Finance Infrastructure

Openings and Construction Starts Planned for 2013

2013 Transit Openings

» Construction continues on rapid transit expansion projects around the country.

This year, more than $64.3 billion worth of transit expansion projects will begin construction, continue construction, or enter into service in the United States. It’s a huge investment, much of it the product of extensive state and local spending.

What is evident is that certain cities are investing far more than others. Among American cities, Denver, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington stand out as regions that are currently investing particularly dramatically. Toronto has the biggest investments under way in Canada. These metropolitan areas have invested billions of local dollars in interconnected transit projects that will aid in the creation of more livable, multimodal environments. Dynamic, growing cities require continuous investment in their transit systems.

Yet the federal government also continues to sponsor a number of these investments, contributing half and sometimes more of many of the projects’ costs. Washington’s involvement should not be downplayed.

Under the just-inked bipartisan compromise to head off the fiscal cliff, transportation funding will not be affected in the short term.* But an 8% reduction in federal discretionary spending (the “sequester”) — a threat that has yet to be neutralized — remains official policy and will be enforced on March 1st if no compromise is reached. That 8% cutback would reduce funding for the New Starts program, which funds most major new transit expansion projects, by $156 million in 2013 alone. Payments to the Transportation Trust Fund, which provides funding for transit maintenance programs and the purchase of new buses and trains (as well as money for highway projects), will decline by $471 million in the same period.

This is no phantom menace. Congressional Republicans in the U.S. House have demonstrated a deep-seeded desire to cut federal spending. The Obama Administration and Democrats in the Senate have shown themselves willing to compromise to a significant extent, and transportation is unlikely to be spared. The result could be significant cutbacks in funding — cutbacks that states and cities are unlikely to make up with their own revenues. Investments from Washington make transit expansion possible.

For now, though, the construction goes on. See below for the list of transit lines expected to open this year; projects beginning construction this year; and projects already under construction that will open after 2013, in that order. Not included are line renovations or intercity rail projects.

* Fortunately, the deal did expand the transit commuter tax benefit to make it equal to the parking benefit.

New Transit Capital Projects Opening in 2013

  • Atlanta Downtown Streetcar (2.6-mile streetcar), opening in late 2013 from Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site to Centennial Olympic Park
  • Austin Capital MetroRapid (BRT), running along Lamar, South Congress, and Burnet.
  • Boston Fairmount Line Improvements, adding Four Corners and Newmarket stations to Fairmount Commuter Rail Line.
  • Denver West Line (12-mile light rail), part of Denver’s FasTracks program, from Union Station to Jefferson County Government Center/Golden.
  • Miami Central Station, new interchange between commuter rail, metro, and AirportLink.
  • New Orleans UPT/Loyola Avenue Corridor (1-mile streetcar), opening in January from Union Passenger Terminal to Canal Street.
  • New York Nostrand/Rogers Avenues BRT (9.3-mile BRT), opening in late 2013 from Williamsburg Bridge to Sheepshead Bay.
  • Roaring Fork Valley VelociRFTA (BRT), from Aspen to South Glenwood.
  • Salt Lake City Sugar House Streetcar (2-mile streetcar), opening in December 2013.
  • Salt Lake City Airport TRAX (6 mile light rail), from Downtown Salt Lake City to Salt Lake International Airport, part of Salt Lake FrontLines 2015 program.
  • Seattle RapidRide E Line (BRT), opening in September from downtown to Shoreline.
  • Seattle RapidRide F Line (BRT), opening in September from Burien to Renton via Tukwila.
  • Tampa MetroRapid North-South (17.5-mile BRT), from downtown to Temple Terrace Park and Ride, via Nebraska and Fletcher Avenues.
  • Tucson Modern Streetcar (3.9-mile streetcar), from University of Arizona to Downtown Tucson.
  • Twin Cities Cedar Avenue BRT (16-mile BRT), opening in the Spring from 28th Avenue Station and Mall of America in Bloomington to 215th Street in Lakeville, via Eagan and Apple Valley.
  • Washington, DC Dulles (Silver Line) Metrorail Extension Phase 1 (11.6-mile metro rail), from East Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue.
  • Washington, DC H Street/Benning Road Streetcar (streetcar), from Union Station to Oklahoma Avenue.

