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Inner Katy LRT


Highway6

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This proposed Phase III line is years away, but it looks like some people are planning now for what they would like to see.

SN22 is having a Transportation meeting on Monday to show off their Transportation Master Plan.

The full pdf can be found here.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Trenching almost the entire length of freight rail, The Terminal Subdivision, from 10 to downtown.
  • In that trench, add 2 additional tracks for LRT and/or non-heavy rail commuter line.
  • Possibly adding green space over the trench along Winter St.
  • Adding streetcar, the old fashioned kind, along Washington... from NWTC to downtown. IT will also serve as a circulatory system for downtown where LRT isnt, and also hold open the possible connection of streetcar up Heights and down Montrose.
  • They also have changes and additions they'd like to see as far as area bikability is concerned.

___________________________________

My thoughts... I think trenching, which I believe would include us, not the RR company that owns the line, footing the entire bill is probably not doable financially, but it certainly doesn't hurt to entertain the idea this far ahead.

Maybe its the nostalgic/cool factor.. maybe it's accepting of the fact that there are zero current plans for a N-S LRT through the heart of the inner loop... but the trolley idea is appealing if it involves a scaled down, quicker and cheaper to implement system that would put more of the inner loop on this network.

Negatives.. for the trolley system over LRT, I suppose is mainly its lack of speed due to non-dedicated lane and many more frequent stops.. so really not much better than bus.

Positives.. if rail bias and route permanence truly does attract more riders and pedestrian-oriented development then it's a good way, maybe the only way, to get more areas on the LRT-CRT network.

The presentation says streetcar is quick to build and less expensive than LRT. Does anyone know if this is true? If it still involves rails in the ground and overhead power, I don't really see how.

Edited by Highway6
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The trenching thing is going to be waaaaaay too expensive, particularly given that most of the ridership will originate away from the tracks. Also, diverting freight rail away from Spring Street creates some hairpins that UP probably would be none too pleased about...and that would require significant right-of-way acquisitions. And the proposed alternatives along I-10 or Memorial Drive are absolutely HORRIBLE. Very low ridership achieved at very high construction costs and/or the sacrifice of parkland.

A more practical alternative for this case is to bundle freight rail and passenger rail along the existing tracks and grade-separating the major thoroughfares. And I do like the streetcar ideas; imitating Galveston's technological implementation would definitely be faster, less expensive, and would induce less congestion. It is particularly well-suited to relatively narrow but high-volume thoroughfares like Washington, Shepherd, Montrose, Yale, or W. Gray.

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The trenching thing is going to be waaaaaay too expensive, particularly given that most of the ridership will originate away from the tracks. Also, diverting freight rail away from Spring Street creates some hairpins that UP probably would be none too pleased about...and that would require significant right-of-way acquisitions. And the proposed alternatives along I-10 or Memorial Drive are absolutely HORRIBLE. Very low ridership achieved at very high construction costs and/or the sacrifice of parkland.

A more practical alternative for this case is to bundle freight rail and passenger rail along the existing tracks and grade-separating the major thoroughfares. And I do like the streetcar ideas; imitating Galveston's technological implementation would definitely be faster, less expensive, and would induce less congestion. It is particularly well-suited to relatively narrow but high-volume thoroughfares like Washington, Shepherd, Montrose, Yale, or W. Gray.

I have to agree with you overall, trenching would be nice, but the ROW that needs to be acquired would be insane. The East end Trench that I thought about would have been bad enough with the acquisitions and displacement, but this would put it at a different level.

To put it in the "trench" for the commuter rail is all well and good, but for LRT to go there, I think would take make the stations (none were listed in the PDF) away from the businesses along Washington, either way, they suggesting (at least to my uneducated eye) that no one along Washington would board the thing. The alternative routes of "Memorial" and freeway pretty much gaurentees this thing would be an "express" straight to the galleria and downtown, along with an annoying little jog to the P&R on Post oak.

Overall, I think it's quite unrealistic, but the trolley system would have been a nice touch except for one minor detail: They neglect to show where the "Yard" would be to maintain and store the vehicles, that would add a bit too much reality to the drawings they put on. The NIMBY's would be coming out of the woodwork.

Fail.

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I'm mixed about the trolley thing down washington.

On one hand, I'd LRT would be perfect to match up with the rest of the system with the end of line to take people to the P&R out on I-10. With limited stops, it would still have a higher capacity to drop people off within easy walking distance of homes and bars.

But with Trolley's, they can pretty much stop anywhere along the route.

I'm not entirely sure of how costs and in manpower and equipment would be between the two along with capacity, The trolley's would require additional manpower (Toll takers in the back) and more of them.

