Author Topic: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans  (Read 8211 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« on: June 05, 2009, 05:12:24 AM »
Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans



Although the New Orleans streetcar system has been in operation since 1835, it contains certain design elements that could reduce the cost of implementing a starter streetcar line in Jacksonville, if replicated.


Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-jun-affordable-streetcar-new-orleans

CrysG

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2009, 08:32:23 AM »
I feel in love with their street cars when I went to NO. I spend a whole morning just riding around on them.

http://www.norta.com/routes/timetables/system.pdf

kzinn

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2009, 08:40:02 AM »
This article is mis-leading. The NOLA streetcar system is not a well run transportation system. When I first moved to NOLA, I lived one block off of St. Charles so that I could ride the streetcar to work everyday; because I love public transit and it stop right in front of my office. After the first week of a COMPLETELY unreliable schedule I started driving, it took 5 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes! It's funny because I see the NOLA streetcar as a slightly better skyway system, infact, most people complained about the streetcar system not going anywhere and there was constantly chatter about extending the lines! In retrospect, it did go somewhere, it's a great commuter rail for the garden district.  But I believe due to it's unreliability coupled with the fact that the commute times were not that bad, esp. in areas served by the street car, the NOLA streetcar was un-appealing to the general public.....unless of course you didn't have a car. The fact that it was ridden at all speaks more to the demographics of the areas served then it does to the quality of the system.

kzinn

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 08:42:17 AM »
oh and of course all the tourist love it, it's very quaint!

thelakelander

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2009, 10:53:05 AM »
Quote
This article is mis-leading. The NOLA streetcar system is not a well run transportation system.

I'm sure there are areas where their transit authority could improve.  However, the article concentrates on infrastructure.  With that said, do you believe the NOLA system would function better if it had:

Modern streetcars vs. heritage streetcars?

One-way loops vs. single bidirectional lines?

Running in the same lanes as cars on Canal Street vs. running on their own dedicated ROW (medians)?

In your opinion, is it these features that cause the system problems or is it operational management from the transit authority?
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

billy

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2009, 11:24:16 AM »
Rode the system in April on a visit to Tulane.....thought it was great.
Also liked running on the median, makes a great jogging trail.
Took a cab to and from the airport, didn't need a rental car.

kzinn

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2009, 12:05:52 PM »
I guess I should have said the initial quote's, lead sentence is misleading. However, it does set the tone for the rest of the article.
I think it's not an issue of engineering, but planning which as far as design elements go, is possibly more important than than engineering.  At it's inception in the 1830's it was most likely a viable route however now it serves only a small portion of the cities population and it's a portion that is not effected by bad traffic....not that NOLA has bad traffic by national standards.
But as far as the engineering of the system of NOLA is concerned one of the main problems was the frequency of stops, i.e. nearly every block along St. Charles, it makes for a very long commute! In addition, cars frequently blocked the street cars when crossing the tracks, leading to the lack of reliability.
Also, I think NOLA is a very different city than JAX, so it's very hard to answer your questions as a comparison between the two cites. But based on my experience with using multiple transportation systems, I can say this:
Modern streetcars vs. heritage streetcars? Doesn't matter
One-way loops vs. single bidirectional lines? In JAX I'd say bi-directional
Running in the same lanes as cars on Canal Street vs. running on their own dedicated ROW (medians)? I think this question requires a great amount of research and analysis of our city.

JaxNative68

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2009, 02:13:11 PM »
When using the street cars in NOLA on vacation it is easy to fall in love with them.  But when having to rely on them on a daily basis to get to work and meetings on time it is a very different story.  The unreliability of their schedules is a big issue.  Also having to stop so frequently is also a big issue.  Personally I do not see the need for stopping every one or two blocks, if it is a true pedestrian city you shouldn't feel put out for having to walk an extra few blocks to get you to a quick and efficient public transport.  Such frequent stops only slows the commute and makes the system more of a tourist novelty for the people who have nothing but time on their hands while site seeing.  Reliability and efficiency are the true keys of functioning public transportation system.

As much as I hate to admit it, I personally feel the trolley system that runs from the Landing to Riverside and the Beaches along AIA are pretty efficient.  They're definately not tourist attractions, but they get the job done.  One thing they have going for them is their route flexiblity.  Something along those lines, if expanded and if run on an alternative GREEN fuel maybe the way to go to prove if a more elaborate system is in order for Jacksonville.  After getting burned with the Skyway system, I'm sure this city needs a little proof prior to investing into another public tranis system that might struggle before getting off its feet.

tufsu1

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2009, 07:46:11 PM »
I'm in San Diego right now and took lots of pics of their streetcar downtown today...tomorrow I'm riding the commutre rail up to Oceanside and probably the trolley at some point too.

Surprisingly, I think San Diego may be a comparable city that Jax. can look to for ideas....and it may be better than places like Charlotte since it also has the beach/bay that can pull people out of downtown. 

And yes, Ock....I took pics and went inside Sane Fe Staion.

Ocklawaha

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2009, 07:47:55 PM »
100 PROOF, the FACT that MSY (New Orleans) streetcars are better then the bus, is loud and clear in the messages above. The MSY system is old, maybe older then old, but it works. Jacksonville, can use these lessons to our advantage. I remember MSY when the streetcars were EVERYWHERE! In fact I remember them tearing out the tracks and thinking "what a waste".

