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Old September 20th, 2014, 02:01 PM   #941
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Berlin is full of elevated train structures already (U-Bahn and S-Bahn). It is not like I'm proposing a novelty.

I also didn't suggest a monorail between Postdamer platz and Alexander platz...
I'm aware of that. But you're proposing adding a new mode to a city that already has a comprehensive and well-functioning transport system. Why overcomplicate things when there are trams that can fulfil a medium capacity role in the city perfectly well?

You ever been to Chiba in eastern Tokyo? Or Tama in Western Tokyo? Or Osaka? Go see their monorails and tell me that you'd want one in the middle of Berlin. I've actually been on a number of monorail systems around the world and I don't see the attraction if other options are available. I'd rather see an underground metro for high capacity corridors or grade-separated light rail/trams for medium capacity. Buses can handle the rest.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 03:05 PM   #942
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Buses should be eradicated in the long term IMO. Especially longer buses running on bus lanes, which shouldn't exist and be reverted to cars.

The only monorail I've seen in operation was in Las Vegas.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 03:26 PM   #943
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Why? Buses are a pretty effective distribution system for the "last mile" from a high quality transport corridor like a metro station. If you have never seen a monorail beyond that toy in Las Vegas, then it is hard to judge the impact that such infrastructure has on the cityscape. Plenty of videos of those monorails I named (and have been on) on YouTube. See for yourself.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 04:08 PM   #944
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Why? Buses are a pretty effective distribution system for the "last mile" from a high quality transport corridor like a metro station. If you have never seen a monorail beyond that toy in Las Vegas, then it is hard to judge the impact that such infrastructure has on the cityscape. Plenty of videos of those monorails I named (and have been on) on YouTube. See for yourself.
I've watched several monorail videos. I think they are less intrusive than elevated trains. I don't see people saying the Stadbahn should be torn down and put in a tunnel, or the many elevated UBahn sectors in Berlin. Monorail is less intrusive than both.

Buses are low-tech, they should be replaced by small trams, gondolas, self-driven pods and other solutions that do away with the need of drivers. But I concede it is a 30-year plan, not a 5-year plan.

In any case, as times passes I'm more and more becoming supportive of the idea of untangling different transportation modes from each model with geometrical separation as much as possible.

Pedestrians shouldn't mix with bikes. Heavy traffic (rail, monorail, car expressways) should be elevated or tunneled. Bike lanes should have dedicated infrastructure. If ground-level has cars, than a second-layer or elevated sidewalks should exist. Keep app modes apart and create a "3D" street environment where interactions between different models happen on a planned controlled matter, not conflicting with each other.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 05:03 PM   #945
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Like in the Bijlmer area in Amsterdam, you mean? Hmm - unless a city area has been designed from the start to accommodate for (grade) separated traffic flows, I don't really see how elevated or tunneled structures would work out in existing city scapes, especially if they're densely built up. Elevated walkways may seem like a good idea, but that would entail - among other things - moving building entrances one level up as well. I don't see how that comes cheap.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 12:22 AM   #946
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The Stadtbahn took the place of the old city walls... so in fact it was born with a route naturally designed to fit into the existing city.
And it, together with most of the elevated U-Bahnen, has a classic design that doesn't make it look like an eyesore.

Yes, you could clad a monorail structure with fake stones, but in the end you would have no space gain...
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Old September 21st, 2014, 12:32 AM   #947
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I think the Stadtbahn is a great asset to the city. I find it quite beautiful actually. Old style railway viaducts are very attractive, and provide opportunity for other uses too. Big concrete monorail viaducts don't have that same attraction.

No new viaducts should be build within city centres. The Scottish Government recently built part of the M74 through several inner city districts of Glasgow, and it's absolutely awful.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 02:22 AM   #948
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Monorails don't have a deck, just pillars that can be neatly disguised. And they can be fit into the center of wide boulevards of Berlin like Küfurstendam.

