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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #701
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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.
But the catch 22, is that cities can't reach that density until there is mass transit to sustain it...
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Old July 15th, 2009, 07:40 PM   #702
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But the catch 22, is that cities can't reach that density until there is mass transit to sustain it...
The first step has to be intensification. Or else the problem will never be solved. If they can only plan and build cities right in the first place ... now we may have a problem that will last a few generations.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #703
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So, we should concentrate on cycling infrastructure and pedestrian infrastructure first?
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Old July 21st, 2009, 07:51 PM   #704
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After decades of setbacks and political wrangling, light-rail trains begin running in Seattle
15 July 2009

SEATTLE (AP) - More than four decades after political wrangling and recession ran a mass transit rail plan for Seattle off the tracks, trains are finally running.

Passenger service on the new Link system begins Saturday with live music, free rides and shuttle service to some stations, ending the city's dubious status as one of the nation's largest without a dedicated rail transit system.

"I'm very excited about it," said Nicole Von Suhr, 43, an emergency room physician who lives a few blocks from a new light rail station in south Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood. She said she looks forward to taking it to the airport and downtown.

Officials are planning for 40,000 to 50,000 riders on opening day, when the Seattle Sounders will be playing a soccer exhibition game with Chelsea of the English Premier League before some 60,000 fans and thousands will be heading out to the daylong Bite of Seattle restaurant festival at the Seattle Center.

After that, average daily ridership is projected at 26,000 riders, based on figures from the startup of a system in Phoenix in December, said Joni Earl, chief executive of Sound Transit, the three-county agency that is building and operating the system.

Sixty days of test runs began in May over the 13.9-mile light-rail line between the downtown area and a station north of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The remaining 1.7-mile section of track to the airport is set to open in December.

The line is probably the most complicated system in the country, as it runs through tunnels beneath downtown and Beacon Hill, at street grade in the city's south end and on elevated tracks to the airport, Earl said.

Work has started on a line running northeast from downtown to the University of Washington. Last year, voters approved extensions to the north, south and east that will boost the network to 55 miles by 2023. Longer-term plans call for trains to run south to Tacoma, north to Everett and east to Redmond.

To see the trains finally rolling is a joy for Jim Ellis, 87, a retired municipal bond lawyer who has been advocating rail transit in Seattle for more than 40 years.

"It really feels good. It's been a long time coming," said Ellis. "I was fearing that it might not happen."

In 1968 Ellis was the moving force behind a heavy rail transit plan that failed at the polls when suburban opposition swamped support in the city. Voters again rejected rail transit in 1970 as a Boeing Co. tailspin plunged the area into recession.

"Nobody was willing to vote for anything that cost money," Ellis recalled.

With the second defeat, $765 million in federal matching money -- more than $4.73 billion in today's dollars -- went instead to build trains in Atlanta.

Debate over what to do next raged for decades as Seattle became one of the worst cities in the country for traffic congestion.

Sound Transit, formed by a public vote in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in 1996, began with long-range commuter buses and Sounder commuter trains that run a few times a day on regular railroad tracks to suburbs north and south of Seattle.

Meanwhile, Seattle voters unhappy with the regional agency's limited plans for service in the city itself approved a separate monorail system, only to kill it in 2005 in the face of looming budget shortfalls.

At Sound Transit, repeated cost overruns and management problems culminated in a highly critical federal audit shortly before Earl took over in 2001. The agency got a clean bill of health two years later and has largely kept within its budgets and timelines since then.

Construction of the line has helped transform some of Seattle's grittiest neighborhoods. Artworks costing nearly $5.6 million have been installed along a route once pockmarked with used car lots, dingy motels and partly vacant strip malls.

Across from one station stands Victoria Fuller's "Global Garden Shovel," a 35-foot blue spade covered with bronze vegetables and fruits. Another features Augusta Asberry's "Come Dance With Me," three cut-steel groupings of African-American women. A third is Darlene Nguyen-Ely's "Dragonfly," a fanciful, brushed aluminum insect.

Test trains have been running for weeks, with no major accidents or injuries to motorists or pedestrians. Neighbors in Tukwila have complained about screeching from train wheels, so sound barriers will likely be added or nearby homes will be provided with soundproofing, agency officials said.

Sound Transit critics remain dubious. Real estate developer Kemper Freeman Jr. has been fighting rail-based mass transit as long as Ellis has been pushing for it. Freeman contends expanding bus service would have been cheaper and more effective because the region isn't densely populated enough to completely embrace rail transit.

"We're choosing the most expensive, least effective type of transit," Freeman said. "It literally takes the density of a Manhattan to make these things work, and this is just not Manhattan."