As far as downtown goes, I'm even less sure of it working properly in either rail or rubber-wheel form.

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You added in that 2nd line strictly to give someone the chance to quip about a " Streetcar Named Desire" didn't you?

No. But I REALLY HAVE always depended on the kindness of strangers. And I do hang around a bunch of sweaty scumbags that are far, far beneath my delicate, yet superior social graces. And one day I may indeed be carried off to the insane asylum after being brutally raped by my sister Stella's lowlife pig of a husband.

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...I didn't really look at the PDF. Or any links provided here.

Dude, really? That's your excuse? :huh: Your answer was in the last paragraph of post #1.

Reading Comprehension Double-FAIL.

You don't have to be mean, I was simply skimming over the topic.

If you want respect, show some. Read the threads you're participating in.

Edited by TheNiche
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The presentation says streetcar is quick to build and less expensive than LRT. Does anyone know if this is true? If it still involves rails in the ground and overhead power, I don't really see how.

I've wondered that too. Don't see why it would be significantly less expensive or quicker to build streetcars vs lrt. The only savings I see is in not having to build stations.

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I've wondered that too. Don't see why it would be significantly less expensive or quicker to build streetcars vs lrt. The only savings I see is in not having to build stations.

Not to mention Trolley's have a tendency to bunch up during busy times. At least that is what I witnessed with New Orleans' system during rush hour, but I don't know if that what occurs with San Fransisco.

Perhaps maybe they could run a duel system? If Washington continues to stay an active center, which is doubtful, they could simply take the LRT off after peak periods and run the trolley's until 3 am.

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Not to mention Trolley's have a tendency to bunch up during busy times. At least that is what I witnessed with New Orleans' system during rush hour, but I don't know if that what occurs with San Fransisco.

Perhaps maybe they could run a duel system? If Washington continues to stay an active center, which is doubtful, they could simply take the LRT off after peak periods and run the trolley's until 3 am.

Yes, the bunching up does occur in San Francisco (or would but for the fact that the operators hold cars at one end to keep it from happening).

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This would be great, but I would definately prefer the more modern trolleys over the "heritage" trolleys. Seriously folks this is the 21st century.

It has nothing to do what "modern", but what appropriate. A trolley would work well along the bike trails of the heights and wind its way along north main or TC Jester and connect to the LRT closer into town, but it is totally not good to use along washington unless used in the my earlier suggestion.

At the same time, LRT might be overkill for some areas in which a BRT or quickline might fit perfectly.

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I think this is great, but we should concentrate on building the Uptown/University lines before we start on this.

I'm thinking that they're trying to get ahead of the curve. They wouldn't want happening to them what is happening to the Richmond or Harrisburg corridors.

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It has nothing to do what "modern", but what appropriate. A trolley would work well along the bike trails of the heights and wind its way along north main or TC Jester and connect to the LRT closer into town, but it is totally not good to use along washington unless used in the my earlier suggestion.

At the same time, LRT might be overkill for some areas in which a BRT or quickline might fit perfectly.

Not to degenerate this conversation into one of 'today' vs 'tomorrow' BRT or a quickline may fit perfectly today, but what happens in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years when a larger percentage of people living here want alternative transportation because owning multiple cars in a family (or owning a car at all) doesn't make financial sense?

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Streetcar construction is cheaper and faster than light rail because it's a much simpler process. Instead of relocating all utilities like they are for the light rail lines, streetcars are generally built right over them with the understanding that service may sometimes be interrupted if utility work is needed. Since substituting buses often can provide service that is just as fast and capacious, the transit network isn't crippled when the streetcar is taken out of service.

Also, because the vehicles are lighter, the track slab doesn't need to be as deep. So, rather than tear up the entire street to move utilities and make room for the guideway, streetcar construction just requires excavating one foot or so of the lane with the track.

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Not to degenerate this conversation into one of 'today' vs 'tomorrow' BRT or a quickline may fit perfectly today, but what happens in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years when a larger percentage of people living here want alternative transportation because owning multiple cars in a family (or owning a car at all) doesn't make financial sense?

Today...we develop the infrastructure that is demanded in the near future and preserve an easement along designated transit corridors. Tomorrow...we upgrade.

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Not to degenerate this conversation into one of 'today' vs 'tomorrow' BRT or a quickline may fit perfectly today, but what happens in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years when a larger percentage of people living here want alternative transportation because owning multiple cars in a family (or owning a car at all) doesn't make financial sense?

If anything, a quickline, BRT or Trolley might actually speed up development and provide the numbers that would justify a full fledged LRT.

