Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Poll: Worst Rail Project in Planning

Thanks for all the input. It seems like we have a few projects that are pretty bad. Again I'm not going to let you choose more than one. You have to choose what you think is the worst. So here are the contestants based on feedback. I added in two specifically nefarious BRT projects as well.

BART to San Jose
NJ Access to the Regions Core
LIRR East Side Access Project
San Francisco Central Subway
Montreal Train de l'est
LA Gold Line to Montclair
Toronto Spadina Extension
NY Subway 7 Line Extension
Metro to Dulles (Silver Line)
MBTA BRT Silver Line Phase 3
US 36 Denver BRT
Miami Metrorail North
Anacostia Streetcar

So those are the list. Usual week for voting applies. Vote for Other if there is a project not listed.


Corey said...

You should check out the hoo ha here in Vancouver surrounding the Canada Line. Lawsuits and all!

Justin said...

Silver Line Phase 3 is not rail! how about simply worst transit projects in planning.

arcady said...

Yeah, the MBTA Silver Line 3 is a busway, which as far as I understand it was only ever thought of because the South Boston Busway and the #49 bus both ended up being called "Silver Line". It's the most absurdly wasteful project ever, connecting two destinations that don't really need connecting, with the least cost-effective mode possible (underground busway) in a corridor which already has an abandoned subway tunnel which could be re-used for much less cost.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Maybe I'm biased as an HSR activist, but the Central Subway is a waste of money. Far better to redirect the funds to the downtown extension (DTX) of Caltrain/HSR to the Transbay Terminal. MUNI's most desperate need isn't in that corridor anyway - it's Geary.

Winston said...

I was going to vote for BART to San Jose, but the inclusion of the Central Subway reminded me that the Bay Area actually has a worse transit project. Not only will it cost nearly $822 million per mile for a light rail line, it will be more expensive to operate than the existing bus service and only add 4600 daily riders. While BART to San Jose is a terrible project, it is a miracle of cost-effectiveness when compared to the Central Subway.

Adam said...

Given the way the Lackawanna Cutoff is being redesigned (train from Scranton to NYC), it looks VERY much like a pork project and not the LEAST bit useful. That line ought to be redesigned with a possible use for high speed rail in mind for it to be any useful. This means full grade separation, electrification, and straightened track in the existing M&E and Boonton Line to allow trains to travel at higher speeds in the area close to NYC. Oh, and did I mention elimination of grade crossings?

Alon Levy said...

Who needs a high-speed line from New York to Scranton? It's going to take too long to do the trip to be a viable commuter route; if it does somehow revitalize Scranton as a commuter town, it'll likely involve people living in Scranton and driving to jobs in Morristown.

The reason I didn't nominate it is that the other money wasters in the New York area are in a far more advanced stage of planning/construction; the Lackawanna Cutoff is still fantasy.

brian said...

what about the 2nd ave subway in NYC? It'll cost tens of billions, has taken more than 40 years to build, and will provide a rail line to an area that already has one less than 5 blocks away...

I know, I know, in terms of sheer ridership projections, the 2nd ave line, will far exceed almost any other project posted, but that doesn't mean that it will be the most effective in terms of adding any new service or mobility to an area, and as I've always said, it doesn't seem like it will offer much in the way of new development until architects learn how to build new skyscrapers on top of old ones.

anon said...

Silver Line 3 is easily the worst, but thankfully it's dead.

Worst *rail* plan is Access to the Region's Core: first because it's the most expensive of the ones you listed; second because something like five options which are *both* better *and* cheaper have been proposed and NJT just won't listen.

anon said...

Lackawanna Cutoff is not a contender for "worst"; it's a "stealth intercity line". As an intercity project it's really pretty strong, *despite* the need to improve the M&E lines. The goal is not just to revive Scranton but to revive Binghamton, NY as well (the rail line from Scranton to Binghamton is fast, straight, and in use).

Maybe eventually the Cutoff will get funded *as* an intercity line, which would make more sense.

The 2nd Avenue Subway seems to be well *planned* and worth the *money* but what is up with the pace of construction? If there was a candidate for "slowest rail project in construction" that would win.

The main problem with ARC is the insane proposal for a very expensive, very inconvenient, capacity-chocked underground station. I think that particular insanity -- when there's free track capacity at Grand Central, and potential track capacity at Penn Station if through-running were used -- makes it the big winner for terrible. (After Silver Line 3, which is completely bonkers and also super, super expensive.)

Alon Levy said...

It'll cost tens of billions, has taken more than 40 years to build, and will provide a rail line to an area that already has one less than 5 blocks away...

The Lexington Line is already 13% above capacity.

Also, the line hasn't taken 40 years to build. The full line will have taken about 15 net, and 50 gross. The problem is that New York has a very volatile business cycle, so it cycles between periods when there are enough revenues for a whole fantasy map and periods when they can barely maintain the current system.

Matt in SF said...

I don't know much about many of these projects, but I have no doubt it's the Central Subway. Something like $1.5 billion for a grand total of 3 stations and a mile-plus of track, and they're thinking about making them low-capacity stations because there might not be enough money to make them normal size.

Cost overruns have already cut the end station (North Beach/Washington Square) from project scope leaving that for another day. Worst of all, it really won't be useful in and of itself unless it is extended further...costing billions more.

Cost per city resident? About $2,000.00 each. Ridonculous.