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Old 06-24-2010, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,236 posts, read 24,407,950 times
Reputation: 13004

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And if they aren't reading or listening to music via headphones, they've got the most uncomfortably awkward look on their face.

You can seriously hear a needle hit the floor on rush hour trains.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:17 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,542,042 times
Reputation: 6928
I would suggest that as a professional in the transportation business that you look at this website written by Kevin Flynn. He is a journalist that has been covering Colorado transportation issues for years

Kevin Flynn's Inside Lane | Transportation and traffic news in Colorado

In addition, I would start with the Fastracks website FasTracks Home and look at some of the reports. Most importantly for your research, I would read this report which analysis and critiques the completed project called TREX, Lessons Learned. TREX was the project that built the southeast corridor in coordination with the improvements of I-25

http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/media/u...REX-TOD-LL.pdf

I am a strong advocate of public transit and have attended many meetings and study groups. The best information for you would be to contact Kevin Flynn or a member of the RTD staff. I am sure as a professional, you will have access to better information that you can get on this forum and perhaps a personal professional tour.

From my prospective, one of the biggest mistakes we make in public transportation is constantly using the term Light Rail. We are building a intermodal public transportation system under Fastracks. This involves DMU (Diesel Multiple Units), EMU (Electrical Multiple Units), more bus routes, feeder routes to commuter rail stations, park and rides, call and rides, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in addition to Light Rail.

Constantly I am at meetings where the public has so enamored with the word Light Rail and they refuse to understand or consider other technologies. They want those cute little trains. That is why I prefer the term Commuter Rail. We will be using the best technology that fits the situation and it will not all be Light Rail. It is annoying to hear the resistance to DMU, diesel technology, when that is the best energy efficient and cost effective solution for some corridors. Contracts have just been signed to built an EMU corridor to the airport. We will use DMU for the longer distance lines that will go north. In addition, rail is not always the best answer. It has to exist with other transportation options, include personal auto transit.

Just one more note. For you people who are annoyed by the seating of Light Rail, the Commuter Rail carriages used by DMU and EMU are larger, heavier and have front face seating. These carriages are also lower to the ground, meeting the platform and do not require a ramp for accessibility for the disabled.

One important issue is that they are heavier and are required and necessary to run along a commercial freight corridor. Yes, we put a Light Rail along the commercial freight line, on the Southwest Corridor. However now that is not allowed because of big accidents and hazards caused by collisions with freight trains. That is why the Gold Line, west through Arvada, and the East Line, to the airport will be heavy rail EMU. Light Rail has its place, especially in dense cities with more stations that are closer, which do not lend well to the other bigger and faster Commuter Rail options.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 06-24-2010 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:44 PM
 
114 posts, read 280,705 times
Reputation: 137
Thanks for the responses so far. One thing I forgot to specifically ask about was what you thought of the structure of RTD itself. I like the fact that it is run by officials that are directly elected. In Wisconsin, state law just got changed to allow RTAs last year, but most (all?) of them are stocked with appointees, who have no accountability to voters. I think that is a horrible arrangement for an independent government authority with the ability to levy taxes. Most of the new RTAs are set up to use sales taxes, which as you guys are finding out, is not necessarily a reliable source of funding.

livecontent: Thanks for the links. I am not familiar with Kevin Flynn, but will check his stuff out. I did follow T-Rex from afar, but have not seen the lessons learned report. While "professional" sources of info are important, and I've been looking at my share of them with regards to numerous transit systems, I also want to know what users (and non-users as well) who don't do this stuff for a living think about the systems. I'm a numbers guy, and can go on and on about things like price elasticity, costs per passenger mile, level of service, etc., which all have value in terms of analysis and decision-making. However, those don't get you information like "I don't like how the seats are arranged", or "there is a wall between the station and my destination".

