Transportation Catch All thread

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
First unread post708 posts
Now that A7 is done and that thread is mainly about that, lets turn our focus on how to move forward and where we want our system to be tomorrow, a year from now, 5 years from now and 20 years from now, ect

To kick it off- What is our top transportation priority in the next 2-3 years and how do we get there?
What should Metro do in the next few years? focus on BRT? light rail? get in on the streetcar talk?
What should MoDOT do with I-70 in our region from St.Charles to the City. (40 mile stretch)
I'm trying to put together 1-1 and figure out what Metro is trying to do.

From the looks of it this is what I've gathered.

*Metro is not going to build the N-S Metrolink street running system that we have been looking at the past few years, instead the city will take a stab at a streetcar system to destination neighborhoods.

*Metro is not necessarily opposed to the N-S line, but I think they want to keep the system grade separated for efficiency and travel time sake. They have the belief that they might as well do BRT along with Great Streets (like Natural Bridge BRT/Great Streets initiative) for a fraction of the cost. So who knows, maybe a Gravois and/or Jefferson Ave BRT and Great Streets initiative is coming next for the 44 and 55 corridors.

*Not only do they see the street running Metrolink as not being cost effective, they realize the political reality that the county has to buy in to any major Metrolink extension. I believe it will cost like $1.5 billion to build the full N-S line from 270N to 270S in today's dollars, which is the only Metrolink expansion that would satisfy by the city and county.

What I think they may do.

1) Use the I-70 corridor as a commuter/light rail corridor from downtown along the North Riverfront Corridor that could possibly branch off to the west and meet up with the red line or a new Westport line further west.

*I believe DB mentioned that there was talks of studying a northern spur of Metrolink....could this be it?

*Many people don't know that Paul McKee originally wanted the Metrolink to go up the Broadway Corridor before branching west into North City.

*The city wants to revitalize the North Broadway Corridor, which is highly visible from the new MRB. A Metrolink or BRT down the middle of I-70 could help with that vision. Not to mention if the trestle gets completed, this instantly becomes super hot real estate.

2) Build the Westport line.

*I know urbanites don't like this, but I think this will get built. Not only is it going to help revitalize Westport, but the budding Danforth Research Park will benefit hugely, also U-City wants this, and it will solidy Clayton as St. Louis County's multi-modal hub and bookend of the central corridor.

3) Potential for Southern rail ROW line.

*I believe this solution was runner up to the Jefferson line, but I think it will be revisited. Not only is it probably more cost effective, it offers the grade separated experience that Metrolink riders a familiar with. It also has the potential to meet up with an expanded Cross County line at a new multimodal transit hub at South County Center.

A MAP OF THE POTENTIAL RAIL FUTURE?

I-70 METROLINK/NORTH CITY SPUR - PURPLE
DANIEL BOONE/WESTPORT - GREEN

Image
I think the priority for the region right now is a whole lot of nothing until we get a publicly developed plan supported by the public. There are a lot of things to hash out with key people/orgs not on the same page.
I personally believe that a Northside route should be priority (I'll post my thoughts on specific routing later, as to me this is the most complex routing), but if and when a Westport line be built, may I suggest this likely more expensive, but I think more superior routing through Westport than I've seen elsewhere.

Image
I'd like to increase bus frequency and make the experience more pleasurable by adding maps at bus stops, "bus is here in XX mins" signs and bus location info in phone apps, ped lighting at some bus stops.
Some food for thought on the recently opened Green Line in MSP

Star Tribune - Understanding the Green Line: Neither this nor that

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/comm ... 00971.html
quincunx wrote:
I'd like to increase bus frequency and make the experience more pleasurable by adding maps at bus stops, "bus is here in XX mins" signs and bus location info in phone apps, ped lighting at some bus stops.

