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Cta: Pretty sure the declines in Evanston are due to the really sad shape the purple line express is in - it has the longest slow zones in the system making it barely an express

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the los angeles gold line foothills extension opens this weekend or anytime now and the denver airport extension opens april 22.

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The foothills extension has been open for a month:

 

https://www.metro.net/projects/foothill-extension/

 

 

It was kind of weird how the gold line foothills extension got the announcement first when the far more important Expo line extension took a while to finally say when they were opening - it opens next month.  I can't wait to ride it the next time I'm in SoCal.

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The foothills extension will be of little use.  It's a single raindrop in a lake.  It's not going to transform any of the areas it's traveling through due to the nature of the line being built in an interstate median and on an abandoned freight corridor.  It's too far from DTLA and too medium-speed to really compel a lot of people to get off the highway. 

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Agreed completely. I think it was passed mainly for political purposes so the 2/3rds majority required to pass a tax on California referendums could be met... the only good aspect of it will be connecting to Ontario airport which it won't do for many years...

 

The expo live on the other hand is one of the most important transit projects in the country

 

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The way the light rail lines are being funded is ridiculously complicated.  There are three different .5 cent taxes which each fund different things.  One can fund tunnels, another can't, for example.  One has a fraction that can fund highway capacity improvements that also involve rail.  I imagine that the foothills project is being built because it is able to use the funds from that particular tax whereas a line paralleling the I-10 on a city street could not.  It's a totally stupid situation. 

 

 

 

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Even more stupid is that LA had a subway ban for almost 20 years...

 

And that the ban caused the light rail lines to random locations to be built before the Wilshire subway.  And that the same local congressman who overturned the ban was the one who proposed and fought for it back in the 80s.  The situation is totally insane. 

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Wow, the MTA is pulling out of APTA, due to several sources of dissatisfaction: APTA's governance, the fees MTA pays, and APTA's performance. Will in interesting to see what this does to APTA.

 

Letter from the MTA explaining the decision: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-s2b-K9y41NdkhiZEJKdXpMRFU/view?pref=2&pli=1

Good coverage: http://transitcenter.org/2016/04/14/mta-pulls-the-plug-on-apta/

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Wow. That is big. That would be like the USA withdrawing from NATO.


"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."-Voltaire

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WMATA / DC Metro is now "paperless" in terms of farecards. Paper farecards are no longer dispensed or accepted at any stations or vehicles. To use the system, all users use SmartTrip tap-and-pay.

http://www.wmata.com/fares/paperless.cfm

 

Key Dates

December 31, 2015, paper farecard sales ended.

March 6, 2016, paper farecards no longer accepted at the Metrorail faregates.

June 30, 2016, last day for paper farecards and Metrochek trade-ins to transfer the value to a SmarTrip® card.

If you still have a paper farecard or a Metrochek after June 30, 2016, congratulations, you have a Metro souvenir. (Don't let this happen to you. Trade-in your paper farecards and Metrocheks today at any Brown Cash-Only Ticket Vending Machine.)

 

This appears to affect both metro rail and metro bus. Plastic SmartTrip only.

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Sound Transit light rail phase 3 will cost $50 billion, raise taxes for average household about $400, meaning the average Seattle-area household will pay approximately $800/yr toward public transportation:

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/sound-transit-proposal-includes-2nd-downtown-seattle-tunnel/

 

Will create a second trunk line with its own subway tunnel under DT Seattle, with a very expensive junction station beneath the existing Westlake subway station. 

http://seattle.curbed.com/2016/3/24/11301982/sound-transit-3-plan-calls-for-second-downtown-seattle-tunnel-108

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The APTA That Transit Needs

 

May 23, 2016 by TransitCenter

 

APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy resigned late last month following news that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority—which carries 35 percent of the country’s transit riders—was withdrawing from the industry association.

