Monday, August 02, 2010

How Charlotte competitor builds its streetcar

St. Louis, one of the four cities in the running with the QC for the probably-not-very-exciting 2012 Democratic National Convention, was also a recipient of one of those $25 million federal grants for a streetcar project. In "St. Louis’ Loop District Gets Endorsement from Feds with Grant for Streetcar," Yonah Freemark at thetransportpolitic.com gives more details about the project – the only one of nine cities whose streetcar projects got federal money this year that plans a project outside of its downtown.

Some interesting tidbits: St. Louis plans its project to use both overhead wires (like Charlotte) and battery power, which will let it run through some segments of the route without the wires. "This could make St. Louis the first city in the U.S. to experiment with this sort of alternative propulsion for rail vehicles," Freemark writes. Indeed, in talks about Charlotte's streetcar and the problem of how to deal with The Square (at Trade and Tryon in the heart of downtown) if the project's next phase is built, the idea of batteries has come up. Looks as if St. Louis will be the guinea pig on this technology.

Also interesting is the way it's being funded: In addition to the feds' $25 million grant, the project will get $6 million from the local Council of Government/MPO (Imagine this: In many, many metro regions the "regional planning" body and the "regional transportation planning" body are the same – duh!). Private money, estimated at $5 million to $8million, is expected from donors McCormack Baron Salazar, a national urban development firm with headquarters in St. Louis, which committed $2 million in tax credit equity, and the St. Louis Development Corp., which has pledged $3 million.

And, writes Freemark, "Operations will be covered by a transportation tax residents in the surrounding area approved by 97%. This strong show of local support, both financial and political, is likely one of the reasons St. Louis won the grant from the U.S. DOT over so many competitors." That tax is in the form of a 1-cent sales tax in a transportation development district.

Charlotte folks should be paying attention to several lessons here: Look to multiple revenue sources such as special districts and getting the private sector which will reap some benefits to pay in. But this part needs to be in neon, with flashing red arrows pointing to it: Combine the region's splintered MPOs (Metropolitan Planning Organizations for those of you not deeply into transportation policy) and the region's COG, so there's one regional planning agency doing the planning for the region.

52 comments:

Randy Simes said...

Cincinnati has taken a similar approach as St. Louis. The MPO in Cincinnati has contributed $4 million, another $15 million is coming from the state of Ohio, $25 million from Urban Circulators, and $3.5 million contribution from Duke Energy.

There is then a local contribution of $64 million being made that is made up of tax increment financing, proceeds from the sale of a capital transportation asset (Blue Ash Airport), and the issuance of bonds from the restricted capital budget.

John said...

Mary,

How's your research on William Lind and his alleged "Center" coming? You will recall my original observations and query:

Googling "American Conservative Center for Public Transportation" returns NINE hits, ALL of which have some relation to this ONE article of Mr. Lind's.

It appears that this "Center" has:

- no website
- no street address
- no phone number
- no members other than Mr. Lind

Can you provide any evidence at all that the "Center" is a genuine and authentic organization?

Michael said...

Since the idiots in office already voted to take the "free" money to start our streetcar, why do you feel the need to keep trying to "sell" it?

Dustin said...

My proposal for dealing with The Square: a single underground station should be built. I know it will be expensive. But it will certainly be more reliable than (a) as-yet-unproven technology and (b) having to truncate service on the streetcar when events such as street fairs or parades are occurring on Tryon. And just think -- such a station could become a showpiece of the city's transit network.

WashuOtaku said...

Beyond the fact we not St. Louis, the difference between them and us is this:

- Most people think the Charlotte Streetcar is not a good thing.
- Nobody is willing to donate private money to it (matter of fact its the opposite now with money being removed from the Gold Rush).
- Only the City Government is supportive of the street car, while county and other towns in and around Mecklenburg are upset about it.
- The need to ride a train between the TWC Arena and Hospital isn't a big draw for many.
- No commuter benefit, since street cars will be stuck in traffic as much as a bus would (which is insanely cheaper).

I like the battery idea that St. Louis has, so I'm not completely hating your post. But your cheerleading for a street car system that is mostly unpopular and unwanted is almost funny at times. I do support public transit... but only when it makes sense (commuter trains, subways, light rail, aerial tramway and gondolas generally do; monorails {cost}, cable car and street cars generally do not).

Chris said...

What an unbelievable waste of money.

Randy Simes said...

WashuOtaku:

It's comical that you say aerial trams and gondolas are generally good ideas, but that streetcars are not.

