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1 hour ago, jtadams said:

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?

 

Not that I'm aware of, but there are efficiencies to be had here. When RTA rebuilt the Shaker and Van Aken lines in 1980, it considered replacing the old fixed-contact overhead wires with a flexible wire that's called constant-tension because, every couple of miles, the wire has a weight and pulley system that keeps the wire tight regardless of temperature. Not only does that offer more safety and reliability, it also is less expensive than paying people to loosen and tighten wires every time the temperature rises and falls (happens a lot in Cleveland!!). But RTA didn't install it during the LRT rebuild of 1980 because, in the words of the chief engineer on that project, "constant tension wires are only for high-speed trains, not light rail." Well, at least RTA has constant tension wires on the 1996-built Waterfront Line. It is the only part of the RTA rail system that has it.

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RTA asks public if it should design service for maximum frequency or geographic coverage

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Should transit in Cuyahoga County maximize frequent service on its most highly traveled routes? Or spread service as widely as possible while sacrificing frequency?

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is looking for responses to those alternatives in an online survey and meetings over the next month.

The new survey and meetings are the latest steps in a yearlong “system design’’ process aimed at guiding RTA’s strategic planning for the next decade and beyond.

 

The public is invited to respond to a pair of starkly different maps showing how RTA’s bus and rapid transit routes would look if configured to suit each alternative.

The maps assume no increase in RTA’s current funding. The agency’s 2019 budget is $292 million.

 

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/05/rta-asks-public-if-it-should-design-service-for-maximum-frequency-or-geographic-coverage.html

 

I'm in favor of high frequency, if you want to be able to compete with the like of Uber and Lyft you need to focus on where your strengths are ridership wise and enhance that. People want to be able to get to their destination as fast as possible and if they can get people on the bus in 15 minutes or less it puts them in a better position. 

Edited by MyPhoneDead
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^ I agree completely. I think it’s a bit odd that they’re even asking this question. While expanded geography would be great, it isn’t anywhere near as important as frequency and reliability. 

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On 4/18/2019 at 1:56 PM, KJP said:

 

Probably. But a big way to improve the operating costs is to reduce the travel time. And there are two ways to do that:

1. Introduce POP fare policy by implementing Smart Cards (yes, it really is coming), fare machines at busier stations, and one or two fare machines on board the train.

2. Add signal priority for trains at all intersections. This should also cut down on the car-train collisions that plague the LRT lines.

 

These could literally save RTA millions of dollars per year in service-hour costs and potentially boost ridership with faster travel times. The worst area is Shaker Square, where it takes 3 minutes for a train to get from one side of the square to the other. Signal priority and computer-aided dispatcher control of the Blue/Green line junction would provide immense benefits. But RTA sees only the multi-million cost. It doesn't know how to debt finance projects from a potential multi-million dollar-per-year savings. FYI: 3 minutes x 196 weekday trains = 558 minutes x 249 days = 138,942 minutes / 60 = 2,315.7 hours; 3 x 160 weekend/holiday trains = 480 minutes x 114 days = 54,720 minutes / 60 = 912 hours + 2,315.7 hours = 3,227.7 hours of trains per year crossing Shaker Square. So 3,227.7 hours x $240.91 operating cost per light-rail vehicle revenue hour = $777,585.21.

 

That's approximately how much it costs GCRTA to cross Shaker Square each year -- $777,585.21. If GCRTA could cut that travel time (and thus the cost) in half, it could debt-finance the improvements necessary to cause that trip time reduction in just five years. And there's a lot more schedule fat east of Shaker Square due to the many road crossings that could be eliminated with signal prioritization (and improved safety!). But creating efficiencies is near the bottom in its ranking for prioritizing capital improvements. Safety understandably is the number one priority for making capital improvements, and perhaps that how RTA could advance these investments sooner.

IIRC this was discussed and turned down in the 80s.  The electronic switch to change trains would have been located at the Western End of the Square.  The problem is Cleveland and RTA wont prioritize the trains over car traffic.  At the time the city thought there would be significant car backup along Shaker Blvd. East due to Trains crossing in both directions from/to Van Aken, as westbound train crosses both tracks.

 

When RTA eliminated the Shaker Square loop this should have been addressed.  So many things that in 1980 RTA thought was "good" are not turning out to be bad for business, the Shaker Community and Passengers.

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On 4/18/2019 at 1:56 PM, KJP said:

 

Probably. But a big way to improve the operating costs is to reduce the travel time. And there are two ways to do that:

1. Introduce POP fare policy by implementing Smart Cards (yes, it really is coming), fare machines at busier stations, and one or two fare machines on board the train.

2. Add signal priority for trains at all intersections. This should also cut down on the car-train collisions that plague the LRT lines.

