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rookzie

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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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  1. I caught that as well. During the last couple of years or so, city officials in Memphis had suggested that a second train be instated to provide additional service between Memphis and Chicago, to offset the inconvenient schedules at Memphis of both current once-daily north- and southbound runs (Nº58 Nº59 respectively) of the Chicago-NOLA "City of New Orleans" trains. I have ridden that train several times ─ both originating or terminating at Memphis and passing through Memphis. A second train pair would run only between Chicago and Memphis. Memphis has had Amtrak service since Amtrak's inception in May 1971. It never lost service as did Nashville in 1979, although the Newbern stop replaced the one formerly at Dyersburg. The "City" always was swarmed with passengers at the Memphis station, every time I rode it, and with a good deal of parking space at Central Station, along with a police precinct occupying a portion of that building at platform level, I always have felt secure there. CSX can be bought, as long as it can gain from the deal to handle its own congestion. This was done by the legislature in Florida just over a decade ago, for use primarily with the SunRail commuter rail system. A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that the State of Virginia and CSX had agreed to a $$$$ deal to acquire several key assets of the CSX. The deal will add an entirely new 2B$ bridge over the Potomac River to carry Amtrak and VRE (Virginia Railway Express commuter rail) from DC to Virginia. This new bridge will transfer passenger trains from the old CSX-owned bridge, which CSX will renovate for its own freight traffic. The state also will purchase 225 miles of north-south track and 350 miles of north-south railroad right of way from CSX for $525 million, including half the right of way between Washington and Richmond. Virginia also will acquire from CSX nearly 200 miles of east-west track, between Doswell and Clifton Forge. What this plan does is to vastly increase the capacity for passenger trains statewide, allows for a new connection passenger route lost during the 1970s, and assists CSX by creating increasing mainline capacity to allow freight alongside dedicated passenger track, in the Mid-Atlantic region already bursting at the seams for additional capacity. Virginia is a primary gateway for much freight and for all passenger service south of DC. The VRE Fredericksburg commuter line, which runs 8 round-trip trains each weekday, will add 5new round-trip trains during the weekday rush hour and introduce 3round trips on weekends. Amtrak already runs 5 trains to Richmond, and it anticipates 6 additional daily round trips to Richmond and two extended trains to the Hampton Roads area (1 added to each route ─ to Newport News and to Norfolk). This 10-year vision would not be feasible were it not for this deal, which really is "on the cheap", considering the vast potential it affords for the state. Back to Nashville, a Nashville - ATL twice-daily service also could connect at Chattanooga with Bristol-Roanoke, Charlottesville, DC, with a connection at Charlottesville to Richmond and Hampton Roads (via Virginia's purchase of the east-west branch). This Chattanooga connection would be provisional, based on a proposal also in long talks to extend Amtrak service west of Roanoke (DC-Roanoke), service to which began just over 2 years ago. That east-west service proposal actually would extend service from Roanoke to Memphis, connecting Memphis and Chattanooga directly to DC, since the cancellation of such passenger service in 1968.
  2. Thanks to all. Needless to say, I had all cohort fellow students beat in age, and some had grandchildren. I even had the Provost and the President beat, and they taught 2 of the 10 courses, so if I learned nothing else, then it's that I ain't no spring chikkin! I'll have to miss the next 1st-Saturday meet yet again, since I'll be traveling back from rural South Central PA that day, weather permitting.
  3. I'd like to give a try, ML, but I just don't have the connections, especially since I didn't crony the coat-tails of the election campaign. The time couldn't be more aligned, since I just graduated from Lipscomb last weekend.