There is another problem I have with your rationale, and that is that you believe buses and streetcars are interchangeable. This is in fact not the correct way to develop a comprehensive transit network. Streetcars move people from urban neighborhood to urban neighborhood, buses move people from one part of town to the other (and in some cases serve as commuter lines), light/heavy rail moves people from outlying suburbs to job centers (and vice versa), and high-speed rail moves people from city to city.

If you're a proponent of better transit, then you should be advocating for improved bus service that is complimented by modern urban circulator systems like streetcars.

WashuOtaku said...

Dustin wrote: My proposal for dealing with The Square: a single underground station should be built. I know it will be expensive.

That whole area in Uptown Charlotte is nothing but rock, it would be insanely expensive to cut through it. Also, since we are talking about street cars and not a real rail system, the benefits would be nil. Even later if people decided to upgrade it to a true subway system, there would be even more costs to upgrade the station built for a street car than oppose cutting the rock from scratch.

wiley said...

We need a north, south east and west rail line with a spur coming from the Airport to the west rail.

Any dime spent on trolley cars is foolish.

WashuOtaku said...

Randy Simes:

Yes, I said Aerial Tramway and Gondolas; not for Charlotte (since its not mountainous enough nor has a big river through it), but in general for other cities where geography warrants such systems.

I also know that buses and streetcars are not interchangeable, since streetcars will be stuck on rails while buses do not... making buses cheaper and better. Charlotte actually has a pretty good bus system compared to other nearby cities, so I'm not knocking it (can it be better, sure, anything can be better). Also, if a route doesn't do very well... no problem, they can adjust/change the route and try to make it work again; you can't do much with street cars once they planted to the ground.

It's obvious you think little of my comment since you lectured me on what is a street car, light/heavy rail, and high-speed rail; if you want to continue arguing about it I'm fine with that... but its pointless since your opinion and mine obviously don't mesh regarding street cars and I rather just leave it at that.

Randy Simes said...

So by your logic WashuOtaku, buses are superior to all forms fixed in nature. So that would mean light/heavy rail, gondolas, or aerial tramways.

I do disagree about the fixed nature being a bad thing. In fact, the most successful examples of city planning is when we develop our cities around fixed public assets (i.e. sewers, water lines, roadways, transit lines, bridges, power lines, etc). Infrastructure should shape our communities, not the inverse. If we allow our communities to freely develop, and try to adapt infrastructure to meet those development patterns, then we are setting ourselves up for financial, social, and environmental failure.

consultant said...

Mary is right to advocate for this and I hope she keeps pounding it home until they erect a statue in her honor after they build the darn thing.

We've essentially run out of time, but people are still throwing around figures of this and that, like will still have room for options. We'd better get way more mass transit built in our urban areas or people just aren't going to be able to move around in the near future. Walking will become much more common. Which is not bad for short trips, but try walking to the other end of town.

When that happens, and it will be sooner than you think, all the aggrieved Tea Partiers, wearing hats with tiny pitch forks hanging from them, will be running around screaming about why they don't have transportation.

The job of leaders is to LEAD. To look at the future and realize and communicate to people what we have to do NOW to prepare for it.

But many of our current leaders (i.e. Republicans, conservatives, Tea Partiers, libertarians) follow a policy of NO, or hell no, or won't, while some of our other leaders (i.e. conservative Democrats, middle-of-the-road Democrats) follow a policy of Can't or too scared. All of it results in what we've got-stalemate.

Almost all of our leadership seems to have given up on the American Project.

I hope that streetcar project is built in Charlotte and I hope they run it right through the most conservative part of town so that at least their children will be able to move about in the years to come.

WashuOtaku said...

Now you are being ridiculous Randy Simes. I have been comparing the street cars against the buses, this post is regarding the street cars... why you have decided to try to make me a fool by saying I'm a hater of all urban planning, I do not understand.

Since trying to explain things will only draw another combative post from you, I'll make this comment as simple as possible: The Charlotte Streetcar project is a bad idea!

Randy Simes said...

I don't know why you're so upset by my responses. You compare a bus to a streetcar, and I counter with why you should not compare a bus and a streetcar. You say that streetcars offer no commuter benefit, and I counter by saying it's part of a transit hierarchy and that streetcars aren't designed to be commuter transit. You say that the flexibility of buses is preferred, and I counter with why is it not preferred.

