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paul78701 Sep 11, 2016 5:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7557415)
Here's the SANDAG study.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/loca...308723601.html

http://media.nbcbayarea.com/documents/SkywayReport.pdf

I think this is very informative to contrast with "The Wire", and shows how the later is completely infeasible.

You're not listening to what I'm saying. I never said the "The Wire" is the solution. I don't know enough about it. I'm just saying that I think that studying the feasibility of *A* gondola system is worthwhile.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7557415)
If CTRMA was proposing "hey, let's take a look at if a single-link gondola might make sense anywhere in Austin", I might be on board.

But they're not. They're proposing spending my taxpayer dollars on studying whether Ficklin's "Wire One" to BFE Slaughter on South 1st makes sense.

We don't need a $15,000 study (or more, that San Diego one was apparently $75k) to tell that it's not possible.

It's not clear to me that they are studying "The Wire" specifically. The way a read it, they are studying *A* gondola system in general.

Again, I'm not stumping for "The Wire" or this Ficklin guy. I don't know him. He might be full of shit. I don't really know. I only know what you've said about him.

Jdawgboy Sep 11, 2016 7:03 PM

Okay I'm not getting anymore involved with this convo other than to point out that while many people don't live within a 10 min walk of south 1st, I do. Hypothetically speaking it would be convenient for me but of course it isn't about me, I just wanted to throw it out there.

Also anyone who doesn't consider South 1st a major artery needs to drive it in the mornings and afternoons. It may not be a wide street and it doesn't have a center turn lane but it most definitely is a major artery for the southside. It's just as clogged with traffic as Lamar or Congress and it is one of only 3 roads (not counting 35 or MoPac) that go into Downtown from the south.

drummer Sep 11, 2016 7:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7557570)
Okay I'm not getting anymore involved with this convo other than to point out that while many people don't live within a 10 min walk of south 1st, I do. Hypothetically speaking it would be convenient for me but of course it isn't about me, I just wanted to throw it out there.

Also anyone who doesn't consider South 1st a major artery needs to drive it in the mornings and afternoons. It may not be a wide street and it doesn't have a center turn lane but it most definitely is a major artery for the southside. It's just as clogged with traffic as Lamar or Congress and it is one of only 3 roads (not counting 35 or MoPac) that go into Downtown from the south.

I've never lived down south but I've been down there enough times to absolutely support the crazy traffic. I like the gondolas only because they're kinda unique and fun...and that would be a draw in and of itself (albeit not a good reason to build an entire system...but hey, crazier things have happened!). Beyond that, I don't have much of an opinion other than there needs to be some change and in alternative modes in order to get around/above/below the crazy traffic.

drummer Sep 11, 2016 7:36 PM

Traffic pattern change on Cesar Chavez
 
In other news...


https://communityimpact.com/austin/c...-cesar-chavez/

Novacek Sep 11, 2016 9:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7557570)
Okay I'm not getting anymore involved with this convo other than to point out that while many people don't live within a 10 min walk of south 1st, I do. Hypothetically speaking it would be convenient for me but of course it isn't about me, I just wanted to throw it out there.

Of course. Everywhere you put infrastructure, it'll serve at least _some_ Austinites. It's a question of priorities (and also of people flat out lying).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7557570)
Also anyone who doesn't consider South 1st a major artery needs to drive it in the mornings and afternoons. It may not be a wide street and it doesn't have a center turn lane but it most definitely is a major artery for the southside. It's just as clogged with traffic as Lamar or Congress and it is one of only 3 roads (not counting 35 or MoPac) that go into Downtown from the south.

It's not one of the top corridors of the city. It's not even in the top 10. It's not one of the 6 or so corridors they did corridor plans for. It's not even in the _next_ set of corridors prioritized for plans after that (list from transportation bond).
Even if you limit it to corridors that run into downtown, as you said yourself, it's only the 5th most important, just in South Austin, much less Austin as a whole.

It doesn't have a lot of density today, and it doesn't have nearly the development potential of many other corridors of the city (due to the narrow lots fronting it).

The question is, why south 1st, and not Lamar, Congress, Manor, MLK, Burnet, East 7th....

wwmiv Sep 11, 2016 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7557701)
It's not one of the 6 or so corridors they did corridor plans for. It's not even in the _next_ set of corridors prioritized for plans after that (list from transportation bond).


We've done corridor studies for Airport, MLK, Riverside, North Lamar/Burnet, and South Lamar and we're currently in the middle of Guadalupe's corridor study.

What are the corridors prioritized after those? If you're talking about the corridors that are mentioned here:

https://communityimpact.com/austin/n...mobility-bond/

Quote:

Citing concern about the lack of regional projects in South Austin, District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen advocated for more corridor planning funding throughout South Austin. Although her amendment to the mayor’s proposal was not approved June 23, the proposal did include funding for another corridor plan somewhere in the area.