I agree that it is important to be careful about terminology. In this case, I used "light rail" because that's what you have currently. Commuter rail is not as all-encompassing as you may think, although it may refer to both diesel and electric trains. Generally, when we talk about commuter rail, it refers to passenger service on freight tracks, often with at-grade crossings, primarily between outlying areas and downtown, with larger station spacings and less frequent service. Chicago Metra is generally considered to be a classic example of a commuter rail system.

Light rail and heavy rail do NOT refer to weight. The terms refer to the relative passenger capacity. Light rail utilizes shorter overall trains, at lower speeds, often at least partially on street networks, which reduce overall capacity. Heavy rail vehicles may actually be lighter in weight, but since they are generally comprised of long trains on dedicated, grade-separated tracks that allow higher speeds and greater acceleration, they have the ability to move a much higher volume of passengers.

Crashworthiness is important when considering passenger rail service. Since "light rail" is generally operated on separate tracks from freight (although temporal separation may suffice in some instances), those vehicles do not need to meet FRA-compliance standards for crashworthiness. There are some DMUs that are FRA-complaint, and some that are not. A "heavy-rail" car that also runs on dedicated tracks, such as the Washington Metro, would not fare very well in a collision with a locomotive.

Of course, systems such as the River Line in New Jersey are blurring the definitions even further. The River Line uses non-compliant DMUs on freight tracks with temporal separation, on a 30+ mile corridor, but with regular headways and identical fares whether you are going 3 miles or 30 miles. They call it light rail, even though it does not use overhead electric lines that people typically associate with light rail.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:26 AM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,142 posts, read 8,874,211 times
Reputation: 7732
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willy702 View Post
Costs are very similar to other areas with light rail, I don't think they are bad at all.
Not bad at all? $9.00 for a round trip? What other area is that similar to? Similar to heavy rail/commuter trains maybe, but that is not even close to any other light rail systems that I've seen. Example San Francisco $4.00, San Jose $4.00, San Diego $5.00, Portland $4.60, Phoenix $3.50.

It amazes me how easily people become conditioned to ridiculously high fares. I hate to sound old but, I remember in the 80s when RTD fares were like this: Off peak $0.25, Peak $0.50, Express $0.75, Denver - Boulder $1.25. So a 75-cent express bus fare has become a $4.50 light rail ticket. I guess in 30 years from now, people will be feeding hundred dollar bills into fare boxes and ticket machines, and not even giving it a second though.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,627 posts, read 3,717,563 times
Reputation: 1778
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davros View Post
I feel that low ridership throughout RTD is the main reason for the high cost. Sure, a decent number of people ride RTD, but compared to most east coast cities ...
I had to go downtown for a meeting yesterday, strangely oblivious to a certain home team playing at Coors field. It was nearly impossible to find parking anywhere near Larimer and 21st without paying $30 for it (after much searching I did find a meter available.) Suddenly the cost of the light rail didn't seem quite so bad and I'd wished I'd taken it downtown this time!
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:48 PM
 
556 posts, read 1,037,735 times
Reputation: 550
i am a big supporter of public transportaion, but i have issues with the light rail here

-the southern lines follow immediately along I25 and santa fe, which means they are completely cut off from the adjoining neighborhoods. for example, the oxford station is directly across from costco, but impossible to get there by foot or bike. this was a wasted development opportunity imo. most lightrail stations are surrounded by parking lots and have done little to encourage TOD (englewood and broadway stations are the exceptions).

-the stairs to climb from the platform onto the train are ridiculously steep. I don't know of any other modern rail system with such high clearance. this is tough for the elderly and those carrying bikes.