At the weekly farmers market three blocks east of the Columbia City station, Dona Burke, 56, whose job in rehabilitation and addiction services begins at 5 a.m., questioned whether there would be adequate off-hours service and security.

"We've got people that will have a little commute to the transit," she said. "At five in the morning, you have to be watchful where you're walking."
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Old July 25th, 2009, 04:55 AM   #705
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
After decades of setbacks and political wrangling, light-rail trains begin running in Seattle
15 July 2009
To see the trains finally rolling is a joy for Jim Ellis, 87, a retired municipal bond lawyer who has been advocating rail transit in Seattle for more than 40 years.

"It really feels good. It's been a long time coming," said Ellis. "I was fearing that it might not happen."

In 1968 Ellis was the moving force behind a heavy rail transit plan that failed at the polls when suburban opposition swamped support in the city. Voters again rejected rail transit in 1970 as a Boeing Co. tailspin plunged the area into recession.

"Nobody was willing to vote for anything that cost money," Ellis recalled.

With the second defeat, $765 million in federal matching money -- more than $4.73 billion in today's dollars -- went instead to build trains in Atlanta.
Now that was a real missed opportunity for Seattle, too bad they didn't build it, it then!
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Old July 26th, 2009, 04:40 AM   #706
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Kicking ourselves about that is a local sport.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 06:11 PM   #707
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Slight glitch! Some teething problems for the new system :

Power outage disrupts Seattle light rail ]
23 July 2009

SEATTLE (AP) - Seattle's new light rail service through the downtown transit tunnel was disrupted for hours Thursday when an electrical problem knocked out signals that keep trains and transit buses separated.

Bus service through the 1.3-mile tunnel remained normal and trains continued to operate as scheduled between the Stadium Station near Quest and Safeco fields, south of the tunnel entrance, and the southern end of the line near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick said.

Sound Transit opened the 13.9-mile light rail line between downtown and the airport Saturday. A 1.7-mile extension to the airport is scheduled to open by the end of the year, and a suburban expansion north, south and east of the city is planned that would take the system to 55 miles by 2023.

No one was injured in the disruption, which began shortly before 9:30 a.m. with "some type of power anomaly that's not been identified" in the Pioneer Square Station near the southern end of the tunnel, Patrick said.

The problem triggered a shutdown of the signal system, which includes monitors that provide the location of each bus and train moving through the tunnel, he said.

Buses have room to maneuver around trains at each station but not within the narrower passages between stations.

Patrick said electricity within the tunnel never was out. Two trains moving through it when the signal system went down were guided into stations manually by transit workers, passengers disembarked and the trains were driven out of the tunnel, he said.

"Well, it kind of spoiled my day," commuter Jehron Thogersen told KING Television. "I realize they have some wrinkles to iron out."
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Old August 18th, 2009, 05:08 AM   #708
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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.
The philly subway system does not leave the CBD. The lines that run to NJ are PATCO and operated by the DRPA. Harlem is one neighborhood in northern manhattan that is basically just like the rest of northern manhattan, no slums. The real poverty is in south bronx where people have all most nothing.

When an area of old warehouses or abandoned unused rail yards is turned into a vital business district i say that can be good as long as the rail yard is 100% not needed for any future rail operations, and parking is built into the buildings such as at Exchange Place in JC.

- A
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Old August 21st, 2009, 05:32 AM   #709
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Keep Moving Forward

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Friday, July 10, 2009
Keep Moving Forward

I think it's important to remember the other reasons why we need to get away from the fossil fuel based energy economy. "Global warming" and "climate change" are, perhaps, too intangible to most people. Most people, in practice, don't really seem to care about anything but their own fat comfort. Therefore, to argue for the demise of the fossil fuel economy, we have to start with things that affect the individual first, and then the local community / ecological environment.

At the top of the list is our health, as human animals, in physical health, social/mental health, and sociological/inter-cultural "getting along with others in the world community" health aspects.

We sit too much at work and in our cars, watching the world go by on a "screen" (car windows). We are breathing too much petrol exhaust and fumes from other petroleum products, such as asphalt, rubber, and solvents. Too many people are breathing and blowing smoke. In general, one cannot teach a physical skill one does not personally possess. That is why, with each new generation of drivers, we are seeing more and more slack obesity and less and less athletic physical prowess in the average populace. They are as physically helpless as a brain in a jar, and as intellectually helpless as...

Another thing too many people are afraid to face, recognize, and admit is that many people are socially isolated from one another. Many of them are unaware of this isolation. All of their "information" comes to them via relatively "controlled" media, from the few to the many. There's not anything like as much direct communicative interaction among members of the general public as there could be if they were not isolated from one another in private rolling iron cages. Too many live inside a world of words on flat screens without enough real life direct experience to be a fair judge of whether those words admit of truth relative to objective realities...

