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Old 10-10-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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Boston and L.A. have the highest ridership for their light rail lines in the nation. They post numbers that compete with their heavy rail lines falling about 100,000 riders short which is very close for light rail compared to heavy rail.

How has light rail changed the neighborhoods they service in L.A. and Boston?

What kind of new development has come from the presence of the light rail line?

How efficient is the light rail line compared to the heavy rail lines in the city?

Do people live without cars along the light rail line like they would heavy rail?

Im asking this because Im curious how successful light rail can be. Washington D.C. a couple days ago got federal approval to move the 16 mile purple light rail line into preliminary engineering. It will connect four northern legs of the metro together west to east.

What should we expect from light rail compared to Metro? It's going to run in it's own dedicated lane so I assume that is what your lines do. I have heard light rail is super slow. Judging by the ridership for the Boston Green Line (Q2 2011 = 230,000 riders per day) and L.A.'s Blue/Gold/Green Lines (Q2 2011 = 161,500) riders per day, they are extremely popular compared to their heavy rail counterparts the Boston T and L.A. Subway.

What are the advantages and disadvantages for light rail compared to heavy rail? What should we expect?

Purple Line gets federal OK to take next step | Kytja Weir | Capital Land | Washington Examiner (http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/capital-land/2011/10/purple-line-gets-fed-ok-take-next-step - broken link)
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Denver
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Well the affect that Boston and LA's light rail and heavy rail had on their cities were considerably different. Boston's light rail came on line in 1897 and LA's came in 1990. When Boston's system was built, it was serving a developed-but-growing city and was giving residents the only real option to travel around the city efficiently. LA's system came online at a time when the city was basically in total gridlock (not sure much has changed), and there needed to be something to alleviate the congestion.

Not sure how it works in LA, but in Boston the light rail is considerably slower than heavy rail. This is due to having to stop at certain traffic lights, a ridiculous number of station stops, and a generally slower traveling vehicle. Though it's slower, it's also extremely effective and I loved it when I was living in Boston. There are plenty of express trains to help get over the number of stops...so that definitely helps.

In terms of going car-less, it's probably preferable to not have a car. I didn't for most of my time in Boston and I didn't have any troubles. The only time I used my car was when I was leaving the city.

Maybe some Angelenos can give us a good gauge as to how things work on the other coast?
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:54 PM
 
Location: The big blue yonder...
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No clue...

All I can say on this subject is, seems like Long Beach has been a lot nicer having a light rail system running through it. When I was younger in the 80s, I don't remember a light rail in Long Beach, and it was crazy down there...

Haven't been to Boston enough to know... (but I hated every second of being there, so my opinion would easily be LA biased. I can't stand Boston).
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:57 PM
 
9,583 posts, read 10,915,282 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmac9wr View Post
Well the affect that Boston and LA's light rail and heavy rail had on their cities were considerably different. Boston's light rail came on line in 1897 and LA's came in 1990. When Boston's system was built, it was serving a developed-but-growing city and was giving residents the only real option to travel around the city efficiently. LA's system came online at a time when the city was basically in total gridlock (not sure much has changed), and there needed to be something to alleviate the congestion.

Not sure how it works in LA, but in Boston the light rail is considerably slower than heavy rail. This is due to having to stop at certain traffic lights, a ridiculous number of station stops, and a generally slower traveling vehicle. Though it's slower, it's also extremely effective and I loved it when I was living in Boston. There are plenty of express trains to help get over the number of stops...so that definitely helps.

In terms of going car-less, it's probably preferable to not have a car. I didn't for most of my time in Boston and I didn't have any troubles. The only time I used my car was when I was leaving the city.

Maybe some Angelenos can give us a good gauge as to how things work on the other coast?

Thank you for your response. I'm still on the fence about light rail. That is probably because I have no experience using it. I have heard it can be very fast if planned correctly. We won't have express trains so I don't know how that will affect the speed of the trips. It's amazing the ridership the green line carries by the way. Having express trains on the green line probably makes the travel time more like heavy rail I would assume. How do transfers work from the green line to the heavy rail lines in Boston? Do the trains pull into the same station or do you have to walk to other stations?
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
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Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
Thank you for your response. I'm still on the fence about light rail. That is probably because I have no experience using it. I have heard it can be very fast if planned correctly. We won't have express trains so I don't know how that will affect the speed of the trips. It's amazing the ridership the green line carries by the way. Having express trains on the green line probably makes the travel time more like heavy rail I would assume. How do transfers work from the green line to the heavy rail lines in Boston? Do the trains pull into the same station or do you have to walk to other stations?
The Green Line connects directly with the Red Line at Park St., the Blue Line at Govt. Center, and the Orange Line at North Station. The Green Line is below ground in central Boston, so it's an underground transfer (up or down a level) just like many subway-to-subway xfers.

