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Old 04-25-2007, 09:49 AM
 
Location: amsterdam ny
155 posts, read 809,064 times
Reputation: 75

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As many of us in the capital region know, the Albany (Capital Region) area is poised for a comeback. The area has experienced a swift steady rise in home values, yet is still very affordable, and has one large reason why its future prospects are much more solid than any other upstate area: the State Government. Obvious, you say, but still overlooked by many. Under Spitzer, the State job rolls are swelling at an unprcedented rate and these jobs are far better paying than in the past and give you an almost guaranteed million$ worth of pension if you get in at an early enough age (40 or so).

All of this is creating a ripple effect from widespread downtown Albany renovations and restorations to outlying areas stretching as far west as Amsterdam, NY. I propose that this slow, steady growth could absolutely explode if there was a light rail running east-west from Amsterdam NY and north-south from Saratoga county. Once moribund mill towns which are already waking from their slumber would quicky pull young families back into a more modern urban lifestyle. Who wouldn't pay $175,000 for that old 4,000 square foot Queen Anne in Amsterdam NY when you could leave your house jump on a train to a historical state capital to work, and then head to Saratoga for a nightcap.
I've heard Joe Bruno is a big proponent of this- why aren't we demanding this happen?
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:30 AM
 
3,234 posts, read 8,099,832 times
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I don't think you'd see something like that for years. Though the area may be growing, it is still a very drivable area and not that big (compared to other metros). The other upstate metro areas are still much bigger,and Buffalo is the only to offer a light rail system, and even then its very limited.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:00 AM
 
Location: NY
417 posts, read 1,797,697 times
Reputation: 439
At one time there were tram lines all over the place in the US- I read somewhere that in the 1920s it was possible to ride tramways all the way from Boston to Chicago (with the exception of a hundred miles or so in.........NY! Not sure why that was....). The systems were hugely popular and were profitable, though they were mostly municipality-owned and the profits were usually skimmed off to pay for other things and maintainence was neglected. In the '40s Firestone, Standard Oil, GM and a few other corporations secretly got together and formed a couple of front companies to buy the tram systems from municipalities with promises of upgrade and improvement, then systematically dismantled and destroyed them and replaced them with bus systems from which they could derive larger profits and market control. It is one of the few corporate 'conspiracy theory' stories that turns out to be true and was in fact prosecuted in the '50s, thoguh by that time the damage was done, America's mass transit was addicted to oil and internal combustion and the corporations involved received barely a slap on the wrist. Edwin Black's Internal Combustion is a great read of the whole story. A lot of vested interests argue that buses are more 'efficient' than light rail, but a look at the numbers and the total and long-term costs give lie to that- not to mention just about everyone would rather ride rail than a bus!

It would be great to see a light rail rebirth throughout the capitol region and upstate NY. Maybe when gas hits $10 a gallon people will start to consider it. And it will hit $10, maybe sooner than later:

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Index.html

And ethanol/biofuels ain't gonna keep us driving, either:

http://www.culturechange.org/cms/ind...d=107&Itemid=1

Apparently until sixty or so years ago a half mile from where I am in rural Delaware County there was passenger rail service direct to NYC! I wish that still existed..... but then, if it did I probably wouldn't be able to afford to live there...
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
30,728 posts, read 48,280,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeychrome View Post
At one time there were tram lines all over the place in the US- I read somewhere that in the 1920s it was possible to ride tramways all the way from Boston to Chicago (with the exception of a hundred miles or so in.........NY! Not sure why that was....). The systems were hugely popular and were profitable, though they were mostly municipality-owned and the profits were usually skimmed off to pay for other things and maintainence was neglected. ...
Honeychrome - You are wrong about the "trams" being profitable. Most of these systems were originally privately owned and did not make money. The companies that owned them went out of business and some municipalities took them over. It was after this that the "conspiracy" to switch over to buses took place. Municipalities did not have the resources to maintain these systems so many of them just let them die. For mass-tansit to work and be profitable, you need a large block of people going from one place to another place. They are very expensive to operate and if left to pay for themselves, the fares would be very high (another reason why private industry is not in the mass-transit business). Yes, it would be nice to have trolleys everywhere but they cost a fortune to run and do not provide the type of service we would expect today in our car-crazy culture. Jay
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:27 PM
 
Location: amsterdam ny
155 posts, read 809,064 times
Reputation: 75
They are indeed expensive. The metro systems into NYC are heavily subsidized. But I'm not talking about trolleys everywhere. Just trains or trams running along major lines into downtown stations. Again, it would be costly, but it could be an enormous economic engine for communities that are left for dead. Not to mention addressing the problems associated with cars, parking nightmares (they're spending millions to build new, ugly parking garages in Albany), skyrocketing fuel, etc..
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:46 PM
 
6 posts, read 13,325 times
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OK, suburban sheltereds, with all do respect, get your heads out of your behinds!!!! I lived in Albany for 6 years, was involved in a nearly successful attempt to bring Light Rail to the area. It was ignorant Garmin239s and JayCTs and moronic, scared policy-makers who killed it all.

