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bunt_q Oct 27, 2012 11:23 PM

Why streetcars? That alone won't increase your capacity any, the two are pretty much comparable.

Like you said, right if way, preemption, other ways to make your transit vehicle get from A to B more efficiently, that's the key.

Zmapper Oct 27, 2012 11:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SnyderBock (Post 5881929)
Canadians are culturally more transit embracing than Americans, or Australians for that matter. If RTD paid to ramp up all main arterial routes to 15-min headways, I fear it would waste fuel and wear down the buses faster. Perhaps if all electric or CNG-hybrid buses were used and infrastructure was put in place to make these routes more like streetcar routes or BRT routes, it would work.

What if RTD converted the heaviest ridership routes to streetcars and then re-allocated those buses to improving service on other routes?

I honestly don't get how running service more often would waste fuel or even wear down buses more. Service expansion would require additional buses, but the ones in service would drive about the same road-miles they do today. Therefore, any wear or fuel consumption already exists in the current system.

At this stage I would be against spending money on capital improvements like streetcars or dedicated lanes; the goal should be to get as much real service up and running as soon as possible. Fort Collins is essentially taking your approach, and converting a bus route every 20 minutes that doesn't run past 7 pm or on Sunday to full BRT. The result is $90 million being thrown down the toilet when service improvements are what people really desire. The money that is being spent on a useless busway could instead deliver real service improvements across the entire city (ignoring Federal funding issues, etc) delivering more 'bang for your buck' than pouring concrete.

Denver and Toronto both have about the same length of rail service, around 40 miles. The biggest difference is ridership; Toronto has over a million boardings daily while Denver musters barely 63,000. Six minutes between trains is the maximum wait anytime on the TTC Subway, even at 1 pm. Furthermore, almost all bus routes in Toronto, save for special coverage services meant for seniors, run every 10 minutes or better and operate as late as the subway. The Toronto model of transit service uses the buses as surface extensions of the subway, and to great success; Toronto has a mode share around 30%, while Denver proper is only about 5-10%.

Scottk Oct 28, 2012 6:06 PM

I wonder if RTD plans to return the 243 million it has taxed the northwest corridor already? Or will we be stuck with terrible service on us36 forwver

bunt_q Oct 28, 2012 6:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scottk (Post 5882844)
I wonder if RTD plans to return the 243 million it has taxed the northwest corridor already? Or will we be stuck with terrible service on us36 forwver

Whine.

I've never called the fire department, I'd like that money back too. I don't have kids, maybe I shouldn't have to pay for schools. And a good amount of every dollar I pay gets transferred to states I've never seen - should I secede from the union?

US36 has had the best bus service in the metro area for decades. I'd like Boulder to pay back 20 years worth of money that went to subsidizing the B bus, the Skip, etc., while the rest of us were stuck on regular stinky city buses. If there is any single municipality in the metro area that's gotten disproportionate benefit from RTD based on its population and revenue contributions, it's Boulder. The rest us just don't have that sense of entitlement that comes with being a mecca for exclusive rich white liberal hypocrites. But don't expect sympathy from the little people.

I would also like Boulder to pay back the $40 million SmartGridCity debacle. I didn't see any of that, why should I help pay just because I happen to be in Xcel's service area. That was all Boulder.

The north metro might have a legitimate beef. But Boulder and Longmont need to old wisdom about not throwing stones from a glass house. There are two good ways to look at how RTD money should be divided - ridership, or population/tax contribution equity. Boulder County loses the first one easily, when you look at the the highest ridership areas of the metro - central Denver/Aurora - being completely unserved by fastracks (and now threatened by service reductions). And on the second method - I can draw you 98,000-person-boxes all over the metro area where service might consist of just a few bus routes. What makes Boulder more deserving than, say, Highlands Ranch, with its two bus routes? Sure those people might not ride much (but neither does Boulder compared to Colfax, so where's my streetcar?). But Highlands Ranch is almost as populous, and just as wealthy. Don't they deserve two modes? And God help us when Lone Tree is built out - they'll be bigger than Boulder (and just as dense) within the next 20 years. Then what? Do they get to whine too?

I for one would be okay with Boulder leaving the RTD. The costs now outweigh the benefits. It's sort of like how Pueblo doesn't matter the way it used to. The rest of the metro has grown enough, while Boulder hasn't, that we don't need them to win an election for a good transit plan anymore. It's 50,000 votes. That's a rounding error in the metro area proper. Not worth the billions they are demanding.