Green Line platform at Govt. ctr.: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/127/3...25d4afbccc.jpg
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lammius View Post
The Green Line connects directly with the Red Line at Park St., the Blue Line at Govt. Center, and the Orange Line at North Station. The Green Line is below ground in central Boston, so it's an underground transfer (up or down a level) just like many subway-to-subway xfers.

Green Line platform at Govt. ctr.: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/127/3...25d4afbccc.jpg
Nice! Purple Line connections here will be partly below ground and aerial station at Metro station connections I beleive. An additional fare will be required though becuase they are run by different transit agencies WMATA and MTA. If people in Boston like the integration of lightrail and heavy rail, it should be embraced here also I guess. It's unfamiliar territory for us but it seems to work well in other places.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
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Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
Nice! Purple Line connections here will be partly below ground and aerial station at Metro station connections I beleive. An additional fare will be required though becuase they are run by different transit agencies WMATA and MTA. If people in Boston like the integration of lightrail and heavy rail, it should be embraced here also I guess. It's unfamiliar territory for us but it seems to work well in other places.
That's similar to the connections between PATH subways and NJTransit light rail here in Hudson County. Different agencies, so you have to use a different fare card, and go across the street to make the connection. Despite that, thousands of people use the light rail to get to PATH or commuter rail every day. I'd prefer the seamlessness of the MBTA system though.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lammius View Post
That's similar to the connections between PATH subways and NJTransit light rail here in Hudson County. Different agencies, so you have to use a different fare card, and go across the street to make the connection. Despite that, thousands of people use the light rail to get to PATH or commuter rail every day. I'd prefer the seamlessness of the MBTA system though.
Our connections will be in the same station's as Metro. Some connected through a walkway and some aerial station's above the metro station's I beleive. The good thing about the fares though is that MTA and WMATA use the same Smart Trip cards now so we don't have to buy new fair cards or anything. Just flash our current cards and the fares will be deducted from our account. We can do that now in DC and Baltimore for the trains. We may have to pay twice when switching systems but Smart Trip cards make it seem like one system. It would be nice if all these different lines were under the same company though.

I guess one advantage to having different systems like MTA (Md) and WMATA (DC) or Path (NJ) and MTA (NY) is they both can build transit expansions at the same time. WMATA is building the 6 billion dollar silver line extension right now. They would not have the money to build the purple line. MTA being a separate entity has their own expansions separate from Metro like the purple line. Just trying to look at it in a positive way I guess.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Denver
6,628 posts, read 12,112,091 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
Thank you for your response. I'm still on the fence about light rail. That is probably because I have no experience using it. I have heard it can be very fast if planned correctly. We won't have express trains so I don't know how that will affect the speed of the trips. It's amazing the ridership the green line carries by the way. Having express trains on the green line probably makes the travel time more like heavy rail I would assume. How do transfers work from the green line to the heavy rail lines in Boston? Do the trains pull into the same station or do you have to walk to other stations?
As Lammius said, there are several transfer spots to heavy rail in downtown Boston. There are also usually bus stations surrounding the areas where you get off of light rail too, so it's easy to make those transfers too...having the universally-used Charlie Card certainly helps with ease of transfers.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:38 PM
 
9,583 posts, read 10,915,282 times
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Originally Posted by tmac9wr View Post
As Lammius said, there are several transfer spots to heavy rail in downtown Boston. There are also usually bus stations surrounding the areas where you get off of light rail too, so it's easy to make those transfers too...having the universally-used Charlie Card certainly helps with ease of transfers.

Can people transfer from rail to bus for free in Boston? If so, that is really great for you guys. We have to pay even if we come from Metrobus to Metrorail which are both run by WMATA. No grace period tranfers or anything. I can understand having to pay if we get on Ride On (Montgomery Counties bus system) or the Fairfax Connector (Fairfax Counties bus system) etc. but under the same company is extreme in my opionion. Now DC has it's own circulator bus system run by DDOT in DC separate from WMATA. DDOT is the one who is building and will run the 37 mile streetcar network in DC. I guess having to pay already for transfers on other systems will make it easy to incorparate streetcars with Metro when that network is done. It's only going to be one dollar to ride the streetcars like the DC circulator so that isn't bad at all. Just confusing I guess.
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