Jacksonville traded streetcars for a "new type", of a General Motors parts and distribution center. Well the opportunity is still there and the good ol' boys of General Motors are in deep poop. So the solution might be give us back our streetcars. The originals were cashiered so we could get the GM parts center, now the parts center is closing, perhaps it's time to call our bet... STREETCARS RULE! Gotta love these fools... I only wish we had a GM "Ghost", in the closet that could clobber the GM crew and sue for damages. We need our traction company back TODAY!


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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2009, 07:56:40 PM »
I guess I should have said the initial quote's, lead sentence is misleading. However, it does set the tone for the rest of the article.
I think it's not an issue of engineering, but planning which as far as design elements go, is possibly more important than than engineering.  At it's inception in the 1830's it was most likely a viable route however now it serves only a small portion of the cities population and it's a portion that is not effected by bad traffic....not that NOLA has bad traffic by national standards.
But as far as the engineering of the system of NOLA is concerned one of the main problems was the frequency of stops, i.e. nearly every block along St. Charles, it makes for a very long commute! In addition, cars frequently blocked the street cars when crossing the tracks, leading to the lack of reliability.
Also, I think NOLA is a very different city than JAX, so it's very hard to answer your questions as a comparison between the two cites. But based on my experience with using multiple transportation systems, I can say this:
Modern streetcars vs. heritage streetcars? Doesn't matter
One-way loops vs. single bidirectional lines? In JAX I'd say bi-directional
Running in the same lanes as cars on Canal Street vs. running on their own dedicated ROW (medians)? I think this question requires a great amount of research and analysis of our city.

Part of the beauty of rail is that you can customize it to fit the need. There really is no reason that RTA in New Orleans (MSY) has 100 stops on Canal Street. In other words one could build the streetcars with express service as well as locals. The fact is RTA in MSY operates on a system designed in the 1830's-90's, just a BIT out of touch to todays needs. A modern Jacksonville streetcar even using vintage equipment would be a welcome addition to our lack of mass transit. The negative arguments only serve to push the Peyton, Gate, Good Ol' Boy network into keeping us in the dark.

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Charles Hunter

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2009, 09:55:42 PM »
Regarding running in the median - how wide are the medians the NOLA streetcars use?  In some of the pictures in the article, they looked quite wide - as wide as some of the streets suggested for streetcars here.

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2009, 11:30:55 PM »
Charles, Forest, Riverside and Main are all within the +/- size of MSY-RTD. Keeping in mind that Canal Street once had as many as 6 streetcar tracks, 3 each way. The medians are done differently as far as turn lanes go. But a bright illuminated sign across the median where the "NO U-TURN" usually goes, that reads "STOP TRAIN APPROACHING FROM BEHIND", usually does the trick.

I spent yesterday on the "Murray Hill Line", interesting how it jogged from Myrtle, to Forest, to ? to Edison, to Delwood. Hence from Dellwood - Myra - Dellwood - Stockton - College - ACL RR (West of the tracks) to Edgewood. I was hoping that the Dellwood/Edison junction was still visible, but the BIG I interchange took it out by maybe 20' feet! There WAS a ton of switchwork in that junction as of about 1965.


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New Orleans Ladder

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2009, 12:44:52 AM »
I love this article. We had to hang y'all onto today's Ladder. These are some of the Best streetcar photos I've ever seen.
As for taking the streetcar to work? I used to do it all the time, but sometimes it could get wookie. I always considered it a transit thing. It's quite alright that the tourist love it. What the hell.
But when I finally made it back to the city after the Flood... about 4 months, I got in on the train and walked over to the trolley line. Sadly, I had to keep walking to get to a bus line. But then, the driver wouldn't take my bus fare. She looked at me and said, "Welcome Home, Sugah! all the transit is free for a while. Sit down and relax them dogs."
When they did finally open the St Charles line, I heard that "Welcome home" again. I don't know, you're running machines that are nearly 100 years old. They make a lot of noise. They have window that you can open and smell the Oleander and Chrysanthemums. They don't have an exhaust. When you get to the end of the line, they flip each seat back the other direction.

My favorite pic above is the ones with them in the snow. The streetcars were unbelievably beautiful during that white surprise. That snowfall really tripped-out New Orelans, as you can imagine, and it is said that many many locals took to the streetcars to look at it. I suspect they dropped down the windows... but they didn't stick out their heads no! Hahahaha

New Orleans has an excellent new transit plan in the works that may address some of y'alls need for speed and networking and whatnots...hopefully more on the side of da'whatnots.

Thank you,
Editilla~New Orleans Ladder
 

stjr

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Re: Affordable Streetcar: New Orleans
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2009, 01:08:20 AM »
I was in New Orleans a few years ago and rode these streetcars as a "tourist".  They have lots of historic appeal, no doubt.  I remember them as more of a "bus on wheels" due to their informality and frequent stops.  I didn't get the impression they were much of a factor for N.O. mass transit - rather, a convenience for some and a tourist attraction for most.  Not unlike San Francisco's historic streetcars (when you can even find a space on one amongst the tourists crowds!). 

This type of arrangement would be good for any areas Jax wants to draw tourists and visitors to, such as a shopping or entertainment district, to the stadiums, or along the riverfront.  That's basically what N.O. seems to have settled upon.  For true mass transit, we need an upgraded model (I'm not talking about the styling of the cars here, Ock).
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!