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jtadams

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  1. By the time a new fleet reaches the age of our current one, I'll be long gone. But with any luck my children and their children will be thriving, and even though I won't see it, I still want to advocate for decisions I hope will be in their long-term best interests. I hope they will have at least the option of living in a city and a nation where cities actually work, and transit is a vital part of making cities work. I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but clearly a lot of folks making the decisions don't see things the way we do. I might not advocate building rail here from scratch if we didn't already have it, but we do, and preserving it seems so much in the region's best interests that I have trouble understanding why anyone would think otherwise. Buses and BRT (on other than exclusive right-of-way) are great, but they don't replace rail, because they share the same roads used by other traffic.
  2. Maintaining an ancient fleet is difficult because parts are no longer available, or must be custom-manufactured at much higher than off-the-shelf costs. I am concerned because I think it would be much easier to save one unified LRT system than two separate systems, one HRT and one LRT. If we try to save both, we miss opportunities to consolidate, to go with more or less off-the-shelf and hence far cheaper technology, and we run a real risk of losing both.
  3. How much work/time would be involved in rebuilding Red Line platforms?
  4. Only, I think, if you close the stations that are not yet converted. Otherwise you run afoul of ADA regs (and basic safety) because the gap between platform and train is much too wide. Many of the West Side stations (Airport, Puritas, Triskett, West 117, and West 65) could be closed temporarily without eliminating any bus/rail connections that couldn't be made elsewhere, but on the East Side, I think you need them all, except for maybe 34th and Superior. But temporary bus reroutes might eliminate the need for transfers at a handful of the others.
  5. Yes, the switch would need to happen relatively quickly to minimize Red Line downtime. Which means there have to be enough LRVs to provide some level of service on all 3 lines. A challenge? Very much so, and I don't want to minimize that. But an impossibility? I don't think so. Here's how I'd do it: * Understand that any reduced service or inconvenience is temporary, and that the end state will be much better than now. * Prioritize keeping the system usable, during the transition, by the transit-dependent. If one must choose, it's better to inconvenience those who have a choice, than those who do not. * Plan out the full number of LRVs necessary to provide the level of service described below POST-transition. Order at least enough new LRVs to do so (I realize they will not arrive for several years, hence the next two points.) * Find any LRVs we may have that can be restored to safe working condition at a reasonable cost, if any, and restore them. * Purchase some used LRVs if possible to reach the necessary number to provide a minimal level of Red/Green/Blue Line service. * Once we have enough LRVs to provide a basic level of service - hopefully well before the entire new fleet has arrived: - Temporarily close all stations (mostly Green/Blue Line) that are not transfer points, keeping service only to those that are. - Suspend Waterfront Line service, reduce Blue Line frequency at nonpeak hours, coordinate schedules of connecting services for reliable transfers, and reduce Green Line service to peak hours only, running replacement buses as needed. - Carry out KJP's plan to retrofit Red Line platforms, East and West Side separately, running replacement buses as needed. - Switch Red Line to use LRVs. - As more LRVs arrive, put them into service, and gradually restore full service on all 3 lines as it becomes possible.
  6. I'm familiar with the summary. I'm absolutely on board with replacing the LRV fleet in the near future. But as for the HRV fleet, the seemingly relevant portion is the very last couple lines in the presentation. "A single, common car fleet would require significant infrastructure work at rail stations" KJP has addressed this already by offering several options that sound reasonable to me (see his post circa 3/26). "A single, common car fleet eliminates the ability to phase in vehicle purchase and delivery." I'm completely missing why this is so. If both existing and new vehicles are compatible with existing Green/Blue platforms as well as retrofitted Red Line platforms, then what is the issue?
  7. OK, I hadn't thought of the need to pay back federal funding. But I think that still leaves the option of closing some of the stations east of Shaker Square (both Green and Blue), and reducing semi-frequent Green Line service to peak hours only.