New Construction Starts in 2013

  • Charlotte Blue Line Extension (9.3-mile light rail), opening in 2017 from Center City Charlotte to UNC Charlotte.
  • Cincinnati Downtown Streetcar (2-mile streetcar), opening in 2015 from Over-the-Rhine to Riverfront.
  • Dallas Oak Cliff Streetcar (1.5-mile streetcar), opening in 2014 from downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff.
  • Detroit M1 Rail (3.4-mile streetcar), opening in 2015 from downtown Detroit to New Center.
  • Kansas City Streetcar (2-mile streetcar), opening in 2015 on Main Street Downtown.
  • Los Angeles Downtown Streetcar (streetcar), opening in 2015 in a loop from Civic Center to Fashion District and Staples Center, via Financial District.
  • New Orleans French Quarter Expansion Project (2.5-mile streetcar), opening in 2015 from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue.
  • Ottawa Confederation Line (light rail), opening in May 2018 from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair, via downtown Ottawa.
  • Phoenix Northwest Extension Phase 1 (3.2-mile light rail), opening in 2016 from Montebello Avenue to Dunlap Avenue. Phase 2 will extend line to Metrocenter Mall.
  • St. Louis Loop Trolley (streetcar), opening in 2014 from Missouri History Museum to University Gate.
  • Seattle North Link (4.3-mile light rail), opening in 2021 from Brooklyn to Northgate.
  • Seattle South Link (1.6-mile light rail), opening in 2016 from SeaTac Airport to South 200th Street.

Already Under Construction, Opening After 2013

Opening in 2014

  • Anaheim ARTIC Station, opening late 2014 as a multimodal transit station.
  • Boston Assembly Square Station, opening in fall 2014 as an infill station to Orange Line.
  • Dallas Orange Line Phase 2 (4.7-mile light rail), from Belt Line to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
  • Denver Union Station, redevelopment of city’s major transit hub, part of Denver’s FasTracks program.
  • Edmonton North to NAIT (2-mile light rail), opening in April 2014 from Churchill Station to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
  • Fort Collins Mason Corridor (BRT), from South Transit Center to Downtown Transit Center.
  • Hartford CTfastrak (9.4-mile dedicated-guideway BRT), from downtown Hartford to New Britain.
  • Houston East End Line (3-mile light rail), opening mid-2014 from downtown to Altic/Howard Hughes. Later extension to Magnolia Park Transit Center.
  • Houston North Line (5.2-mile light rail), opening mid-2014 from downtown to Northline Transit Center.
  • Houston Southeast Line (6.1-mile light rail), opening mid-2014 from downtown to Palm Center, via University of Houston.
  • Montréal Train de l’Est (32-mile commuter rail), from Downtown Montréal to Mascouche.
  • New York City 7 Line Extension (1.3-mile metro rail), from Times Square to 34th Street.
  • New York City Fulton Street Transit Center, redevelopment of downtown’s largest subway interchange, opening in June 2014.
  • New York City WTC/PATH Transportation Hub, redevelopment of downtown’s station for subway service to New Jersey.
  • Orlando SunRail (31-mile commuter rail), opening in May 2014 from DeLand to DeBary. Phase II will extend project by an additional 30 miles.
  • Salt Lake City Draper Transit Corridor (3.8-mile light rail), from Sandy Civic Center to Pioneer Road, part of Salt Lake FrontLines 2015 program.
  • San Bernardino sbX (15.7-mile BRT), opening in 2014 from downtown to Cal State San Bernardino on E Street.
  • San Francisco Bay Area Santa Clara-Alum Rock (7.4-mile BRT), from Eastridge Transit Center to HP Pavilion.
  • San Francisco Bay Area Oakland Airport Connector (3.2-mile metro rail), from BART Coliseum Station to Oakland Airport.
  • Seattle First Hill Streetcar (2.2-mile streetcar), from Capitol Hill to King Street Station, via Broadway.
  • Twin Cities Central Corridor (11-mile light rail), from Target Field in downtown Minneapolis to Union Depot in downtown St. Paul.