 

In the letter announcing the agency’s decision first made public on The Connection, MTA President Tom Prendergast implied that transit agencies in other large cities shared these sentiments. Prendergast described the agency’s “collective dissatisfaction with various aspects of APTA,” including the organization’s governance structure, its excessive membership dues, and Melaniphy’s annual compensation of nearly $900,000.

 

http://transitcenter.org/2016/05/23/apta-transit-needs/

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Not sure if it belongs here, but I just saw a streetcar on an overside flatbed headed south this morning on I-675 near Fairborn. It looked very much like Dallas's new modern streetcars (yellow/black/blue paint scheme). Is DART extending the Dallas Streetcar this year?

 

I did see some news here: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20160103-dart-streetcar-d-link-changes-are-prelude-to-expansions.ece

 

Anyway, it was quite an unusual thing to see this morning :)

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In light of the "Ludicrous" ruling made by Judge Leon regarding the Purple Line (the Record of Decision was vacated solely on the fact that WMATA Metrorail ridership is severely hurt (thanks Safetrak and 5 years of crappy weekend service)) I took the time to remind supporters that the current Mayor of Cincinnati was elected on a "Kill the Streetcar" platform, and said streetcar opens September 9. It's times like this that I am reminded that these major projects always have many detractors and will pull at anything to get the project derailed, but in the end the project pulls through. I hope that this holds true for the Purple Line.

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Here is a link:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/signing-of-federal-funding-agreement-for-purple-line-cancelled-after-court-ruling/2016/08/04/085cb20c-5a63-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html

 

It looks like what they're doing is using this as a back-door way to motivate improvements to Metro's maintenance schedule.  They're arguing that Metro's ridership will not meet the projections used in the grant application because of maintenance issues. 

 

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To be fair, maintainence issues have been really getting bad on the DC metro. I've got a large group of friends who live in DC, and I see comments on FB about massively delayed trains, flooded stations, trains on fire, stations filling with smoke, etc. all the time these days. I've always thought DC's system to be pretty great and clean, especially compared to NY and Chicago, but I guess it's different when you're relying on it on a daily basis.

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They aren't doing this to motivate back door metro improvements.

 

Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail is on their third path to derailing the project. First, it was the Hay's Spring Amphipod. That didn't work. Next, it was adverse possession. The Maryland Court of Appeals killed that one, as you can't adversely possess public land. Now, they found a judge who just happens to live in the Town of Chevy Chase and may also play golf at Columbia Country Club.

 

The "friends" have a Save the Trail website. What they don't tell you is that the Capital Crescent Trail ends in Bethesda. Beyond that, there is the gravel Georgetown Branch Trail. Once you run past Chevy Chase and cross Rock Creek, it's not in the best of condition. Scour, pot holes, and the likes grace it, and the off road portion of the trail ends in Lyttonsville. If they were friends, they would want to Finish the the Capital Crescent Trail.

 

The driving motivating factor behind the Friends is that their leaders have property up against the Georgetown Branch right of way. They also have a major portion of that right of way within their fence line. Their motivation is to keep public land, which used to be a rail line, and has been intended for LRT since the 80s for their own use. Given the Court of Appeals ruling, it is my utmost hope that Montgomery County reclaims the right of way.

 

This ruling is a absolute perversion of NEPA. He says that ridership must be redone. Will he make every other DC Region NEPA study do the same? The COG Model is the region's travel demand model, and it was used for the Purple Line and pretty much every other major project in the region. Does COG account for Metro's problems? I doubt this, as these are short term issues. The reality is that Metro's short term woes effect far beyond the Purple Line, but for some reason Judge Leon decided that this project was special. I look forward to lawsuits attempting to stop major highway projects based on this decision should the DC Circuit not issue a stay.