Monorails are not that intrusive outside stations, and should be adopted in Berlin and many other European first-rate cities as a solution that is not as high-capacity as subways, but costing just 1/3...
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Old September 21st, 2014, 05:12 AM   #949
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Monorails don't have a deck, just pillars that can be neatly disguised.
Neatly disguised. In the middle of Berlin? I don't think so. Only if they ran on top of the buildings.

I really don't think Berlin needs any new heavy(-ish) links like a monorail. The system is already quite dense and trams/buses would solve the small problems that the city has. Like someone said earlier, buses and trams are necessary for that "last mile", because, unless in you are in Mitte, you won't have stations 500m apart from each other, so buses and trams fill that gap.

Also, those pillars look really beautiful when the streets are wide and open (Americas), but would look really dumb on narrow streets with tall buildings (Europe).
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Old September 21st, 2014, 05:20 AM   #950
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Bus traffic is an excellent mode of public transport, due to their versatility. If for some strange reason we had to pick just one form of transport that would have to be buses, buses can to some extent take the role of all other transport vehicles, except boats and airplanes, but the opposite is not the case. Buses can be anything from public taxis to light rail on wheels. Fortunately we don't have to restrict ourselves to one mode of transport, and Berlin has most.

That versatility is one of the drawbacks with a bus network. Even in a fairly large city like Berlin it isn't so hard to memorise all U-bahn and S-bahn. There aren't too many of them, and they don't change, and the lines mostly follow shortest line between stations. There are many bus lines and many more bus stops, they do change, and the route is largely unknown. Too much information for a human brain to handle. Smarter traffic should solve those issues.

Here in Beijing I am a fan of the express buses, connecting points on the map with high traffic that aren't connected and may never be connected by metro (they are technically connected, but with a considerable detour or multiple transfers), with a number of stops in the beginning, then a very long non-stop journey, usually along high-speed roads, with a number of stops at the end. Train or metro won't beat that convenience.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 06:27 AM   #951
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Rail's biggest advantage over buses is capacity. Railbound systems such as trams, S-Bahn and U-Bahn are limited to the available infrastructure. Building new or adapting existing infrastructure is both time-consuming and expensive, so it's best not to do that until it's a necessity.

On the other hand, buses can run on the infrastructure that is already in place, which makes for great flexibility at relatively low costs. You can easily change frequencies (just add or remove buses from routes), you can add new routes whenever you want (just put down some poles with an H on top) and you can completely change the network layout whenever you wish whenever that makes more sense.

For the extremities of a large network, buses are a great way to bring people to and from their homes, and they do a good job at complementing a rail based backbone. Buses pick up people close to their homes and bring them to a railway station (heavy rail, S-Bahn, whatever) and the rest of the railway network will help bring them to work.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 02:31 PM   #952
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I agree buses are important part of every good transportation network both in urban and rural settings. Buses do a great job transporting people to places where overall traffic flow doesn't warrant light rail, let alone heavy rail. They also serve as temporary substitutes for rail based transport as it takes very little time and money to set up a new route.

I'm not however a supporter of bus rapid transit idea which has become popular in some parts of the world. If there is that much traffic light rail or a proper subway is a far better solution.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 02:45 PM   #953
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Berlin has several bus routes that depart from Southwest neighborhoods and instead of just dumping passenger at the nearest S-Bahn end up carrying them all the way to Zoologische Garten station, there is a queue of buses on Kurfuerstendamm when they shouldn't need to travel all the way, but just connect outer areas with nearest U/S-Bahn station. The number of buses in central areas is also very high, with no need for that since there are S-Bahn and U-Bahn everywhere. It is mostly about people who want a "one-seat ride" who end up using these services, or tourists for which navigating underground networks is always more challenging than hoping on a bus with visual cues.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 03:12 PM   #954
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or tourists for which navigating underground networks is always more challenging than hoping on a bus with visual cues.
I doubt that part is true. Whenever I'm in a new city and particularly if I don't speak the local language I try to avoid buses. Trams and underground is way easier to understand for a first time user.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 03:29 PM   #955
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Berlin has several bus routes that depart from Southwest neighborhoods and instead of just dumping passenger at the nearest S-Bahn end up carrying them all the way to Zoologische Garten station, there is a queue of buses on Kurfuerstendamm when they shouldn't need to travel all the way, but just connect outer areas with nearest U/S-Bahn station. The number of buses in central areas is also very high, with no need for that since there are S-Bahn and U-Bahn everywhere. It is mostly about people who want a "one-seat ride" who end up using these services, or tourists for which navigating underground networks is always more challenging than hoping on a bus with visual cues.
The key thing with the buses in the centre is that they form a network. The U-bahn and S-bahn do not always have the most convenient connections to a network, and a bus can fulfil the role better. It fills in gaps in the network in the centre of cities, or provides a skip-stop service that the U-bahn cannot.

