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Old 02-07-2015, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
BRT Gold is well defined . . . and the US doesn't have any Gold BRT. Cleveland is the best we have at Silver. Brisbane is also Silver.

I'm not making a semantic argument. I don't really care what's rapid transit and what isn't. I'm simply pointing out that you can build a bus line that is fully grade separated. They exist. We even have partial examples in the US.

I'm only making the point that if you're spending the money on that grade separation and you have the ridership to justify it then, in most cases, you're better off putting in a higher capacity rail system . . . unless of course you're in a relatively low-density area that isn't going to densify anytime soon.
No, it really isn't.
Gold is anything that scores 85 on an arbitrary scale. The generally understood requirement of rapid transit is one component of the score. It's still entirely possible to be gold without meeting that requirement however. Lima's system, for example, is only partially grade separated. The standards actually are clearly written from the point of view that BRT is not rapid transit. Hence why most of the "basics" for the score revolve aorund things like lane placement, intersection treatment, and dedicated ROW. Those are gimmes for rapid transit.

It's entirely a semantic argument. BRT just generally is not rapid transit. Ranking it is fine, but it's not like gold BRT is any more rapid transit than silver BRT. The problem is the name. It's not rapid transit. Why call it rapid transit? Applying gold/silver/bronze monikers doesn't change that.
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Old 02-08-2015, 12:54 PM
 
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That's all fine, except when political proponents are pulling semantic bait-and-switches and saying "oh let's do BRT, it's just as good as light rail!" and then build a bunch of express buses that are nothing like gold-level BRT.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,455 posts, read 11,958,801 times
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I have to say, I'm a little shocked that Pittsburgh's system only rates BRT Bronze. It has dedicated bus-only roads, which means that by definition three of the five basic characteristics of BRT are fulfilled.

The only elements it does not have is fare collection off bus (although we've now gone over to a fare card system here, which has sped up boarding considerably), and platform-level boarding.
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankMiller View Post
The problem I have with the "N-S isn't dense enough" argument is 1) it's not really true, and 2) to the degree it is true, it's largely because it doesn't have the transit options E-W does. There are many neighborhoods that could easily support rail, but people aren't going to move there just on the hope that someday they might be able to take transit to work.

Having said that, I think there is scope to expand buses in places (nothing considered in STL is remotely "BRT", just express buses). But that doesn't detract from the immense value LRT would have for much of the city.
It is completely true though, and not because the original MetroLink went through certain areas and made them more dense. It's that way because of how transportation and commerce have been shaped by planning and investment going back to the 1860s-1880s. The bulk of midrise development pre-MetroLink is on the central corridor. The East-West employment nodes of Downtown, SLU, CWE Medical campus and Clayton were established pre-MetroLink. If you live on that corridor, you can get on at a stop and hit any of these places. That's why it is attractive. The built commercial and residential legacies of these areas are what make LRT work there. The CWE has become more dense since MetroLink, but that increase is marginal in terms of the underlying characteristics pre-MetroLink.

South City (disclosure: where I live) has a decent amount of density, but it doesn't have the same number of apartment buildings. It had some street car commuting, but the primary functions off those neighborhoods as originally built was to serve the local manufacturing interests of areas like the riverfront, Chouteau corridor, and local neighborhood manufacturing and commerce. There aren't relatively inexpensive ways to "densify" those areas, ie, there aren't a bunch of old warehouses concentrated in one area that can be converted into multi-unit like you have downtown. We're not going to see a mid-rise pop up on a transit corridor there because the housing is (and will continue to be) cheap enough to prevent that from occurring. Why buy in a mid-rise there when you can get a larger sfh there or buy in a midrise DT or in the CWE? Developers can't build the stuff cheaply enough to make it a relative bargain.

There are also a lot of areas along the periphery of gentrified/gentrifying South City neighborhoods that make building up a non-starter. If you can't afford Lafayette Square or Soulard, then there is always Benton Park, Fox Park, etc. Transit or not, buyers would probably need to burn through all of the housing stock north of Cherokee and east of Kinshighway before you'd see any "upbuilding", and that's a ton of housing stock. If we wanted to say that those areas started around 1980 or so with LS and Soulard, then we're probably not even halfway done 35 years later. If we didn't have all of this cool old housing stock, it would actually be much easier to build TOD because buyers wouldn't have the option to buy an amazing all brick historic home that makes people in other cities cry when you tell them you bought it for $200,000. Someday, the entrypoint for that stuff will be out of the reach of enough people to open up more dense urban living situations on a N-S axis. Until then (and we're talking a generation or two off), we're kind of stuck.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:49 PM
 
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If you wait for the midrises to get built before you do anything, those midrises will be built in the farburban sprawlzones 40min down the interstate. Transit has a strong element of "if you build it, they will come" to it.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:09 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,959,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
No, it really isn't.
Gold is anything that scores 85 on an arbitrary scale. The generally understood requirement of rapid transit is one component of the score. It's still entirely possible to be gold without meeting that requirement however. Lima's system, for example, is only partially grade separated. The standards actually are clearly written from the point of view that BRT is not rapid transit. Hence why most of the "basics" for the score revolve aorund things like lane placement, intersection treatment, and dedicated ROW. Those are gimmes for rapid transit.
Those are fairly specific/hardly arbitrary when it comes to ranking. So you're saying that the scores that are assigned to each specific component are arbitrary?
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:14 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,959,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I have to say, I'm a little shocked that Pittsburgh's system only rates BRT Bronze. It has dedicated bus-only roads, which means that by definition three of the five basic characteristics of BRT are fulfilled.

The only elements it does not have is fare collection off bus (although we've now gone over to a fare card system here, which has sped up boarding considerably), and platform-level boarding.
It could be because, while it's lacking off-bus fare collection and level boarding, the busway also ends right before it gets downtown. I'm also not sure what the frequency is like off-peak and if all buses serve all stations.
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Old 02-10-2015, 05:19 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,992 posts, read 42,058,839 times
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If you're defintion of BRT is too generous…

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Old 02-10-2015, 07:00 PM
 
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Yes, on the surface the lower cost of BRT looks compelling, but there's more of a danger that the local politicians reroute it, degrade the service (to save money, serve their constituents better at the cost of others, and so on), or take it away. Stops (both in number and location) are arbitrary rather than set. Ditto routes -- heck, one of the ones I used to use fairly often personally no longer exists. With rail you have more permanence which encourages investment by homeowners and developers to build up and improve the neighborhood. The commitment that laying down tracks represents is more synergistic with the private market.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,088 posts, read 16,117,190 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
If you're defintion of BRT is too generous…

Definitely some truth to that. Geary drives me nuts stopping every other block. I'm pretty sure it will stop stop every other block when they spend the $500 million or whatever absurd amount of money is being spent to paint some pavement.
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