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Old July 3rd, 2009, 05:42 PM   #681
Northsider
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Quote:
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.
Oh please! Sure there are terrible drivers here, but cmon...drive in Manila, Sao Paulo, etc and see how many drivers obey signs, lanes, signals, etc.
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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.
The primary purpose of course is to move people. However, a secondary, and probably equally as important, benefit is economic development.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 07:20 PM   #682
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
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.


We are talking about current streetcar projects. Not subway lines that were built in the early 20th Century. And where do you get off calling Harlem a slum? I visited Harlem last year, and it was vibrant. Yeah, there were problems in the past, but almost all American Cities were going through crisis in the 60's, and 70's.
Sorry, not every area can be picket fences, with a BMW in the driveway.

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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.
The Primary of any TRANSIT is to move people. Of course. But rail transit, especially surface rail such as LRT, and Streetcar seem to be having added benefit of economic development, and bring life back to neighborhoods.

Well, everyone knows the Bush Administration set the rules such that streetcars would never get funding. Hopefully that will change with Obama, especially when all transit professionals agree the process to get funding through the program is cumbersome, and overly bureaucratic. The Obama administration believes in livable communities, and streetcars can play a siginificant role in that. From what I understand, Small Starts will now include economic development as a factor in getting funding. Most streetcars may not have qualified under Bush, but if the Portland Streetcar is any indication, you can bet cities will be lining to get funds for their streetcar projects.
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 08:06 PM   #683
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transit can sometimes be the final piece of the puzzle so to speak if an area is strong in every way but deficient in mobility. I don't know the deal with Baltimore but there are probably many large reasons why Howard Street isn't a nice area.

That was the case in Portland, downtown was thriving and there was serious demand to bulldoze and redevelop the old warehouse district to the north. The only thing that was missing was easy parking, instead the city needed some kind of people mover to link the areas so that both residents and suburban shoppers could hop on and traverse the district with ease. Whether this was a valid use of taxpayer funds or what is open to debate but I want to bet Portland and those other cities scored a slam dunk in the long run.

Still you can deride it for being a bit snobby and unreal. Like the McDonalds commercials for their coffee. Is it "urban" or is it "urbane"

If we should open a debate it ought to be whether rail is the right mode, or if upgraded bus service would be more flexible and cost effective. Baltimore is also trying out a circulator and DC has had one for a while and they are supposed to be fairly sucessful.

Last edited by zaphod; July 3rd, 2009 at 08:15 PM.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 01:59 PM   #684
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We are talking about current streetcar projects. Not subway lines that were built in the early 20th Century.
So you think that New York City should replace the subway lines with streetcar lines???

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinB View Post
I visited Harlem last year, and it was vibrant. Yeah, there were problems in the past, but almost all American Cities were going through crisis in the 60's, and 70's.
Sorry, not every area can be picket fences, with a BMW in the driveway.
Harlem is not as bad as it used to be, but I still wouldn't care to live there. I'd choose a place with picket fences and BMWs int he driveways.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 03:54 PM   #685
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So you think that New York City should replace the subway lines with streetcar lines???
Yes.... Yes they should.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 07:07 PM   #686
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Federal transportation secretary visits Portland, praises first US-made streetcar in decades
2 July 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - President Obama's transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, has words of praise for both this city's mass transit and the first U.S.-made streetcar in decades.

LaHood told Oregon's congressional delegation on Wednesday that the region's commitment to rail transit will bring federal money, good local jobs and economic growth.

During the visit, Oregon Iron Works' subsidiary United Streetcar unveiled its first streetcar, which will be used in a few years on a Portland route.

The Oregonian reports the secretary also got an earful of complaints about federal mass transit policies from regional policymakers.

Seattle Transportation Department Director Grace Crunican told him the Federal Transit Administration has been almost an anti-transit agency. Let it be the pro-transit agency again, she told the secretary.

Portland's commitment to public transportation and its visionary streetcar system have made it one of the most livable and economically vibrant cities in America, LaHood said.

His visit was intended to underscore the administration's commitment to mass transit and walkable, mixed-use real estate development across the nation. It also comes as Congress and LaHood haggle over a six-year transportation bill that could provide federal money for streetcar construction, and potential United Streetcar customers.