One eminent reality is that there is certainly a finite supply of fossil fuels available for the worldwide market. Even if it's debatable whether or not "oil is renewable", certainly there is a finite upper limit to the rate of production vs the rate of consumption. Since the supply is limited, and demand is high relative to supply, there is contention over possession and use of these resources. Any time there is contention over resources, there is social conflict between the haves and the have-nots.

Interjection: Why do "we" fight a war to give the oil companies control over that resource again? Trickle down theory?

Their "realities" are built upon layers of abstractions, in terms of contracts, money and markets, rather than on direct experience of concrete reality. Their perceptions are their reality, but their perceptions are too much based on words written by other people, vs, again, direct experience of reality... Pragmatically, words cannot "accurately reflect" objective reality. They are words, not the thing they attempt to represent. The thing the writer had in mind might not be what is actually conveyed to the reader...

Words and language are but a subset of "reality", and, by Gdel's incompleteness theorems, cannot even explain themselves, much less the greater reality they attempt to shadow and describe. Yet, many people seem to be unaware of this fact about language, and will take what they read as "the world itself", and react accordingly, seeing nothing outside of "the box" created by the spells they recite from newspapers. What are those spells attempting to "prove"? Who pays to have them printed, and why?

I think that because of this, people are too obsessed with the price of gasoline, the "economy", and with "everyday realities" of working for pecuniary wages (just so they can pay the futility bills, automobile loan payments, and have enough left over to put beef on their plates). They are so caught up in it that it is next to impossible, perhaps, for them to see it for what it really is, from a potentially more objective standpoint of an outside observer. They need to see that it's not the personal vehicle that makes this all possible. It's transportation. It's not money that "drives" the economy or makes huge public work projects possible; it's food, shelter, planning, materials, labor, and collective effort...

It is time for humanity to stand up on two legs and walk out into the light. If we switched from driving personal vehicles to sharing the ride in a more social form of transportation, that would necessitate slightly more walking, and it would put people near one another more directly. Perhaps there will be more opportunities to voice and hear opinions other than those sanctioned by the capitalist-hegemony-controlled mass-media...? But likelier than that, may-bee, people will begin to see each other as other human beings, judged by something other than by what kind of "standard model" car they drive, "socio-economic" class status, or by degree of conformity to some subtle norm produced by a vague and unadvertised tradition...?

People go out to meet other people, but they can't really meet other people in traffic. On the trolley, however, they can sit across from one another in an openly social public context. We need to become two legged oxygen breathing humans again, rather than fuel guzzling and smoke blowing operators of smoke blowing, waste-heat emitting machines.

We've all heard and repeated the adage "United We Stand, Divided We Fall". But in contrast to that, they've been teaching people about "individual freedoms" to the point where perhaps 'many people' ;-) might value individualism over collectivism... We're paying tax-tribute to an allegedly democratic government that is then doling out handouts to bail out the very industry that I contend is what divides us socially... This begs the question, "Is our tax-tribute money being spent according to Law, or according to men?"

There's something wrong with that picture, especially given that the automobile industry seemed to be failing to stand on it's own... I think that the people are subconsciously "voting" with their dollars, and that the car companies were essentially being "voted out of office". That "decision" then got overruled by a relatively small number of "individuals" who allegedly represent The People.

What do the people think about providing that industry with work-fare, rather than handout-welfare? Help it to transition from what it is now to what it can become. Dictate to it what it is allowed to spend that money on, and mandate that it work to reinstate our rail transit infrastructure along with a new "Smart Grid" electrical distribution system fed by aerogeneration and solar power.

Once that new energy and transportation infrastructure is in place and The People are using it, there will be a tremendous decrease in demand for fossil fuels. This will obviously eliminate the source of contention for those resources, transitively making the world a healthier, saner, and safer place to live and breath.

Please let us not forget that people learn by example. Nobles Oblige, folks. Get off your high horse SUV fat ass gas hog and help with the planning and construction. Donate materials at cost. Work for room and board. Quit leeching off the rest of us. Contention for oil leads to warfare. Cars are loud, dangerous, air and heat polluting selfish wastes of resources. That brings danger to your own doorstep by your own doing.