SnyderBock Oct 28, 2012 7:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scottk (Post 5882844)
I wonder if RTD plans to return the 243 million it has taxed the northwest corridor already? Or will we be stuck with terrible service on us36 forwver

What, you think the US36 BRT and the NW Corridor electrified segment are free?



As far as expanded bus service and streetcars. If RTD converts the highest ridership routes to streetcars, they can then allocate those buses to other routes to increase their frequency. Buses could still run a route where streetcars run, so it could increase capacity, I'd think. Why else do any cities build streetcars at all, if there is no benefit? I'd think it'd save cost on fuel and probably be cheaper to maintain the streetcars over buses. I thought there was a lot of support for converting Colfax and possibly Speer and South Broadway into streetcar lines, but now it seems you all are in favor of buses.

Launch 12 Oct 28, 2012 11:31 PM

Bunt q can go F himself. I'd rather read wizened's 'end of days' rants rather than your anti-boulder self righteous crap. Boulder is just as much part of the metro area and deserves comparable rail service. While it may not have the densities today, the US36 corridor has significant growth potential into the future- more than many of the other corridors I might add. Your views are one-sided and short sighted. While your personal politics may not align with Boulder's or you have some slanted perceptions of the place, it doesn't mean that Boulder should be left out. I am excited about a regional system that serves all areas equally and with equal levels of quality.

Cirrus Oct 29, 2012 12:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q
Why streetcars? That alone won't increase your capacity any, the two are pretty much comparable.

Yeah it will. 1 streetcar vehicle has more capacity than an artic bus, and streetcars can be coupled. Here are the specs for the streetcar Portland uses. Capacity is 199, for a single LRV with the normal seat configuration. Take the seats out and you get even more. Couple multiple cars into a train and you get more still. It's really not comparable to articulated buses at all.

Streetcars have many advantages over buses that cannot be duplicated. Here's a partial list:
  1. Capacity, as described above.
  2. Smoother ride. Gliding over a rail instead of rumbling along asphalt is inherently more comfortable. I'm convinced this is one of the big reasons why people "illogically" like trains more than buses. Trains are more comfortable.
  3. Electric power makes them quieter and more sustainable. It's true that electric buses exist, but I can't think of a single example of an American transit system that has *started* using them in recent memory. Electric power is always the first thing to go when value engineering bus projects.
  4. Streetcars are iconic. Despite the popularity of the Mall Shuttle, nobody sells postcards of it, and it's not something people flock to as a tourist attraction. Streetcars are.
  5. TOD. Streetcars are a better economic development incentive.
Of course, right of way, preemption, other ways to make your transit vehicle get from A to B more efficiently matter too. But streetcars have advantages besides that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by zmapper
Denver and Toronto both have about the same length of rail service, around 40 miles. The biggest difference is ridership; Toronto has over a million boardings daily while Denver musters barely 63,000.

You're comparing Toronto's subway with Denver's light rail, and ignoring Toronto's extensive light rail and commuter rail networks. Here are the actual rail mileage numbers:

Denver: 39 miles total
Subway: 0 miles
Light rail: 39 miles
Commuter rail: 0 miles

Toronto: 366 miles total
Subway: 43 miles
Light rail: 47 miles
Commuter rail: 276 miles

wong21fr Oct 29, 2012 12:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Launch 12 (Post 5883197)
Bunt q can go F himself. I'd rather read wizened's 'end of days' rants rather than your anti-boulder self righteous crap. Boulder is just as much part of the metro area and deserves comparable rail service. While it may not have the densities today, the US36 corridor has significant growth potential into the future- more than many of the other corridors I might add. Your views are one-sided and short sighted. While your personal politics may not align with Boulder's or you have some slanted perceptions of the place, it doesn't mean that Boulder should be left out. I am excited about a regional system that serves all areas equally and with equal levels of quality.

A $1.7 billion dollar rail corridor, over 20% of FasTracks entire cost, and a $500 million BRT corridor is not "comparable rail service". It's more than any other portion of the Denver Metro Area is getting (it's about 28-30% of the total project cost). No one else is getting multiple improvements along the same corridor, they're getting one thing or the other. Not both.