If you don't like the Charlotte streetcar proposal, fine, but give me better reasons than "nobody likes it" and "buses are better/cheaper." I don't know you, or your opinions, so I'm trying to figure them out. If I'm misinterpreting what you're trying to say, then please correct me with a more accurate account.

wiley said...

consultant said...
Mary is right to advocate for this and I hope she keeps pounding it home until they erect a statue in her honor after they build the darn thing.


Here's a consulting tip for you:

Move to Europe.

This trolley is a waste of money. Put into continued exppanding of light rail.

Furthermore, you're not fooling anyone about your political leanings by stating "some Democrats". Your Lord and Saviour Obama is bringing down America single handedly, more than all Conservatives combined over the past 250 years.

That goes right along with the debt he's racked up wich totals more than all President's combined.

J said...

Consultant, you are truly amazing. You are a Houdini-caliber magician the way you can take one viewpoint on a single project and turn it into the life manifesto of the holder of the viewpoint. And this on top of your paintings of people who disagree with you, with a brush so broad it could cover an entire area code.

Conservatives do not hate all forms of mass transit. Conservatives hate mass transit projects that do not make for efficient transit or move mass amouts of people, or don't make fiscal sense. The Charlotte Streetcar To Nowhere, even when fully built, will move a tiny fraction of the population between areas that are not true destination spots, in vehicles that provide no improvements in travel times. Throw in the fact that the city has no clue how to pay for its operating costs, and you have a truly silly project.

Now if we were going to invest ina true mass transit system, such as one that had 3 lines - Gastonia-Airport-Uptown-Matthews Monroe, Concord-Kannapolis-UNCC-Uptown-South Blvd-Pineville-Rock Hill, and Statesville-Mooresville-Huntersville-Uptown-Ballentyne-Lancaster - that would be money worth spending and I'd be all for it.

I understand Mary's support of the streetcar. I don't agree wth it, but I respect her opinion. It's a lot harder to respect an opposing opinion when it comes with accusations (like your recent post against conservatives laced with "white guilt") or declarations like "all conservatives hate mass transit."

J said...

Mary, getting back to your original point at the end of your post - yes, if we only had one MPO we would be much better off. But it's hard to see it happening. Within the city, neighborhoods pit themselves against each other (many people in the 'burbs think uptown is evil), and municipalities in the area pit themselves against each other (many other towns think Charlotte is evil, my rail line must be built at the expense of yours, etc.).

WashuOtaku said...

Oh dang it, fine Randy Simes...

I don't know why you're so upset by my responses. You compare a bus to a streetcar, and I counter with why you should not compare a bus and a streetcar.

I must have missed that counter, it seemed you were merely defending it by saying its not the same as a bus... and I agreed, its not the same as a bus, its more prohibitive than a bus in terms of being adjustable and flexible (yes, you can add more cars on a street car, but you can add more buses on a route too).

You say that streetcars offer no commuter benefit, and I counter by saying it's part of a transit hierarchy and that streetcars aren't designed to be commuter transit.

That is correct, if the Obama Administration didn't change the rules to allow projects like street cars to get funding even though they offer no commuter benefit, we wouldn't even have this discussion now. Do I agree with there assessment to that, no, but that's another argument all together.

You say that the flexibility of buses is preferred, and I counter with why is it not preferred.

What was your counter to that, I didn't see that one. A fixed line embedded in a road cannot flexible no matter how hard you spin the arguement. If streetcars were so flexable, why is the city of Toronto trying to move there street cars off the roads and into dedicated right-of-ways. Toronto Stretcar System

If you don't like the Charlotte streetcar proposal, fine, but give me better reasons than "nobody likes it" and "buses are better/cheaper." I don't know you, or your opinions, so I'm trying to figure them out. If I'm misinterpreting what you're trying to say, then please correct me with a more accurate account.

Here is my logic on mass transit in a nut shell: fixed systems (like rail) should be built in places to move mass amount of people from point A to point B. If point A to point B is far apart, it makes more sense to build a fix route where people are known to go to and back. If they are closer, then other factors are in play that should also be addressed. Bus systems work for other routes that cannot fit that mold or such systems are not in place yet.

A street car generally doesn't fit the bill, they use the same roads as would a bus and the costs compared the two are striking. Street cars, in most cities, are used by the tourists if so lucky; this street car route is only from TWC Arena to the Hospital... not a very majestic route to take in Charlotte (there not even a bus that takes this route now, so no numbers were given of possible commuters). I personally think they should build another light-rail instead starting from Charlotte Gateway, use CSX rail around Uptown till gets connected to the center of Independence Blvd (currently bus lane), and have stops along the route all the way to Monroe; heck go other way too from Charlotte Gateway along Norfolk Southern tracks to the Airport. I think that would serve the populous more than a street car that is no faster than a bus on city roads. If the city council wants to show the people of Charlotte it can work, they should go ahead and put a Gold Rush trolley on the proposed route now and do counts; who knows, we may all be surprised.

