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mattm

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About mattm

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    Whistle-Stop
  • Birthday 12/04/1960

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    Cary
  1. Unfortunately they had to retire the dome car. I believe the issue was that it could not be updated to conform to modern safety standards (it was a while ago and the details have gone fuzzy). -- Matt
  2. It's interesting that the Cary News only quoted the Republican members of the council. The council has been aware of the SEHSR project for quite some time; these members have just been burying their heads in the sand about it because they seemed to think that it was the same as the Regional Rail project. The Walker St. underpass has been planned for almost 10 years now, and is meant to be the main route past the tracks. Both Academy and Harrison will have a rough time moving much traffic if there's a regional rail train going by every 5 minutes. However, both of those projects are in the far-off land of "not funded". The increased freight traffic on the CSX line made possible by the A line reconnection won't be much of an issue because it will be off the peak traffic flows. The commuter trains stopping at Cary WILL be a pretty big tie-up for traffic, though. Cars back up almost to Chapel Hill Rd when the Carolinian stops for passengers in the evening. -- Matt
  3. well, yes, we're all enamored of light rail, but any light rail project is going to take a long time to get going. we put the dmu plan on the shelf as a completed design, at least from 9th street to government center. also an issue is that only ns has signed off on light rail in the corridor; we haven't heard from csx yet, who are more resistant to transit so far. it was only with some difficulty that access for dmu was secured in the corridors. with a big infusion of money we could start turning dirt in very short order on the dmu project, or even just parts of it.
  4. Even 90mph is plenty fast. The key is reliability. If people can count on the train showing up on time and delivering them on time without complications, they will use it. Equally important is frequency of service, because having just one train go by each day at a really inconvenient time drives down usage. Consider the Amtrak route across the Northern Plains. It's reliable, and even though it only runs once a day it's packed. The alternative is driving for miles and miles across the plains in whatever the weather. Actually higher speeds are an impediment in my book. The freight railroads barely tolerate 90mph track because they have to have cab signals leading all their trains. The higher speed means that they wear the track faster, particularly in the curves, because the track will be banked for comfortable passenger service. The freight traffic at 60 or 70mph will lean in too far and cause excessive wear on the inside rail. They won't even touch 110mph track, so you have to have extra tracks just for passenger in that case. I think it's great we're still talking about this option. Patrick Simmons has been working tirelessly on this project for a long time. However, we're never going to see federal funding. We can't even keep the interstate system in repair anymore. NC and VA are going to have to spring for this all by themselves. Also, don't expect passenger rail to make any profit. It never did, except in a very few rarified instances, and only when you ignored the big picture, and only in the heyday of passenger rail before 1960. However, for all the times I've heard the words "money-losing" flung at Amtrak, it still does quite well. The system fare recovery rate is 80%, which is far better than almost any other mass transit entity, especially in the US. Imagine how well they could do without always being starved of capital?
  5. I'll second the idea of Middle Eastern kinds of delis. Greek and Middle Eastern foods are closely related. I know of some really good gyros when you get up to Cary -- I've had them twice this week. La Shish is at Reedy Creek and Maynard Rd., and the Bosphoros deli on Harrison Ave right downtown are both very good. NeoMonde (across the tracks from Meredith College) doesn't have gyros but the kebabs are extremely good.
  6. Took quite a bit of scrolling to find the video, but it was worth it. It's quite sad how a vibrant city was destroyed in a misguided attempt to "save" it. It reminds me of the joke about one of the besiegers of Constantinople in the middle ages -- pope Urban. He had a giant bombard that knocked down big swaths of the city. Thus, "Urban Renewal".
  7. I dunno... it seemed slightly worse today. When I went over I-40 on Miami Blvd after 6:00 nothing was moving on it. However, NC54 moved ok right up to its usual jamup point between Airport Blvd and Aviation Parkway. When I take the bus at around the same time it's usually about the same, but I-40 is usually moving at a non-zero speed where we get on near the outlet mall. (Gee I sure wish I could skip by all that on a train!)
  8. Let's remember what's going on here: the studies showing viability were settled 10 years ago. Money spent by TTA since then has been for design (which is now 100% complete), land purchase (about 85% complete I believe), railcar acquisition (only a little bit paid for that so far) and THEN for re-studies that were requested by the Feds. It's been plain since early 2003, when the Administration asked for New Starts money to be diverted to other uses in the Transportation re-authorization, that funding was going to be difficult (for any rail project). Key congressional committee leadership involved in that bill is also passionately anti-rail, on principle (or maybe just to keep their campaign donors happy). All this re-study stuff is just a way to throw obstacles in the way of projects that might need money anytime soon. Busway is the real boondoggle. All the busways built in the US have come in far below projected ridership. Also, NO mass transit project results in reduced congestion. Mass transit only serves as an alternative -- e.g. it may give me a way around that congested I-40, but removing me from I-40 doesn't reduce congestion.
  9. Interesting link. They do say that they address alternative modes, but they also tend to refer to the document as the "thoroughfare atlas". They also talk about nothing but roads for the first 15 pages (of a 33 page document). Sigh. I'll read the rest after lunch and maybe have more to say then.
  10. In short, they're advocating "analysis paralysis" without saying it outright. "We don't like the current project; let's substitute another project instead." Later when that project starts to get ready to build do the same thing again. Meanwhile the status quo is protected. If I remember right the original Triangle Fixed Guideway Study completed waaaay back in 1992 examined buses running on HOV lanes on I-40, compared to light rail and regional rail, and found it to have the lowest ridership of the three alternatives. That study is what kicked off the regional rail project to start with. Is it online anywhere, transitman? I do agree that our leadership is lame on this subject. It seems that every time we try to get together on a regional transportation project things degenerate into factionalism. We can't even pull off a transit merger, though we're on our second try! At least the agencies cooperate at a level below the political level...
  11. You might want to try asking that on some of the Yahoo groups NC-related railroad groups. There's a bunch of collectors of that kind of stuff over there. Off the top of my head, I would have expected that any railroad in existence at that time would have had regular passenger service. Of course there was the main lines -- Southern, ACL, and SAL -- that had many trains North and South every day (e.g. the Orange Blossom Special). However, all the other railroads would have had regular daily or several/day passenger trains right up into the 1950s for the most part.
  12. "Surplus of tax money" ??? Tollways can increase sprawl just as much as freeways. Did anyone else see this article in the NY Times yesterday? http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/18/national/18FRISCO.html
  13. I used to live by those "rail sale" deals when I was working in Charlotte -- I took the train back and forth most every Friday and Sunday night for those 8 months. I even got my picture in the paper about taking the train! I think my mom got about 25 copies of it from her friends that live in the area. Actually, from that usage standpoint, the midday run isn't quite as useful. There were a number of us worker types that commuted weekly or more. The evening trains were really about that were useful I think. Same for the group of split-family kids that spent weekends with the other parent. However, for the leisure day-trip this does open up possibilities. A trip to Charlotte (or Raleigh from the other end) means you're using the Piedmont (Carolinian) both ways in order to have about a 7 hour visit. A trip to Greensboro on the train means that you almost immediately board the train back, or you have to spend a long day there (about 10 hours). 7 hours is really about the limit when you're dragging smaller kids around. On another note, C-Tran has delayed their fixed route startup into December. There's a small note in their recent press releases here: http://www.townofcary.org/news/news2005/Factcheck-ctran.htm
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