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Old December 31st, 2014, 05:59 AM   #181
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http://www.11alive.com/story/news/lo...gers/21035545/
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Old December 31st, 2014, 07:33 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by [atomic] View Post
It is really great to see more and more cities in the US develop public transport
But now they should start to work on an extension asap! Perhap something like Georgia Tech - Five Points (marta).
That is one of the concepts. Another would be further north connecting the arts center with Atlantic Station and eventually the quarry/new park. Depending in part on the success of this model there's the vision for several more similar routes, all being east/west circuits that would branch out from an existing MARTA station. There are bus routes doing this now but as we all now buses are stigmatized and, more importantly, subject to all forms of traffic congestion just like cars. Hopefully in about 5-12 years we'll see 1-2 more trolley routes beginning to fill in Atlanta's transit picture.
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Old January 1st, 2015, 03:51 PM   #183
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It's interesting that Atlanta is using light rail vehicles (Siemens S70) for its streetcar line rather than the Skoda/United Streetcar vehicles used on other new streetcar lines in the United States. The following is a comparison between a United Streetcar vehicle and a Siemens S70 built for San Diego.

Length
United Streetcar: 66 ft
Siemens S70: 90.7 ft

Width
United Streetcar: 8 ft
Siemens S70: 8.7 ft

Weight
United Streetcar: 70,989 lbs
Siemens S70: 95,700 lbs

Turning Radius
United Streetcar: 53 ft (yard), 59 ft (service)
Siemens S70: 82 ft

Maximum Speed
United Streetcar: 44 mph
Siemens S70: 55 mph (service), 71.5 mph (allowable)
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 07:43 PM   #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
It's interesting that Atlanta is using light rail vehicles (Siemens S70) for its streetcar line...
Maybe it has to do with what would be better suited to segregated trackways along the Beltline.

I worked on the Eastside Trail, and one day while I was at the southern end at Irwin Street, a woman struck up a conversation with me. I explained that under the not-yet-defeated sales tax plan, the streetcar would be extended out Auburn, then a short block on Irwin, then north along the Beltline to Piedmont Park.

She: "I thought the Beltline was gonna be light rail."

Me: "Yeah, but are they really gonna make people get off the streetcar here and wait for a light rail car? I don't think so."



Count me among the naysayers on this. I think the streetcar is a mistake that we'll regret in a dismayingly short time. Like, in three months when they start charging a fare.
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Old January 4th, 2015, 06:23 AM   #185
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Site visit - 2014.12.30

I was on vacation in South Carolina for the holidays and decided to take a day trip to Atlanta to visit the streetcar on its first day and also ride around town on the Marta system. I was pleasantly surprised by Marta rail - trains are clean and comfortable and run fast and frequently, there are next-train indicators at just about every station and connections are easy at Five Points, where all lines meet, as well as to the domestic terminal at the airport station. Some sections of the rail system, especially south and east of downtown, provide breathtaking views of the city's amazing skyline. Parking is free and plentiful (at least it was at Indian Creek where I dropped off the car). The network appeared to be both well-patronized and well-policed (I witnessed an obnoxious bum being removed by police at North Avenue station). The Breeze card is the contactless smart card used for transit, similar to the Charlie Card in Boston. The bus and rail networks appear to be well-integrated, although I did not take the bus.

The streetcar is another story, and is probably the most embarrassing transit experiment I have ever experienced. I am a huge fan of public transportation, and if there were a limitless pool of capital construction funds, perhaps the realization of the Atlanta Streetcar would not be so offensive. What I witnessed was a colossal waste of tax money, a misguided attempt at civic pride and a possibly unconstitutional breach of the separation of church and state.

I showed up at Woodruff Park in the downtown district at about 11 am for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.







The mayor was there with his wife and baby daughter, along with a regional federal transit administrator and certain other officials.



The whole thing was emceed by a local radio personality, who I found to be funny, personable and genuinely excited by the streetcar. There was a benediction that was delivered by eight clergymen, each of them a local Protestant pastor. Each spoke for about a minute. Frankly, one pastor would have been one pastor too many. The prayers were laughable - something along the likes of "may the spirit of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost bless the streetcar, and may it provide useful service to the city." In my view, the sectarian sanction of this taxpayer-funded streetcar was wildly inappropriate and not consistent with the spirit of federal law.



Mayor Kasim Reed's speech was all about "getting things done" and about Atlanta being able to compete with the likes of Denver, Seattle, etc. I guess it didn't dawn on him the absurdity of having the same city build both the world's busiest airport and the world's lousiest tram. One of the speakers said "for those who doubt whether this is a good idea, this streetcar is not for you." Much emphasis was placed on the premise that this is the beginning of a much larger system.