The secretary toured United Streetcar's Clackamas factory and then sat down to talk mass transit policy with about 30 policymakers, union leaders and rail industry suppliers.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, wrote a program called Small Starts that was intended to provide federal money for streetcars, but said the Bush administration slanted implementation to favor bus projects. Unlike highways and bridges, light rail and streetcar projects are held to strict cost-effectiveness standards that Blumenauer says bear little resemblance to reality.

Former Portland City Council member Charlie Hales said he took a job at national engineering firm HDR Inc. to help spread streetcars across the nation, but federal reviews have thwarted projects.

In this recession, perhaps 60 cities nationwide that want to build streetcar lines are running out of local money to spend, and running out of time to wait for the federal government, Hales said.

The secretary said he got the message but defended the use of cost-benefit analyses for mass transit projects.

"What I got is, there's a lot of frustration and I've heard that before," said LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois. "We've got to make sure that when we fund projects, that taxpayer money is well spent."

------

Information from: The Oregonian
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Old July 4th, 2009, 08:38 PM   #687
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Harlem is not as bad as it used to be, but I still wouldn't care to live there. I'd choose a place with picket fences and BMWs int he driveways.
Picket fences? BMWs?
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Old July 5th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #688
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Well, good for him...

San Juan is getting a US-made streetcar. xDDD
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Old July 5th, 2009, 01:51 PM   #689
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Originally Posted by JustinB View Post
Yes.... Yes they should.
Not even Light Rail Now would suggest replacing the New York Subway with streetcars.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 01:54 PM   #690
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Picket fences? BMWs?
Actually, I walked through my neighborhood yesterday and didn't see any BMWs or picket fences.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:25 PM   #691
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Not even Light Rail Now would suggest replacing the New York Subway with streetcars.
Even Lightrailnow would see my post was sarcastic.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 01:38 AM   #692
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What's wrong with picket fences and BMW's? I have both. Does that make me subhuman or something?
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Old July 6th, 2009, 02:53 AM   #693
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Not even Light Rail Now would suggest replacing the New York Subway with streetcars.
Not replace, but complement, like they once did.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 05:01 AM   #694
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It was proposed years ago that 42nd street in New York be converted to a pedestrian mall, with light rail going down the center from river to river, but like most mass transit projects in NYC, it went no where.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 07:26 AM   #695
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yea, but the Bloomberg Administration revived it so, technically they've shown interest so all hope is not lost...
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Old July 7th, 2009, 07:28 PM   #696
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Minnesota's 2nd light-rail line moves further off drawing board this week
6 July 2009

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A long-in-the-works Minnesota light-rail line is taking some steps forward this week.

Utility relocation crews will be doing preliminary work along the Central Corridor line that will connect the Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns. The actual relocation of water lines and storm and sanitary sewers is due to start later this summer.

When built, it will be Minnesota's second light-rail line. The first route moves passengers on a corridor through Minneapolis, the airport and the Mall of America.

The goal is to start construction on the new 11-mile line next year and have it up and running by 2014.

It is being built with a combination of state, local and federal dollars.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 04:05 AM   #697
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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.

New light rail systems have been most successful in cities which have already been growing with a steady stream of new development: San Diego, Portland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Houston, etc.

New light rail starts in older cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Baltimore, St. Louis, have provided better service options for mostly transit dependent riders, while having a more limited impact in terms of revitalizing downtowns & neighborhoods.

Its great that Phoenix's finally has a light rail after 20 years of misstarts. The timing isn't the best though as far as the local development picture goes. Who knows though, it would be fantastic if the light rail helps to spark a recovery in the Valley of the Sun.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 06:58 AM   #698
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MBTA to receive $51M in federal stimulus aid
9 July 2009

BOSTON (AP) - The beleaguered MBTA is getting a much-needed boost in federal stimulus dollars.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday that Massachusetts is receiving $64.3 million from the stimulus program to improve public transit systems.

The bulk of the money, $51.5 million, will go to the cash-strapped Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to pay for upgrades to stations, the installation of tunnel signs and signal system improvements.

The majority of the MBTA's share of funding covers commuter rail improvements, including projects leading to the double-tracking of the Haverhill and Fitchburg lines.

Another $12.8 million will go for the construction of the Franklin County Regional Transit Center in downtown Greenfield.

The MBTA is considering fare hikes in part to cover rising debt costs.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 09:13 AM   #699
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if only Canadian cities could receive as much money as US cities for public transport... I think we wouldn't need cars anymore!
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Old July 14th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #700
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Transit funding is important, but even more important is to increase densities to the point where they can sustain mass transit. That is the ultimate long-term solution.
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