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DNAguy

Austin's Urban Rail attempt

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I know this is a Houston forum, but I didn't see any topic about the ongoing saga of Austin getting light rail (although they're calling it urban rail b/c it'll share the road w/ cars while in downtown).

 

http://impactnews.com/austin-metro/central-austin/austins-urban-rail-plan-could-cost-1.4-billion/

 

Here's some more literature that I've found:

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2013-12-13/urban-rail-which-way-to-connect/

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2014-04-18/project-connect-central-corridor-options/

 

Ben Wear does a good as the transportation writer for the Statesman and I'm sure he has lots of articles about this. However, ever since the pay-wall went up for that paper's site, I haven't been able to read any of his stuff.

 

Here's another resource:

http://projectconnect.com/

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I think Austin is making a big mistake about building their system on the streets like Houston. The city leaders should come to Houston and see how NOT to do rail. Rail on the streets is not a good idea. Austin has plenty of green space to give rail its own right of way. If they want model their light rail after another city, why not model it after another progressive city such as itself. Look at how Seattle, Denver, or Dallas built theirs.

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I think Austin is making a big mistake about building their system on the streets like Houston. The city leaders should come to Houston and see how NOT to do rail. Rail on the streets is not a good idea. Austin has plenty of green space to give rail its own right of way. If they want model their light rail after another city, why not model it after another progressive city such as itself. Look at how Seattle, Denver, or Dallas built theirs.

 

Denver's and Dallas's light rail both run in their streets, at least downtown.   Oh, and so does Seattle's. 

 

And Minneapolis.  And Portland.  And Los Angeles.  And San Diego. 

Edited by Houston19514
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Denver's and Dallas's light rail both run in their streets downtown.

Dallas did close off one of the side streets for light rail (it was never a through road to begin with).

Either way, Austin already has a rail system of sorts (it runs on standard gauge, there's nothing wrong with that). Don't give me the "it's a commuter rail, it NEEDS local light rail" shpiel either, I've heard it before.

Perhaps a trolley to take people around the Capital/downtown/UT area. That sounds reasonable.

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Dallas did close off one of the side streets for light rail (it was never a through road to begin with).

Either way, Austin already has a rail system of sorts (it runs on standard gauge, there's nothing wrong with that). Don't give me the "it's a commuter rail, it NEEDS local light rail" shpiel either, I've heard it before.

Perhaps a trolley to take people around the Capital/downtown/UT area. That sounds reasonable.

 

I think a trolley rail system would work well for downtown Austin.

 

Houston's light rail may have high ridership, but look what it has done to the streets. There are cables every where, its hard to turn, wrecks with vehicles, wrecks with people, stops at lights sometimes, ugly ass rail cross gaurds, slow, etc. When you have your own right of way its much faster and a more enjoyable ride. If Austin wants on street light rail, then they might as well build a BTR instead because to me its a waste to put light rail on streets with cars. If they insist on rail on the road, then a trolley wuld be a much better fit.

 

Sometimes I kind of hate that light rail was ever invented because certin cities have used the techonology in the cheapest of ways (on city streets).

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Dallas did close off one of the side streets for light rail (it was never a through road to begin with).

Either way, Austin already has a rail system of sorts (it runs on standard gauge, there's nothing wrong with that). Don't give me the "it's a commuter rail, it NEEDS local light rail" shpiel either, I've heard it before.

Perhaps a trolley to take people around the Capital/downtown/UT area. That sounds reasonable.

It doesn't go to the areas it needs to go

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I think a trolley rail system would work well for downtown Austin.

 

Houston's light rail may have high ridership, but look what it has done to the streets. There are cables every where, its hard to turn, wrecks with vehicles, wrecks with people, stops at lights sometimes, ugly ass rail cross gaurds, slow, etc. When you have your own right of way its much faster and a more enjoyable ride. If Austin wants on street light rail, then they might as well build a BTR instead because to me its a waste to put light rail on streets with cars. If they insist on rail on the road, then a trolley wuld be a much better fit.

 

Sometimes I kind of hate that light rail was ever invented because certin cities have used the techonology in the cheapest of ways (on city streets).

 

ummm most trolley systems also have cables everywhere! So you're fine with trolleys in the streets, but not lightrail?? Both take up space and both require infrastructure which changes the streets significantly. BRT also does the same thing. Your logic is not only flawed, but you have rendered yourself completely useless to this conversation. You have created a black hole which sucks up all surrounding common sense.....

 

I've never seen someone completely sabotage their own argument like this.....I'm actually quite amazed lol. Congrats.

