Weekend Links – Open Thread

» This week’s big news. Open thread in the comments.

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On The Transport Politic:

High-Speed Rail


Countering Congestion


Image above: Rendering of a Baltimore Red Line Light Rail Station, from Maryland DOT

10 replies on “Weekend Links – Open Thread”

Chicago Transit Authority board chair hasn’t ridden the system “in a couple of years”

WTF? He’s been board president for six months and didn’t once think, “maybe I should actually try taking the train downtown one of these days”?

I think the rail link between New Haven and Springfield is supposed to achieve a max speed of 69 mph. I know all the politicians are calling this high-speed rail – but please don’t put it under that heading! This totally dilutes the concept and will make people less than impressed when they see what they get.

79 mph actually, but your point stands. I really, REALLY hate how HSR in the US is equivalent to the conventional speeds in a country like Japan.

Also, as a guy who lives near Springfield, I’ve seen local newspapers call what is basically the rerouting of an Amtrak line both “High Speed Rail” and “Light Rail,” when in fact neither is accurate. It’s maddening.

Correction: my comments actually refer to the new route between Springfield and Brattleboro, Vermont. The Springfield to New Haven line is a new commuter rail route along an existing Amtrak route, and the top speed may indeed be 69 mph, but I don’t know for sure.

It could be 79 mph to Hartford, I’m not sure. I think I had read 69mph somewhere. It’s all the more ridiculous since New Haven (where I live) is already serviced by Metro-North and Shoreline East which both reach 79mph (or close to it) and no one calls them high-speed rail. If anything, people complain about how slow Metro North seems.

Isn’t Staten Island ideally suited for busway-based transit? If buses had their own lane on the Verrazano/Gowanus/Brooklyn-Battery tunnel they could make it from the Staten Island Railway ROW to Lower Manhattan in 10 minutes. Build a transfer station (with proof of payment etc) at the intersection of the SIRT and Staten Island Expressway, and set aside couple blocks of lanes for the buses to drop people off for transfer to the subway and immediately turn around in Manhattan. For most people in Staten Island this would represent a massive improvement over the ferry. Of course it wouldn’t be easy to get private drivers to give up the required lanes, but a 10-minute ride could attract so much mode share that congestion in the remaining lanes might even decrease.

There kind of already is a busway-based transit system. SI is well-served by express buses, which run on freeways into Manhattan. The problem with them isn’t just congestion; it’s also the high fares, which come from high operating costs, and the circuitous route.

Found this amusing post via a winding path from the Toronto articles that Yonah tweeted this week: TTC: The Better Way is an amusingly sarcastic critique of Toronto’s transit.

For instance:
The St Clair Streetcar right-of-way proves that, no matter how colossally you mismanage a basic infrastructure project for seven years, an extra two minutes saved per ride will be greeted with smiles for miles and miles.

Willfully ignoring the potential for TOD, this point hits the mark:
The Jane LRT (really, Jane?) will intersect the Eglinton LRT. I know whenever I see those four empty fields at Jane and Eglinton I think “what we need here is light rapid transit in every direction.” Coincidentally, on the google street view location linked to (and rotating 180 degrees), half of that view is blocked by a big old bus.

Maybe I’m reading Google Maps wrong, but those “four empty fields” are a large public park, Eglinton Flats. In other words, the intersection of Jane and Eglinton is IN a park, and thus presumably not appropriate for TOD (or any other D). Looking around in street-view, there are high-rise residences facing the park in multiple directions.

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