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  #21  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2022, 4:00 PM
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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!

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  #22  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2022, 5:02 PM
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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.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2022, 6:29 PM
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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.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2022, 7:20 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
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.
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Last edited by ardecila; Jan 17, 2022 at 7:39 PM.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jan 17, 2022, 8:03 PM
Emprise du Lion Emprise du Lion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
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 View Post
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.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2022, 2:26 AM
IrvineNative IrvineNative is offline
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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.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 18, 2022, 3:32 AM
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Originally Posted by IrvineNative View Post
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.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2022, 10:19 PM
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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.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2022, 10:34 PM
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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.
IrvineNative-- can you please post some photos of the Orange County streetcar construction?
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  #30  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 12:50 AM
IrvineNative IrvineNative is offline
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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.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 1:34 PM
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i would characterize that as all the poors are getting pushed out to the banlieues as whitey has rediscovered downtown.
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.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 1:42 PM
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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*)?
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  #33  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 2:10 PM
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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/
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  #34  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 4:30 PM
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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.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 4:54 PM
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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.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 5:24 PM
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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.

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


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  #37  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 5:38 PM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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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.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 6:27 PM
IrvineNative IrvineNative is offline
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Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
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 View Post
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.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 7:23 PM
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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.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 7:57 PM
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The systems I'm most excited about and watching closely in the States are Seattle's expansion and the planned Austin rail system.
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