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Old December 6th, 2010, 06:52 PM   #181
rantanamo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan78 View Post
There's a grain of truth to what you're saying. American transit systems generally don't look "spectacular" like Moscow's immaculate neo-classical stations or Naples' "modern art"-looking stations. New York and Boston, in particular, have some pretty awful-looking subway stations. Washington DC, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Los Angleles (all of which have much newer systems) have more attractive facilities.

Getting funding to build and maintain these systems in the U.S. is tough as it is; attempts at beautification would be regarded as a waste of taxpayer money. Americans are pretty conservative when it comes to design trends in general (for fun, compare American banknotes with Euros and see what I mean), so anything we build is likely to lack the "knock your socks off" edgy appeal of some newer European or Asian projects. We're more concerned with functionality, and the public realm has become far less important to American life post 1950, for a variety of reasons, hence the banal-looking buildings and infrastructure we typically construct today.

As far as building new Metros, we seem to be taking the most economical route and building a lot of light rail instead of heavy rail like most of the rest of the world. Once again, it's due to lack of public interest in funding these projects. Subway construction costs far more in the U.S. than anywhere else it seems, and construction in general is subject to lengthy environmental and community reviews (and is often scuttled by vested interests hostile to public transportation). And of course, highways and roads are generally seen as more important than mass transit, so comparatively little funding goes towards these types of urban rail projects. I think our use of light rail is a mistake in many cases (Los Angeles and Seattle, in particular) as it doesn't scale up well, and isn't "future proofed" against an increase in demand, but it seems to be the best we can do for now.

Add into all this the current political and economic situation of the U.S. and it's a wonder any big rail projects are happening at all (witness the cancellation of the ARC project in NJ and the scuttling of HSR in the Midwest). Give Dallas some credit; they're doing well enough under bad circumstances and have built the largest interurban rail system in Texas (puts Houston's one-line train to shame), even if they're not building a massive heavy-rail subway like Shanghai at breakneck speed.
when you say this about light rail, I think its simply incorrect. The type of Light Rail that Dallas and Los Angeles use are distinctive from traditional light rail, which are actually streetcars. Even the manufacturers use distinguish these vehicles from traditional light rail. The trains are linkable and are actually faster than heavy rail trains.

As for modern system, I'm guessing you're referring to the stations. I dare you to look at Mockingbird and Cityplace and say this isn't a modern system. Dallas simply doesn't have the density that it has to have fancy subway stations all over the line, but it does have them. The assessment is correct though on spending. Funny, modern sunbelt cities would say that those cities mentioned don't have modern, aesthetically pleasing freeway systems with huge capacities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mockingbird_Station
http://www.dart.org/riding/stations/...acestation.asp
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:31 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by rantanamo View Post
when you say this about light rail, I think its simply incorrect. The type of Light Rail that Dallas and Los Angeles use are distinctive from traditional light rail, which are actually streetcars. Even the manufacturers use distinguish these vehicles from traditional light rail. The trains are linkable and are actually faster than heavy rail trains.
I'm well aware of the difference between a streetcar and light rail as the term is generally understood in North America. Light Rail is faster than heavy rail? I haven't seen any examples of this. Light-rail vehicles can theoretically travel nearly as fast as heavy-rail vehicles but rarely do so if operating in mixed traffic (as they often do), and due to the fact that station distances tend to be shorter. Train lengths are shorter and rolling stock sizes are smaller with light rail, limiting capacity (though frequency could help make up for this).

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Originally Posted by rantanamo View Post
As for modern system, I'm guessing you're referring to the stations. I dare you to look at Mockingbird and Cityplace and say this isn't a modern system. Dallas simply doesn't have the density that it has to have fancy subway stations all over the line, but it does have them.
Yes, those look nice. Thanks for the photos. I wasn't putting Dallas or DART down.

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Originally Posted by rantanamo View Post
The assessment is correct though on spending. Funny, modern sunbelt cities would say that those cities mentioned don't have modern, aesthetically pleasing freeway systems with huge capacities.
I've yet to see an aesthetically pleasing highway system in the U.S. The newer ones in the sunbelt areas may be nicer-looking than others because they are somewhat newer. And the cities I mentioned do have high-capacity freeway systems.

