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Old May 14th, 2014, 05:49 AM   #2341
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manitopiaaa View Post
the insane expense of underground stations
Me, I suppose your basement brain ache be the problem. Just on what might you yourself suppose corresponding insane savings have been spent on, or are you just one of dem -uhm- ♪marvelous♪ believers?
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Old May 14th, 2014, 08:55 AM   #2342
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This stupid idea of building LRT underground is what Toronto is doing and hence gthe world's most expensive LRT project.........20km for $6 billion yet not entirely grade separated so still has to wait for lights, traffic, is far more expensive to run as it can't be automated, and cannot be run near as frequently greatly reducing capacity.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 01:06 PM   #2343
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The only explanation I can find for why Seattle is building light rail is that the politicians who made the decisions envy Portland.

Light rail should offer cost savings by permitting the line to be built in the medians of city streets, but this hasn't been done in Seattle except for the Rainier Valley segment. From what I've seen, the future extensions are being planned as grade-segregated. At one time, the future segment through Bellevue was envisioned as being at-grade, but now a tunnel is planned for that segment. Building light rail in a tunnel might be even more expensive than building a metro because the tunnel must be large enough to accommodate the overhead wires. There definitely aren't any cost savings relative to a metro, and the light rail trains don't offer quite the same performance. In this instance, building light rail just doesn't make much sense.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 10:04 PM   #2344
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One major difference is capacity. Our light rail cars can carry 200 people, and after u-link opens in 2016 sound transit will be operating 4 car trains every 6 minutes during peak hours. Portland's light rail, and many others are not operating anywhere near this capacity or frequency. Also after the busses get kicked out of the tunnel frequency will be increased once again, and then again in 2021 when more lines open.
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Old May 17th, 2014, 08:21 AM   #2345
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Yeah I guess tunnels for light rail would have to room for overhead wires. But don't some heavy rail train cars use overhead wires also. I'm pretty sure a lot of the metro's in Japan use overhead wires. But I do think if your gonna go to the trouble of tunneling you might as well spring for heavy rail.
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Old May 17th, 2014, 11:08 AM   #2346
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Quote:
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Yeah I guess tunnels for light rail would have to room for overhead wires. But don't some heavy rail train cars use overhead wires also. I'm pretty sure a lot of the metro's in Japan use overhead wires. But I do think if your gonna go to the trouble of tunneling you might as well spring for heavy rail.
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Old May 17th, 2014, 04:05 PM   #2347
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The only explanation I can find for why Seattle is building light rail is that the politicians who made the decisions envy Portland.

Light rail should offer cost savings by permitting the line to be built in the medians of city streets, but this hasn't been done in Seattle except for the Rainier Valley segment. From what I've seen, the future extensions are being planned as grade-segregated. At one time, the future segment through Bellevue was envisioned as being at-grade, but now a tunnel is planned for that segment. Building light rail in a tunnel might be even more expensive than building a metro because the tunnel must be large enough to accommodate the overhead wires. There definitely aren't any cost savings relative to a metro, and the light rail trains don't offer quite the same performance. In this instance, building light rail just doesn't make much sense.

Why not look north, to Vancouver & their Skytrain?
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Old May 19th, 2014, 07:28 AM   #2348
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Quote:
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It wasn't "Free", the split was about 20/80 for a pretty comprehensive system. An older Seattlite might have a better summary, but it was a pretty close vote in the era that most cities thought freeways were the way of the future.
Is there no possibility to upgrading parts of the light rail system to heavy rail? Vancouver Sky Train has 47 stations and the metro is much smaller than Seattle's. Sound Transit by comparison only has 20 stations which are merely light rail. Seems like if Vancouver can accomodate 47 heavy rail metro stations, then Seattle can too.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 03:05 AM   #2349
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manitopiaaa View Post
Is there no possibility to upgrading parts of the light rail system to heavy rail? Vancouver Sky Train has 47 stations and the metro is much smaller than Seattle's. Sound Transit by comparison only has 20 stations which are merely light rail. Seems like if Vancouver can accomodate 47 heavy rail metro stations, then Seattle can too.
There are a few at-grade sections that would need to be buried or elevated in order for that to happen.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 05:17 AM   #2350
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Two major differences: Vancouver is significantly denser, in America if you try to live a careless lifestyle outside of a major urban district you're barely considered a human.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 06:27 PM   #2351
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This is why Seattle appears to be copying Portland

Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The only explanation I can find for why Seattle is building light rail is that the politicians who made the decisions envy Portland.