“I’m optimistic we can make a few changes to the language in August that will represent a better balance for South Austin,” she said. “… The interest is there among council members to have balance across the city; we’re just not quite there yet.”

She said South Austin residents told her roads needing improvements include William Cannon Drive, Slaughter Lane, Manchaca Road, South First Street and South Congress Avenue, some of which are also identified in the city’s Imagine Austin comprehensive plan as priorities.

“South Austin is a large area, and we need the flexibility to identify the most appropriate roads and significant dollars to make improvements,” she said.
... then you're talking about which corridors Imagine Austin identifies as priorities, right? I haven't seen any language in reporting anywhere suggesting the bond will fund additional corridor studies, just that it will implement the existing corridor studies.

Well, here's what corridors Imagine Austin prioritizes:

https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/de...acpreduced.pdf

Page 103 has a map of their prioritized "activity corridors", which I see as a loose translation of what corridors will also likely eventually see corridor studies to produce a more pedestrian environment. I also see proximity to the regional core AND the volume of traffic (as do you) as being fundamentally related to which corridors will likely see studies. South 1st, actually, is one of the corridors highlighted by Imagine Austin.

Novacek Sep 12, 2016 1:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wwmiv (Post 7557748)
We've done corridor studies for Airport, MLK, Riverside, North Lamar/Burnet, and South Lamar and we're currently in the middle of Guadalupe's corridor study.

What are the corridors prioritized after those? If you're talking about the corridors that are mentioned here:

https://communityimpact.com/austin/n...mobility-bond/



... then you're talking about which corridors Imagine Austin identifies as priorities, right? I haven't seen any language in reporting anywhere suggesting the bond will fund additional corridor studies, just that it will implement the existing corridor studies.

Well, here's what corridors Imagine Austin prioritizes:

https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/de...acpreduced.pdf

Page 103 has a map of their prioritized "activity corridors", which I see as a loose translation of what corridors will also likely eventually see corridor studies to produce a more pedestrian environment. I also see proximity to the regional core AND the volume of traffic (as do you) as being fundamentally related to which corridors will likely see studies. South 1st, actually, is one of the corridors highlighted by Imagine Austin.

The mobility bond includes (at least included at one point, there's been a lot of horse trading back and forth) $4.5M for additional corridor studies.

http://kxan.com/2016/08/18/austin-fi...ortation-bond/

•North Lamar/Guadalupe
•East and West Rundberg
•E. Colony Loop Road
•MLK
•South Congress
•Manchaca
•S. Pleasant Valley Road


So south 1st wasn't in the first group of corridors, and it wasn't included in the _next_ set of corridors either. Granted, I'm inferring an implicit priority based on that, but I think that's fair.

South 1st absolutely _is_ a corridor, and it's deserving of a corridor plan. But it's down the list. It's not in the top 10 of corridors in the city (or top 5 if limited to downtown-entering corridors). If we're going to sit down and spend a half Billion dollars or more on a transit system, it's not going to be the first location.

wwmiv Sep 12, 2016 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7557861)
The mobility bond includes (at least included at one point, there's been a lot of horse trading back and forth) $4.5M for additional corridor studies.

http://kxan.com/2016/08/18/austin-fi...ortation-bond/

•North Lamar/Guadalupe
•East and West Rundberg
•E. Colony Loop Road
•MLK
•South Congress
•Manchaca
•S. Pleasant Valley Road

http://www.austintexas.gov/2016bond

Hopefully when the improvements suggested by these corridor programs are voted on in bond it'll come with a set of new corridor programs as well. Given that we can expect an even geographic distribution, I hope we'll see some set of give or take others:

Anderson/Spicewood Springs, Barton Springs, S. 1st, Cesar Chavez, E. 7th, Far West, Manor, and Braker.

Novacek Sep 12, 2016 1:24 PM

Just a couple more gondola posts/thoughts, and then I'll stop beating this dead horse, I promise :)

Tram's/gondola's just aren't very scalable for long distance. Both with the overhead of stations, low speed, etc. But especially with the manning requirements for the stations, especially at off-peak times.


Let's take a look at the South 1st corridor. Today, in the off peak, a bus can go from Slaughter to the river in a half hour. Actually probably a lot faster if you optimized it, that's the speed for the #10, with a lot more stops. But we'll say half an hour (even this is way faster than the Wire, by the way).

That means in the off peak hours, which you have a _lot_ of (the San Diego system was proposed 14 hours per day, the Wire proposes 19 hours per day) you can provide half hour frequency service with 2 buses (which means 2 drivers.). 4 drivers can get you 15 minute frequent service. If you allocated 8 buses, you could get 7.5 minute frequent service on South 1st (though it probably doesn't have sufficient demand for this).

