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Old October 10th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #101
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Agreed! If then, why car owners/drivers should foot the bill for a rail tunnel they will never use given - as you said - that widening the New Jersey Turnpike or other Interstates in the area would "[do] NOTHING to reduce commute times to Manhattan"[/i]?

Wouldn't it be fairer if the NJ put general funds (e.g., not earmarked gas taxes, which exist for the solely purpose of funding the highway trust fund, state and federal) in the project? Or maybe with an increase in the sales and/or property taxes?

BTW, am I the only one who, when traveled to NYC, set up rental car + decent hotel in Jersey City + car errands all way up and down in Manhattan? At least for vacations, it's very doable if you are not crossing to/from the island more than once a day. Frankly, it was easy to drive in Manhattan (except Downtown Manhattan), much easier than in any major European capital city center. Even parking fees were "doable", except near Ground Zero where fares were like US$ 35/day when I visited. The other boroughs were very easy to access by car too. Just gotta be patient with the jams and copy with no-turn-on-red laws.
You, good sir, are completely insufferable. People like you are the reason the US lacks a HSR system.

But anyways, I think while this is a real shame that this has been canceled, it's awfully complex. While it is wise to think ahead and in ten years or so this tunnel will be sorely needed, no one simply has the money for this stuff anymore. Costs have gotten out of control.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 06:42 PM   #102
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Agreed! If then, why car owners/drivers should foot the bill for a rail tunnel they will never use given - as you said - that widening the New Jersey Turnpike or other Interstates in the area would "[do] NOTHING to reduce commute times to Manhattan"[/i]?

Wouldn't it be fairer if the NJ put general funds (e.g., not earmarked gas taxes, which exist for the solely purpose of funding the highway trust fund, state and federal) in the project? Or maybe with an increase in the sales and/or property taxes?

BTW, am I the only one who, when traveled to NYC, set up rental car + decent hotel in Jersey City + car errands all way up and down in Manhattan? At least for vacations, it's very doable if you are not crossing to/from the island more than once a day. Frankly, it was easy to drive in Manhattan (except Downtown Manhattan), much easier than in any major European capital city center. Even parking fees were "doable", except near Ground Zero where fares were like US$ 35/day when I visited. The other boroughs were very easy to access by car too. Just gotta be patient with the jams and copy with no-turn-on-red laws.
You good sir are a moron and don't understand how things and the US work. If i knew your real name you'd be banned form Entry. Eventually we rebuild a Euro Style Network in the NE and you'll just have to live with that. Rail is becoming or is very popular mode of Transportation in this region....
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Old October 11th, 2010, 12:04 AM   #103
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You, good sir, are completely insufferable. People like you are the reason the US lacks a HSR system.

But anyways, I think while this is a real shame that this has been canceled, it's awfully complex. While it is wise to think ahead and in ten years or so this tunnel will be sorely needed, no one simply has the money for this stuff anymore. Costs have gotten out of control.
Well, I will skip the unwarranted personal offense and go back to the ideas discussion.

Out of control infrastructure project costs add uncertainty to any project (from a pipeline to a water main to a railway to a stack road interchange), rendering there less manageable under a budgetary approach. However, in many cases the overruns are not due to technical unexpected surprises, but ongoing redesign and accommodation of interferences of all kinds once the works are already on progress. We DO have the design technology to estimate, after the preliminary works, the real cost of such projects. However, more and more politicians, activists and other parties want to get a stand on the project after it is ongoing, which makes it more expensive - and the pattern replicates itself.

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You good sir are a moron and don't understand how things and the US work. If i knew your real name you'd be banned form Entry. Eventually we rebuild a Euro Style Network in the NE and you'll just have to live with that. Rail is becoming or is very popular mode of Transportation in this region....
Again, I skip your pointless personal attack. Could we stick with discussing ideas, not swearing at each other? Chill out.

This being said, I have nothing against rail per se. At the same time, I DO recognize the problem of modal-minority transit bias. It means that in places where the use of transit is limited as a share of total km(miles)*pax trips, the ones who use transit usually do so in a way that make their lifestyle inherently different (shopping, leisure and overall consumption patterns) because the lack of cars severely limit their mobility (usually not in scope but reach).