Opening in 2015

Opening in 2016

  • Denver Northwest Rail Segment (2-mile electric commuter rail), from Pecos St Station to South Westminster, part of Denver’s FasTracks program.
  • Denver East Corridor (22.8-mile electric commuter rail), from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport, part of Denver’s FasTracks program.
  • Denver Gold Line (11.2-mile electric commuter rail), from Denver Union Station to Ward Road, part of Denver’s FasTracks program.
  • Denver I-225 Line (10.5-mile light rail), from Nine Mile to Peoria/Smith.
  • New York City Second Avenue Subway Phase 1 (2-mile metro rail), opening December 2016 from 63rd Street to 96th Street.
  • San Francisco Bay Area eBART (10-mile commuter rail), from Pittsburgh/Bay Point to Hillcrest Avenue.
  • Seattle University Link (3.2-mile light rail), from Capitol Hill to University of Washington.
  • Toronto Spadina Extension (5.6-mile metro rail), from Downsview to Vaughan Corporate Center.
  • Vancouver Evergreen Line (7-mile metro rail), from Lougheed Town Centre to Douglas College.

Opening in 2017

Opening in 2018

Opening in 2019

  • Boston Green Line Extension Phase 2 (light rail), from Washington Street Station to College Avenue Station.
  • Honolulu Rail Transit Phase 2 (metro rail), from Ala Moana Center to Aloha Stadium, via Airport.
  • Los Angeles Regional Connector (2-mile light rail), from Union Station to 7th Street/Metro Center and unifying the Gold Line with the Expo and Blue Lines.
  • New York City Long Island Railroad Eastside Access (4-mile commuter rail), connecting Long Island rail lines to Grand Central.
  • San Francisco Central Subway (1.7-mile light rail subway), from 4th and Brennan Station to Chinatown.

Opening in 2020

  • Toronto Eglinton Crosstown (15.5-mile metro rail), from Keele Street to Scarborough Town Centre.

79 replies on “Openings and Construction Starts Planned for 2013”

FWIW, the sequester will have little effect on Amtrak, because Amtrak’s baseline operating budget in 2011 was copied in 2012, actually with a small increase added midyear — but Amtrak’s actual net operating loss has been dropping every year.

So Amtrak would get an allocation of $428 million for operations *after* the sequester, but it only needed $388.7 in FY 2012.
The loss from Sandy creates some trouble if there is no catastrophe relief bill, of course.

As for Amtrak’s capital and debt service budget, that would drop to $874 million, but there’s also the $39.3 of excess operations funding (which can be shifted over to capital) — *and*, AFAICT, the excess authorized funding left over from last year of $388.7 million. This is enough, after debt service, for Amtrak to continue all its current capital projects. The loss from Sandy, again, causes trouble.

I don’t know the state of the various transit agencies. It is perhaps unlikely that many of them are doing “better than budget” in the way Amtrak is.

On another topic, a correction: Denver Union Station doesn’t open until 2014 (though I believe early 2014 is planned).

More about Denver: Thanks to some lucky bids, Denver’s I-225 line is supposed to be done at the same time as the East Rail Line, 2016. Part of it is under construction (it’s being done under two separate bids).

The first segment of the North Metro Line — a one-station shuttle to Denver Union Station! — is also supposed to be done by 2016, but it hasn’t gone out to bid so that wouldn’t go in your list.

A minor point: in the Twin Cities, St. Paul Union Depot, which recently opened with only bus service, is apparently supposed to get its Amtrak service in September 2013.

Another minor point about Toronto: there are three projects running at Toronto Union Station on different schedules, and I believe only one of them is going to be done by 2015, which is the station building internals. The subway station renovation doesn’t appear to have an announced finish date. The trainshed renovation keeps slipping further and further behind schedule and also doesn’t have an announced finish date AFAICT.

A third, more depressing and less minor point: The Green Line project in Boston isn’t funded and has only sort of broken ground. They had enough funding to do a couple of overpass rebuilds and demolish some buildings. That’s it.

