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Everything posted by JamesL

  1. And therefore, I should add, one of those ways to invest in light rail makes a lot more sense for an agency that already has a highly effective commuter transit system.
  2. It was word of mouth from staff, not a study, but we can easily check this on the back of an envelope. FEIS says 49,200 riders a day in 2030. Red line sees 5% of its daily boardings in the peak half hour. So we can safely guess U Line sees 2,460 boardings in the peak half hour. 11.4 miles, 20 mph average speed (Red Line does over 17 south of Downtown and U line would have way more fast running) That means roughly 70 minute round trip and 12 trains to operate the line at 6 minute headways. So each train sees 205 boardings in that half hour. If the average trip is 10 minutes then that's about 70 people on each train at one time. BUT we peanut butter spread those passengers on all the trains which isn't realistic. At any given time, let's say four of those trains are empty because they are at or near the end of the line. That means 308 boardings per train in that half hour and 103 on each train at a time. The analysis I spoke of was probably done in the era of 40 ft buses only, so that's a pair of crush loaded buses every six minutes. So you'd probably want to make that three buses every six minutes or one every two. Not quite a pair of buses every two minutes, but not too far off. If we adjust the assumption to five empty trains and a 15 minute average trip then we get (351...176) 4.4 very full buses every six minutes, or 1.5 very full buses every 2. So it seems within the realm of possibility. They also may have been looking at a further out year than 2030. You think light rail trains mess up signals? Imagine a busway trying to get a bus through in each direction every minute or two. I'm all about buses until the capacity issue arises, and in this case it seems to have arisen. Final point, half of this discussion seems to be about whether light rail should serve urban circulation or suburban commutes. We all can have our opinions on what we'd like to see, but objectively one of those will serve far more riders than the other at a given level of investment.
  3. A more worthwhile exercise might be thinking where to find the billions of dollars we need for transit expansion given that General Mobility will hamstring METRO's budget for at least the next ten years.
  4. I think the Uptown decision was driven by Uptown's desire to go ahead and rebuild Post Oak now but the funding for LRT still being many years out. BRT allows the line to be implemented incrementally. They're doing the Post Oak segment first, then thinking about the 610 segment, and not worrying about connecting it to the rest of the rail system for now. As for cost, Charlotte's starter light rail line and Connecticut's Hartford-New Britain busway are about as comparable as projects get. Both are around 9.5 miles and built along existing rail corridors. Lynx was completed in 2007 for about $460M and CTfastrack will be complete next year for about $560M. Same ballpark.
  5. Depending on the application. I remember hearing from METRO staff that their analysis of a University Line BRT showed they would have to run a pair of buses every two minutes to meet the projected demand. When you need that kind of capacity it makes more sense to go with a technology that can carry 400 people per operator instead of 90. Furthermore, if you truly mean Bus RAPID Transit then you've created a dedicated right-of-way. The property acquisition and street reconstruction that entails puts you in the same cost ballpark as LRT, which is part of why METRO ditched the "BRT convertible" plan in 2007. A solid first step before any of this, though, is to make the local bus system relevant to the Houston of today. Luckily they're working on that. http://transitsystemreimagining.com/
  6. It wouldn't cost $10m a mile to get it inside the loop and reasonably close to Downtown jobs. All the freight lines are at capacity so new right-of-way would be required. Besides, the Park & Ride system provides better service than commuter rail ever could. Would you prefer a nonstop (or close to nonstop) 65 mph ride from a suburban parking location to the door of your office building or a trip with a number of stops that gets you to the outskirts of Downtown where you have to transfer to a bus or light rail train to get the rest of the way? Could the Park & Ride system be operated and marketed better? Absolutely. But it's already a more effective commuter transit system than most commuter rail systems. Try finding a postwar commuter rail system with a subsidy per boarding of $9 (METRO's P&R average).
  7. That's not the case. Rail and a lane of traffic over. http://ridemetro.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=766&meta_id=9165
  8. Monthly bike boardings, a couple years old: https://www.h-gac.com/taq/sub_regional/docs/METRO%20Bike%20Ride_TAC%20Presentation%20DRAFT.pdf Summer heat is not the impediment you might think. I have a theory that Houstonians imagine summertime biking and walking are worse than they actually are because most Houstonians' experience with summertime active transportation consists of walking across blacktop parking lots between metal vehicles. That's about the hottest situation imaginable. Walking in the shade and biking with a breeze are not so bad.
  9. On the ridership numbers, keep in mind no major bus network changes have been made yet. December will still be before System Reimagining is implemented.
  10. Sounds like you're listing cities that hate pedestrians. Your two extra turn lanes just added 24 feet of crossing distance.
  11. I don't believe that's the case. Cite a source?
  12. Does anyone think that more cars entering the park would be an enhancement?
  13. When the line was planned Northline wasn't supposed to be the end of the line for long.
  14. It's less than a quarter mile from the likely end of the platforms to the UHD Red Line station. There's a lot to be said for being within walking distance of part of Downtown versus walking distance to none of Downtown. This point will be moot whenever Cypress starts developing the Hardy Yards site. There won't be enough land left for a station.
  15. They didn't want to make too many changes when it opened since System Reimagining will be proposing a complete restructuring of the bus network later this year. http://transitsystemreimagining.com/
  16. Contracts have to be competitively bid. Improperly choosing CAF the first time around is what got them in trouble.
  17. It is too small for a rotary because it's not a rotary. It's a roundabout. Roundabouts are designed to control speed. Traffic is supposed to yield on antry and there should be no lane changes once in the roundabout.
  18. METRO loses what? The opportunity to subsidize the commutes of people outside the service area to the tune of $9 per ride?
  19. It's not a done deal. The designers were given a budget and now it's unclear whether the winning design can be constructed within that budget. Some extra money may have to be found somewhere.
  20. Keep in mind that includes new underground utilities, streets, sidewalks, and traffic signals.
  21. Just to clarify, the voters were not asked to approve the start of the GM payments, just to continue them.
  22. No way. Still some track and all the stations to go in Downtown. Plus none of the cars have been delivered. It will be later in 2014.
  23. It's true. If you provide a route, time, and bus number, they WILL look into it and follow up with the bus driver. Same goes for compliments, so don't forget to submit a comment when you come across great customer service.
  24. Here's the project website: http://transitsystemreimagining.com/
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