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alexjon May 7, 2008 9:11 PM

The investment in Portland within 3-4 blocks of the streetcar is around 2.5 Billion dollars. Now, that figure is for the initial couple of miles.

They made it very clear that buses are not the way to bring in development, and in fact, development along the bus line that runs part of the way the streetcar does drops off to near zero the second you leave that 3-4 block radius.

Another consideration for pollution is the fact that tires and buses ruin the road and require repaving. One thing people neglect to talk about is the fact that the amount of pollutants released in a repaving project is astronomical.

Denver is too pretty for so many buses :)

ski82 May 7, 2008 9:40 PM

Aren't these developments also subsidized to the tune of over $600m? It would be inaccurate to attribute all the development to streetcars. It is probably like bunt said with Denver's SE line, they probably could have gotten the development without the line, but it provided an excuse.

I personally love streetcars, lightrail, etc. But my love for it doesn't go much further than me thinking its pretty cool. I think it would be cool to have a streetcar down Colfax and one down Speer to Cherry Creek. I personally don't mind funding these project with part of my taxes...and 9 out of 10 times rail before another highway. But the arguments for rail transit aren't as convincing as many on this forum make them out to be (I know its an urban forum and I can expect that) and the bill of goods is different from what the pols are selling.

alexjon May 7, 2008 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ski82 (Post 3536798)
Aren't these developments also subsidized to the tune of over $600m? It would be inaccurate to attribute all the development to streetcars. It is probably like bunt said with Denver's SE line, they probably could have gotten the development without the line, but it provided an excuse.

I personally love streetcars, lightrail, etc. But my love for it doesn't go much further than me thinking its pretty cool. I think it would be cool to have a streetcar down Colfax and one down Speer to Cherry Creek. I personally don't mind funding these project with part of my taxes...and 9 out of 10 times rail before another highway. But the arguments for rail transit aren't as convincing as many on this forum make them out to be (I know its an urban forum and I can expect that) and the bill of goods is different from what the pols are selling.

$600 Million sounds familiar as a good "round" figure against the development benefits in Portland. I believe that's the number Karlock has used often to flatten the benefits of the streetcar.

Even if it were subsidized to the tune of $600 Million, that doesn't erase the remaining sum does it?

And of course they aren't as convincing as people would make them out to be since it's not an immediate benefit and it doesn't offer door to door service. Woe to us, the little people.

Giovoni May 8, 2008 2:18 AM

2.5billion - 600million.. that's still just a tiny bit more than zero.. in fact I think it takes me several weeks to make 1.9 billion.

alexjon May 8, 2008 4:23 AM

Yeah, 1.9 billion is a pretty penny... and with all the existing bus lines, wouldn't it be the same or similar elsewhere in Portland if buses were comparable?

Not the case. People want a streetcar on Foster/Powell to spur development there since the #14 bus just isn't cutting it, even though it runs through the dense pre-existing Hawthorne neighborhood.

bcp May 8, 2008 6:01 AM

but those wires are so ugly!!!...and i might lose some parking!!!

SnyderBock May 8, 2008 10:03 AM

Yeah, there's never enough parking and I don't want to park in a dark, scary parking structure! Why spend that money a rail I'll never use, when we have streets and highways that need to be repaved and widened? It just doesn't make any since!

ski82 May 8, 2008 1:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alexjon (Post 3537736)
Yeah, 1.9 billion is a pretty penny... and with all the existing bus lines, wouldn't it be the same or similar elsewhere in Portland if buses were comparable?

Not the case. People want a streetcar on Foster/Powell to spur development there since the #14 bus just isn't cutting it, even though it runs through the dense pre-existing Hawthorne neighborhood.

What I am saying is you cannot attibute the net 1.9b in development to the streetcar when most that development would have happened regardless, because of the 600m handout.

bunt_q May 8, 2008 2:28 PM

But you never would have gotten the money or the planning changes without the streetcar, so in a sense, it is necessary. I know we'd all like a numbers-based rational explanation for every planning endeavor (so very 1970's of us!), but the simple reality is that emotion, psychology, and irrationality are 80% of the battle for planners, so the quicker we learn how to deal with that and work within it to get where we want to be, the better.

