Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Poll: Newest Member of the Transit Space Race

Ok, since there were a lot of poll requests today, we're going to do another week long poll. I liked all the ideas that were posted and I'll try to get to all of them in some form or fashion. So here's today's poll. What will be the next city to pass a tax or figure out a way to generate massive revenue to expand their system multiple lines and enter the Transit Space Race?

Poll is below the pantograph picture again.

Here are the choices:

Atlanta - They have a concept 3 idea, but no money to fund it as of yet.
Austin - Planning for years, commuter rail and light rail ideas on the table
Norfolk - They are constructing their first LRT line and the new Mayor of Virginia Beach is getting excited about extensions
Raleigh Durham - They have a plan but no huge cash to play with
Sacramento - Having discussions, problems too.
St. Louis - Just missed the half cent this last time, next time better?
Tampa - Mayor Pam is on a roll lately
Cincinnati - Building a Streetcar soon, but will they be tough enough for more?
Columbus - Will they beat thier neighbor Cinci for faster expansion?
Detroit - Planning for light rail on Woodward is underway, will there be a funding source larger than TIFs?
Madison - They have a plan too, but is an RTA forthcoming?
Milwaukee - They just passed a transit operations fund, Capital coming?
Dallas - They are already expanding fast, but will they get a regional commuter rail plan together?

So there you have it, if there is another city that should be in the mix, you'll have to vote other, and leave a comment about which one I missed.


j said...

I hardly think Triangle Transit's current plan is noteworthy- even if we do find some funding it will still only be two lines. -Same route as the one line that failed, only its two lines this time around. Right now the plan is for light rail in Durham along 15-501 cutting way out Interstate 40 and then veering back into Chapel Hill along 54. (This is the stupidest idea ever- the route makes a five mile loop through wetlands just to stop at one mixed use development... The travel time is going to be outrageous). The other line will be commuter rail or possibly DMU from Durham (where the light rail ends) to Raleigh via The Triangle, RDU and Cary. (Once again they are making a roundabout route.)

jon said...

where does san diego fall into the transit space race? built a pretty good system over the last few decades but doesnt look like there is much planned past a line to la jolla.

baltimore and san antonio are two possible cities for 'other.' i know there isnt much mentioned/planned for SA but i think that city is a good match for rail transit. baltimore has a nice master plan of lrt and subway and a proposed charles st. streetcar but dont see much coming of that.

i'm leaning between austin and sacramento. austin is about to get a starter commuter rail line and has a city and mentality well suited for rail. sacramento has had a pretty decent lrt system for the last 20 years that keeps growing. would sacramento not already be part of the transit space race? what are the problems as mentioned?

i'd love to see the detroit transit system fixed up but the shit is about to hit the fan in that city when the auto industry collapses and its not like detroit is even in any great shape now.

Brent said...

I vote for other -- a new comer: Grand Rapids, Mi.

Grand Rapids once lead the way in streetcar innovation. Today, Grand Rapids is embarking on Michigan's first modern transit system with a suburban to downtown bus rapid transit link and a urban streetcar network. But more importantly, Grand Rapids is coupling good transit investments with an innovative form based planning code tailored to transit use and density. It is also world leading in environmentally sound building practices with the US' first LEED certified transit center.

The 10 mile bus rapid transit route is planned to open in 2012.

A private-public partnership is expected to develop the 2+ mile streetcar loop. It's planned to coincide with the opening of the bus rapid transit route. Already, there are plans to extend the streetcar line a three to four miles into more neighborhood business districts.

A shameless plug for my city, but someone's got to do it! :)

Loren said...

I think that this ought to have been a multiple-choice poll, where one can choose more than one option; that's because IMO it is unreasonable to force a choice of only one possibility. But is such a poll feasible with Blogger's software? It's feasible with vBulletin, and I've set up multiple-choice polls in vBulletin messageboards several times.

That aside, I voted for Milwaukee, because I notice interest building up there. If this was multiple-choice, I would also have voted for:

Madison: much like Milwaukee.

Detroit: a lot of interest in the Woodward Ave. streetcar line.

Sacramento and Dallas: steadily building, and will likely continue.

But with Austin, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Raleigh-Durham, I'll believe it when I see it; those places have produces a lot of talk but not much action.

St. Louis seems to have flubbed away an opportunity with its No vote of Prop. M.

And I haven't seen much of either talk or action from Tampa or Atlanta, I must say. Norfolk's new system is a start, but what next for that place?

Randy Simes said...

Cincinnati is working on a streetcar line that should be moving forward soon. The RFQ for the design, build and operation just went out. My sources also tell me that light rail will be once again hitting the radar after the 2002 tax ballot defeat. I'll be sure to keep you posted, but the political climate is certainly right with a progressive City Hall, Statehouse and now White House/Congress.

arcady said...

