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Akron Metro RTA-Commuter Rail

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when it is finally brought up into downtown cleveland the cvsr will function best as a more long distance commuter rail line for akron & cantonites, not so much the suburbanites in-between akron & cleveland. once the train gets to tower city there is no doubt it will be used in this way by some of the more far flung commuters on the southern end.

 

 

 

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i know. we're talking after the downtown section. that's who knows when into the future. then we'll see what happens. i doubt it will ever be any kind of typical commuter train, best only for long distance travelors. obviously there is pressure against it and certainly no one wants the valley overdeveloped. unless of course fuel prices really hit the fan.

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If gas prices really hit the fan then there will be more demand for developing CAC commuter rail where it should be developed -- on alignments where the people are, not where the protected wetlands, historical settings and wilderness areas are situated.

 

 

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yes, that too eventually. however, the cvsr getting into downtown cleveland will likely happen first. consider it a cac commuter rail test scenario.

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yes, that too eventually. however, the cvsr getting into downtown cleveland will likely happen first. consider it a cac commuter rail test scenario.

 

I'm confused.  Are you saying that the cvsr should eventually change its schedule in order to test out commuter rail possibilities, or that the existing schedule can be maintained, and that rail advocates begin tracking how many folks are using the service?  If the former, I think that KJP conclusively described why that wouldn't happen, and if the latter, it is highly unlikely that anybody would use the service to commute (for example, all Canton to and from Independence trains leave at 9 a.m., well past rush hour, and they don't run on Mondays and Tuesdays).

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yes, that too eventually. however, the cvsr getting into downtown cleveland will likely happen first. consider it a cac commuter rail test scenario.

 

I hope not. No one will ride a 15 mph CVSR train to work.

 

C'mon people. Can't we be happy with and write about the function that CVSR does perform, and performs very well?

 

Future posts discussing CVSR/NPS operations as a commuter rail service will be moved from this thread to the Cleveland-Akron-Canton commuter rail thread.

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ok, but since i was asked i will respond. first, its disingenuous to leave it like it would need to go 15 mph the whole way. secondly, i'd think the cvsr weekday schedule will likely change when the northern end gets done. remember crude oil was $50/barrel when this thread started in 2005, if that continues...!

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You don't do it by using a rail line to string together a bunch of park-n-ride lots. That's called an amusement park ride.

 

That’s absurd.  Exhibit A: Miani/South Florida's Tri-Rail.  It travels along busy I-95 but does not enter, or even go near, any downtown area or directly serve either of the 3 airports along its route (although, Miami International is closest and, with a stretch, could be walkable if you want to walk 10 mins or so w/ luggage across busy highways to spread out air terminals...). 

 

The CVNP area, which is only part of the route, is not near any population source accept for the small town of Peninsula.  But the line would serve downtown Cleveland and Akron directly, which is something Tri-Rail does not; and it is especially felt in Miami, which is the most metropolitan/cosmopolitan and urban of the South Fla cities by a long shot -- you must make an awkward connection (no escalators in large part) with the Metro Rail rapid transit for a 20-25 min ride to downtown Miami (where you really need to further catch Metro Mover to end your trip in most cases, because the 2 Metro Rail stations are at downtown’s edges).  And yet, Tri-Rail is swamped with passengers, and with gas prices rising, they're putting on even more trains and recently have doubled track for nearly the whole 71-mile route... CVSR btw is roughly 60 miles to Tower City...

 

CVSR also would, for what its worth, serve big box shopping area Steelyards and connect to the Valley View suburban office park, prol'ly with shuttle buses.  Keep in mind, KJP, you kinda started this talk when you posted the photo with the new, high-density apt (or condo?) complex right next to the CVSR Akron Northside photo and labeled it TOD -- I don't know if you were joking, but the point was made.  And you can't downplay the fact that current CVSR trains go right by the busy/growing Akron-Canton Regional airport, UA and that large hospital complex in Canton.

 

Train speed could be an issue inside the CVNP, but I don't see why it should outside that region which, again, is only a portion of the route -- a significant portion, I'll grant you, but not all of it -- none south of Akron Northside (approx 25 miles) or North of Valley View (8 miles).

 

Also, I'm not buying the argument of faster speeds and commuters somehow hurting/killing the idea of CVSR tourism.  First, is there any reason why the slower excursion trains can't be mixed in during non-rush-hours/weekends with commuter trains?  Heck, RTA’s been toying with the idea of running those antique wood-body interurban streetcars through the core of the much busier RTA Rapid system for Trolleyville USA when it finally opens somewhere along the lakefront. – in fact, they already successfully did so a few years ago on, I believe, one Saturday afternoon.  So what would be stopping CVSR?

