Author Topic: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?  (Read 44826 times)

Metro Jacksonville

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2644
    • MetroJacksonville.com
Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« on: March 24, 2011, 04:22:52 AM »
Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?



Bob Mann, the resident transit consultant and ferroequinologist, examines the difference in the two systems and demonstrates that in a short number of years the faux trolley actually costs us more than a streetcar.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-mar-can-a-streetcar-cost-less-than-a-faux-trolley

buckethead

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3082
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2011, 07:58:35 AM »
A desire named streetcar.

I'm sure that's been used before. ;)

SunKing

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2011, 09:00:54 AM »
an interesting analysis but I did not see the costs associated with the installation of the rail?

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 35031
    • Modern Cities
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2011, 09:11:07 AM »
Or the costs associated with the installation of the street or the constant repaving of existing streets to accommodate for the wear and tear caused by frequent rubber wheeled service.  For some reason, whenever we start comparing these types of modes we forget that are annual maintainance costs associated with the ROW they operate on.

Anyway, the streetcar path from Newnan to Park & King is around 3.33 miles in length.  Capital costs for a heritage streetcar are anywhere between $5 - $10 million/mile.  A modern streetcar is probably $10 - $20 million/mile.  However, these costs would also include the purchase of streetcar vehicles.

Heritage Streetcar: $16.65 million - $33.3 million in capital costs

Modern Streetcar: $33.3 million - $66.6 million in capital costs

The last element not really discussed in this article would be the everlasting impact of TOD on the annual tax rolls.  The fixed mode will indirectly lead to the entire experience being a huge money maker for the city.  On the other hand, the rubber wheeled experience doesn't provide you with anything economically stimulating, meaning it will be forever subsidized with no indirect tax roll generating income.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 09:22:35 AM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

wsansewjs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 878
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 10:59:21 AM »
My dad lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been telling me that the Streetcars there are dying actually to the point that no one is using anymore. There are few talks going to get rid of it. I need to find the news articles on it.

-Josh
"When I take over JTA, the PCT'S will become artificial reefs and thus serve a REAL purpose. - OCKLAWAHA"

"Stephen intends on running for office in the next election (2014)." - Stephen Dare

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 35031
    • Modern Cities
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 11:14:58 AM »
Little Rock's streetcars are basically tourist trains that loop you around downtown.  If we're going to make an investment in real mass transit, whatever we go with will need to actually tie urban neighborhoods and destinations together will reliable and end user friendly service.  This is one of the reasons I've never been a huge fan of the figure 8 streetcar loop concept for downtown.  As far as mass transit goes, my view falls in line with Mike Hogan's comments about downtown.  While downtown is important, the connectivity between it and the surrounding communities are more critical.  Get that connectivity piece right and we'll find that not only will DT benefit, but so will the rest of the impacted neighborhoods.  Nevertheless, with all of that said, Little's streetcars have bought in hundreds of millions in TOD to downtown Little Rock.  The indirect money invested in that community has already more than exceeded the amount of funds they spent to construct and maintain it.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Dashing Dan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 776
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2011, 11:17:49 AM »
Philadelphia operates actual rubber tire trolleys, i.e. oversize buses fitted with trolley poles that connect to overhead wires.  They were taken out of service for a long while because of replacement vehicles that were poorly designed.  But I believe that they now have newer replacement vehicles that are working fine.  The "trackless trolleys" are quiet, relatively high capacity, and energy efficient.   They can change lanes and move to and from the curb for stops, but they are restricted to streets that have overhead wiring in place. 

Chicago used to have its own trackless trolleys but they got rid of them a long time ago, due to the expense of maintaining the overhead electric power lines.

How would Mr. Mann feel about a system like that?
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  - Benjamin Franklin

Lunican

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4029
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2011, 12:05:43 PM »

MUNI Electric Trolley Bus in San Francisco

Dashing Dan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 776
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 12:20:47 PM »
In that shot of a San Francisco trolley bus, the wires are very unobtrusive.  Nice!
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  - Benjamin Franklin

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10442
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 12:21:33 PM »
My dad lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been telling me that the Streetcars there are dying actually to the point that no one is using anymore. There are few talks going to get rid of it. I need to find the news articles on it.
-Josh

Does ridership matter much when your 2 mile streetcar can do this? Remember that the River Rail Streetcar in Little Rock-North Little Rock is merely a downtown circle with a very short spur. Even so unlike the Skyway the streetcar blew away the projected ridership estimates.

