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Old January 7th, 2015, 03:36 AM   #201
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2 questions:

1. Is there anyone who made the decision to relocate his or her home or business to downtown Atlanta as a result of a streetcar that runs slower than normal walking speed?

2. If anyone did make such a decision, is such person an individual of the type you would want to associate with?
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Old January 7th, 2015, 07:55 AM   #202
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As a matter of fact, that whole community centered around Edgewood between Dobbs and Freedom Park around Boulevard begged for the alignment. I own property near there and so did I. We all know it is a “starter system” and is geared more towards ferrying tourists from one side of downtown to the other (along with GSU students maybe).

TL;DR: yes and yes.

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Old January 7th, 2015, 05:50 PM   #203
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These projects require stubborn support. The streetcar will be but a small part of an overall public transportation system that MUST be built in Atlanta. Failure is not an option.

Remember that the NYC subway encountered ardent opposition in 1900. The exact same arguments were made. It took time to reap the benefits, but there can be no doubt that the NYC subway has been instrumental in that city's continued growth and success.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 06:41 PM   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etherdome View Post
The exact same arguments were made.
Arguments were made that NYC subway is slower than regular walking speed. Can you please provide a citation?
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Old January 7th, 2015, 07:02 PM   #205
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I'm not seeing where he said anything about slower than walking speed here.

Anyway look we get it ok you're totally against it and think it's a boondoggle, white elephant, money hole.

I for one wish that they could have started with a longer segment myself, for example have it route from the area that's already covered... Then using some of the old railroad right of way on the western edge of downtown cut over to the Atlantic Station area then jump back onto Peachtree Road and cut through the southern part of Buckhead till it got to the corner of Piedmont and Peachtree or somewhere in that vicinity and make a right turn and then head down the median of Piedmont Road until it gets to the Lindbergh area. jump back onto rail road right away until they got some on street running to the to the other ROW and then jog out west east until it got over into the Emory campus and then end there. To me that would give a greater variety of operating conditions that would encompass reserves right away possibly needing to build some under and over passes and definitely some on street running and some in median running as well. Prioritize those signals and you've got a great starter system in my opinion the traffic on it will be served greatly by students and commuters alone. Also because some of the Beltway loop right away will be used as well, it's a great scenario for them to hurry up and speed up the development over other sections of that corridor first.

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Old January 7th, 2015, 09:04 PM   #206
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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).
Technically this is of course right, but what they built there in Atlanta is what we would consider a traditional tram design in Europe. The light rail term as it is predominantly used in the US nowadays, refers as far as I understood roughly to what Germans would refer to as "Stadtbahn". That is of course overlapping with a tram but what was built in Atlanta would never be called a "Stadtbahn" but a tram.

I think there is no necessity to misunderstand what I meant above. And I also don't want to unleash a definition fight here. What is essential is what was built and that it's not unique either, as are its advantages and disadvantages hardly unknown or surprising. No matter how you call it.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 09:09 PM   #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
I think there is no necessity to misunderstand what I meant above. And I also don't want to unleash a definition fight here. What is essential is what was built and that it's not unique either, as are its advantages and disadvantages hardly unknown or surprising. No matter how you call it.
I don't misunderstand it, I just condemn your wrong definition of the word tram. "The key feature of a tram is its operation among road traffic." Well that's simply not true. Over and out.
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Old January 7th, 2015, 09:37 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by starrwulfe View Post
I for one wish that they could have started with a longer segment myself, for example have it route from the area that's already covered...
So why didn't they do that?

But getting back to the loop design. I have seen it a lot in US light rails / trams designs. Yet, in European systems it is as much avoided as possible, extremely rare, and in the few cases where you find such segments they are very short (1-2 stops usually only). So why are those loops so popular among US planners and how are people actually responding to them? I think I made it already clear that I find them to be really bad design decisions. But a one way stop only at the one interchange to the metro system is outright madness. How are they planning to extend such a system? The only functionally reasonable thing to do would be to scrap the entire western loop and replace the single track to the MARTA station and westwards with a double track.

I'd like to hear from locals what they are thinking about this loop issue.


PS: If you like you can have a look at the various tram systems in Europe, especially in France many of them are also brand new, in cities with much more restrictive and challenging street layouts than Atlanta.

http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/fr/france.htm
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Old January 7th, 2015, 09:52 PM   #209
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I don't misunderstand it, I just condemn your wrong definition of the word tram. "The key feature of a tram is its operation among road traffic." Well that's simply not true. Over and out.
Maybe the "the" was too much but it is a "a key feature" for most tram systems. At least the Wikipedia article is defining it in a similar way: "A tram (also known as tramcar; and in North America known as streetcar, trolley or trolley car), is a rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets (called street running), and also sometimes on separate rights of way ..."

