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Old February 10th, 2007, 09:13 PM   #341
sequoias
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Sounds like a low ridership for a light rail line compared to other cities like Salt Lake City or others. I don't know why they count people 2 times (boarding and leaving the train) Why don't they "count" each person riding the train.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 09:32 PM   #342
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It seems to me one should be able to come up with a technology that can detect direction of travel when counting the people entering and leaving the trains. It'd be nice not to have the implicit deception from the numbers. Many people don't even know that boardings are counted that way.

The real problem with the low ridership is that the highest ridership generating population is in the University of Washington and Northgate section of the line, which isn't going to be open till later.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 09:45 PM   #343
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxom92 View Post
It seems to me one should be able to come up with a technology that can detect direction of travel when counting the people entering and leaving the trains. It'd be nice not to have the implicit deception from the numbers. Many people don't even know that boardings are counted that way.

The real problem with the low ridership is that the highest ridership generating population is in the University of Washington and Northgate section of the line, which isn't going to be open till later.
yeah because light rail don't have turnsicles to count how many people are riding the train. I guess they count it from people buying tickets at the ticket vending machine or whatever.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #344
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I think I get it...

2835 is Tacoma's daily "boardings." So hypothetically, let's pretend all of them were commuters. So 1417 people used it to work; and 1417 used it coming back? Is that how they count ridership?
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Old February 12th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kub86 View Post
I think I get it...

2835 is Tacoma's daily "boardings." So hypothetically, let's pretend all of them were commuters. So 1417 people used it to work; and 1417 used it coming back? Is that how they count ridership?
Aye, or any other demographic. You got it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoias View Post
yeah because light rail don't have turnsicles to count how many people are riding the train. I guess they count it from people buying tickets at the ticket vending machine or whatever.
Since Tacoma Link is free, we don't have to purchase tickets. The way they count the boardings is by sensors in the doorways of the train. I think they have implemented similar systems on some of the buses and will probably do the same for Central Link.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #346
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Reitterating the collision likelyhood....THE VERY NEXT DAY AFTER THE FOOT SEVERING INCIDENT ON THE BALTIMORE LIGHT RAIL....

From the Baltimore Sun

6 hurt as truck, light rail collide
Accident ties up rail service to Hunt Valley; tractor-trailer driver is given traffic ticket



By Nick Shields and Andrew Schaefer
sun reporters

February 10, 2007

A light rail train driver and five passengers were taken to hospitals with minor injuries after the train and a tractor-trailer truck collided yesterday in Hunt Valley, authorities said.

The train was derailed by the collision, leading to an interruption of service in the area.

The truck driver was traveling south on Gilroy Road near Schilling Circle about 10:45 a.m. when he made a left turn to cross the tracks, according to Maj. Stanford Franklin, a Maryland Transit Administration police spokesman.

The driver is accused of failing to heed a sign that lights up as trains approach, prohibiting left turns at the crossing, MTA officials said. The sign was functioning at the time of the accident, the officials said.

The driver, identified as Marshall F. Hartsell Jr., 65, of Prescott, Mich., was given a citation charging him with failing to yield to oncoming traffic while making a left turn, MTA officials said. The truck is owned by T.S. Expediting Services of Toledo, Ohio, according to the MTA.

There were 20 passengers on the northbound train at the time of the accident, officials Two people were taken to Greater Baltimore Medical Center and four were taken to St. Joseph Medical Center, authorities said.

After the collision, the train remained upright, but the front section was pushed several feet off the track. A damaged door from the train was in a nearby snowy area. Because the derailment disrupted light rail service, MTA provided buses for train passengers, officals said.

About 2 p.m., the train was moved to a maintenance facility, MTA officials said. Shortly thereafter, light rail service was restored, officials said.

Damage to the light rail train was estimated at $100,000, MTA officials said.

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Copyright © 2007, The Baltimore Sun | Get Sun home delivery
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Old February 14th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #347
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I have a discussion question: what would Baltimore and Seattle do at this point to reduce the number of injury/fatal accidents with light rail trains?

I don't know Baltimore, so I can't talk about specifics, but I suggest for Seattle something that's been pointed out as a lack: crossing guards at street crossings. I am unfamiliar with the detailed specifics of the traffic engineering through the Rainier Valley, mainly the pedestrian crossings. A Seattle Times article referenced here implied that there would be separate pedestrian crossings over the light rail alignment outside of the normal street intersections. Each one of these and the street intersections ought to have some physical barrier to eliminate driver error caused by not paying attention - i.e. negligence. (I wouldn't consider running through a physical barrier as preventable).

