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rookzie last won the day on May 19 2016

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About rookzie

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  • Birthday 09/11/1951

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    Nashville, TN
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  1. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    IMO your point, if that's what you're referring to, IS popular and pertinent here. This is exactly what I've supposed for years, just never shared it as an opinion. Other medium-sized cities encompass considerably smaller land areas with or without consolidated city-counties. In some cases, such as former Norfolk County Va, the city-county areas became consolidated into separate cities, each with its own equivalent independent services jurisdiction, unlike the urban services and general services districts of consolidated Nashville and Davidson County. The remains of Norfolk County, for example, became consolidated into what now are the independent cities of Norfolk and contiguously bordering Chesapeake. While Chesapeake in some ways roughly represents the same dichotomy of urban-rural areas of large combined square-mile area, as that of Nashville, although without the typical historically central business district of an older core municipality, Norfolk, on the other hand, encompasses a much smaller area, than that of either Chesapeake or of Nashville, and as such primarily is urban throughout. Stakeholder representation and physical-geographical boundaries had much to do with Norfolk's ability to garner decisive support for the start up of its first advanced transit initiative, the Tide Light Rail, a standard-gauge set-up with a modest length of 7 -1/2 miles and which began operation in mid-2011. Unsurprisingly, construction incurred a few delays, and the project was not without some cost overruns, something rarely avoided with the complexity of that type of start-up. The city of Virginia Beach, another independent city but consolidated with the former Princess Anne County and also bordering Norfolk, pulled out of the initial planning for the light rail back in 1999, and while in 2012 Virginia Beach voters approved a non-binding referendum supporting expansion of the Tide light rail into Virginia Beach by a 62% majority, four years later, voters there disapproved a referendum regarding to use city funds to pay part of what would have been the first extension of the Tide, to connect three miles farther east to Town Center, in what is now the "CBD" of that city. Much of the city of Virginia Beach consists of urban and rural districts and is rife with sprawl, with demographic constituents much different from that of neighboring Norfolk, which had been bestowed with a somewhat embracing and engendering climate for instituting the light-rail, which utilizes a portion of the same abandoned railroad R.o.W. as that which would have been re-purposed for the Va. Beach extension. All this is to say is that, had the proposal for the SE Va. light-rail project been contingent upon the aggregate approval of a much larger combined jurisdictional area of Va. Beach and Norfolk, the combined equivalent area of which is less than 70 sq miles larger than that of Metro Nashville, then that light-rail project to this day arguably might have remained stillborn if not aborted. . Nashville seems to have become a victim of its own will, as far as taking locally unfamiliar risks is concerned
  2. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    Sounds "encouraging" for the county to be bracketed in the Sorry Bus Stop Madness without really trying. -=
  3. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    That's exactly the reason I threw in that Kansas City streetcar example a few weeks ago. Detroit's could have been better engineered to induce much more utilization to meet or to exceed expectations, by having the QLine Streetcar along Woodward Ave extended at least another 2.5 miles past its current terminus at Grande Blvd to the Social Security Administration in Highland Park, and even another5-3/4 miles, across Eight Mile Road near the State Fairgrounds and to the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak. The current terminus near the Amtrak station seems far from adequate, but indeed it is a start from nothing, since the last of Detroit's once extensive streetcar network ended during 1956. Again, as it has in the case of Kansas City, and as it will require in the case of Detroit, a focus on making the case with modest initial steps and more palatable increments of expansion seems to have worked best in a region averse to mass spending, as opposed to the voting districts such as Denver. Admittedly, unlike a streetcar circulator, Denver's RTD is much more high-capacity as both Light Rail and electric railroad-like commuter rail, a rather costly operation which also has required initial small stages of implementation since 1994. Detroit's QLine