Wikipedia doesn't get it right all the time, but I am obviously not the only one who sees a tram in such a way. But as I said, the term is everything but clearly defined and there are various conflicting meanings connected to it. Still, this is as far as I can see it a common definition of how a regular old school tram system looks like.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 01:14 AM   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
So why are those loops so popular among US planners and how are people actually responding to them?
(a) Major US downtowns are mostly composed of one-way streets, so that factors into streetcar/light rail layouts.

(b) However, in the case of Atlanta, many of the surface streets implicated in the streetcar loop are actually two-way streets, so how would one explain it?

(c) The answer for Atlanta is that, like it or not, the Atlanta Streetcar is not actually a mode of transportation (and is rarely marketed as such) but is actually a bulletpoint to include on real estate brochures. Namely, along the likes of "Come live at Peachtree Arms - it's just two blocks from the streetcar." Build a loop and you increase the amount of property that is within a certain distance of the streetcar. A clever marketing ploy to attract folks who have more money than brains.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 09:20 AM   #211
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I also truly belive they are following the Portland Streetcar form of development for the line as well.

PDX starter system was:

Looping route
About 2.5 miles long at first
Intended solely to be a catalyst for urban renewal in the areas covered


However PDX already had MAX downtown on parallel one-way streets perpendicular to the streetcar there. They've since added a parallel loop on their Transit Mall streets a few blocks over. However, PDX is a grid pattern, Downtown ATL is a mixture of grid and horsetrail. Sure the route traverses two-way streets, but streetcars can't pass or pull out of traffic. NIMBYers would have a field day in the off chance that two streetcars jammed up Edgewood or Auburn Aves. Also traffic downtown during certain events are a mess-- They may make it streetcar-only traffic in those directions on those streets during those times. Thinking in the future, they may actually turn those streets one way only for cars with the opposing direction used soley for streetcars.

They didn't make a longer system because:
Lack of money-- in fact, without TIGER, we'd still be talking about it and not operating it.
Lack of support-- for now, the few residential neighborhoods it runs through are mainly made up of college students and new transplants who support it.
Lack of time-- mostly because ATL people hate dealing with any construction distruption longer than a few months.

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Old January 8th, 2015, 06:09 PM   #212
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Light rail, streetcars, Stadtbahnen, Strassenbahnen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
Technically this is of course right, but what they built there in Atlanta is what we would consider a traditional tram design in Europe. The light rail term as it is predominantly used in the US nowadays, refers as far as I understood roughly to what Germans would refer to as "Stadtbahn". That is of course overlapping with a tram but what was built in Atlanta would never be called a "Stadtbahn" but a tram.
Stadtbahn typically refers to what is generally envisioned as "light rail transit" in North America — i.e., tramways predominantly routed in dedicated lanes, reservations, tunnels, etc. with minimal mixed-traffic segments.

The equivalent of U.S. streetcar is typically the Strassenbahn (street rail), but even this in Europe often has reservations etc. as well as mixed-traffic running.

Overall, the American distinction between "light rail" and "streetcar" is blurry, imprecise, and very confusing. A number or "streetcars" (including the venerable New Orleans system) are routed almost totally in reservations or exclusive alignments (e.g., former railway beds).

I think it makes much more sense to consider "light rail" as a family of predominantly surface-routed electric urban/regional passenger railways which can include "streetcar" applications as well as "interurban" applications, light metros, semi-metros, etc.
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Old January 8th, 2015, 06:21 PM   #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post

PS: If you like you can have a look at the various tram systems in Europe, especially in France many of them are also brand new, in cities with much more restrictive and challenging street layouts than Atlanta.

http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/fr/france.htm
These French systems are built to serve the people. They're not corporate-welfare white elephants. Comparing France to Atlanta is like comparing apples and peaches.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 11:15 PM   #214
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(a) Major US downtowns are mostly composed of one-way streets, so that factors into streetcar/light rail layouts.
So what? If you sacrifice a car lane you can still acommodate a tram track in the other direction.