Maybe one day Cincinnati will finish their subway, which was half-built and then abandoned in, I think, the 1920s. They have a couple miles of tunnel in downtown and a couple of stations.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Yes blogger has the ability to choose more than one, but I didn't choose it. I thought it would be more fun for people to have to make a hard decision and hedge their bets. Not that I can go in and see what people voted for. I probably should have added San Antonio and San Diego. Didn't think about it. San Diego just recently passed a tax measure but they are building a bunch of in traffic and HOV BRT with it.

Randy Simes said...


The subway will never be finished as a fully operational subway. The costs and current urban form on Cincinnati just wouldn't allow for that. However, you may see the tunnels through the downtown area used for light rail access into a built-out core. This is still being researched and has a very real possibility of happening. The full ROW of the subway is no longer in tact as other things have been built in its place or have damaged portions of the tunnel.

serial catowner said...

I'm watching Seattle with their ideas for LID funding for streetcar routes. This give the city the power to make decisions for themselves in a situation where the county controls almost all of the transit.

njh said...

You left off Fort Collins:

Sadly they switched from light rail to heavy bus. (which means it is going to be stillborn)

Winston said...

Sacramento is starting to talk about raising the transit sales tax from 1/6 of a cent to something more similar to other California cities. As it stands, Sacramento will build light rail to the airport, which is also the northern edge of the development surrounding the city and to the southernmost edge of the urbanized area for a total of 16 miles of new light rail added to their 37 mile system. They also plan to finish double tracking their core system so they can run more frequent trains and to add a streetcar between Sacramento and West Sacramento as well as to start a commuter rail system that supplements the Amtrak Capitol Corridor between Roseville and Davis. They are also considering a trolley improve circulation in Rancho Cordova. On the whole, fairly modest improvements. However, they have also decided to severely restrict development in currently undeveloped areas, means that the extra million or so people that Sacramento expects to add over the next 20 years will mostly be housed in infill development, meaning that the existing light rail system should carry many more people.

ChiefJoJo said...

J - Now it looks like the RDU "N" corridor may be *ALL* light rail from Chapel Hill to Raleigh... almost 60 miles in length. Not sure if that makes a lot of sense, given that there's a lot of open space between Ral & Dur, but it would be seamless, electric & regional... though likely to be implemented from each end initially.

Assuming we're granted legislative authority, a referendum could take place either Nov '09 or May '10.

We are still several years away from building something, assuming no major changes in New Starts.

j said...

Yeah looks like I am eating crow to a certain extent. However 2.6 billion for 56 miles of light rail is very, very cheap; especially since there are no existing tracks between Chapel Hill and Durham. I think the newspaper and planners may have gotten terms mixed up. There is no way NCRR (and the Federal Government for that matter) will allow LRT on Amtrak/ freight tracks. From the description it sounds a lot more like DMU's to me. I see no need for high frequency (every 10 mins or less) between Raleigh and Durham and the far north suburbs in the next 100 years there is simply not enough density to warrant it (on my weekly drive to Raleigh from Chapel Hill I pass so much open land its ridiculous). Also there is no way I (and many others) would use the Light rail or DMU for that matter, on its current circuitous routing from Chapel Hill to Raleigh via Durham and RTP, it would more than likely take well over an hour, possibly an hour and a half to ride from Chapel Hill to Raleigh, especially if light rail, stopping frequently is built. They are simply trying to connect too many corridors with one line. Granted plenty of people will ride on segments of the line, but Triangle Transit’s goal of people being (and wanting) to ride rail from Orange County to Raleigh is not met here.

j said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
j said...

That being said, parts of the line should be built along with some revisions. DMU or commuter rail should be built from Durham to Raleigh via RTP and Cary. A separate branch should be built starting in Chapel Hill traveling via the 40 corridor linking with the other line near RDU. A separate line should start in the north suburbs and go out towards Garner via Downtown, this line could potentially have two services: express for commuters in the north suburbs and local for those in North Raleigh. Finally to complete their current plan LRT should be built from Chapel Hill to Durham. If I have time I may try to draw a map on google.

jon said...

there was just an article in this blog's newsroll about the baltimore red line plans, interesting to see how this plays out...
Rough track for the Red Line

baltimore master plan

red line under study

baltimore has a great plan but i have serious doubts as to whether it will be built, they've been building pieces of it for 30 years and has little to show but a couple of disjointed underperforming lines that seem to constantly be shut down. and this latest article just reinforces this.

ChiefJoJo said...

J - It's definitely all light rail now. Initially the STAC called for DMU along the NCRR corridor, but now NCRR is backing off the 'no-LRT' in their ROW, and all the folks that matter in Raleigh want LRT now. Keep in mind, this isn't ON the NCRR freight tracks, but new tracks built in the same corridor & spaced for safe operation.

I agree with you that LRT over that length probably doesn't make too much sense, but LRT from Cary to N Ral & from Chapel hill to Durham does. My thought is to connect them with shared track commuter rail from Ral to Dur.

FWIW, I voted for Dallas in the poll.