  4. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    One of the most dramatic improvements that the Nashville MTA really could undertake to enhance the riding experience and usability, would be to replace the current onboard audible stop-annunciator system, as the system in use now is quite old and outdated. The agency urgently needs to adopt a more sophisticated onboard automated voice annunciator (AVA) system, which announces better detail of major intersections as well as the stops, and which is outfitted with an LED "evolving" map of the current or next (upcoming) stop, as well as previous and upcoming one, two, or three stops. I have seen these deployed for quite some time in many other transit districts, such as in Las Vegas (RTD), Albuquerque (ABQ), Boston, MBTA, and New Orleans (NORTA). The visual annunciators are mounted within the interiors and positioned for relatively clear visibility by most riders, and in the case of Las Vegas RTD "Max", "Deuce", and "SDX" routes, two or more such devices are installed for better visibility in crowded and/or its double-deck coaches. I was even was impressed with the system installed in more modest transit agencies, such as in Harrisburg (Pa. - Capital Area Transit [CAT]). The LVRTD system Deuce, SDX, and MAX buses have one of the most detailed and descriptive onboard GPS-based text-to-speech annunciator systems, for assisting in identifying transfer points and local landmarks [e.g. "The 7-Eleven at Las Vagas Blvd and Oakley Blvd.]" and real-time display of upcoming and passed stop points, of any bus transit system that I have experienced. (CAD/AVL - computer aided dispatch/automatic vehicle location system, integrated with an Audio Visual Annunciation System - AVAS). ______________________ Realtime Visual Annunciator in a NORTA (New Orleans) streetcar, on its Rampart - Saint Claude Line. 6-24-2018
  5. rookzie

    Nashville Bits and Pieces

    The anniversary actually is Monday July 9. In long anticipation of that moment, I was going to wait until then, but I guess that this is the time, now that you've brought it on out. The incident was a primary reason that the former USRA (United States Railroad Association) pushed standards for railway passenger car bodies to be of constructed of all steel instead of wood, as many of these cars had been. While steel design had already been implemented by 1918, many "sub-standard" pieces of rolling stock were still deployed at that time, and involved in this incident were cars of wood, transporting mostly poorer working-class minorities from without to the job centers of the city, reportedly to a gunpowder plant. Many of these workers were from the Mississippi Delta Region, an agriculturally rich district primarily consisting of NW state of Mississippi and smaller portions on eastern Arkansas and NE Louisiana. The head-on collision of the two steam-locomotive powered passenger trains resulted in many deaths by scalding (ruptured steam piping) but primarily by telescoping and disintegrating of the wooden car bodies into each other, a situation exacerbated by the forward moving masses of trailing cars of both wood and of steel, not to mention the breaking of railroad ties and rails. One might say that at the time, indeed this was somewhat of a commuter service provided by the former NC&St.L Ry. (Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis), which eventually was merged into the L&N RR (Louisville and Nashville) in 1957. The last regularly scheduled passenger train on that segment of railroad (Nashville-Memphis) was discontinued around spring 1967 when I was in high school. For decades, whenever I have heard the blaring of a horn of a CSX freight along Hardin Road and while I occasionally would pass beneath a freight at the Murphy Rd underpass (near Bowling Ave), I have thought about that horrific incident, which occurred behind what is now the Belle Meade Plaza Shopping Center.
  6. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    CSX Transportation preparing to re-open hump at Radnor Yard in Nashville Whether or not Metro Nashville could have acquired the CSXT Radnor Yard, as casually considered in a now rather distant proposal, has become moot, if not simply academic at best. And while CSXT indeed has unloaded some of its deemed-surplus facilities as of late, no longer can Radnor be considered a prospective on-the-cheap or even viably tenable acquisition for transit or redev proposals. Some might have argued whether or not Radnor might have become obtainable at a cost less than the overall amount proposed for the stillborn transit plan defeated last May. Now that the governance of CSXT has been transformed to more traditional and perhaps favorable auspices, since the sudden passing of its previous CEO just prior to the official start of last winter, "normal" operations at the automated hump (gravity) yard at Radnor are expected to resume in the foreseeable future. In itself, a transfer of Radnor to Metro would ramify into many other undisclosed and arguably prohibitively collateral costs and requirements for the local and regional transportation infrastructure ─ for both transit and freight ─ since Radnor has been a vital kingpin of the entire CSXT network, and an asset not easily relocated from its current site, much in part due to historic land-granted property and to highly topographical regional constraints on possibly alternative rail bypasses. While Radnor was never "up for sale" to start, I always had reservations that cessation of hump operations at Radnor or at the other CSX hump yards (changed from gravity-based [regulated downhill rolling] to manual or "flat" switching for classification and routing of freight cars) would become permanent, given the untold end error-prone inefficiency of system-wide handling of vast amounts of freight with already maxed-out congestion. Besides, what in the world would an ex-Radnor have ended up becoming, when all the dust settled within one or two terms of administration? Possibly not much more than it becoming nearly all sold off as parcels.