I disagree with this. portland’s streetcar has generated $3B-$4B in related development and the H Street streetcar in DC has already resulted in probably $1B-$2B in development in DC, with all the related construction jobs and tax revenue.

The threat from the Republicans in Congress shouldn’t be underestimated but the MAP–21 legislation last year greatly expanded the TIFIA program.

Exactly– and by reducing the amount of parking (underground parking costs between $30,000 – $50,000 per space) required because an area is served by transit, it makes some new housing financially viable that wouldn’t otherwise be.

Um, no. It shifted development away from the urban neighborhoods where bus service was DECREASED in order to fund the streetcar.

Um, no. In Portland, the streetcar neighborhoods are much closer to the center of town than the suburbs (not “urban neighborhoods”) where bus service was decreased. Yes, many of those suburbs are within the city limits, but they’re suburban in form.

What you call “suburbs” are only a couple miles from downtown, the streets are in a grid, there are shops on each corner, and until the recent cuts there was a frequent network grid of buses. Sounds pretty urban to me. Oh, but these neighborhoods are populated by minorities and the lower-middle class, not by affluent white hipsters, so it OK to cut their transit service whenever we feel like it?

Ah. You have a confusion. These areas have suburban form. Look at the *buildings*. However, they have *streetcar* suburban form rather than *automobile* suburban form. That is somewhat better.

Yeah, so those neighborhoods deserve better. Many were streetcar suburbs, and streetcar suburbs often have good bones. Look at the maps.

Like most streetcar suburbs, they are not as important as the actual urban core, but a lot more important than the outlying areas.

They would probably all do quite well with light rail restoration, and they should indeed have been a priority prior to (for example) the far-flung MAX extension to Hatfield. This is a typical “outer belt commuters first” attitude which has spawned overinvestment in long commuter lines at the expense of close-in urban lines.

Arguably the Waterfront streetcar extension was a pure development tool.

However, for the original *downtown* streetcar, I think no apologies are necessary. It was necessary and appropriate, and the urban core needs its rail services restored first, prior to restoration of service to the streetcar suburbs.

As for buses, diesel cost, diesel fumes, poor ride, wear out quickly… buses are a dead end.

Put the streetcars back in the lower-middle-class streetcar suburbs.

I’m most familiar with DC, since I used to live near H St., and I’m very skeptical of development figures tossed around about the streetcar.

DC has a few of neighborhoods that experience intense development pressure but aren’t that close to rail transit – Adams Morgan and Georgetown come to mind (granted, there’s no development allowed in Georgetown, but the demand is obviously there). There are quite a few “yuppies” in DC I know who regularly take the bus, even when Metro is also an option. (The 90’s are very popular with people hopping between the hip neighborhoods to the north of downtown, and the X2 is popular among white people who live on H Street.)

And Metrobus barely has any BRT features – no dedicated lanes, no off-board fare collection. (Okay, there are a few limited-stop buses…) If the city hadn’t decided to build the H St. streetcar and instead put the money into upgraded bus service, H Street and Benning Rd. – and probably K St. and Georgetown! – could have had bus lanes and off-board fare collection that would by now have given residents (including those east of the river, whose property values might not rise to the level of spurring new development any time soon, but who deserve good transit just as much, if not more than, the yuppies on H St.) much quicker and more frequent transit into the heart of DC (not just Union Station! …if it even makes it that far) than the streetcar can ever hope to.

Median-runnin’, dedicated lane-havin’, off-board-fare-collectin’ light rail might very well have been preferable to BRT in the case of H St., but the streetcar is clearly inferior.

As time goes on I am starting to think of streetcars less as transit and more as civic baubles in the same category as convention centers and sports arenas.

Regarding Portland, as I have said elsewhere, I don’t think the streetcar enabled low-car development in the Pearl and Northwest. I think the Streetcar enabled *politicians* to *allow* low-car development.

You start with minimum parking requirements and maximum density calculations. And some left-libertarian with a blog is like “you should allow dense development as of right.” And you’re like “oh no, we can’t do *that*!” But then you spend a whole ton of money on streetcars. And suddenly it makes sense to upzone and reduce parking. And the developement does indeed happen, to which you say “see? streetcars create development!”