Here's a recent article on the Transport Politic regarding DART:

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...ricas-longest/
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:13 PM   #183
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As a visitor can I travel around dallas by DART?
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #184
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As a visitor can I travel around dallas by DART?
Depends on where you are staying, and where you want to go. There are lots of places to see and visit by using DART (and I assume you mean rail), but there are many places that aren't served by rail.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:36 PM   #185
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No, bus is alright too. If I confine myself to rail I cant get to a lot of places.

I will be arriving at Union Station in Dallas, and staying near where the American Airline Center is.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 06:40 PM   #186
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No, bus is alright too. If I confine myself to rail I cant get to a lot of places.

I will be arriving at Union Station in Dallas, and staying near where the American Airline Center is.
This section of DART's website should help:

http://www.dart.org/travelagent/darttravelagent.asp
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Old December 16th, 2010, 06:14 PM   #187
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Old January 27th, 2011, 02:08 AM   #188
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Here is video about DART from official tourist site of Dallas

http://www.youplusdallas.com/stories/dallas-by-dart
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 08:13 AM   #189
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Dallas Morning News
http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/sup...e?ssimg=115192

Quote:

Photo: Jim Mahoney/Staff Photographer
A Dallas Area Rapid Transit police car blocked a track crossing Tuesday as a light-rail train sat stopped along Scyene Road. For the first time, DART was forced to close the entire light-rail system as a result of severe weather.


Photo: Andy Jacobsohn/Staff Photographer
A pedestrian navigates frozen DART tracks at Pearl Station in City Center on Tuesday. The ice storm struck more quickly and intensely than transit officials expected.

DART loses weather gamble, with light-rail frozen out of service

By MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER
Transportation Writer
Published 01 February 2011 10:51 PM

Dallas Area Rapid Transit bet big that its trains would avoid being frozen out of service Tuesday morning, and it lost.

As news of the coming ice storm galvanized transportation planners Monday across North Texas, DART officials said they would be ready, and, if necessary, would run empty trains all night long to keep the rail system from freezing.

But they never did. DART officials believed that the worst of the storm wouldn’t arrive until after most trains were already on the tracks, warmed up and ready for morning service. So they kept to the agency’s regular weekday schedule.

That decision proved to be a bad one, when temperatures plummeted shortly before 4 a.m., turning the rain to blanketing layers of ice just as the rail yards were beginning to stir.

Some early trains made it out of the yard, only to stall with passengers on board. Most others simply never got going. A handful of the switches on the tracks froze solid, and ice encased overhead power lines across the 72-mile rail network.

As a result, all light-rail service was suspended through the morning and didn’t resume until midafternoon. It operated on a reduced schedule Tuesday evening.

It was the first time in DART’s almost 15 years of train service that the entire light-rail system was suspended.

“It was an operational failure,” said Ray Noah of Richardson, DART’s longest-serving board member. “You and I both know that the warnings that were coming down were calling for severe conditions — I think the words I saw were ‘radical drops in temperature.’”

But DART president Gary Thomas said a test of the rails that began at 2 a.m. showed conditions were normal, with a light rain falling and above-freezing temperatures.

That jibed with the agency’s expectations that the coldest weather wouldn’t arrive until after 6 a.m., he said.

Fast and intense

Temperatures instead began to plummet before 4 a.m., turning the rain to deep layers of ice.

“This storm came in so quick, and the timing was unfortunately just at the right time that it made it very problematic for us,” he said. “The temperatures dropped very quickly.”

He said crews arrived to begin moving the trains from the rail yard onto the tracks about 3:30 a.m.

“It takes a while to get all the service out of the yard,” Thomas said. “When we started pulling the trains out, between 4 and 4:30, that’s about when the storm hit. But I couldn’t pull out any faster.”

The storm was so intense and the temperatures dropped so fast, he said, that he’s not sure that the rails would have remained ice-free, even if he had moved trains onto the tracks before the storm.