Should RTD have said the hell with the BRT and scrapped the B, BF, BMX, BV, BX, BOLT, DD, DM, HX, S, T, L, LNX, LSX, LX, S, and T in order to give Boulder the Northwest Rail? That's the kind of trade-off that would be necessary to give Boulder comparable rail service with the rest of the Metro Area. Just how much sacrifice needs to be made to deliver a choo-choo up there? Granted, killing off all of the regional and express routes will drive up ridership for the rail, but service quality will also go down quite a bit: double or triple the commute times, multiple transfers versus one-seat rides, etc. That is sacrificing a LOT for rail service, which is something that I don't think the residents of Boulder have a real firm grasp of.

Zmapper Oct 29, 2012 1:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5883242)
You're comparing Toronto's subway with Denver's light rail, and ignoring Toronto's extensive light rail and commuter rail networks. Here are the actual rail mileage numbers:

Denver: 39 miles total
Subway: 0 miles
Light rail: 39 miles
Commuter rail: 0 miles

Toronto: 366 miles total
Subway: 43 miles
Light rail: 47 miles
Commuter rail: 276 miles

The numbers I use come from the respective agency pages on Wikipeida; any ridership reported on the subway is on the subway, NOT the streetcar or GO Train lines. I don't really consider the GO Train lines to be rail service of the same quality as the subway; save for the Lakeshore line they all only run in the peak period in the peak direction. Unless you are commuting to a 9-5 job downtown, the GO Train lines just don't really exist.

I do give the TTC credit for keeping their pre-war streetcar network intact, and I don't deny that not ripping out the tracks has definitely helped ridership. However, the streetcar network only exists in the present day-CBD and the neighborhoods right outside Downtown. Streetcars don't explain the presence of extremely good service on routes 29, 35, 36, 95, and others. Those bus routes I linked to above don't enter the CBD, run in as reasonably straight lines as possible, and enter the fare-paid area of the subway stations. Furthermore, the geography of most of Toronto is for the most part single-family homes, with a few public-housing towers sprinkled in at the main intersections. A typical transit planner in most cities would write those areas off as not worthy of anything more than say 15 minute service, but Toronto took the initiative to make transit work.

Check for yourself by clicking on a few random bus routes; most of them run every 10 minutes or more frequently during the entire day. The Toronto approach to suburban transit is little more than an overwhelming success. Ask yourself, does the 15-East Colfax run every 3-4 minutes at 2am, like the 320-Yonge in Toronto does? I'll admit to cherry-picking the last route comparison, but it does show the extreme service difference between Toronto and Denver.

I'm not saying that Denver will become Toronto overnight if all we do is run our buses every 3 minutes on all routes 24/7. Toronto is a major immigrant destination and the financial capital of a country, and is double our size. Though there is no reason why our rail network couldn't carry half of what Toronto carries, if suburban bus service were drastically expanded. Perhaps a bus every 3 minutes along Sheridan would be overkill, but there is no reason why service couldn't be every 7-10 minutes with much of the same ridership effect.

Cirrus Oct 29, 2012 1:50 AM

Dear Launch 12,

If you cannot express yourself without resulting to personal attacks, you'll soon find yourself no longer welcome on the forum.

Sincerely,
SkyscraperPage Moderation

Cirrus Oct 29, 2012 1:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zmapper (Post 5883334)
I don't really consider the GO Train lines to be rail service of the same quality as the subway

You're right, but neither is light rail. If you want to compare, compare Toronto's light rail with Denver's.

Scottk Oct 29, 2012 3:03 AM

Bunt as post was far more inflammatory than launch12s are you joking

Zmapper Oct 29, 2012 3:04 AM

Toronto doesn't operate true light-rail like Denver or Calgary; it operates streetcars in dedicated lanes. The Toronto "light-rail" streetcars are limited to one car operation, 40 MPH or so, and stop as frequently as a bus route, or every 200-400 meters. Streetcars are thought of as little more than 'buses on rails', and aren't designed to provide the high-capacity line-haul service like the Denver light-rail operates.

Of course there are no two perfect 'apples to apples' comparisons, but I find the Denver light-rail more like the TTC subway. If you look past the overhead v. third rail and the lack of true level boarding, the trains are fairly similar. Both vehicles are about 75-80' long and have 4 doors-per-side. Denver runs four-car trains, Toronto six. Lines in both systems run along key transportation corridors outside of the CBD, with heavy use of grade separation. I understand that we won't be seeing a over a million boardings daily with the current system, but there is still little reason for the order of magnitude ridership difference.

bunt_q Oct 29, 2012 5:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5883242)
Yeah it will. 1 streetcar vehicle has more capacity than an artic bus, and streetcars can be coupled. Here are the specs for the streetcar Portland uses. Capacity is 199, for a single LRV with the normal seat configuration. Take the seats out and you get even more. Couple multiple cars into a train and you get more still. It's really not comparable to articulated buses at all.

