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The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

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A little bit more from The Ledger.  Interesting that the projection for Rutherford cited for 2020 is 350K.  I think they're low balling the Davidson projection at 715K.  Should be north of that, up to possibly 730K.

Anyway, this is additional info on what the lex is looking at regarding transit...  http://tnledger.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=94019 

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2 hours ago, L'burgnative said:

^^^I guess each state is different but doesn't the wheel tax revenue typically go to education?

That sentence was poorly-worded. The state registration fee pays for the administration costs of the vehicle registration program, with excess going to the general fund and/or for highway maintenance. The county portions go to whatever the county wants to use them for, which sometimes includes education (I think Shelby County is the worst about this).

What I was getting at is that TDOT itself does not administer vehicle registrations, nor does it directly collect gas tax, nor does it include the Tennessee Highway Patrol (which sort of makes sense as the THP functions as a de facto state police rather than strictly a highway patrol). So even though TDOT is primarily funded by user fees, it has no authority to collect those fees directly other than the dreaded tolls.

It would make a lot more sense to approach state DOTs as if they were public utilities, like, for example, NES. By that I mean give TDOT the power to set and collect its own user fees, bringing all highway- or transportation-related functions under their roof. In that way they set their own funding amounts and mechanisms while still being held accountable to their user base.

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On 1/6/2017 at 0:08 PM, MLBrumby said:

the projection for Rutherford cited for 2020 is 350K.  I think they're low balling the Davidson projection at 715K.  Should be north of that, up to possibly 730K.

2015 Tennessee State Data Center projections have Rutherford at 350,488 and Davidson at 714,756 in 2020.

I believe I posted this data in another thread, so I apologize if its a repost.

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I realize where the projections come from, but they're estimates into the future based on estimates from the recent past. Given the previous five years growth of the county, I believe that IF (that's the hinge) the population continues at (at least) the same rate as the previous five years, then that would be 10-11K per year for the county.  Right now the county is at around 695K (based on a July 2015 estimate of 679K).  In July of this year, the population should cross over 700K.  So three more years of the same would put the county well past 715K (unless the growth rate is cut in half). That's why I think they're underestimating, even if it is TSDC that's doing it. Of course, anything could happen to derail that growth. At this point, I just don't see it and expect the population in 2020 to be around 725-730K. 

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Davidson county is huge!!

 

And this is needed...heard of too may pedestrians getting hit cause of no sidewalks

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Love those maps!  Now when they say "separated bikeway" are they referring to a proper bikeway that is shielded from the road with a row of planters or some other physical barrier, or are they just referring to the typical Nashville practice of painting a bicycle onto a shoulder and calling it a bikeway.

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^ ^ ^ There is a lot of description of various categories of bikeways and recommendations for certain areas, intersections, etc.  It is a very in-depth 200+ page report with lots of research, photos, diagrams, and, of course, maps.  

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8 minutes ago, markhollin said:

^ ^ ^ There is a lot of description of various categories of bikeways and recommendations for certain areas, intersections, etc.  It is a very in-depth 200+ page report with lots of research, photos, diagrams, and, of course, maps.  

Thanks!  I'll check it out!

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45 minutes ago, nashvylle said:

She wants any funding to go to a referendum. Which I believe was already presumed by all parties, so it's looking like there's a glimmer of hope that the state legislature won't immediately strangle this in the crib.

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I think the cost of an elevated monorail system is the issue. 

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1 hour ago, nashvylle said:

I think the cost of an elevated monorail system is the issue. 

I agree, it would be insanely costly...but it seems most major cities have invested in at least one major piece of transit, whether it be subways, elevated rail or something similar to one of those.  Wouldn't it behoove us to be sure we have that one "major" transit system in place?  A system that actually provides the public with suitable travel times...availability...etc?

I just wonder if the current plan they're looking at, with "a little bit of this and a little bit of that", is the proper approach?  Without a dedicated pathway for transit that is not impeded by automobiles, I'm not sure we get a good "bang for the buck."  In other words...do it right the first time (more costly up front)...but probably saves us money in the long term.