 

These could literally save RTA millions of dollars per year in service-hour costs and potentially boost ridership with faster travel times. The worst area is Shaker Square, where it takes 3 minutes for a train to get from one side of the square to the other. Signal priority and computer-aided dispatcher control of the Blue/Green line junction would provide immense benefits. But RTA sees only the multi-million cost. It doesn't know how to debt finance projects from a potential multi-million dollar-per-year savings. FYI: 3 minutes x 196 weekday trains = 558 minutes x 249 days = 138,942 minutes / 60 = 2,315.7 hours; 3 x 160 weekend/holiday trains = 480 minutes x 114 days = 54,720 minutes / 60 = 912 hours + 2,315.7 hours = 3,227.7 hours of trains per year crossing Shaker Square. So 3,227.7 hours x $240.91 operating cost per light-rail vehicle revenue hour = $777,585.21.

 

That's approximately how much it costs GCRTA to cross Shaker Square each year -- $777,585.21. If GCRTA could cut that travel time (and thus the cost) in half, it could debt-finance the improvements necessary to cause that trip time reduction in just five years. And there's a lot more schedule fat east of Shaker Square due to the many road crossings that could be eliminated with signal prioritization (and improved safety!). But creating efficiencies is near the bottom in its ranking for prioritizing capital improvements. Safety understandably is the number one priority for making capital improvements, and perhaps that how RTA could advance these investments sooner.

 

Reduced travel time would be great, but would it really reduce operating costs that much?  A 3 minute shorter ride would be great for everyone and may help increase ridership, but wouldn't it either mean more trips due to decreased headways or drivers sitting idle for 3 more minutes at the end of the route?  While some costs would be reduced (energy savings) the man hours would still be the same, so it wouldn't be a linear savings.

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Please attend and share your voice at these public meetings -- which start TODAY!!

 

 


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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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.

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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.

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22 hours ago, KJP said:

Please attend and share your voice at these public meetings -- which start TODAY!!

 

 

I took the survey, and i have to say both options suck.  It seems we are just chasing our tail when it comes to public transportation.  No clear direction or end goal in mind.  Very disappointed in RTA and its leadership

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I would prefer to see four options: The two shown already, plus two expansion options based on a 0.5-cent increase in the Cuyahoga County sales tax. The two expansion options would, at minimum, combine the first two options and either

A. fund express buses on I-480/I-271 to link the existing radial bus routes, some modest rail extensions (LRT to North Randall & Solon or Pinecrest, HRT/LRT to Euclid, LRT to Westlake P&R) and some new radial express bus routes to outlying suburbs and counties; or

B. fund express buses and regional rail to outlying suburbs and counties.


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I've seen a lot of people talking about these different "proposals" on social media, and some people expressing concern about different routes, so, just to reiterate, they make it clear that these are not proposals but just strictly conceptual. I'm sure any actual system redesign would be somewhere in the middle between the two. 

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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.

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These redesign concepts and surveys strike me as a complete waste of time. It should be obvious that the outcome of these will be "something in between". If there is an argument that says the RTA service is necessarily a Mr. Miyagi "Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, get squish like grape", then put it forward.  

 

They should be laser focused on improving their funding source. Maybe this absurd alternatives discussion is meant to be step 1 of that, because both show dramatic cuts (the WFL is closed! The Trolleys are canceled), and that sends a louder message than the repeated minor cuts they've been making. 

 

But guess what? Per Litt's article, their survey in February showed 1000 response that were split between 42% saying increase frequency, and 42% wanting more coverage. 

 

To which I say, "no shit". They can't please everyone with what they've got. What's really needed is what KJP is saying, which is the funding to do both, better. 

 

"What we want, is for people to understand the tradeoff," says the consulting firm. This is a lot of effort being spent to make people aware of a fact that should be obvious on its face.. 

Edited by PittsburgoDelendaEst
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3 hours ago, KJP said:

I would prefer to see four options: The two shown already, plus two expansion options based on a 0.5-cent increase in the Cuyahoga County sales tax. The two expansion options would, at minimum, combine the first two options and either

A. fund express buses on I-480/I-271 to link the existing radial bus routes, some modest rail extensions (LRT to North Randall & Solon or Pinecrest, HRT/LRT to Euclid, LRT to Westlake P&R) and some new radial express bus routes to outlying suburbs and counties; or

B. fund express buses and regional rail to outlying suburbs and counties.

 

I'd love to see an "increase funding" option, but with higher level of service to existing transit supportive neighborhoods and our region's two main transit friendly job centers- Downtown and University Circle.

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It seems to me that the primary goal at this point would be to save and preserve the rail system for better days.  At some point, the Cleveland economy may genuinely recover.  The elements are there with R&D coming out of local universities and some corporations.  With the right city leadership, and some maturity in the Cleveland electorate to put that leadership in place, that might be possible.  With better times, funding transit will come naturally.  The voters and more importantly the employers will demand it and be willing to pay for it.  There are a lot of cities, e.g. Seattle, Austin, etc. that prove this. 

