shifting priorities to address the demands of the 21st century. The young people who flock to city centers need ways to move around without a car. Decaying inner suburbs seek a transit-based revival. Without high-speed rail, travelers are forced onto overcrowded airlines. A program that meets these needs by building railroads instead of highways could win wide support. --- It would benefit Democratic city dwellers and Republican real estate builders. It would promote the widely desired revival of American manufacturing. It offers obvious environmental benefits. But it will not happen until our elites catch up with the grassroots.

.....



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  #484  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2014, 1:43 PM
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Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
Building Cloverleafs Won’t Inspire Americans to Pay More for Transportation

Read More: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/07/2...on/#more-98275






A significant part of the problem lies in the cozy, multigenerational relationship between state departments of transportation and highway construction contractors. This relationship extends from the state to the federal level, for highway construction oriented companies that operate on a multistate level.
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  #485  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2014, 4:51 PM
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The value of fast transit

Read More: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...-fast-transit/

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Residents of the Twin Cities greeted the opening of the new Green Line light rail link last month with joy and excitement, finally able to take advantage of a train connection between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. The 11-mile rail line runs through a relatively densely populated area, serves two business districts, and travels through the heart of a university. It’s also alarmingly slow. Green Line trains are taking up to an hour to complete their journeys, and even optimistic schedules released by the local transit agency put running times at 48 minutes, or less than 14 mph on average.

Of course, the Twin Cities are hardly alone in their predicament. Recent transit lines elsewhere in the country feature similarly leisurely travel times. The new Houston North Line, for example, is averaging 17 mph. Los Angeles’ Expo Line is slightly quicker at 18 mph. Bus rapid transit and streetcar projects popping up virtually everywhere are often significantly slower. Only the Washington, D.C. Metro Silver Line, which will extend that region’s subway deep into the Virginia suburbs, will speed commuters along at an average of 32 mph. It will do so while only stopping at 5 stations, all of which will be located in the middle of expressways.

With speeds like those light rail lines or services like the Silver Line, it’s little wonder that it’s so difficult to convince people to get out of their cars in so many places. The fact of the matter is that services like this often do not provide much mobility improvement over the bus services they replace. That’s particularly true for large regions where too many destinations are simply too far away to be accessible by transit that averages such slow speeds.

With its Grand Paris Express program announced in 2009, the Paris region is proposing an alternative. With 127 miles of metro lines and 72 new stations planned, the program will completely alter the landscape of this large metropolitan area, offering new circumferential connections around the city center, making it possible to travel between suburbs without having to pass through the city center. The project entered the construction phase this summer and will eventually serve two million daily riders by the time it is completed in 2030 at a cost of more than $35 billion; it is the second-largest single transportation project in the western world, after the California high-speed rail project.

.....



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  #486  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2014, 5:07 PM
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Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
The value of fast transit

Read More: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...-fast-transit/






^This is why at-grade rapid transit just doesn't work. It's cheap and it's sexy but at the end of the day it just doesn't complete the main objective of rapid transit: to move lots of people around fast. I think cities will eventually realise that grade-separated is really the only way to accomplish that, even if it's more expensive.
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  #487  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2014, 5:09 PM
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And less of getting from A to B, you have to travel through C over long distances, whether it be grade separated or not.
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  #488  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2014, 5:10 PM
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And less of getting from A to B, you have to travel through C over long distances, whether it be grade separated or not.
Sorry, can you say that again? Not quite sure what you mean.
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  #489  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2014, 5:17 PM
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Sorry, can you say that again? Not quite sure what you mean.