Take "transportation modeling"... RTD has wisely learned to use them as a marketing tool and a media tool rather than as an actual barometer of expected ridership. And that's a damn good thing, too, because they miss a ton. Find me a trip model that can accurately quantify the sexiness gap between diesel buses, electric buses, and rail. I don't know one (there may be one, I'm not sure... I'd be really, really interested to see how that's done. some dumb, published coefficient no doubt).

alexjon May 8, 2008 4:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ski82 (Post 3538188)
What I am saying is you cannot attibute the net 1.9b in development to the streetcar when most that development would have happened regardless, because of the 600m handout.

That goes against what the biggest developers of the Pearl District have said. In San Antonio, they attributed their success to the Streetcar...

I think I'll believe them.

1Post2 May 8, 2008 4:53 PM

Public infrastructure upgrades such as sidewalks, lighting, improved access, surrounding utilities, streetscaping, etc. always lower barriers and encourage development. Streetcars certainly fall in that category. Do they cause development? Probably not, but nothing is that black and white. A multitude of factors, the private market being the largest by far, cause investment and development.

New bus lines are improved transportation infrastructure too, but as people have been pointing out, psychologically they don’t make as big an impact. They're not as physical or tangible or as constant as a rail line. From a site assessment standpoint, I bet the same applies.

Top Of The Park May 8, 2008 5:13 PM

It would be interesting to see......
 
......East Colfax from Pennsylvania east has always tried to upgrade. Certainly it isn't as bad or dangerous as parts of other cities "Sunset Strips". Would a streetcar system help to East Colfax to turn the corner as in more residential, less porno, better retail and restaurants? Would East Colfax retain that gritty flavor and hodge-podge of people, but with fewer violent low life people, as sometimes ride the buses? Or would security on streetcars make the real difference? Denver's East Colfax can't really be compared with another cities experience and hope for the exact same infusion of capitol by adding streetcars.

alexjon May 8, 2008 6:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1Post2 (Post 3538594)
Public infrastructure upgrades such as sidewalks, lighting, improved access, surrounding utilities, streetscaping, etc. always lower barriers and encourage development. Streetcars certainly fall in that category. Do they cause development? Probably not, but nothing is that black and white. A multitude of factors, the private market being the largest by far, cause investment and development.

New bus lines are improved transportation infrastructure too, but as people have been pointing out, psychologically they don’t make as big an impact. They're not as physical or tangible or as constant as a rail line. From a site assessment standpoint, I bet the same applies.

Portland built a streetcar line to link the nascent Pearl District with the central business district. Dave Davis of Pearl District Properties said the streetcar was "very, very important" to the area's redevelopment.

"Ridership is high. The streetcar had a lot to do with helping Pearl," Davis said.


From the Express-News

enjo13 May 8, 2008 7:06 PM

For whatever reason.. I don't ride buses. They seem so.. temporary... and complex. You have to know where they're going and where they will stop... its honestly to big of a pain.

The nice thing about streetcars, for me, is that they are rather predictable. You know where they're going, where they'll stop. Their just less complicated all around. More like rail than a bus. It may be 100% in my head, but its true. When I'm in another city I ride streetcars, but I've yet to ride a single bus (that wasn't the mall shuttle, which is very much like a streetcar) since I've lived in Denver.

At the end of the day the lack of dedicated, predictable close-in transit is a huge problem for Denver. I would love to see dedicated transit to get people out of the ballpark, uptown, and the golden triangle. Its really key to creating affordable urban living in the city.

glowrock May 8, 2008 7:18 PM

Yes enjo13, it's in your head. You don' ride buses because you think they're a big pain? You get on, you get off. You know the bus route. Same as a train. You get on, you get off, you know the train route...

Look, I'm not saying buses guide private investments as much as streetcars, bu honestly, a lot of the reasons to go streetcar over buses given here are pretty pathetic.

I like streetcars over buses in general, but it's due to passengers per hour numbers that I like them. The whole "sexiness" issue means little to nothing to me, and the issues enjo13 brought up are pretty much non-issues to me.