I have found a document studying light rail safety that can be accessed here: http://gulliver.trb.org/publications...crp_rpt_69.pdf

The full title of this document is as follows: Transportation Research Board's (TRB) Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 69: Light Rail Service: Pedestrian and Vehicular Safety

Now, I have not looked through the entire 150 pages, but I have looked specifically at the Portland section of the study because I am familiar with that alignment. One key paragraph talks about how, after numerous accidents after the opening of the west side extension to Hillsboro, TriMet (the Portland transit authority) implemented a number of safety enhancements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCRP Report 69
After a thorough review of the pedestrian treatments along the west-side extension, numerous safety enhancements were undertaken, including installation of pedestrian automatic gates, pedestrian swing gates, pedestrian audible warning devices, and active Train Coming/Look Both Ways signs for pedestrians.
More specifically:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCRP Report 69
The safety review focused on the following key factors:
• Pedestrian awareness of the crossing: Passive signing, tactile warning strips.
• Pedestrian awareness of approaching LRV and ability to see the LRV: Pedestrian audible warning devices, active LRV Approaching signs, adequate sight distance.
• Pedestrian path across the trackway: Pedestrian channelization, swing gates, pedestrian automatic gates.
• Pedestrian understanding of potential hazards at grade crossings: Increased public education and outreach, development of a multijurisdictional task force, and use of the Internet.
This sort of thing can be implemented in Seattle. I'm especially quick to point out that the last bullet because I suggested something of the sort in a previous post. Now, I imagine Sound Transit might do something like the outreach program closer to 2009 when light rail opens. I hope they do at any rate.

Now, this report was done in 2001 so the full data on the effectiveness of these measures was not included. Furthermore, the study only focused on the section of trackway where trains travel faster 55 kph. This part of the trackway is not within the median of Burnside, which is the section that resembles Rainier Valley. In essence, the report is not comprehensive on Portland's specific case, but there are ideas and methods within that play logically as effective deterrents to pedestrian and vehicular crossing.

Again, Sound Transit would do well to implement some of these features if they aren't being implemented currently. If the latter is the case, I'm certain it will take one too many fatalities to get the ball rolling on better safety designs.

By the way, Baltimore was also part of the study.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #348
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Wow this thread has been dead for a while.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 05:21 AM   #349
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Only a few days. If it didn't keep up, I'd double post. I don't normally like to do that. Anyhow, here's a news story that came out a couple days ago that outlines Sound Transit's ballot initiative for November 2007. It's part of the joint roads and transit package being put forward.

http://www.soundtransit.org/x4781.xml

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sound Transit
The Roads & Transit package will present to voters a unified program of investments in freeways, light- and commuter-rail, HOV lanes, park/ride lots, and express and local bus service. Key features include:

*Reduction in traffic delays
*Faster travel times
*42 miles of new light rail
*Major improvements to “highways of regional significance” and chokepoints- I-5, I-405, SR 167, SR 9, SR 509, US 2, SR 522
*10,000 new park-and-ride stalls
*New HOV lanes
*Bike lanes, side walks, better connections
*Major freight routes improved

The Roads and Transit plan is a combined effort by the Regional Transportation Investment District Board (RTID) and Sound Transit. Both agencies are governed by local elected officials in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
I highlighted the major point relevant to this discussion: a whopping 42 miles of light rail. Do you all think they can pull this off - voter, money, and time wise?
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Old February 18th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #350
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Well going form memeroy here:

Dallas' DART was voted into existance in 1983, began rail construction construction in 1990, opened 11 miles in 96, 9 more miles in 97.

Today it has 43 miles,

Currently adding 45 or so miles to be done by 2013.

so roughly First 20 miles took 7 years, next 20ish miles took 7 more years, and 45 more will be added 10 years after that...

So yeah SoundTransit *could* do it.

However (and I'm going back to DART b/c that's what i know) When DART was created plans were for almost 200 miles of rail.. that was dropped to 140... then 90... and that's about where we'll be 30 years after creation.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #351
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42 miles is meaningless figure in terms of money if we dont' know the alignment(s). At grade along existing RR ROW could be fairly inexpensive if build over a couple Federal cycles. Is that what you guys are looking at?

