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Proposed Light Rail Systems


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In Houston, I believe funding is a major issue in getting the light rail lines built. The Red line has been finished since 2004, but no work has been done since. I know the transit authority has been trying to determine the best route for the University corridor line. One route takes it down Richmond Avenue, but a neighborhood on Richmond has gone NIMBY on that plan. The other route is down Westpark.

I think the red line has made a vast improvement to the look and feel of downtown, midtown, and the medical center.

My dad always talks about Houston's plan for monorail way back in the 80s. The mayor back then was looking ahead, unfortunately, it didn't take off.

However, METRO currently has plans for several commuter rail lines that extend out to the suburbs. Let's hope they are a success. Of course, I say we tax gas...let's say $2 a gallon...that'll put butts in those rail cars.

Houston rail plan

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Do you have an exact estimate on that rail system?

There has been actually 2 proposals for a LRT system in the past, there has been one Bus Rapid Transit system proposal that died a couple years ago and Honolulu is currently in the early stages of attempting to get another mass transit system in place by 2012. The current proposal is estimated to cost twice as much as the last proposal. They estimated the cost to be $2 Billion for a system that runs about 22-miles.

The cost of gas runs about $3.50/gallon (on O'ahu, more on the other islands). I think the rising cost of gasoline will tip the scales in favor of a mass transit system among the general public.

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Lets hope so, because right now, Federal matching funding has essentially dried up and any proposed system that is planning on this funding is going to wait years to be built. This wait will increase costs. In 2007 there was only $1.5B made available to satisfiy $45B in requests and most of the $1.5B went to satisfy commitments to systems previously approved.

The Federal gov't has cut this funding because they have to do something about the huge national deficit (caused mainly by tax cuts and Iraq) and this is where they can cut money and nobody complains in numbers to be heard in Washington.

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Hopefully our new president whoever it might be will do better than this at trying to get LRT funding for states. Any president will be better than Bush. I can't believe people voted for a guy who has spent 300 billion dollars on a war that doesn't even matter. Do you know what that money could have gone too instead of the war. Just think about it.

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Are there any cities out there with heavy rail systems proposed? or are they pretty much the way of the past? Light rail the only way to go nowadays?

I think the New Haven to Hartford to Springfield commuter rail would be heavy rail..

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I think the New Haven to Hartford to Springfield commuter rail would be heavy rail..

Commuter Rail and Heavy Rail are completely different items. Do a search as the difference has been explained here many times.

To answer the orginal question, I do not believe there are any new heavy rail systems being proposed in the United States. There simply isn't the money to build something like that now. There are a few proposals out there to expand a few of the existing heavy rail systems, but as stated above, the Bush Administration has cut federal funding for new systems to nil so don't expect to see much new transit being built in the USA in the coming years.

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Several Midwestern states have made large commitments into upgrading tracks that will increase service between cities with Chicago serving as a hub. The main improvements will allow trains to travel at 110mph in comparison to the current 79mph. Because of improvements in the tracks, a trip from Minneapolis to Chicago by train will be reduced from 8 hours to 5 and a half.

The number of trips will also be increased from 1 per day to 7.

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrail/o...rs/midwest.html

This is as close as it gets to heavy rail dedications.

Edited by Snowguy716
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Hopefully our new president whoever it might be will do better than this at trying to get LRT funding for states. Any president will be better than Bush. I can't believe people voted for a guy who has spent 300 billion dollars on a war that doesn't even matter. Do you know what that money could have gone too instead of the war. Just think about it.

I'm quite certain that with that money, the feds could have fully funded every proposed rail system in the US with plenty of cash to spare. :(

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I might not know, but is there a proposed light rail between Washington DC and Baltimore? I know there is dire need for one, there are three freeways connecting those cities and it leads to much worse sprawl in Maryland. Maryland has adopted a smart growth initative which calls for old buildings to be rehabbed and land use adjustment so people don't develop all over the areas near Baltimore and Washington.