 

Metro's woes are terrible. In fact, many eastern transit agencies have similar woes right now. Deferred maintenance is a terrible thing, and I hope all transit agencies are learning from WMATA, MBTA, and MTA. But, to state that this aggressive maintenance schedule will continue through 2022 is foolhardy. Metro is replacing its most unreliable series of trains, and Paul Wiedefeld, the WMATA GM, is cleaning house and doing all he can to right the ship. I have the utmost faith in Mr. Wiedefeld. He formerly ran the Maryland Aviation Administration, and under his watch BWI became the most used airport in the Baltimore Washington Region. I have faith that he can do similar amazing things with WMATA.

 

Here is a great write up on why the ruling is ridiculous. I hope you all will read it. It's incredibly insightful.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/33115/ludicrous-ruling-could-delay-or-scuttle-the-purple-line/

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It's possible that the Purple Line's sponsoring agencies may win on appeal, but apparently the federal contribution of $900 million will be lost and that process will be back at square one without Barbara Mikulski to shepherd it along.

 

Personally, I think they should scale it back to the original Bethesda-to-Silver Spring plan, which actually had a chance of being successful and was about $2 billion cheaper.

 

FWIW, I live in Chevy Chase.

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I am of the opinion that if the line terminated at Silver Spring rather than Bethesda it likely would have been under construction by now as the Friends would not have had anything to complain about.

 

Yes, Barbara is retiring, but she is likely being replaced by our neighborhood friendly Congressman Chris Van Hollen. My limited experience with Van Hollen's Office is that when he asks for something he generally get's it. (who doesn't want a traffic signal in front of Trader Joe's?!). Van Hollen is likely being replaced by Jamie Raskin, who as my D20 State Senator has been pretty darn awesome, and I expect him to be just as effective in the House. I don't expect this funding go anywhere, unless the NEPA process is allowed to be perverted in a way that results in the Purple Line being killed. However, the irony of the judge's ruling is that a lesser, BRT alternative could be identified and placed along the Purple Line Route, as he had no environmental qualms with the NEPA Document (and he shouldn't, this is Maryland we're talking about). The utmost irony would be if the project ends up with an alternative that is cheaper, but still reclaims the county's right of way. After all, the county owns the Georgetown Branch alignment and it would be cheapest to use it. Widening East West Highway would be prohibitively expensive compared to the Georgetown Branch alignment.

 

Either way, I hope the county continues to reclaim the Georgetown Branch right of way from these residents. The land is not theirs, and public land must be kept for public use and stewardship.

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I am of the opinion that if the line terminated at Silver Spring rather than Bethesda it likely would have been under construction by now as the Friends would not have had anything to complain about.

 

Maybe, but it's the Silver Spring-to-New Carrolton part that I think is the money sink.  I have never been one of the "Friends" and am completely in favor of using the G'town Branch line. I'm old enough to remember the coal trains.  :-)

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I honestly can't get too worked up about another DC transit line being held up by obstructionists.  The city has already been gifted a wonderful transit system that provides excellent coverage to the vast majority of the city and pretty decent coverage deep into the burbs.  The new line to Tyson's Corner was just constructed, and DC is also about to open a new (horribly mismanaged) streetcar line.  They seem to be doing pretty ok when it comes to transit coverage, so I'm not going to lose sleep over this one particular line being held up. 

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I honestly can't get too worked up about another DC transit line being held up by obstructionists.  The city has already been gifted a wonderful transit system that provides excellent coverage to the vast majority of the city and pretty decent coverage deep into the burbs.  The new line to Tyson's Corner was just constructed, and DC is also about to open a new (horribly mismanaged) streetcar line.  They seem to be doing pretty ok when it comes to transit coverage, so I'm not going to lose sleep over this one particular line being held up. 

 

I feel the same way.  As a transit enthusiast, I would like to see peripheral rail like the Purple Line since the overwhelming rail transit in the US are radial hub/spokes operations.  But the Purple Line is gravy to D.C., which already has a great (though faltering operationally) system of nearly 120 miles of rapid transit which will expand even more when the Dulles portion of the Silver Line is completed; not to mention the 6 Maryland and VA commuter rail spokes as well as being a key stop on the Northeast Corridor Amtrak.

