Saturday, June 7, 2008

Community Investments

There are a lot of problems with comparing costs across modes. You never know what is going to be included in the estimate and often times critics will take total costs and point out their expense. For example, the City of Houston has to approve Metro to build light rail in their streets. But in addition there need to be other mobility improvements including sidewalks and bike infrastructure.

In this instance it will be provided by the City of Houston, but in the case of Minneapolis and the Central Corridor, the street reconstruction costs are added into the rail line's total costs. The Central Corridor will end up costing $1 B for 11 miles. At first blush you think, wow that's expensive, until you realize that includes reconstructing the whole street and sidewalks.
University Avenue reconstruction, to include the mill and overlay of travel lanes and the reconstruction of 85 percent of the curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Central Corridor planners stated that the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County are considering funding the remaining 15 percent as part of the project.
In terms of pure people carrying capacity though this is important because when compared to highways, it's all throughput, but there aren't any walkers and bikers on a freeway. They also don't need a place to park at their end destination (bikes need space but take up less space for sure). So when we look at costs we should be careful to see all what is involved in the project. There might be more going on than the other side cares to acknowledge.


Adam P said...

1 billion for 11 miles is expensive? I wish that was "expensive" in Seattle.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Heh. It's all relative of course. Seattle has many geographic obstacles and is building a semi-metro mostly grade separated system while this one is completely in street in its own ROW.