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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 12:30 AM
lrt's friend lrt's friend is offline
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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.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 7:28 AM
SFBruin SFBruin is offline
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I honestly have no idea.

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

I assume it's a little more than most.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 2:29 PM
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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.
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  #4  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 5:24 PM
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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.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 5:36 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
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.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 6:05 PM
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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.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 6:07 PM
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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?
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 6:20 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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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.

Last edited by jmecklenborg; Jan 14, 2022 at 7:25 PM.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 7:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
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.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 8:41 PM
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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?
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  #11  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 9:44 PM
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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.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2022, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
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".
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  #13  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 2:52 AM
skiesthelimit skiesthelimit is offline
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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.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 2:31 PM
Prahaboheme Prahaboheme is offline
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LA seems to be leading the pack with its mass transit infrastructure expansions between heavy rail and light rail extensions.
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  #15  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 4:57 PM
iheartthed iheartthed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
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.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 5:55 PM
Emprise du Lion Emprise du Lion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
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.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 6:22 PM
lrt's friend lrt's friend is offline
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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?
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  #18  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 8:50 PM
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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.
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  #19  
Old Posted Jan 15, 2022, 8:57 PM
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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/
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  #20  
Old Posted Jan 16, 2022, 12:37 AM
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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.
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