Albany-metro seriously lacks vision. Joe Bruno needs to get off his ass and push through the state's portion of funding needed to make a Central Ave starter line a go. For you uneducateds:

the albany-schenectady-troy triangle has a higher population density than Atlanta, San Diego, Dallas, and Portland, to name more than a few cities with LRT and or subways. Before weighing in, get a clue.

For example, rather than throwing around un-educated opinions about cost, do you know what it would cost to build a starter line between Schenectady and Rensselaer Amtrak, via Albany? I do. Depending on the method, $300,000,000-$700,000,000, of which, typically, the feds pick uo 60%-75% of the cost with TEA-21 monies.

Any idea what it costs to build and/or maintain highways? Billions. Do you know ridership counts for the Route 5 corridor on existing busses? Greater than 10,000 per day.

Do you know how many riders are needed to make a line viable? 10,000 plus. Did you know ridership ALWAYS increases with rail service replacing bus service or that real estate values soar? Did you know that public rail transit is an effective way to control urban development and invigorate local housing, retail and planning efforts?

Did you know, electric rail is cleaner than toxic fume-spewing cars? And, it sets up nicely to be run by solar in the coming years. Did you know dedicated transit is FASTER than all other options in congested areas, if planned properly? Do you care about the environment? Who pays for our road construction, parking facilities and maintenance, fairies? (nope, but do you know???)

Gee, didn't think so? There are many a reason that dozens of cities are building or have built Light Rail and subway systems in the USA. It works. I moved from Albany to Portland (three lines going, with three on the way, plus a streetcar system) then Seattle (commuter rail system with Light Rail/subway under construction). Trust me, I know.

Albany naysayers are SUCKERS. Get out of the 20th Century, and onto the future that is NOW: trains are back. Albany, sadly, is not.

X
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:07 PM
 
Location: North of the Cow Pasture and South of the Wind Turbines
856 posts, read 2,775,704 times
Reputation: 2279
Sounded like a good idea didn't have to get ur nickers in a twist.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:08 PM
 
3,234 posts, read 8,099,832 times
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I'm ignorant and moronic because I said that the capitol region does not have a large population? ummmm ok.
What I said is true, the area does not have a large population compared to other areas with LTR systems. You need a bigger population base in order for this to work. You need a reason for people to ride the train . People in these big metro areas take the train because traffic is very bad due to the very large populations. Albany and other upstate cities don't have these huge population bases, dense or not. Once traffic starts getting bad in these areas (87 is not bad at all), large amounts of people will want different options.
I'm not anti-train, just realistic.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:26 PM
 
Location: amsterdam ny
155 posts, read 809,064 times
Reputation: 75
pretty timely reviving this thread since oil has just touched its historic all-time high today, perhaps $100/bl oil some time next year will make some rethink their positions on this.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:33 PM
 
90 posts, read 658,361 times
Reputation: 55
I'm not sure that the other major upstate Metro areas are ALOT bigger. The core counties here of Albany/Saratoga/Rensselaer/Albany contain 818,761 as per 2006 census estimate with over a million if you include areas if neighboring counties. I'll repost the figures below.

Also some of the area swells with weekenders and summer home owners (Saratoga especially) so that means the true population is greater at those times.

Greater Capital District Counties (2000 -> 2006 and percent change)

Core Counties:

Albany 294,565 -> 297,556 +1.7%
Rensselaer 152,538 -> 155,292 +1.8%
Saratoga 200,635 -> 215,473 +7.4%
Schenectady 146,555 -> 150,440 +2.7%

Surrounding Counties:

Columbia 63,094 -> 62,955, -0.2%*
Fulton 55,073 -> 55,435, +0.7%
Greene 48,195 -> 49,822 +3.4%
Montgomery 49,708 -> 49,112 -1.2%
Schoharie 31,582 -> 32,196 +1.9%
Warren 63,303 -> 66,087, +4.4%
Washington 61,042 -> 63,368 +3.8%

Total Region from 2000 -> 2006 = 1,166,290 -> 1,197,736 +2.7%

* I find the loss in Columbia as suspicious because anyone can see that it has continued to see new construction (especially in its nw corner that borders suburban Rensselaer) and also northward migration from downstate.

Saratoga has been the fastest growing since the 1980s.

Census Bureau estimate as of 2006 was 215,473

Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 was + 7.4%

1960 89,096
1970 121,764
1980 153,759
1990 181,276
2000 200,635



Quote:
Originally Posted by garmin239 View Post
I don't think you'd see something like that for years. Though the area may be growing, it is still a very drivable area and not that big (compared to other metros). The other upstate metro areas are still much bigger,and Buffalo is the only to offer a light rail system, and even then its very limited.
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