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Old 09-08-2016, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh PA
401 posts, read 299,960 times
Reputation: 426

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA650 View Post
I couldn't even get on during the height of First Fridays.



https://twitter.com/kcstreetcar?ref_...Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Has the streetcar helped or hurt bus ridership?
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:14 PM
 
48,891 posts, read 39,381,014 times
Reputation: 30548
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
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.
Again, appreciate the over-view.

Step back and consider it from the lay-man POV. The bottom line is that no matter how it runs or operates or it's power source or track gauge they care about 2 things. Where does it go, how much does it cost.

While from a technical aspect the distinctions are enormous and critical, for the average joe blow (like me) it's all about getting from A to B for how much $$$.

This is an issue I run into in my employment as well. Bridging the behind the scenes technical to the folks that really just want to know where and how much.

Good turn around to the thread. Nice to see that we can have discussions without things turning bitter (and that's not aimed at anyone). There also aren't any bash threads on the front page anymore, who knows maybe we can all just get along and have civil discussions about important events impacting us all.

I think that would be great.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:18 PM
 
48,891 posts, read 39,381,014 times
Reputation: 30548
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooksider2brooklyn View Post
Has the streetcar helped or hurt bus ridership?
I think it would be statistically difficult to measure this but it's a great question.

I think that empirically we can all agree that it hurt bus ridership because well....it's free so there has to be at least a couple regular bus riders that can now hop on the streetcar for whatever reason.

The question is to what extent and is it material?

Irregardless it falls to the city operational budget so they can sort that out.
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Old 09-11-2016, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,658 posts, read 1,768,811 times
Reputation: 2198
Actually, if I understand things right, the streetcar's operating budget is paid for entirely from the special taxes levied in the Transportation Development District that surrounds its route.

This is the same financing mechanism the KCRTA proposes to use to extend the line south to the Plaza and UMKC.

I'm not sure where the operating assistance for the KCATA comes from, but I suspect that does come from the general funds of the City of Kansas City, Mo., Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass counties in Missouri, and the Unified Government.

Johnson County, Kan., the City of Independence, Mo., and the Unified Government also run their own local transit systems that should be supported by local tax revenues. I believe there are KCATA routes that serve Independence too, so that city should also be chipping in to the KCATA.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:19 AM
 
1,298 posts, read 982,763 times
Reputation: 658
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
Again, appreciate the over-view.

Step back and consider it from the lay-man POV. The bottom line is that no matter how it runs or operates or it's power source or track gauge they care about 2 things. Where does it go, how much does it cost.

While from a technical aspect the distinctions are enormous and critical, for the average joe blow (like me) it's all about getting from A to B for how much $$$.

This is an issue I run into in my employment as well. Bridging the behind the scenes technical to the folks that really just want to know where and how much.

Good turn around to the thread. Nice to see that we can have discussions without things turning bitter (and that's not aimed at anyone). There also aren't any bash threads on the front page anymore, who knows maybe we can all just get along and have civil discussions about important events impacting us all.

I think that would be great.
This is an over-simplification. Transit riders also care (deeply, in fact) about the timing of their ride. How long will the first ride take? How long will I have to wait for a transfer? How long will the second ride take? Is it reliably punctual? Will it get me to work on time?

Then there are a multitude of other factors, like: Is it comfortable? Are the other riders normal people or sketchy? Are the drivers and staff helpful? Does it smell weird? Will I be allowed to eat my lunch on the way? Is there WiFi so I can get work done during my commute?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
I think it would be statistically difficult to measure this but it's a great question.

I think that empirically we can all agree that it hurt bus ridership because well....it's free so there has to be at least a couple regular bus riders that can now hop on the streetcar for whatever reason.
I don't have data for this, but I'm pretty sure your original over-simplification is spilling into this question as well. Just because something is free, therefore it's going to draw people away from other things? But you're not even obeying your own rules, much less following the ones you're leaving out. Because your second criterion was "where does it go?" Well, the Streetcar doesn't GO to the places that buses go. I sincerely doubt very many people were in the habit of taking a bus from Union Station to the River Market on a regular basis (or points between) so the Streetcar is not really overlapping bus service at all. Perhaps in the future, when (and if) it's extended. But certainly not now.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,658 posts, read 1,768,811 times
Reputation: 2198
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
This is an over-simplification. Transit riders also care (deeply, in fact) about the timing of their ride. How long will the first ride take? How long will I have to wait for a transfer? How long will the second ride take? Is it reliably punctual? Will it get me to work on time?