Personally, I've ridden buses in many cities. I've ridden subways, light rail, streetcars, and just about anything else. Is one form better than another? I personally like light rail better than anything else, but that's just me. I'll still ride buses anytime, I have no qualms about it. Maybe it's that I'm not an elitist? :)

Aaron (Glowrock)

bunt_q May 8, 2008 7:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 3538986)
Yes enjo13, it's in your head. You don' ride buses because you think they're a big pain? You get on, you get off. You know the bus route. Same as a train. You get on, you get off, you know the train route...

No, it's not in his head... there's a *ton* of planning research on that. It's very real... If you don't know the bus route, it's a lot tougher. Hell, read any travel guide anywhere, and it is plainly obvious that (right or wrong), tourists treat rail very differently from buses. Only the "adventurous" traveler takes a bus in a foreign place - everybody takes the trains. You think the same doesn't apply for people at home who aren't everyday transit riders? Of course it works the same way. Maybe not for *us* because we're dorks, and we know things like bus routes. Tell you what, though, don't try and take a bus if you get into Piraeus and the train to Athens is broken. It's a futile effort! :)

Octavian May 8, 2008 7:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 3539016)
No, it's not in his head... there's a *ton* of planning research on that. It's very real... If you don't know the bus route, it's a lot tougher. Hell, read any travel guide anywhere, and it is plainly obvious that (right or wrong), tourists treat rail very differently from buses. Only the "adventurous" traveler takes a bus in a foreign place - everybody takes the trains. You think the same doesn't apply for people at home who aren't everyday transit riders? Of course it works the same way. Maybe not for *us* because we're dorks, and we know things like bus routes. Tell you what, though, don't try and take a bus if you get into Piraeus and the train to Athens is broken. It's a futile effort! :)

I agree, but I think a lot of it is marketing. I have to go back to the Boston example. If the Silverline were called 15L (or some other bus name), it just wouldn't fly. Or take the example of the 16th street mall. There's no reason other bus lines couldn't be like that.

glowrock May 8, 2008 8:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 3539016)
No, it's not in his head... there's a *ton* of planning research on that. It's very real... If you don't know the bus route, it's a lot tougher. Hell, read any travel guide anywhere, and it is plainly obvious that (right or wrong), tourists treat rail very differently from buses. Only the "adventurous" traveler takes a bus in a foreign place - everybody takes the trains. You think the same doesn't apply for people at home who aren't everyday transit riders? Of course it works the same way. Maybe not for *us* because we're dorks, and we know things like bus routes. Tell you what, though, don't try and take a bus if you get into Piraeus and the train to Athens is broken. It's a futile effort! :)

I guess I'm just strange, then. I have no problem hopping on a train, a bus, or a subway. I honestly could care less, as long as I have a clue as to where the thing's going! :)

Besides, is it that hard to find out where a bus is going? Is it any easier knowing where a train's going? Maybe a good answer would be to have a map of the bus route(s) serving that particular stop available for viewing, like the train maps are at most stations.

Would that make things easier for the whiners? :)


Aaron (Glowrock)

Cirrus May 8, 2008 8:51 PM

Quote:

Maybe a good answer would be to have a map of the bus route(s) serving that particular stop available for viewing, like the train maps are at most stations.
We have those. They help a *lot*. Also, to Boulder’s credit, they’ve been able to solve some of those problems with the HOP/SKIP/etc network (but that only works in a Boulder-sized city – you can’t do it on every route in a major metropolis).

But ultimately the bus/rail debate comes down to this: No matter how good you do wayfinding, buses are rubber wheeled and trains run on rails. That makes buses rumbly and uncomfortable and trains smooth. Nobody ever seems to bring that up, but I am 100% convinced it's a major subconscious issue. Certainly as someone who commutes by combination of rail/bus everyday, I can tell you one segment of my commute is nice and comfortable, and the other segment makes me physically nauseous half the time. I'll leave you to guess which is which.

Paulopolis May 8, 2008 9:29 PM

Glowrock, I've got your back on this one. Learn the bus route, ride it.

The tourist issue that buntq brought up is relevant, but I would hope that the best transit option for commuters and not tourists would be the deciding factor in choosing which option to pursue.


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