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Old 09-05-2016, 10:04 PM
 
48,931 posts, read 39,411,169 times
Reputation: 30575

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I find it hillarious that I mention light rail functioning like heavy rail and people literally crap their pants crying that I don't understand rail....then KCMO does the same thing....*crickets*.

Come on people, have some integrity.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:05 PM
 
48,931 posts, read 39,411,169 times
Reputation: 30575
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
Nice reply. It's not too often I find people as nerdy as me on these topics.
You just said light rail functions the same as heavy rail....a comment I got blasted for. What gives mr. guru? LOL
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:18 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,664 posts, read 1,773,993 times
Reputation: 2210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
I find it hillarious that I mention light rail functioning like heavy rail and people literally crap their pants crying that I don't understand rail....then KCMO does the same thing....*crickets*.

Come on people, have some integrity.
No, your error was in characterizing a *heavy* rail rapid transit system (Chicago's) as "light rail". That's the reverse of what you say here.

The KC Streetcar performs not at all like heavy rail. It operates on city streets at grade in mixed traffic. A few light rail lines operate in this fashion in downtown areas, but usually not in mixed traffic.

As kcmo noted, Denver's and Dallas' LRT systems do have many operating characteristics of heavy rail, especially once outside downtown. Dallas' DART - the nation's most extensive LRT (or, as some call this type of LRT, "light metro") system - has reached its carrying capacity on its downtown segment, and there's currently discussion under way about how to add capacity. Everyone agrees a second route through downtown Dallas is needed. Advocates for downtown Dallas say that route should run in a subway tunnel. They accuse DART officials of shying away from the subway so they can spend the money on less-bang-for-the-buck extensions to ever more far-flung suburbs.

The one thing we can definitely say is this: Heavy rail NEVER operates within the footprint of a surface city street. It is always separated from any other transportation route. (There are a couple of heavy rapid transit lines with grade crossings: the outer end of Chicago's Brown Line and the outer end of the 14th St-Canarsie (L) subway in Brooklyn.)

Last edited by MarketStEl; 09-06-2016 at 04:33 AM..
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:36 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,509,283 times
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^ again, thank you MarketStEl.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:53 PM
 
48,931 posts, read 39,411,169 times
Reputation: 30575
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
No, your error was in characterizing a *heavy* rail rapid transit system (Chicago's) as "light rail". That's the reverse of what you say here.

The KC Streetcar performs not at all like heavy rail. It operates on city streets at grade in mixed traffic. A few light rail lines operate in this fashion in downtown areas, but usually not in mixed traffic.

As kcmo noted, Denver's and Dallas' LRT systems do have many operating characteristics of heavy rail, especially once outside downtown. Dallas' DART - the nation's most extensive LRT (or, as some call this type of LRT, "light metro") system - has reached its carrying capacity on its downtown segment, and there's currently discussion under way about how to add capacity. Everyone agrees a second route through downtown Dallas is needed. Advocates for downtown Dallas say that route should run in a subway tunnel. They accuse DART officials of shying away from the subway so they can spend the money on less-bang-for-the-buck extensions to ever more far-flung suburbs.

The one thing we can definitely say is this: Heavy rail NEVER operates within the footprint of a surface city street. It is always separated from any other transportation route. (There are a couple of heavy rapid transit lines with grade crossings: the outer end of Chicago's Brown Line and the outer end of the 14th St-Canarsie (L) subway in Brooklyn.)
It could run on anti-gravity pods for all I care. The discussion was around ridership being sufficient and how a free streetcar validates that.

I'm not sure how my faux pas of referring to the El as "light rail" changes the validity of the ridership level issue.