Even in the off-peak, you'll need to fully man each and every one of your 19 gondola stations. Unless you're going to shut down a bunch of them off-peak, which sort of negates the purpose of even building them in the first place.

The San Diego system seemed to propose both an operator and an attendant at each station. The Wire has been pretty mum, but at least has mentioned an operator at each. With the complicated loading and the absolutely safety-critical nature thereof, it's hard to see that requirement will ever go away.

So the Wire's labor requirements (one of the main drivers of cost) are 2.5x-4x-8X for long distance runs.

Novacek Sep 12, 2016 1:44 PM

Okay, but I've said that gondola's _could_ make sense in some limited circumstances. Okay, what are those, and where could they potentially help in Austin.


Gondola's greatest benefits are crossing prohibitive terrain and obstacles. It's no accident that where they've historically seen the greatest use, and an urban resurgence, is the the mountains or areas of topographic change.

Austin doesn't actually have all that much topography. And where we do have hills, we don't really have an old-town or citadel. We have extremely low-density luxury housing.

But we do still have some obstacles, both natural (the river, creeks) and man-made (highways, railroads, and preserved land and parks).

So I propose that if Austin _were_ to examine the feasibility of a gondola, it would try to fill in the network by bypassing as many of these obstacles as feasible. While keeping it short (tourists are another listed benefit of gondola's, but tourists don't care if it's 8 miles or 2).

Maybe something like this
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/30.2...a=!4m2!4m1!3e0

out past Barton springs, up to Seaholm, down to the south shore, and then over to the convention center.

4 miles by road, but shorter by gondola (rather than just duplicating an existing road route.)

This maximizes the bypassing of obstacles, and also the tourism potential. It also provides 3 new river crossings, which is one of the chokepoints of our transportation system.

That's just off the top of my head, and there's capital view corridors and some other concerns, but this at least provides a unique transportation route, rather than duplicating an existing road out to the suburbs.

wwmiv Sep 12, 2016 4:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7558188)
Tram's/gondola's just aren't very scalable for long distance. Both with the overhead of stations, low speed, etc. But especially with the manning requirements for the stations, especially at off-peak times.


So the Wire's labor requirements (one of the main drivers of cost) are 2.5x-4x-8X for long distance runs.

Your substantive points aside, which to me are "duh" and I can't believe anyone would disagree with you:

Trams/gondolas*********** just aren't very scalable (plurals, not possessives).

The second bolded example is a possessive and does require a contraction.

Novacek Sep 12, 2016 4:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wwmiv (Post 7558385)
Your substantive points aside, which to me are "duh" and I can't believe anyone would disagree with you:

Trams/gondolas*********** just aren't very scalable (plurals, not possessives).

The second bolded example is a possessive and does require a contraction.

It was early :)

Novacek Sep 12, 2016 8:30 PM

Downtown MetroRail station expansion faces Council vote

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/ne...s-council.html

Jdawgboy Sep 12, 2016 8:39 PM

Other than S. Congress, there is no other road that goes from DT direct all the way through the heart of south Austin. It's actually longer than S. Congress going past Slaughter and ending at 1626 between I35 and San Leanna. Look at Google maps and you can clearly see that S. 1st is the most centralized corridor through the southside.

The next north/south artery to the west is Manchaca via S. Lamar which can't be counted as direct since it merges with Lamar to get to and from DT.

Anyone who lives south of the river considers S.1st to be a major corridor and while it may not have the same amount of VMU development as Congress or Lamar, it has seen some like the VMU by Dawson Elementary. Theres also another VMU just off S 1st and Oltorf.

Sure it doesn't have a center turn lane (unfortunately) and it can only hold so much capacity but that doesn't make it any less of a major corridor for all of south Austin. Again look at Google maps and it becomes clear why it should be considered as an important mass transit route.

Novacek Sep 12, 2016 9:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7558810)
It's actually longer than S. Congress going past Slaughter and ending at 1626 between I35 and San Leanna.

Which is meaningless because you'd never run anything out that far anyway.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7558810)
Look at Google maps and you can clearly see that S. 1st is the most centralized corridor through the southside.

Actually, South Congress or even 35 are more centralized, because almost half of Austin is east of 35.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7558810)
The next north/south artery to the west is Manchaca via S. Lamar which can't be counted as direct since it merges with Lamar to get to and from DT.

Which again, is absolutely and completely meaningless.

If Manchaca was named Lamar, and Lamar where it turns SW was named LamarJr, would that make a difference? No.

In north/Central Austin, does the fact that Guadalupe runs into Lamar mean that all transit service and planning stops at the Triangle? No. It's called the G/L corridor.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7558810)
Anyone who lives south of the river considers S.1st to be a major corridor

It _is_ a major corridor. I'm not, and have never said, it's not.


