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Old May 3rd, 2009, 11:34 PM   #661
hoosier
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I hope James Oberstar read the results of that FTA study.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:34 PM   #662
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Sad, just...sad. Old rail cities (Boston, NYC, Chicago, etc) I feel are in need of capital money more than anyone else. It's seems like everyone understands the problem but the people who can implement solutions.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:44 PM   #663
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Hopefully someone important enough will read that and get us some more money! the MTA desperately needs a boost from the government.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #664
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I love to complain about the MTA just as much as any New Yorker, but truth be told, we have it pretty good here. $2 to get just about anywhere in this vast city, 24 hour transit, and pretty clean subway cars.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #665
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I'd trade you the CTA for the MTA. But, you are right. Compared to much of the U.S. we don't have it that bad.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #666
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US Ponders Subway Car Safety

Nation's subways use cars without crash standards, rely on old trains like those in accident
23 June 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Millions of passengers in cities across the U.S. ride old subway cars like the ones that crumpled in the deadly crash in the nation's capital. The largest transit systems depend on such cars for more than one-third of their fleets, despite safety concerns expressed by federal investigators more than three years ago.

In the earliest stages of the investigation into Monday's subway accident in Washington, which killed nine people and injured more than 70 others, the National Transportation Safety Board focused on why the passenger compartments within the subway cars fared so poorly. The demolished train cars spent much of Tuesday frozen on the tracks, one with metal peeled apart sitting on top of another nearly fully flattened on impact.

The NTSB raised alarms in March 2006 about older model subway cars after one of the cars in Washington's system collapsed like an accordion in a 2004 accident. The safety agency urged the Federal Transit Administration to develop crash standards that would address the telescoping of older cars and come up with a plan to remove aging trains that couldn't be structurally reinforced.

Washington is among the seven largest transit systems that rely on older cars in poor or marginal condition for more than a third of their fleets, according to a federal study published this spring that had been requested by a dozen senators, including then-Sen. Barack Obama. The others are in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and suburban New Jersey. The older cars are either near or past their usefulness, the report said.

Old subway cars experience the worst damage -- a loss of what the NTSB calls "survivable space" -- in crashes because most aren't adequately reinforced for impact.

Debbie Hersman of the NTSB said Tuesday that the problem remains.

Transportation officials for decades have debated whether the federal government should have more oversight of local rail systems, but it's largely up to states to set their own standards. States often don't have the money or expertise to carry out that responsibility, government investigations have found. And a 2006 Government Accountability Office report said the FTA hadn't set goals for the safety program or come up with a way to track state performance.

A leading senator on transportation issues, Jay Rockefeller, said he was surprised to learn after Monday's crash that the NTSB can make recommendations to improve transit safety but doesn't have oversight authority, nor does the Federal Transit Administration.

"There's no authority to tell them they've got to run a safe train," said Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

FTA spokesman Paul Griffo said federal law bars the agency from regulating the operations of transit agencies, a prohibition that includes establishing rules on a rail car's ability to withstand a crash. FTA has supported trade groups that have developed and published voluntary standards, he said.

In Washington, Metrorail officials blame money. The system has 296 rail cars that were built more than 30 years ago, and it hasn't had enough money to cover the estimated $888 million needed to replace them, spokeswoman Candace Smith said.

But the agency's chief, John Catoe, said the system's trains were safe.

"Any crash at that rate of speed will have severe damage to the structure," Catoe said of Monday's crash, in which one train sped into the rear of another train that had stopped on the track.

Transit officials elsewhere in the country defended their trains, with some arguing their cars meet tough Federal Railroad Administration standards for crashworthiness.

Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the Boston area's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said that system's preventive maintenance program keeps its rail cars "safe and reliable at a reasonable cost."

The federal government said it will take more than $50 billion to bring commuter trains into good repair that serve Washington and the nation's other metropolitan areas, according to its report earlier this year. Obama's $787 billion stimulus program provides $8.4 billion for public transportation, which states are spending to buy new rail cars, build train stations and expand bus services.

The industry is working to make subway cars safer, said Martin P. Schroeder, chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Rail Transit Vehicle Standards Committee. It has created its own crash standards for rail cars, but Schroeder noted that a subway car's crashworthiness is the passenger's last line of defense, since signals and operators are better positioned to avoid accidents.

"It's not as if we've ignored the problem," Schroeder said.

------

Associated Press writers Matt Apuzzo, Kimberly Hefling and Brett Zongker contributed to this report.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 03:39 AM   #667
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That's what happens when the federal, state, and local governments ignore and underfund mass transit. You get shitty service and shitty rolling stock. This type of thing wouldn't happen in Western Europe or Asia. They take care of their transit systems over there.
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Old June 27th, 2009, 07:01 AM   #668
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Philly area transit upgrades anticrash systems
24 June 2009

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Transit officials are trying to reduce the chances of a crash happening in the Philadelphia area like the fatal train crash this week in Washington, D.C.,

Jeffrey Knueppel (NOO'-pel) is the assistant general manager for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. He says SEPTA has spent more than $200 million over past decade upgrading the signal systems on subway lines and trolleys to meet new federal standards.