 

Now Baltimore, on the other hand (who's size and rail system are more akin to Cleveland's), was royally screwed when Republican gov Hogan cancelled their east west, subway-surface "Red Line" through downtown, the Inner Harbor, Canton, Fells Point, etc..

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Friday, August 19, 2016

 

Nashville transit plan proposes LRT and commuter rail expansion

 

Proposals for a 46-mile light rail network and a second commuter rail line for Nashville have been included in a 25-year transit strategy for the region, which was presented to the boards of Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (NMTA) and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee (RTA) on August 17 following 16 months of public consultation.

 

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/commuter-regional/nashville-transit-plan-proposes-lrt-and-commuter-rail-expansion.html?channel=55

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^Another city poised to put Cleveland in it's rear-view mirror as RTA muddles along with disappearing funds and rail cars it can replace and no concrete plans for future development to make the system viable...

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There has been no funding so no telling what will actually happen. 

 

My parents moved there 20 years ago so I'm pretty familiar with the place, and have to say that it's basically doomed if it grows significantly.  Its layout it much more complex than it appears and is incredibly ill-suited to express buses, light rail, bicycles, etc.  The rock the whole city sits on is unusual and in earlier articles basically all tunnel construction has been ruled out as being prohibitively expensive. 

 

 

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I was in Denver last week and spent some time along their 16th Street Mall, where RTD operates their "Free MallRide" bus service. For those not familiar, 16th Street is restricted to only buses and pedestrians with no automobiles allowed. The buses run extremely frequently during peak hours. As RTD puts it, "Free MallRide shuttles run approximately every light cycle." So if you miss the bus or it's too crowded, just look to your left and the next bus is one block away. RTD is in the process of buying a fleet of 36 new electric buses that will replace the current fleet.

 

And, while it's a great street already, it got me thinking, why isn't this a streetcar? I know that most new American streetcars have an element of economic development, which isn't really the case since 16th Street is already pretty well developed. But in this case I would look at it as more of a cost saving measure. Instead of 36 buses running at ridiculous frequencies (maybe every 2-3 minutes?), you could have 1/3 as many streetcars that would each carry 3x as many passengers. The downside is that the frequency would drop to maybe every 6-8 minutes (still twice as frequent as Cincinnati's streetcar). The upside is that stops would be much quicker due to level boarding, passengers would enjoy a smoother ride, they would only need to hire 1/3rd as many drivers, and the street would greatly benefit from the reduced noise and air pollution of electric streetcars vs. the current buses. Since RTD already has a light rail system, you could hook into those tracks and be able to utilize their current maintenance facilities, which would greatly reduce construction costs. (The "streetcar" could even be a single-car light rail train if they wanted to maintain compatibility with their current fleet.)

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There has been no funding so no telling what will actually happen. 

 

My parents moved there 20 years ago so I'm pretty familiar with the place, and have to say that it's basically doomed if it grows significantly.  Its layout it much more complex than it appears and is incredibly ill-suited to express buses, light rail, bicycles, etc.  The rock the whole city sits on is unusual and in earlier articles basically all tunnel construction has been ruled out as being prohibitively expensive. 

 

 

 

You obviously know a lot more about Nashville than I do.  I've never been there and the extent of my knowledge of Nashville is that it appears to be pretty cultural as home to Vanderbilt and Fisk universities as well as the Grand Ole Opry, and that the Tennessee Titans play there ...

 

... Maybe Nashville's $6B proposal will not get funded or built as proposed.  Who knows?  But what I find refreshing, is that everybody, all the Nashville transit and civic leaders, are all pushing for this; the board has made this its mandate and they are going to go after it... We've seen this happen in Denver, and look at the results.  Dallas too, and Seattle is similarly going after it to finish a massive LRT program that just started in the last decade...