Light rail should offer cost savings by permitting the line to be built in the medians of city streets, but this hasn't been done in Seattle except for the Rainier Valley segment. From what I've seen, the future extensions are being planned as grade-segregated. At one time, the future segment through Bellevue was envisioned as being at-grade, but now a tunnel is planned for that segment. Building light rail in a tunnel might be even more expensive than building a metro because the tunnel must be large enough to accommodate the overhead wires. There definitely aren't any cost savings relative to a metro, and the light rail trains don't offer quite the same performance. In this instance, building light rail just doesn't make much sense.
The United States has had two major periods of building urban railroads: the first during the first quarter of the 20th Century, and, the 2nd from about 1985 until now. Light rail (interurbans) and streetcar lines during the first period were built by private enterprise primarily to develop property. During the second period, light rail, streetcar lines, and, commuter lines have been built by local governments with some federal money for the purpose of redeveloping property. In addition, during the first period private rail transportation was built with almost no government regulation other than a charter, issued by local governments. Consequently, rail lines were built quickly. During the current period of construction, government not only "owns" what is built (in most cases), but, has vast regulatory powers, particularly on the Federal level. Consequently, the time required between initial proposal and completion can take many years. The interaction between government ownership of urban passenger transportation and the length of time that is required to deal with the regulatory jungle, has resulted in light rail and commuter rail being primarily concerned with localized property redevelopment and the election money provided by property owners.

The combination of these two factors results in bad right-of-way decisions from a ridership standpoint, and, very high construction costs.

Anyone who studies (and has ridden) public transportation systems in other affluent or soon to be affluent nations will be struck by how cohesive and integrated public rail transportation systems are (or becoming) in cities like Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin, Paris, Beijing, Seoul, Mexico City, and Bangkok. I suspect that the primary reason has been that federal money and political will in many cities worldwide exceeds the power of local property developers, which, in the current steel rail public transportation environment in the US is not the case.

The question, as always, concerns power, and, who wields that power. If the power is concentrated in a local moneyed elite, and, public works projects are financed locally, any development will be to the advantage of that elite. If public works projects are financed on a federal level more emphasis will tend to be placed on building a national icon which works well and shows federal concern for the "public."

There are hybrids of the two approaches, such as in Japan, where, in exchange for extensive tax credits, private urban passenger railroads develop company owned property in exchange for insuring that the rail system WORKS.
This hybrid approach enables private railway companies to subsidize money loosing passenger rail operations with company owned office buildings and retail space.

Last edited by billfranklin; May 20th, 2014 at 06:35 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 07:41 AM   #2352
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The only explanation I can find for why Seattle is building light rail is that the politicians who made the decisions envy Portland.

Light rail should offer cost savings by permitting the line to be built in the medians of city streets, but this hasn't been done in Seattle except for the Rainier Valley segment. From what I've seen, the future extensions are being planned as grade-segregated. At one time, the future segment through Bellevue was envisioned as being at-grade, but now a tunnel is planned for that segment. Building light rail in a tunnel might be even more expensive than building a metro because the tunnel must be large enough to accommodate the overhead wires. There definitely aren't any cost savings relative to a metro, and the light rail trains don't offer quite the same performance. In this instance, building light rail just doesn't make much sense.
Seattle is seeking to avoid all the mistakes Portlanders made with their light rail network. Believe me, it is not envy that drives them...
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Old May 22nd, 2014, 03:03 AM   #2353
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There are no mistakes Portland has made that are as big as the mistake Seattle made in building a system that costs as much as a metro but has the constraints on speed and headways of light rail.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 09:00 AM   #2354
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Courtesy of Eric

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

Seattle by transbay, on Flickr

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Old May 23rd, 2014, 09:52 AM   #2355
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Having ridden Portland and Seattle's systems multiple times I can tell you that simply isn't true. Seattle's is much faster than Portland's. They are both at grade but Seattle's is separated from traffic, Portland's isn't. The restraints on headway are temporary. Currently link is running every 7.5 minuteS during peak (which I think is already better than Portland's) in 2016 headway will improve to every 6 minutes, with further headway improvements occurring as the busses get kicked out of the tunnel and as more lines open. Also a four car link train can carry 800 people whereas In Portland a four car train can carry 480.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 10:22 AM   #2356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seapug View Post
Having ridden Portland and Seattle's systems multiple times I can tell you that simply isn't true. Seattle's is much faster than Portland's. They are both at grade but Seattle's is separated from traffic, Portland's isn't. The restraints on headway are temporary. Currently link is running every 7.5 minuteS during peak (which I think is already better than Portland's) in 2016 headway will improve to every 6 minutes, with further headway improvements occurring as the busses get kicked out of the tunnel and as more lines open. Also a four car link train can carry 800 people whereas In Portland a four car train can carry 480.
Yes, comparisons to Portland's system have been unfair. Seattle's current and future system are definitely a step up from Portland.