Streetcars have many advantages over buses that cannot be duplicated. Here's a partial list:
  1. Capacity, as described above.
  2. Smoother ride. Gliding over a rail instead of rumbling along asphalt is inherently more comfortable. I'm convinced this is one of the big reasons why people "illogically" like trains more than buses. Trains are more comfortable.
  3. Electric power makes them quieter and more sustainable. It's true that electric buses exist, but I can't think of a single example of an American transit system that has *started* using them in recent memory. Electric power is always the first thing to go when value engineering bus projects.
  4. Streetcars are iconic. Despite the popularity of the Mall Shuttle, nobody sells postcards of it, and it's not something people flock to as a tourist attraction. Streetcars are.
  5. TOD. Streetcars are a better economic development incentive.
Of course, right of way, preemption, other ways to make your transit vehicle get from A to B more efficiently matter too. But streetcars have advantages besides that.

Portland started with the Skoda 10T, not exactly the same as the vehicle you're linking, I don't think. Crush capacity more like 130. And a more realistic comparable vehicle for Denver today is the United 100 (http://unitedstreetcar.com/products/...-streetcar-100), closer to 160 capacity, and coupling is not practical, or even ideal operationally for the corridors we would look at. We just did a great big study on this. And take the Colfax study - there's a reason the streetcar isn't enough - it replaces either the 15 or the 15L, but not both, it doesn't provide the capacity. Obviously there are numerous other advantages to streetcar - you know I'm as big a streetcar advocate as anybody. But increased carrying capacity isn't necessarily one of those, that's all I was saying (nor does it necessarily need to be). I was more arguing against the details of what Snyder was saying, not the principle - the appeal of a streetcar is undeniable. The more interesting question, I think, is (for example) whether, operationally speaking, the streetcar should replace the 15 or the 15L. The study determined the 15L would remain, and the 15 would be replaced. I wonder if the opposite wouldn't have been the better conclusion. But in any case, that conclusion goes to streetcars being more effective as an image/economic development booster, not a transit/ridership workhorse.

Cirrus Oct 29, 2012 6:12 AM

If the crush capacity of those streetcars is 130 then the numbers we were looking at for those artic buses were exaggerated. These streetcars are longer and roomier than any 60' bus out there. OTOH, if capacity on an artic ranges from 93-140, versus a range of around 130-200 for a streetcar, then that's a pretty big difference. Even if the difference is only 15 or 20 people, that adds up quickly if we're talking fairly frequent service (which I assume we are, or streetcars wouldn't be appropriate anyway).

Regardless, I think doing local with streetcar and express with bus is correct, because one big advantage of buses is they can shift lanes to go around. We're doing the same thing. It seems a little weird because express = better, and streetcar = better, so you want to pair the 2 better things together, but you've just got to have that bypass ability on an express.

Cirrus Oct 29, 2012 6:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scottk (Post 5883419)
Bunt as post was far more inflammatory than launch12s are you joking

"Bunt q can go F himself" crosses the line.

If you want to continue talking about what qualifies as acceptable, feel free to PM me or another mod. Let's not clutter this thread further.

bunt_q Oct 29, 2012 1:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5883535)
Regardless, I think doing local with streetcar and express with bus is correct, because one big advantage of buses is they can shift lanes to go around. We're doing the same thing. It seems a little weird because express = better, and streetcar = better, so you want to pair the 2 better things together, but you've just got to have that bypass ability on an express.

I get it, it's still just a shame. Thinking Colfax specifically, it's a long ways to go to say Fitzsimmons for a streetcar operating as a local. I wonder if that presents a political problem in the long run - that the 15-riding demographic gets an upgrade, while the 15L clientele stays on the bus - or if that's just too much detail for your average neighbor to think about.

Sort of our US36 dilemma in mini - it's tough for folks to imagine that the day after a new train opens the bus will still be their better alternative. (And if that's the choice you're going to leave people, it's important to think of "which people" are going to get that choice.)

electricron Oct 29, 2012 5:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 5883637)
Sort of our US36 dilemma in mini - it's tough for folks to imagine that the day after a new train opens the bus will still be their better alternative. (And if that's the choice you're going to leave people, it's important to think of "which people" are going to get that choice.)