 

 

Again, I agree that CVSR isn’t the ideal route by any means.  Maybe it’s a stop-gap and can/will be replaced by the Ohio-Hub line.  But let’s face it, Ohio Hub is, what, conservatively 10 years away?  5 years, at the MOST optimistic timeline.  But in CVSR you have a working passenger railroad system (that even has its own repair shop facilities) that exists now.   You have a route that ends directly inside our core metro area’s (Cleveland’s) largest, highest-density mixed use complex which, also, connects to hub station of RTA’s 5 Rapid branch lines -- a mixed used development that's about to probably double (or more) in size once the Medical Mart/Convention Center and hotel facilities are about to be added.  (and let's not discount the huge/wide area CVSR trains can serve for Browns games and other big sporting events served by the downtown terminal)  So why not at least explore the possibility?

 

 

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^ Let me add also that, in addition to the TOD that's already going up in Akron Northside, there is considerable potential for more TOD at Valle View on Rockside Road, where CVSR begins/ends currently, and would be a straight, 8-mile, 1-intervening stop to downtown Cleveland -- and that entire portion is NOT in CVNP but almost totally industrial/commercial (@ Steelyards Commons).  Sizable suburban areas like Garfield & Maple Hts, Brecksville and Macedonia are not prohibitively far from train stops.

 

Look at how far people ride in to park at RTA's Green Line terminal for the ride into downtown, and that line has several at-grade station stops where trains must often stop at traffic signals, esp in/around Shaker Square.  And it's only a 10-mile route as opposed to the 8, 15, 30 or 50 miles (not all necessarily slow if properly upgraded) along CVSR.  So, again, I don't understand why its not at least a topic for discussion, esp given gas prices and the growing rush-hour snarl (I was just in it so I know) of I-77.

 

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I agree.  The CVSR's goal should continue to be the preservation of their inventory and providing tours of the Cuyahoga Valley.  But just as passenger trains must sometimes defer to freight trains, I can't see why a scenic rr schedule wouldn't defer to commuter trains. 

 

I'm hoping to finally get on the train this weekend to go to Akron..  Last time I tried to get on the train at Northside it was going to be an hour late because of some stupid hobo program they were running.  Lesson learned, I'm getting on the train first, then biking back.

 

 

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Don't mean to rain on the parade here, but the CVSR is having a tough enough time getting it's excursion trains into Cleveland.  They have been unable to negotiate a way into the Flats because they would have to use the tracks of the CSX to get there...something the CSX is disinclined to do for both reasons of interfering with freight traffic and insurance liability.

 

The effort continues, but the point is that if it is that difficult to bring in an excursion trains, it will be near impossible to bring in commuter trains.  The only passenger entity that is legally allowed to (in effect) force its way onto freight railroad tracks is Amtrak.  Clearly, this is not a route that would interest Amtrak.

 

I doubt that it was ever a route that saw frequent passenger traffic to begin with.  Yet it is ideally suited for the kind of operation the CVSR runs....and nothing more.

 

I can tell you with some certainty that even the Ohio Rail Development Commission has no interest in the line beyond what it already is... a tourist railroad.

 

Quit trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear and move on.

 

Can we please just keep this to posts about the CVSR as a tourist railroad and dispense with this pointless debate over something that will likely never happen/

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That’s absurd.  Exhibit A: Miani/South Florida's Tri-Rail. 

 

Which is promoting development around its stations, all located in populated areas. You can't do that in a National Park. But there's nothing more I can say to get my point across in this debate. You don't need to convince me. If you all feel this strongly about this, then you need to try to convince the NPS or CVSR to accept commuter rail. If not, then you might as well be trying to convince your dog or cat to run some commuter trains. That's about as productive an activity.

 

Keep in mind, KJP, you kinda started this talk when you posted the photo with the new, high-density apt (or condo?) complex right next to the CVSR Akron Northside photo and labeled it TOD -- I don't know if you were joking, but the point was made.  And you can't downplay the fact that current CVSR trains go right by the busy/growing Akron-Canton Regional airport, UA and that large hospital complex in Canton.

