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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. You could widen Tyvola enough to put a light rail line in the median by buying out just north of a dozen houses facing the street. The impacts of doing so on Woolawn or Scaleybark would be much larger.
  2. Transit planners work in the real world and have to deal with things like cost effectiveness. Charlotte would probably need at least a half dozen, probably more new radial lines from outer neighborhoods to uptown before a circumferential line would be the next highest ridership option. The sheer number of people and jobs that can be reached within walking distance of uptown is and always will be way, way more than anywhere else in town, and building a line where riders have to transfer to get there is folly, at this point. Charlotte's CBD is so dense from a jobs perspective (and continuing to become more dense) that the city should take full advantage of that, providing rail access for *everybody* to get to uptown, and then continuing to add more density along those lines, before thinking about building rail lines to tie together outer neighborhoods where the density pales in comparison.
  3. Charlotte is light-years away from being ready for a circumferential rail line. Circumferential lines *always* underperform compared to lines that hit the CBD, even in places like New York, Paris, and Tokyo. It is also a common fallacy in non-transit cities and new transit cities to over-emphasize the importance of lines to the airport. South Park-CLT is likely not a good route for rail any time this century. I *would* like to see a gold line branch to CMC, at least as far into Dilworth as East Blvd. Perhaps even another half mile past there to where Kenilworth and Scott connect together. (On the other side of town, maybe a branch to the old Freedom Mall as well). Call this Gold Line Phase IV.
  4. A branch from the Blue Line is a good way to serve SP. IMO this is way more important than an extension to Ballantyne. People on here seem to prefer a route that covers Park Rd SC but that would probably require a crazy expensive tunnel. Nice thought but not realistic, IMO. The hundreds of millions that it would cost to build such a tunnel would be much better spent on other things like commuter/regional rail. I think a surface route along Tyvola is much more realistic - it would be possible with a reasonable number of residential property impacts: 15-20. Flyovers for South Blvd and Park Rd.
  5. Charlotte's elevation is too high, so the entire metro area will stay high and dry even if all the ice melts. Raleigh will be half underwater and the remainder will be a beach town. We're at *least* a decade or so from anything like this actually happening though.
  6. Unions are part of the problem but really just the tip of the iceberg. There is a revolving door between management at MTA and managers at the consultants who bid on these contracts. The MTA managers have every incentive to make the bidding process as byzantine and restrictive as possible and so dependent on knowing and having a good relationship with people on the inside, that the contractors are basically forced to hire these managers after they have done their stint at the MTA. The contractors then plop a 25% premium on their bids because of how much it sucks to deal with the MTA. The environmental review process in the US is completely broken, it takes too long and strongly rewards NIMBYs who lawyer up to obstruct or hijack the process. The overall way that most projects in the US are bid out rewards contractors who bid low but escalate costs through change orders. Basically it comes down to the fact that nobody in the US is focusing on good government. Republicans are focused on removing it and Democrats are focused on fighting to preserve what we have and implementing the next big thing that nobody with ambition, power, and capability is interested in making sure what we do have actually works well. America as a whole, is very resistant to giving any real power to bureaucrats, but the truth is that a competent, somewhat independent (but still accountable) bureaucracy is the key to things like effective planning and good project management. People like the MTA head or the head of the USDOT and FTA are political appointees and serve entirely at the whim of the politician who appointed them. For these appointees, loyalty is often the number one qualification over competence. Even if by some magical stroke of luck the person who gets appointed to a critical position is genuinely competent, rather than a political hack (Byford at NYCT for example) they face an uphill battle, and besides, they are almost always replaced as soon as the politician who appointed them is out, and the goals and the mission of the organization are reset and whatever institutional progress was made is often thrown in the trash.
  7. What makes you think that? Elon does not like for his companies to be just a cog in a machine. He always moves towards vertical integration. Every project that TBC has bid on or proposed so far has been a turnkey solution. I expect that, like SpaceX selling launches to third party customers like commercial satellite operators, NASA, and the military, he may offer to dig tunnels for others for a profit for some time, but at most, the point of this would be to bankroll development and construction his real vision, which is his ill conceived car-elevator-and-tunnel-from garage-to-parking-lot system.