Randy Simes said...

This is where your argument is flawed WashuOtaku. The majority of trips made each day by the average American are not work related, nor do they fit into major destination to destination categories.

In fact, most trips made each day are small and relatively insignificant in nature to the user. For example, someone may drive to/from work. That's two trips. But when they get home they may drive to the drug store, grocery, fitness center, or [insert any other random trip here]. Each one of these trips adds up, but does not figure in to the type of transportation planning you are advocating.

If you create urban circulator systems, like streetcars, that connect urban neighborhoods with other urban neighborhoods you then create the ability to eliminate the automobile for all of these other trips. Ideally, those living in these areas are already getting to/from work without an automobile, but that may not be the case. If so, you are still eliminating the need for an automobile for the vast majority of trips made, and thus eliminating traffic, road wear/tear, and direct pollution for roughly 60-70% of all trips made for those within the service area.

Now with that said, not all neighborhoods are built to be able to capitalize on these urban circulator benefits, but many of our urban neighborhoods are - including Uptown Charlotte and its surrounding neighborhoods. Planning for just these heavy volume corridors, in my opinion, is a failed policy approach that has been vetted by America's inefficient roadways and commuter rail systems.

Larry said...

I am starting the group here in Charlotte to show our reasons why we think they are treating us like we are a bunch of w.....s and just getting us down to a price to get us in their beds so to speak.

Come on it has all been about price and how much we will make.

The guys are horrible sales people!

Why not say the Dems will build Habitat houses with Jimmy and instead of expensive dinners they will forgo them and feed the hungry due to the economy? Why not say they will come in and sponsor some teaching positions for a year. A lot of long term stuff.

The NRA people were treated like they had dug a hole to Hades when they had the Conservatives here but they did community services.

Go to our website www.CharlotteIn2012.org and tell them to quit treating us like we only have a price instead of a heart.

www.CharlotteIn2012.org

We are not the other cities and maybe that is why the don't understand us, maybe that is why a lot of you do not understand us?

WashuOtaku said...

Randy Simes, instead of simply counter my points, you simply said my logic if flawed and spout out some babble about the need of these street cars to improve an urban utopia. You might not like my logic, but that is how some cities, like New York City, built there systems... to move the mass populous. Now your idealistic world where the neighborhood has everything one would ever need sounds wonderful, and there are some communities in Charlotte that are trying to do this; but the route the post is talking about has none of the things you describe, your not basing your answer with whats reality (a bunch of Government buildings between the TWC Arena and CPCC/Hospital; not many (or any) families live there, no grocery stores (Reids moved out) there, no urban village.

Dale Johnson said...

The citizens of Cincinnati, like Charlotte, are two to one against the construction of a streetcar.

That should have been the first and final word to the idea in both cities. But of course our statist GOVCO knows what's best for the citizens.

Randy Simes said...

Dale Johnson:

You are actually incorrect. The Cincinnati Streetcar scored a decisive victory at the ballot box in November 2009 when Issue 9 was defeated. A nearly 2:1 majority voted in favor of streetcars and other passenger rail transportation.

http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-19233-voters-have-no-issues-with-issues.html

Dale Johnson said...

Then explain this Mr. Simms:



Poll: Most oppose streetcars
Enquirer survey shows 2-1 against $128 million project
BY BARRY M. HORSTMAN • BHORSTMAN@ENQUIRER.COM • MAY 23, 2010
Comments (506) Recommend (10) Print this pageShareThisFont size:AA

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100523/NEWS0108/5230311/Poll-Most-oppose-streetcars



Residents of Cincinnati overwhelmingly oppose the proposed $128 million streetcar project, objecting 2-to-1 to City Hall's plan to borrow tens of millions of dollars for a plan widely viewed as a waste of taxpayer money, an Enquirer poll shows.

Mark Caplan said...

Another way to eliminate a rat's nest of overhead wires and supporting structures is ... use buses.

Are the retail businesses along Elizabeth Avenue and S. Trade Street behind the street car? It's pretty obvious that a street car that occupies the only lane of traffic will discourage cars from using Elizabeth Avenue. Without car traffic, a once fairly vibrant street will feel deserted and foreboding. Street cars are fine on wide boulevards where they run in their own dedicated lanes separated from cars.