In Portland’s case you have a decent chunk of the central eastside that was historically IG1 that has recently been changed to EXd with the streetcar opening. Nothing was stopping Portland from doing that 10 years ago. If they had, development would’ve happened 10 years ago. But then you couldn’t credit the streetcar.

It’s sort of a vicious cycle.

I could not agree more. Even with other types of rail, the ability to use rail as an excuse to allow long-overdue upzoning is responsible for more development than the actual rail itself ever is.

This can still be a good thing, of course, especially if you’re dealing with an area where NIMBYs basically prevent any upzoning from ever happening, but we need to be honest about what we’re paying for.

“Regarding Portland, as I have said elsewhere, I don’t think the streetcar enabled low-car development in the Pearl and Northwest. I think the Streetcar enabled *politicians* to *allow* low-car development.”

Its allowed throughout Portland, its just that 90% of it has taken place along the streetcar route over the last 12 years.

You don’t just allow for high density development (where it wasn’t allowed previously) and at the same time restrict the amount of parking allowed without big investments in some sort of high capacity, fixed-guideway transit. If people can’t drive to it or take a bus or train to it they’re certainly not going to buy into it. Buses are great but they’re not appropriate in every context and the savings offered often isn’t worth the cost of what gets lost when it comes to putting them on small streets.

Yep. If you upzone without rail, people will complain and demand more parking. There’s lots of historic examples of this.

Rail transit is usually used as a reason to develop the line, because in most major cities, being “X minutes to Y” sounds a lot better than “there’s a bus that goes to Y, and sometimes it gets stuck in traffic” as a realtor’s sales pitch.

Rail also alleviates traffic, so new development can occur without making the neighborhood gridlocked, thus giving less ammo to the NIMBYs (but they’ll probably oppose the rail line allowing such development, anyways)

Besides, it’s not like rail = new development. New York has actually been downzoning areas around subway stations, and only very recently has started upzoning neighborhoods with subway stations again.

But New York is the exception there, considering it has really widespread high-performance rail services.

It is a different situation than a city which has a handful of corridors only like Denver, Portland or Houston.

People might be making claims about the development potential in DC but the real need for streetcars in DC is to divert a few thousand people per day from making intra-DC trips on the Metro (especially those involving transfers). The system is already at or over capacity on key route sections and transfer points. When you get to the number of buses needed to keep up with travel demand while still diverting it away from the Metro it becomes a pennywise and pound foolish proposition.

At some point more frequent service on MARC and VRE will also have to be a part of that equation because Metro has a tough time being all things (a subway and commuter rail) to too many people.

Great list! Following up on Nathanael’s comments, you’re right that the NWRS in Denver will open in 2016. It is part of the PPP awarded to Denver Transit Partners in 2010.

The I-225 line should be starting construction from Iliff to the East Line this year as well.

In Houston, the East End Line opens as far as Altic/Howard Hughes in 2014. The last two-station segment to Magnolia PArk TC, which includes the new light rail+cars+pedestrian underpass under freight rail, will open later.

I hope the MBTA finds a better name for the Washington Street station of the Green Line Extension to Medford (which was supposed to have been completed before that of the Big Dig!) as Washington Street is the original name of the Downtown Crossing station on the Red and Orange Lines.

I agree the sequestration threat is not a phantom menace, but the Tea party members of the House Republicans have been unsuccessful so far in their efforts to enact draconian or wide ranging cuts. They got High speed rail cuts in the FY2011 budget and 2011 debt ceiling standoff, but not the slash and burn they wanted. With fiscal cliff deal where the Obama Administration mostly won to all intents and purposes (despite the complaints from the left) and the Democrats picking up seats in the Senate and the House, I think the Tea Partiers will be outflanked again. There will be lots of noise & overwrought drama and likely not the large increase in transportation & infrastructure we need, but no real cuts in current levels of transportation spending.

On the DC Metro Phase 2 Silver Line, the major construction contract is supposed to be awarded in April-May, so construction would likely start in later 2013. There might be a lot of construction workers who move directly from working on wrapping up Phase 1 to starting on Phase 2.

