Author Topic: America Rediscovers The Streetcar  (Read 11228 times)

Metro Jacksonville

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2644
    • MetroJacksonville.com
America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« on: May 11, 2009, 05:00:00 AM »
America Rediscovers The Streetcar



America has rediscovered the streetcar.  Will Jacksonville?

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/1088

Ocklawaha

  • Phd. Ferroequinology
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10434
  • Monster of Mobility! Ocklawaha is Robert Mann
    • LIGHT RAIL JACKSONVILLE
Another BRT System bites the Dust...
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2009, 08:53:35 AM »
FDOT Director (Trying to keep JTA's Blaylock from getting on with Streetcars and "investing" in a BRT trip) Well, it's a whim. Are you going to question a whim? You question a whim and you take the fun right out of it!
JTA Director: Well, would it kill the whim if I just take a shower and put on some clean socks and underwear?
FDOT Director: Sure it will! It's not a whim anymore if you put on clean underwear!
JTA Director: I don't understand it. But I guess a fellow shouldn't question when he's getting a free bus ride.
FDOT Director: That's right! Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Can you let me have $1 Billion?
{Appologies to the Andy Griffith Show 1964}

The more I learn about this stuff the more I see that BRT was simply an invented name, branded to sell Americans on a "ALL NEW" product. Trouble is the "ALL NEW," is a hoax, the transit agencys generally toss in a few million more of our dollars so they can call a bus a train or, even a Subway. Jacksonville certainly doesn't need this bait and switch crap that other cities have bought into. BRT to fix a rail transit problem is like using an Atomic Bomb to move the homeless out of Hemming Plaza. IE: "It might work, but we're going to pay for it." By the way, our new sister city, Curitiba, has the "Worlds models BRT system," which also runs at the breakneck speed of 12 MPH! Imagine THAT on the Arlington Expressway, or Roosevelt at 5 PM.

Quote
12 MPH for 2.1 billion - Feds remind us Silver Line Phase 3 is absolutely, positively not going to happen
May 10th, 2009
by Bill
As though the project’s future wasn’t already clear to anyone who heard about the exciting new Silver Line development announced last week - a stunning proposal involving exciting technology and transit planning known as “Driving Around The Corner To South Station” - the Feds have driven another nail into the coffin of the plan that no one outside of the Artery Business Committee er… A Better City wanted.

The Globe has more:

The cost of the MBTA’s plan to build a 1.1-mile bus tunnel under downtown Boston has now officially grown to $2.1 billion, nearly $1 billion more than the estimate from 2006. Just a few months ago, in December, the project budget was about $1.5 billion.


The current tunnel is an expensive failure. With an average speed of 12 MPH it actually takes longer to drive a bus through it than on the road above. Normally you put transit lines in tunnels because that means the vehicles in them can go faster than they could in mixed traffic, but this is Boston, this was the Big Dig and a EOT/MBTA project. So the normal rules of logic and proper planning / execution do not apply.

Take the whole idea of the Silver Line.

Initial Problem:
Replace a heavy rail line connection to downtown.

Solution:
Bus begins at either Logan Airport or the Seaport and travels block after block in mixed traffic under diesel power until it arrives at Silver Line Way, shuts down completely, starts up again under electric power, then runs at 12 MPH through a dedicated tunnel until Charles St. where it stops, shuts down again, restarts its diesel engine, then travels in a dedicated lane that disappears after a few hundred feet and becomes a normal bus line again.

Got that?

For added kicks remember that one 60′ Silver Line bus holds fewer people than one Green Line car. Keep in mind how quickly a two car Green Line train gets packed. Now keep one of the cars home and take away about 1/3 of the useable space in the one that’s left. Then give it a 50% speed reduction and zero ride comfort. Add airport passenger luggage.

That’s the Silver Line.