  7. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    Except for a few creeping exposures as this throughout the urban core, that's about all we'll be seeing, as far as street-running rail is concerned in the foreseeable.. ─ that is, unless we start small and focused only on one segment, just as with Kansas City. After volleys of wrangling, a special taxing district was approved and established in 2012 that funded construction and sustainable operation of a 2.2-mile route through downtown KC, and the current segment, completed in only about a year and a half after commencing of construction in spring 2014, opened in spring 2016. But just last summer (2017) Kansas City voters dealt a blow to streetcar expansion by narrowly endorsing a measure that prohibits city participation in such initiatives, and that ballot petition prohibits Kansas City municipal government from planning or implementing any fixed rail transit system without city-wide approval. That notwithstanding, in 2017 voters there approved a new taxing district for a streetcar expansion, south beyond its current modest downtown-to-KC Union Station run, and just last week (June 2018) taxes for a 3.5-mile extension to the UMKC were approved by a huge margin of mail-in ballots (3 to1). While by no means rapid transit or a comprehensive operation, or even necessarily well integrated into a prospective but global urban plan, nevertheless Kansas City has undertaken small but incremental steps to get to this state of current expansion viability in re-establishing street-running rail-bound circulators ─ all transpiring relatively recently and within the last 7 years. [photo - © Ralcon Wagner 2016]
  8. rookzie

    IKEA to Nashville

    Just as MLBrumby and Pdt2f have noted, it's (all but) official... It's not even a still-birth, or even an abortion ─ more like a "sterilization". Ikea backs out of plans for first Nashville store However, Latisha Bracy, IKEA spokesperson did annouce as such. "While this is an extremely difficult decision, we will not be moving forward with our plans to build a store in Nashville, TN. We thank the city and the developer for their understanding of this recent decision."
  9. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    [from] SMH [or rather, SMDH]. "Mother" knows best!.
  10. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    That "we aren't there yet just might be the case, if not actually, in consideration of the comparative nightmare gridlock in otherbut larger cities. But therein lies most of the sentiment toward being reactive rather than proactive, unlike what actions some other cities undertook during the 1980s and '90s (and even much more recently) ─ locales that were then still mid-sized. While they might not have actually built that early, indeed they DID make some tangible progress toward coherent preparation, in some instances by integrating future transit provisions within the roadway infrastructure, rather than to comeback and attempt to impose one on the other.
  11. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    Imagine the ramifications and repercussions of eliminating NY Penn (actually at the Penn Sta. subway at 34th St.), after a Nov. 2015 triple shooting and murder. That effectively would end all passenger rail service east of Chicago, except for a few non-NY Intercity trains to GCT (Grand Central Terminal) and to WUS (Washington Union Sta.), and to Buffalo, not to mention the network of subway and multi-state commuter runs associated with NYPenn. It wasn't the first and it won't be the last. Not happenin'...
