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Talk About Tulsa => PlaniTulsa & Urban Planning => Topic started by: Bamboo World on July 17, 2016, 08:39:22 pm



Title: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 17, 2016, 08:39:22 pm
Users turned thread drift into an interesting discussion on light rail in Tulsa. They requested a thread split. Done.

- Moderator




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I imagine that [the Gunboat Park neighborhood is] what Greenwood was like before it got urban renewaled for the OSU-Tulsa campus that was never built.


Greenwood, at least in terms of the core of Black Wall Street between Archer and Easton, was more urbanized than the Gunboat Park area ever was.

Even as far north as Haskell, Greenwood was more urban than Gunboat Park.  Here's an example looking north from Greenwood and Haskell, showing the flatiron Del Rio Hotel apartment building:
(http://www.tulsalibrary.org/JPG/B8437.jpg)
Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society



Title: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 20, 2016, 08:21:05 pm

Even as far north as Haskell, Greenwood was more urban than Gunboat Park.  Here's an example looking north from Greenwood and Haskell, showing the flatiron Del Rio Hotel apartment building:
(http://www.tulsalibrary.org/JPG/B8437.jpg)
Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society



Wow that part of Greenwood looks awesome.  It'd be an amazing urban space if it was still standing...


Here are a few more photos of Greenwood ...

First, a little farther back (south) from the one above, looking north on Greenwood from around Easton Street:
(http://www.tulsalibrary.org/JPG/B8436.jpg)
Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society

Second, a little more back (south) from the previous pic ... this one looking north in the block between Cameron and Easton:
(http://www.tulsalibrary.org/JPG/B8427.jpg)
Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society

Next, turned around and looking south on Greenwood from around the same spot, near Easton, with the core of the business district visible in the distance:
(http://www.tulsalibrary.org/JPG/B8428.jpg)
Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society

This one is from around Mathew B. Reconciliation Way and Greenwood, looking northeast on the bend in the Sand Springs trolley line (approximately here (https://www.google.com/maps/place/36%C2%B009'37.7%22N+95%C2%B059'12.8%22W/@36.1584547,-95.9870559,307a,20y,41.59t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d36.160479!4d-95.9869) -- the skinny girl is standing behind where Fat Guy's is now):
(http://www.tulsalibrary.org/JPG/B8430.jpg)
Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society

And next, turned around looking southwest on the Sand Springs line toward downtown Tulsa, from the skinny girl's vantage point:
(http://www.tulsalibrary.org/JPG/B8429.jpg)
Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society



Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: rdj on July 21, 2016, 09:54:30 am
How cool would it be to have that trolley still running from OSU Tulsa to OneOK Field?  The trolley would/could cut along between the IDL and OneOK Field, correct?  The IDL is between the photographer and the AME Church, right?

Also, the Amazon seller for that book is Gardner's on Mingo here in Tulsa.  I would just visit their store and buy it in person.


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: cannon_fodder on July 21, 2016, 12:26:33 pm
How cool would it be to have that trolley still running from OSU Tulsa to OneOK Field?  The trolley would/could...

I almost posted this. Had we retained our trolley lines hipsters and their cash would be flooding Tulsa from over priced neighborhoods in Brooklyn, San Fran, and Austin (kinda' tongue in cheek, kinda' not). Seriously, the entire dynamic of the city would have changed. A true urban town in the mid-west?

I've drawn out trolley lines before in my fantasy Tulsa. At $10mil a mile, with a $100mil budget to build (or take half the money from the gathering, or the dams, or...). You can hit a ton of high points. Not meaning to start an argument on if it is worth the investment when rubber can do it cheaper...that's an entirely different thread.

/thread drift


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: rdj on July 22, 2016, 07:24:27 am
I almost posted this. Had we retained our trolley lines hipsters and their cash would be flooding Tulsa from over priced neighborhoods in Brooklyn, San Fran, and Austin (kinda' tongue in cheek, kinda' not). Seriously, the entire dynamic of the city would have changed. A true urban town in the mid-west?

I've drawn out trolley lines before in my fantasy Tulsa. At $10mil a mile, with a $100mil budget to build (or take half the money from the gathering, or the dams, or...). You can hit a ton of high points. Not meaning to start an argument on if it is worth the investment when rubber can do it cheaper...that's an entirely different thread.

/thread drift

To draw that back in...  What if the line went down Elgin?  The large traffic circle at Elgin / 10th / 11th just north of Gunboat Park would be a great place for a turnaround for transit...  Walk less than two blocks from Gunboat Park, jump on a trolley of some sorts and head to ball game or art exhibit or dinner in Brady?


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: SXSW on July 22, 2016, 10:37:43 am
To draw that back in...  What if the line went down Elgin?  The large traffic circle at Elgin / 10th / 11th just north of Gunboat Park would be a great place for a turnaround for transit...  Walk less than two blocks from Gunboat Park, jump on a trolley of some sorts and head to ball game or art exhibit or dinner in Brady?

Would love to see this happen.  Really build up Elgin as the primary mixed-use corridor through east downtown.  Eventually extend the streetcar east down 11th.


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: johrasephoenix on July 22, 2016, 11:16:26 am
I've always wondered if the original streetcar tracks are still there just paved over. 

It stinks that we sprawled out so badly.  It's so hard to make transit work in a city once its sprawled.... if they had stayed in place and our development patterns had been a bit more compact, maybe it could've been different (probably not though...our city just didn't have enough time to grow before cars).

Apparently there used to be an unspoken "greenbelt" agreement between Tulsa and its suburbs.  It was tossed out the window in 1966.  You wonder what it would've been like if the Tulsa metro had adopted a Portland style growth boundary.


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: Conan71 on July 22, 2016, 11:19:05 am
I've always wondered if the original streetcar tracks are still there just paved over. 

It stinks that we sprawled out so badly.  It's so hard to make transit work in a city once its sprawled.... if they had stayed in place and our development patterns had been a bit more compact, maybe it could've been different (probably not though...our city just didn't have enough time to grow before cars).

Apparently there used to be an unspoken "greenbelt" agreement between Tulsa and its suburbs.  It was tossed out the window in 1966.  You wonder what it would've been like if the Tulsa metro had adopted a Portland style growth boundary.

I believe there are street car tracks paved over on Delaware between 11th & 15th and down 13th St. between Delaware and Harvard.  We had a discussion on this a long time ago on here, you might find it in the archives.


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on July 22, 2016, 11:44:17 am
Here is the link to the Michael Bates site with a map (both a visual and a download KMZ file for Google Earth and Google Maps) from 2009.

http://www.batesline.com/archives/2009/12/tulsa-streetcar-and-interurban-l.html (http://www.batesline.com/archives/2009/12/tulsa-streetcar-and-interurban-l.html)


Title: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 22, 2016, 12:30:31 pm

To draw that back in...  What if the [trolley] line went down Elgin?  The large traffic circle at Elgin / 10th / 11th just north of Gunboat Park would be a great place for a turnaround for transit...  Walk less than two blocks from Gunboat Park, jump on a trolley of some sorts and head to ball game or art exhibit or dinner in Brady?


The biggest barrier might be the at-grade crossing of the train tracks and trolley tracks between 1st and Archer.  It would be a timing issue and might cause occasional delays/conflicts with the trolley schedule.

But Elgin is a historical trolley route, with tracks once running from 4th to 11th.




Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: SXSW on July 23, 2016, 12:20:56 pm
The biggest barrier might be the at-grade crossing of the train tracks and trolley tracks between 1st and Archer.  It would be a timing issue and might cause occasional delays/conflicts with the trolley schedule.

But Elgin is a historical trolley route, with tracks once running from 4th to 11th.

I've wondered if that would be an issue, and if a Detroit/Cincinnati couplet would be better since they have bridges. 


Title: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 25, 2016, 01:03:17 pm

I've wondered if that would be an issue, and if a Detroit/Cincinnati couplet would be better since they have bridges.
  

I think any of those three streets (Elgin, Detroit, or Cincinnati) could work.  Any grade crossings would be a coordination issue between the trolley and the timing of BNSF traffic, along with overhead clearances for catenary wires and trains.  Nothing that can't be overcome, of course...

In my opinion, a very simple trolley route would be the best for people to understand, to remember, and to utilize.

Possible one-way loop options:

a) counter-clockwise north on Detroit to John Hope Franklin, west on John Hope Franklin to Boulder, south on Boulder to 10th, east on 10th back to Detroit.  Advantages:  expandable/flexible south on Boulder, west on 10th (and 11th/12th), north on Detroit and/or Main, east on John Hope Franklin and/or 10th (and 11th), ability to convert to a two-way route.

b) clockwise or counter-clockwise on Elgin - John Hope Franklin - Boulder - 10th.  Advantages:  expandable with the ability to convert in the future to two-way as Option a.  Disadvantage: possible conflict with BNSF trains at Elgin crossing (but a short bypass to Detroit is possible)

In the Downtown Master Plan, Jack Crowley suggested Boulder as a two-way trolley route, from John Hope Franklin to 18th.  That single route alone would do wonders to connect north and south over the BNSF tracks, and the Boulder Avenue bridge was designed for it.

