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View Poll Results: Better transit?
Charlotte 18 41.86%
Houston 25 58.14%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-30-2018, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Washington DC
3,152 posts, read 2,843,674 times
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So it seems the biggest difference is Charlotte’s light rail is a cross county 20 mile line with uptown (the downtown) being in the middle of the line. It’s marketed heavily as rapid transit and the bus system is being realigned to switch from a hub and spoke model of a central bus station to mini bus hubs along the light rail stations.


Charlotte’s light rail is also double the fare:

Metrorail is $1.25 one way / $3 day pass
Lynx (Charlotte) is $2.20 one way / $6.60 day pass


Metrorail redline end to end: 13 miles - 55 minutes (25 stations)
Charlotte blue line end to end: 19.3 miles - 45 minutes (26 stations)
https://www.charlottefive.com/the-id...he-light-rail/


In Houston, it seems The green and purple line only have a fraction of the ridership of the red line. Reasons?

I also can’t find any ridership numbers for Charlotte since the summer. I think they report wuarterly or so. That’s important because the end of the blue line is the 30,000 student body (who all ride light rail “free” because their tuition includes a light rail pass) of UNCC with around I think 4,000 students during the summer. So it’ll be interesting to see the numbers including a full month of UNCC being back in session (and excluding the brief shut down caused by the hurricane.)

*I admittedly do not know much about Houston’s light rail so by all means correct me if I misrepresent it or anything. I can only speak on Charlotte’s light rail.

My opinion. This is a case of bigger isn’t better. I like speed. It would kill me taking nearly an hour to travel around 10 miles when you add in time waiting for the train to arrive.


Edit. To the poster who mentioned commuter rail. I’m not a big fan of commuter rail. They are pretty much only good for commuting to work. Generally they seem not to run on weekends. I rather see light/heavy rail where it has multiple uses

Last edited by Charlotte485; 10-30-2018 at 10:00 PM..
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
586 posts, read 427,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by march2 View Post
Trust me, most places (with the exception of NYC) can "function" without light rail/trains. When you compare ridership to the overall population in nearly all metro areas, it's excruciatingly expensive and not cost effective at all. It's just the thing to do these days. When we don't physically see the tax $$$ coming out of our pockets, it's easier to pour massive amounts of money into these things. With the same cost/benefit ratio, we wouldn't dare treat our home finances like that. Out of sight, out of mind. Most people, as one poster said, want the freedom of their cars. There's nothing wrong with that. It's extremely efficient on a personal level. I know this sort of thinking doesn't fly on C-D, but I the math doesn't make sense. LR and other rapid transit is nice and fun, but a huge money pit that benefits comparatively few people.
Ah, I think you strengthen your core when you focus on rail leading downtown or other CBDs. People tend to forget that rail transit is the cheapest option for all the service workers who go into work downtown every day. This is Especially true in southern metros where lots of people live miles away from the hustle and bustle.
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
18,247 posts, read 25,947,876 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotte485 View Post
So it seems the biggest difference is Charlotte’s light rail is a cross county 20 mile line with uptown (the downtown) being in the middle of the line. It’s marketed heavily as rapid transit and the bus system is being realigned to switch from a hub and spoke model of a central bus station to mini bus hubs along the light rail stations.


Charlotte’s light rail is also double the fare:

Metrorail is $1.25 one way / $3 day pass
Lynx (Charlotte) is $2.20 one way / $6.60 day pass


Metrorail redline end to end: 13 miles - 55 minutes (25 stations)
Charlotte blue line end to end: 19.3 miles - 45 minutes (26 stations)
https://www.charlottefive.com/the-id...he-light-rail/


In Houston, it seems The green and purple line only have a fraction of the ridership of the red line. Reasons?

I also can’t find any ridership numbers for Charlotte since the summer. I think they report wuarterly or so. That’s important because the end of the blue line is the 30,000 student body (who all ride light rail “free” because their tuition includes a light rail pass) of UNCC with around I think 4,000 students during the summer. So it’ll be interesting to see the numbers including a full month of UNCC being back in session (and excluding the brief shut down caused by the hurricane.)

*I admittedly do not know much about Houston’s light rail so by all means correct me if I misrepresent it or anything. I can only speak on Charlotte’s light rail.

My opinion. This is a case of bigger isn’t better. I like speed. It would kill me taking nearly an hour to travel around 10 miles when you add in time waiting for the train to arrive.


Edit. To the poster who mentioned commuter rail. I’m not a big fan of commuter rail. They are pretty much only good for commuting to work. Generally they seem not to run on weekends. I rather see light/heavy rail where it has multiple uses
Density that the line travels through is much higher. It's also the oldest and longest of the three lines. To be quite honest, the University line should have been the 2nd line they constructed.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:40 AM
 
53 posts, read 7,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thoreau424 View Post
In Houston, the automobile is king. People want to be in control of their movements, and don't want to wait on others, and/or have others driving them around. It's about being independent. It might not make sense in other areas, but people there could care less, and aren't interesting in copying others.