“Hindsight is always easier,” he said. “But I can’t even say for sure with hindsight that it would have been better. It might have made a difference. But you can’t really know now. Given the intensity that it came at us this morning … who is to say it wouldn’t have frozen anyway?”

DART’s senior vice president of operations, Todd Plesko, said he has worked at other agencies that did run trains all night to prevent freezing, but that it didn’t always work.

“We routinely operate trains all night when we are certain we are going to get freezing rain,” he said. “Even when we did this, about half the time we were unable to keep the trains operating everywhere because the freezing rain came down too hard and too fast.”

Running trains every 15 minutes overnight would have cost DART at least $55,000, he said.

Extra crews

Transportation agencies throughout North Texas had been on high alert for the severe weather, thanks in part to reporters from around the world being on hand Tuesday as events for Sunday’s Super Bowl in Arlington began in earnest.

Texas Department of Transportation officials brought dozens of workers Monday night from as far as Amarillo to help crews treat the roads for ice. The North Texas Tollway Authority mobilized its entire maintenance staff.

Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments and transportation chief of the Super Bowl host committee, said both those agencies assumed the weather would turn bad by 3 a.m. and had crews begin work by midnight.

Other transit agencies deal with cold routinely.

In Denver, transit officials operate 157 light-rail vehicles with overhead power systems similar to DART’s. For the past two days, that city has been inundated with ice and below-zero temperatures.

Daria Serna, spokeswoman for the transit agency, said the trains haven’t missed a single stop because of the cold — and that the weather there has never caused the light-rail service to be suspended.

“Never,” she said.

When temperatures fall in Denver, she said, trains are run every 30 minutes all night long to keep the switches from freezing on the tracks.

In addition, the agency has equipped some of its rail cars with heated carbons — the piece of equipment that touches the overhead power lines. Others have small metal blades that allow the unheated carbons to act as ice-cutters as they move along the power lines.

“Our operations manager tells me he won’t even let the cars sit in the rail yard in cold weather,” she said. “He keeps them constantly moving.”

The stranded

Dallas resident Stan Aten, a daily DART rider, said he’s frustrated that cold weather knocked out the service Tuesday.

“Why does DART seem to have so much trouble with ice and their switches on the light rail? Ice is a regular part of winter in North Texas. … You design a system for the worst possible outcomes to keep your system moving.”

Meanwhile, the light-rail shutdown forced Sam Francis to take two buses from the DART station on Ledbetter in south Oak Cliff to Union Station downtown.

There the Lancaster resident, an engineer for Oncor Electric Delivery, planned to take a train to Fort Worth for a meeting with other members of the North American Electric Reliability Corp.

“We thought we’d have it in a warmer climate,” he said of the gathering.

But the Trinity Railway Express also wasn’t running, leaving Francis and about 15 other would-be riders waiting uncertainly for their next move.

“I’m going to work,” said Francis, sitting on the floor, engaged with a laptop and an apple. “As long as I have a plug, I can go all day.”

Thomas said Tuesday that he’s asked his staff to look at equipment changes that might make sense and to review how agencies like Denver’s handle cold conditions.

He also said DART patrons should know that the agency is working hard to keep service going, despite difficult circumstances.

“This morning it didn’t work like it was supposed to, and surely there are a lot of disappointed people — including me,” Thomas said. “We hope tomorrow will be better. There are a lot of people working very hard right now to make that happen.”

As of Tuesday night, DART officials said they expected to run light-rail service on all three lines Wednesday, but with trains arriving only every 20 minutes.

“We don’t expect any more precipitation, so we think the (light-rail power lines) should be fine,” Thomas said, though he warned that riders can expect delays if conditions are bad.



AT A GLANCE

DART service on Wednesday
Bus: Regular schedule, but expect delays if roads are icy
TRE: Regular schedule
Light rail: Open but trains running less frequently than usual
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 08:31 AM   #190
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only in texas does a dusting of winter weather shut down the entire light-rail network
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 09:57 AM   #191
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Hehe i'm not sure many noticed , since the system barely used....
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 10:35 PM   #192
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Hehe i'm not sure many noticed , since the system barely used....
You do realize that DART has more riders than the Hudson-Bergen light rail and the Newark light rail right?