Capital Metro’s (Austin’s) “BRT” line is a joke – no dedicated ROW at start, eventually just a mile or so downtown (where congestion really doesn’t slow down existing service anyways; the chokepoint is actually up by the University). No off-board payment; no all-door boarding; no real stations; no real frequency improvement over existing services; etc.

I wonder how many other BRT starts on this list would fare so poorly if honestly evaluated.

Yeah, instead of just calling something BRT, there should be a measure of *how* BRT-ish it is. As a starting point, if 30% of the way has separate ROW, it should be called “30% BRT”. Add in payment, boarding, signal priority, etc. (you’d have to figure out the right weight for each) and you would have a pretty good measure of how worthwhile the project is. Publicize the numbers, and you would start getting BRT projects judged based on their value rather than hype.

There *is* a measure. Google “BRT Global Standard.”

No one uses it in the US because our BRT systems are so lamesauce compared to more advanced, developed countries like Brazil or Venezuela.

New York City’s BRT is really just slightly improved limited-stop service. The stops are basically two standard bus shelters combined, there’s offboard payment and POP (but the TVMs are unreliable, and the ticket inspectors actually stop the bus until they check every ticket), and the bus lanes are only really paint (and are only exclusive bus lanes during the peak rush hour in the peak direction).

There’s all door boarding, signal priority(?), and the buses are articulated (and come with shiny new stickers!), but to say that it’s anything close to “Bus Rapid Transit” is a bit of a stretch.

You missed the Lackawanna cut off underway in New Jersey along with a few busways underway in Newark…and Infill stations in Jersey City.

The Lackawanna Cutoff is one of the most delayed projects ever. It’s already under construction but delays in permitting over some really stupid issues (a wetland marked as a natural wetland which actually is completely disturbed and artificial) have bollixed it and there is no in-service date. Once the permitting is dealt with, the Andover extension should open pretty much instantly. But then there’s still more distance before they can get to the Delaware Water Gap and connect to Scranton…

My goodness! You’re right! They’re actually doing utility relocation, and it’s fully funded to Westwood….

….I guess it doesn’t make the list because of the scheduled completion date of 2036, well after Miami has flooded and been evacuated, people have started taking global warming seriously, and the government has been overthrown for its previous failures to listen to Al Gore.

2023 is still three years later than the last scheduled opening which made it into this blog entry (2020)!

and the Jeffery Jump BRT very lite should be running. ‘Course it is mostly “branding”, two model “stations”, and one queue jump, but if that actually improves an already highly successful express bus route started in the early 50s, I suppose one should not complain.

What about the Various Infill projects in New Jersey and the New Haven-Springfield line or Danbury line upgrades?

Western Ave. may also have a BRT. And the Red Line may be extended, although that may have to wait until Miami has been repopulated!

Where can I get a good definition of the difference between metro rail, light rail, and commuter rail? I’m familiar with light and commuter rail, but not sure what metro rail refers to in the map.

Metro rail – frequent, fully grade-separated (elevated or subway, typically)
Light rail – May be less frequent, and not grade-separated. May include street running. Typically runs all day
Commuter rail – May not run all day – may run in one direction and only during rush hours. Or may be very infrequent. May or may not be grade-separated, but typically will not include street running. Typically crosses city boundaries.

One thing that may be confusing is sometimes people refer to the SkyTrain technology in use in Vancouver as “light rail”, when it’s every few minutes, completely grade separated and completely automated. Maybe because it has short trains? Anyway, this blog seems to call that system “metro rail” and I would agree.

Yeah, technically “light” rail means fewer cars, so the train as a whole is lighter.

When you are not grade-separated, you have to use light rail, otherwise your train will be longer than a city block and will block traffic.

If you paid all the money to grade-separate, the corridor is usually dense enough that heavy rail is needed to meet demand. But not necessarily; for various reasons Vancouver decided to grade-separate but still run short trains.