  4. In mid-October I mentioned that the NYCMTA finally implemented a highly contested proposal to exclude all cars from a stretch of its Manhattan 14th Street crosstown route ─ the "M14". Perhaps most readers are aware that Manhattan’s massive roadway grid consists of primary numbered “Avenues” extending lengthwise (north – south [actually NNE to SSW]), with numbered cross streets, east to west (1st St. at the south end of Manhattan through 225th St. at the north end). The numbered avenues are designated 1st through 12th, from the Eastside to the Westside, with only portions of 12th Ave. remaining, and some of running concurrent with the West Side Hwy and the Henry Hudson Pkwy. Some of the high-numbered streets and 4th Ave. are skipped (don’t exist), and 225th St. actually is across the Harlem River from Manhattan Island itself, but officially is included with Manhattan, which includes Marble Hill north of that river. The M14 SBS (Select Bus Service), which commenced this past Oct 1, was born out of a controversial but necessary plan to compensate for the shutdown of the NYCMTA “L”-Train train route (as in route’s A, B, C, D, E, F, etc., not to be confused with the term “elevated” or “El”, or “L” for the physical type of rapid transit). The Canarsie Line Tunnel, a.k.a. the 14th St. Tunnel, is one of 9 storm-flood-damaged tunnels of the network’s 14 underwater tunnels, some of which were partially destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. All these tunnels have come of age, and this particular tunnel is nearly a century old with cabling equipment buried within the walls of the tunnel. The plan was revised to add a new cable support system (racking) on the exterior of the bench walls (extended lateral space above a continuous concrete shelf with in the tunnel, instead of within the wall, to facilitate foreseen maintenance. So far this plan is “temporary”. The planned L-Train shutdown meant anticipated demand for surface travel via a dedicated “Busway” along the core of 14th Street (9th to 3rd avenues eastbound and 3rd to 8th avenues westbound). Additionally, the plan adds offset bus lanes from 8th Ave. to 9th Ave. westbound and a combination of curbside and offset bus lanes 1st Ave. to 3rd Ave. in both directions. The street redesign includes temporary bus bulbs and expanded sidewalks to the corridor. Under the plan, access to the Busway is mostly limited to M14 local and SBS buses. In addition, Access-A-Ride para-transit vehicles, local deliveries, emergency vehicles, and private cars accessing parking garages also are permitted along that stretch of 14th St. For all-non-bus vehicles needing local access, motorists are able to make a turn on to 14th St. and then make the next available legal right turn off 14th Street. In this manner all vehicles have access to 14th St., but only buses and emergency vehicles are allowed to use 14th Street for through trips. These vehicles may turn onto 14th Street from the avenue closest to their destination and then exit 14th St. at the next legal turn. 14th St. bus-priority treatments are in effect from 5AM to 10PM daily and liberally installed cameras are used to enforce compliance. The city also has incorporated other measures to expand travel capacity with the L-Train service interruptions, some of which have been made permanent initially. NYC DOT completed safety improvements to the Brooklyn entrance of the bike path on the nearest river crossing, the Williamsburg Bridge, a surface path between Manhattan with Brooklyn. In a manner similar to Nashville’s I-440 rehab partial shutdown, the NYMTA rapid-transit L-Train has had to undergo planned and staged disruptions during the rehab of the tunnel beneath the East River. The L-train, a vital link of the NYMTA, connects Rockaway Pkwy in the Canarsie district of the Borough of Brooklyn, to 8th Ave. on the Manhattan Lower Westside. The L-Route locally is known as the “14th Street – Canarsie Local”. Last Sunday the NYCMTA began updating its fleet to serve the M14 route with new Battery-Electric articulated buses built on same body design as Nashville’s New Flyer Xcelsior hybrid series introduced during around 2013. The “Xcelsior Charge eBRT” is the first and only 60-foot (articulated) battery-electric bus to complete FTA (Federal Transit Administration) bus testing. Technology has become refined since back when the dinky Proterra “greens” were introduced to Nashville. Those now have been integrated into the urban core along standard routes, since the canceling of the Downtown Free Ride circulators and now are seen in Wego purple. NYMTA is the first agency in the U.S. to deploy a battery all-electric (as opposed to hybrid) articulated bus fleet on a single route. In the case of NYC’s M14 SBS, ridership predictably has been on the increase, when so many riders have depended on the L-Train subway for many years running below the surface of lower Manhattan, in addition to the fact that it connects with other subway routes at points. In only 2-1/2 months ridership, not only has surged from enforcement of the new busway for both Select and local service, but the agency actually has had to slow the speed of