Again...I know little, so I'm just thinking out loud.

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Charlotte doesn't have a subway nor elevation, but a right of way. 

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6 minutes ago, titanhog said:

I agree, it would be insanely costly...but it seems most major cities have invested in at least one major piece of transit, whether it be subways, elevated rail or something similar to one of those.  Wouldn't it behoove us to be sure we have that one "major" transit system in place?  A system that actually provides the public with suitable travel times...availability...etc?

I just wonder if the current plan they're looking at, with "a little bit of this and a little bit of that", is the proper approach?  Without a dedicated pathway for transit that is not impeded by automobiles, I'm not sure we get a good "bang for the buck."  In other words...do it right the first time (more costly up front)...but probably saves us money in the long term.

Again...I know little, so I'm just thinking out loud.

 

3 minutes ago, nashvylle said:

Charlotte doesn't have a subway nor elevation, but a right of way. 

Thing about Charlotte is, it has a R.o.W. because of a sizable portion of previously unused railway potentially conceived decades ago as viable trunk.  Nashville simply does not have that provision, for reasons discussed last year and the year before, so there never was "room" for what could have been.

For Nashville, it's an "uphill battle", as it were, since to create one major [rapid] transit system will require starting pretty much from scratch.  Even Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis perceivably have more options for R.o.W. from underutilized assets than does Nashville, which is going to require a radial approach to a solution.

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30 minutes ago, titanhog said:

I agree, it would be insanely costly...but it seems most major cities have invested in at least one major piece of transit, whether it be subways, elevated rail or something similar to one of those.  Wouldn't it behoove us to be sure we have that one "major" transit system in place?  A system that actually provides the public with suitable travel times...availability...etc?

Given the farebox recovery ratios of the flagship lines cities such as Denver, Seattle, etc. have built I'm not convinced that building one simply for the sake of doing so provides the best return on investment. Some of our peer cities are making back as little as 12% of the operating costs of these lines, not counting the construction costs, and while one could argue that it provides intrinsic benefits that are worth the ongoing losses, the same can be said of the regular bus system, which tends to cover more of the city and not just one high-profile (and, usually, high-wealth) corridor.

I would be more inclined to support such a project if the people who used it actually paid for it, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to blow a ton of money on one line, when that money could be used to improve service for everyone else, just because one mode of transit is sexy and one is not.

 

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I think many if not most would be at least inclined to support a major and advanced-capacity transit  project, if those who used it were those supporting it financially.  But relatively few such systems today in North America are profitable, and most haven't been so since the days of private ownership during and prior to WW-II.  Nashville is at a catch-22 because it has waited so long to even begin any such thing, and it usually takes something to get something else.  This makes it that much more of a challenge to jump-start anything that never existed, whether or not the ridership metrics and accounting structures for a particular portion of such a system might far exceed expectations.

Denver's RTD Fastracks "A-Line" (between downtown and the airport) has been one of the most costly expansions in the history of new-starts for flagship-line cities which are relatively new entries in modern rapid transit.  Then, too, this expansion, part of which follows pre-existing RR R.o.W., had been awarded a quite sizable grant from the FTA, which deemed it justifiable in terms of the criteria fulfilled.  Denver went "way overboard", in my opinion, with its decision for system specifications, which ordinarily would be tenable only for very large and older, more dense regions ─ heavy railroad-spec. electric multiple unit trains (EMU), all of course on dedicated R.o.W.

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While I don't disagree with the re-evaluation of the gas tax, mileage vs consumption, wouldn't that also magnify our affordable/avail housing crisis?  Charging the people more who may not be able to afford to live closer to the city?  Seems like another way to tax the poor/middle/working/whatever class.

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Glass half-full here. But relative to national trends, Nashville is about on schedule for taking the next leap in mass-transit. Not only Denver, but Charlotte has had a sizeable headstart in population growth. In Charlotte, we will shortly have two light-rail lines, total 19 miles overall. And serving a tiny percentage of the population.

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LRT typically runs around $35 million a mile. The Las Vegas monorail, a project now a decade old, cost $90 million per mile.

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