The source of my unease with this trolley is the fact that there is no separation from road traffic - the tram runs right in the street with the cars, buses, trucks, etc. This greatly slows down the entire system. There is no traffic signal priority. In fact, there is nothing other than passenger capacity that makes this advantageous over a bus. In fact, a bus is better as it has detour capability. It is this kind of wasteful spending that turns reasonable people into Republicans.

Here at Spring Street and Carnegie Way, a truck used the tracks as a turning lane.





The streetcar approaches the station.





The trams were built by Siemens. There is a low-floor section at the exits and then steps to the upper seating areas. Next-stop indicators are provided, along with a system map above the doors.





Connection to Marta rail is at Peachtree Center subway station.



It took 50 minutes to do the whole loop (less than 3 miles).

Rides are free for the first 3 months, probably due to the fact that the ticket machines are yet to be installed. It will be $1 per ride and $3 for a day pass (not clear whether the one-day $9 Marta pass will be valid on the streetcar).







Dobbs Plaza stop is underneath a freeway overpass.













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Old January 4th, 2015, 07:03 AM   #186
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50 minutes for 3 miles?
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Old January 4th, 2015, 03:24 PM   #187
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Skoda/United Streetcar have been missing delivery deadlines, so it's probably a good thing Atlanta went with Siemens.

The S70 streetcar looks better than the Skoda streetcar IMO, I rode the Skoda's and I found them to be pretty cramped inside.
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Old January 4th, 2015, 08:20 PM   #188
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Yeah, I agree that unless they expand the thing, it will be a sad joke. Furthermore, the "blessing of the streetcar" does seem kinda odd, but I'm not surprised, considering that Atlanta is in bible belt central.
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Old January 5th, 2015, 04:52 PM   #189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woonsocket54 View Post
The source of my unease with this trolley is the fact that there is no separation from road traffic - the tram runs right in the street with the cars, buses, trucks, etc. This greatly slows down the entire system. There is no traffic signal priority. In fact, there is nothing other than passenger capacity that makes this advantageous over a bus. In fact, a bus is better as it has detour capability. It is this kind of wasteful spending that turns reasonable people into Republicans.
Ehm, maybe that is because it is a tram? The key feature of a tram is its operation among road traffic. Depending on the system parts can be seperated from road traffic but if it would not intermingle with road traffic at all, I would not call it a tram system, rather light rail, metro or whatever but not tram or streetcar.

The strength of tram systems is that it offers a higher capacity, and considerably faster passanger exchange than busses. Also the comfort of the ride is often better. In central parts it is rarely faster than a bus and it is also prone to clogged streets. Intelligent tram lines designs give the tram own lanes in front of congested crossings and also have systems in place that give trams right of way at crossings, substantially reducing driving time.

The "detour capability" is actually a non-issue or even a disadvantage. In Vienna for example the experience is to my knowledge that long busses are as often blocked by cars as trams. That is because they have a fairly big turning radius and people constantly underestimate it. But if people are used to trams they are very well aware that parking a car too close to tracks is not only a very stupid thing to do but also an extremely expensive undertaking and so this is a rare thing.



The reason why I am critical of this system, is an entirely different one. I doubt if that loop configuration is very useful. Because as it is not such a fast system, it is very important that it really goes where people want to go to, if you have only a one way station this is basically nowhere the case, or at least only in one direction (most trips are return trips however). But the worst problem I see there is that the connection to the MARTA line is a one way stop as well. That is madness IMHO and if the sytems is to be extend this is going to make things even worse.
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Old January 5th, 2015, 05:38 PM   #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
Ehm, maybe that is because it is a tram? The key feature of a tram is its operation among road traffic. Depending on the system parts can be seperated from road traffic but if it would not intermingle with road traffic at all, I would not call it a tram system, rather light rail, metro or whatever but not tram or streetcar.
Sorry to break it to you, but a tram can refer to light rail as wel as old-fashioned street trams. A tram is light rail the same way metros are light rail (according to European terminology).
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Old January 5th, 2015, 06:24 PM   #191
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
The reason why I am critical of this system, is an entirely different one. I doubt if that loop configuration is very useful. Because as it is not such a fast system, it is very important that it really goes where people want to go to, if you have only a one way station this is basically nowhere the case, or at least only in one direction (most trips are return trips however). But the worst problem I see there is that the connection to the MARTA line is a one way stop as well. That is madness IMHO and if the sytems is to be extend this is going to make things even worse.
Exactly what I am thinking. Just expanding this new line won't make this loop less useless. Another bad example would be Cincinnati. Detroit gets it right when it comes to this.