I would add …

Heavy Rail Transit (HRT): $250-500 million/mile, 45-86 mph, 70 seats/cabin, 4-10 cabins
Light Rail Transit (LRT): $50-150 million/mile, 35-55 mph, 70 seats/cabin, 2-4 cabins
Commuter Rail Transit (CRT): $25-100 million/mile, 40-90 mph, 70-110 seats/cabin, 3-8 cabins
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): $25-40 million/mile, 35-45 mph, 50-75 seats/bus
Streetcars: $5-20 million/mile, 7-20 mph, 40-50 seats/cabin

depends on the system. BART’s current fleet has 60-68 cushy seats per car–not the fiberglass benches of NYC subway cars. Metro in DC much the same.

Chicago is conspicuous by its total absence from the rail list. But then, Chicago was also conspicuous by being the only top-ten city in the 2010 census that didn’t grow in population from 2000 — indeed it lost six or seven percent.

Well, the city wants to do things, doesn’t it – extend the Red and Orange lines for example – but doesn’t have the money. Plus they’re renovating huge amounts of the network. Plus Chicago is doing a lot for bikes.

The ongoing renovations are pretty massive. Chicago had a huge backlog of deferred maintenance and a lot of stuff to bring up to modern standards.

Yeah, as depressing as it is to not see Chicago on this list, it’s worth remembering that in the last 20 years, the CTA has done total overhauls on the Green, Pink and Brown Lines, built the Orange Line, and is about to totally reconstruct the southern half of the Red Line this year, which may not be a new service, but it will cut travel time from 95th to downtown by a full 10 minutes. It’s not like we’re doing nothing; we’re just shoring up a 100-year-old transit system. Plus BRT next year. Plus bikes.

Let’s remember the Green Line was truncated breaking the transfer connections at Stony Island. One might also visit the CTA website which has a list of route cuts for the new year. In a number of cases a bus is being cut with the excuse that the L is nearby. Fine for the aerobics crowd in mild weather. Climbing the L for a two station ride as opposed to a local bus is ludicrous in the real world.

My late grandmother, living in Hyde Park, fought to retain the end of what is now the Green Line.

There was a single jackass preacher who singlehandedly demagogued against the L until he talked the mayor and aldermen into ripping down the end of the Green Line. I really think that was an evil act.

Absolutely agree. A friend took me for a drive revisiting the Jackson Park Branch complete w/seeing the stacked steel from the removed but newly built segment that “man of the cloth” (jerk) arranged to get rid of. In a better world we would rebuild at least to a transfer station above the Metra Electric w/ full ADA/elevators and connection to the local bus route on Stony. As well rebuilding the Humboldt Park Branch or replacing it on the Bloomingdale viaduct would improve access to another neighborhood. I’ll wake up…

True enough. But Chicago is treading water to keep up with years of deferred maintenance, while other cities are expanding. That’s a large part of the reason they’re missing on this map. Not for nothing did the NTSB say the CTA Blue Line had the worst conditions they’d seen on a US transit system at the time of the rush-hour train fire a few years ago.

Right you are about the deferred maintenance. Travel time from Howard to the Loop (either Purple or Red) is much slower than in the 60s and the Dan Ryan line is about to be completely rebuilt because it is falling apart. The money Richard II burned wrecking the Washington platform under State St was so much more sexy than repairing broken stuff…

Meant to send this along yesterday:
Dallas’ M-Line Streetcar is also currently under construction on expansion loop which adds approx. 1.25 miles to current config. Should be completed late 2013/very early 2014. I can’t remember price off-hand.

We could’ve added Madison, WI, to this list, had the governor not rejected the train funding for the Hiawatha extension. I would encourage other train advocates to look at the themes of the arguments advanced in objection to the service extension, and think of how to counter future objections, especially those that are advanced against whatever your favorite project happens to be. The Hiawatha Madison extension was to enter service by the end of January 2013. This is one decision by our governor with which I disagree.

Jay T,
Its okay for today’s Republicans (not presuming that you are) to be fiscally conservative on most matters without being anti-HSR and anti-Transit.

Republicans and Indies who agree with many of their fiscal policy decisions should remember that Republicans have a proud history of leading modes of transportation well suited for the times. In the 1950s, oil was plentiful. So it made sense to go all in for interstate highways and aviation.