Dale Johnson said...

I'd say the vote represented a desire not to incumber other types of transit decisions and said little specifically about the streetcar idea, and that categorizing it as such is misleading.

"...Issue 9 dominated this fall’s election cycle, with heated debates and claims on both sides. Although the issue grew out of the concerns expressed by opponents of Cincinnati City Council’s proposal to build a streetcar line connecting downtown to uptown, it was drafted with broad wording that would affect every rail project passing through the city and requiring local money — ranging from a high-speed connector to Columbus and Cleveland to improvements to the Cincinnati Zoo’s train attraction.

Critics of Issue 9 said the extra bureaucratic hurdle would cause added time and expense, making it difficult to accept state and federal grants for rail projects and hampering any mass transportation improvements in the region.

We Demand A Vote includes the NAACP’s Cincinnati chapter and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST). Attorney Chris Finney of COAST drafted the wording, and neither he nor NAACP President Christopher Smitherman publicly addressed the question of whether the wording was intentionally made so all-inclusive.

COAST, however, has a history of opposing public transit on philosophical grounds. Some political observers said COAST was using the NAACP to lobby for its broader agenda..."
http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-19233-voters-have-no-issues-with-issues.html

consultant said...

Wiley,

I go to Europe about twice a year. They've got good transporation. If you look around Western Europe, you'd think WW II was fought here instead of there. Our transnational gangster corporations and bought and paid for politicians (starting with all but 2 Republicans and including about half of our Democrats) have hollowed out our country to the point we are somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd world. Most Americans aren't really aware of this because they don't have the money or inclination to travel abroad. Go to Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo and you'll think they won WW II.

We've screwed up, but few in power want to admit it. Investment in city-to-city rail and mass transit is a win/win on so many different levels. All of those other nations have heavily invested in all kinds of rail and mass transit. But where are we at? Building more roads as the clock ticks rapidly down on the world's capacity to produce enough oil for every nation.

American car companies are on life support and the people with the Tea Party hats can't wait to get to a NASCAR event to inhale carbon monoxide.

Obama pumped billions into shovel ready road projects and what has it done for the economy? Not much.

As your Consultant Wiley, I have to tell you that your problem is that you can't see outside the short, rare period that was post WW II America. You along with most people who've inhaled too much carbon, think this period of driving everywhere in private cars all the time is just going to go on forever.

Well Wiley, as your Consultant, I hate to break the news to you, but it isn't. In fact, it's coming an end.

We won the war but then we were too giddy, greedy and ultimately stupid to realize that nothing is forever.

Dale Johnson said...

Another point of order, Mr. Simes:

The issue 9 vote in Cincinnati was much closer to 50/50 than it was to a two to one result. (56/44)

Man, do you always mislead folks so badly as you have here in this blog? Is your position of support for transit so weak that you have to lie about facts?

Randy Simes said...

Dale:

That pole drew a lot of controversy even from those who don't support the Cincinnati Streetcar project. But for a fairly good rundown of all the discussions and debate I'll point you to this story:

http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-20742-the-enquirers-streetcar-numbers-dont-add-up.html

With that said, I do agree that the ballot language was misleading. Interestingly enough, it was streetcar and rail opponents that put that ballot language together...not those in favor of the project(s).

Randy Simes said...

Dale:

I didn't lie or mislead about a single thing related to the vote. I said that nearly a 2:1 majority vote in favor of the streetcar. I then provided a link to support my claim. You followed that link and were able to read the details for yourself...details which supported my claim.

Dale Johnson said...

The following by Simes is just nuts:

"In fact, most trips made each day are small and relatively insignificant in nature to the user. For example, someone may drive to/from work. That's two trips. But when they get home they may drive to the drug store, grocery, fitness center, or [insert any other random trip here]. Each one of these trips adds up, but does not figure in to the type of transportation planning you are advocating.

If you create urban circulator systems, like streetcars, that connect urban neighborhoods with other urban neighborhoods you then create the ability to eliminate the automobile for all of these other trips. "

Transit would NEVER satisfied our trip needs for my family of five. Daily and other weekly trips to two schools, post office, bank, dance, voice, theatre, church, office supply, and other commercial locations, all in about four major different directions and distances. Our quality of life and pursuit of happiness would be greatly constraint by dependence on transit.

Creating a Simes SIMMS enviroment would greatly restrict my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness...and I object.

Randy Simes said...

First of all, I don't understand the ongoing "Simms" thing your doing. Is this some sort of reference I don't understand, or are you just intentionally misspelling my last name?