realistic. wonder how much those video boards cost and if Metro could apply for CMAQ funds to buy and install them... Feds are big on intelligent transportation systems,....tho i think it could be expansive running fiber to connect these devices to a central command.
^Wireless?
Could it work if the Bus is 10 min away and still talk to that station?
Wasnt metro doing an App that will do this tho?
dbInSouthCity wrote:
quincunx wrote:
I'd like to increase bus frequency and make the experience more pleasurable by adding maps at bus stops, "bus is here in XX mins" signs and bus location info in phone apps, ped lighting at some bus stops.

realistic. wonder how much those video boards cost and if Metro could apply for CMAQ funds to buy and install them... Feds are big on intelligent transportation systems,....tho i think it could be expansive running fiber to connect these devices to a central command.


Bus tracking and time-to-arrival boards would be a huge positive for Metro. Chicago has had that for at least four or five years. When I've been up there it's great grabbing one more quick drink in a bar, watching the bus progress on a map on your smart phone and spending less than a minute outside waiting for the bus.


It's customer service and positive perception enhancement.

I sold my wife on going car-less on a trip to Chicago with the CTA train/bus tracking. Just putting her mind at ease, knowing when things would arrive, was the big part. I would only think that adding that feature to Metro would help increase ridership and the customer base.
I don't think many people are aware of it, but Metro does have a primitive bus tracker on their website. If you go to the trip planner page and click on "Next Departures" it will bring up a screen that shows both scheduled and estimated actual arrival times for the next few buses at a particular stop. The trick is you have to know the stop number or do a search for it on Metro's mobile-unfriendly webpage.
Yeah that's been there for a year or so. Not useful. Google Maps should have that info too

http://www.nextstopstl.org/10381/websit ... val-times/
Luscombe wrote:
I don't think many people are aware of it, but Metro does have a primitive bus tracker on their website. If you go to the trip planner page and click on "Next Departures" it will bring up a screen that shows both scheduled and estimated actual arrival times for the next few buses at a particular stop. The trick is you have to know the stop number or do a search for it on Metro's mobile-unfriendly webpage.


Thank you: but damn is that clunky and user-unfriendly or what? Even on a desktop it's a chore.

On the buses if you sit right behind the driver you can see one of their screens that shows their variance from schedule. And it seems to be constantly refreshing (or around every 5 to 10 seconds). Getting that information out with live tracking with maps and a decent mobile interface would be so nice.
goat314 wrote:
I'm trying to put together 1-1 and figure out what Metro is trying to do.

From the looks of it this is what I've gathered.

*Metro is not going to build the N-S Metrolink street running system that we have been looking at the past few years, instead the city will take a stab at a streetcar system to destination neighborhoods.

*Metro is not necessarily opposed to the N-S line, but I think they want to keep the system grade separated for efficiency and travel time sake. They have the belief that they might as well do BRT along with Great Streets (like Natural Bridge BRT/Great Streets initiative) for a fraction of the cost. So who knows, maybe a Gravois and/or Jefferson Ave BRT and Great Streets initiative is coming next for the 44 and 55 corridors.

*Not only do they see the street running Metrolink as not being cost effective, they realize the political reality that the county has to buy in to any major Metrolink extension. I believe it will cost like $1.5 billion to build the full N-S line from 270N to 270S in today's dollars, which is the only Metrolink expansion that would satisfy by the city and county.

What I think they may do.

1) Use the I-70 corridor as a commuter/light rail corridor from downtown along the North Riverfront Corridor that could possibly branch off to the west and meet up with the red line or a new Westport line further west.

*I believe DB mentioned that there was talks of studying a northern spur of Metrolink....could this be it?

*Many people don't know that Paul McKee originally wanted the Metrolink to go up the Broadway Corridor before branching west into North City.

*The city wants to revitalize the North Broadway Corridor, which is highly visible from the new MRB. A Metrolink or BRT down the middle of I-70 could help with that vision. Not to mention if the trestle gets completed, this instantly becomes super hot real estate.

2) Build the Westport line.