There also are several possibilities for more routes/loops.  But I think keeping it simple is the key.  I've never ridden the Loop bus that runs through the downtown on Fridays and Saturdays, although I rode the rubber-tired trolley (which preceded the Loop bus) many times.  In the case of events, the Loop bus can and does take detours.  But many people are not familiar with downtown Tulsa, and they don't understand the basic Loop bus route and timing, let alone the many detours.  Trolleys would need to run on streets that are not regularly closed for events, and the headways would need to be short, on a very reliable schedule, in order to be truly successful.



Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: SXSW on July 25, 2016, 10:42:29 pm
For reference this OKC's route map:
(http://www.koco.com/image/view/-/22098708/medRes/1/-/maxh/460/maxw/620/-/ce5a1g/-/MAPS-3-jpg.jpg)

Except for along Broadway for a few blocks it runs on couplets.  And where it crosses the BNSF tracks there is an underpass so no conflicts with the freight trains.  I'm sure it has been done before but that seems like a big obstacle for Elgin.

Bamboo I like your idea but I wonder if you need to run all the way to John Hope Franklin?  I imagine someday OSU will be much larger with mixed use student housing but that seems to be way in the future.  What if instead you ran the northbound on Detroit (in its own dedicated lane) and the southbound on Cincinnati to a couplet on Archer and Brady?  Then use both lanes of Boulder to cross back over and then a couplet on 3rd and 4th back to Cincinnati and Detroit. 

That would be one line with another running down Boulder.  The problem with Boulder is that there is very little retail or mixed use along it.  Would Boston be a better option?


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: rdj on July 26, 2016, 12:47:11 pm
Running to John Hope Franklin brings Emerson School onto the route, which as it moves to a magnet program helps downtown residents.  Also, allows Brady Heights residents to visit downtown without a car.  I think there is ample reason today with an eye on the future.


Title: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 26, 2016, 08:23:50 pm

Bamboo I like your idea but I wonder if you need to run all the way to John Hope Franklin?


It wouldn't need to run to John Hope Franklin.  It could go on Archer and/or Mathew B. Reconciliation Way and/or Cameron.  There are several possibilities.

My main points:

1) The infrastructure for fixed guideway systems (as opposed to rubber tire vehicles) is expensive to install, so it should go where it will stay and be utilized for many years.

2) The route should be super-simple to understand and to remember.  It should go on streets which can remain open (to streetcars, at least) during special events, such as art festivals, parades, marathons, bike races, etc.  

3) The headways should be short.  The hours of operation should be long.


The problem with Boulder is that there is very little retail or mixed use along it.  Would Boston be a better option?


In the Downtown Area Master Plan (DAMP), Boulder was targeted as a north-corridor because it has great potential for retail and mixed-used development, among other reasons.  In the DAMP Volume 2 document (https://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/109992/DAMPVolume2-11-1-10.pdf), Boulder was shown as the primary corridor, but Main was also shown as potential loop near the north end (in Figure 1 on page 15, on page 105, in Figure 4 on page 165, and on page 166) and at the south end (near 18th on pages 76-78, page 105, and page 170).  Boston was also shown as a potential loop at the south end near 18th (on page 169).

The DAMP proposed trolley tracks on both sides of Boulder, but the initial trolley route wouldn't necessarily have to be on Boulder.  It could be on other streets, couplets, or loops.  But as the DAMP was developed, Boulder was seen as having tremendous potential, perhaps the most potential, as a north-south "starter" route.
  


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: cannon_fodder on July 27, 2016, 08:45:47 am
Consistent mass transit is essential for an urban area to sustain itself and grow.  Of the options, rail is certainly the most touristy, nostalgic, and permanent. It is also capable of the highest capacities if designed to do so (elevated, independent or priority right of way). But it is also far and away the most expensive to install (by many factors over). The economics are hard to justify.

Some quick math:

OKC is spending $129mil on 4.5 miles. That's $25mil for 5 cars and $23mil per mile of track and overhead electrical cable.

Lets pretend it costs $2 to ride and that the fare make operating costs a break even.  Lets pretend they average 2,000 rides per day (Little Rock predicted 2,500 rides per day on their street car, they currently do ~300. OKC buses run 20 routes covering hundreds of miles per day and average 7k per day), so that's $4k a day in revenue to break even on operations. Lets also pretend each ride is the max distance of 2.25 miles.

Now lets pretend instead of installing light rail the City just pays for Uber for anyone who wants it within that zone. In Tulsa, a 2.25 mile 5 minute Uber ride is $3.25. The rider kicks in $2 as they would with the street car. Of course, more than 1 person can ride in an Uber... so lets pretend we average 2 (I'm comfortable with this as most of the rides will be going to the same places). So we will need 1,000 Ubers a day, so $2k in revenue. The cost would be 1,250 in subsidies per day. Which we could do everyday forever with a $129Mil sitting in the bank collecting 1% interest. And we'd be turning a profit on the interest. And the drivers would be making money. And Uber would be making money.

Want to double ridership or pretend only one person rides in each Uber? We are still good forever. Want to double ridership, make it a single person per car, and take away any interest int he $129mil? FINE! Then the $129mil subsidy will only for for ~150 years before we blow through $129mil.

Street car lines stop running at midnight most days of the week. Uber doesn't. If a street car breaks down, the city has to pay for it. If a rider is too drunk to get home, instead of taking the subsidy and then continuing on home on the passengers dime... a street car drops the drunk off at their car. Want to change the route to take convention goers to the fairgrounds, to Skelly Stadium because the Roughnex are playing the LA Galaxy, or to some other event going on - no can do. Want to expand the line to a new attraction, please pay $23mil per mile.

Unfortunately, most street car lines that are not integrated to mass transit have low ridership. Little Rock 350. Tampa 600. Salt Lake 1000. Dallas 400. Atlanta 750. Seattle does 1800 and has an integrated transit system. DC is blowing away expectations with 2400 riders a day.  Is this design? Function? Routes? Too short to be useful, too expensive to make longer?

Am I really proposing free Uber?  No. But if we could provide the same service more effectively for for a hundred million dollars less - we need a good reason to invest in a streetcar line.

Alternatives include:
- Buses
- Rubber wheeled Trolleys ("trolley buses")
- Rubber wheeled Steet cars that run on overhead power ("trackless trolley")
- Something I haven't considered yet that is also awesome

I really want light rail to work. Seeing it in action in New Orleans, San Francisco, etc. makes me dream of living down the line from downtown where I can have a yard, dogs, hot tub and grill out... but can walk a couple of blocks, hop a street car, and be downtown in a few minutes. Can you imagine the development possibilities in the Pearl district or Kendall Whittier or near Brady Heights? The TU kids or game day crowd taking a trolley downtown? I'd love for it to happen.

But if we want to sell that vision to normal people, we need to have a good reason why rails in the road are worth the significant extra money.

(some ambitious mod should break this off into a separate thread)





Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: johrasephoenix on July 27, 2016, 09:15:21 am
Rail is great because it is permanent, user friendly, has huge capacity, and doesn't compromise on right of way.  It is also insanely expensive.

That said, rail works best when it is comprehensive and part of a transit oriented eco-system.  The rail systems that really work have been either legacy systems (Boston, Chicago, NYC) or full-blown blast the budget buildouts (DC, Denver, Minneapolis, SF).  Transit/rail work in these cities because you can orient your life around them without much in the way of compromise - the trains go everywhere, they are frequent, etc.

Barring a Denver-style political 180, Tulsa is not going to have the $$$ to do a comprehensive rail buildout.  The small center city loops you see in OKC/Little Rock/Memphis will never reach enough people to make a significant impact on land use.

Despite being an uncompromising urbanite, I think in Tulsa's case a high functioning BRT is the way we can maximize the impact of transit on quality of life, enable density, and encourage smart land use.  BRT can go much, much further on much less money.  That helps make the system comprehensive so that it reaches into the neighborhoods where people actually live and can bring them into the center city car free.  It enables car-lite living at origin points as well, outside the IDL.

I guess the devil is in the details.  BRT CAN work, but usually is a series of half donkey compromises and nobody rides it.  The BRT systems I've ridden in Austin, downtown Chicago, and 1/2 of the Boston system are garbage.  They are lipstick on a pig city buses with free wifi.  

BRT is awesome though in Mexico City and the Boston leg from South Station to the airport.  Dedicated right of way, real stations, prepaid boarding, the whole cahoona.  I hope Tulsa has the political guts to pull off the real deal.    

P.S.  Transit is almost never self-sustaining because fares are kept low.  The state of Mass. covers 1/2 of the MBTA's budget, New York does the same with the MTA.  That may sound bad, but when you think about how much the state of OK pays in road infrastructure and the tax revenues lost to surface parking and sprawl, it works out pretty evenly.  Something like 2/3 of Tulsa's city budget goes to road maintenance, and the cost of repaving the IDL was probably equivalent to a large scale rail buildout.  I'm pretty sure the city is spending more to widen 61st and Mingo then it is giving to the entire Peoria/11th BRT project.   