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Old February 18th, 2007, 11:56 PM   #352
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I think my concern is mainly political. We seem to be in a pro-transportation political climate amongst the Seattle-area voters. So, one one hand, the future is looking up for this proposal. On the other hand, there's the fight about the viaduct, mainly because of how to pay for it and where the money is coming from. This package together will total 11 billion dollars. (At least, I believe that's the joint cost. It might just be ST's portion of the bill.) I'm split about what the voter response will be. Furthermore, Sound Transit's history is shaky, with major cost overruns plaguing it's first few years of life. The public tends to remember the failures and forget the successes (or take them for granted). I'm curious to know how that will affect the bill as well.

I'm optimistic by nature, so I believe it will pass. I also believe in the package itself, so my personal vote will be yes. But those don't keep me from looking at the larger regional picture and worry about some of the quirks politics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getontrac
42 miles is meaningless figure in terms of money if we dont' know the alignment(s). At grade along existing RR ROW could be fairly inexpensive if build over a couple Federal cycles. Is that what you guys are looking at?
Most of the alignment has yet to be determined. Or I haven't seen an environmental impact statement yet on any alignment other than the portion to Northgate. Going south, I think most of it will be along SR 99, but whether that's in the median or elevated, I don't know. North, I have no clue. East it will be along I-90 over Lake Washington and then in a tunnel under downtown Bellevue. At least, the tunnel is the preferred option. Elevated and surface have also been studied.

So, I don't have specific information to the specifics of the ROW, and I think part of the plan is to use the money gained to complete EIS's and come to a hard decision on alignment.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 09:40 AM   #353
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I dont really care if its a tunnel, elevated, or at grade through downtown bellevue as long as it gets to redmond...
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Old February 28th, 2007, 12:48 AM   #354
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Let's talk about Link safety...

There is a LOT of inaccurate information in this thread, and I think I can help with some of it.

Headways in the Rainier Valley will not get that low. The six-minute peak headway will serve the system for quite some time - the heavy ridership corridors are from Northgate to Seattle and Seattle to Bellevue, neither of which cross the Rainier segment. Trains are not in their own "lane" on the street, they are either slightly above or below street grade with curb separation - design standards here were significantly different from most at-grade light rail systems. A car can't simply wander into the train's lane. They do cross at streets, all of which are receiving new streetlights. Lights will be timed for the trains. You won't see significant numbers of accidents like you saw in Denver or Portland because the at-grade segment is not in a high density area, and there are very few large cross-streets. It's very, very clear to drivers that there's rail ahead - special lit signs will warn drivers.

Ridership is lowballed for the system, and any ridership projections you see today (unless otherwise labeled) are based only on Westlake to Sea-Tac. ST isn't allowed to overestimate ridership; they're using very conservative FTA modeling so they can get New Starts grants, one of which was secured for initial segment. Another is virtually assured for extension from Westlake north to Northgate, which will add 100,000 or more riders per day to the system by itself. Note that FTA models were most recently used for the new Hiawatha line in Minneapolis, which has beat projections by 40% - FTA models don't allow you to take into account new development, only existing conditions, as I understand it.

Maximum operating speed will be 55mph for grade-separated sections, and 35mph for at-grade. There wouldn't be a significant difference between 55 and 35 in the at-grade sections were they elevated; stations are close together. I've been told that total Westlake-SeaTac time would only be about three minutes shorter on with 55mph top speeds and separation, given the same station spacing.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #355
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Thanks for clearing up that information, especially about the ridership projections. I don't know anything on how they are estimated, so it's nice to get a little info on that.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 09:29 PM   #356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmstilt View Post
Well going form memeroy here:

Dallas' DART was voted into existance in 1983, began rail construction construction in 1990, opened 11 miles in 96, 9 more miles in 97.

Today it has 43 miles,

Currently adding 45 or so miles to be done by 2013.

so roughly First 20 miles took 7 years, next 20ish miles took 7 more years, and 45 more will be added 10 years after that...

So yeah SoundTransit *could* do it.

However (and I'm going back to DART b/c that's what i know) When DART was created plans were for almost 200 miles of rail.. that was dropped to 140... then 90... and that's about where we'll be 30 years after creation.
Whoa. Be careful about claiming Sound Transit "could" do something. DART is built in completely different geography as well as using different funding sources. A lot of Sound Transit's project is underground: we have several very steep hills and a lot of existing high-density development that precludes building at or above grade. Dallas had a lot of options that Seattle does not.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 09:34 PM   #357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxom92 View Post
Thanks for clearing up that information, especially about the ridership projections. I don't know anything on how they are estimated, so it's nice to get a little info on that.
No problem.