Quote
Special to Passenger Transport

The Central Arkansas Transit Authority's "vintage streetcar" line in Little Rock, River Rail, is proving itself as an engine that propels more than just cars. It has electrified the economy and vitality of two downtown areas as well.

When the community leaders of central Arkansas envisioned a downtown streetcar line, they wanted to support the revival begun by the voters' approval of "The River Project," which consisted of a tax to build an 18,000-seat arena with only 300 new parking spaces, and to double the size of the Statehouse Convention Center. The streetcar line, in the words of a downtown developer, would "animate" the streets and bring new life to the urban core.

In addition, two commercial and residential mixed-use developments costing more than $80 million have been announced since that time, and existing buildings are undergoing renovation to accommodate new and intensive uses. An example is the 118-year-old Argenta Drug Store in North Little Rock, one of the oldest continuously operating pharmacies in the nation. A national cable TV show recently contributed to a $1 million restoration effort for the drugstore, which will be featured on a series of shows next fall.

The streetcar has provided an economic boost to the many food vendors in the River Market hall, and to the restaurants and bars in the River Market District. The River Market platform is the highest-volume boarding point for the streetcar.

Clinton Library, visitors are finding their way, and when they find the streetcar, they also find five hotels, restaurants, three more museums, a bed and breakfast, and two riverfront parks.

The streetcar line also enhances many business connections in the area. It directly connects two Chambers of Commerce buildings; bars and restaurants are adding menu items and microbrews named after the system; and a new restaurant called Sidetracks will open soon.

Two apartment developments with platforms on the line, one a restoration and the other new construction, opened before the streetcar line was finished, but the presence of the streetcar figured prominently in the planning, financing, and marketing of the units. Two corporations and one museum have contracted with the transit authority for naming rights of platforms, and more are being considered. Detailed planning is underway for a new $24 million minor league ballpark less than three blocks from the line, and additional development is in the works on at least eight
blocks.

The local governments invested less than $4 million to build the $20 million line, and the dividends being paid by the River Rail line are being discovered every day.

Little Rock Progress and Expansion

Based on presentation by Keith Jones, General Manager, Central Arkansas Transit AuthorityMore than 200,000 riders in first 12 months (140,000 forecast) 180,000 riders in 2005  Over $140 million of new development underway or announced. 2 more cars ordered for extension to Clinton Library, currently under construction
The 4,500 foot extension including enlarging the trolley barn and the two new cars is costing $8.5 million
 
Little Rock River Rail system showing the extension to the Clinton Library. The $47 million Tower Place Condominiums being built along the line in Little Rock. Condo development at Markham along the line. A $32 million minor league ball park being built in North Little Rock.  A $14 million Geneology Center is being built.

What your dad is no doubt refering to is the recent discovery that taking the streetcar line 7 miles north to Little Rock National Airport wouldn't become much of a magic bullet. However the same study did find that along that same route, in 3 or 4 phases, there are a number of possible expansion areas. The newspapers picked this up with headlines "No Light Rail to the Airport Study Says..."

Quote
LR won't see River Rail run to the airport
Posted: January 12th, 2011
BY JAKE SANDLIN ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE (Little Rock)

The $299,000 study is being done by URS Corp. of Fort Worth. About $195,000 remains out of that, officials said Wednesday, to refocus the study on different options for an extension.

"We decided to come back and amend the scope of the second phase of the study to look at the potential in Little Rock and North Little Rock," Wineland said. "We want to look at a plan where we can develop more within the communities." The airport study did identify a preferred route to the airport approaching from the south for any future light rail that might aid in planning for coming terminal renovations, said T.J. Williams, an airport spokesman.

"The decision does not rule out the ultimate extension of the River Rail to the airport but acknowledges that there are other alternatives for the next phase of rail extension that offer a greater economic benefit relative to the cost," Williams said.

In 2004, River Rail opened a $20 million, initial, 2 1 /2-mile section along two loops in Little Rock and North Little Rock, connected by rails crossing the Arkansas River on the Main Street Bridge.

A $9 million second phase opened in 2007 to the Clinton library and Heifer International. That link was designed to accommodate a future extension to the airport.

An interlocal agreement gives North Little Rock the next option for expansion because the second phase is entirely in Little Rock. However, Mayor Patrick Hays of North Little Rock said previously that he would forfeit that option if the airport extension would come next.