He says the SEPTA system is designed to override operator error and apply the brakes on a train automatically if a train encounters an emergency.

New Jersey Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett-Hackett says automatic collision avoidance systems also are in place on NJT lines.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 07:07 PM   #669
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Light rail marks 6 months of service
29 June 2009

PHOENIX (AP) - After six months, light rail riders are giving the trains running between Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa a thumbs up.

"It's very easy, very straightforward. Everything is clearly marked," said light rail rider M. Davis of Tempe.

Monthly ridership rose from 911,883 in January to 1,044,135 in April before dropping to 928,259 in May.

Metro light rail says ridership dipped in May because students from Arizona State University were out of school and winter visitors had returned home.

Iain Woessner, an ASU student, said he began riding light rail to the university's downtown Phoenix campus since light-rail service began.

"With traffic and the cost of gas, it's cheaper than driving," he said. "I think more and more people are catching on that it's a pretty convenient way to get around."

One recurring problem, accidents between light-rail trains and vehicles.

"Most of the time, the accident occurred because the driver didn't obey a red light or arrow," said Hillary Foose, public-information officer for Metro light rail.

On average, damage to train cars has been moderate and mostly aesthetic, Foose said.

Another thing that's become confusing, when, where and how to use fare cards.

The platinum pass has led to some problems because riders think it's a membership pass, and thus believe they simply need to have it on them. "But they really need to be validating that card on an orange pad every time they use it," Foose said. "It's a pay-as-you-use card."

Light rail said it plans to tackle both issues by continuing with education campaigns for pedestrians, riders and drivers.

------

Information from: The Arizona Republic
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Old June 30th, 2009, 04:54 AM   #670
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Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. This is Howard Street along the light rail line in Baltimore.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 08:51 AM   #671
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Revitalize neighborhoods? Unclog traffic?

How about these two instead: accommodate growth, and help people get around without cars. And a third: help the city grow in a denser pattern.

The situation varies by city. But the headline seems to paint a broad brush.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 05:48 PM   #672
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
"Most of the time, the accident occurred because the driver didn't obey a red light or arrow," said Hillary Foose, public-information officer for Metro light rail.
Is it really this hard to notice that tiny metal structure called tram(or whatever you call them)?
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Old June 30th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #673
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RawLee View Post
Is it really this hard to notice that tiny metal structure called tram(or whatever you call them)?
American drivers are some of the worst drivers in the world.

American Drivers do not like to obey signs, and pay attention to the road. When Rail opponents fail to stop systems from being built, they tend to attack systems that contain at-grade portions. They claim that having a system at grade is the reason why there are accidents. Almost all accidents can be avoided, if the drivers obeyed the law, and paid attention to their surroundings. It is no different than the driver who cuts you off on the highway.

We need more simple systems. I fear that many cities are overbuilding their Light Rail systems. There is no reason to have barrier gates at every intersection, or elevated structures, when a surface ROW can suffice.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 01:07 PM   #674
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. This is Howard Street along the light rail line in Baltimore.
And this is Westlake Ave in Seattle:

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Old July 2nd, 2009, 03:13 PM   #675
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And this is in Jersey in 2001:



Yeah, so I say it works.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 03:46 AM   #676
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoulderGrad View Post
And this is Westlake Ave in Seattle:

The ridership seems very low, but the area is transforming nonetheless. Maybe people will start riding it then?
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 10:04 AM   #677
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The SLUT is apparently ahead of projections. But the projections for the first year or two were low. They built it before the Amazon headquarters, the full South Lake Union Park, and the numerous other buildings recently completed or nearing completion along the line, like Enso, Rollin, 1918 8th, West 8th, etc. Eventually, the current line will be in the middle of a ton of stuff, just not yet.

But really, to be a high-ridership line it needs to go farther. Currently the entire line is easy walking distance. Going north on Eastlake, to the top of the hill, would be fantastic, since that's becoming a fairly high density the whole way, and getting up the hill would be a big reason for people to use it.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 12:28 PM   #678
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You named a project slut?
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 05:13 PM   #679
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The official name is South Lake Union Streetcar, but the more popular name is South Lake Union Trolley (SLUT). Each tourist shop in the area seems to have their own T-shirt design based on the name SLUT.

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Old July 3rd, 2009, 05:18 PM   #680
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinB View Post
...
Yeah, so I say it works.
In the Philadelphia area, the subway lines extend to North Philadelphia and extend across the river to Camden, NJ. In New York City, the subway lines extend through Harlem to the South Bronx. In Boston, the subway extends through Roxbury. These are some of the most notorious slums in the northeastern United States. Rail transit does not automatically bring prosperity.

Rail transit should be about moving large numbers of people through congested corridors. I get suspicious when the chief benefit touted for a new line is real estate development. This often is the case for streetcar lines that have projected ridership too low to qualify for federal funding. My understanding is that Portland now has a streetcar expansion project that does actually qualify for significant federal funding. Most other proposed streetcar lines don't qualify.

Last edited by greg_christine; July 3rd, 2009 at 05:32 PM.
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