 

Yeah, OK, it's my fault that you all applied your preconceptions to whatever reason I had for posting that picture. Whatever. In it's raw, uncolored, unopinionated form, that condo development IS a TOD. Most TOD-inspired designs are to maximize the utility of the rail or bus line nearby. In this case, it's where people can stroll out of their build, with or withour their bicycle or skis or snowboard or fishing rod and board a train to enjoy recreation. Other TODs are useful for reaching shopping, education, medical appointments, sporting events, etc. etc., which according to most MPO data I've seen comprise 80 percent of most trips. Work represents the other 20 percent.

 

As for the rail line which Akron Metro owns between Akron and Canton, that's certainly a viable rail line for commuter rail. It's why it was ranked much more highly than the parallel W&LE line via Uniontown and Hartville.

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The time and energy spent on this debate are better directed at pushing Congress for funding for a project with some genuine hope of happening... the Ohio Hub, the West Shore Corridor or a CAC commuter line (on a railroad corridor that could actually support it). Long story short: no $$$$ - nothing happens. 

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Very true. I guess everybody has to learn for themselves and make their own mistakes sometimes. But it sure is frustrating to watch such time and energy wasted when there are those of us who fought these battles before and already learned from mistakes that need not be repeated.

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oh for pete sakes, why so hung up on traditional service? when the cvsr eventually gets itself into downtown cleveland it will quickly become a 20% a commuter option for far flung akron-cantonites....but remain 80% a scenic railroad. so it will be a stealth commuter service, not a traditional one.

 

for example, there is a ferry service provided by ikea that takes people from manhattan to the ikea store in brooklyn. it's a brand new service, but no question it's also used as a stealth commute service. no, not exactly the same thing, but if rising peak oil prices continue at the same rate they have over the last 3 yrs, the cvsr may function something like that too.

 

of course, yeah, it would be better if true, traditional commuter rail was built between c-a-c to beat an oil crunch.

 

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wait and see. unless gas prices go back down again when the cvsr finally makes its way into downtown cleveland and it is completed people will also ride it a bit to get around.

 

 

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Well KJP, that about covers it as far as right of way issues.  It would seem rather futile to attempt to drive a passenger train through the Cuyahoga Valley to Cleveland.  Its taking what 15-20 years to put the towpath through from its Northern Terminus? I see no point in trying to push through rail right of ways to Cleveland if its just going to be an excursion endpoint like Canton.  That would indeed be an amusement ride.

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Don't mean to rain on the parade here, but the CVSR is having a tough enough time getting it's excursion trains into Cleveland.  They have been unable to negotiate a way into the Flats because they would have to use the tracks of the CSX to get there...something the CSX is disinclined to do for both reasons of interfering with freight traffic and insurance liability.  -- noozer

 

Noozer, track-ROW issues are going problem when any rail service transporting human beings attempts to share tracks and/or ROW with freight trains.  It's more likely going to be even more difficult if that Ohio-Hub or even commuter over the desired Cleveland-to-Akron portion of C-A-C simply because its a main NS freight long haul line (or whatever you call it in railroad-eze)... but you already know this... Again, I am NOT advocating CVSR as our prime option as I recognize it's not the best.  But as a stopgap?  (I've laid it out above and refuse to do it again) ... We're running around in circles.

 

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With a line going through Cleveland/Columbus/Dayton/Cincy, and another one proposed for Cleveland to Pittsburgh,  how do we get Akron and Canton on board, and in discussions to be connected to the rest of the state via rail.  Akron might be one of the few municipalities in the state to actually embrace rail, they have built a multimodal transportation center right next to rail lines, as well as a station next to a new High rise complex for the CSVR.  Akron has also bought the right of way to some rail paths north of the city in hopes of spurring rail transit through the city.

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Easiest way to do it? Put trains on the east-west CSX line through Akron. That route could link the 3C and CLE-PIT routes so that all three routes would look like an A, with Cleveland at the peak of the A, Columbus and Cincinnati at the lower left and Pittsburgh on the lower right.

 

The CSX tracks are good for 79 mph now, but is also CSX's National Gateway route so it will see an increase in freight traffic from the current level of about 30-40 daily trains. There is a parallel route that could used, the former Erie-Lackawanna main line, much of which is abandoned or at best used for short-line low-speed freight access. But it could be restored to offer 79-110 mph speeds almost exclusively for passenger rail services.

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I don't think many people would commute to Cleveland by going west/northeast or east/northwest.  It would just take way too long (especially with the need for a transfer).  I like the "A" Plan, but I think a direct Akron/Cleveland line is still a necessity.

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I don't think many people would commute to Cleveland by going west/northeast or east/northwest. It would just take way too long (especially with the need for a transfer). I like the "A" Plan, but I think a direct Akron/Cleveland line is still a necessity.