Then there are a multitude of other factors, like: Is it comfortable? Are the other riders normal people or sketchy? Are the drivers and staff helpful? Does it smell weird? Will I be allowed to eat my lunch on the way? Is there WiFi so I can get work done during my commute?
Actually, not all time spent in transit is equal.

Research over the years has shown that people regard time spent waiting for a vehicle at a transfer point as somehow longer than the same amount of time spent waiting for the first vehicle.

The Holy Grail of transit planners is thus the "single-seat ride" - a trip that begins at or near the rider's point of origin and ends at or near their destination, with no change of vehicle in between.

Back when Downtown Kansas City mattered more than it does now as an employment and shopping hub, the Kansas City Public Service Company's bus and streetcar network, and that of its successor Kansas City Transit, Inc., focused on downtown, and just about all of the routes began and ended there. If you take a look at most rail rapid transit systems ("light" or "heavy"), you will note that the lines also converge on the city center (I'm staring at the Washington Metro map on my wall as I type this).

The Country Club Plaza emerged as a secondary hub, and after World War II, some routes began/ended there as well: the Plaza branch of the 39th Street crosstown line (which split into two alternate routes at both its ends), the Roanoke bus line (before it was extended crosstown along Swope Parkway).

Failing that, frequent service (aka "short headways," the "headway" being the time between vehicles on a route) is the next-best thing as it minimizes time spent at transfer points. Satellite hubs with timed transfers are a way to achieve that on low-ridership systems where it would cost too much to provide that level of service.

"Will I be allowed to eat lunch on my way?" is a question that usually has an answer of "No" for all but commuter rail. If you've ever boarded a bus or train with food wrappers and cups rolling around it and stained seats, you should understand why. Answering this question "No" also helps reduce the likelihood that the answer to the question before it will be "Yes."

They're working on that WiFi stuff in some cities, but not that many yet, except for those commuter runs.
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Old 09-11-2016, 07:43 PM
 
Location: KCMO (Plaza)
290 posts, read 229,980 times
Reputation: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooksider2brooklyn View Post
Has the streetcar helped or hurt bus ridership?
I will have to defer to the other posters here as I actually don't ride the bus in KC. If it was more convenient for my needs, I probably would.
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Old 09-12-2016, 03:43 PM
 
1,298 posts, read 982,763 times
Reputation: 658
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
Actually, not all time spent in transit is equal.
I never suggested that it was. Obviously the time spent waiting for a transfer feels more like "wasted" time than time spent waiting for the first leg of the trip.
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Old 09-15-2016, 11:20 AM
 
Location: KCMO (Plaza)
290 posts, read 229,980 times
Reputation: 209
Quote:
Judge hears KC streetcar expansion arguments, pro and con

Kansas City streetcar supporters urged a Jackson County judge Thursday to keep the momentum going, while critics urged the court to halt streetcar expansion in its tracks.

Read more here: Citizens argue for and against KC streetcar expasion at hearing on legality of taxing districts | The Kansas City Star
Interesting hearing today. I found the following quote from the article quite pertinent:

"But downtown architect Jay Tomlinson said streetcar expansion comes down to a decision about whether Kansas City wants to be progressive and competitive with other cities, or regressive. He said those testifying against the streetcar were all older adults and not millennials."
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:53 PM
 
172 posts, read 98,469 times
Reputation: 102
Also interesting:
"The expanded system would cost an estimated $227 million to build, and supporters are counting on about half that money coming from the federal government. The local match would be funded with a combination of a 1-cent sales tax within a set district boundary and property tax assessments for properties within one-third mile of the route. Those property owners would be taxed for 25 years because they would be expected to garner the greatest benefits from proximity to the streetcar."

So basically, those within 0.3333 miles are afraid of a property tax increase. Fair enough. I would offer to those people two retorts.

1) Move somewhere else. If you're not willing to pay for the streetcar, you probably aren't willing to use the streetcar. The increased noise and activity will probably irritate you too. You'd be better off living in a lower density area. Go be crotchety somewhere else.
2) Your property value would likely increase regardless of the streetcar tax. That's because the streetcar should raise your property value through increased desirability. Again, move somewhere else if you don't like increasing property values, and consequently, property taxes.

This begs the question, have you ever met a NIMBY under the age of 35? Good grief, why does KC continue to sabotage the potential for a bright future?
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