  12. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    For over 15 years, I have envisioned just that for Nashville, a starter circulator in the near-urban core, particularly to help revive the decimated Upper Jefferson Street corridor. The recent elimination of the MTA Nº29 Jefferson bus route and its replacement by extending the Nº60 Blue Circuit Free-Ride to cover that most same route, and ending at around 33rd Avenue North and John Merritt Blvd., at the former TSU Keene Gymnasium (currently part of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center), comes mind for such a conversion. This had been the path of the former car-line route, during the streetcar operation by TEPCO (Tennessee Electric Power Company) until the removal of streetcars altogether in 1941. Some of the old tracks had remained beneath the pavement along Jefferson, as far as 27th Ave. as lately as 2010, although recent utility improvements may have finally displaced those vestiges. It's not a route of any real distance, compared to other core thoroughfares, since Jefferson - John Merritt was reduced to a stub during the 1980s, when TSU was allowed to close off John Merritt Blvd, which formerly had been all Centennial Blvd from 28th Ave westward. The Nº60 is a short route, quite amenable to being transformed into a streetcar line, even if it means adding an alternate set of tracks between 5th Ave. and 8th Ave (Rosa Parks Blvd), which being free for all including those who need it most along the TSU-Meharry-Fisk-corridor, along with downtown riders as tourists and as a shuttle for the Music City Star, it has much more potential as an attraction for the State Bicentennial Mall and its growing list of attractions currently undergoing development, not to mention as a shuttle for the First Tennessee Ball Park. Barricading of traffic along 5th Ave. during game time could permit streetcar traffic only during those times. Frequency could be maintained as current 15-20 minute head-ways or even shorter. Streetcars as circulators are not built for speed, but rather for frequency, just as the SF Muni "Market and Wharves" F-Line and NOLA's NORTA St. Streetcar system, expanded during the late 1990s and again during the mid-late 2000s. Funding this much shorter start-up it would be tenable by budget, but if I'm not mistaken, I believe I recall observing that TDOT had assisted in funding some of Memphis' MATA original Main Street start-up in the early 1990s long before it was expanded with its Riverfront Loop and Madison Ave. Lines. I believe the MATA cars are all non-air-conditioned, including that replica double-truck Birney car shown in Jmtunafish's post above. While most of MATA's cars are refurbished and modified vintage streetcars (e.g. Porto, Melbourne), the firm "Gomaco" has manufactured those Birney replicas for Little Rock's Metro Streetcar, Charlotte's CATS South End District, and for Tampa' TECO (TECO's and perhaps others are air-conditioned). I'd almost bet that bodies would be clinging to a Nashville MTA Nº 60 streetcar like barnacles clinging to a ship hull. They don't need to be any sleek, modern double-articulated vehicles costing some 4 times the amount each of a replica vintage car. And yes, the tracks can't be just slapped down, as the system would need planning just as was necessary with that of MATA.
  13. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    ...And in some cases, they've done a piss-poor job of even that. Where I frequent Belmont Blvd. between Woodmont Blvd. at the north and then southward toward Lipscomb Univ., during the previous two calendar decades, a sidewalk was added on the west side of Belmont from Woodmont and south to Graybar Ln., a distance of about 2 city blocks. It was constructed without any storm drains along its extent, and run-off from the south side of Woodmont drains via open roadside ditches and culverts downhill from Benham Rd to the SW corner of the intersection with Belmont, where the problematic Belmont sidewalk begins ─ a draining distance of about 4 tenths of a mile (5 blocks) . All that drainage is above grade of the approached sidewalk, with the result that the sidewalk acts as a levy and deflects all that runoff directly onto the surface of Belmont, southward. During the cold seasons this has created an ice hazard along that 2-block stretch of Belmont, as that water typically flows along and covers the entire southbound lane of Belmont, in part because of the existing grading of the pavement slightly sloping from curbside and because of the absence of drains. This has resulted in a countless number of spin-outs, a condition of which Pubic Works has been made aware of more than once during the previous 10 years, and for which the short-term solution work-around has been only to dispatch a salt truck spreader on call demand. Run-off might drain and foul the Belmont pavement for as long as a day following the end of any falling precipitation. While this issue may appear insignificant compared to the thousands of other priorities, it nonetheless exemplifies the oversight disconnect with managing interrelated elements of infrastructure improvements, piece-meal. A sidewalk of even that proportion never should have been approved and constructed, without first handling the conveyance of all that run-off. Basically a solution to one issue has resulted in unending and unintended consequences with the creation of another. To have left the pre-existing daylight roadside ditches along Belmont would have eliminated this ongoing hazard.