I have a US colleague from U. Texas who explained me that - in details. It is a very interesting situation because it is different than the one in Europe.

Therefore, my point is: I don't have anything against trains as technological systems. They can be cool (if modern, high-speed, new etc). But I'm concerned about the way they are funded, because transit systems at general can put a drag on local and even national economies if they require massive subsidizes, and that interests me as someone studying Economics.

I'm pro-car, for sure, but that is not only on technical basis but on an honest belief that it promotes a more individualistic society and empowers people to commute greater distances and to live in bigger houses. I was fascinated when I lived in US and saw how comfortable and spacious the average house in US is, how much stuff people have inside their houses and how easily they go either for a regional national park or to a shopping mall on the spur of a moment, without any planning and without any need to deal with timetables or cramped buses or trains. You don't need to interact with strangers if you don't want all the way from your house to a camping ground. No uneasy proximity with a random folk seated next to you - that is priceless. I traveled from Las Vegas to Denver and didn't have to talk to anyone but the helpful and courteous receptionist at a motel in Grand Junction.

Then, because the mainstream housing pattern of US can only exist if cars are used as a basic mean of transportation, I subscribed to them as a no-brainer solution and want that culture to get a stronger hold in Europe.

My utopia would be a country without the concept of cities, just intercalated agglomerations without centrality and, ideally, without much identity either - but that is not going to happen. However, the "everybody will use train and happily bike under snow if needed" utopia won't happen either

In any case: could you enlighten me and explain "how things are done here [in US]" in regard of transit projects? I'm honestly interested in the details of the budget process of infrastructure projects.

I know this tunnel has a lot of non-NJ money committed to it, so the local investment by NJ gov't will indeed leverage many more federal and NY dollars. This situation (budget-leveraged projects) makes everything more tricky, because you can lose far more money (indirectly) when such a project is cancelled as you lose grants or external appropriations, and also it makes you (NJ gov't in the case) with a bad institutional record for any future collaborative project in the same area, which increases the perceived walk-out risk of potential contracting parties (like the DOT or the NY government).
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Old October 11th, 2010, 01:03 AM   #104
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My utopia would be a country without the concept of cities, just intercalated agglomerations without centrality and, ideally, without much identity either - but that is not going to happen. However, the "everybody will use train and happily bike under snow if needed" utopia won't happen either.
Then you, sir, don't belong on this site.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 02:53 AM   #105
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Well, I will skip the unwarranted personal offense and go back to the ideas discussion.

Out of control infrastructure project costs add uncertainty to any project (from a pipeline to a water main to a railway to a stack road interchange), rendering there less manageable under a budgetary approach. However, in many cases the overruns are not due to technical unexpected surprises, but ongoing redesign and accommodation of interferences of all kinds once the works are already on progress. We DO have the design technology to estimate, after the preliminary works, the real cost of such projects. However, more and more politicians, activists and other parties want to get a stand on the project after it is ongoing, which makes it more expensive - and the pattern replicates itself.



Again, I skip your pointless personal attack. Could we stick with discussing ideas, not swearing at each other? Chill out.

This being said, I have nothing against rail per se. At the same time, I DO recognize the problem of modal-minority transit bias. It means that in places where the use of transit is limited as a share of total km(miles)*pax trips, the ones who use transit usually do so in a way that make their lifestyle inherently different (shopping, leisure and overall consumption patterns) because the lack of cars severely limit their mobility (usually not in scope but reach).

I have a US colleague from U. Texas who explained me that - in details. It is a very interesting situation because it is different than the one in Europe.

Therefore, my point is: I don't have anything against trains as technological systems. They can be cool (if modern, high-speed, new etc). But I'm concerned about the way they are funded, because transit systems at general can put a drag on local and even national economies if they require massive subsidizes, and that interests me as someone studying Economics.