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: SXSW on July 27, 2016, 01:01:15 pm
This is an interesting discussion.  Mods please break the streetcar posts into its own thread.

Done.

- Moderator


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 27, 2016, 03:04:00 pm


Bamboo I like your idea ...


To be clear, I'm not convinced of the benefits of any fixed guideway systems in downtown Tulsa, when weighed against the enormous costs.

A few of the "ideas" have been mine, but of all the many trolley/streetcar proposals I've seen over the past 25+ years, I think the Boulder Avenue trolley concept is the best (in terms of the greatest potential benefits for the costs).  I think the Boulder Avenue trolley idea was Jack Crowley's, but I'm not sure.

In my opinion, a rubber-tire system would be the most cost-effective for Tulsa.



Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: SXSW on July 27, 2016, 03:30:52 pm
To be clear, I'm not convinced of the benefits of any fixed guideway systems in downtown Tulsa, when weighed against the enormous costs.

A few of the "ideas" have been mine, but of all the many trolley/streetcar proposals I've seen over the past 25+ years, I think the Boulder Avenue trolley concept is the best (in terms of the greatest potential benefits for the costs).  I think the Boulder Avenue trolley idea was Jack Crowley's, but I'm not sure.

In my opinion, a rubber-tire system would be the most cost-effective for Tulsa.


A rubber tire trolley is certainly the most cost effective.  But you don't get anywhere near the benefits that the investment in a rail streetcar will bring.  Rubber tire trolley is a glorified bus. 

Tulsa has two larger regional cities that they should study very carefully.  One is Kansas City which has a recently completed streetcar line.  Theirs is 2.2 miles completed at a cost of $102 million.  The other is OKC which will have theirs finished late next year. 

I think streetcar is the way to go downtown and a mile loop (Cincinnati/Detroit, Archer/Brady, Boulder, 3rd/4th) would be a good start at costs probably in the $50-75 million range depending on how much retrofit the Cincinnati and Detroit bridges would need and any other utility relocations as well as streetscaping.  Smart planning to already have the Boulder bridge engineered to support rail on both sides.  After that you can plan extensions down Boulder Ave into Riverview or north into Brady Heights/OSU. 

As for BRT we already have the two proposed lines one down Peoria and one down 11th.  If they are built correctly with dedicated lanes, shelters with digital boards at each stop and frequent head ways then both can be successful as they slice through the densest parts of the city and connect employment centers like Hillcrest and TU and retail districts like Cherry Street and Brookside.


Title: Re: Gunboat Park
Post by: LandArchPoke on July 27, 2016, 03:49:43 pm
Consistent mass transit is essential for an urban area to sustain itself and grow.  Of the options, rail is certainly the most touristy, nostalgic, and permanent. It is also capable of the highest capacities if designed to do so (elevated, independent or priority right of way). But it is also far and away the most expensive to install (by many factors over). The economics are hard to justify.

Some quick math:

OKC is spending $129mil on 4.5 miles. That's $25mil for 5 cars and $23mil per mile of track and overhead electrical cable.

Lets pretend it costs $2 to ride and that the fare make operating costs a break even.  Lets pretend they average 2,000 rides per day (Little Rock predicted 2,500 rides per day on their street car, they currently do ~300. OKC buses run 20 routes covering hundreds of miles per day and average 7k per day), so that's $4k a day in revenue to break even on operations. Lets also pretend each ride is the max distance of 2.25 miles.

Now lets pretend instead of installing light rail the City just pays for Uber for anyone who wants it within that zone. In Tulsa, a 2.25 mile 5 minute Uber ride is $3.25. The rider kicks in $2 as they would with the street car. Of course, more than 1 person can ride in an Uber... so lets pretend we average 2 (I'm comfortable with this as most of the rides will be going to the same places). So we will need 1,000 Ubers a day, so $2k in revenue. The cost would be 1,250 in subsidies per day. Which we could do everyday forever with a $129Mil sitting in the bank collecting 1% interest. And we'd be turning a profit on the interest. And the drivers would be making money. And Uber would be making money.

Want to double ridership or pretend only one person rides in each Uber? We are still good forever. Want to double ridership, make it a single person per car, and take away any interest int he $129mil? FINE! Then the $129mil subsidy will only for for ~150 years before we blow through $129mil.

Street car lines stop running at midnight most days of the week. Uber doesn't. If a street car breaks down, the city has to pay for it. If a rider is too drunk to get home, instead of taking the subsidy and then continuing on home on the passengers dime... a street car drops the drunk off at their car. Want to change the route to take convention goers to the fairgrounds, to Skelly Stadium because the Roughnex are playing the LA Galaxy, or to some other event going on - no can do. Want to expand the line to a new attraction, please pay $23mil per mile.

Unfortunately, most street car lines that are not integrated to mass transit have low ridership. Little Rock 350. Tampa 600. Salt Lake 1000. Dallas 400. Atlanta 750. Seattle does 1800 and has an integrated transit system. DC is blowing away expectations with 2400 riders a day.  Is this design? Function? Routes? Too short to be useful, too expensive to make longer?

Am I really proposing free Uber?  No. But if we could provide the same service more effectively for for a hundred million dollars less - we need a good reason to invest in a streetcar line.

Alternatives include:
- Buses
- Rubber wheeled Trolleys ("trolley buses")
- Rubber wheeled Steet cars that run on overhead power ("trackless trolley")
- Something I haven't considered yet that is also awesome

I really want light rail to work. Seeing it in action in New Orleans, San Francisco, etc. makes me dream of living down the line from downtown where I can have a yard, dogs, hot tub and grill out... but can walk a couple of blocks, hop a street car, and be downtown in a few minutes. Can you imagine the development possibilities in the Pearl district or Kendall Whittier or near Brady Heights? The TU kids or game day crowd taking a trolley downtown? I'd love for it to happen.

But if we want to sell that vision to normal people, we need to have a good reason why rails in the road are worth the significant extra money.

(some ambitious mod should break this off into a separate thread)


This is a major argument going around in urban planning circle - Uber and self-driving cars will make transit irrelevant.

Some MAJOR things that are omitted, and this really goes to many people's thinking honestly (not trying to pick on you).

The majority of costs associated with streetcar/LRT is the construction of the infrastructure. When you're doing your financial calculations of Uber you're forgetting one thing, who pays for the roads? Who builds the roads, fixes potholes, etc... that money comes from somewhere but we all tend to think of it as just what has to be done, but any type of expense for rail is 'extreme' as many people seem to think. The Uber driver also has to buy his car, pay for gas, pay for maintenance, tags, etc. all expenses.

Also, in order to use Uber you need a smartphone. Should we proposed to give every person in Tulsa a smartphone so they can call an Uber when they want? That's the beauty of transit, it's always there on a fixed route. You don't need a phone (that let's face it, many people in Tulsa and in other cities can't afford).

When you add in cost of road construction (especially in urban areas), cost of cars, gas, smartphones for everyone, etc. rail based transit is probably just as competitive as say providing Uber for everyone. Politicians and interest groups (airlines, road builders, etc.) do a great job at covering the costs that we spend on urban road construction - per mile is tends to run about the same or even more expensive than many rail projects. We also spend billions on airport subsidies to construct airport terminals, yet a few billion to construct high-speed rail is just too much.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Red Arrow on July 27, 2016, 09:37:54 pm
Fixed rail is more likely to have Transit Oriented Development (get rid of a few parking lots?) than anything with rubber tires.

Many comparisons between fixed rail and rubber tires fail to account for the expected life of the equipment, especially the trolleys themselves.

True BRT requires dedicated right of way.  That infrastructure is not especially less expensive than rail, if it is less expensive at all.

Trackless trolleys have some advantages.  They run on electricity. They can run on the regular street. On the down side, they would ride on Tulsa streets.  Some of them have a short distance capability on batteries.  They can go around some traffic trouble spots like an accident between cars/trucks.  The infrastructure would be less expensive than overhead wires and tracks.

Riders of choice are more likely to take a fixed rail trolley than a bus.

 Light Rail Now has a lot of info.  It is admittedly pro-rail but the facts and myths sections are worth some time reading.

This link is to the myths section:
http://www.lightrailnow.org/myths.htm


Other issues have already been mentioned recently such as the free ride rubber tired vehicles get driving on roads compared to directly charging rails and wires to streetcars/Light Rail.


 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 27, 2016, 09:57:54 pm

Tulsa has two larger regional cities that they should study very carefully.  One is Kansas City which has a recently completed streetcar line.  Theirs is 2.2 miles completed at a cost of $102 million.


Let's look at the KC line, since you posted the cost.  KC's route (http://kcstreetcar.org/route/) is mostly two-way on a single street (Main), with a one-way loop at the north end:  east on 5th from Delaware to Grand, then north on Grand from 5th to 3rd, then west on 3rd from Grand to Delaware, then south on Delaware back to the beginning of the one-way loop at 5th & Delaware.