The first thing to remember about the bus line is that merging the two halves was never really a priority for anyone living in Roxbury. The state has continually repeated the meme that residents there long for a one-seat ride to the airport much to the confusion of people living in Roxbury who can’t remember anyone ever asking for something like that. In fact much has been made of the desire for a one seat ride all the way into downtown Boston. Proponents of such service have pointed to the abandoned tunnels running between Boylston Station and Eliot Norton Park as a possible solution. The MBTA has countered that with claims that the tunnels are too old and unusable. This flies in the face of an engineering survey conducted in 2001… by the MBTA. (See more in the Sierra Club’s report)

The now-dead-for-real-this-time Silver Line plan would have offered Roxbury residents the one-seat ride to the airport no one ever remembers asking for… except when it turned 70% of the buses arriving at Boylston back to the Seaport and Airport. Couldn’t even get that part right.

To allow this the T would need to dig up Boylston St., remove huge swaths of old growth trees on the Common, sneak in a parking garage expansion, likely undermine the foundations of Emerson College’s entire campus, do untold damage to the Central Burying Ground and still manage to put the existing abandoned light rail tunnels permanently beyond use. (See page 18) …and take at least five years to do so.

Keep in mind this is the agency that has spent just as long trying to build a bus shelter above ground at Kenmore and almost destroyed a church trying to dig an elevator shaft at Copley.

The Silver Bus Line is dead, and somehow still expanding. It refused to become anything anyone wants it to be. Roxbury residents are still shortchanged, the rail tunnels still go unused, while Seaport and Airport commuters cram onto cramped buses and enjoy a teeth-chattering 12 MPH ride in a tunnel on rutted, permanently-flooded pavement that ends up a three seat ride to the Back Bay.

Combining a heavy-rail replacement with transit service to a new neighborhood and the role of airport shuttle while ruling out rail entirely was a mistake. Building it the way it was built was a mistake.

Someday a solution will be found, but it should be understood that the Federal investment in the stop-gap plan announced earlier this week means Boston will not be getting billions more = to undo the current, “temporary” project. Not this decade, probably not the next.

Once upon a time there were plans to bury the A, B and E lines. Yes. Really. The center platform at Kenmore was dug to allow the Central Subway to be converted to heavy rail ala the Blue which would continue on into Allston, while the C would remain a streetcar line and loop over the heavy rail tracks below. Until this happened a wooden platform was built over the sunken track pits and used by A and B trains.

The E Line tunnel continued out to somewhere around the Northeastern stop. A temporary wooden incline was built until money was found to continue the subway.

The money never came, and the temporary arrangements became permanent. The track pit at Kenmore and wooden incline on Huntington Ave. were filled in. The MBTA took the closure necessitated by the rebuild of the incline to begin a “temporary” closure of the E Line in Jamaica Plain. Another “temporary” closure had begun on the A Line about 15 years earlier.

Why mention this?

If you continue along the Silver Line tunnel past South Station headed inbound you eventually come to a concrete wall. Beyond it is a stub tunnel leading out into the city. The wall, temporary. The stub tunnel waiting for a purpose.

But I think we have learned all to well what temporary means.

OCKLAWAHA

JeffreyS

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5882
  • Demand Evidence and Think Critically.
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2009, 12:30:02 PM »
Should our studies count as preliminary planning?
Lenny Smash

tufsu1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11104
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2009, 02:51:32 PM »
Should our studies count as preliminary planning?

not really....the JTA study could qualify...but the real next step is to do a more detailed feasibility study (like the one JTA just did for commutre rail)....then you go into environmental studies.

brainstormer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 794
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 06:26:52 PM »
I bet the cities on the streetcar map are going to become the "hottest" cities in the next 10 years.  They are going to attract new businesses, new residents and will pull out of the recession far ahead of all others.  I can also bet that they will start to top all of the "best" lists.  Best place to live, best place to raise a family, best schools, best air quality, shortest commutes, happiest people, etc.... I'm looking to get out of Jacksonville and a few of these cities are already on my list.  ;)

heights unknown

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1950
  • HEIGHTS UNKNOWN (DAMMIT!)
    • FRESH START SOCIAL SERVICES
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 07:10:37 PM »
And the answer is.......nope; Jacksonville will not rediscover street cars, at least not yet or in the foreseeable future.  We can't even get a Court House built properly so why does anyone think that street car lines will be much easier to plan, build, and come to fruition?