I'm pro-car, for sure, but that is not only on technical basis but on an honest belief that it promotes a more individualistic society and empowers people to commute greater distances and to live in bigger houses. I was fascinated when I lived in US and saw how comfortable and spacious the average house in US is, how much stuff people have inside their houses and how easily they go either for a regional national park or to a shopping mall on the spur of a moment, without any planning and without any need to deal with timetables or cramped buses or trains. You don't need to interact with strangers if you don't want all the way from your house to a camping ground. No uneasy proximity with a random folk seated next to you - that is priceless. I traveled from Las Vegas to Denver and didn't have to talk to anyone but the helpful and courteous receptionist at a motel in Grand Junction.

Then, because the mainstream housing pattern of US can only exist if cars are used as a basic mean of transportation, I subscribed to them as a no-brainer solution and want that culture to get a stronger hold in Europe.

My utopia would be a country without the concept of cities, just intercalated agglomerations without centrality and, ideally, without much identity either - but that is not going to happen. However, the "everybody will use train and happily bike under snow if needed" utopia won't happen either

In any case: could you enlighten me and explain "how things are done here [in US]" in regard of transit projects? I'm honestly interested in the details of the budget process of infrastructure projects.

I know this tunnel has a lot of non-NJ money committed to it, so the local investment by NJ gov't will indeed leverage many more federal and NY dollars. This situation (budget-leveraged projects) makes everything more tricky, because you can lose far more money (indirectly) when such a project is cancelled as you lose grants or external appropriations, and also it makes you (NJ gov't in the case) with a bad institutional record for any future collaborative project in the same area, which increases the perceived walk-out risk of potential contracting parties (like the DOT or the NY government).
Transit causes growth and enhances the economy. Things are done differently here in the Northeast / Mid Atlantic , this is not Texas. If your pro-car don't move to the US. I think you'd should research more about the Northeast / Mid Atlantic , we pour more into Schools and Services then Transit and Roads.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 03:58 AM   #106
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Transit causes growth and enhances the economy. Things are done differently here in the Northeast / Mid Atlantic , this is not Texas. If your pro-car don't move to the US. I think you'd should research more about the Northeast / Mid Atlantic , we pour more into Schools and Services then Transit and Roads.
New England has an Interstate network denser than the Southwest, if you compound area and population.

In any case, the car-friendly culture (for an European) is enough to attract me to spend vacations there. Gosh, even Manhattan is drivable if you don't get angry at jams.

As for relocation to US, I could happily do that for other reasons like a better work environment and perspectives in my area. But I have another 4 years before deciding my next move. Ideally I could move to Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Those are the best US metropolitan areas IMO, for my taste, in that order. But not all of those places have right job opportunities in my area, hence it's just wishful thinking.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 04:07 AM   #107
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Why do we have to read your drivel on every single page about rail? Please, Suburbanist, give it a rest! Good grief it is tiresome!
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Old October 11th, 2010, 04:12 AM   #108
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New England has an Interstate network denser than the Southwest, if you compound area and population.

In any case, the car-friendly culture (for an European) is enough to attract me to spend vacations there. Gosh, even Manhattan is drivable if you don't get angry at jams.

As for relocation to US, I could happily do that for other reasons like a better work environment and perspectives in my area. But I have another 4 years before deciding my next move. Ideally I could move to Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Those are the best US metropolitan areas IMO, for my taste, in that order. But not all of those places have right job opportunities in my area, hence it's just wishful thinking.
So , New England has one of the most Densiet Rail / Transit plans in the Country. Ppl there are demanding Rail , and they are slowly restoring it. You still don't seem to understand how the Northeast / Mid Atlantic works , its different here. I really suggest you research this region's transit plans more.....
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Old November 30th, 2010, 02:57 AM   #109
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Old December 16th, 2010, 04:06 AM   #110
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Bump.

As a regular SEPTA rider, I can tell you, yes, the first three Rotem Silverliner V (read that as a "five")--SVs for short--are in operation, and have been for a month.