If your theory is right, and it certainly makes sense, then what they are doing is harming the concept of trams for short term marketing gains. Building loop designs that are severly limited in their usefulness for the sake of expanding the area within the vicinity of one stop. For being useful you need to be in the vicinity of stops in both directions. So in a honest analyses such a loop actually substantially reduces the area of efficient coverage. But you are right, that won't be in the real estate ads. But people will figure it nonetheless and all this will lead to is convincing that trams don't work. When it is not that trams don't work, but rather this design might not work.

That said, if there are enough attractions in its vicinity, even if stops are just one way, this could still work nicely for tourists. If there are enough tourists around that area, this could somewhat justify the trams existence. That is not what the ambition of a serious means of public transportation should be however in my opinion.


But tell me, how can a city like Detroit can afford coming up with such a decent local rail tranist layout if Atlanta should be not capable of affording it? Maybe it is the city layout that helped but they simply put a straight line there, connecting Downtown (or whats left of it) with the "New Center", with a university campus along its way. They even managed to connect the Amshack version of a railwaystation to the line! Of course they need to expand the system further but this is how a starter line should look like to me. There is a clear sense how this could be very efficiently extended as well as how it could become a useful part of a future network. Given how Atlanta isn't even starting from almost zero like Detroit it is a pity they didn't make more out of it.
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Old January 10th, 2015, 06:40 PM   #215
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These French systems are built to serve the people. They're not corporate-welfare white elephants. Comparing France to Atlanta is like comparing apples and peaches.
Haha I see what you did there, substituting peaches for oranges. Clever.

Quote:
(c) The answer for Atlanta is that, like it or not, the Atlanta Streetcar is not actually a mode of transportation (and is rarely marketed as such) but is actually a bulletpoint to include on real estate brochures. Namely, along the likes of "Come live at Peachtree Arms - it's just two blocks from the streetcar." Build a loop and you increase the amount of property that is within a certain distance of the streetcar. A clever marketing ploy to attract folks who have more money than brains.
I completely understand the frustration of having a streetcar that fails to be an effective form of transportation. However, under no circumstances should a streetcar always be treated as a form of rapid transport. It is beyond anything else, a tool for community building and gentrification.

Like most "city-building" (especially when they are controversial) any success is considered a win.
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Old January 11th, 2015, 05:05 AM   #216
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...
I completely understand the frustration of having a streetcar that fails to be an effective form of transportation. However, under no circumstances should a streetcar always be treated as a form of rapid transport. It is beyond anything else, a tool for community building and gentrification.
...
The main purpose of a transit line is to move people. I am very suspicious anytime a transit line is being sold on some basis other than its effectiveness in moving people.

There are other tools for community building and gentrification that are cheaper and more cost-effective than streetcar lines. Seattle actually tore out their Waterfront Streetcar line in order to develop a sculpture garden at the site of the streetcar shed. The elected officials in Seattle actually decided that a sculpture garden is of greater value to the city than a streetcar line.
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Old January 11th, 2015, 06:21 AM   #217
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The elected officials in Seattle actually decided that a sculpture garden is of greater value to the city than a streetcar line.
Smart move.
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Old January 11th, 2015, 04:21 PM   #218
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Quote:
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The main purpose of a transit line is to move people. I am very suspicious anytime a transit line is being sold on some basis other than its effectiveness in moving people.

There are other tools for community building and gentrification that are cheaper and more cost-effective than streetcar lines. Seattle actually tore out their Waterfront Streetcar line in order to develop a sculpture garden at the site of the streetcar shed. The elected officials in Seattle actually decided that a sculpture garden is of greater value to the city than a streetcar line.
You're right there are many tools! Resilient cities are ones that use multiple strategies for community building. There is a laundry list of tools that cities employ to raise property values, incomes, quality-of-life, community engagement and other gentrification "measures."

Unfortunately, there is also a lack of consistent and comprehensive set of data that proves whether or not any of these tools even work or are correlated to real "city-building." The work that is out there is at best, contradictory. City-building is a vague term that means different things to different people, and as such there will always be conflict over chosen strategies.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 10:51 AM   #219
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I find it bizarre that this is the Atlanta thread. It severely lacks any content...

some photos from Peter Ehrlich


ATLANTA--640 arr Five Points NB
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ATLANTA--1003 at Sweet Auburn Market OB
by milantram, on Flickr


ATLANTA--1003 appr Luckie/Spring OB
by milantram, on Flickr
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Old March 6th, 2015, 12:06 PM   #220
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I remember there was another thread on this because I'd posted in it about how silly the downtown LR loop is. Get rid of the trains running in different directions on different streets. Put them down the one street. They don't need to be loops either, extend he line further and make a trunk line for further expansion.
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