Heights Unknown
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ACCESS MY PERSONAL FACEBOOK PAGE AT: https://www.facebook.com/garrybernardcoston.personal, or, access my Social Service Agency Facebook page if you love supporting charities/social entities at: https://www.facebook.com/FRESHSTARTSOCIALSERVICEAGENCY/; thank you!!!

coredumped

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1969
  • Huge Member
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 07:16:12 PM »
So very depressing :(
Jags season ticket holder.

tufsu1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11104
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2009, 10:43:07 PM »
And the answer is.......nope; Jacksonville will not rediscover street cars, at least not yet or in the foreseeable future.  We can't even get a Court House built properly so why does anyone think that street car lines will be much easier to plan, build, and come to fruition?

I'm not so sure...but we'll have a real good idea of the potential future for streetcars in Jax. in the next few months.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31364
    • Modern Cities
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2009, 11:07:05 PM »
Kenosha, New Haven, Savannah, Galveston, Memphis, Little Rock, Albuquerque, San Pedro, Tucson, etc.

Looking at the list of smaller cities either already operating or proposing streetcar systems, I'd say the idea is more than feasible in Jacksonville (depending on the route chosen).  With $100 million in hand, its up to our community to decide if this type of system should be added to our local transportation mix sooner, rather than later.  If so, extra pressure needs to be applied to our local public servants to do the right thing.  Nevertheless, I do believe that every day, week, month and year that we stay at a standstill, the further we fall behind in our future ability to compete with peer cities that are investing in this arena right now.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

JeffreyS

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5882
  • Demand Evidence and Think Critically.
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2009, 11:35:41 PM »
^And I just want me some Riverside streetcars.
Lenny Smash

mtraininjax

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5414
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2009, 11:47:13 PM »
Before you drink the tea Alice, ask yourselves, do we need one? Our economy is not growing, instead it is contracting. New jobs are not coming in by the droves to downtown or to the areas of town, or maybe those for lease signs all over the southside are just there to clash with the architecture lines of the buildings? Empty strip centers, a JTA trolley system already paid for with gas taxes, and did I see correctly....Tuscon will spend 297 million on a "streetcar" (coincidentally named DESPERATE not desire) that will only run 3.2 miles? At almost 100 million a mile, is it worth it? That is essentially a streetcar line for the same cost as the courthouse.

Uh, in a word, no we don't need a streetcar. Come back to us with this great idea when the economy is growing new jobs. Losing 553,000 jobs in April down from the 600,000 in March, is hardly worth jumping up and down.
And, that $115 will save Jacksonville from financial ruin. - Mayor John Peyton

“This is a game-changer. This is what I mean when I say taking Jacksonville to the next level.”
-Mayor Alvin Brown on new video boards at Everbank Field

tufsu1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11104
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 03:05:11 PM »

tufsu1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11104
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 03:15:38 PM »
Tuscon will spend 297 million on a "streetcar" (coincidentally named DESPERATE not desire) that will only run 3.2 miles? At almost 100 million a mile, is it worth it? That is essentially a streetcar line for the same cost as the courthouse.

I'd be happy to show you some road projects that cost about as much...Tampa's X-Town connector will cost over $400 million for 1.5 miles between the X-town Expwy and I-4

how about some local examples...
1. 9B - about $200 million for the segment from 9A to I-95 (less than 3 miles)...
2. Interchange modifications at I-10/US 301 - about $100 million in 2009 dollars....
3. I-95 bridge replacement - $175 million for less than 1 mile of road...
3. and finally, how about the beloved section of JTB from I-95 to US 1...try over $100 million

So, should all of these projects not get done too?

fsujax

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3588
  • Teapartysaurus!
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2009, 03:18:45 PM »
haha. Nice examples tufsu1....keep them coming! its perfectly OK to spend whatever on roads, but you better not spend that kind of money of fixed transit.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31364
    • Modern Cities
Re: America Rediscovers The Streetcar
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 03:44:31 PM »
Before you drink the tea Alice, ask yourselves, do we need one?

