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Old 12-21-2012, 01:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
The underlying fallacy in proposals for gondolas or other exotic transit is the notion that the problems of transit are primarily technical, figuring out the mode.
True as this may be (it certainly is!), many mundane projects are simply extensions of existing systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
As Deezus' post clearly illustrates, the problems with transit are political and geographic. Who is this transit line supposed to transport, from where to where? How many people want to go along this corridor? How would this route connect with/interact with other routes? When you figure these questions out, the question of what mode flows from them.
Any given mode may be the wrong mode for any given setting, but the mode already exists, and using another mode that is more practical for that specific location might present a combination of modes which are, as one, less useful than just dumping time and money into the existing mode.

Of note, though, is that this logic is sometimes misused by politicians because it sounds reasonable.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:20 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Any given mode may be the wrong mode for any given setting, but the mode already exists, and using another mode that is more practical for that specific location might present a combination of modes which are, as one, less useful than just dumping time and money into the existing mode.

Of note, though, is that this logic is sometimes misused by politicians because it sounds reasonable.
ah, path dependency and legacy systems in transit.

But, right now it seems the pols are biased the other way? Speficially cities/metro areas with legacy heavy rail systems, investing in light rail and street car (where a strong CBA case could be made for extending the heavy rail)? I'm thinking DC and Baltmore. The high upfront cost for heavy rail, and the difficulty in cross jurisdiction cooperation (in DC) trumping the bias toward the legacy tech.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
Even light rail like the green line (when its above ground) is not all that much faster than walking. (and slower than biking)
Quote:
Originally Posted by abqpsychlist View Post
Creating any sort of ground-level transit is really expensive mainly because of all the land rights issues involved. Those projects are also likely to compete with existing transit infrastructure, further contributing to the cars vs. mass transit mutual exclusivity conundrum. For gondolas all you need is to prop up a few towers and stations, connect them with a cable and BAM!, instant right-of-way.
These points lead me to wonder if gondolas might have been an appropriate option in SF along the highly congested Market corridor. At least for tourists, this might be at least as fast (or, no slower than) buses and light rail while freeing up space for other vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
These points lead me to wonder if gondolas might have been an appropriate option in SF along the highly congested Market corridor. At least for tourists, this might be at least as fast (or, no slower than) buses and light rail while freeing up space for other vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians.
Market Street does need grade separated transit and it has it--a subway with 4 BART stations and 7 Muni Metro light rail stations, with the possibility of having an 8th.

The cable cars sort of take the place of gondolas, at least on some hills.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
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Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
Yeah, I always wondered why they didn't start building a replacement bridge for I-5 along with light rail tracks over the the Columbia River to extend into Vancouver, WA eons ago. I'm sure the bi-state beaurocracy has a lot to do with stalling it, but in the bigger picture it's a lot more logical than these silly streetcar extensions.
Vancouver has refused for the last 20 or so years to support anything to do with light rail.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
True as this may be (it certainly is!), many mundane projects are simply extensions of existing systems.



Any given mode may be the wrong mode for any given setting, but the mode already exists, and using another mode that is more practical for that specific location might present a combination of modes which are, as one, less useful than just dumping time and money into the existing mode.

Of note, though, is that this logic is sometimes misused by politicians because it sounds reasonable.
This is a reasonable argument, and an important trade-off, how much benefit is worth it vs. the cost of implementing a new mode. There's a streetcar mania sweeping the land, but seldom do politicians think about things like the cost of and location for a railyard (e.g. whose house or business will it be next to?). It's not like just adding more buses, say. Sometimes it will be worth adding a new mode, as in the case of the Los Angeles Red Line heavy rail (subway).
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,073 posts, read 102,800,958 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
This is a reasonable argument, and an important trade-off, how much benefit is worth it vs. the cost of implementing a new mode. There's a streetcar mania sweeping the land, but seldom do politicians think about things like the cost of and location for a railyard (e.g. whose house or business will it be next to?). It's not like just adding more buses, say. Sometimes it will be worth adding a new mode, as in the case of the Los Angeles Red Line heavy rail (subway).
Glad to hear someone else thinks this streetcar business is a mania. Something we agree on. I also think light rail is a mania right now. Back to gondolas, there are a number of threads on the Pittsburgh forum about them. There is one poster there in particular who is very big on them.

Re: BrianTH's Gondolas...
How about this for a Gondola Plan?
Pittsburgh ranks near top of Economic Index (Business Journals) (starting at post #15)
Will Hazelwood be the next neighborhood to be grentrified? (P. 82 and following)
Connecting the Hill to Downtown (P 18 and following)
How about this for a Gondola Plan?
A proposed Pittsburgh gondola route
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:36 PM
 
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At the risk of spoiling a rare moment of agreement, I'll just say that streetcar, light rail, and heavy rail are quite different modes of transit, with different costs and benefits. Lately most American streetcars have not been justified as transit investments, but as economic development tools. But no one has been able to demonstrate that streetcars actually have those economic development impacts. Whatever their merits and drawbacks, light rail and heavy rail lines have been primarily justified as transit investments.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:09 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
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A few light rail systems have, SD comes to mind. Most of the others seem not to have. For example, Sacramento and Seattle are the ones I'm familiar with as I've lived in those cities. In both cases, light rail has utterly failed to demonstrate any reason to exist other than the aforementioned development tool aspect. It's just a more expensive to operate substitute that costs way more to build. The other advantage is environmental which is harder to pinpoint as it's only really of import to academics. City bureaucrats care about dollars, but regardless of its irrelevance, light rail in the United States is generally quite inefficient, consuming on average 50% more energy per passenger mile than the bus, which is also less efficient than the average car. Usually if rail makes sense it makes sense to build heavy rail as it costs little more and has much higher capacity.

Most of these projects are being built as economic development tools and they're being built predominantly with honey jar money coming from federal grants. For whatever reason *cough* Ray LaHood *cough*, federal policy makers have a hard-on for choo-choos. It's not like Portland spent much money on the eastside expansion. It was overwhelmingly federal dollars. Building something stupid when it nets you tens or hundreds of millions in earmarked graft actually isn't that stupid. The problem is the ongoing funding for the one-time cash infusion, which is what Portland is struggling with at the moment.

Last edited by Malloric; 12-27-2012 at 01:07 AM..
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:19 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,820 posts, read 10,736,555 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
City bureaucrats care about dollars, but regardless of its irrelevance, light rail in the United States is generally quite inefficient, consuming on average 50% more energy per passenger mile than the bus,
If it gets incremental passengers the bus does not - and shifts from SOV, then that would be a net gain in energy efficiency over the bus.




Quote:
which is also less efficient than the average car.
I wish I had a dollar for each time I have explained that that includes low volume bus routes that are not there to compete with cars, but to provide basic mobility for those who cannot drive.


Quote:
Usually if rail makes sense it makes sense to build heavy rail as it costs little more and has much higher capacity.

There are lots of corridors where seperate ROW is justified and yet volume does not justify heavy rail.

Quote:
Most of these projects are being built as economic development tools
They are being built BOTH to increase mode share for transit, which even mixed traffic streetcars do more than buses (and in seperate ROW the economics of rail are better) AND to shape development patterns. Which latter is NOT a seperate issue from transport and energy issues. Denser, more urban places, tend to have shorter trip length, and higher bike/ped share (and lower non transport energy usage) than less dense. The density impacts on trip length, and bike/ped, which are hard to realize without high transit usage (which in many cases means streetcars) are too often left out of the discussion of the TRANSPORT impacts of transit.
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