  8. TL/DR: I think if we want to keep rail here, we need to scale back the Green and Blue Lines and convert the Red Line to light rail. The Green/Blue Lines were designed to sell land in Shaker Heights, by bringing people from thence to downtown. That particular demand has dwindled substantially. So has the money and political will to extend them, which could actually make these lines vastly more useful than they are. It may be time to consider, at least temporarily, mothballing at least the east-of-Shaker part of the Green Line. Preserving the right of way and everything else necessary to bring it back at some future time, possibly extended to 271 or at least 91/322. Possibly reducing the number of east-of-Shaker Blue Line stations as well, since as I understand it, the majority of other than park-and-ride ridership seems to originate at Lee and Warrensville, the two points where transfers are possible. This lowers operating costs, and buys the ability to convert the Red Line to light rail for reasons discussed below, while inconveniencing relatively few people. Since the great majority of Green Line service east of Shaker is mostly park & ride anyway, and since every station is a fairly easy walk to the next, it may make sense to close some of those stations even if the service as a whole is kept, and also to run non-peak service either to Green Road skipping every non-transfer stop between Shaker and Green, or, perhaps (again hopefully only temporarily), not at all. The Red Line was designed to bring rail fairly cheaply to two very different areas: the then-largely-industrial West and near East Side stations, and the then-still-prosperous suburb of East Cleveland. It was well understood even at that time that large concentrations of residential and employment density, including much of downtown, were being passed over so that the line could be kept fairly cheap (existing rail ROW, little need for land acquisitions, etc.). Even then, building a metro/subway system worthy of a nearly million-person city was considered too expensive for too little benefit, though, for some reason, a much more heavily subsidized freeway system was not. The concept of TOD was not on the radar, but it was thought that existing patterns and levels of development would justify continued operation and even expansion. But the costs of both have skyrocketed since, both in absolute terms and relative to the costs of similar projects elsewhere. The Dual Hub, Euclid, Berea and Lakewood/Westlake extension proposals, and possibly others I may not be aware of, came and went. Dual Hub became the HealthLine, but, absent prepaid fares and signal prioritization, has become little more than a marginally improved #28X (for you young'uns, the express version of the 28 which back in the day ran all the way downtown, as did, at least in rush hour, express versions of the 7, 9, and 32). More bus service has come to the city of Euclid but, last time I tried, it was still a 90 minute plus, very crowded trip from Shoregate to downtown anytime the 39 was not running. Factors beyond RTA's control killed the Berea expansion (Berea residents didn't want the "undesirables" they feared a rail expansion might bring) and Lakewood/Westlake (realistically not possible given only the single available track also heavily used for freight traffic). And of course the funding situation, also beyond RTA's control, played a hand in killing the others as well. Aside from Little Italy, today's Red Line looks much like it did 50 years ago, but serves VERY different purposes. Most of them, IMO, relate to its status as really the only service we have that is both high-frequency, cross-town, and reasonably quick. It allows many lines that formerly served downtown to terminate at rail stations instead (though at a cost in terms of rider convenience). It eliminates much of the demand for through-routed crosstown service, which, because of bunching, is hard to do during the busy times when it is most needed. It gets people to special events like St. Patrick's Day and Cavs, Indians, and Browns games. It does serve a small but growing amount of TOD near a handful of the stations, most notably UC and Little Italy. But light rail could do all of these jobs at least equally well, as evidenced by the fact that it does so all over the country and elsewhere. We're going to have to replace the current heavy rail fleet anyway. I'd like to better understand why they will not retrofit the existing Red Line stations to be able to use light rail cars, and then switch over using the existing Blue/Green Line fleet, the demand for which could be reduced at least temporarily via the means above, plus a part of the new light rail stock as it is delivered. The existing light rail fleet is of course due for replacing as well, but with far less urgency. It's a one-time cost, more or less, with ongoing benefits that will last the life of the system. Just one type of car. Just one type of platform. The ability to run at surface level, and, hence, the theoretical possibility of being able to serve more of downtown. Somewhat lower cost of extending, compared to heavy rail, if that ever becomes a realistic possibility again. Possibly the ability to purchase used rolling stock as a temporary stopgap until we have a reasonably new, serviceable, and sufficient fleet of our own. And then we have one rail system, not two. I don't see a downside other than the one-time cost of upgrading Red Line stations. And, again, most of them today, other than transfer stations, primarily serve park and ride customers. If it is needed to spread that cost out over time, it would not be a huge inconvenience to anyone not genuinely dependent on transit to temporarily close the more lightly used stations and/or those not required for making transfers. Do the most important ones first, close the others temporarily, and, when money/personnel/resources become available, then do the rest. Granted, light rail by its nature doesn't do well with the ridership volumes typical of NYC or Tokyo, but it's really not realistic that we'll ever have even an order of magnitude away from those traffic volumes. I just don't consider that a real downside. It might be in a much bigger city, but not here. Brooklyn (NY) could grow by the entire population of Cleveland proper and not look or feel drastically different than it does now, and cities like Seoul, Tokyo, Mexico City, Jakarta, Lagos, Manila or about 20 others could grow by the population of Brooklyn plus Cleveland and not look or feel drastically different than they do now. Most of them are going to do exactly that, or more, over the next decade or two anyway. Those cities need heavy rail. Ours, IMO, doesn't and won't anytime soon.