List of United States light rail systems by ridership
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 02:03 AM   #193
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You do realize that DART has more riders than the Hudson-Bergen light rail and the Newark light rail right?

List of United States light rail systems by ridership
So , the HBLR has been upgraded , and the NLR is a small system....it should never be expected to get more then 30,000.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 05:21 AM   #194
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You do realize that DART has more riders than the Hudson-Bergen light rail and the Newark light rail right?

List of United States light rail systems by ridership
And those numbers don't even account for the opening of the rest of the Green Line, so they could be much higher.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 06:12 AM   #195
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You do realize that DART has more riders than the Hudson-Bergen light rail and the Newark light rail right?

List of United States light rail systems by ridership
looking at the table you linked to...

DART - 57,400 daily boardings for (72 + 3.6 = 75.6 miles) = 759 daily boardings per mile
HBLR - 43,033 daily boardings for 27.2 miles = 1582 daily boardings per mile
NLR - 21,599 daily boardings for 9.9 mi = 2182 daily boardings

So north Jersey has more than double the number of passengers per mile than north Texas (and more daily boardings total).

South Jersey is a whole different story
River Line - 9,771 daily boardings for 34 miles = 287 daily boardings per mile

But: South Texas > North Jersey
Houston Metro = 35,000 daily boardings for 7.5 miles = 4667 daily boardings per mile

Last edited by Woonsocket54; February 3rd, 2011 at 06:18 AM.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 06:21 AM   #196
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looking at the table you linked to...

DART - 57,400 daily boardings for (72 + 3.6 = 75.6 miles) = 759 daily boardings per mile
HBLR - 43,033 daily boardings for 27.2 miles = 1582 daily boardings per mile
NLR - 21,599 daily boardings for 9.9 mi = 2182 daily boardings

So north Jersey has more than double the number of passengers per mile than north Texas (and more daily boardings total).

South Jersey is a whole different story
River Line - 9,771 daily boardings for 34 miles = 287 daily boardings per mile

But: South Texas > North Jersey
Houston Metro = 35,000 daily boardings for 7.5 miles = 4667 daily boardings per mile
Well the Riverline is more of a light rail - commuter Rail hybrid then a full light rail...its also growing by a decent amount of riders....
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 06:30 AM   #197
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Those figures may be wrong because a massive new extension(second phase of the Green Line) added 24 more miles in Q4 of 2010. The Wikipedia list cites Q3 of 2010 as the latest ridership numbers released, and at that point the DART system was only 48 miles.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 06:31 AM   #198
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Those figures may be wrong because a massive new extension(second phase of the Green Line) added 24 more miles in Q4 of 2010. The Wikipedia list cites Q3 of 2010 as the latest ridership numbers released, and at that point the DART system was only 48 miles.
I doubt the green line extension would add anymore ridership or alot....
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 12:49 PM   #199
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Well the Riverline is more of a light rail - commuter Rail hybrid then a full light rail...its also growing by a decent amount of riders....
That is basically the same function that DART provides, therefore you have to think of it like the BART system. It is basically designed to connect Downtown Dallas with the closer in suburbs. Also just so you know there is alot of TOD development sprouting around the stations such as Victory Park, Mockingbird Station, Park Lane, etc.

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I doubt the green line extension would add anymore ridership or alot....
It actually would add more ridership considering that it serves several points of interest such as Victory Park, Love Field, Fair Park and several large suburbs that are currently underserved by rail.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 11:33 PM   #200
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Love Field station is a joke, and a bad one at that. Petty politics wins out over common sense.

As far as ice storms go, take it from a transplanted New Yorker. Rarely did New York experience the kinds of ice storms we get in Texas. I went through just a few in the 22 years I lived there. Short of a blizzard, Texas ice storms are much worse and much more debilitating. And because of their infrequency, the infrastructure is not well prepared for dealing with them when they do happen.

So much for global warming.

Had Dallas built a subway - DART has all of one subway station - I suspect any interruptions in service would have been minimal. As they say in Texas, some would prefer to trip over a dollar to pick up a dime.
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