 

Now about the topic at hand. Yes, it should be in the streets because it is a light gauge rail (hence which its freakin called light rail -.- (oh my god what a novel concept)). By putting it at street level that's where it gets the most ridership. I saw the website and the plan and at least they are trying to create a decent system because what they have now is actually pretty pathetic. It's nothing more than small train going up the hill with a couple of out of the way stations. Not to mention it seems they are actually following our model. As much as I dislike Austin, if they can pull this off in our state capital then that's a huge win for the rest of the state.

Edited by Luminare
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sfsupercut.jpg

 

San Francisco light rail is so beautiful. I wish Houston was as progressive as this.

 

Dunno - I think both the MUNI and METRO logos each have their own, stuck in the decade they were created charm.  The practical difference between the MUNI light rail trains and ours is that MUNI doesn't have the restriction on length that we do posed by the length of a downtown Houston block.  The longer MUNI trains run underground in the business district, and they are building more subway as we speak.

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Dunno - I think both the MUNI and METRO logos each have their own, stuck in the decade they were created charm.  The practical difference between the MUNI light rail trains and ours is that MUNI doesn't have the restriction on length that we do posed by the length of a downtown Houston block.  The longer MUNI trains run underground in the business district, and they are building more subway as we speak.

MUNI's light rail service (coincidentally called MUNI METRO) was actually an evolution of their longtime streetcar system; same can be said for Boston and Newark.

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Denver's and Dallas's light rail both run in their streets, at least downtown.   Oh, and so does Seattle's. 

 

And Minneapolis.  And Portland.  And Los Angeles.  And San Diego. 

I thought Seattle runs theirs underground and shared with their bus routes in the same tunnel.  LA runs their Blue Line downtown for a short length before tunneling to meet the Red Line subway, although the Gold Line has been extended years ago on its downtown east edge.

 

Adding to the list of cities that run LRT on surface streets of downtown:

San Francisco - the historic F Market trolley line on Market Street, and the cable cars.

Sacramento

Salt Lake City

New Orleans

Memphis

Norfolk

Baltimore

Phoenix

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I thought Seattle runs theirs underground and shared with their bus routes in the same tunnel.  LA runs their Blue Line downtown for a short length before tunneling to meet the Red Line subway, although the Gold Line has been extended years ago on its downtown east edge.

 

Adding to the list of cities that run LRT on surface streets of downtown:

San Francisco - the historic F Market trolley line on Market Street, and the cable cars.

Sacramento

Salt Lake City

New Orleans

Memphis

Norfolk

Baltimore

Phoenix

Some of those are kind of bad examples--New Orleans and SF have true heritage trolleys and have been there for years and years, and Memphis is kind of weird because although they run trolleys on it and it is a true trolley (overhead wire system, single car), those tracks are shared with the railroad grid, and in theory, a real freight train could come roaring down the streets of Memphis, assuming it's able to make the incredibly tight turns only a slow, single-car trolley could do easily.

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Adding to the list of cities that run LRT on surface streets of downtown:

San Francisco - the historic F Market trolley line on Market Street, and the cable cars.

Sacramento

Salt Lake City

New Orleans

Memphis

Norfolk

Baltimore

Phoenix

Add Tucson's new SunLink modern streetcar system as well.post-516-0-93976600-1402028981_thumb.jpg Edited by intencity77

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sfsupercut.jpg

 

San Francisco light rail is so beautiful. I wish Houston was as progressive as this.

 

I don't understand what point you are trying to get across.  The rail cars in the picture look nice, I would agree with that.  So ... while I don't mean to be antagonistic, I don't understand from your post what is so progressive relative to our emerging system.  

 

I am a supporter of Houston having more and better public transit.  I have mixed feelings about how Metro is implementing it here, but I'm supportive of the idea.  Frankly, though, I think if Houston and Metro were to behave in a truly progressive fashion, we would be building rail transit that was completely (or at least substantially) grade-separated.

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I don't understand what point you are trying to get across.  The rail cars in the picture look nice, I would agree with that.  So ... while I don't mean to be antagonistic, I don't understand from your post what is so progressive relative to our emerging system.  

 

I am a supporter of Houston having more and better public transit.  I have mixed feelings about how Metro is implementing it here, but I'm supportive of the idea.  Frankly, though, I think if Houston and Metro were to behave in a truly progressive fashion, we would be building rail transit that was completely (or at least substantially) grade-separated.

It’s not necessarily San Francisco’s MUNI rail that I am jealous of, it’s their BART rail.

 

BART

Walnut_Creek_BART_-_011.jpg

 

Their MUNI is still 100 times nicer then Houston's METRO, it also goes into a subway. 

MUNI

6815095381_0942fa469f_b.jpg

If METRO had build Houston's light rail like this there would be no complaints from me.

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Yeah, it's sad that we haven't been able, as a community, to build a vision of how we should provide for the future.  I would rather we have a good rail system or none at all.  Instead, we have to settle for a less effective system because it is sabotaged by people who can't stop it, but want it to fail.

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