But as of 2010, we live in Worldwide Peak Oil conditions where oil reserves are declining faster than consumption — a trend that will only get worse over the next two decades as oil demand by China and India climbs. Now most of the domestic oil we extract is coming via more expensive and risky deep sea drilling and deep underground tracking.

Under those conditions, it is folly to continue worshipping solely at the alter of oil-based transportation until 2025-ish as Governor Walker and Governor Scott (Florida) would have people believe. The US Chambers of Commerce figured that out. Its why they support major HSR and Transit investment. If we wait until 2025 to wake-up, oil will be really expensive and evidence of global warming impacts overwhelming. The cost to build electric-power rail transportation will likely be an inflation-adjusted twice as expensive by then, if only because interest rates are so cheap now.

For more insights, see

I cant believe the Oak Cliff Streetcar is moving forward, it was created by a neighborhood activist (Jason Roberts of Better Block Project) who made a fake website for the idea with a fake map and somehow it grew legs and got funded. Last I heard it was short and single tracked.

I don’t think the ‘fake’ label is appropriate for the OTA material you linked to. I think these sorts of web sites and organizations represent what most modern advocacy looks like.

This map is fairly misleading. It’s called “New Transit 2013”, but it’s really only a map of new projects that require significant investment in capital improvements. You’re completely ignoring new bus lines and other new or expanded services that might operate on existing infrastructure. The Cincinnati Streetcar that you mention would be a much less significant service(delayed to 2016 btw) than the “Metro+” bus service that SORTA has proposed to start in the next year or two on a major transit corridor. Just because one costs a lot doesn’t make it more worth highlighting.

The subtitle’s missleading too. The streetcars in almost every case are far from “rapid” and in any reasonable analysis of a transit system would be classed closer to local buses(which like I said you’ve ignored) than to the rest of the projects you’ve listed.

Rail and BRT aren’t the only transit worth talking about. They’re just the most expensive.

Well, I suppose in areas with uncongested roads, new bus lines might be meaningful. In most cities, *they’re not*, because they’re stuck in traffic.

Any situation where a city is actually willing to use paint to create actual bus lanes on existing roads is definitely worth mentioning, though. Does it ever happen in the US? It’s supposed to with the Chicago “Central Loop BRT”.

I’m not sure if it fits your definition, but Seattle created bus-only lanes on Highway 99 in advance of the RapidRide service slated to replace Metro’s Route 358. Those were existing car lanes.

That fits my definition, yes. Thanks.

Taking away lanes from cars is so rare in the US that it’s worth noting whenever it happens. :-)

…and the most effective.

There really seems to be a “buses-or-nothing” contingent that comes out every once in a while, and I really can’t figure out their ultimate objection. I understand the issue regarding diversion of resources from existing service (and the social justice objections therein), but building a less-congested, more-comprehensive system will, in the end, provide better service to the public in toto.

If there’s an issue to be hashed out, it’s the inadequate funding of transit, period.

I agree with Nathanael, it is worth noting on take away lanes from cars. I am in CT and NYC so the fast transportation division is crucial. These projects exist for a reason, the economy isn’t great and people are looking for quick, inexpensive travel. Thanks Thomas D for the link you provided in you Jan 7th comment, oil and global warming effects are abundant. That was an informative read. And I also agree on Washington’s involvement should definitely not be downplayed in this scenario.

The cost to build electric-power rail transportation will likely be an inflation-adjusted twice as expensive by then, if only because interest rates are so cheap now.Chicago had a huge backlog of deferred maintenance and a lot of stuff to bring up to modern standards.

I am really tired of buses being rebranded as BRT when little more is happening than a paint job and running the bush through the same congested mixed traffic as before.

Unless it has a designated ROW, don’t insult our intelligence. Motorists are not going to ride it just because the buses are a new shiny color on the outside.

I fully agree with the Gold / Silver / Bronze.

Don’t advocate “Curtiba” like BRT when you are not offering it.

Conservatives love BRT intuitively because they know they can whittle the infrastructure down to nothing.

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