 

However, if we lose the rail system, that will be very, very expensive to replace without massive federal funds.

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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.

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18 hours ago, jtadams said:

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.

 

Have you factored in the millions that RTA would have to repay the federal government for past Green line funding if they were to close that line?  Off the top of my head, I don’t know what that total is, but I’m my understanding is that the operational cost savings (of closing the Green line) would not make up for that repayment expense for many, many years. Plus it degrades the system. 

 

(For anyone just getting up to speed on this discussion, the reason that closing the Waterfront line is technically an option is because we didn’t get any federal funding for it, so there is nothing to repay if it were to close. And for the record, my preference is the opposite approach - let’s complete the downtown loop by extending the Waterfront down E17 to Prospect to E22 overpass to Tri C Metro then down E30 back to the Red/Blue/Green lines.)

 

I’m curious if closing stations has the same repayment implications. Does anyone know?

 

That said, I’m completely with you on switching the Red line to Light Rail. @KJP has outlined some options for accomplishing this. This gives the system way more flexibility. I hope RTA pursues this, despite the recommendation against it by the most recent consultant they hired. 

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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.

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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?

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4 minutes ago, CbusTransit said:

Have you looked at the evaluation pdf on the rail car study? It is here:

http://www.riderta.com/sites/default/files/events/2019-04-16RailCar.pdf

 

Thanks for posting. Yes, I had looked at that. The explanation that  @KJP gave as to why it is possible to go all Light Rail was much more satisfying than the explanation this report gave as to why it is not possible. The report says going all Light Rail “would require significant infrastructure investment at existing stations.” Unless I missed something, it didn’t explain this in any more detail.  But Ken has described what would be necessary and it certainly sounds feasible to me, considering the advantages. The report also says that going all Light Rail would eliminate the possibility of phasing in new cars, spacing the purchase over time. This argument seems reasonable ; however, the entire Red line desperately needs replacement, so spacing that over time shouldn’t be an option anyway. 

 

Did I miss anything else on this specific decision in that report?

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My reading of this is that if you replace red line heavy rail with light rail cars, it would all have to happen at once. You couldn’t get a couple new light rail cars and operate them on the heavy rail line also with heavy rail cars. There would need to be one big switch. Which would mean having all of the new light rail cars ready (built, in storage). Closing the red line to update all the stations. And then switching them.

 

That is what I think it is saying

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Or have the light-rail cars be able to operate interchangeably with the older heavy-rail Tokyu cars. Why? One thing that's not being said by RTA (mainly due to their lack of institutional experience with operating new rail cars) is that any new rail fleet, even when ordering rail cars based on existing designs, is that they have to go through a significant de-bugging period. Sometimes this could take a couple of months. Sometimes it could take a year (see NYC MTA's new subway cars). Point is, an agency may be operating its new rail cars for a few days or weeks, and then suddenly the old rail cars return for a few weeks or months while fixes are made by the manufacturer.

 

When I read RTA officials' comments that they expect a "next-day" transition to the new rail fleet, I wonder if any of them have ever picked the brains of managers at other rail transit systems on their experiences with ordering AND operating new rail cars. 

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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.

 

 

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One of my suggested options is to retrofit Red Line stations with larger, nonferrous metal tactile edges.

 

Another option -- which I'm leaning more to now -- is for RTA to write the new-vehicle RFP broadly without mentioning "light-rail vehicle" or "heavy-rail vehicle" at all. But to describe the physical constraints of stations and right of way of ALL rail lines in the ENTIRE rail system, and note that there will be two rail vehicle orders within 5-10 years and totaling X number of rail cars at the completion of the two orders. Let the manufacturers come up with solutions, not RTA.

 

I understand that RTA really wants off-the-shelf equipment. So I'm aware of at least one rail car, the Siemens S200, which can serve high and low platforms. It's lone drawback is that it is too narrow to serve Red Line stations without there being an gap between rail vehicle and platform edge that exceeds ADA standards. However, Siemens (maker of the S200 rail car) has retractable platform gap fillers on its new rail cars that operate on the Brightline system in Florida.

 

Siemens' S200 at a low-level station platform

Muni_2013_at_Carl_and_Cole,_April_2018.J

 

A Siemens S200 at a high-platform station

1920px-Calgary_Transit_Siemens_S200.jpg

 

Siemens' retractable platform gap fillers on the Brightline service in Florida

Brightline_Arriving_At_Miami_Station_(28

 

 

 

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Is there room to retro fit part of the Red Line stations for light rail and keep part for Heavy during the transition? Those station platforms are soooooo long.