...No I don't have photos. Why are youse guys all looking at me like that?
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Old December 16th, 2010, 06:26 AM   #111
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Heres something I dont get about SEPTA trains. Where do they terminate? I mean, for example, from Trenton, do they terminate at another suburb station meaning the train passes through the center city, or do they terminate in 30th Street Station or Market Street Station?
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Old December 17th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #112
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Heres something I dont get about SEPTA trains. Where do they terminate? I mean, for example, from Trenton, do they terminate at another suburb station meaning the train passes through the center city, or do they terminate in 30th Street Station or Market Street Station?
Originally, I believe the trains were meant to run end to end e.g. a R7 Trenton train would go from Trenton, through Center City and terminate at Chestnut Hill East. This didn't work out because one of half of the line would have a different train configuration than the other (due mostly to ridership discrepancies between the 2 halves of each line). I guess SEPTA mis-matched the line pairing when they merged the old Pennsylvania and Reading networks after the completion of the Center City tunnels; they paired up many lines that have very different ridership figures. I think SEPTA's inspiration was the Paris RER, but unlike that system, SEPTA Regional Rail wasn't built to function like the RER; rather, it is the combination of 2 formerly separate rail networks. This, combined with poor planning, made Regional Rail unable to function like an RER-type network. Again, using the R7 as an example, the R7 Trenton during rush hour uses a push-pull configuration with 7 passenger cars were as the R7 Chestnut Hill East would use a 4-car EMU configuration. Obviously there couldn't be any through service due to the different train configurations needed for each half of the line. SEPTA has different solutions for this problem. One was to have trains, after reaching Center City, to run through on a different line. For example, sometimes the R7 Trenton in 7-car push-pull configuration runs through on the R5 Paoli/Thorndale. Another common SEPTA practice is to have trains terminate just outside of Center City e.g. Temple University, University City, etc. From there, the trains might either go to the yard or run in reverse direction (sometimes on a different line). Few to no trains terminate in Center City anymore. You can actually look at the schedules on the SEPTA website and see were many of the trains terminate, although it does not say which trains run through on other lines.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 04:57 PM   #113
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Old January 1st, 2011, 04:59 AM   #114
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Ideally I could move to Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Those are the best US metropolitan areas IMO, for my taste, in that order.
Don't move to those cities, almost all of them have extremely ambitious RAIL expansions either under construction, or planned to be in the near future. It would put a cramp in your sick car fetish.

I suggest moving to Detroit since cars are your obsession.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 05:00 AM   #115
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Why do we have to read your drivel on every single page about rail? Please, Suburbanist, give it a rest! Good grief it is tiresome!
If posts could be thanked on this forum, I would thank this one thousands of times.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 07:26 AM   #116
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Heres something I dont get about SEPTA trains. Where do they terminate? I mean, for example, from Trenton, do they terminate at another suburb station meaning the train passes through the center city, or do they terminate in 30th Street Station or Market Street Station?
Precisely.

Back in the days when they were still numbered, the R1 ran from Airport to Glenside, the R2 from Newark to Warminster, the R3 from Elwyn to West Trenton, the R5 from Thorndale to Doylestown, the R6 from Cynwyd to Norristown, the R7 from Trenton to Chestnut Hill East, and the R8 from Chestnut Hill West to Fox Chase. (You will note that I am indicating origination on ex-Pennsylvania R.R. side and termination on ex Reading Co. side.)

At least in theory. In actuality the R1 ran from Airport to Warminster, the R2 from Newark to Norristown, the R3 from Elwyn to West Trenton, the R5 from Thorndale to Doylestown, the R6 from Cynwyd to Suburban Station (Center City), the R7 from Trenton to Chestnut Hill East, and the R8 from Chestnut Hill East to Fox Chase. Part of this was because the pairings were put into place in the mid-'80s based on '80s ridership levels (R2 had the highest overall ridership; R1, as the Airport Train, was always a special case) and hadn't changed since, despite internal shifts in ridership (the R5 Thorndale line is now the most-heavily-trafficked in the system), which led to the divorce between how the map implied the system should work, and how it actually worked. This was rectified last summer, with the abolition of the R-numbers--they are now just named after their destinations (Airport, Wilmington/Newark, Media/Elwyn, Paoli/Thorndale, Cynwyd, Trenton, Chestnut Hill West, Warminster, West Trenton, Lansdale/Doylestown, Norristown, Chestnut Hill East, Fox Chase). The placards were changed; however, the actual internal dispatch was not (Lansdale/Doylestown trains still go to Paoli/Thorndale, for instance). It's probably best to imagine our Regional Rail network as functioning much like the French RER or German S-Bahns, as that was what it was patterned on.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 02:16 AM   #117
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Precisely.
There's a post about this at TheTransportPolitic, with a livelier-than-usual discussion in the comments (EDIT: including hammersklavier!), and... a link to this detailed and interesting article by Scott Kozel, which in turn leads to http://www.pennways.com/Commuter_Tunnel_Line_Ops.html :