*I know urbanites don't like this, but I think this will get built. Not only is it going to help revitalize Westport, but the budding Danforth Research Park will benefit hugely, also U-City wants this, and it will solidy Clayton as St. Louis County's multi-modal hub and bookend of the central corridor.

3) Potential for Southern rail ROW line.

*I believe this solution was runner up to the Jefferson line, but I think it will be revisited. Not only is it probably more cost effective, it offers the grade separated experience that Metrolink riders a familiar with. It also has the potential to meet up with an expanded Cross County line at a new multimodal transit hub at South County Center.

A MAP OF THE POTENTIAL RAIL FUTURE?

I-70 METROLINK/NORTH CITY SPUR - PURPLE
DANIEL BOONE/WESTPORT - GREEN

Image


Who's map is that? Yours?
A MAP OF THE POTENTIAL RAIL FUTURE?

I-70 METROLINK/NORTH CITY SPUR - PURPLE
DANIEL BOONE/WESTPORT - GREEN


Man South City/County get really f-ed in your theoretical future scenario.

If metrolink ever gets an expansion, my money as of now would be on Westport, followed by 20 years of feuding over what a waste of money it was. If its Westport though I'd like to see them build track along/under Market to serves Chafitz, and Harris Stowe at Compton and Wells Fargo at Jefferson, as part of a compromise deal that also redevelops 22nd Street Interchange.
dweebe wrote:
Luscombe wrote:
I don't think many people are aware of it, but Metro does have a primitive bus tracker on their website. If you go to the trip planner page and click on "Next Departures" it will bring up a screen that shows both scheduled and estimated actual arrival times for the next few buses at a particular stop. The trick is you have to know the stop number or do a search for it on Metro's mobile-unfriendly webpage.


Thank you: but damn is that clunky and user-unfriendly or what? Even on a desktop it's a chore.

On the buses if you sit right behind the driver you can see one of their screens that shows their variance from schedule. And it seems to be constantly refreshing (or around every 5 to 10 seconds). Getting that information out with live tracking with maps and a decent mobile interface would be so nice.

Yeah. It's a shame. They have the data people want but haven't made it user-friendly at all.
dweebe wrote:
goat314 wrote:
I'm trying to put together 1-1 and figure out what Metro is trying to do.

From the looks of it this is what I've gathered.

*Metro is not going to build the N-S Metrolink street running system that we have been looking at the past few years, instead the city will take a stab at a streetcar system to destination neighborhoods.

*Metro is not necessarily opposed to the N-S line, but I think they want to keep the system grade separated for efficiency and travel time sake. They have the belief that they might as well do BRT along with Great Streets (like Natural Bridge BRT/Great Streets initiative) for a fraction of the cost. So who knows, maybe a Gravois and/or Jefferson Ave BRT and Great Streets initiative is coming next for the 44 and 55 corridors.

*Not only do they see the street running Metrolink as not being cost effective, they realize the political reality that the county has to buy in to any major Metrolink extension. I believe it will cost like $1.5 billion to build the full N-S line from 270N to 270S in today's dollars, which is the only Metrolink expansion that would satisfy by the city and county.

What I think they may do.

1) Use the I-70 corridor as a commuter/light rail corridor from downtown along the North Riverfront Corridor that could possibly branch off to the west and meet up with the red line or a new Westport line further west.

*I believe DB mentioned that there was talks of studying a northern spur of Metrolink....could this be it?

*Many people don't know that Paul McKee originally wanted the Metrolink to go up the Broadway Corridor before branching west into North City.

*The city wants to revitalize the North Broadway Corridor, which is highly visible from the new MRB. A Metrolink or BRT down the middle of I-70 could help with that vision. Not to mention if the trestle gets completed, this instantly becomes super hot real estate.

2) Build the Westport line.

*I know urbanites don't like this, but I think this will get built. Not only is it going to help revitalize Westport, but the budding Danforth Research Park will benefit hugely, also U-City wants this, and it will solidy Clayton as St. Louis County's multi-modal hub and bookend of the central corridor.