Yes, lets ask ourselves this question.

Quote
Our economy is not growing, instead it is contracting. New jobs are not coming in by the droves to downtown or to the areas of town, or maybe those for lease signs all over the southside are just there to clash with the architecture lines of the buildings?

I think we both agree that Jacksonville, or at least the place you described in the statement above, is in need of an economic stimulator.  So in regards to the streetcar, we have to determine are these systems worth their investment, in terms of what they bring to the local economy.

Portland Streetcar - $3.5 billion in development within 3 blocks of the 8-mile, $103 million streetcar line since system was approved.

Little Rock River Rail Streetcar - $400 million in development since $28 million, 3.4 mile streetcar system approved.

Tampa TECO Streetcar - $1 billion in private development along alignment since $48.3 million, 2.5 mile line approved and completed.

Kenosha Streetcar - $150 million in private development along line since 2 mile, $5.2 million system approved and constructed.

Memphis Streetcar - $2 billion in private development along streetcar corridors since $94.4 million, 7 mile system approved and constructed.

link: http://www.fortworth-tx.gov/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Development/Miscellaneous_(template)/Peer%20City%20Handout%20for%20distribution.pdf

Either the numbers above are all coincidence or it may be something to the idea that streetcars and rail-based transit have the ability to spur economic development.  So if our local economy is on the rocks, people are losing jobs and buildings are empty, why not invest in something that stimulates the local economy, creates jobs, encourages adaptive reuse of existing empty building stock and increases the amount of property taxes coming into the city's hands?

Quote
a JTA trolley system already paid for with gas taxes,

I have presented information above that suggests that real streetcar systems attract economic development.  Can you present information showing that faux trolleys have the ability to do the same?  If not, let's eliminate them from the discussion, since they appear to be different animals that lead to different results.

Quote
and did I see correctly....Tuscon will spend 297 million on a "streetcar" (coincidentally named DESPERATE not desire) that will only run 3.2 miles? At almost 100 million a mile, is it worth it?

This is a question worth asking the City of Tuscon.  From what I can tell, they plan to construct a double tracked (6.4 track miles) modern streetcar system.  If you can have the ability to view mass transit with an open mind, you'll discover that modern streetcar systems cost more than heritage streetcar systems.  You'll also discover that you don't necessarily have to double track right away.  Kenosha and Little Rock are two examples of affordable heritage systems I'd offer as proof of how rail can being affordable to implement.

Kenosha - $5.2 million, 1.9-mile downtown loop streetcar line.  That's a whopping $2.7 million per mile.

Little Rock River Rail - $28 million, 3.4-mile streetcar line.  That's $8.3 million per mile.  

Both of these are a far cry from Tucson's numbers.  At the end of the day, rail can be affordable.  Like anything, the costs get out of hand when you start adding bells and whistles (ex. expensive rolling stock, extra trackage, streetscapes, stations, purchasing extra ROW, etc.).

Quote
That is essentially a streetcar line for the same cost as the courthouse.

Charlotte recently built a courthouse for $148 million.  Jacksonville's will break the $300 million barrier.  However, the devil is in the details.  Charlotte's takes up a small plot of land, while ours consumes seven blocks.  Charlotte's was efficiently developed while we've wasted millions with different development groups, closing streets and moving the utilities under them.  Whether its a courthouse or rail, you can't paint the entire concept with one broad brush.

Quote
Uh, in a word, no we don't need a streetcar. Come back to us with this great idea when the economy is growing new jobs. Losing 553,000 jobs in April down from the 600,000 in March, is hardly worth jumping up and down.

The information provided above suggests the opposite.  Jacksonville needs rail now, more than ever.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 05:18:48 PM 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