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orulz last won the day on June 9 2013

orulz had the most liked content!

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About orulz

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  • Location
    Raleigh, NC
  • Interests
    transit, biking, running, outdoors, urban development, local politics

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  1. I hope that the "external action" is them deciding to coordinate with NCDOT's purchase of new trains, and rethink the design to go for high platforms. Level boarding at mid-line stations is likely the lowest-hanging fruit when it comes to speeding up Piedmont service.
  2. Hourly Piedmont trains, to Gateway Station, stopping also in Harrisburg, Lexington, and Hillsborough (in addition to all existing stops) with a trip time fast enough to enable a train to complete its run, be serviced, and turn around ready to head the other way, in 3 hours - is the right vision. Throw in an extension to CLT (while still maintaining maintaining 3 hour trip + turnaround) would be an added bonus. A stop in the RTP/RDU/I-540 area would be icing on the cake. So: -Increase frequency to hourly! -Up to 5 more stops -slightly longer journey (to CLT instead of Gateway) -but still sho
  3. You are so right about integrated planning. It's easy to get lost in the weeds on this, and I am not a professional (what I know I learned mostly from reading blogs) but: The way to do this, is to *start* by drawing up the timetable you want to run. Work backwards from there to figure out the infrastructure needed to make it work. If you do it right (meaning you have a willing and cooperative freight operator), by step 6 (2h 30m run time), you would have a system where passenger trains and freight trains never have to overtake each other in the same direction because they all run th
  4. Back in the late 80s or early 90s, Governor Jim Hunt articulated a vision for hourly trains and a 2 hour trip time between Raleigh and Charlotte. We need to reawaken some of that ambition. A Brightline-scale effort is about what it would take. 1. Raise the corridor-wide speed limit to 90 mph - (~10min?) 2. Get DEMU trains with distributed traction (for better acceleration - the Amtrak Siemens order doesn't have this) and retractable gap fillers (to make it easier to build high platforms) (~10min?) 3. Complete double tracking between Raleigh and Greensboro (no speedup but enables
  5. Cheaper alternative: further reconfiguration of the Belk's interchanges, freeing up one of the three to four "channels" currently used for car traffic, to use as a light rail line instead. If you're going to go to the expense of decking over the Belk, why not do it with a park instead of a boulevard? I still like the Trade Street tunnel option better, though. Tunnels are actually pretty cheap; it's stations that are the budget busters. So, simplify it by having only one or two underground stations. The CATS transportation center obviously needs an underground station. Gateway might, but it m
  6. The loops between Old Fort and Black Mountain are actually pretty scenic. But the route is very, very slow as well. There is currently no through freight over this line, only locals serving Asheville-area industries - so if there ever were a time that it made sense to give passenger service a go, then this is it.
  7. I am sort of expecting them NCDOT to announce a joint procurement with Amtrak. Siemens has an off the shelf design that's already in service which certainly gives them a leg up. That said, Stadler seems pretty competent, and Alstom just won a big order in Chicago, too..
  8. I am going to seem like Debbie Downer but I am frustrated that NCDOT is not doing more to coordinate this (as well as the platform/overpass project at Kannapolis) with their purchase of new trains for the Piedmont. Hear me out. The lowest hanging fruit for making the journey time on the Piedmont faster is station dwell times. Those trains can stay stopped at stations for a frustratingly long time. On a busy day, dozens or even a hundred passengers can board and disembark at a station. Subways can handle crowds this big, or bigger, in 30 seconds or less, with ease. But the Piedmont c
  9. CLT should look to Minneapolis and the DC Metro for hints of what to do here. As far as where to put the airport station - just do what the Silver Line extension does at Dulles: wind its way to within walking distance of the terminal, and then back out the other side to serve stations on the far side of the airport. And then the Light Rail can *become* the people mover between the intercity/commuter station and the airport terminal. It already uses proof of payment to verify fares, so just declare that segment as free, and then don't inspect tickets. If you need better frequency, th
  10. Freight trains that do not stop, roughly match the average speed of a passenger train that stops every few miles. If you have a passenger train that tops out at 60mph but makes a stop every 2 or 3 miles, its average speed might wind up as 30 or 35mph. Places that are competent at operating trains take advantage of this quite often, even in the context of passenger trains running on a frequent clockface schedule. Saw it all the time on the Sanyo Main Line when I lived in Hiroshima, which has 15 minute mid-day frequency. JR East even does this through Shinjuku, the busiest train statio
  11. Raleigh's Publix is 45ksf, but that's Raleigh's first and only full size downtown grocery store, and the second one overall. (Weaver Street Market is 12ksf.) Whereas this proposed Publix is Charlotte's 2nd full size grocer (Whole Foods is 1st) and the third overall (HT is small, at 12ksf). So even with a smaller Publix, Charlotte is still going to be winning the downtown grocery war.
  12. In the time since this line was proposed, many other streetcar lines have been proposed and built (and many of them have flopped). The Gold Line has a route with the potential to be Actually Useful (relatively linear, through walkable areas, servessignificant density), which is more than can be said of many of the other streetcars. The devil is in the details, but it's the hardest part to change once the rails are in the ground - so at least it's good that Charlotte has gotten this part right. Frequency, speed, and reliability are the other parts of the ridership equation. I know it'
  13. Fenton may be exciting / interesting for some reasons, but for now it sure looks like a civil war fortress from Cary Town Blvd, with that retaining wall on top of a hill. May change, but count me as underwhelmed so far.
  14. Awesome, that's really cool! What about a short extension of the northeastern Blue Line to connect to a commuter station at University City Blvd/Mallard Creek Church Rd?
  15. Look up "gas insulated switchgear". The next time Duke has to overhaul that substation, they should rebuild it using GIS. It allows for a drastically reduced footprint, and for most of the equipment to be placed in an inconspicuous building rather than ominously buzzing behind a barbed wire fence in an open field of gravel. The benefit for them? They get to sell off the surplus land. Duke is planning to install its first new-build GIS substation in Asheville. (They did inherit several, including 3 in Chapel Hill.) I can think of no better place for a second one than practically in the shadow
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