  9. With sufficient funding, high-frequency service in high-density areas, PLUS some service in lower-density ones, makes perfect sense. The problem is that with the severely limited funding we have now, either approach tends to be at odds with the other. I like the idea of better service along the job-heavy I-271 corridor. Realistically, though, the best that can likely be hoped for, even with a modest revenue increase, would be some service along Richmond, maybe 91, maybe Lander and/or Brainard. Ideally, it would be fed by extending either the Green Line, or the Blue, out to at least Richmond. The latter has been proposed several times IIRC, and always failed for reasons I assume to involve lack of suitable right of way. The former might make sense but IMO would require signal prioritization, especially as noted above near and at Shaker Square. I also don't see any reason why there need to be stops every few blocks. Most people park and ride anyway to/from those stops, so perhaps eliminating some, and expanding parking where possible at those Green Line stations that remain, would prove win-win for everyone concerned.
  10. My current job on Clinton Road near West Blvd. loses service under this plan. Kind of a bummer. But Ridge Road, about a mile distant, becomes a high-frequency corridor. Lorain Ave. as well, also roughly a mile distant. Perhaps I could convince my employer to run a shuttle to and from the nearby Dave's Mercado before and after shifts. For now. And hopefully when funding improves, some service gets restored. I think compromises like this make sense. Most people can walk a mile if they have to, at least in all but the very yuckiest weather, but since it is a factory where many people start and end shifts at the same time, an employer-provided shuttle, which doesn't have to cost much since it could easily be staffed by an employee, might allow us to continue to employ people who are transit-dependent without shifting even that minimal cost to the taxpayer.
  11. I've always lived, and almost always worked, on one of the "frequent service" lines as per the map. There are reasons for this. They tend, and always have tended, to offer better frequency and reliability of service as compared to the others. I did have to reverse-commute to Solon, from Ohio City, earlier in my life, but, even then, and this was more than 30 years ago, I was pretty much the only person on those buses or waiting at those stops. I think reverse-commute trips make sense from a full-employment point of view; these are where much of the job growth is happening. But many people can't get to or keep existing jobs if they do not have frequent and reliable service along major corridors with high population and/or employment density. I'd love to have both, but if I must choose, I'd choose frequent and reliable service in the built-up urban core, while still advocating for improved scope/coverage when and if funding levels make that possible.
  12. Another dumb question. But could something other than external electric power power the Green/Blue Line fleet east of Shaker? Perhaps some sort of diesel/electric hybrid? This of course would mean significantly more expensive rolling stock, but perhaps the savings in not having to maintain the overhead catenary would pay for it over time? Have other cities made that sort of transition?
  13. I know I will hate the answer, but here goes. Can operating costs for lightly-used lines like the Green Line east of Shaker Square be reduced through any sort of automation?
  14. I agree that the Green Line is pretty useless in its present form. But, in theory, the Green Line could be extended to a number of much more densely populated areas such as the 91/322 intersection and countless apartment and retail complexes within a few blocks. And/or to I-271.
  15. 30 decades actually sounds just about right given the current pace.
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