-light rail serves the suburbs but does little for the city itself, except for the neighborhood of five points. denver should have pushed for streetcar development along with the light rail.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:07 PM
 
15 posts, read 26,277 times
Reputation: 15
What still frustrates me is the fact that the rail service to the airport is still at least 6 years away. I call this the keep every cab driver employed act.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:12 PM
 
Location: western Centennial, CO
655 posts, read 1,808,280 times
Reputation: 309
Quote:
Originally Posted by woob View Post
i am a big supporter of public transportaion, but i have issues with the light rail here

-the southern lines follow immediately along I25 and santa fe, which means they are completely cut off from the adjoining neighborhoods. for example, the oxford station is directly across from costco, but impossible to get there by foot or bike. this was a wasted development opportunity imo. most lightrail stations are surrounded by parking lots and have done little to encourage TOD (englewood and broadway stations are the exceptions).
Along Santa Fe there is a crossing street every mile or so and Oxford is one of the streets that goes across. Now it's not convenient to cross Santa Fe because of the traffic but the Oxford station is right at one of the streets that crosses Santa Fe and there is a light.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,710,539 times
Reputation: 5342
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomHavard View Post
What still frustrates me is the fact that the rail service to the airport is still at least 6 years away. I call this the keep every cab driver employed act.
Why do we need a choo choo train going to the airport? Why can't more/existing RTD rapid busses do the job?
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:13 PM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,381 posts, read 23,366,772 times
Reputation: 4519
Quote:
Originally Posted by craptacular View Post
Thanks for the responses so far. One thing I forgot to specifically ask about was what you thought of the structure of RTD itself. I like the fact that it is run by officials that are directly elected. In Wisconsin, state law just got changed to allow RTAs last year, but most (all?) of them are stocked with appointees, who have no accountability to voters. I think that is a horrible arrangement for an independent government authority with the ability to levy taxes. Most of the new RTAs are set up to use sales taxes, which as you guys are finding out, is not necessarily a reliable source of funding.

livecontent: Thanks for the links. I am not familiar with Kevin Flynn, but will check his stuff out. I did follow T-Rex from afar, but have not seen the lessons learned report. While "professional" sources of info are important, and I've been looking at my share of them with regards to numerous transit systems, I also want to know what users (and non-users as well) who don't do this stuff for a living think about the systems. I'm a numbers guy, and can go on and on about things like price elasticity, costs per passenger mile, level of service, etc., which all have value in terms of analysis and decision-making. However, those don't get you information like "I don't like how the seats are arranged", or "there is a wall between the station and my destination".

I agree that it is important to be careful about terminology. In this case, I used "light rail" because that's what you have currently. Commuter rail is not as all-encompassing as you may think, although it may refer to both diesel and electric trains. Generally, when we talk about commuter rail, it refers to passenger service on freight tracks, often with at-grade crossings, primarily between outlying areas and downtown, with larger station spacings and less frequent service. Chicago Metra is generally considered to be a classic example of a commuter rail system.

Light rail and heavy rail do NOT refer to weight. The terms refer to the relative passenger capacity. Light rail utilizes shorter overall trains, at lower speeds, often at least partially on street networks, which reduce overall capacity. Heavy rail vehicles may actually be lighter in weight, but since they are generally comprised of long trains on dedicated, grade-separated tracks that allow higher speeds and greater acceleration, they have the ability to move a much higher volume of passengers.

Crashworthiness is important when considering passenger rail service. Since "light rail" is generally operated on separate tracks from freight (although temporal separation may suffice in some instances), those vehicles do not need to meet FRA-compliance standards for crashworthiness. There are some DMUs that are FRA-complaint, and some that are not. A "heavy-rail" car that also runs on dedicated tracks, such as the Washington Metro, would not fare very well in a collision with a locomotive.

Of course, systems such as the River Line in New Jersey are blurring the definitions even further. The River Line uses non-compliant DMUs on freight tracks with temporal separation, on a 30+ mile corridor, but with regular headways and identical fares whether you are going 3 miles or 30 miles. They call it light rail, even though it does not use overhead electric lines that people typically associate with light rail.
Its a cross between a Light Rail and Commuter Train.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Why do we need a choo choo train going to the airport? Why can't more/existing RTD rapid busses do the job?
Added Capacity , it will make you look like a world class city. It will have a top speed of 110 and Average speed of 100mph form what i heard. It cuts down on time. & All these future lines feed into a HUB in the CBD which will attract billions of $$$ in Developments.
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