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Author Topic: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion  (Read 6526 times)
cannon_fodder
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« Reply #15 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)



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« Reply #16 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.   
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 09:21:21 am by johrasephoenix » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2016, 01:01:15 pm »

This is an interesting discussion.  Mods please break the streetcar posts into its own thread.

Done.

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« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 01:17:18 pm by Moderator » Logged

 
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« Reply #18 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.

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« Reply #19 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.
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« Reply #20 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.
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« Reply #21 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.


 
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« Reply #22 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 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.)

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, 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.  

« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 10:09:48 pm by Bamboo World » Logged
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« Reply #23 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. 
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« Reply #24 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?)
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« Reply #25 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
 
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« Reply #26 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.
 
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« Reply #27 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.
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« Reply #28 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.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 11:01:50 am by Bamboo World » Logged
Conan71
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« Reply #29 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.  Shocked
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