buses to prevent their travel from exceeding the significantly shortened headways during the bus priority periods. Again though, the full-dedicated busway is only temporary, until the subway tunnel gets rehabbed. I can see at least in part that such a busway set-up could be analyzed and tested in trials for short segments with Nashville, and trials would not necessarily be applied within the core. It would work best with signal priority (lessons from the relatively new streetcar lines of Cincinnati and Detroit). The main caveat with a busway in Nashville in its present state and layout is that Nashville has poor surface-road (local) connectivity and very little if any redundancy for parallel travel, even worse across its natural barriers and railways. Even the existing street grid in Nashville is rife with historically misaligned segments of a given street, particularly within the central older core. With very few parallel lengthy point-to-point thoroughfares (or “boulevards”, as designated by TDOT), and with most arterials being non-parallel and primarily radial in geographic layout, probably very little justification could be made for converting an entire street into a busway during any given time of day. Also most Nashville cross streets are secondary and likely could not accommodate both local and “Select Bus Service”. In fact, Manhattan’s 14th St. is as wide as most of Nashville’s widest arterials and is parallel to many other nearby streets. But the main question might be, what public transport need could be fulfilled with a dedicated busway encompassing an entire street, even for a relatively short distance as with NYC’s M14 route? Probably none without a lot of collateral disadvantage, and at the very best, only dedicated bus lanes could be afforded on of Nashville’s “width-eligible” rights-of-way, and in some cases only a single lane for uni-directional travel only. The NYCMTA 14th St. entirely dedicated busway was set up for performing remedial work on an existing but much faster alternative ─ point-to-point. It does not cover the entire transit route, but only a short segment of it. The M14 busway is a tailored solution for a specific highly complex need for correcting a critical safety and operational fault with other infrastructure. As such it can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution in any other locale, even if it works well for that corner of NYC. So far I just can’t perceive any benefit with the existing and highly constraining transportation infrastructure to set up such a busway in Nashville. A dedicated lane-only BRT set-up with state approval likely is the only palpable plan for the city, as far as using buses for rapid service is concerned. A start might be Main St. and Gallatin Pk. in East Nashville, south of Briley Pkwy, since US-31E has been redesignated to be concurrent with Ellington Pkwy along that stretch of Gallatin Pk. In the end though, any dedicated busway will need to be a part of Mayor Cooper’s Transportation Planning, with preliminary public sessions commencing Jan 9.
  5. One reason that this transit expansion plan, in the making for a number of years, has become so foremost of an accomplishment in its own right is that public trust became heavily eroded during relatively recent past mayoral terms in Atlanta, in particular the Campbell administration from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s. This alienated and polarized sentiment, not only with existing governance of the City of Atlanta and shared with Fulton and Dekalb counties, but it ramified regionally to all outlying counties within Greater Atlanta, and crippling the chances of expansion beyond the now relatively meager coverage. Five years ago, Clayton County finally passed a sales tax to join MARTA. Highly populated Gwinnett and Cobb counties so far had refused to join or fund MARTA MARTA is the largest public transport agency in the U.S. to never receive operational funding from the hosting state. With a few pivotal "Rough Rides" financially between the 2008 Great Recession and around 2015, MARTA had been on its own, with little if any hope of expansion of the existing heavy rail network, the most recent being the Red Line extension of the North Line to Dunwoody in 1996 and farther out to North Springs in 2000. This new plan gets nearly everybody onboard ─ a true "consortium, for a change ─ including Gwinnett County, the state, and the Fed. Cobb County corridor planning remains ongoing, and to date I don't believe Cobb County has actually joined. The plan is a projected 30-year (2021-2050) initiative. The existing Atlanta Streetcar opened in 2014, currently only in the form of a Downtown Loop and which has been dubbed the Streetcar named Nowhere, was taken control of during 2018. As a streetcar, it is to become integrated into the proposed larger MARTA Light Rail plan for the Beltline LRT and Clifton Corridor LRT. As such the current streetcar technology will have to be transformed into LRT design standards which incorporates higher speed and safety requirement, as well as scalable length of trains. MARTA HRT (heavy rail transport) definitely and finally is to be extended.