  8. I'm with you on all the above. I am glad to see some R&D going on in this space. I do wish they were working on cheaper ways to excavate stations rather than car elevators, but improvements to tunneling tech would be welcome. My comment on "salvaging" was in response [email protected]'s post, since I do indeed think that TBC itself is doomed to failure as long as they are planning on running cars through their tunnels.
  9. 14' diameter tunnels would be perfectly adequate for legitimate high capacity transit. Current rolling stock might not fit, and the 8-16 person pods proposed so far aren't big enough, but it is perfectly conceivable to develop larger (articulated/coupled?) vehicles that would fix that problem. However, the tunnel-ground interface (namely, elevators, stairs, and ramps) is a problem they have not proposed a scalable solution for yet. A single elevator is very expensive to build and yet many are required to meet claimed headways. The renderings of off-line stations they showed for the Chicago airport Express project looked enormous, complicated, and expensive. The fix for that is obvious, to have on-line stations with platforms like conventional subways. Let people on foot do the vertical circulation. Now, even conventional subway stations cost money, but with less political interference and a proper eye towards cost control when it comes to design and construction, it would not be hard to do it a great deal cheaper than standard US practice these days. But especially, it is the focus on "car elevator from your garage to the parking lot" nonsense that makes me highly leery of this enterprise. They are trying to solve the problem of traffic without any reduction in car use. That seems to be at the very core of their mission, in fact. They seem to think they can make tunneling so fast and inexpensive that it is essentially "too cheap to meter;" meaning they will not only be able to catch up to and meet all current unmet demand, but also stay ahead of induced demand, while still catering to single-occupancy 5000 pound steel boxes for every traveler. Pure hogwash. If they (1) succeed at the technological advances that they have proposed, which I will admit may be possible, and (2) lose the cars, which I do not think is likely under the direction of Elon Musk, then yes, some of the technological advances may be there to *salvage* into something that actually scales.
  10. I have a theory that somewhere in the past 5-8 years an industry analyst must have written a report linking the modern trend of putting more office workers per square foot with a need for higher parking ratios. (Forgetting that there is also a corresponding trend for not all workers to actually show up at the office on any given day.) Though cities haven't upped parking requirements to match, lenders have latched on and are refusing to fund office buildings without enormous parking structures to go with them.
  11. There may be something salvageable from the Boring Company but what they have proposed and built so far is not workable. -in order to achieve claimed passenger throughput using their 16 person pods, they will need crazy tight headways, like 1 per second. The vehicles are just too small and flat out not attainable at speeds like 127mph. -allowing single-occupancy cars in the tunnel, which is literally *the core* of the company's vision, wrecks throughput even further. -they have not demonstrated or even produced renderings of stations or termini that can handle anywhere near those passenger/vehicle numbers However, the tunnels aren't as small as some have said. They are the same diameter as the London deep tunnel lines. Link the pods together into rubber tired metro trains with open gangways, then you have the beginning of something. Still have to solve the station problem, but it would be really easy to design and build something cheaper and less grandiose than is the common practice in today's US transit industry.
  12. Bah. Ever been to Japan? The only thing wrong with that vending machine is that there aren't like six more lined up next to it, selling everything from hot coffee and tea to beer.
  13. If I recall, rhe final iteration of the plan for the grade separation that came out before CSX said "No thanks" included an odd chicane for CSX that they didn't like. It was required in order to thread a double track alignment through between the columns supporting I-277. To go through years of construction headaches and get a sub optimal result like that was deemed to not be in their best interest. Most likely it will not come up again for a pretty long time. It will probably only happen if/when there are regional rail trains running every 15 minutes on the NCRR and O-line, and even then only when the Brookshire Freeway is being dismantled or rebuilt so a straight path for CSX can be made.
  14. Light rail to Rock Hill (or Gastonia or Huntersville or Concord, all of which have been suggested in some official capacity) is insane. Regional rail, y'all.
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