KC's route is about 2.2 miles until the return leg of the one-way loop, but then it's double-tracked back to Union Station, making the overall trackage about 4 miles.  

$102,000,000 total cost / 4 miles = $25.5 million per mile of track (I guesstimated the track length from Google Earth, and my calculated cost per mile is close to the $25.35 million per mile cost published in the Kansas City Star on July 2, 2015 (http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article26148769.html).)

I've pulled some more numbers from the same Star article:

Four vehicles at $4.39 million = $17.56 million

Vehicle maintenance facility = $11.6 million

16 station stops at $640,000 each = $10.24 million

Sub-total of vehicles, maintenance facility, and station stops = $39.4 million (or 38.6% of the $102 million total system initial cost)

The remaining 61.4% (or $62.6 million of the $102 million total) would work out to approximately $15.65 million per mile of track.

4 miles of track / 16 station stop = one stop per each quarter mile of trackage, on average.

4 miles of track / 4 vehicles = one vehicle for each mile of track.

 
I think streetcar is the way to go downtown and a mile loop (Cincinnati/Detroit, Archer/Brady, Boulder, 3rd/4th) would be a good start at costs probably in the $50-75 million range depending on how much retrofit the Cincinnati and Detroit bridges would need and any other utility relocations as well as streetscaping.


Do you mean two-way on Boulder, then couplets on the other three legs of the loop?  Or do you mean just a single one-way loop?

Assuming you mean a two-way loop with double tracks, then it would require about 2.5 miles of track.  For a system in downtown Tulsa comparable to KC's, it would take two (or three) vehicles here, plus 10 station stops.

$15.65 million x 2.5 miles of track = $39.13 million

10 stops x $640,000 = $6.4 million

2 or 3 vehicles x $4.39 million = $8.78 million to $13.17 million

vehicle maintenance facility for 2 or 3 vehicles = 50% to 75% the cost of KC's facility = $5.8 million to $8.7 million

Total cost for 2.5 mile loop in Tulsa = $60.11 million to $67.4 million (or $24.04 to $26.96 million per mile of track)

SXSW:  Is this how you were seeing your suggested Cincinnati/Detroit, Archer/Brady, Boulder, 3rd/4th loop?  If so, the numbers seem to jibe with KC's.

--------

According to the KC Streetcar Tracker (http://kcstreetcar.org/route/streetcar-tracker/), the vehicles there operate 7 days a week, on roughly 10-15 minute headways.  

For the sake of discussion, let's assume Tulsa's streetcars would operate as KC's do, and let's assume Tulsa would have 2 vehicles in operation, one going in each direction of your suggested loop.  KC's ratio of vehicles to miles of track is 1 to 1 (with all four vehicles in operation) or 1 to 1.33 (with three vehicles in operation, as are now as I'm typing this, on a Wednesday night, with 11 to 12 minute headways).  Tulsa's ratio would be 1 to 1.25.  Right now (on a Wednesday night), KC's streetcars are making the round trip at an average speed of approximately 6 to 7 miles per hour.

Let's assume that Tulsa's streetcars would operate at approximately the same speed as KC's.  If so, then Tulsa's headways (on a Wednesday night), would be about 11 minutes.  

Let's assume you're near 4th & Detroit on a Wednesday night, wanting to go to the Brady Theater, Saturn Room, or Bar 46.  Let's assume you just missed a streetcar.  The next streetcar will arrive at 4th & Detroit in roughly 11 minutes.  Let's also assume that you've missed the streetcar on the opposing loop, which has just gone by the PAC at 3rd & Cincinnati.  The next streetcar will arrive there in roughly 11 minutes.

Let's assume you can walk about 3 miles per hour toward Bar 46.  Starting at 4th & Detroit, you can walk to the front door of Bar 46 in about 14 minutes.  It would take you about 15 minutes to get to the Brady Theater or the Saturn Room.  In that amount of time, one streetcar might be back by 4th & Detroit ... maybe.

My point is that the loop you've suggested is relatively small.  It's possible to walk between the most distant points on the loop in about 15 minutes, which is not much longer than the average headway.  You could wait a few minutes for a streetcar if you were going between the most distant stations, but otherwise, it might be just about as fast to walk.

If you really didn't want to walk for some reason, but ride on a streetcar instead, having streetcars running in opposite directions on couplets would be problematic, even if you had a phone app telling you where the two vehicles were.  It would be easier with two-way tracks on single streets, rather than tracks on couplets.  It would be easier to stay on the same street and catch the first streetcar arriving from either direction, since the entire loop would be relatively short.  

In Kansas City, you'd be able to walk from Union Station to the City Market (the most distant points on the streetcar route) in about 40 minutes.  But if you walked on Main Street there, you'd walk by 12 stations along the way, 6 stations without crossing the street.  Chances are that 2 or 3 northbound streetcars would pass you as you walked on the east side of Main, toward the Market.  If you happened to be super-tired and just didn't want to walk at all, you could just wait 11 or 12 minutes at Union Station for a streetcar.  Wait time 0 to 12 minutes.  Streetcar ride from Union Station to City Market about 18 minutes.  Total time via streetcar: 18-30 minutes versus 40 minutes walking.

In Tulsa, 4th & Detroit to Saturn Room via street car: 5-17 minutes versus 15 minutes walking.

------

With such a small loop, I'd suggest a single track, with both vehicles traveling in the same direction (and maybe that's what SXSW meant with the Cincinnati/Detroit, Archer/Brady, Boulder, 3rd/4th loop proposal).  

Savings in cost:

1.25 miles less trackage = 1.25 x $15.65 million = $19.56 million

5 stops instead of 10 = $640,000 x 5 = $3.2 million

Total savings with a small one-way loop:  $22.76 million, which means the overall initial cost of the one-way loop system would be about $37.35 million to $44.64 million (and maybe a little less with a smaller maintenance facility for only two vehicles)

Advantage #1:  With both vehicles operating, headways would be about 5 or 6 minutes.  Even with only one of the vehicles running, headways would be only about 11 minutes.

Advantage #2:  A small one-way loop would be easy for people to understand and use (easier than a two-way loop on couplets).

All that said, I still think the Boulder line from John Hope Franklin to 18th has more potential as a catalyst for development.  The Boulder line would have about the same length of trackage as the KC Streetcar route, and it would be mostly linear like the KC line, so a better comparison with the KC Streetcar system, imo.

I don't know enough about the OKC system to discuss it.

Last night, I attended a Peoria Avenue BRT community workshop.  My main interest was seeing how the Peoria Avenue and 11th Street BRT routes would interface, the potential for associated TOD, and how the BRT routes would/should/shouldn't get to the Denver Avenue Station.  Many ideas were presented and discussed.  The consultant intends to have the info online by next week, I think.  



Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Conan71 on July 28, 2016, 08:44:21 am
Imagine how much cheaper KC could have done that without all the graft thrown in.  Those are some pretty ridiculous costs.  $11 million for the maintenance building??  $15 million per mile of track and wire?? 

I do like the concept of it and if I lived and worked within that loop of downtown KC, my car would likely stay parked during the week, especially since it is free to ride the streetcar.  It would be an interesting study to see how many people are moving to this part of KC due to the transit system. 

Personally, I believe if you are going to put in rail, light rail from the suburbs would give the biggest bang for the buck in savings on emissions, wear and tear on the roads, cutting commute times, etc. 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: cannon_fodder on July 28, 2016, 09:05:12 am
Imagine how much cheaper KC could have done that without all the graft thrown in.  Those are some pretty ridiculous costs.  $11 million for the maintenance building??  $15 million per mile of track and wire?? 

I do like the concept of it and if I lived and worked within that loop of downtown KC, my car would likely stay parked during the week, especially since it is free to ride the streetcar.  It would be an interesting study to see how many people are moving to this part of KC due to the transit system. 


The maintenance facility and equipment for it occupy 20,000 square feet of building and sit on two acres that required a ton of site work. Essentially, you had to build a brand new mini-rail yard and purchase 2 acres near downtown to put it on. Oh, and the entire project is LEED certified.

$15mil a mile is in line with per mile costs of other cities. Portland was $12.4 mil/mile.  Tuscon, OKC, and Cincinnati were far more per mile. The cost per mile includes rail, street work, overhead power, and stations.  It seems mind boggling high to me too, but if the cost is that high for everyone... surely if there was a way to do it as well for cheap, SOMEONE would have figure it out.  (supposedly Little Rock was 7.1mil per mile, maybe see what the differences are?)


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 28, 2016, 09:38:10 am

$15mil a mile is in line with per mile costs of other cities. Portland was $12.4 mil/mile.  Tuscon, OKC, and Cincinnati were far more per mile. The cost per mile includes rail, street work, overhead power, and stations.


In KC, the station stops were upgraded, so they weren't included in my $15.65 million per mile calculation.  KC station stops were $10.24 million total (or about 10% of the overall cost, or about $2.56 million per mile of trackage).

In KC, adding the stations to the rail/street work/overhead power cost bumps the figure up to $18.21 million per mile of trackage.