The point seems to be (whether true or not) is that for a relatively small percentage more than what we paid for an above average light rail system, we could have had an excellent heavy rail system.

I think that's a bit of an over simplification. There were lots of pressures that prevented many elements that would be needed for us to have a fully grade separated system (e.g. The idea that the bus tunnel needed to be shared, South Seattle not wanting an elevated route, so we got at grade instead of a more expensive tunnel, etc), but it is nice to dream about what could have been.

Imagine Seattle building a DC Metro or a Hong Kong MTR (complete with airport express!) on the routes laid out by the Seattle Subway guys. No more sitting in I-5 traffic jams or a bus stuck on Denny or plodding thru downtown.
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Old May 25th, 2014, 12:33 PM   #2357
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Thank you! That's exactly right.
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Old May 28th, 2014, 07:51 AM   #2358
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I don't think Central Link would have been built if a heavy metro were chosen instead of light rail, for the simple reason that the cost of the initial line would have been considerably greater if the whole route had to be grade-separated. Sound Transit saved hundreds of millions running at-grade along MLK Way. Without that savings, I don't think they could have started that line, and I don't know if the Feds would have entered a full funding grant agreement for their contribution to the initial line. Without those funds, the initial line couldn't have gone forward.

Another factor overlooked: residents in the Rainier Valley opposed an aerial alignment along MLK Way. Sound Transit is not an omni-powerful agency that can impose a route where it choses. It's a collaborative body of city and county governments that requires permitting approval by each municipality that a line runs through. The recent downtown Bellevue tunnel situation is a great example of this. Had ST not agreed to a tunnel and a station at the city hall (a compromise I hate, by the way), the agency would have had to have fought the City of Bellevue, which would require years of litigation and likely kill East Link. For the initial segment, ST went with the alignment, at-grade, that residents along MLK Way supported (or least had less opposition to). The fact that light rail can function at a variety of alignments gives the agency the flexibility needed to extend the system through jurisdictions with less then welcoming attitudes toward rail transit.
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Old May 30th, 2014, 04:52 PM   #2359
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From Sound Transit, construction progress of pedestrian underpass under Broadway for Capitol Hill station:


Construction of the pedestrian concourse under Broadway by SoundTransit, on Flickr


Construction of the pedestrian concourse under Broadway by SoundTransit, on Flickr


Construction of the pedestrian concourse under Broadway by SoundTransit, on Flickr
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Old June 13th, 2014, 10:16 PM   #2360
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Progress on University Link, Capitol Hill station:

CHS AWP Install at Southwest Wall of Central Station by SoundTransit, on Flickr

CHS Crew Placing Rat Slab at West Entry Elevator Pit.JPG by SoundTransit, on Flickr

CHS North Entry Remove Formwork by SoundTransit, on Flickr

CHS Overview of West Entry Progress From East Side.JPG by SoundTransit, on Flickr\

CHS Concrete Pump Truck and Crew Placing Concrete at South Entry Cell Fill Location.JPG by SoundTransit, on Flickr

CHS Northwest Construction Crew Removing Soldier Piles and Lagging on East Wall.JPG by SoundTransit, on Flickr

CHS Concrete Pump Truck Set Up at Pour No 5 Placement.JPG by SoundTransit, on Flickr

Around University station:

NWC Mtlk Blvd by SoundTransit, on Flickr


NW Paving Mltk Blvd 01 by SoundTransit, on Flickr

University station entrance:

Crawl Door Co. Roll Dn door Escal. 2-3 grade 02 by SoundTransit, on Flickr

And inside of tunnel:

Rail clipping machine at station 1112+50 SB by SoundTransit, on Flickr

Track set up for de-stressing at station 1130+20 SB by SoundTransit, on Flickr
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