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3 minutes ago, Enginerd said:

Is there room to retro fit part of the Red Line stations for light rail and keep part for Heavy during the transition? Those station platforms are soooooo long.

 

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.

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16 minutes ago, Enginerd said:

Is there room to retro fit part of the Red Line stations for light rail and keep part for Heavy during the transition? Those station platforms are soooooo long.

 

You're asking an awful lot of an organization that has a hard time keeping an escalator running...    This makes way too much sense 😉

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1 hour ago, jtadams said:

 

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.

 

This is what I was picturing; convert the green section to be compatible with light rail cars and keep the blue heavy rail compatible.

 

At least while this transition period would be taking place to allow both cars to operate.

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2 hours ago, Enginerd said:

Is there room to retro fit part of the Red Line stations for light rail and keep part for Heavy during the transition? Those station platforms are soooooo long.

 

Red Line platforms are designed for three-car Red Line trains. Each Red Line railcar is 85 feet long. There's a couple of feet between them. So while the platform length needs to be only 260 feet, not every driver can "hit the target." And there should be some leeway for part of the platform being out of service for maintenance/repairs.

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1 hour ago, KJP said:

 

Red Line platforms are designed for three-car Red Line trains. Each Red Line railcar is 85 feet long. There's a couple of feet between them. So while the platform length needs to be only 260 feet, not every driver can "hit the target." And there should be some leeway for part of the platform being out of service for maintenance/repairs.

 

I've been on the redline before where the driver stops at a certain point and makes everyone enter/exit through the front door.  So if there was construction happening, a similar concept could be employed. 

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If you are widening the stations to fit a smaller light rail vehicle, wouldn’t the wider heavy rail vehicle then collide with the station...

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The wheel bogies are the same width regardless of vehicle. Low-level platforms for narrower light-rail vehicles wouldn't come up higher than the bottom of the wheel bogies, so they wouldn't be high enough to hit the carbodies of a heavy rail vehicle.


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It seems that modifying platforms could be an inconvenience that would be ultimately pointless if there are in fact rail cars that have retractable platform gap fillers. That type of rail car would seemingly be the best option as they could be used on all three lines and wouldn't require the modification of platforms and the coordination hurdles that that would entail when switching from our current rail stock to the new vehicles. Unless I'm missing something/there's a downside of going with a vehicle with the gap fillers.

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See my really eloquent post from May 16 above? Disregard it. It's BS. I completely missed out on a rather important piece of info......

 

The floors of rail cars operating on the Red Line have to be 48 inches above the rail to be level with the Red Line's platforms. Guess what? There's no light rail car with a 48-inch floor height. The Siemens S200 cars or something like it (ie: anything offering high/low boarding) would have to be equipped with retractable gap fillers AND be jacked up 14 inches above the wheel bogies. That's last part is the deal killer. Fourteen inches is a huge step up/down from low-level platforms. The Siemens S200 cars have floor heights of 34 inches -- five inches less than the tallest floors in the dual-platform boarding light-rail cars in Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

 

Sorry for offering hope. Now, the best hope is that RTA will order heavy-rail and light-rail cars from the same manufacturer and have lots of interchangeable parts.

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3 hours ago, KJP said:

See my really eloquent post from May 16 above? Disregard it. It's BS. I completely missed out on a rather important piece of info......

 

The floors of rail cars operating on the Red Line have to be 48 inches above the rail to be level with the Red Line's platforms. Guess what? There's no light rail car with a 48-inch floor height. The Siemens S200 cars or something like it (ie: anything offering high/low boarding) would have to be equipped with retractable gap fillers AND be jacked up 14 inches above the wheel bogies. That's last part is the deal killer. Fourteen inches is a huge step up/down from low-level platforms. The Siemens S200 cars have floor heights of 34 inches -- five inches less than the tallest floors in the dual-platform boarding light-rail cars in Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

 

Sorry for offering hope. Now, the best hope is that RTA will order heavy-rail and light-rail cars from the same manufacturer and have lots of interchangeable parts.

 

Well that’s too bad. Thank you for clarifying. 

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Assuming RTA could get the Federal Transit Administration to agree to it (FTA paid 80 percent of the cost of building those station platforms) and even get FTA to pay to re-rebuild them (which would cost perhaps $1 million per station), each station platform retrofit could require two to three weeks to do. And how do you do it? You'd have retrofit the outer half of Red Line stations on each side of town first, make the conversion to the new, skinnier trains, then rebuilding the inner half of stations. And that assumes that the new trains are introduced without any bugs found. That's not going happen. All new trains have bugs that require you to keep the old trains around for weeks or months. The old wider Red Line trains cannot serve stations retrofitted with wider platforms. Only the Breda cars on the Blue/Green line trains could. And there aren't enough of those left to run the Blue/Green services, let alone serve as a back-up for the Red Line.


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