Like if one lives in Scarborough and wants to go to Downtown Toronto, they have to sit through all the Danforth stations, and that's after getting to that subway to start off with. Made worse by everyone converging on that bottleneck to transfer to Yonge.
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  #490  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2014, 5:34 PM
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Yeah, but that's true even with driving. The only way around it is teleportation. That trip from Scarborough to Bloor-Yonge Station is a lot more effective when you're going 80 km/h underground rather than the speed limit and stopping at traffic lights.
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  #491  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2014, 7:06 AM
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^This is why at-grade rapid transit just doesn't work. It's cheap and it's sexy but at the end of the day it just doesn't complete the main objective of rapid transit: to move lots of people around fast. I think cities will eventually realise that grade-separated is really the only way to accomplish that, even if it's more expensive.
I reject your false either-or proposition. Both are needed as they fulfill different roles and meet different needs. Subways (.i.e. fully grade separated & high capacity) fill a very different role than does trams. Speed, capacity, station-to-station distance and street-to-vehicle-boarding are all markedly different. The trick is to use them properly and not try to use one to accomplish tasks that really would be better suited for the other.
For at-grade transit signal priority is a must tho.
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  #492  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2014, 7:22 AM
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I reject your false either-or proposition. Both are needed as they fulfill different roles and meet different needs. Subways (.i.e. fully grade separated & high capacity) fill a very different role than does trams. Speed, capacity, station-to-station distance and street-to-vehicle-boarding are all markedly different. The trick is to use them properly and not try to use one to accomplish tasks that really would be better suited for the other.
For at-grade transit signal priority is a must tho.
To me trams are just buses on rails that are much more expensive. For local travel, there are buses. For express travel, there are subways. I just don't see what at grade rail transit has to offer here. I know rail is more attractive to the average transit user than buses are, but I just think that this slight potential boost in ridership is worth all the extra investment.
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  #493  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2014, 10:49 AM
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I agree that trams (i.e. LRT that runs at-grade and in the streets) in essence act a lot like busses. That is the point. Some bus lines have too many passengers to be able to function properly using buses. Trams provide the extra capacity already needed as well as attracting both more passengers (about 30% iirc) and more investments in the areas it goes through. The added capacity and added attraction is important on many line to alleviate other already crowded rail lines.
What about subways in such a case? Sometimes it would be very helpful, but often a subway would mean much further walks to get to the vehicles and from the vehicles to one's destination. Subways are for longer trips. I'd go so far as to say a tram line running on the same street that a subway line runs under can be a good set-up (note: if one has 3-5 more stops per km on the tram line than the subway line). Won't always be, but if there's enough need it will work beautifully. Just like a Subway + bus line can if the passenger numbers are slightly lower or the subway is closer to the surface or has more frequent stops.

The whole "trams/LRT are bad, subways+busses is good" schtick is so 60s to a Stockholmer like me. Up until about 1990 the planners and the transit agency here not only closed down all the urban trams almost over-night, they kept trying to get everything that wasn't subways, busses or commuter rail shut down. Some politicians still are very dismissive of everything on rails that isn't subways/commuter rail. Over-crowded inner city bus line? build a subway on the same alignment! Never mind that it is very bendy and parts already have subway lines running right under the same streets. Gah!
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  #494  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2014, 12:53 PM
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I might add that in a large, dense and heterogeneous transit network, light rail/streetcar lines are simply more easily recognizable and readable than the too many bus lines that feel a little confusing for blended with regular road infrastructures, even when buses have their own dedicated lanes and especially to commuters who're unfamiliar with a particular line or area. In Paris, I noticed people including locals like myself were often kind of annoyed whenever they have to take a bus for an occasional ride, cause it requires a bit more attention and time, while trams feel just about as easy and convenient as a heavier subway line. That might partly explain the bigger ridership and success of the light rail lines.
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  #495  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2014, 4:51 PM
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Make the effort, and commuter rail can be as effective as rapid transit

Read More: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...rapid-transit/

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.....

In North America, “commuter rail” has come to mean something very specific: Large, heavy trains operating almost entirely at peak, providing services to downtown in the morning and away from it at night along corridors that extend into the suburbs. It’s a definition that makes sense for a world where regions are structured with one central business district whose workers live in the suburbs and work nine-to-five jobs on weekdays.