Source:  Kansas City Star, July 2, 2015
 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 28, 2016, 10:16:20 am

(supposedly Little Rock was 7.1mil per mile, maybe see what the differences are?)


I'm not very familiar with Little Rock's trolley system, but I looked at the headways online (today -- Thursday morning), to compare them to KC's.  At the moment, North Little Rock's trolley headways are about 25 minutes.  KC's streetcar headways are about 13 minutes.

Update (Thursday evening, 6pm):  Blue Line (serving North Little Rock AND Little Rock) headways are about 20 minutes.  Green Line loop (in Little Rock only) headways are about 11 minutes.  Where the Blue and Green Lines overlap in Little Rock, the average headway is about 7 minutes.  KC's streetcar headways are about 12 minutes.

Also, I think a portion of Little Rock's system consists of a single track on the Arkansas River bridge, connecting to a loop in North Little Rock.  I saw a presentation about it a few years ago by the mayor of North Little Rock, but I've forgotten most of the details.
 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: DTowner on July 28, 2016, 10:17:45 am
I think light rail and fixed rail trolleys are really cool.  But letís face it, what we are really talking about in cities like Kansas City, Little Rock and Oklahoma City are extremely expensive amusement park rides running through downtowns.  These are vanity projects for politicians that help enrich insiders and developers while trying to burnish a  hip image, but they do little in the way of actually transporting people.  Here is a nice article on why light rail is not a good fit in the Sunbelt that would apply to Tulsa. 

http://www.newgeography.com/content/005069-light-rail-sun-belt-a-poor-fit

These results reflect stubborn historical facts. Transit works well generally in older cities with historically large downtowns built largely before the ascendency of the car. These "legacy" cities, notably New York, are hard-wired for transit and have the largest downtowns; in New York the Manhattan business districts accounts for about 20 percent of the workforce. Together these legacy cities - New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington - account for 55 percent of all transit work trip destinations in the nation.

In contrast, most Sun Belt cities have far fewer downtown jobs. In Los Angeles, downtown amount for less than 3 percent of employment and Dallas' downtown accounts for only 2 percent of metropolitan employment. In Houston the number is only 6.4 percent.


For a fraction of the  money, we could build a real bus system that effectively and efficiently moved people where they want/need to go and could adapt and change to meet future development.  But thatís not romantic or nostalgic.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 28, 2016, 10:32:43 am

I think light rail and fixed rail trolleys are really cool.  But letís face it, what we are really talking about in cities like Kansas City, Little Rock and Oklahoma City are extremely expensive amusement park rides running through downtowns...

...For a fraction of the money, we could build a real bus system that effectively and efficiently moved people where they want/need to go and could adapt and change to meet future development.  But thatís not romantic or nostalgic.


I agree with the general theme of the "Light Rail in the Sun Belt..." article, and with the points you've made here about Tulsa.

A great advantage to buses/cars/taxis/Uber/Lyft is that they're not reliant on expensive specialized infrastructure (I know roads are expensive, but they're usually more generalized for multiple modes of transportation).  On a fine-grained network of streets, buses and cars can be extremely resilient.  It's relatively easy to adjust a route, to make a little detour if necessary.  When there's a problem with a fixed guideway system, it's not easy to bounce back into service quickly (unless the guideway itself has lots of redundancy, which makes the system even more expensive).

If Tulsa is ever to have trolley service downtown, then a trackless system mentioned by Red Arrow might be superior to a fixed rail system.



Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Conan71 on July 28, 2016, 11:16:33 am

The maintenance facility and equipment for it occupy 20,000 square feet of building and sit on two acres that required a ton of site work. Essentially, you had to build a brand new mini-rail yard and purchase 2 acres near downtown to put it on. Oh, and the entire project is LEED certified.

$15mil a mile is in line with per mile costs of other cities. Portland was $12.4 mil/mile.  Tuscon, OKC, and Cincinnati were far more per mile. The cost per mile includes rail, street work, overhead power, and stations.  It seems mind boggling high to me too, but if the cost is that high for everyone... surely if there was a way to do it as well for cheap, SOMEONE would have figure it out.  (supposedly Little Rock was 7.1mil per mile, maybe see what the differences are?)

Itís Kansas City.  Graft and insisting on union labor are very good probabilities.  Perhaps Little Rockís facilities were not quite as ostentatious. 

The KC maintenance facility comes out at $550/ft.  :o


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: TheArtist on July 28, 2016, 12:52:13 pm
I thought through this years ago and still come up with the same conclusion.

Most important thing is zoning to get lively pedestrian areas and pedestrian friendly density.

Once you get those you realize you don't really need rail transit at each "node" (downtown is small enough that it could be easily and enjoyably walkable from just about any one spot to another if its developed right and you could also easily/comfortably walk/bike to the Pearl and 15th street)

Once you can meet most of your needs in a decent sized "node" you don't need to travel to others that often and then the bus, or uber, could be good enough.



From another perspective...

Even if you put in rail, it too will only do well if the zoning and growth rate is there for it to eventually do well.

But there again, that means we would have to put in the right zoning (and once you got some good development going your growth rate would likely improve) just as we would even if we did not do rail like I mentioned in the first part of my post.

The right zoning is the key no matter how you go about it. Once you get good walkability, you also find that you really don't need the rail transit.  And if you did want to have good rail transit, you would have to have good zoning and walkability.  Keeps going in circles and keeps leading me to the conclusion "Lets focus on the zoning." if you don't your not going to get what you want no matter what you do.



Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 28, 2016, 01:38:15 pm


(downtown is small enough that it could be easily and enjoyably walkable from just about any one spot to another if it's developed right and you could also easily/comfortably walk/bike to the Pearl and 15th street)


True.  I walk nearly a mile from home to downtown almost every weekday morning, then the same distance back home at night.  Each way takes me about 15 to 20 minutes.  In the winter, I often walk home for lunch or take a midday stroll around downtown.

John 3:16 Mission to Gunboat Park South at 13th and Elgin is a 1.8 mile walk, or about 36 minutes at 3 mph.

ONEOK Field to OSU Med Center is a 1.6 mile walk, or about 32 minutes at 3 mph.
 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on July 28, 2016, 01:46:19 pm
Itís Kansas City.  Graft and insisting on union labor are very good probabilities.  Perhaps Little Rockís facilities were not quite as ostentatious. 

The KC maintenance facility comes out at $550/ft.  :o



We have plenty of graft and corruption here, too...probably just slightly less than KC.


As for the facility, there is gonna be some specialized equipment in there - or should be - specifically related to handling moderate sized pieces of equipment.  Cranes, rolling stock handlers, lots of very special tools that probably won't be something the mechanic can be required to supply.

AAON is building a big new facility that on the surface would seem to be hundreds if not thousands of dollars per square foot, but when you look at what is in it - the box is the cheap part.  So would this be.





Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: DTowner on July 28, 2016, 01:48:07 pm
Does anyone know what kind of ridership the downtown circulator bus is getting?


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Conan71 on July 28, 2016, 03:01:31 pm
I thought through this years ago and still come up with the same conclusion.

Most important thing is zoning to get lively pedestrian areas and pedestrian friendly density.

Once you get those you realize you don't really need rail transit at each "node" (downtown is small enough that it could be easily and enjoyably walkable from just about any one spot to another if its developed right and you could also easily/comfortably walk/bike to the Pearl and 15th street)

Once you can meet most of your needs in a decent sized "node" you don't need to travel to others that often and then the bus, or uber, could be good enough.



From another perspective...

Even if you put in rail, it too will only do well if the zoning and growth rate is there for it to eventually do well.

But there again, that means we would have to put in the right zoning (and once you got some good development going your growth rate would likely improve) just as we would even if we did not do rail like I mentioned in the first part of my post.

The right zoning is the key no matter how you go about it. Once you get good walkability, you also find that you really don't need the rail transit.  And if you did want to have good rail transit, you would have to have good zoning and walkability.  Keeps going in circles and keeps leading me to the conclusion "Lets focus on the zoning." if you don't your not going to get what you want no matter what you do.



And one of my thoughts after reading KCís page on their streetcars:  They stop every two blocks.  Unless it was pouring or the weather was otherwise pure crap, Iíd likely just walk unless I had an appointment at the other end of the line and needed to be there in 1/2 the time.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: DTowner on July 28, 2016, 03:35:14 pm
And one of my thoughts after reading KCís page on their streetcars:  They stop every two blocks.  Unless it was pouring or the weather was otherwise pure crap, Iíd likely just walk unless I had an appointment at the other end of the line and needed to be there in 1/2 the time.

Donít think of these light rail systems as people movers, instead think of them as more like OKCís canal.  They are markers that are intended to project an image, look cute, attract tourists, and hopefully lead to some development along their path.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: TheArtist on July 28, 2016, 04:15:28 pm
I went to the BRT meeting at the Central Center a couple nights ago.  I sat down at a table that had the Pine and Peoria set of stops.  Other tables were more packed for they had the "sexier" locations like 6th and Peoria etc. but I thought this was a location that really could use some help and creative thinking whereas the other areas could pretty much take care of themselves and would be good to go so to speak.