 

... It is so refreshing compared to places like Cleveland, where the transit chief is against rail expansion and, rather than support rail, other powerful voices use rail expansion proposals as their favorite whipping boy to take down: It's happened again and again, probably since 1919, but most notably in more recent years is Al Porter killing the subway; Norm Krumholtz killing the Green Line mode-mixer 1.5 mile extension to I-271 and Dennis Kucinich killing both the People Mover and (indirectly) commuter rail through Lakewood, RR and Lorain County... and yes, NOACA (aka "No Action") being too damn cheap to finish the Dual-Hub proposal...

 

Cleveland has to rank along with Detroit as the most negative city for rail transit in the country... The weird thing is, Cleveland already has rail; some at least.  And it seems some leaders won't be happy until it is gone (RTA's crumbling LRVs with no concrete plan, or money, to replace them and Joe's backing running Opportunity Corridor BRT's parallel to the east side  Red Line).  How backwards... This is all a major fly in the ointment against all the GOOD that's happening in Cleveland. 

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Columbus is the most anti-rail city. See the Smart City challenge discussion here on UO.


"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."-Voltaire

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... Maybe Nashville's $6B proposal will not get funded or built as proposed.  Who knows?  But what I find refreshing, is that everybody, all the Nashville transit and civic leaders, are all pushing for this; the board has made this its mandate and they are going to go after it... We've seen this happen in Denver, and look at the results.  Dallas too, and Seattle is similarly going after it to finish a massive LRT program that just started in the last decade...

 

The south is a lot different than here -- the cities all look to one another but not outside of the region at all.  Anything that happens here in the north is irrelevant, good or bad.  But they all look at Atlanta as a model for growth but not unmitigated Atlanta-style growth.  MARTA is seen as a flop (which it isn't) and not to be replicated, whereas the Charlotte light rail is seen as a success, even though it has a fraction of the ridership of MARTA.  The one big advantage that Charlotte has over Nashville is that it had an abandoned freight railroad traveling directly through its flat and hopelessly dull downtown.  There is no water or anything that be confused for topography anywhere close to Charlotte.  Meanwhile DT Nashville is situated partly on a weird bluff with many short but sharply-sloped block-long hills.  The Cumberland River is unscenic yet annoying -- it snakes like crazy and so creates a dozen or more traffic pinch-points.  All of the bridges are either nondescript or ugly and there is a railroad gulch that keeps the downtown solidly separate from the area where Vanderbilt and its hospital are.  It's a mess.     

 

 

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...so you're saying you love Nashville and Charlotte!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Wider Toronto style subway cars coming to New York--

What’s Next for the New York Subway? Toronto Already Knows

By EMMA G. FITZSIMMONSAUG. 22, 2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/23/nyregion/new-york-subway-cars-toronto.html?_r=0

 

At least the new design will make it easier for passengers to escape into another car from idiots like these--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVqxRFNPk4A

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That video incorrectly called the Santa Monica Expo Line extension the "subway to the sea".  That term was used to sell the Wilshire subway extension to Santa Monica, although that project won't terminate within easy walking distance of the beach. 

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Yeah, it's a nice positive piece on rail transit, which is great, but there were lots of errors and out of date information. The Expo Line was never called the subway to the sea- that's the purple line extension. The purple line extension is under construction, but I'm not sure where it will be terminating in this round of funded expansion. I just saw that the boring machine has now reached the next station on the line, Wilshire / La Brea.

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I think they are only adding two stations on the next phase -- at most three.  The Wilshire line is the true trunk of the metro network, not the Hollywood/San Fernando line that has been in operation since about 2001.  So LA is in this really weird position of having had all of these ancillary lines built before the true centerpiece of the system.  The 30~ year delay is thanks primarily to HR rep Henry Waxman. 

 

With the DT light rail subway connector (connecting the blue and gold lines) and then this upcoming extension of the Wilshire Line, plus the commuter rail lines, DT LA is really poised to take off.  All of that centralized employment and residential will make a difference, even in a place as sprawled as LA. 

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