Secondly, creating greater transit options would do nothing to restrict your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. What it would do is greatly improve the ability for more people to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I could go on, but I'm not going to entertain the ludicrous idea that you would be forced into changing your life because of greater transportation choices.

WashuOtaku said...

Consultant, I've traveled Asia and Europe, I am very aware what they have for public transportation. Keep in mind you are picking all big cities with several million plus easy. These cities are not debating about putting a street car where a few people might enjoy it; they are making decisions on how to move the most people as effectively as possible.

When you go out of the cities, the smaller cities and towns are not any better than Charlotte on public transportation. As for high-speed railways, they do beet us on that; but they choose different priorities (like you mention), that is also why most freeways in Europe and Asia are toll roads and not as complete in some countries.

Beyond that, I would agree to some extent that we are behind the curve on public transportation; but when you start throwing your liberal b.s. into the mix, it upsets me greatly with your inability to have an intelligent conversation (or argument) without the name calling and throwing blame.

Keep in mind, your basing everything on the idea that the "grass is greener on the other side." They have much higher taxes there, roads and rail transportation is also not cheap in several countries. They also deal with transportation issues and have similar arguments as we do here... its just they have more of the stuff already is all. When I visited Vienna, for example, people were complaining about the new South Train Terminal they were building that wasn't needed.

In closing, I'm sorry most Americans are not as worldly as you are Consultant; but you shouldn't assume that even if they were that would suddenly agree with your point of view... I for one don't.

Dale Johnson said...

Randy Simes
Gender: Male
Astrological Sign: Scorpio
Industry: Consulting
Occupation: Urban Planning
Location: Cincinnati : Ohio : United States
About Me
I am an urban strategist. I study cities and enjoy experiencing all they have to offer. I take those experiences and share them with others through my words and photography.

Dale Johnson said...

And Mary thinks that the St. Louis streetcar is a good idea?

"St. Louis’ successful bid for a $25 million grant to partially fund the construction of a new streetcar line in the city’s Loop district is being hailed in the local press as the latest achievement of a man who has in just a few of decades taken what was once a downtrodden street and transformed it into one of the city’s most active commercial areas. Joe Edwards — the “mayor” of the Delmar Loop — started a restaurant, then restored a concert hall, then opened a hotel and a bowling alley, and recently he has been the primary proponent of this rail project...Mr. Edwards will clearly see his business improve by having streetcars run in front of his enterprises, to and from the rapid transit stations and to the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park....From an operations perspective, the project won’t do much to improve access, since its most distant station is less than a mile from an existing Metrolink stop. With nine proposed stations on the short line and vehicles running only every ten minutes, it will in many cases be faster to walk. The historic-looking vehicles will not have low floors, meaning they won’t be able to provide nowadays essential handicapped access; just as bad, they will have no capacity advantages over traditional buses (unfortunately a routine problem for most U.S. streetcar programs).
Edwards, the neighborhood developer, has been a proponent of eventually extending the streetcar route all the way to the riverfront, mirroring the route of the city’s old trolley network. Yet this would needlessly duplicate the services already provided by Metrolink....Moreover, whether transport planners like it or not, these systems are in reality a lot more oriented towards fulfilling economic development goals than providing increased mobility. More transportation of any sort, even if it doesn’t seem particularly useful for many people, will encourage investment in new construction or redevelopment. For Mr. Edwards and the community he’s helped develop around Delmar Boulevard, there’s no reason to complain."
http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/

consultant said...

WashuOtaku,

"..when you start throwing your liberal b.s. into the mix, it upsets me greatly.."

Washyokytaki, isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black?

Do you understand what that means? Why is liberalism cow manure? Why are people upset about a few million for a street car, but they say nothing about tens of billions of tax breaks for the top 3%. Tax breaks YOU will wind up paying for.

Why are they going after Cong. Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel when the House & the Senate seem to have ZERO appetite for going after Goldman Sachs, Bank of America or any of the other architects of our recent collapse?

Walkietalkie, you make some good points, I think, and I'm glad you support mass transit.

Let's do this. Let's build this streetcar and then we can argue about how much it cost to ride on it.

Deal?

WashuOtaku said...

Consultant said: "Washyokytaki, isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black?"

No, it's not; because I'm calling you out on it. That doesn't automatically label me a hard-core conservative that listens to Rush Limbaugh. You shouldn't assume such things when its not the case. Also, not nice to purposely misspell a user-name .