So, Posse, when that rich merchant oligarch "representative" shows up with a bin laden with oil, a bin laden with coal, and a bin laden with status quo, just say no, on account 'a The Slow Decline.
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Old August 22nd, 2009, 05:35 AM   #710
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http://karlhegbloom.blogspot.com/

Cars are loud, dangerous, air and heat polluting selfish wastes of resources. That brings danger to your own doorstep by your own doing.
And when cars no longer run on petrol?
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Old August 22nd, 2009, 07:24 AM   #711
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And when cars no longer run on petrol?
Then you still have congestion to deal with
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Old August 23rd, 2009, 07:00 PM   #712
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Cars are selfish, seperatist, and don't scale to this number of drivers.

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And when cars no longer run on petrol?
They will still produce traffic congestion, heat pollution, noise pollution, and danger. Cars aren't going away. I'm not arguing that we eliminate them entirely. It's just that automobile transportation does not scale to this many drivers on the road at the same time. It's a waste of fuel and material resources for most commuter trips.

If we have light rail embedded in the streets; if all of us ride electric streetcars and electric trains; and if that electricity is generated by clean, safe, and renewable means... We'll eliminate traffic congestion, air, heat, and noise pollution, and have more actual social contact with one another to boot.

Many people will opt to not own a car, and will borrow one from a company like FlexCar when they actually need one. Cars aren't going away, and there will still be times when driving your own personal vehicle will be appropriate.
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Old August 29th, 2009, 09:18 AM   #713
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What I do not like about light rail systems is the at grade tracks. I am not worried about the safety aspect, but the maximum speed of the train. The system in seattle has an at grade portion where it can only travel 35 mph while it travels 50-60 mph on the rest of the system, thus acting as a bottleneck.

I would much rather use my own car than ride a train if I would still have to wait for traffic and red lights. I believe that cities should have seperated grade rail systems that travel 60-70 mph. Using at grade tracks slows down a regional system and provides less incentive to ride. I believe that streetcars and light rail should be used as feeder systems around rapid transit stations. This would increase ridership immensely because people who would normally be unwilling to walk/bike/etc to a rapid transit station could use a streetcar instead.

Here's an example of what an average commute would be like under this kind of system:
-walk 1-3 blocks from your house/apartment to a streetcar station
-ride the streetcar to a RT station
-use your streetcar ticket as your RT ticket
-ride the metro to your desired region/area
-transfer to another streetcar and get off at a station closest to your place of work/school

Ideally 60-80% of people within a large region would be a short walking distance from a streetcar feeder
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Old August 29th, 2009, 09:32 AM   #714
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And when cars no longer run on petrol?
Even then, the amount of resources utilized to build a car that is being used by one person is outweighed by the resources utilized to build a streetcar, which can carry multiple people.

Light rail is ideally a feeder system, but if given right of way, it serves small-medium sized cities quite well. If it's at grade, traffic signals should give priority to light rail vehicles. Only then is the system somewhat feasible.

Atleast some public transit is better than none, and none is exactly what summarizes a large chunk of urban/suburban America.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 07:07 AM   #715
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Given the low densities, I doubt subways can ever make it well into suburbs. We can probably count on LRT and BRT being the best improvements.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 11:33 PM   #716
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For low density suburban areas with intense traffic, I think that monorail will be the solution. In So Paulo, Brazil, local government is discussing the construction of 6 monorail lines. They are inexpensive to build, silent, green (no fossil oil burnt), do not interfere with traffic and are not esthetically disruptive as one can see in the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) system with its sleek columns and manicured gardens below.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #717
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Portland's new Green Line light rail opens
13 September 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Tens of thousands of people took advantage of free rides as the new MAX Green Line light rail service opened between Clackamas Town Center and downtown Portland.

The line is fifth light-rail project to open in the Portland area. It runs 8.3 miles from Portland State University to the town center mall.

Transit officials estimate at least 25,000 rides were taken during the opening day Saturday. The new light rail line cost more than $575 million, with the federal government paying 60 percent.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #718
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Chastain launches yet another petition to get $2.2B KC light-rail plan on 2010 ballot
14 October 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Light-rail advocate Clay Chastain has launched another petition to get Kansas City voters to approve a light-rail system.

Chastain announced the new 35-mile light rail plan on Wednesday and said it would require several funding sources, including a 3/8-cent sales tax increase for 25 years.

The petition for the new $2.2 billion plan also includes a companion petition to change the city's charter so the City Council cannot undo a voter-approved initiative. Voters approved Chastain's 2006 plan, but the City Council later voted it down, saying it was unworkable and too costly.

Chastain hopes to gather the required 4,280 signatures for each new initiative, and get them on a 2010 ballot.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #719
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Can someone please post the web site for the US mass transit administration where they list what new projects in the US are under study, in planning and under construction?

Thanks,
Dan
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Old October 17th, 2009, 12:37 AM   #720
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http://www.fta.dot.gov/publications/...ions_7753.html

Try Appendix A.
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