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The original tunnel operating plan was developed by Vukan Vuchic of the University of Pennsylvania. A copy of the plan can be found in Penn's engineering library -- it is a 'must-read' for those interested in the history of the railroad and the peculiar mindset that infects many of the SEPTA people that plan and run the railroad. Vuchic is an unabashed fan of the 'S-bahn' metropolitan rail services in Germany, and in many ways modeled his plan after them. The R-numbers used to designate the commuter rail lines are analogous to the numbering of the S-bahn lines, and were part of Vuchic's plan (which we should note was never fully implemented).
because...

Quote:
... it assumed that the city project called the "Swampoodle Connector" would be done. The ex-PRR Chestnut Hill line and the ex-Reading Norristown branch run within a few hundred yards of each other near their respective main line junctions, in a North Philadelphia neighborhood called Swampoodle (the area between the two lines is mostly vacant and isolated land). The plan was to build a connecting track between the two so Chestnut Hill West trains would be connected to the Reading side via the Norristown branch. The plan would have a lot of benefits:
-- Better balance of PRR-side and Reading-side ridership (CHW was second or third in PRR-side ridership)
-- Balances the number of lines and trains on the PRR and Reading sides (Airport and Paoli get roughly double the service of the other lines)
-- Gets CHW trains off the Amtrak Northeast Corridor (reduces expensive trackage rights payments) (improved schedule reliability)
-- Gets more CHW passengers to their destinations sooner (Market East ridership is higher than 30th St. except on Sundays)

So assuming Swampoodle, Vuchic stacked up the lines by ridership and numbered them clockwise according to their PRR endpoints.
I'm from Atlanta and I know next to nothing of commuter rail operations in Philadelphia, but I still have to wonder: how different would things be today had the Swampoodle Connector been built?

EDIT: Maybe Yonah's Red Line should be the Pink Line since it's shaped like a breast cancer ribbon.

another EDIT: Where would the Swampoodle Connector be? I can't figure it out.

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Old January 4th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #118
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Swampoodle is the historical name of the neighborhood around Connie Mack Stadium. Connie Mack Stadium was at 20th and Lehigh, so I would guess that the Swampoodle Connector would have been built roughly where the R6 and R8 Norristown and Chestnut Hill West lines parallel each other to its north.

Building the Swampoodle Connector would still be viable. The parallel tracks allow for relatively easy ramp construction, the now-duplicated track would be sold, and the R8 Chestnut Hill train would shave about 10 minutes on its journey into Center City.*

Also note that Yonah's light-rail lines are widely agreed to be unworkable by locals, because the relatively limited space of Philadelphia streets (only about 50 ft. on all except the widest, outside of the Northeast, Roxborough, and Eastwick) effectively necessitate heavy rail for any major city-center service improvements, either as subways or as light rail. Certain Philadelphia regular forumers also advocate transit ideas of their own.
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* Also viable (but more expensive): a connector ramp between the R8 Chestnut Hill West line and the Broad Street line, via a ramp on the current parallel track, and a tunnel under the SEPTA Main Line from the junction down to the corner of Broad and Lehigh. Such a project, however, would also involve a replacement of electrical feed (from 25 Hz AC 60 kW variable-tension catenary to 600 V DC top-contact third rail), a shaving/extending of high-level platforms to meet the Broad Street Line's loading gauge, construction of high-level platforms for stations where low-level ones are still in use, and finally internal (union) restructuring, due to the fact that the Regional Rail and City Transit (who runs the Broad Street Line) divisions have different unions. The political and technical challenges would be enormous, especially for a board as politicized and suburbs-dominated as SEPTA's, while system improvements would be relatively limited.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 06:30 PM   #119
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No love for Metra?
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Old January 5th, 2011, 02:12 AM   #120
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No love for Metra?
There are plenty of other US commuter rail systems that havn't been mentioned either.
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