  14. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    Right, since we all tasted front-row-seat drama, during the Dean administration with how the State pulled rank on State-*maintained highways ─ primarily US designated routes, although much of Gallatin Pike and all of Main St. has had that designation re-routed via Ellington Pkwy. Generally, all the BRT dedicated lines likely would traverse these State arteries. Again it's going to be a steeply uphill battle for buy-in, even for that ─ maybe even a straight-up vertical climb (if not a "vertical stall"). Right now, though, I don't foresee even close to a consensus on even BRT, the effective dedicated type with busways only, or even with Queue jumps and mixed-flow lanes, just as with Seattle's' King County Metro "Madison Street BRT", which still utilizes some dedicated-lane travel. The Seattle example is overhead electric, but could the principle could be applied to any propulsion mode. But I say allow the Cold take its course along with the Harsh Medicine, and let the opponents of the last failed proposal have their hands in BRT before it gets batted down. We can forget about so-called "BRT-lite" Skip-stop, as a solution pill. I know first-hand by riding the MTA Nº50 on Charlotte at 5:00PM.
  15. rookzie

    The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    I think the MCS thing is dead in the water, unless some additional corridor other than the proposed NW corridor (to Clarksville) can be prioritized, although it would be a very costly one, even without the RTA portion beyond the county corporation limits. It seemed that the failed plan's proposed LRT (overhead electric) NW link to Ed Temple Blvd eventually would have been expanded into some form of DMU (diesel multiple unit) to serve the pre-proposed NW Corridor to Montgomery Cnty. Any revised comprehensive county-wide proposal, in this case a Metro, always would need to include sizable coverage scope in areas more transit-dependent, including but not limited to North Nashville, but primarily the urban core. Thing is, it would be all or nothing, in terms of LRT, because the work centers often tend to be areas which would be served by corridors other than the ones of residence. So again, LRT likely would need elimination altogether, for a sizable change of buy-in consensus. _____________________________________ In any case, it's a catch-22. Long ago I posted a brief comment that previously defeated Houston LRT proposals were finally followed with a successful 1998 passing, resulting in commenced construction in 2001, of a 7.5-mile start-up segment, when the Houston Metro (transit) board (some members of which are appointed by mayors of member regional cities) voted to build that city's Main Street Line, in spite of Congressman Tom Delay’s killing federal funds for it. For the next 9+ years, back-and-forth bickering and civic fighting over route alignments and threats again, this time by U.S. Congressman John Culberson (R-TX), to cut Federal funding led to the critical risk of endangering that district's relationship with the FTA, effectively withholding Federal Funding for the start-up development. The transit agency board had to pare down the ambitious plan to a single rail start-up, in order to set the wheels rolling on any construction. Then in 2003 Houston voters passed a massive referendum proposal based on the then-MPO policy of transit for the next 20 years, but that 2003 referendum ended up effectively as a truce rather than a voter consensus, with marginal regional political leadership in agreement barely sufficient to get it passed. Such a tenuous coalition, which at best can mobilize voters but not funds, allowed the "dam to become imminently breached" and the transit efforts to become drenched by well organized and well funded anti-transit forces. Political leaders historically have tended to view transit as a liability, while they seem to much more readily reach regional agreement on roadway improvements. Until 2011, Houston Metro basically had to juggle, without Federal funding, pre-existing proportions of the local tax allocation to slowly fund its long promised network, an initiative which unsurprisingly underwent a sizable setback during the recession of 2008. Likewise of no revelation, the 2012 referendum represented a repeated failure to garner the kind of consensus instrumental in boosting the rate of transit transportation project implementation in Houston, which is not consolidated with containing Harris Cnty. It must be noted that in 2003, Houston proper, which had been in position to apportion its resources for transit without the direct help of other jurisdictions within Harris Cnty, also had been in a much better standalone position to scrape and proceed from a start, than has Metro Nashville and Davidson Cnty, in part due to Houston's much higher population at the time of initial start-up construction in 2001, in time for the initial opening of its short Main Street line in 2004. In 2009 under the same financial constraints, without Federal funding, Houston was able to forge forward and commence expansion, by incremental extension and start-up of two of its then-planned 4 routes. Overall, Tennessee's combined state/municipal tax system captures a greater share of income from low- and middle-income people than from the wealthy, and this alone perhaps provided that coup de grâce to bludgeon to death the Metro Nashville Transit proposal by its contingency for funding. Metro Nashville could stand to learn immensely from history of consortial arrangements and partnerships of other agencies and from those districts which have "been there and done that" in the relatively recent past, just as with a die-hard automobile-centric Houston.