 

I also think a direct Akron-Cleveland line is a necessity. But I don't think it will be the first service to Akron (which was the point of my message). The east-west service isn't intended to serve riders to/from Cleveland. It's intended to get a usable service into Akron and start addressing infrastructural barriers to other services (including Cleveland-Akron).

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Yeah, but the question would be who would ride this theoretical line. Is there a demand for transit between Akron and Ravenna? Or between Akron and wherever that line would intersect the 3C? Or rather would there be a demand once there are some intercity rail lines to connect to? I guess we'll have to wait till the 3C and/or a Cleveland/Youngstown/Pittsburgh line starts up. If it did get built, I suppose it could make a nice commuter line for people coming from Ravenna, Kent, and Tallmadge on the East side of Akron and a few places on the West side too. (I can't recall where the line goes on the west side of town.)

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I was envisioning it as a Pittsburgh - Cincinnati service via Youngstown, Akron, Mansfield and Columbus.

Really? You think that would be easier to accomplish than commuter rail between Canton, Akron and Cleveland?

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Yes, the start-up costs for Cleveland - Akron - Canton were estimated at about $170 million -- 10 years ago. Scroll back through this thread and see some of the discussion of a little barrier called Silver Lake, and another being the busy NS mainline from Cleveland to Hudson which would have to add a third main over its 25 miles, costing perhaps $75 million to $100 million, to accommodate multiple commuter trains per day.

 

Personally speaking, here's a route where the introductory service could be an expansion of the existing Akron Metro commuter bus service. I'd add more stops though, with alternating local and express buses.

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Considering that we just got 400m for 3C, these numbers seem downright reasonable.  And, just like the people along 422, someone needs to tell Silver Lake that they live in a large metro area between two cities, and that this is different from living in Wyoming.  Silver Lake wants to be one of those Michigan lake towns you find out past Pontiac... but it's not located out past Pontiac.  Our current laws give too much power to these itty bitty fiefs.  If we could change that, we'd win several battles all at once.

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Can we merge this thread into this one?

 

I still we're seriously not going to build a commuter rail line because 40 people that bought houses next to railroad tracks don't want a train on the tracks.

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Can we merge this thread into this one?

 

Done.

 

I still we're seriously not going to build a commuter rail line because 40 people that bought houses next to railroad tracks don't want a train on the tracks.

 

Ain't America a wonderful place? (sometimes it is; sometimes it isn't)

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I don't think many people would commute to Cleveland by going west/northeast or east/northwest. It would just take way too long (especially with the need for a transfer). I like the "A" Plan, but I think a direct Akron/Cleveland line is still a necessity.

 

I also think a direct Akron-Cleveland line is a necessity. But I don't think it will be the first service to Akron (which was the point of my message). The east-west service isn't intended to serve riders to/from Cleveland. It's intended to get a usable service into Akron and start addressing infrastructural barriers to other services (including Cleveland-Akron).

 

Gotcha.  I was thinking you meant it could serve then needs of Akron/Cleveland commuters until a direct line could be established.

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I was envisioning it as a Pittsburgh - Cincinnati service via Youngstown, Akron, Mansfield and Columbus.

 

How expensive would it be to get this started?  My preference would be to get connected to Cleveland. That being said I really like this idea, giving Akron access to Columbus and Cincy, as well as Pittsburgh (which also means access to Philly and DC).

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How expensive would it be to get this started? My preference would be to get connected to Cleveland. That being said I really like this idea, giving Akron access to Columbus and Cincy, as well as Pittsburgh (which also means access to Philly and DC).

 

 

Not sure how much the start-up costs would be, but it could play off the improvements resulting from the 3C and the CLE-PIT projects. I'm working on a map.

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Nothing has been officially approved or commented on, but I believe within a few months there will be an announcement.  Sources tell me that Summit County is looking at purchasing land for at least one new train station in the city of Akron.

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I'm also hearing of increasing interest in CAC commuter rail. My sources say the service would begin with a Hudson - Downtown Akron - CAK Airport service, which makes sense since most of this segment is already owned by public authorities (Akron Metro RTA, Summit County Port Authority).

 

This is why All Aboard Ohio is having its next meeting in Canton (July 24) where we will have two guest speakers (CVSR President Steve Wait and Stark Area Regional Transit Authority GM Kirt Conrad) who will discuss this and other issues. And, of course, we're taking the train to the meeting. Join us!

 

Summer2010meetingnotice.gif

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