I ended up getting frustrated and angry and just got up and left.

I usually never do that and usually fight on, but could see that nothing I was going to say would be worth anything.  The city people already seemed to have their own ideas of what needed to be done (and I disagreed with much of it) and the other people around the table, well, were on the bottom end of a long learning curve, though of course each one of them had one or two good viewpoints and good intentions,,, but.... overall you could tell they hadn't thought things through.

One thing that was really frustrating was that the city person seemed to have on the one hand "very low expectations" per some things, but on the other, very unrealistic expectations on the other.  I can imagine they thought the same of me lol.  And none of the group seemed to have very much business/development sense and "how people would actually use this area if this or that happened" sense, with which to base their recommendations and ideas.

I just looked around and thought, "This is hopeless, I am gone." Color me a quitter but I just couldn't do it that night lol.  I actually thought of some creative ideas after I left that would have resolved some of the differences, but even now I don't think the city people would be responsive for again they seem to already be heading in one direction "here is what we are going to do and the toolkit we will use for this location" and don't want to veer from it.

 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: cannon_fodder on July 28, 2016, 04:47:22 pm
I have to agree with the sentiment that many street car projects are just amusement rides. Loops that cover small areas. Look at Tulsa's old network...that went places. They were made to transport people, so everyone didn't need to have a car, or a buggy, or whatever to get anywhere at all.

In 1925 Tulsa's population was ~100k people.  It had nearly 25 miles of street car lines in the roads and commuter rail to the major suburbs of Sand Springs and Sapulpa.

You could go from Sand Springs to downtown Tulsa, on to Cherry Street, the University of Tulsa, Expo Square, Woodard park, or north up to MLK and Pine. That's the major commercial hub, the major shopping district, the university, and the major entertainment areas. You could get places, particularly if you walk a couple miles in any direction from the line.

I think a project like that could catch on and would be used. As a touristy thing at first. But over time people would become one car families. Young people might try to be a no-car family with the addition of Uber/Lyft and buses. Add in commuter lines from BA, Jenks, and Owasso that connect to the light rail network and it could really work. Worth the cost? Probably, if it cut into our road budgets.

But a tourist loop? Just so hard to rationalize.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on July 28, 2016, 05:27:52 pm
This is an article from 2013 about the Portland Streetcars and how it is not generating the revenues originally projected.

Quote


Initially, the Portland Bureau of Transportation had projected the streetcar fares would bring in about $1 million annually -- or 11 percent of the $8.9 million operating budget. However, since mid-September, "the fare box revenue are taking in about 55 percent of what had been expected by this time," according to the analysis.

The report suggests that the Transportation Bureau will need to figure out a way to increase the revenue. Otherwise, the operating funds will have to come from general transportation revenues, meaning another program area could face cuts.
It's unclear whether the revenues are lower than projected because ridership is down or because users aren't paying the fare.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/03/portland_streetcar_takes_anoth.html (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/03/portland_streetcar_takes_anoth.html)



Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Conan71 on July 28, 2016, 05:28:51 pm
This is an article from 2013 about the Portland Streetcars and how it is not generating the revenues originally projected.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/03/portland_streetcar_takes_anoth.html (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/03/portland_streetcar_takes_anoth.html)



Yeah, but Portland gets the ďcoolĒ factor from it!  ::)


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 28, 2016, 05:34:20 pm


And one of my thoughts after reading KCís page on their streetcars:  They stop every two blocks.  Unless it was pouring or the weather was otherwise pure crap, Iíd likely just walk unless I had an appointment at the other end of the line and needed to be there in 1/2 the time.


By riding a KC streetcar, you might be able to get from one end of their line to the other in half the time it would take to walk, depending on exactly when you arrived at a station stop.  By using Google Earth, I calculated 18-30 minutes by streetcar, 40 minutes walking.

The system in Little Rock and North Little Rock is smaller than KC's system, but the trolley headways to North Little Rock are longer (about 20 to 25 minutes depending on the time of day).  After tracking LR/NLR trolleys online today, it seems as though they move at about the same average speed as KC's streetcars, 6 to 7 mph or so.  The farthest extents of the LR/NLR system are about 1.62 mile apart, or about 30 to 35 minutes via walking.  Depending on how long you might have to wait to catch a ride, the same trip by trolley could take about 15 to 40 minutes.



Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: dbacksfan 2.0 on July 28, 2016, 05:46:30 pm
Yeah, but Portland gets the ďcoolĒ factor from it!  ::)

They also get credit for $19.5million fro American Made Streetcar Company "United Streetcar" to go from inception to closed in record time. You know the routine, "over promise, over budget, under deliver"

http://blog.oregonlive.com/portlandcityhall/2013/01/portland_receives_first_street.html (http://blog.oregonlive.com/portlandcityhall/2013/01/portland_receives_first_street.html)

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/03/before_shutdown_how_many_jobs.html (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/03/before_shutdown_how_many_jobs.html)


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 28, 2016, 06:24:23 pm


I have to agree with the sentiment that many street car projects are just amusement rides. Loops that cover small areas. Look at Tulsa's old network...that went places. They were made to transport people, so everyone didn't need to have a car, or a buggy, or whatever to get anywhere at all.

In 1925 Tulsa's population was ~100k people.  It had nearly 25 miles of street car lines in the roads and commuter rail to the major suburbs of Sand Springs and Sapulpa.

You could go from Sand Springs to downtown Tulsa, on to Cherry Street, the University of Tulsa, Expo Square, Woodard park, or north up to MLK and Pine. That's the major commercial hub, the major shopping district, the university, and the major entertainment areas. You could get places, particularly if you walk a couple miles in any direction from the line.

I think a project like that could catch on and would be used. As a touristy thing at first. But over time people would become one car families. Young people might try to be a no-car family with the addition of Uber/Lyft and buses. Add in commuter lines from BA, Jenks, and Owasso that connect to the light rail network and it could really work. Worth the cost? Probably, if it cut into our road budgets.

But a tourist loop? Just so hard to rationalize.
 

I think both types of systems (metro-wide and small downtown loop) are hard to rationalize.

However, a simple "starter" line in downtown Tulsa could be on Boulder Avenue, over the BNSF train tracks.  In my opinion, the bridges over the tracks are among the biggest barriers downtown, along with the super-blocks.  Having a streetcar line or a loop running over a bridge or two could help to connect the north and south areas of downtown, but so could frequent bus or shuttle service. 
   


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: TheArtist on July 28, 2016, 11:03:12 pm
I think both types of systems (metro-wide and small downtown loop) are hard to rationalize.

However, a simple "starter" line in downtown Tulsa could be on Boulder Avenue, over the BNSF train tracks.  In my opinion, the bridges over the tracks are among the biggest barriers downtown, along with the super-blocks.  Having a streetcar line or a loop running over a bridge or two could help to connect the north and south areas of downtown, but so could frequent bus or shuttle service. 
   

So could walking a couple blocks.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: SXSW on July 30, 2016, 02:39:05 pm
I like the idea of a Boulder streetcar since it is one of the few seamless corridors through downtown that is also centrally located.  But Boulder is just not a very interesting street.  And maybe that is fine but the successful streetcars I've seen run down streets with retail, restaurants, etc.  Maybe this is the catalyst Boulder needs but it will be a long and arduous process.  Who would be your target audience for this route and why are they going north to south or south to north?

Would you have small loops at either end with a Boulder route.  For example at the south end east on 18th to Boston, north on Boston and back west on 17th?  And on the north end east on Archer to Boston (or all the way to Elgin) and west on Brady? 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: SXSW on July 30, 2016, 02:47:46 pm
OKC has set up their routes to connect "Midtown" with Bricktown through the business district, Auto Alley (Broadway) and also connects to the convention center and Cheasapeake Arena.  It basically hits all of the downtown entertainment districts and the office core for locals and connects the convention center/hotels to those areas for visitors.  It's pretty well laid out IMO.  
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CoZh6rgVIAANdXQ.jpg)

The question should be how do we do something similar in Tulsa that can be expanded in the future.  How do you connect the hotels and convention center for visitors to Blue Dome and Brady?  How do you connect downtown neighborhoods?


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 30, 2016, 03:53:55 pm


I like the idea of a Boulder streetcar since it is one of the few seamless corridors through downtown that is also centrally located.  But Boulder is just not a very interesting street.  And maybe that is fine but the successful streetcars I've seen run down streets with retail, restaurants, etc.  Maybe this is the catalyst Boulder needs but it will be a long and arduous process.  Who would be your target audience for this route and why are they going north to south or south to north?

Would you have small loops at either end with a Boulder route.  For example at the south end east on 18th to Boston, north on Boston and back west on 17th?  And on the north end east on Archer to Boston (or all the way to Elgin) and west on Brady?
 

The Boulder route idea isn't mine.  I think it was Jack Crowley's.  I think the idea was to intersect with light rail at the BNSF tracks, and then serve as a catalyst for development of the vacant UCAT land near the north end, large tracts of vacant land at the south end, and some other vacant land within a 3 or 4 block walk from Boulder.