It's just not the #1 major corridor in all of Austin. It's not even the #1 corridor in South Austin.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7558810)
and while it may not have the same amount of VMU development as Congress or Lamar,

And that matters.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7558810)
it has seen some like the VMU by Dawson Elementary. Theres also another VMU just off S 1st and Oltorf.

Every little bit helps. But the development, and the potential development on (for instance) South Congress _dwarfs_ what's possible on South First.

ftp://ftp.ci.austin.tx.us/GIS-Data/p...ixed%20Use.pdf


Quote:

Originally Posted by Jdawgboy (Post 7558810)
Sure it doesn't have a center turn lane (unfortunately) and it can only hold so much capacity but that doesn't make it any less of a major corridor for all of south Austin. Again look at Google maps and it becomes clear why it should be considered as an important mass transit route.

It's an important route. But it's not the most important route.


The city of Austin disagrees with you. Capital Metro disagrees with you. Every single professional transportation planner that has ever looked at the city disagrees with you.

wwmiv Sep 12, 2016 11:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7558908)
Actually, South Congress or even 35 are more centralized, because almost half of Austin is east of 35.

I agree with everything you said save this. Half of Austin does not live east of 35. It doesn't matter if you confine the statement to half (or even "almost" half) of that population which lives south of the river, lives east of 35 -- in fact, I think south Austin may have the highest share of people who live west of 35. There really isn't much at all east of 35 south of the river.

Novacek Sep 12, 2016 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wwmiv (Post 7559036)
I agree with everything you said save this. Half of Austin does not live east of 35. It doesn't matter if you confine the statement to half (or even "almost" half) of that population which lives south of the river, lives east of 35 -- in fact, I think south Austin may have the highest share of people who live west of 35. There really isn't much at all east of 35 south of the river.

I was referring to the geometric/geographic center, rather than center of population.

In regards to population center, I believe I've seen maps that put the overall center at about Burnet and North Loop, which by longitude would be over So Co or even east.
But I admit I haven't seen any population center of South Austin in isolation.

wwmiv Sep 13, 2016 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7559073)
I was referring to the geometric/geographic center, rather than center of population.

In regards to population center, I believe I've seen maps that put the overall center at about Burnet and North Loop, which by longitude would be over So Co or even east.
But I admit I haven't seen any population center of South Austin in isolation.

Well, two things:

A. longitude doesn't matter, whereas where I-35 is matters.

B. geographic center doesn't matter for mass transit, whereas population center does matter (and population density).

electricron Sep 14, 2016 1:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novacek (Post 7558797)
Downtown MetroRail station expansion faces Council vote

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/ne...s-council.html

I think it is a major mistake to build this permanent train station within the right-of-way of a city street, in this case 4th Street. Whereas i'm not against using 4th Street for routing the train line, I believe the tracks should either be above or below the street, and not at grade. If there is not enough money to build over or under the street, then place the station on property off the street. There is an empty lot just to the north available, but that would basically destroy a park. And by using diesel powered trains, going under would require very expensive ventilation. So building the train station over 4th Street would be my preferred solution. This solution would also allow extending the trains further west over 4th Street on an elevated guideway later. The need for three tracks at ths train station could be replaced with tail tracks on the remaining two, with a center platform between the two tracks. A single platform would also reduce the number of elevators needed for wheelchair access to just one.

Novacek Sep 14, 2016 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 7560480)
I think it is a major mistake to build this permanent train station within the right-of-way of a city street, in this case 4th Street. Whereas i'm not against using 4th Street for routing the train line, I believe the tracks should either be above or below the street, and not at grade. If there is not enough money to build over or under the street, then place the station on property off the street. There is an empty lot just to the north available, but that would basically destroy a park. And by using diesel powered trains, going under would require very expensive ventilation. So building the train station over 4th Street would be my preferred solution. This solution would also allow extending the trains further west over 4th Street on an elevated guideway later. The need for three tracks at ths train station could be replaced with tail tracks on the remaining two, with a center platform between the two tracks. A single platform would also reduce the number of elevators needed for wheelchair access to just one.

I'm not sure I'm following your argument here.

If you later elevate or depress, an at grade off-street station would still be useless and be taken down.


And I'm not sure it's just a "lack of money" that prevents further extension. It's a lack of political capital and will. There's still a lot of people that look at per-rider subsidies (not per-rider /mile) and want to tear out the train. Still.

Even if we had the money, it's probably too soon to try to get people to stomach the disruption of tearing out downtown streets for cap and cover (if even possible with diesel) or the permanent disruption (visual, auditory) of an elevated train through the middle of downtown.


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