It's the newer and younger people - often from elsewhere - who are trying to get the light rail "train" rolling. But they're facing an uphill battle against deeply-entrenched tradition and culture.
...That itself was forced radically unto the people through political meddling, and is really only in the hands of a few brokers.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:59 AM
 
536 posts, read 361,486 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spade View Post
Density that the line travels through is much higher. It's also the oldest and longest of the three lines. To be quite honest, the University line should have been the 2nd line they constructed.
I think it should have been the first.
I remember visiting Houston back in the day and the main corridor was doing well with all the buses.
The lines going to the South West tho were horribly packed and a pain to ride.

An east west line on Westheimer 15 years ago would easily top 100k ridership by itself. From there I could see an uptown and Main Street line easily being successful off of it. It would have been the backbone of metrorail but Culberson squandered the funding and now costs are so much higher.

I agree with JJG tho. The urban light rail with connections to separate grade commuter rail is the way to go for Houston.

To the people asking about ridership on the Purple and Green lines as compared to the Red there are two reasons. The old metro system was designed to have most city buses headed for downtown and traversed the area the red line currently runs. So it already had a built-in ridership when it was built because almost all city buses feed into it. The other lines were also built to be fed by bus lines but they didn't really replace any lines.
Also, the red line was built along the heart of the urban core, running through downtown, midtown and the medical center while the other lines run from downtown to up and coming areas rather than already established areas.
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Old 11-01-2018, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Center City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meep View Post
Charlotte’s is 11 years old, so the same age. This is why it is interesting.

Why is Houston so late to the game? How was a metro that big functioning without rail?
After 26 years in Houston, I left for Philadelphia after retirement in 2011. In the years I lived there, I remember a couple of referendums on rail. One failed just before I arrived in 1984 but another one passed in 1988. Before any work began, however, Mayor Bob Lanier (a wealthy local developer) was elected to the first of his 3 terms on an anti-rail platform. He diverted all those dedicated all those dedicated rail dollars to freeway construction. Poof - just like that! In 1991, Houston area Congressman Tom DeLay effectively killed $65 million in federal dollars for rail in Houston. Due to this one-two punch, rail in Houston was death a blow for many years.

After much consternation, a starter line was completed in 2004. I say much consternation, because thanks to Tom DeLay, all federal funds were blocked for this project. In addition, several local citizens groups sued Metro, delaying the project further and adding to the cost. Since then, a couple of additional lines have finally opened.

Unlike many cities where neighborhoods lobby for rail to come to their part of town, several instead have petitioned against rail. Perhaps it is unsightly or brings "those people" into their neighborhood? Further complicating things are a couple of area congressmen who, instead of seeking federal money for rail construction, continue efforts a la DeLay, to block the expenditure of federal dollars for rail (Culberson blocking federal rail money Metro isn’t yet asking for - The Highwayman). They claim they are fighting for the desires of their constituents - at least the wealthy ones. I suspect they are also trying to remain in the good favor of those developer donors who make their dough from road constucion and further "sprawl."

Rail transit in Houston has been trench warfare for decades. The city is addicted to freeways and cars.
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Old 11-01-2018, 03:44 PM
 
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Charlotte.

For the city's size, it has considerably more rail per-capita, with Lynx, than does gigantic/sprawling Houston and the Metro rail -- and Charlotte is looking to expand. More importantly, though, is that Charlotte's system is more of a true rapid transit with more grade-separated, private right of way even into downtown. There are no street running sections of Lynx, and the cars the run in streets is a totally separated street car division.

Houston's Metro rail, in my mind, is just a streetcar system calling itself rapid transit and, really, it is not. I really dislike rapid transit systems with downtown streetcars amidst big buildings and crowded streets. If anything, these should be grade separated downtown with trains rising up and running in/near streets on the outer section.

Nashville had an ideal LRT rapid transit plan, until the wacko conservatives scared voters into killing it last May.
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Old 11-01-2018, 04:29 PM
JJG
 
Location: Fort Worth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post

Nashville had an ideal LRT rapid transit plan, until the wacko conservatives scared voters into killing it last May.
I feel their pain... https://www.star-telegram.com/living...le3826499.html

8 years later, STILL pissed.
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Old 11-02-2018, 01:25 PM
 
53 posts, read 7,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post
Houston's Metro rail, in my mind, is just a streetcar system calling itself rapid transit and, really, it is not. I really dislike rapid transit systems with downtown streetcars amidst big buildings and crowded streets. If anything, these should be grade separated downtown with trains rising up and running in/near streets on the outer section.
Except it never called itself as such.
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Old 11-02-2018, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
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Yeah I don't remember Metrorail in Houston ever calling itself a rapid transit system.
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