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monsoon

Ann Arbor Commuter Rail

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I saw this article posted on the UrbanPlanet homepage by Planetizen. It describes the possibility of a commuter rail system operating from Ann Arbor to Eight Mile Road in less than 3 years. Apparently there was a demonstration run last week. Did any of you catch a ride on it? Given the very low cost of this line I could see it happening as it is the lower cost lines that are being built these days.

What do you guys think and do you have more information?

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I believe and announcement on this will be coming either this month or next. The people are DetroitYes are waiting anxiously to hear what plan is chosen, because there are a few different options being considered. The more popular ones seems to be Ann Arbor to Detroit Wayne County Metropolitan Airport.

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All us Ann Arbornites are anxious to hear about this as well. I kind of got the feel of what it would be like by taking the Amtrack back and forth between Detroit (obviously it's more expensive, and the times aren't too great). It was quick though, and I can only imagine how nice it would be to just hop on a commuter train at more frequent times for just an evening downtown.

There's a website that highlights some of what is going on, but it hasn't been updated in a while.

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All us Ann Arbornites are anxious to hear about this as well. I kind of got the feel of what it would be like by taking the Amtrack back and forth between Detroit (obviously it's more expensive, and the times aren't too great). It was quick though, and I can only imagine how nice it would be to just hop on a commuter train at more frequent times for just an evening downtown.

There's a website that highlights some of what is going on, but it hasn't been updated in a while.

Um....the proposed commuter rail described in the article would be from 8 mile directly north of AA to downtown AA, not from AA to downtown Detroit.

Unless AA to Detroit is also a possibility.

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^ commuter rail is used to go longer distances, like Det. to AA, light rail would be used to get out and about in AA.

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^ commuter rail is used to go longer distances, like Det. to AA, light rail would be used to get out and about in AA.

From the article it appeared that it would be heavy rail for the line described. There was no mention of additional heavy or light rail to Detroit from AA (though obviously there is the existing Amtrak service from AA to Detroit, which is really not the same)

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Light rail is another matter entirely. It is hugely expensive compared to commuter rail over existing freight lines and will take a significant investment in order to pull off. A $27M starter commuter rail line should be doable in 3 years or less. Nashville for example did it for about this amount in less than 2 years. Their line should open late this year. There is a topic here on UrbanPlanet if you want to see what they ended up with and it would be good if the local officials looked at how Nashville pulled it off.

In comparison a light right line is going to cost a 1/2 billion dollars just to get started and the costs only go up from there.

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Well the existing Amtrak doesn't go downtown either. The point is it at least gets us to Detroit (which we would then take the bus downtown). I still take the train to go to Detroit (and then downtown).

Metro.m, about how far did that starter commuter rail line run? It would be nice to see at least something in the near future going somewhere out of AA.

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Well the existing Amtrak doesn't go downtown either. The point is it at least gets us to Detroit (which we would then take the bus downtown). I still take the train to go to Detroit (and then downtown).

Granted. It isn't actually downtown, but New Center (Woodard/Grand Boulevard) is practically downtown, in the grand context of the entire city. Just to nit-pick. ;)

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i worded that statement oddly, what i meant was- i thought that they were doing a study for a AA to Detroit commuter rail.

he said that they were going to do commuter rail from north of AA to downtown AA, and i said "wouldnt they rather do light rail for that rather than commuter rail".

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Metro.m, about how far did that starter commuter rail line run? It would be nice to see at least something in the near future going somewhere out of AA.

I believe it was 35 miles with 5 or 6 stations amazingly for something less than $25M. This system is probably is the most cost effective system in the USA. More here.

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i worded that statement oddly, what i meant was- i thought that they were doing a study for a AA to Detroit commuter rail.

he said that they were going to do commuter rail from north of AA to downtown AA, and i said "wouldnt they rather do light rail for that rather than commuter rail".

The corridor between AA and Detroit is not built up enough to justify light rail. That's not even an option, right?

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The corridor between AA and Detroit is not built up enough to justify light rail. That's not even an option, right?

right, which is why i thought they were studying a commuter rail line between the 2.

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Exactly, but you asked the question about light rail, didn't you? I'm confused. lol

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Wow any kind of commuting mass transit that's not on wheels in Southeast Michigan would be a godsend! I only hope they get light rail in Ann Arbor and Detroit soon!

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Wow any kind of commuting mass transit that's not on wheels in Southeast Michigan would be a godsend! I only hope they get light rail in Ann Arbor and Detroit soon!

Isn't the People Mover light rail. :lol:

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people mover is heavy rail isn't it? even though it's only three miles long.

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people mover is heavy rail isn't it? even though it's only three miles long.

No, it is not considered heavy rail. Technically it is a form of elevated light rail given the technology used and the low capacity.

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Exactly, but you asked the question about light rail, didn't you? I'm confused. lol

im confused too. lol

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To get this discussion back on topic here are the definitions that we use here on UrbanPlanet to describe transit options. These are the same definitions used by most transit agencies and the federal government when describing transit.

The system being proposed for Ann Arbor is Commuter Rail. Not Heavy Rail or Light Rail.

  • BRT - Bus Rapid Transit. This is bus on fixed usually out of grade routes. i.e. They travel down roads built to only be used by the buses, no cars allowed. This is what differentiates it from regular city bus service. BRTs may have to cross normal roads however. There are also stations and the buses resemble futurestic trains instead of city buses. Of couse parts of this can be dropped to save money, but the more this is done, the less "rapid" it becomes. Because the unique roads, BRT routes are not normally changed. This could be an option for GR but most people don't prefer this option.

  • LRT - Light Rail Transit. There are a lot of definitions of this but generally these are electric trains that provide service along fixed routes. They have stations and the trains normally hold between 75 seated to 250 people standing. Some cities, like Houston, have placed these trains at grade to save money, but this means it they have to deal with traffic. Other cities have LRT on dedicated ROW which is more effective. It is a trade off of between cost and utility where the tracks are placed. Electric Streetcars/Trolleys are sometimes referred to as light rail, but I tend to want to put them in their own category. This option would only be cost effective within the city. It would be too expensive and inefficient to be used as a connector for nearby cities. In Michigan, the Detroit People Mover would be considered LRT, albiet one on an elevated bed.

  • Commuter Rail - This is rail that is used to being people in from the suburbs into the center city or or other work locations and as its name suggests is setup primiarly to move commuters. Typically the timing of the trains is such that many trains will head into the city during the morning, out of the city in the evenings, and service is greatly reduced outside working hours. It's primary purpose is to help with traffic congestion on highways by getting cars off the road. Commuter rail resembles Amtrak locomotives pulling passenger carriages, though there is a newer technology out called DMU (diesel multiple units) that more resemble a light rail train. These trains often utilize freight routes to move people and many times share these lines with freight traffic.

  • HRT - Heavy Rail Transit This is the high capacity, high speed, short stop electric trains that you see in the major cities, often in subway tunnels. The NYC subway, DC Metro, and Atlanta's Marta are examples of heavy rail. It is very expensive to build so you only see it being built in the USA in very few locations. The last new Heavy Rail system built in the USA was the Los Angeles Red line in the late 80s early 90s. Since then the city has permanently placed on hold further expansions and is now going the LRT/BRT route. Miami may be expanding its heavy rail line as it passed a local transit tax to pay for the line.

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Man, I'd pay for a high-speed line between Lansing and Detroit like was was proposed/conceived a few years back.

It's good to see the talk looks to finally be going beyond talk.

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Good news.

Tracer- Im pretty sure the article says it will meet in detroit at New Center, just like what weve been ralking about.

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