- Of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, only two have a majority of their jobs located within three miles of their downtown, and most suburban workers don’t work in city centers. A sizable share of the population doesn’t work a “normal” workweek.

- Yet most commuter rail providers continue to operate as if nothing has changed since the 1950s, and for their clientèle, it hasn’t, because the people who ride commuter trains are mostly the people who work “traditional” jobs at “normal” hours downtown. In the process, commuter agencies have ignored the progress made elsewhere to convert these traditional services into frequent, two-direction, all-day services similar to rapid transit.

- And they’ve lost out: While ridership on American heavy and light rail systems — which feature the service characteristics of rapid transit — has expanded by more than 90% overall since 1995, ridership on commuter rail systems has increased by only 35%.

- In the 2007 strategic plan, GO chairman Peter Smith emphasized that the agency needed to “grow into an even more comprehensive system that links multiple activity centres and communities,” spreading its mission beyond just serving peak travelers into central Toronto. The plan specified the goal of expanding service to every 15 minutes during the peak hours and every 30 minutes off-peak.

- In the post recent five-year strategy of GO’s overseeing agency (Metrolinx), the agency lays out its plan to transition to an “all-day regional transit service.” You can be assured that the largest U.S. commuter agencies have no such plans on their radar.

- One year ago, GO took the most significant step yet in that direction, bringing all-day, half-hourly, two-directional service to the Lakeshore commuter lines, up from one-hour headways. The change has already increased ridership by 30% on those lines.

- Commuter rail improvements create an opportunity to provide a far faster transit option that traverses the region at commuter rail speeds (which average above 30 mph) at arrival frequencies similar to rapid transit lines (which average 15 to 20 mph). These improvements open suburban markets to transit, giving people who live near stations the kind of service that people who live in denser, urban areas expect as a standard element of city life.

- They reduce the need for a car for commutes that require traversing large sections of a large region. Perhaps most importantly, upgrading commuter rail can be done at a reasonable price, since improvements are made on existing corridors.

- Other American commuter rail operators should closely examine Toronto’s work in improving its commuter rail operations. These transitions will help make the system far more useful for more people, and help adapt commuter rail as a mode to changes in commute and population patterns.

- Fortunately, several other cities look like they might be headed in the right direction already. Caltrain, connecting San Francisco and San Jose, is planning a major modernization project that will bring electrified trains and more frequent service along its tracks. Boston’s MBTA and New York’s Long Island Railroad have proposed, though not yet funded, using lighter diesel multiple units on several corridors to increase service.

.....



Thanks to political initiative and the need to serve a growing region, Toronto’s GO Transit is increasingly making its commuter rail services not so commuter-oriented.


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  #496  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2014, 5:01 PM
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What Congress Should Be Talking About When It Talks About a National Transportation Plan

Read More: http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014...n-plan/375288/

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.....

There are a bundle of cynical reasons why Congress has struggled to craft a reasonable long-term transportation plan in recent years, but there's also a pretty valid one that doesn't get enough attention: The United States lacks a national infrastructure agenda.

- For decades, the federal government had a clear role in U.S. transportation—namely, to fund the interstate highway system. The national interest was obvious in this case, with all Americans benefitting from improved interstate commerce and mobility, so it made sense for Congress to take the funding lead. But that system is built out (and, in some metro areas, overbuilt), and its likeliest successor, a national high-speed rail system, is a complete non-starter to one political party.

- A National Internet System, or whatever it might be called, would seem to be the most logical modern equivalent to the National Highway System. True, most Americans can already get online, but as we pointed out last year, a startling number of rural residents lack minimal broadband access, and service in major U.S. metros lags behind world-class cities. The F.C.C. recently estimated that 100 million Americans don't subscribe to broadband—a third of the population. In other words, there's potential for interest here from federal officials all along the political spectrum.