  6. Many would argue that public transit should not be subsidized to the point of making it free for all, while many other do. Mayor Barry had informally considered that possibility at least in a limited fashion for riders in areas like Edgehill. I understand the benefits and drawbacks of both sides of the issue. The mindset typically has been to pay to buy up property and pave more real estate for more lanes of traffic than to subsidize a new bus route or rail line, while others would favor the bus or rail. Then too that’s the reasons we have elections to decide whether to fund transit and/or highway projects, even though the democratic process often becomes tainted with misinformation or a lack of clarity. Starting sometime in 2020, the nation of Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. Luxembourg City has incurred some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. Of course, Luxembourg cannot be justly compared to the U.S. in size, political emphasis, and many other factors, but it does serve as a proving ground for good or bad. The fare policy will apply to both local service and to cross-border commuters. This simply is not palpable across the board in North America. Some agencies might actually find providing free service to be more efficient than all the hassles of collecting fares from their riders, and I am aware of agencies that have done that. That had been one of the arguments during the Dean administration for instituting the Downtown Free Ride circulators, Routes Nº 60 and 61. Often times the transit agencies don’t advertise that when they look to increase funding. It also greatly depends on the area being served. Fare-box revenue is already a small portion of the money that funds most transit system anyway, and for healthy agencies such as KCATA, going 100% subsidized isn't that big of a shift. One factor holding many cities back from offering free transit is their reliance on fare-box recovery, which can make up a sizable chunk of some transit agencies’ operating budgets, such as that of Wego Transit (Nashville MTA), which given the state of affairs during the last few decades has been strapped for cash, desperately needed for operations and maintenance. It's an intriguing idea, but just as with any intention it would have side effects, since people tend to value things they pay for more. The biggest detriment to “free” rides is setting up limitations where free rides end. In many cases, agencies with even limited no-fare service have had to find deterrents to the homeless camping out all day and even setting up housekeeping on transit buses and trains, particularly in cold or inclement weather. The collection of fares to board and timed transfers to continue limited riding tends to discourage that. A primary benefit addresses equity concerns by making transit free for seniors, students, people with disabilities, and other groups that are transit-dependent (captive riders), although most major transit systems offer programs that subsidize fares for low-income riders. An additional benefit of free-for-all is that it would (hopefully) tend to “induce” ridership from choice riders as well as the income-poor. Those purporting the need for “civil liberties” say they are dead against more taxes to subsidize transit, so as the population increases, the need for more highways follows suit, let alone for conveying all those who cannot afford to live “reasonably” close to the workplace. Free rides system-wide aren’t for every agency, but they can work for some. While not realized by most patrons or even the public at large in Nashville, the loss of free rides along the Jefferson Street corridor in 2018, combined with route Nº60 (downtown circulator) and which had been the 8th more ridden route system-wide at the time, represented a significant set-back for those who needed the free service the most ─ the center-most core of North Nashville. This is why we see no more of those "Loud Green" buses floating around. But free-for-all is not substitute for poor service, and opponents would argue that fare-collections help offset the cost of improving service frequency and coverage. Just saying. https://www.archdaily.com/908252/luxembourg-becomes-first-country-to-make-all-public-transit-free?fbclid=IwAR1QOYvy2c8ZHmpzN99xJWPA5nqMjtmi8Wijgo0WVgFS9zGicCSk2mqWpD4
  7. I noticed that some two weeks ago, when I took Division from Musica to Ash St. on my way to dump off some donations to the Tennessee Central Ry. Museum. The visibility of the roadway lines contrast well and definitely confer a better sense of "guidance" along the path. I only drove it eastbound, but I can say that it does take away some of the frustration of being behind left-turners, particularly at 12th. Now the real issue hasn't "surfaced" yet ─ maintaining those lines from weathering and tire-wear, so that I don't have to guess-drive during rainy nights.
  8. That Copenhagen station shows the uses of Platform Edge Doors (PEDs), intended to protect passengers on platforms from falling into the paths of trains. They are rare in North America, typically found mostly with airport people movers, and perform like fixed horizontal-elevator doors. While Nashville is not by any measure alone as an automobile-centric quagmire, the dramatized comparison just brought back to the forefront by AronG and Neigeville2 with the photos posted above are a silent but stark reality check for me. Now tangible prospects of any fixed-guideway (specifically rail-based) transit alternative for the city and the region, appear almost completely dashed in any real foreseeable future. Not unlike other Southern cities, Nashville grew from the post-World War II surge in suburban growth, which shifted to higher dimension with the consolidation of the city-county. Yet