Also, when it comes to tourists, most DEFINITELY do tourists shy away from buses rather than fixed rail transport with clear, easy to understand networks. In every city I have travelled in, getting my head around the bus network always takes longer than getting my head around the rail transport. Even in Japan where one sees the most complex service patterns on their rail networks did I find it infinitely more simple than by bus. I think most people feel the same.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 03:50 PM   #956
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Then, my perceptions about double-deck buses in Berlin (BVG buses, that is, not touristic ones) filled with tourists brandishing cameras on windows as if they were leisure rides or city-tour buses is wrong. (it could well be, I'm not claiming otherwise).
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Old September 21st, 2014, 04:05 PM   #957
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Then, my perceptions about double-deck buses in Berlin (BVG buses, that is, not touristic ones) filled with tourists brandishing cameras on windows as if they were leisure rides or city-tour buses is wrong. (it could well be, I'm not claiming otherwise).
But that's different. Many tour guides to Berlin recommend taking bus 100 - because it's double deck and it goes through some main sights. Tourists taking a bus because it offers views is not that surprising - many do the same in London too. It does, however, not mean that buses are user friendly at all for tourists normally.

http://www.visitberlin.de/en/article...lin-by-bus-100

See - it's even recommended on the main site for tourism in Berlin.
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Old October 28th, 2014, 06:42 PM   #958
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From Rail Journal:

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http://www.railjournal.com/index.php...ml?channel=542

Potsdam to upgrade tram network
Tuesday, October 28, 2014



The municipal government in Potsdam and Potsdam Transport (ViP) have unveiled a €50m plan to upgrade the German city's 29km tram network

The proposals include an extension to the new Hasso-Platner Institute campus at Jungfernsee (€7.5m), upgrading of track on Heinrich Mann Allee in the city centre (€15m), and modification of the crossing at Leipziger Dreieck (€14m).

ViP will also invest €25m in the lengthening of eight of its fleet of 17 Siemens Combino low-floor LRVs from 30m to 40m, adding 52 additional seats to each vehicle.
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Old October 30th, 2014, 05:18 PM   #959
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From Railway Gazette:

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http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/u...mpetition.html

National Express pulls out of Berlin S-Bahn competition
30 Oct 2014



GERMANY: National Express has confirmed that it has withdrawn from the competition for a contract to operate the Berlin S-Bahn’s ‘Ring & Branches’ service group. This leaves incumbent Deutsche Bahn as the only remaining candidate.

While transport authority VBB had declined to name the prequalified bidders for the contract, DB and National Express had confirmed they were included. RATP and MTR Corp were reported to have withdrawn previously. Potential bidders are understood to have been concerned about the complexity of the protracted process and the detailed requirements

...
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Old October 30th, 2014, 06:13 PM   #960
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To be honest I'm not sure this is a good thing. MTR Corp are a great operator and if they are backing away leaving the incumbent that badly maintained the trains and led to the system grinding to a halt a while back, then there is no pressure on DB to up their game... Perhaps others have another impression, though.
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