In the Downtown Area Master Plan (DAMP), several little loops were shown at both ends, as potential variations.

 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on July 30, 2016, 08:39:44 pm
We are missing something here.  I think it may be attitude related more than infrastructure.  I spend a lot of time in Milwaukee over about three years a while ago and one thing that really stood out was that they really didn't appear to have an exceptional public transit system - there were plenty of buses, but didn't seem to be 'overdone'. 

Another thing that really stood out was the EVERYBODY walked around downtown to get where they wanted to go - from banks, theater, hotel, work, mall - everywhere.  They came into town and parked, but once there, never moved until day's end.  And there were a lot of bicycles, too.  This was an all season phenomenon. 

Somehow they have developed the culture of walking around in the central business district.  It is just the way it is...not even an expectation but and assurance that if you wanna go somewhere you walk there.   And it is mega-pain in the backside cold in winter... when the wind is whipping around the buildings, it is worse - colder and stronger wind - than Tulsa.  Worse than Chicago....!!

Don't know if this something that could be studied, but an investigation there would probably be much more valuable than any of the DC junkets.  Might even get some good information and insight.  Portland, too.








Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Dspike on July 31, 2016, 07:52:50 am
Does anyone know what kind of ridership the downtown circulator bus is getting?

Bump. Anyone know where we could see this data. My family used to ride the downtown trolley before it switched over the the "Loop." But the Loop is louder and the windows tinted to make it hard to see out. So it is not as fun for children to ride, and we have not used it. I hope those changes were to attract more night life riders at the expense of children/families. And it would be nice to see if ridership numbers look good.

Additionally, any streetcar/trolley/rubber tire trolley project will start by looking at the Loop's numbers, so having them in this discussion would be fruitful.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on July 31, 2016, 10:11:59 pm


OKC has set up their routes to connect "Midtown" with Bricktown through the business district, Auto Alley (Broadway) and also connects to the convention center and Cheasapeake Arena.  It basically hits all of the downtown entertainment districts and the office core for locals and connects the convention center/hotels to those areas for visitors.  It's pretty well laid out IMO.  
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CoZh6rgVIAANdXQ.jpg)

The question should be how do we do something similar in Tulsa that can be expanded in the future.  How do you connect the hotels and convention center for visitors to Blue Dome and Brady?  How do you connect downtown neighborhoods?


I'm much more familiar with KC than OKC, but I did look at the OKC Streetcar map you posted, the OKC Streetcar website, the MAPS 3 website, Google Earth, and Wikipedia (for projected headways).

Again, like in KC or in Little Rock, I think I could walk from the most remote points on the line and get from one end to the other almost as fast as I could riding a streetcar.  According to Wikipedia, OKC Streetcar's projected headways are 8 to 12 minutes.

Using Google Earth and the comparable speed of the streetcars in KC, I estimate the following times from the OKC ballpark to James E. McNellie's:

Walking = about 38 minutes
via OKC Streetcar = about 25 to 37 minutes, depending on the wait time for a streetcar


I estimate the following times from the OKC ballpark to 4th & Broadway:

Walking = about 18 minutes
via OKC Streetcar = about 15 to 27 minutes, depending on the wait time for a streetcar


I think the bigger questions are: What are the chief purposes of building a streetcar system serving such a small area?  Why does Tulsa want/need a downtown streetcar?

I'm not questioning how it could be done in Tulsa.  There are a number of possible routes to connect hotels/the convention center/office core/entertainment venues.  But at $25 million per mile, the expense doesn't seem worth it to me, because it doesn't take very long to walk to locations in downtown Tulsa.  Also, most of the hotels have shuttles to take guests where they want/need to go.
 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on August 01, 2016, 05:11:15 pm

My family used to ride the downtown trolley before it switched over to the "Loop." But the Loop is louder and the windows tinted to make it hard to see out. So it is not as fun for children to ride, and we have not used it.


I haven't ridden the Loop bus, either.  I rode the trolley many times.

I saw the Loop bus go by at least three times last Saturday, but I couldn't tell if anyone was riding it -- its windows are too dark.


And it would be nice to see if ridership numbers look good.


I've heard that the Loop bus ridership numbers are lower than the trolley numbers were -- much, much lower.

The trolley was better than the Loop bus.


Using Google Earth, I've estimated the travel time from 6th & Boston to Cameron & Boulder:
Walking:  about 16 minutes
via Loop bus:  about 16 to 46 minutes, depending on the time spent waiting on the bus

Travel time from 6th & Boston to 5th & Cheyenne:
Walking:  about 6 minutes
via Loop bus:  about 26 to 56 minutes, depending on the time spent waiting on the bus


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: SXSW on August 09, 2016, 02:25:38 pm
The Boulder route idea isn't mine.  I think it was Jack Crowley's.  I think the idea was to intersect with light rail at the BNSF tracks, and then serve as a catalyst for development of the vacant UCAT land near the north end, large tracts of vacant land at the south end, and some other vacant land within a 3 or 4 block walk from Boulder.

In the Downtown Area Master Plan (DAMP), several little loops were shown at both ends, as potential variations.

 

Outside of the the downtown master plan is there any more info on the Boulder streetcar route?  I wonder if they would do a couplet along Main south of 3rd, one running northbound and the other going southbound with small loops at both ends.

I travel to Denver quite a bit and have made some observations on their light rail system.  There are two light rail lines that utilize the freight rail ROW on the west side of downtown and terminate two blocks from Union Station, which has the main downtown bus terminal underground between the rail stop and the historic station with new high rise development above it.  Once you walk two blocks over the commuter rail lines to the airport and northern suburbs come into the station there, along with Amtrak. 

There are also several light rail lines that enter downtown Denver further east with these lines running in a couplet in their own lanes on downtown streets.  These lines go through the convention center and also stop at the downtown public college campus.  There are stops every few blocks along this stretch.

It got me thinking if Tulsa did implement light rail what if it ran down 3rd/4th streets in a couplet instead of along eve freight between 1st and Archer?  That way you solve the problem of connecting the west part of downtown (OSU Med Center/BOK Center/convention center) with the east side where the bulk of new restaurant/bar/housing development is occurring.  Then the streetcar could intersect both east and westbound lines at Boulder/Main.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on August 13, 2016, 01:36:34 pm

Outside of the the downtown master plan is there any more info on the Boulder streetcar route?  I wonder if they would do a couplet along Main south of 3rd, one running northbound and the other going southbound with small loops at both ends.


I'm not aware of info on the proposed Boulder trolley, outside the Downtown Area Master Plan.

I think the Boulder route was chosen because it is simple, it goes near vacant land with great potential for development, and it intersects the BNSF tracks.

The problem with loops, if they get too complex, is that people don't readily know where to catch a streetcar, even if its only a block away.  With north-bound and south-bound tracks on the same street, it's much easier.

A number of routes have been proposed over the years.  I remember a "people mover" system idea from the late 1980s which showed a potential fixed guideway (monorail??) that jogged from Boulder to Main over the main security desk between Williams Tower I and Williams Tower II, above the entrance to the underground garage below Samson Plaza, approximately here (https://www.google.com/maps/@36.1537103,-95.9926476,3a,75y,103.24h,92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5YDv7LpgJuCD4BFcKAjGOQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656).

That would have been a dramatic transition, especially for the south-bound passengers.  The other "people mover" guideway was shown on 4th Street.


[Denver's light rail system] got me thinking if Tulsa did implement light rail what if it ran down 3rd/4th streets in a couplet instead of ... between 1st and Archer?  That way you solve the problem of connecting the west part of downtown (OSU Med Center/BOK Center/convention center) with the east side where the bulk of new restaurant/bar/housing development is occurring.  Then the streetcar could intersect both east and westbound lines at Boulder/Main.


There was a fixed guideway study done for ODOT around 1989 or 1990 which explores several light rail loops through downtown Tulsa, as I recall.  I've looked around for it online, but can't find it.  I think I might have a copy in my files -- somewhere.  Anyway, the light rail line ran mostly on the Katy tracks from downtown BA to downtown Tulsa, but the study showed some loop alternatives running on downtown streets, too.

An issue with all of these various fixed rail ideas is the price of gasoline, which is relatively low.  Except for construction or wrecks, Tulsa's roads and highways are easy to access and very fast, so most people choose to drive or ride exactly where they want to go, without having to coordinate multiple modes of transportation.
 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Conan71 on August 18, 2016, 08:31:48 am
Someone brought up streetcars on the 1918 aerial photo thread.  I had an interesting discussion with Roy Heim the other night.  Heís very involved in the Route 66 train park and said they do have the trolley cars that were sighted in Sand Springs as well as the ones which were being used as housing at one point near 11th & Mingo.  There is a restoration project underway you can follow here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/326991704008251/

http://www.tulsagal.net/2012/02/tulsa-trolley-restoration-project.html


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on October 07, 2016, 05:13:23 pm


Does anyone know what kind of ridership the downtown circulator bus is getting?