"Based on the findings, that kind of investment at this point was not prudent," Hays said Wednesday of the airport extension. "What we will move forward with is with Little Rock and North Little Rock identifying a stage three and stage four for expansion and where we want it to go and how we could do it." Hays said that while he would favor a route extension that helps connect what's offered in both cities, he wants to look at all possibilities in North Little Rock, including going north from downtown instead of east or west along the river.


Philadelphia operates actual rubber tire trolleys, i.e. oversize buses fitted with trolley poles that connect to overhead wires.  They were taken out of service for a long while because of replacement vehicles that were poorly designed.  But I believe that they now have newer replacement vehicles that are working fine.  The "trackless trolleys" are quiet, relatively high capacity, and energy efficient.   They can change lanes and move to and from the curb for stops, but they are restricted to streets that have overhead wiring in place.  

Chicago used to have its own trackless trolleys but they got rid of them a long time ago, due to the expense of maintaining the overhead electric power lines.

How would Mr. Mann feel about a system like that?

They are nice where they still operate, however you still have the labor-capacity problem of a bus, you still have the image of a bus - albeit somewhat nicer. Internationally they tend to have higher ridership then standard buses, but lower then rail, again it is believed because of the ability to see where you are going. In a high density corridor unsuitable for rail, they would make a great addition to a mass transit mix, but not a substitute for rail. In Jacksonville I can visualize the streetcars maintaining a downtown circulator running more or less east-west, BRT-SKYWAY and maybe TROLLEY BUS running more of a north south route. As for longer lines, one or two of the beach roads and San Jose come to mind as trolley bus territory.

OCKLAWAHA

Dashing Dan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 776
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 12:43:51 PM »
you still have the labor-capacity problem of a bus,


What does that mean? ???
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  - Benjamin Franklin

PeeJayEss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 924
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2011, 01:35:49 PM »
Philadelphia operates actual rubber tire trolleys, i.e. oversize buses fitted with trolley poles that connect to overhead wires.  They were taken out of service for a long while because of replacement vehicles that were poorly designed.  But I believe that they now have newer replacement vehicles that are working fine.  The "trackless trolleys" are quiet, relatively high capacity, and energy efficient.   They can change lanes and move to and from the curb for stops, but they are restricted to streets that have overhead wiring in place. 

I believe the bus-trolleys in Philly were previously regular streetcar lines. Eventually roads were paved around the tracks (so that you basically had streetcars on tracks in regular traffic lanes). Many times, jerks would double park ON the tracks, so the streetcar would have to wait indefinitely. The response to this was the bus-trolley, which follows the overhead lines just the same (basically a track), but can navigate around obstacles when necessary. Luckily, when Philly did this they largely didn't bother to remove the tracks. So the overhead lines are there and used by the bus-trolley, and the tracks are there but not being used (they make driving on the road more exciting, however). So when Philly recently (last decade) started to look at streetcars again and bring them back (such as the Girard Ave/Richmond Street line which reopened in 2003 I believe), there wasn't a whole lot that needed to be done besides traffic enforcement. Of course, the streetcars are still in the roadway (and thus have to wait in traffic like any car - though I believe they get preferential treatment at traffic lights).

Being that some spots are track only while others are track on road, its basically the same as the partial-BRT Jax is proposing (and I'd prefer completely dedicated track for my mass transit), the streetcars do class-up the joint.

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10442
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2011, 01:39:32 PM »
If your bus seats 50 and your streetcar can seat 150 you will need 3 drivers for each motorman on the streetcar. The matter compounds when you couple a "trailer car" behind the lead streetcar and create a 2 car train for a capacity of 300 to 1 motorman. A similar experiment with the most modern high capacity BRT buses and high capacity LRV's still winds up with a highway vehicle being much more costly.

OCKLAWAHA

Lunican

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4029
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2011, 01:48:53 PM »




The streetcars are clearly preferred in San Francisco.


PeeJayEss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 924
Re: Can a Streetcar cost less than a Faux Trolley?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2011, 02:09:24 PM »
If your bus seats 50 and your streetcar can seat 150 you will need 3 drivers for each motorman on the streetcar. The matter compounds when you couple a "trailer car" behind the lead streetcar and create a 2 car train for a capacity of 300 to 1 motorman. A similar experiment with the most modern high capacity BRT buses and high capacity LRV's still winds up with a highway vehicle being much more costly.

OCKLAWAHA

A single streetcar cab can fit 150 people? Aren't streetcars and buses about the same size? I don't understand the 3-fold difference. Also, you can have 2-cab buses. But agreed, a streetcar could have a bunch of cabs with 1 driver.