Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When Fitness Centers are Like Catenaries

I never understood why developers waste their time building fitness centers or other extras no one really uses. I wouldn't want to pay rent for that. Seems like they might start to figure out that gold plating isn't getting them where they wanted to go. So who thinks that LRT needs to go through the same de-goldplating process?
“The frills are coming out,” said Tim Colen, executive director of the Housing Action Coalition, who advocates for housing in the city. “No concierge, no fitness room, and much smaller units. These are the coping mechanisms for the new era we’re in.”
And in light rail world, the quote would look like this:
“The frills are coming out,” said Some Guy, executive director of the Rail Construction Coalition, who advocates for transit in the city. “No rebuilding curb to curb, no gigantic catenaries, and much smaller station designs. These are the coping mechanisms for the new era we’re in.”
Via Curbed SF


Frank Gerratana said...

Well, some of us do exercise on a regular basis.

The Urbanophile said...

The cost per mile on American rail transit systems is ridiculous. I can't figure it out. I would love to be given carte blanche to take the axe to some of these budgets. We've got to figure out how to bring the price down.

Peter said...

ok, i'll be the guinea pig -- what do you use instead of the catenary? nothing? what powers the trains? the new experimental designs? deisel?

kenf said...

A single wire, which was used in most streetcar systems in this country for the first half of the 20th century.

Peter said...

a fitness center costs next to nothing, relative to the total capital and operating costs of the apartment/housing complex.

so it's really seems inconsequential to me that a developer adds it -- it's extremely low cost, and lets them tout an amenity.

is this the case for catenary?

Winston said...


There are two ways to suspend an electric wire above the track - they are direct suspension in which you support the wire with span wires and/or brackets and catenary in which you support the electric wire by hanging it from another parallel wire such that it is perfectly flat. Doing this is more expensive but allows operation at more than 35 MPH. It really is a question of what you want the system to be able to do.

For a system like Muni Metro* with its average 9 MPH speed, direct suspension is the way to go. for a system like, say, Sacramento's which replicates Sacramento's interurban system which also used catenary from the beginning you want catenary. If you want to find the source of excessive costs, look toward the stations.

*Muni actually uses both direct suspension and catenary as there are 50 MPH segments on muni's lines.

Matt Fisher said...

Perhaps the justification for the Geary BRT project in terms of cost per mile for an all surface light rail option must be based on the Third Street LRT project. But then again I may only be speculating, and I generally don't consider BRT to be "just as good" as LRT.