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Old 02-05-2010, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Richmond
631 posts, read 731,005 times
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Default Will Richmond finally get a subway system?

Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation - www.drpt.virginia.gov

I came across this article saying that Virginia is receiving $75 million for rail improvements in the DC/Richmond/Hampton corridors. I'm wondering if that just means they will improve rail transit between those areas or if we will actually get our own subway system.

If we don't get a subway now, when do you guys think we will?
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
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Subway system? That would cost billions and billions of dollars, and probably won't happen in our lifetimes. Richmond's population doesn't justify a subway system. I think we'll see light rail within the next 10-15 years, after BRT has proven to be successful. We just don't have the population or congestion. Richmond was the first place anywhere to have a full scale electric street car system. Continuing the forward thinking, leaders decided in the 40's to can the street car system in favor of the highly popular automotive transportation (buses). What a shame. Hopefully we get a streetcar system of some scale back one day.

The State was pretty bummed about the about of funding they received for rail improvements... they had hoped for 10x that amount. To create high speed rail between Richmond and DC, we need major improvements near the Acca railyard and ideally a dedicated line that isn't shared with freight traffic. It presents a major opportunity for investment and growth in Richmond, particularly downtown as Main Street Station would be the terminus for the DC-Richmond route. Can we say TOD?
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Richmond
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Well Charlotte has a subway and their metro population isn't much higher than ours (they have about 1.7million, we have 1.2million). I think we'll get one within our lifetime as I really don't think Richmond can afford not to build a subway system within at least 50 years if it plans to keep up with the rest of the country. Further, population trends show that people are moving from the midwest/northeast to the southeast. On top of that, urban sprawl is expanding from the DC-Boston megalopolis down toward Richmond.

This map shows population growth by county in Virginia between 2000-2006:
http://www3.ccps.virginia.edu/demogr...Both-small.gif

Last edited by RVA-Jsn20; 02-05-2010 at 09:40 AM..
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:22 AM
 
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Yeah, realistically, I don't think Richmond will EVER get a subway system, but as richmondpics said, I can foresee light rail in the future.

Unfortunately $75 million won't get very far in rail improvement, but its better than nothing.
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Richmond
631 posts, read 731,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540_804 View Post
Yeah, realistically, I don't think Richmond will EVER get a subway system, but as richmondpics said, I can foresee light rail in the future.

Unfortunately $75 million won't get very far in rail improvement, but its better than nothing.

That's not very realistic.
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:31 AM
 
1,250 posts, read 2,552,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVA-Jsn20 View Post
Well Charlotte has a subway and their population isn't much higher than ours (they have about ~500,000, we have ~200,000 - but we'll see new numbers in a couple months from the census). I think we'll get one within our lifetime (or mine at least ), I just hope its sooner rather than later.
Charlottes 2009 estimates are over 700,000 and the metro population is 1.7million

They have light rail and not a subway...and it cost a bit over $500 million for approximately 10 miles of track...so you can see how it would be expensive.


A better comparison would be the Hampton Roads area...

Hampton Roads also has a light rail system...costs are estimated at close to $300million for 7.4 miles of track...(with future expansions)..
I would have never expected HR to get a light rail system before we did..but hey..lol.
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
1,698 posts, read 3,687,460 times
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Charlotte has a light rail system, not a subway system (DC metro = subway). Like I said, I think light rail in Richmond is much more feasible, but not yet. The cost of construction makes it prohibitive to rely solely on local or state funding... you need Federal dollars to kickstart the project (see Norfolk). Unfortunately, to get federal dollars, you need lots of congestion among other factors. As you know, one thing Richmond is not generally known for is traffic congestion.

BRT along Broad Street will be the first step towards light rail in the future. GRTC is working on a plan from Main Street Station to Willow Lawn and then Rockett's Landing to Short Pump. Understand demand and the best routes, and then you can more effectively implement light rail.
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Richmond
631 posts, read 731,005 times
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Well a light rail is basically the same thing isn't it? It's just not all connected like a subway would be - if i'm wrong please correct me cause i'm not exactly sure.

a light rail is a really nice first step, though! let's hope they're serious about it
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:44 AM
 
1,250 posts, read 2,552,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVA-Jsn20 View Post
That's not very realistic.

By "subway" I mean a true heavy-rail, subterranean rapid transit system. And by that definition I don't think we will ever see subway in Richmond.

Light rail? Possibly.
A commuter rail system linking downtown to suburbs? Probably
Subway? Not likely.

I think one disadvantage Richmond has is that is already incredibly dense in the urban core which makes tunnel digging extremely difficult and costly (look at Boston) and also the topography of Richmond really isn't conducive to a true subway system. In fact, the hills in Richmond would possibly cause trouble for light rail as well...they may be too steep

And it would take a very dramatic increase in Richmonds population to justify a true subway system.
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Richmond
631 posts, read 731,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540_804 View Post
By "subway" I mean a true heavy-rail, subterranean rapid transit system. And by that definition I don't think we will ever see subway in Richmond.

Light rail? Possibly.
A commuter rail system linking downtown to suburbs? Probably
Subway? Not likely.

I think one disadvantage Richmond has is that is already incredibly dense in the urban core which makes tunnel digging extremely difficult and costly (look at Boston) and also the topography of Richmond really isn't conducive to a true subway system. In fact, the hills in Richmond would possibly cause trouble for light rail as well...they may be too steep

And it would take a very dramatic increase in Richmonds population to justify a true subway system.

Good point. We also have all those old underground pathways/mines and everything. I wonder if it would be possible to convert them or if they are just another obstacle.


Although, San Francisco has similar problems as far as the hills go, and they are planning a central subway system (both under and above ground) in 2010 - but I do recognize that that is a much larger city.
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