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Old 07-21-2013, 08:27 AM
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Their argument is that they need to go underground through downtown because that's where most of the delays will be. Where exactly they put the tunnel has a lot to do with where they find room for the portals. A portal downtown would be really expensive because they'd have to condemn so much property for it.

I don't know the exact specs on the rail cars they'll be using but it looks like they're boring two tunnels - one for each track. That's almost always more expensive than using a larger, single bore.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:34 AM
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Um...above ground? As in up in the air. Elevated.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Every major city has a transportation wish list. Which line winds up getting built often comes down to money, timing, motivated politicians and the path of least resistance all lining up. It helps when the project has a promising future. The light rail line went where it went because the right-of-way was already there. But yeah, you're right in that it's history repeating itself. The decision to build a single-track line was a disaster and the red line strategy seems to be more of the same shortsighted, parochial thinking.

If all you want to do is to get people downtown then by all means, build a bunch of radiating lines and don't worry about where/if they connect - but then save yourself a ton of money and just build a bunch of streetcar lines. If you're just going 4 miles on route into downtown then there's no need to bother with tunnels or expensive underground stations with moving walkways.

OTOH, if your interest is in growing into a modern city where people have reasonably quick access to jobs and amenities all over the city then those routes need to move through the city quickly and they need to connect with each other. There may be little reason for people on one side of Baltimore to go to the other right now - but if you're thinking about the future at all then you should be comfortable with the idea that 25 years from now they probably will be.

People from the city and the county are already using the existing system - with more lines that trend will only deepen. Tourists to any city don't put a dent in transit ridership. I mean real tourists. Not people from the suburbs who come into the city on a Saturday night. Look at the Pennsylvania Convention Center - the new entrance is within plain sight of the Race/Vine Station on the Broad St. Subway and is less than two blocks from the Market-Frankford El. Both lines combined carry 315,000 daily riders. Conventioneers coming from outside of the Philly metro are making up maybe 0.1% of the ridership. The only time there is a bump in ridership from the Convention Center is for things like the Flower Show, the Auto Show and the Mummers and it's because the crowd is almost entirely people from the city or the suburbs.

This is the problem with pontificating. There are a lot of reasons you've ended up with a disjointed system. 1. Tastes change and finances change. In the late 60s through the early 80s it was all about modern subways/rapid transit running from downtown out to the suburbs. We got BART, MARTA, DC Metro, PATCO, Baltimore Metro and Miami Metrorail. In the 90s light rail was all the rage because it was cheaper and less intrusive.

2. Administrations change. Large infrastructure projects typically take 20 years from concept to opening. A lot of mayors, governors and planning chiefs get to add their own spices to the stew.

3. Money. People might have great ideas but all the ambition in the world won't make up for being broke.

4. Grand ideas about future expansions (that successive regimes scale back or change) that leave the good connections up to the next phase.

5. Lack of vision and/or lack of experience.

That's the way it is now and everyone knows it was a mistake. What we're talking about here is how things should be done and whether or not it's worth debating it more before another mistake gets made.

Planners don't make decisions on what gets built and what doesn't. They make recommendations. Politicians make decisions. If you think light rail is expensive - a metro/subway costs at least twice as much. In any case, that style of subway is what the feds were pushing back in the 70s. The Baltimore Metro does exactly the same thing that PATCO in Philly does and more or less the same thing that Miami Metrorail does.
If they have to cut stations on the red line to make it more financially feasible or faster I wonder which stations will get cut.......hmmmm[/quote]

If it were me I would drop one station from the west side and I would drop the last two stations from the east side. Build them later.[/quote]

I agree with everything you say here.. my point about planners and politicos is that its often a case of "wag the dog" politicians influence planners which makes the decision to do one thing or another in terms of a planning "report" a fait compli to do what the politicos want to do anyway. They are beholding to developers, construction industry, unions, and the like and just want to see a capital project go so that they can take credit ... whether it makes sense or not.. connectivity or not.. I dont think the politicos are concerned with it even if the project becomes a money pit...they just keep digging I worked for a municipal government and was stunned to hear the elected official routinely say " By the time X happens or Y goes wrong...or we have to pay for Z.. I will be retired anyway..and wont be here.......> HAHAHAHA"
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