despite a boom that has been evident with a skyline of cranes and closed-off lanes, Nashville’s government is facing a $41.5 million budget shortfall and dwindling reserves. A question about public trust emerged in 2018 with charges against then-Mayor Barry, particularly when the events heightened with public suspicions with the revelation of problems in the city’s balance sheet coincided with Barry’s early departure, not to say that issues of questionable practices had not been extant prior to Barry’s election. I myself have not taken the effort to examine trends from the history of publicly available CAFR’s (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports), for the city of Nashville. These, along with audits, often can be used to identify points of inflection in economic and fiscal trends of an entity, be it an enterprise, a city, or a semi-autonomous school district. Debt payments have consumed a growing proportion of the city’s budget. To prevent Deficit Operation the administration plans to take only the necessary actions to accomplish the Primary Objectives for the current fiscal year (ending 6-30-2020). Sadly, as has been revealed, partial impoundment is being undertaken of the Barnes Fund for affordable housing. It has been stated by the current Metro Director of Finance that economic trends for the area nonetheless appear to be positive and sustainable for the foreseeable future ─ a timeline pattern initiated and bolstered by successive administrations since the early 1990s. The state is demanding accountability from Metro, since it receives a bunch of money from the State. Notwithstanding the shortfall, the Metro Nashville Airport Authority appears to be forging with momentum of its expansion plans and growing passenger traffic. A plan to modernize water rates and to identify funding sources for teacher’s pay have become focal points toward transforming the bleed of red ink into indelible fiscal viability. That Nashville’s needs have become urgent don’t need to be mentioned beyond current awareness. Violent crime rates remain stubbornly high, and those committed by youth and reported effectively have spiraled seemingly beyond the elastic limits of available resources, while occurring not just daily but almost hourly. This mounting issue is not just a North Nashville or a South Nashville thing ─ not anymore. Metro might need to start installing those flashing blue-light pole-mounted aerial cameras ─ some with LPR capability (license-plate reading), along alley entryways as well as the streets themselves ─ not just downtown and in “designated” high-crime zones. Neighbors inevitably would complain of the flashing blue lights, claiming the devices would detract from the value of their properties, that they would keep the residents awake, and that it would compromise pivacy. I'd opt for the MNPD remote surveillance ANYtime, as it would afford me at least a perceived sense of security. Efficacy of addressing this starts with top-down leadership, as watch groups can't do it alone. Again though, the common denominator is funding to keep up with demand. As far as sidewalks are concerned, the magnitude of the issue almost would seem unresolvable, given the way Metro manages it with developers and contractors. Smeags already has turned over the rocks to uncover the worms on that subject, highlighting the “in lieu” payment provision that often goes nowhere. Thing is, in many cases sidewalks have to be incorporated and integrated with projects to install storm sewers to channel all that water run-off trapped on roadway pavement at curbside, as well as from all the massive development and infill undertaken to date, let alone any new to follow. The city will have to build a fully piped storm water system, along with some treatment facilities to clean it before use or dumping into a waterway. A piped system would mean tearing up streets and the fronts of lots and alleys, not to mention seizing of houses and property for some of the infrastructure. In turn this will mean possible and probable relocation of sewer piping, electrical-, gas-, and communication utilities, any of which become disruptions with new storm piping. Much of the original urban core had underground storm-water infrastructure installed, but as a whole, with consolidation, Metro Nashville went cheap and put in surface drainage. Drainage improvements have to be made before sidewalks are installed, and again Metro has no funds to do that for the projected thousands of miles of new sidewalks, without mention of those in need of replacement or which are substandard. In addition, as I have said at least once before, unless and until the city can pass a referendum on sales and other taxes allowed by legislation, hopefully it will re-evaluate the potential of a property-tax increase, along with restricted generosity in the assessment appeals, if it ever expects to realize any real increases in revenue beyond the fulfillment of nominal obligations. Otherwise, any envisioned major capital improvements of infrastructure remain pipe-dreams at best. So-o-o-o…, while the sky might not be falling with dire straits for Metro Nashville, so far it has not reached a point of financial “exigency”, as what occurred with the 2013 bankruptcy of Detroit ─ not even close. But other foremost issues make an advanced high-capacity transit network appear even further down the road, beyond the horizon during this point in time. Transit remains an unmet challenge, exacerbated significantly this past summer and fall with a dramatic reduction in services ─ a lamentable back-step adversely affecting not only the marginalized but also impacting all with a reduction in mobility barely sufficient if at all, in many cases. Maybe it’s just “darkest before dawn” ─ I don’t know.