A trolley would do quite well on montrose/studemont/main TC, just have it take a left on Binz so it can hook up with the LRT. Considering how tight the development is along that route, that is just a fantasy.

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someone had mentioned the best way to do payments, without having to have a person driving and a person collecting fees.

I think something like the system they use in some european cities (like Amsterdam). You get what's called a chipcard. it's like of like a smartcard built into a piece of paper. you wave the chipcard by a sensor on the train and it beeps green if you can ride, and red if you shouldn't be on the tram.

quick and efficient, and they could have video surveillance. when they see a certain stop or time of day that has lots of violators, put a cop on the train for that time period handing out tickets to violators.

basically, it puts the qcard already in use on the train instead of at the station, and everyone gets one, except the hour passes, or day passes can be tossed at the end of the day.

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  • 1 month later...

someone had mentioned the best way to do payments, without having to have a person driving and a person collecting fees.

I think something like the system they use in some european cities (like Amsterdam). You get what's called a chipcard. it's like of like a smartcard built into a piece of paper. you wave the chipcard by a sensor on the train and it beeps green if you can ride, and red if you shouldn't be on the tram.

quick and efficient, and they could have video surveillance. when they see a certain stop or time of day that has lots of violators, put a cop on the train for that time period handing out tickets to violators.

basically, it puts the qcard already in use on the train instead of at the station, and everyone gets one, except the hour passes, or day passes can be tossed at the end of the day.

Most cities have this for their transit, whether they have rail or not. When I travel I collect them.

CTA did this back in the 90's with its Chicago Card for a few reasons: 1 - To make boarding faster, which is really really does. 2 - To cut down on the expense of cleaning stations, because the people who live in certain Chicago neighborhoods are pretty filthy, and throw trash on the ground without thinking. Before these cards, at the end of the day many train stations would look like there was a ticker tape parade. 3 - To automate transfers, again reducing expense. 4 - To give people the option of not carrying cash in crappy neighborhoods.

#1 was the big reason, and it really helps.

Cities I've been to that have this:

  • London (Oyster card)
  • Hong Kong (Octopus card)
  • Seattle (Orca Card)
  • Seoul (T-Money card)
  • Istanbul (Akbil, which isn't a card because a lot of people don't have wallets there, so it's a strangely shaped contraption with a loop on it that you can hook to your clothing or keychain or whatever)
  • Chicago (Chicago Card, Chicago Card Plus, Chicago Card+ZipCar)
  • San Francisco (Transcard, now called Clipper)
  • Singapore (forget what it's called on the MRT)
  • Saint Louis (Go-To Card)
  • Los Angeles (TAP)
  • Paris (MetroPass)

These transit cards are really the easiest and most efficient way of doing business. BUT this sort of scheme only works on transit systems where you pay one price no matter what your destination. Also, it can sometimes take years to integrate the various computer systems of regional transit agencies so that one card will work across all carriers. When I got to Seattle a couple of months ago, the Orca card was still brand new.

New York still hasn't done this, but it's trying. Last I heard it couldn't get all of the regional transit agencies on board.

In Chicago, the Chicago Card isn't valid on water taxis. But you can get a special green version of the card that lets you use it to rent ZipCars.

In Seoul, you can use your T-Money card on subways, trams, buses, taxis, and even to buy groceries at convenience stores.

In Paris, you can get a MetroCard that can also be used for museum admission.

Seattle's method is seriously screwed up. At certain times of the day at certain locations you pay when you get on. Other times and places, you pay when you get off. King County Metro still issues paper transfers, while no other transit agency does. To use it on SoundTransit light rail trains, you tap at the station as you enter, and again as you leave. SoundTransit's Sounder trains have an entirely different system. Oh, and it's not valid at all when riding a SLUT.

I doubt Tokyo will get a unified card in my lifetime.

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Cities I've been to that have this:

  • London (Oyster card)
  • Hong Kong (Octopus card)
  • Seattle (Orca Card)
  • Seoul (T-Money card)
  • Istanbul (Akbil, which isn't a card because a lot of people don't have wallets there, so it's a strangely shaped contraption with a loop on it that you can hook to your clothing or keychain or whatever)
  • Chicago (Chicago Card, Chicago Card Plus, Chicago Card+ZipCar)
  • San Francisco (Transcard, now called Clipper)
  • Singapore (forget what it's called on the MRT)
  • Saint Louis (Go-To Card)
  • Los Angeles (TAP)
  • Paris (MetroPass)

I believe MARTA, in Atlanta, has a similar system with it's "breeze" card. However, the card is scanned at the "turnstile" / entrance to the station instead of the train itself.