- Semantics aside, there's a clear case for treating communication as transportation in American history. In colonial times, they were one and the same. The very first roads in this country were postal routes; Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of "post offices and post roads" because the concepts of message and movement were intertwined then, even if they seem quite distinct today. And consider that Congress didn't always consider road-building its job, either. Even by the closing years of the 19th century, many individual states bristled at the concept of a federal transportation program, preferring to maintain roads themselves.

- Nor is the idea of a federal infrastructure program based on broadband mere food for thought among transport historians. Earlier this month, during a keynote talk at the Open Knowledge Festival in Berlin, Eric Hysen of Google made an explicit reference to yesterday's transportation with respect to tomorrow's technology. Hysen compared the digital capabilities of the modern era with colonial stagecoaches: limited by the second-rate routes they traverse:

- Hysen went on to say that it's time for countries to build the digital equivalent of "long-distance highways." He suggests private companies take the lead— modern-day British Turnpike Trusts—but there's no reason the federal government couldn't jump in first (or, as well). Building off that line of thought, Brown historian Jo Guldi challenged private and public entities alike to build the "material pipes through which information flows".

- It's precisely that incentive—material pipes for all Americans—that should propel a national public works program. Guldi ends by saying it's "time to think big" about digital infrastructure. She's right. But there are lots of calls for Congress to think big when it comes to transportation, and few suggestions as to how. Let a coast-to-coast broadband system start the discussion. When Congress talks about a national infrastructure initiative, this is the type of thing it should be talking about.

.....



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  #497  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2014, 5:09 PM
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Need to run smaller DMUs during non-rush hours

The key IMO to making what GO is trying to do work without electrification would be for smaller DMUs to run the same route during non-rush hours.

The out-of-hours GO train should address the need to serve a smaller number of passengers more frequently. Problem is, with double deckers being pulled by huge locomotives, that the for fewer passengers who use such trains, the resulting higher ratio of diesel consumption per unit passenger becomes "uneconomic."

While running passenger trains on mixed freight and passenger sections requires robust strengthening of locomotives and cars, even in the tank train US, the SMART project in California is looking at smaller than Budd like diesel cars with multiple dual door exits.
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  #498  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2014, 4:58 AM
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The problem with Minn's new LRT line is that it forgot what it's original purpose was.

Supporters will say that it is more comfortable, reliable, and creates TOD. That may well be true but if that is the result then the citizens {meaning the people who paid for it} were lied to from the start. They were promised RAPID transit and clearly this new LRT line does not qualify and certainly will not entice any drivers to park their car at home.

People want speed. People believe that the best transit trip is the one you don't remember because it was fast and comfortable. Rapid transit can be LRT, monorail, SkyTrain, Metro, commuter rail, or BRT with Transitways, you choose the system that best works for the corridor, the citizens, and the budget.

Things like this new LRT line in Minny does more harm than good in certain ways. When hundreds of millions are spent, years of disruption have to be tolerated, and promises of a fast commute are made and then the system is only marginally faster than the bus that preceded it, people feel duped. They look at the new system and see nothing but a waste of tax dollars that could have been spent elsewhere.
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  #499  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2014, 3:20 PM
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Old Posted Aug 4, 2014, 3:26 PM
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Miami has a tunnel now
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/0...mi-tunnel.html

Quote:
The opening marks the end of repeated delays for the $1 billion under-the-bay tunnel. Engineers had to deal with last-minute flaws including rattling exhaust jet fans and a leaky drainage pipe.

“It’s a great day,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez shortly after the motorcade emerged from the eastbound lanes of the tunnel.

“It was a little bit delayed, but, you know, they had to do things right,” he said. “We had to make sure that the ventilation system was working. There was a leak in the tunnel, but I’m very happy that this tunnel is now open.”

Although the tunnel is open to all traffic, the main goal is to encourage as many cargo truck drivers as possible to go under the bay to relieve traffic on the surface streets downtown, the mayor said.

Cargo trucks contribute to congestion as they meander through downtown to get to the seaport from area expressways. Now that the tunnel is open, trucks can avoid downtown and drive directly to the port from Interstate 95 and State Road 836.
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