If they build one in all, they should take down the freeway and put the rail in its place. What do you guys think?

There is no Light Rail Proposesd between DC and Baltimore, they have a Commuter Rail that already connects both cities. The three freeways that connect DC and Baltimore are no where near causing sprawl like most of the Highway's in Northern Virginia.

What is soo smart about Smart Growth in Maryland when most of the old buildings that are renovated contains Lead posion and molds. Your land use adjustments statement is just another way of saying that the Maryland suburbs is not worthy of Developing at the same high rate as Virginia which seems EXTREMLY biased especially if no one is suggesting that Northern Virginia should have land use adjustments and rehabilitating older buildings so there would not be soo much sprawl spreading to the western and southern parts of Virginia.

The ONLY way they will take down the freeways in Maryland like you suggested and replace them with light rails WILL be the day that Virginia and other states take down ALL of their Freeways and replace them with Commuter rails. Until that happens(when pigs fly) Maryland will continue to build new Highways along with Commuter Mass Transportation just like Virginia.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I know someone mentioned Atlanta's Beltline but it really deserves a second mention. If you want to know all about it, check out Beltline.org. Here is a link to the transportation system: http://beltline.org/what/transportation.shtml#investments . The system uses old ROWs from CSX and Norfolk Southern. It is 22 miles in all and will include soemthing like 1300 new acres of greenspace. It is planned to have double tracks with tons of stations connecting 45 different neighborhoods and the already existent MARTA. They have already approved a TAD to fund it and it is expected to take the 25 years and $2.5 billion. It has a lot of support even from the Mayor.

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Here is an aerial view of the new Cross County extension to the St. Louis -- Illinois Metro Link Light Rail System. This extension will open in October of this year 2006. It starts at the current Forest Park station and branches to West to Clayton, and then South to Maplewood, Webster Groves, and Shrewsbury.

St. Louis MetroLink Light Rail -- New CrossCounty Extension

The newest Metrolink Light Rail Line in St. Louis opens tomorrow. Rides are free on the new portion for the weekend. If you know St. Louis, this new line T's off the current line at Forest Park and goes West and then South to link up Washington University, U City, Clayton, Galleria/The Boulevard, Richmond Heights, The Grove, Brentwood, Maplewood, Webster Groves, and Shrewsbury. It currently ends near I-44 almost within walking distance of Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard. All the bus routes have been re-designed to utilize the new branch and will start on the new service Monday.

St. Louis MetroLink Map with New Branch

metrob25flash.jpg

New Transit Map with New Shrewsbury Metro-Link Light Rail Branch

Edited by Gary_Kreie
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Several Midwestern states have made large commitments into upgrading tracks that will increase service between cities with Chicago serving as a hub. The main improvements will allow trains to travel at 110mph in comparison to the current 79mph. Because of improvements in the tracks, a trip from Minneapolis to Chicago by train will be reduced from 8 hours to 5 and a half.

The number of trips will also be increased from 1 per day to 7.

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/passengerrail/o...rs/midwest.html

This is as close as it gets to heavy rail dedications.

Are they still upgrading the tracks for this? It started quite a while ago, and i wasnt sure if they were still working on it.

If they actually finish it, it will be awesome. I could see a lot of people taking the train from Detroit to Chicago and back.

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They are testing the trains of Charlotte's new light rail line. :yahoo:

Here are a couple of photos of the train operating on it's own power for the first time taken by one of our Charlotte forumers. This is at the new light rail maintenance facility near downtown. See the rest here.

lr10.jpg

lr14.jpg

When finished, the Charlotte Transit System will look like this. The trains being tested are for the Blue Line South.

LYNX.jpg

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Here is a report from 2 of our members who attended the light rail briefing in Norfolk today. Senator Allen has confirmed that Federal funding has been approved for federal funding. Currently Norfolk expects to sign the FFGA by the end of this week or month at the latest.

I am just returning from the meeting at Kirn.

Randy Wright really didnt say anything that we already dont know.