"Do you understand what that means? Why is liberalism cow manure? Why are people upset about a few million for a street car, but they say nothing about tens of billions of tax breaks for the top 3%. Tax breaks YOU will wind up paying for."

Obviously touched a nerve here. I don't know what tax breaks your talking about and I bet you can't name one.

"Why are they going after Cong. Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel when the House & the Senate seem to have ZERO appetite for going after Goldman Sachs, Bank of America or any of the other architects of our recent collapse?"

Maybe because they are individuals who broke there oath in office, while the companies you speak of employee thousands of people that vote.

"Let's do this. Let's build this streetcar and then we can argue about how much it cost to ride on it.

Deal?"


No deal, I will not sit idle while Mary throws up another post on the street car and pretend everything is peachy. If she's willing to continue her support for the system, then I have every right to not support it. Besides, its in Mary's best interest we have these discussions on her blog, otherwise who would read it if everybody is in agreement.

The city should have simply turned-down the money and aggressively pursue the other transit options that are higher priority on the list... like extending the blue line to UNC-Charlotte. But then that would probably stirred a different argument all together; there is simply no win.

Dale Johnson said...

POO--against me.

First misspelling of "Simes" as "Simms", my error, I apologize.

And where I used "SIMMS", I meant "SIMS"--kids had the game but I never played it...or knew how to spell it

[;>}

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sims_3

consultant said...

J,

I just read your comment from a couple of posts back. It just confirms my suspicion: Republicans and conservatives can't read.

This is the reason they HATE public transportation. They can't read all the signs and directions around mass transit and they don't want to feel embarrassed or get lost. That's why they oppose mass transit.

J, you are a GREAT AMERICAN! You stepped forward to show that you can be ignorant AND support mass transit.

J, you are following in the footsteps of a lot of ignorant Americans who ignore their background and move cautiously forward into the light. J, you should be proud of yourself.

I'm going to give you a partial scholarship to my online classes (I would give you a full scholarship but I know how you conservatives HATE handouts, bailouts, welfare, affirmative action, subsidies, the American Disabilities Act, Obamacare, women with "big" jobs and flossing).

Classes start in September. I look forward to seeing you online.

consultant said...

Here's Kansas City's plan for mass transit: http://kclightrail.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/JacksonCountyKCRegionalAlternativesAnalysisApplication.pdf

Kansas City (MARC) and Atlanta (ARC) both have agencies that combine regional and transportation planning. However both agencies lack 2 key ingredients: power and authority.

Neither agency can overrule the state or initiate projects on their own. Both agencies are fully represented with authorities from the jurisdictions they cover. But they mostly do studies and issue endless reports.

Out of sheer necessity, Georgia moved forward by creating 12 districts in the state that can now come up with their own transportation plans and create their own funding mechanisms. This is a first for Georgia and a HUGE step forward in state where transportation issues in the state's largest metro area were held hostage by mostly rural legislators.

A situation not peculiar to Georgia

Larry said...

Consultant said Republicans and Conservatives which I am being an Independent can not read.

Actually we just have very little time to read as we are working so hard to pay all those taxes for all those non working liberals and liberal policies and toys you guys just lovvvvvvvvvve and throw out like it is the best thing in the world.

www.CharlotteLightRail.com

And we look forward to seeing you at the poll this time. We Independents have been the swing vote for every election for the last several elections.

consultant said...

Good stuff here:

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/existing-systems/existing-light-rail-systems/

Dale Johnson said...

Wonder just how strong the support for the Charlotte streetcar would have been if everyone living and working within, say, four blocks, would have to pay an additional 1% sales tax? If they could build and operate the Charlotte streetcar with only that tax and donations, I'd have no reason to oppose it.
**********************************
"The nearly $25 million from the federal government will pay for more than half the projected start-up costs of the $44-million trolley system. Last year voters living along the trolley route of Delmar and DeBaliviere passed a one-cent sales tax that generates about $400,000 to $500,000 a year for the trolley.

Edwards tells Daily RFT that he doesn't believe St. Louis would've received the federal grant without the sales-tax initiative.

"Ninety-seven percent of voters supported the tax, and that went a long way to proving our case to the Department of Transportation," says Edwards. "


http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2010/07/loop_trolley_a_piece_of_cake.php

Dale Johnson said...

Wouldn't it be more appropriate for folks living/working within four blocks of the entire length of the steetcar line to pay an additional 1% sales tax to fund the streetcar, rather than a tax on parking uptown, as Cannon proposed?