I agree there is a place and advantages for both buses and rail. US36 corridor, for that matter, all corridors paralleling freeways (or turnpikes), could use both.

But, let's review what a bus and rail systems provide Boulder citizens along US 36.
Rail systems are almost always linear, with stations every few miles apart (for commuter rail). Riders get on in Boulder could ride the train all the way to downtown Denver, or get off at any of the stations along the way.
Express bus systems are almost always point to point operations. Riders getting on in Boulder must ride the bus all the way to downtown Denver, the bus will not pull off the express lanes at other express bus stations along the way. Every express bus station will have their own buses delivering riders into downtown Denver or Boulder. Few express buses will service intermediate bus stations exclusively.
True Rapid bus systems operate more like trains, and will stop at intermediate stations along the way. But the station platforms aren't far from the through bus lanes, if at all.

From what I've read so far, the propose bus system along US 36 is more like an Express bus system than Rapid bus. Does RTC really believe everyone in Boulder wants to ride these buses all the way into downtown Denver? That's why I believe a commuter train is the better choice for US 36 because it will meet the needs of more passengers.

The idea that one mode provides all the services the other mode does is false.

SnyderBock Oct 30, 2012 8:03 AM

US36 BRT, was originally supposed to be true BRT with stations in the median so buses wouldn't leave the dedicated bus-way. I believe CDOT had some influence on turning the planned dedicated bus-ways into shared bus/HOv/HOT managed lanes. Then RTD had budget shortfalls for FasTracks and could no longer afford to construct stations in the median with elevated pedestrian bridges to each side of the highway, so they went with slip ramps.

So now the buses will exit the managed lanes, merge through all the traffic planes and exit US36 on the slip ramps to a BRT style station right off the highway. There will be plenty of stations between Boulder and Union Station. I'm sure there will also be express buses. With peak headways of 5min, it should prove to be a convent and popular transit line. It will get people from Boulder to Union Station downtown, much faster than the commuter rail (if/when that ever gets built).

It's not "true" BRT, but it's fairly close, when compared to US standards. And it could be enhanced and upgraded well into the future, and evolve into a mass transit line, that becomes more and more like a true BRT line (compared to international standards).

Not to mention, Boulder is basically going to become the hub for this BRT service, as it is expanded with new routes to other NW metro area cities. So it treats Boulder as tit's own commuter hub, with multiple BRT lines from multiple destinations, feeding into downtown Boulder's transit station. This is perfect for Boulder and the NW metro communities.

EngiNerd Oct 30, 2012 3:41 PM

I think this ties in more to transportation than anything. The way I see it, if parking really does become an issue (which it really isn't right now from my experience), then more people will simply take the rail, especially once its built out. Once they build in the ped. connection across 18th at Union Station, it will be just as convenient as any of the parking is now.

Maybe the issue really is the lack of close in "premium" parking that they can charge a bundle for. I mean there is no way that sea of parking to the north of Coors Field is filled except maybe a couple times a year is it?

Quote:

Parking garage near Coors Field won't solve game-day woes
Posted: 10/25/2012 05:47:38 PM MDT
Updated: 10/26/2012 08:36:41 AM MDT
By Monte Whaley
The Denver Post


A block-long, four-story parking structure will soon emerge at 27th and Blake streets and baseball officials hope it will ease at least some of the game-day parking woes near Coors Field.

But they admit the $13.7 million garage is only a stopgap measure in a time when prime parking lots near the ballpark are being snatched up by a surging building industry.

....

The stadium district board of directors on Thursday approved the $13.7 million expenditure, which will be covered by $15 million from the Regional Transportation District. The money is compensation for taking 628 parking spaces for the Eagle P3 commuter rail line from Union Station to Denver International Airport.

Under the stadium's lease agreement, the RTD money must be used for replacement parking.

Coors Field would prefer surface parking. But lots are quickly being snatched up by developers, said Patrick J. Henry, senior vice president for the commercial real estate company Cassidy Turley.

In a 1-mile area around the stadium, Henry's company identified 9,085 parking spaces not owned by Coors Field. By 2010, developers had snatched up 4,365 and more are soon to be developed, Henry said.

"As parking goes today, it's not good," he said.

....

Rockies owner Dick Monfort told the board that 22 percent of people who visit Coors Field live about 20 miles from the stadium, so parking is essential. The parking garage will help, but more spots are needed, Monfort said.

"Parking now is a becoming a big issue with us," Monfort said. "We don't have it, and the garage does not fix the problem."
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingne...ont-solve-game


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