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someone had mentioned the best way to do payments, without having to have a person driving and a person collecting fees.

I think something like the system they use in some european cities (like Amsterdam). You get what's called a chipcard. it's like of like a smartcard built into a piece of paper. you wave the chipcard by a sensor on the train and it beeps green if you can ride, and red if you shouldn't be on the tram.

quick and efficient, and they could have video surveillance. when they see a certain stop or time of day that has lots of violators, put a cop on the train for that time period handing out tickets to violators.

basically, it puts the qcard already in use on the train instead of at the station, and everyone gets one, except the hour passes, or day passes can be tossed at the end of the day.

So everybody who wants to ride has to have a Q Card?

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I believe MARTA, in Atlanta, has a similar system with it's "breeze" card. However, the card is scanned at the "turnstile" / entrance to the station instead of the train itself.

I believe that is the way most, if not all, of the other listed systems work as well; which makes them just like Metro's Q-card. One of the primary purposes of having the card-readers at the station, rather than on the trains is to speed the boarding process. Putting the card readers on the rail cars doesn't really make much sense; and I have personally never seen a system that does so. It would require either at least 2, if not 4 card readers on each car (one by each door) or make it ridiculously inconvenient by having only one card reader on each car. Doesn't seem workable.

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I believe that is the way most, if not all, of the other listed systems work as well; which makes them just like Metro's Q-card. One of the primary purposes of having the card-readers at the station, rather than on the trains is to speed the boarding process. Putting the card readers on the rail cars doesn't really make much sense; and I have personally never seen a system that does so. It would require either at least 2, if not 4 card readers on each car (one by each door) or make it ridiculously inconvenient by having only one card reader on each car. Doesn't seem workable.

The card readers are fairly small. Putting one at each door would not break the bank, or be particularly unworkable. It is the cash receiver and change maker, as well as the ticket printer that makes those ticket machines at the station so bulky. The expense of selling single trip or single day tickets with rfids embedded in them (I assume) might be prohibitive, however.

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The card readers are fairly small. Putting one at each door would not break the bank, or be particularly unworkable. It is the cash receiver and change maker, as well as the ticket printer that makes those ticket machines at the station so bulky. The expense of selling single trip or single day tickets with rfids embedded in them (I assume) might be prohibitive, however.

The Paris Metro day pass is paper with a magnetized strip on the back. It can't be too cost prohibitive or I'd imagine they wouldn't be able to do it.

Paris%20train%20tickets-medium.jpg

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So everybody who wants to ride has to have a Q Card?

Why not? As long as the transit agency doesn't charge for the card, who cares? Getting a card from a vending machine is no harder than getting a paper ticket.

In Chicago, paper cards are no longer used. It's a card or cash. And if you use a card, you get free transfers, and a 20% bonus when you reload the card.

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Why not? As long as the transit agency doesn't charge for the card, who cares? Getting a card from a vending machine is no harder than getting a paper ticket.

Yes, I agree. This is true to the extent that Q cards are obtainable for free from such a vending machine as you describe, which does not seem to be the case in Houston.

In Chicago, paper cards are no longer used. It's a card or cash. And if you use a card, you get free transfers, and a 20% bonus when you reload the card.

"Card or cash" sounds pretty good -- a little different from "card only", but I see your point.

Anyway the issue that started all of this was the notion that payment on local trains / future trolleys should be done the same way it is now, but on the train instead of at the station, and with only Q cards, to avoid the issue of "having to have a person driving and a person collecting fees." Irrespective of whether or not this is a good idea overall, the fact is I have never seen such a setup involving a person driving and a person collecting fees on any of the buses or LRTs around town, nor on the subways or LRTs/trolleys I have ridden in other cities.

Edited by N Judah
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  • 3 weeks later...

Don't know what to think about this - I mean, it sounds cool and all, but then there's the execution and how to pay for it.

If this ties into inter-city high speed rail going west to San Antonio and beyond (ostensibly) it might be a sound investment. Might as well do it now than later.

Washington I don't really see being the "hotspot" for too long. When the Phase II rail lines open, I can see that action moving back downtown, to Main and eastward toward the Dynamo stadium site. It makes sense, there will be less NIMBY opposition (the people who live downtown can pretty much expect it to not be too tranquil) and it will have good freeway, bus and rail access. Washington has none of this, really, other than being close to I-10, and there are a lot of old neighborhoods there with people who have been living there for a long time. Usually I dismiss NIMBY crying such as the condo owners in Rice Village who bought units next to a bar, but in the case of Washington I can see where they're coming from.