Alignment for East Link is approximate for now. Check out the project maps in the right-hand column on this page:
http://soundtransit.org/x3245.xml

Note that as with all projects, several alternatives are presented, including several at-grade sections, but cost projections for East Link are being based on elevated alignments with and without a tunnel under downtown Bellevue.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 11:42 PM   #358
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I wasn't aware that they had maps on those pages. I have seen the maps before from a flier in the mail, but it's good to get more detailed maps. I know that Bellevue would prefer a tunnel and is vehemently opposed to an at grade option. I doubt Sound Transit will go for the at grade option, but I'm not there looking at the data, and a EIS has yet to be completed, so the final decision is still up in the air.

One of the biggest problems with light rail in Seattle is the topography and the necessity of tunnels for the majority of the alignment. It makes the project extremely expensive. Hopefully we won't have similar problems with tunneling that Portland had in their west hills. It seems to me it was a poor job on the geotechnic work, but that's an outsider relatively uniformed opinion. For the initial segment, it seems the tunneling is going fine, as the only portion of new tunnel is Beacon Hill. There was the accident and death, but that's not a geologic problem as seen in Portland.

Actually, it's questionable to consider it a problem beyond the monetary cost, considering tunnels reduce the surface footprint projects. It also allows for the trains to travel at maximum speed (barring physical impediments such as corners). It will decrease the travel time over a long distance even though the stations mitigate much of that gain over shorter distances.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 03:21 AM   #359
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxom92 View Post
I wasn't aware that they had maps on those pages. I have seen the maps before from a flier in the mail, but it's good to get more detailed maps. I know that Bellevue would prefer a tunnel and is vehemently opposed to an at grade option. I doubt Sound Transit will go for the at grade option, but I'm not there looking at the data, and a EIS has yet to be completed, so the final decision is still up in the air.

One of the biggest problems with light rail in Seattle is the topography and the necessity of tunnels for the majority of the alignment. It makes the project extremely expensive. Hopefully we won't have similar problems with tunneling that Portland had in their west hills. It seems to me it was a poor job on the geotechnic work, but that's an outsider relatively uniformed opinion. For the initial segment, it seems the tunneling is going fine, as the only portion of new tunnel is Beacon Hill. There was the accident and death, but that's not a geologic problem as seen in Portland.

Actually, it's questionable to consider it a problem beyond the monetary cost, considering tunnels reduce the surface footprint projects. It also allows for the trains to travel at maximum speed (barring physical impediments such as corners). It will decrease the travel time over a long distance even though the stations mitigate much of that gain over shorter distances.
Jax, ST will certainly not go at-grade through downtown Bellevue - the only options under serious consideration there are elevated and tunneled. I don't know when the decision is likely to be made - a lot of the specific alignment decisions will happen after the vote. This is speculation on my part, but I suspect that's largely to keep from politicizing the route.

ST knows that a lot of Seattle's hills are clay, and is budgeting to that effect. Sure, there will be geologic issues - the Beacon Hill boring is going more slowly than it's supposed to be, for instance - and hitting a house-sized boulder will seriously mess with the schedule, but ST is learning from their experiences with Beacon Hill. I don't know what happend in Portland, though - can you fill me in a bit?

Personally, I see tunneling as the best option overall for urban or planned urban areas. Sure, south to the Airport is great elevated (and the view will be nice), and I think the same holds true for a few highway-aligned sections on the eastside, but anywhere that you are going to have decent pedestrian density, you have crossing issues for at-grade and shadow/noise issues for elevated systems. Your points are excellent - higher speed, lower surface footprint (allowing higher density development)... I'm glad North Seattle will be tunneled, and I do support a Bellevue tunnel for the same reasons.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 03:25 AM   #360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
This was part of my original point.

Almost nowhere does LRT run more frequently than 5 minute headways. 3 minutes with a mostly grade-seperated line is probably the practical limit....

....I've got more on that later....

Nate
Nate, the low headway portions of Seattle's system will be entirely separated - headways will be lower in the Rainier Valley because the doubled-up section will be Northgate (and north of there) down to International District Station. South of there, some trains will go east to Bellevue and some will go down to the Rainier Valley; approximately doubling headways.
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