Thread: Light Rail Boom
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Old Posted May 6, 2010, 2:28 AM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
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Originally Posted by Brandon716 View Post
Light Rail essentially is an upgraded version of a streetcar, and many light rail systems have significant portions that run in the street. Even one of America's prime examples of a fantastic light rail system in Portland runs right in the middle of downtown streets. Denver's RTD: runs in downtown streets.
Yet St. Louis' LRT is almost completely grade-separated (on the MO side at least) save for a small handful of very lightly-traveled roads.

Systems like this are more expensive than street-running lines, but they gain speed, reliability, and scalability.

My personal choice would be lines that start out with a modest amount of grade separation but are able to be reconstructed and expanded as demand grows. Reserving land for platform extensions or flyovers is a great way to do this, and it's always better to set aside land sooner rather than later - it's not gonna get any cheaper than it is now, since land pretty much always appreciates.

Massive new transport projects, like highways or transit lines, are always going to be boondoggles unless the political will exists behind them to enact the kinds of land-use changes that allow cities and towns to take advantage of those new lines. Suburbs are all too eager to zone for massive strip malls and power centers around their highway interchanges, but city governments often have trouble getting residents on board with the increased density that's needed to justify a new transit project.
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