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Old January 5th, 2015, 10:39 PM   #192
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IMHO, this seems to be by far the most irrational route ever!
Ok, also Cincinnati decides to split up opposite direction, but there things are set in a way that will mitigate this weakness: tracks will be laid in couple of adjacent streets (under 150 m/500 ft) along the whole route, matching stops will correspond or will be less than 250 m/ 850 ft away, plus the stop between Findlay Street and Elder Street will enable users coming from Elm Street to effortlessly continue toward South even when the line will be extended (planned Uptown Connector). In Atalanta they apparently go for the worst: the East section is more a long loop than two separate way, in the West section every stop along one direction lies exactly halfway (350 m/ 1150 ft) between two (not) matching stops along the other direction, MARTA interchange is served only in one way and in the single short stretch with two tracks they even put an one-side stop!
All those mistakes might have been easily avoided if they had chosen better places for stops and they had laid the eastbound track between Centennial Olympic Park and Hurt Park along this path:
  • straight on Luckie St until Spring St;
  • left turn on Spring St, with a stop at the corner with Carnegie Way (the same with buses, easing an interchange now not even foreseen);
  • right turn on Carnegie Way, with double track until Ellis St and a stop at the corner with Forsyth St (straight ahead a MARTA exit);
  • through M. Mitchell Sq and then South on Peachtree St, with double track;
  • along the actual route, but with a double-side stop on Auburn Ave (Woodruff Park) instead of Park Place.
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Old January 5th, 2015, 11:25 PM   #193
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$47 million in TIFIA funding for this boondoggle (http://usa.streetsblog.org/2010/10/1...omment-page-1/).

Ladies and gentlemen, this is truly the fleecing of America.
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Old January 6th, 2015, 08:58 PM   #194
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I belive this is by far the best exemple how not to do public transport. A great gift for those opposing PT...
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Old January 6th, 2015, 09:10 PM   #195
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Georgia has a smart governor (or at least smart gubernatorial advisers). Knew it was best not to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
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Old January 6th, 2015, 09:17 PM   #196
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I only fear that those opposing rail-based PT will have now have a fine exemple to share anywhere and anytime a city wants to introduce one...
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Old January 6th, 2015, 10:54 PM   #197
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I only fear that those opposing rail-based PT will have now have a fine exemple to share anywhere and anytime a city wants to introduce one...
this one plus the one in DC
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Old January 6th, 2015, 11:50 PM   #198
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Possibly, but then again transit is foremost among those capital projects that is a political paradox - Any small investment will struggle or fail because the idea hinges on system-wide economies of scale, but no one wants to/can invest at such scales so it's only introduced in small pieces. Or, similarly, the opponents contest that an area isn't dense enough to warrant the investment and then development continues at suburban scales because their isn't the infrastructure to support urban density and the cycle continues, all the while the costs for all types of infrastructure increase geometrically.

As best I can recall there was no one place in Atlanta where $47M could've made a substantial impact with rail without the promise of additional future monies, and while I'm not a subscriber to the political ideology of "spend it or lose it" there is something to be said about the effort for impacting a cultural mindset. Atlanta's hard-rail system likewise didn't fit popular appeal but I shudder to think where we'd be without it today. The hope here is that this is something upon which a conventionally anti-transit community can learn and build.

I'm not saying the money couldn't be better spent, here or elsewhere, but I do feel Atlanta had to do something. Failure to try and grow transit in this metropolis will only engender more of the same stuff we've been getting for now decades, which is to say near nothing.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 01:11 AM   #199
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The hope here is that this is something upon which a conventionally anti-transit community can learn and build.
Hope is all they have.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 03:18 AM   #200
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Atlanta did have to do something. We've been talking about trying to build a streetcar system or some form of light rail transit to augment Marta since before the Bill Campbell administration and the Olympics in the 19 nineties. Sometimes you just have to jump on the opportunity no matter how small it is. Transportation isn't getting any better, we are past the age of building big freeways to solve all of our problems in northern Georgia, and there are still places where public transportation in some peoples mind sets means an efficient way of moving undesirables aka minorities through their neighborhoods.

One good thing about this particular. Of time is that a lot of people are moving back into the central core be it people who have had enough of living way to hell outside the perimeter or new transplant into the city. As a matter of fact most of those new people that are coming into Atlanta or from towns that have already had really good public transportation and are bewildered by the fact that their new city doesn't.

I'm not saying that I'm on the bandwagon totally for this particular implementation of the tram, but you have to start somewhere so that you can demonstrate your resolve. Now that the tracks are in the ground, the electric lines are overhead, and the trains are moving up and down the boulevard every single day, people are going to see that and unlike the heavy rail system which is either underground or placed next to railroad tracks and kind of out of sight, the street car is right in your face anytime you come downtown and visit any of the main attractions. It will be a prominent feature that tourists talk about. Think of it as a demonstrator system they give the public a better visual cue of what can possibly be.

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