  9. It broke many hearts and evoked much anger and disgust, @rolly ─ not only at the developer, but also at Metro in general for never having any provision to put some teeth into historic preservation. One really can't blame solely the developer, because he has the autonomy to build as he pleases, according to the purpose and conformity of a redev. initiative. Once it was announced in winter-2014 that Lifeway Christian had planned to sell its campus to Southwest Value Partners, I had an impulse that the tower would not be saved, even though Robbie Jones, a board member of Historic Nashville Inc., said "They [Southwest Value] will make good decisions that value the character and authenticity of Nashville" and that "they have an appreciation for Nashville's heritage and want to be good corporate citizens." I just knew better, even that far in advance, almost 4-1/2 years prior to actual demolition. The "satellite" city of Belle Meade has started to create a conservation overlay to protect its historic character, and that would mean all requests for demolitions and new construction within the designated historic zone would be subject to review by a newly-appointed Historic Zoning Commission. The Metro area as a whole never has had such a leverage on historic preservation. IMO the Sullivan Tower was a rare example of "post-war Art Deco", since by that point in US commercial construction the true Art-Deco period basically ended in the US with the advent of WW-II. The Sullivan had that transitional post-modern "simplified", functional look, with limestone cladding blended with a striking classical theme of contrasting, embedded carved thick red granite portal surrounding the main entry, as well as red granite "water-table" projection at the foundation around the entire structure. As far as Nashville was concerned, the Sullivan was a rare example of an Art-Deco high-rise (11 stories). We lost two previous (and probably the only other) examples of Art-Deco high-rises in the city ─ the Sudekum Building and the National Life and Accident Insurance Bldg, razed in the early '90s and the late '70s, respectively. I don't count the L&C Tower as being Art Deco, since its construction spanned the mid-to-late 1950s. You can tell that I was really passionate about the loss of the Sullivan, and with its recent loss, I'm sort of adopting a "don't give a damn" attitude on preservation within the city, after having witnessed the leveling of many other commercial or institutional structures built during or prior to the post-Korean War period. With that said, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see another favorite, the post-modern Beaux-Arts Revival NES building, eventually come down in its entirety. Do I care? I try not to (only can try not). Both the NES and the Sullivan were opened during my early childhood around 1952 or '53.
  10. Basically the Route 24 bus is none other than the pre-existing Nº 24X, which as with the 38X (Antioch) has been an express route since inception for some 10 years or more. These are two of the very few actual MTA city bus routes that have operated as "Limiteds" between downtown and specific outlying areas within Metro Nashville / Davidson Cnty. A former boss of mine and several co-workers rode Nº 24X for many years, and it usually was covered with a New Flyer Xcelsior articulated bus (60-footer). Routes 24X and 38X are more appropriately termed "Rapid Bus", which isn't the same as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). It effectively and truly is "rapid", "limited" or "quick" service ─ one or two steps above the standard service but far from being BRT. As far as "regional" transport is concerned, the RTA (as opposed to the once separate MTA) operates and has been operating numbered "X"-series coaches as express bus service inbound from and outbound to outlying points outside Davidson Cnty and terminate in downtown Nashville ─ e.g. 86X (Smyrna/Lavergne); 96X (Murfreesboro), and 84X serving the more limited MTSU area. Over the last 11 years additional "high-numbered X-series" coach commuter service has been incrementally expanded to serve express to other areas outside the county ─ Dickson, Springfield, Clarksville, Franklin, Gallatin, Spring Hill, and Hendersonville. The RTA routes are all "X" routes in the WeGo list of numbered routes, although they no longer seem to be listed officially with the suffix "X". All RTA routes are funded jointly by the jurisdictions in which they are hosted. The problem with the RTA coach service is that none of the routes provides reverse commuting during service periods, and each is operated only as a narrow span of schedule times during the morning inbound and the late afternoon outbound runs. The local (MTA-only) routes with the "X" designation always have been bi-directional in service concurrent for both inbound and outbound during the morning and afternoon service periods. The RTA long-distance type coaches (MCI- or Prevost-built) are being rebranded under the WeGo moniker to unify the regional- with the local system, all managed under the MTA for some 10 years or so (following the recession of 2008). So nothing really new there that hasn't already been in effect. Plus, all these routes only have served those specific areas of riders who primarily work in the CBD. Possibly additional capacity demand as well as expanded scheduling will need to be considered with the existing "X" routes. Also you spoke of the major players for downtown, which is a good thing, but WeGo does very little to serve the work centers for much if not most of the working- and service-classes, a high percentage of whom work or would work in employment areas well away from downtown. That's what places like Phoenix and Houston are working on right now. Houston's METRONext Moving Forward Plan is supported by a recent referendum for route enhancements, bus-service plus accessibility and usability improvements for the disabled and seniors, additional rapid bus service, and improved or additional Park-and-Ride transit centers, much like what WeGo Transit's "X" service depends on. Again though, even modest measures will need some kind of sustained funding source, as they cannot just be implemented and be self-supporting by fares alone.