According to an October 7, 2016 Tulsa World article by Corey Jones (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/the-loop-bus-route-downtown-on-weekends-now-free-for/article_15256385-b218-56f2-a0d2-ef53fcd8a1d9.html), about 150 to 300 riders per weekend.  There's capacity to carry 400 to 800 riders per weekend.
 


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: Bamboo World on October 07, 2016, 05:23:44 pm


My family used to ride the downtown trolley before it switched over the the "Loop." But the Loop is louder and the windows tinted to make it hard to see out. So it is not as fun for children to ride, and we have not used it. I hope those changes were to attract more night life riders at the expense of children/families. And it would be nice to see if ridership numbers look good.

Additionally, any streetcar/trolley/rubber tire trolley project will start by looking at the Loop's numbers, so having them in this discussion would be fruitful.


See the October 7, 2016 Tulsa World article by Corey Jones (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/local/the-loop-bus-route-downtown-on-weekends-now-free-for/article_15256385-b218-56f2-a0d2-ef53fcd8a1d9.html):
Quote

The [Loop] bus can hold more than 40 riders. In the past, [the Brady Arts District Business Association's president Bob] Fleischman said, it would carry about 150 to 300 riders per weekend. There's the capacity to do 200 to 400 a night, which Fleischman hopes to come closer to reaching with the improvements.


In my opinion, the windows and the lime green exterior still are too dark.  Even with the lighter color scheme, the bus looks creepy to me.
   


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: AquaMan on October 07, 2016, 07:58:36 pm
Its not so much creepy as it is boring. Inside it has the requisite lighting with flashing LED's, leather look U shape seats, and the whole party bus look. Outside it looks like a transit bus with advertising on the side. I expect its about as good as a metro bus line can do with their limitations. To me it just needed to be designed from ground up as an identifiable, unique vehicle. And then duplicated with two other clones running the route.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: davideinstein on October 08, 2016, 10:50:52 pm
I rode it two weeks ago. Nobody on it but our group. Bring back the trolley.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: AquaMan on October 09, 2016, 07:53:30 am
Its not that the trolley is a superior design. Its not. Its uniquely identifiable on the roads. That made it visible and timely. I never actually rode it but I talked to the owner and she brings what a metro bus line cannot. Entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to service.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: davideinstein on October 09, 2016, 10:40:53 am
Its not that the trolley is a superior design. Its not. Its uniquely identifiable on the roads. That made it visible and timely. I never actually rode it but I talked to the owner and she brings what a metro bus line cannot. Entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to service.


It's open looking which makes it feel safer. Perception is everything at night. Nothing creepier than a city bus with tinted windows and a strip club vibe inside.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: AquaMan on October 09, 2016, 11:11:12 am
Yes. You could see people inside having fun. No one wants to go to a restaurant and be one of only a few patrons. Same with a bus. One of the drivers told me they were just as rowdy as any party bus he ever drove.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: johrasephoenix on October 12, 2016, 07:24:32 am
Agreed.  The Trolley was goofy as hell but fun.  I don't know how much it costs to run the Loop, but it is good advertising.

The main thing is that the whole Brady to Blue Dome route is like 4-5 blocks and you can walk it in 5 minutes.  Unless you have a mobility problem like a broken leg there's no reason to wait for the bus if you are an able bodied bar hopper. 

Isn't all of downtown like 1.5 square miles, including the 50% on the southern and eastern half that are just surface parking lots?


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: erfalf on December 08, 2016, 07:32:41 am
So I recently made a trip to Kansas City. We stayed at the President downtown which is within a block of a streetcar stop. I know it has been said that these are vanity projects and huge wastes of money. But as a visitor, they were an incredible breath of fresh air. We went one afternoon to the City Market, ate and shopped and even purchased a large antique (wife wanted, I carried) that we transported back on the streetcar. All without getting the car out of the garage, which in all reality, we were probably already at the city market area for 10 minutes before I likely would have gotten my car out, driven up there and found a parking spot and walked form there too. We never waited more than 10 minutes for a train, which is on par with other major transportation systems I have ridden. It was just amazing to be honest. We also could have gone down to the Crossroads area or all the way to Crown Center if we desired.

They also put the stations on the regular sidewalk instead of the middle of the street. I have always hated that idea (middle of the street). Dallas and Houston do it. It's just dumb in my opinion.

I understand this is obviously there first step, and it is rather short. There are obviously  plans for expansion. I'm sure they would like to make it to Westport and the Plaza. But this starting point hits several major points of interest, of note it makes it to another major transportation hub, Union Station.

All in all, I think KC is an excellent example of what Tulsa should be considering at the very least. A line up Cincinnati or Detroit would be idea in my opinion. Could easily have expansions to the east to TU/Cherry Street and to the south to Brookside. Considering all the parking lots along Detroit and Cincinnati, this could be a real boon for development.


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: cannon_fodder on December 08, 2016, 08:46:42 am
I agree with you, they are very cool.  When in a town that has access to an actually trolley line I always find an excuse.  A few are very useful (San Francisco, New Orleans), but you're also right that most are just vanity projects. The stops being too close together make them slow. The length makes them impractical.  But - they still can draw people.  Kansas City put in a great route going by a ton of awesome attractions and connecting districts that otherwise never really worked together (think Cherry Street and the Blue Dome, not really that far apart... but totally separated). The cars, live route information, integration with Google, and price point are all awesome.   Ridership is strong at 6800 a day and development along the line is booming ($1.5 Billion proposed or constructed, with about half of that saying the street car was a major factor).  KC did it right.

Voters declined to expand the line in 2014 by a 60-40 margin.  Private industry funded a study to expand the line down Main past the City Center, WWI Museum, through Westport and on to the Plaza.  Making their starter line into a respectable transportation line!  Elections are set for 2017.
http://kcstreetcar.org/about-streetcar/streetcar-expansion/

But to illustrate the issue using your KC example, the trolley ride from the President Hotel to the Market takes 10-20 minutes, depending on if you catch the trolley or have to wait on it.   If you were to just walk the 12 blocks it would take ~18 minutes. Your hotel is at the mid-point of the route, so going to the WWI Museum on foot takes ~30 minutes or 20-30 by trolley (you still have to walk through Union Station and up to the museum).  
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/''/City+Market,+KCMO,+MO/@39.103016,-94.5863923,16z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x0:0x285f54100d1868fe!2m2!1d-94.5841292!2d39.0975267!1m5!1m1!1s0x87c0f08ae74d9b29:0xabf79f6e3b419841!2m2!1d-94.5818625!2d39.1084649!3e3

Arguably its a break even on time... but the cost of $102,000,000 plus up to $4,000,000 a year to operate it really adds up (bond maintenance is $4.4 million, funded with a sales tax in within a certain distance of the line).  So the total subsidy is $4 per rider, so you and your wife riding the trolley to the market instead of walking cost taxpayers $16.
http://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/investigations/a-streetcar-desired-doing-the-math-on-how-the-taxpayer-funded-kansas-city-project-adds-up

You did add economic activity, but probably not $16 of profit to the overall economy. Some conferences might decide on KC in part because of the line.  Some projects, business and some residents might locate near the line. But it is hard to calculate if it is a solid investment just relying on return of investment.  Now, you can add to that the ability to increase density in an area, the savings in infrastructure on expanding roads or sprawling the city out, and the increased revenue possible from a given section.  Also, you have to add in quality of life benefits.  Would the expanded line allow some to become single car families, help kids get to piano lessons, school, or a job?  Finally, the overall synergy that can come from a well done municipal project - it seems doubtful that the Convention Center actually pays for itself, or the large arena, or the freeways for that matter.  But they are a vital part of an integrated system that helps drive the economy.

I think if they expand the line as they hope to, it will pay off handsomely.  As it stands, the short line is a vanity/tourist project - one that is more useful than many... but not much more than that.

But all that said, I still want to see it in Tulsa.  ;)


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: erfalf on December 08, 2016, 09:21:52 am
I equate it to building stadiums and arenas. In nearly every case you can't justify the financial aspect of it, but does it really ever stop those things from happening. And I think this one really could spur development in a lot more spread out fashion, not just for whomever happens to be lucky enough to own the property immediately surrounding the new stadium. A bit more democratic don't you think?


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: SXSW on February 10, 2017, 02:51:37 pm
Meanwhile down the turnpike...

http://m.newsok.com/article/5537265?scrolling_list=article (http://m.newsok.com/article/5537265?scrolling_list=article)


Title: Re: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion
Post by: johrasephoenix on February 10, 2017, 04:42:57 pm
It is pretty awesome, but for the same $110m price tag Tulsa could literally restreetscape almost every downtown street.  Like install that same great Brady District streetscape all over downtown. 

Or if we're looking for straight urban revitalization, a $110m loan fund to help finance downtown development would be super awesome.  Or redo the bridges over the tracks into downtown to make them something cool and walkable and fun rather than a five lane highway with scarily small sidewalk.

Plus self driving cars might explode public transportation (and personal car ownership) as we know it in 20-30 years.  The marginal cost per mile of a self-driving Uber might be extremely, extremely low.