Once HRT signs the FFGA (Federal Funding Grant Agreement) the process can get rolling in earnest. Mr. Wright said that should be done if not by the end of this week, by the end of the month at the latest. There would be final negotiations for right-of-way property acquisitons along the route. After that, the final design would be completed and presented. Utility work would begin in mid 2007 with the first riders stepping aboard in late 2009 or early 2010.

Mr. Wright placed an emphasis on Transit Oriented Development and said that the national average of assessments of property near rail lines were 27% more than property not near rail. He said to expect significant developments - residential and commercial - near stations.

The room was pretty much packed. I would estimate there were about 100 people in attendance. The faces I recognized other than Wright: Michael Townes, CEO of HRT and Dr. Mason Andrews, former mayor of Norfolk.

And thats basically a wrap up of the meeting that lasted a little less than an hour.

Report from the meeting today:

I arrived about 12:15, so I can't report on whatever happened in the first 15 minutes. This meeting was basically an information update and feel good session with a Q & A. Randy Wright spoke the majority of the time and answered most of the questions, but others from HRT and the city jumped in too on occasion.

They expect final official approval this month, and that will allow them to immediately enter the final design phase which is expected to take 12 months. They expect to begin construction in mid 2007, beginning with utility relocation. They will only have to acquire/take seven private residences, three businesses and the library to do the project.

They expect their FFGA (Full Funding Grant Agreement) to be finalized and approved in Spring 2007.

They expect to complete construction and begin operation in late 2009. The light rail traincars will be ordered in 2007 for 2009 delivery.

Norfolk will have the honor of beign the host city for the annual North American Transit Convention July 15-18, 2007, following the hosting of Seattle and Montreal in the past few years. Considered a real coup for Norfolk. :D

Question about additional spurs in the future. Up to ODU, then the naval base was mentioned as possibilities, as was Virginia Beach Town Center and the oceanfront. It all depends on how the starter line does and what other cities want to do. They are very optimistic.

Question about NET bus. It will continue. Route may be adjusted. New buses on order (hybrids) to replace battery buses which only run for four hours.

Question on impacting ridership with affordable housing around stations and affordable fares. They expect to see quite a bit of TOD (Transit Oriented Development) based on what the expereince has been with light rail around the country. This would include apartments, condo's and even some SF homes. And businesses, of course. The national benchmark is that property assessments near stations are 27% higher. Fares are expected to be $1.50, same as current bus fare.

Question on the library, as it is needed for the system and is a prime piece of downtown real estate. This will have to be looked at quickly. Among the sites for library relocation are the city complex, the bus station, and some alternate location in partnership with TCC. Still all to be decided.

Question on risk of proceeding. Once get the final approval this month, only two systems (Hawaii and somehwere in Florida) have ever not been fully funded and completed, and both of those voluntarily dropped out.

Question on York St elevation crossing from NOAA to Fort Norfolk area. Will follow same grade as Brambleton Bridge and be a separate bridge south of the existing bridge.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hopefully someone who lives in my area can explain why Indianapolis and the Central Indiana area has no light rail system?!!? They've tossed the idea around for years however we always seem to get some farmer who doesn't want a train running within a mile or so of his land. So this is always sent to council with plans redone and placed up for vote again.

You'd think the nation's 12th largest city with a population of 2 million would have some thing in place...right? Sorry it's just aggrevating sitting in traffic for 45minutes to go 13 miles.

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Hopefully someone who lives in my area can explain why Indianapolis and the Central Indiana area has no light rail system?!!? They've tossed the idea around for years however we always seem to get some farmer who doesn't want a train running within a mile or so of his land. So this is always sent to council with plans redone and placed up for vote again.

You'd think the nation's 12th largest city with a population of 2 million would have some thing in place...right? Sorry it's just aggrevating sitting in traffic for 45minutes to go 13 miles.

I feel your pain, Kansas City is the same way. Ever since I was really young I remember hearing about it on the news and from my father, but it always gets shot down. I am not sure, but I think the vote might have passed in November, we'll see.

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