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Don't know what to think about this - I mean, it sounds cool and all, but then there's the execution and how to pay for it.

If this ties into inter-city high speed rail going west to San Antonio and beyond (ostensibly) it might be a sound investment. Might as well do it now than later.

Washington I don't really see being the "hotspot" for too long. When the Phase II rail lines open, I can see that action moving back downtown, to Main and eastward toward the Dynamo stadium site......

Washington isnt ideal for a phase III route because its now a hotspot... it's ideal because it's 1 of 3 E-W corridors connecting the NWTC ( North end of the Uptown Line and numerous commuter bus routes ) and downtown (converge into current East End line).

The other two being I-10 and the tracks.

Washington is the best of those 3 for splitting SN22 and its dense boat load of residents as well as hitting up the current and any future commercial/retail buildings. Let the bar scene move... doesn't really change Washington Ave's importance.

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And I've read that the line along Washington to the NW Transit Center can eventually go on I-10 out to the Energy Corridor (from the Energy Corridor District site and Houston Tomorrow).

No more or less than either of the other two options. Any CRT heading west from the NWTC is a separate entity from the LRT. It doesn't matter how the LRT gets to the NWTC from the East.

However.. 10 just expanded.. they missed the CRT boat... and they are already well served by HOV/HOT lanes and commuter buses. I wouldn't count on rail to the Energy Corridor anytime within the next 20 yrs.

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Washington isnt ideal for a phase III route because its now a hotspot... it's ideal because it's 1 of 3 E-W corridors connecting the NWTC ( North end of the Uptown Line and numerous commuter bus routes ) and downtown (converge into current East End line).

The other two being I-10 and the tracks.

Washington is the best of those 3 for splitting SN22 and its dense boat load of residents as well as hitting up the current and any future commercial/retail buildings. Let the bar scene move... doesn't really change Washington Ave's importance.

Fair enough. I do think once that scene moves on that it won't fall as hard as the Richmond strip did after its day in the sun back in the 90s.

Other concern would be the flow of auto traffic. Not everyone is going to ride this thing all the time. Other than limited-access Memorial Drive, there aren't a whole lot of side streets equipped to handle overflow traffic like along Main (e.g. Fannin, Travis).

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No more or less than either of the other two options. Any CRT heading west from the NWTC is a separate entity from the LRT. It doesn't matter how the LRT gets to the NWTC from the East.

However.. 10 just expanded.. they missed the CRT boat... and they are already well served by HOV/HOT lanes and commuter buses. I wouldn't count on rail to the Energy Corridor anytime within the next 20 yrs.

And that's such a shame in my opinion. The Katy Freeway corridor would have been much better served with one HOV lane in each direction with commuter or light rail down the middle. I believe this was the Katy Corridor Coalition's plan, except they wanted the freeway below ground. That would have been too much. Anyway, they could have then expanded Metro's local bus service throughout the area connecting to the rail/Park and Ride stations along I-10. I believe they did build the new I-10 with enough support to be able to handle rail though.

And an interesting blog post: http://blogs.chron.c...david_crossley/

Energy%20Corridor%20District_4_16_09.jpg

I-10 at Highway 6 (you can see BP's new building behind the rail).

Edited by Trae
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Trams in Amsterdam have a booth with person selling tickets on board. But I agree that's not the way to go on a new system.

they moved to a new system this last year, and they will be removing the ticket sales from inside the trams at some point sooner rather than later.

the ticket person is still in the car during their transition to the new system.

I was just there in December, so I got the opportunity to talk to some friends that live in the city and had some very unhappy words to say. not to mention the people standing on the platforms waiting for trams, subway and trains in and around the city.

Don't know what to think about this - I mean, it sounds cool and all, but then there's the execution and how to pay for it.

If this ties into inter-city high speed rail going west to San Antonio and beyond (ostensibly) it might be a sound investment. Might as well do it now than later.

Washington I don't really see being the "hotspot" for too long. When the Phase II rail lines open, I can see that action moving back downtown, to Main and eastward toward the Dynamo stadium site. It makes sense, there will be less NIMBY opposition (the people who live downtown can pretty much expect it to not be too tranquil) and it will have good freeway, bus and rail access. Washington has none of this, really, other than being close to I-10, and there are a lot of old neighborhoods there with people who have been living there for a long time. Usually I dismiss NIMBY crying such as the condo owners in Rice Village who bought units next to a bar, but in the case of Washington I can see where they're coming from.

Rail dictating where nightlife is would only work if the rail was running late enough at night.

Edited by samagon
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