  11. Yes, unfortunately. I think CSX had them on they knees, when squeezing their [email protected]!!s ─ in fact I know so. That deal was reached in 2009, but it was delayed until liability concerns by Amtrak could be settled, and the property was sold in 2011. Amtrak used and still uses that A-Line segment. There is some indemnity in the arrangement, such that SunRail does not become accountable for any CSX or Amtrak mishap determined to be fault of the latter two. But it is the sad truth that any such deal had to be made at all, as far as allowing CSX use of the sold-off property, as that can complicate or forestall plans to expand service to weekend commuter runs. In 2015 CSX said it's willing to sell two additional lines in the Tampa Bay area: 1) the "Clearwater line" ─ downtown St. Petersburg to downtown Clearwater then east past Tampa International Airport ending near downtown Tampa. 2) the "Brooksville line." ─ Tampa, passing University of South Florida, through Land O'Lakes, and into central Hernando County near Brooksville. CSX determined that those two routes carried minimal freight traffic and could be used for passenger rail. As yet nothing has actually transpired, but at least Tampa passed a transport referendum late last year. So HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority) recently (last month) revisited consideration of purchasing one or both those lines. Again, I know this belongs in the Transportation thread, but the Ped Bridge itself also is transport related.
  12. CSX would never operate such a system, under it's current board of directors and foreseeable leadership. CSX did form an agreement to sell off a 61-mile segment of its "A-Line" (formerly Atlantic Coast Line RR), to the State of Florida for use by the SunRail commuter system between DeBary and Poinciana, Fl., via downtown Orlando. That was considered a tenable concession because CSX previously had roughly parallel routes ─ the A-line and the "S-Line" (formerly Seaboard Air Line RR). Both routes serve major points along the East Coast. During the pre-merger years, long before the forming of the 1987 CSX Transportation mega-merger, the two lines were separately competitive carriers extending from Richmond, VA into Florida. The CSXT arrangement for the sale of that A-Line R-o-W segment to the State of Florida for SunRail allows CSX to run freight trains on the A-Line only during weekends and in the middle of the night on weekdays. CSX therefore was able to transfer most of its freight trains to the “S-Line” route. This was a matter of historical redundancy within CSXT operations resulting from previous mergers, and it presented a unique and rare opportunity for the State of Florida. But all SunRail is operated by the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission (CFCRC), a consortium of Orange , Volusia, Seminole and Osceola counties ─ not by CSXT. I brought this up a year or two ago (or four) in a different post. Middle Tennessee never has had such "advantage" of parallel CSX routes.
  13. They actually have in Florida. Money talked there, with state govt. stepping in, and CSXT had a viable alternative pre-existent.
  14. No, that's simply not going to happen, with or without CSXT cooperation. It's not even a realistic consideration, and not even much larger and older cities have capped over that much existing railroad property ─ not even Chicago, or Queens. Kick 'em out of town. I don't think even developers and most anti-transit would push for that. It's a necessary evil that has potential to be manipulated into assets far beyond mere surface-travel and redev use, believe it or not. I do share your frustration though, if you live anywhere near 4th Ave. S. and Chestnut St. in Wedgewood-Houston. That has to be one of most aggravating and "confounding" local urban surface road snafu's in the entire region, exacerbated with the one-way restriction of 2nd and 4th avenues. It is the only known layout within the urban core where no alternative roadway bypass provision exists nearby and where two primary intersecting roadways each cross the same main rail trunk line (the CSXT Chattanooga Sub-Division out of Nashville Terminal). Making matters worse is the fact that trains often are stopped westbound or northbound to await either clearance or a crew change at Kayne Ave. Yard (South Gulch). They also stop eastbound as well, waiting for clearance to proceed, or to clear the rail interchange for other train movements at Oak Street, where routes diverge for trains to go either east across Chestnut and 4th or south to Craighead, Vine Hill, and Radnor. Just a month ago I got caught traveling west on Chestnut by a stopped train. Fortunately with traffic already backed up to gridlock as far east as 2nd and 3rd, I had enough sense (and the opportunity) to detour along 3rd, and double back north to McCann St., then zig-zag on 4th to Oak St and then "dogleg" at 6th across the overpass to Bass St and the Adventure Science Center. But that does not serve locals who must gain access to 4th anywhere between Chestnut and Houston St. You're just stuck, period.
  15. I really was trying to be a tad "delicate" about it myself. I just ride the coattails of others who call a spade a spade..
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