You think that if the folks using and benefiting from it actually had to fund it that we would have seen the same marginal level of support that we saw at the city council meeting?

consultant said...

Larry,

Just to be clear, are you an independent, conservative or a Republican?

Do you support spending that supports the many or the few?

What about infrastructure other than roads? Dams? Bridges? The electric grid? Water? There are many things ALL OF MUST SUPPORT. Why the craziness over a few million for a streetcar?

The 69 billions we just threw away on the "wars" could have built brand spanking new mass transit in the top 20 metro cities in America. The roughly 1 trillion Bush and Cheney dropped into these wars could have built passenger rail to every city and hamlet in America, along with extensive mass transit to ever part of the top 50 metro areas in America along with a gob of money left over for a transportation trust fund.

We've thrown away ridiculous sums of money on all kinds of stuff over the last decade, but people mainly shrug their shoulders while their eyes glaze over.

Which makes me think transportation planners have failed by thinking too small. They should come out with a light rail plan that cost 150 billion, with station stops at every corner, fresh beer served each morning on the trains and cheerleaders when you get off at each stop.

That ballot initiative would probably pass with about 90% of the voters approving.

wilyoat said...

You know you want it! You know you'll ride it! Raise my taxes a bit to pay for forward thinking mass transit!

Facebook group supporting the Charlotte Streetcar and Light Rail Expansion:
Link:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotteans-for-the-Streetcar-and-Light-Rail-expansion/146636445353948?ref=ts

Dale Johnson said...

Which makes me think transportation planners have failed by thinking too small. They should come out with a light rail plan that cost 150 billion, with station stops at every corner, fresh beer served each morning on the trains and cheerleaders when you get off at each stop.

That ballot initiative would probably pass with about 90% of the voters approving.

**************************

Glad I don't think that lowly of my fellow citizens--and if I did, I certainly wouldn't post that I did.......

consultant said...

"Glad I don't think that lowly of my fellow citizens--and if I did, I certainly wouldn't post that I did......."

I forgot to add that in that 150 billion dollar streetcar plan, a part of it would have Charlotte invade North Korea (that way we would get the Republican vote).

wiley said...

Consultant,

It's obvious that Bush Derangement Syndrome has consumed you.

All of the Dollars you quoted about "Bush's wars" also apply to Obama.

Furthermore, you seem to forget the current Idiot in Chief occupying the White House has racked up trillions in new debt with his unpopular pet projects that have been rammed down our throats.

Your failure to acknowledge those facts render your comments moot.

Larry said...

Consultant.

Your 69 Billion story is also told on the www.Recovery.gov story in which your guy gave it to non-existent districts and no one knows where the money went.

And just look at the other waste of money on expensive pot holes.

At least the war has kept them from blowing up anymore building, and killing any more citizens here on our soil.

So look at your guys spending and note he will be in 23 trillion at current spending and we can not even afford the interest on the current debt.

consultant said...

Wiley & Larry,

This is off topic, but wasn't Wiley & Larry 2 of the "Three Stooges"? I could be wrong.

Anyway, which part of the plan did you like? The Las Vegas style cheerleaders at every stop or Charlotte invading North Korea?

My fiscal conservative friends have said that if the Streetcar plan includes stopping the "toys-for-tots" program and other expensive giveaways, they can guarantee 100% support for the Streetcar.

With your support Larry & Curly, this thing is as good as built.

Dale Johnson said...

Arguably blacks in Charlotte are more than TWO to ONE against the streetcar


The Charlotte Post readers are MORE against the streetcar than the arguably mostly white and liberal Charlotte Observer Readers........

Is the streetcar a good idea?    69% NO 29% YES


City Council voted to apply for a $25 m federal grant to complete the first section of the 1.5 miles city?s $37 m streetcar project from Presbyterian Hospital to the uptown Transit Center. Is spending at least $24.6 m per mile a good idea?
No. We have more serious funding issues to be concerned with.
 41%
No. We should be funding expansion of the light rail project.
 19%
No. We need to be developing a more comprehensive DOT program.
 9%
Yes. It is a smart investment that will help with job creation.
 5%
Yes. It will help with economic development in that corridor.
 14%
Yes. Federal government funding opportunity needs to be seized.
 10%

http://www.thecharlottepost.com/index.php


*******************************************************************

Poll
Do you support a streetcar line for Charlotte?
Yes
1485  38%
No
2399  62%
Total Votes:  3884


Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/07/09/1551938/city-wins-25m-to-build-streetcar.html#storylink=omni_popular#ixzz0va1XI6ZF