I do appreciate the tutorial however.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:51 PM
 
Location: KCMO (Plaza)
290 posts, read 230,355 times
Reputation: 209
I couldn't even get on during the height of First Fridays.



https://twitter.com/kcstreetcar?ref_...Ctwgr%5Eauthor
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:00 PM
 
2,195 posts, read 2,148,016 times
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Among the most interesting things about the wildly high ridership is that 17% of all KC transit trips are currently taken on the streetcar, and of the KCMO residents surveyed 25% of them had ridden it.

That's the opposite of a backlash.
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Kansas City MO
206 posts, read 182,603 times
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It's only a backlash among those who see a move of the affluent back to the city and the lessening of the influence of the suburbs as a threat. A functioning mass transit system that all social classes use is a factor that sets up a series of events that threatens the dominance of the suburbs over the metro area.
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Old 09-08-2016, 12:09 PM
 
1,298 posts, read 984,500 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weaubleau View Post
It's only a backlash among those who see a move of the affluent back to the city and the lessening of the influence of the suburbs as a threat. A functioning mass transit system that all social classes use is a factor that sets up a series of events that threatens the dominance of the suburbs over the metro area.
Interesting assessment. I don't know if you're specifically correct about the Streetcar detractors, but it's a good theory.
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Old 09-08-2016, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,664 posts, read 1,773,993 times
Reputation: 2210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
It could run on anti-gravity pods for all I care. The discussion was around ridership being sufficient and how a free streetcar validates that.

I'm not sure how my faux pas of referring to the El as "light rail" changes the validity of the ridership level issue.

I do appreciate the tutorial however.
It can get a little prickly sometimes when someone who is a non-geek on a subject crosses the path of a geek on it. Usually, it's best that we geeks tone it down, but sometimes the education can be valuable.

In this case, the distinctions among the three varieties of urban (as opposed to metropolitan or intercity) rail transit also have implications for carrying capacity and usefulness for varying types of riders.

A streetcar is basically a local circulator that can handle some commuting functions, much like a local bus line. The head of the Downtown Council described the KC Streetcar starter line to me as a "pedestrian accelerator" when I interviewed him for the streetcar sidebar to my Next City feature last year on the Power & Light District. That is itself a useful function: it extends the reach and scope of things a person on foot can do in a given span of time. I'm guessing that the riders packing the Main Street streetcar are using it for just that purpose: a trip to Union Station might allow a meal across the tracks in the Crossroads hoofing it while the streetcar lets them contemplate having lunch in the River Market area, and so on.

Commuters, however, are usually interested in traveling longer distances in a similar time span, and their travel is tidal - that is, large numbers of them want to head in the same general direction at the same time. These people would swamp a streetcar line and then complain about how slow it was. Limited-stop service at faster average speeds using vehicles that can carry more riders is called for here. MAX, KC's "BRT lite," is supposed to provide this kind of service, and it meets two of the three criteria: the vehicles make limited stops and have higher average speeds. But they carry no more people than the local buses do. In contrast to a streetcar, a light rail line is usually designed so that trains of two or more cars can stop at its stations, increasing vehicle capacity, and so that no other traffic fouls its path (except at grade crossings), increasing its average speed.

Totally grade-separated light rail is the next step up. Because it doesn't even have cross traffic, you will sometimes hear such service referred to as "light metro," a term I've used - "light" because the trains carry fewer people than a "heavy" rapid transit train does, not because they weigh less (Chicago 'L' cars probably weigh less than many modern light rail vehicles, in part because each car has the rough dimensions of an old-style streetcar. In fact, the rapid transit cars the CTA used from the 1950s to the 1970s were actually based on the technology, and the early ones had the appearance, of (Electric Railway) Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars).

"Heavy" rapid transit has the highest carrying capacity, the highest throughput, and the fastest average operating speeds because it uses longer trains that operate on exclusive, grade-separated rights of way, and its stations are often even further apart than light metro stations are (though that's not always the case). Even though I drew a fantasy subway system for Kansas City in my college years, I know the city will in all likelihood never reach the levels of population, population density or employment density to make the added expense of building and running such a system worth it.
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