3) Potential for Southern rail ROW line.

*I believe this solution was runner up to the Jefferson line, but I think it will be revisited. Not only is it probably more cost effective, it offers the grade separated experience that Metrolink riders a familiar with. It also has the potential to meet up with an expanded Cross County line at a new multimodal transit hub at South County Center.

A MAP OF THE POTENTIAL RAIL FUTURE?

I-70 METROLINK/NORTH CITY SPUR - PURPLE
DANIEL BOONE/WESTPORT - GREEN

Image


Who's map is that? Yours?


yes
STLEnginerd wrote:
A MAP OF THE POTENTIAL RAIL FUTURE?

I-70 METROLINK/NORTH CITY SPUR - PURPLE
DANIEL BOONE/WESTPORT - GREEN


Man South City/County get really f-ed in your theoretical future scenario.

If metrolink ever gets an expansion, my money as of now would be on Westport, followed by 20 years of feuding over what a waste of money it was. If its Westport though I'd like to see them build track along/under Market to serves Chafitz, and Harris Stowe at Compton and Wells Fargo at Jefferson, as part of a compromise deal that also redevelops 22nd Street Interchange.


Yellow = South City
Blue - Cross County
They would meet at South County Center

Image

I think Metro could actually satisfy everybody by using existing ROWs

We could probably build Westport, North City, and South City for the cost of one North South Mega line, because the ROWs are already there. I think Metro may go back to that direction.
I think a revamped bus system would be a great short term plan/goal while expanded transit is fleshed out.

Inaddition to added frequencies and bus tracking, I really think we'd benefit from simplified routes. I'm sure the routes that exist were designed to carry the most people to specific destinations, but I think the way to grow ridership is making the riding experience more straightforward.

What about something like this:

Run buses exclusively (with some exceptions) along a single arterial road. So for example, have an Arsenal bus that runs from Jamieson east to Broadway, does a quick loop and then runs back West out to Jamieon. Do essentially the same thing with Chippewa. Do it with Manchester-Chouteau. Etc. Etc. Then do it on North-South roads like Jefferson, Grand and Kingshighway.
dbInSouthCity wrote:
quincunx wrote:
I'd like to increase bus frequency and make the experience more pleasurable by adding maps at bus stops, "bus is here in XX mins" signs and bus location info in phone apps, ped lighting at some bus stops.

realistic. wonder how much those video boards cost and if Metro could apply for CMAQ funds to buy and install them... Feds are big on intelligent transportation systems,....tho i think it could be expansive running fiber to connect these devices to a central command.


Metro's already flubbed up those signs and they've been confusing since the moment they were turned on. The first time I tried to make use of them, I was watching them at the Shrewsbury transit center, waiting for the #21 bus. The sign said "Westbound #21, ARRIVING in 12 minutes."

The problem is, Shrewsbury is the eastern Terminus of the #21 - only eastbound #21 buses, not westbound, ARRIVE at Shrewsbury.

Furthermore, the sign NEVER shows any "DEPARTING in...." times. So it's doubly confusing. Ultimately, the "Arriving in.." time didn't correspond as far as I can tell with any bus arriving OR departing. (And who except those on the bus cares when a bus is due to arrive??) Ever since then, it's been the same.

Just like the fact that Metro alerts (like, I don't know, the Metrolink isn't running because there's a disabled train on the tracks?) are only shared on Facebook - sporadically - and the Metro website shows "No Alerts" as though it's permanently coded onto the page....I simply don't trust Metro to handle this user interface stuff. They may have good diesel mechanics or schedulers or whatever...but the organization is completely inept at making the transit system friendly and usable.

I tried to post about it as a comment on nextstopstl, the blog. Supposedly, it's there to create a "conversation" about transit in St. Louis. But unless you post something rah-rah about Metro, they delete (or don't approve) the post.

So, I'm pretty much just sticking to Google Transit. It's accurate enough. I don't trust that Metro can get anything done before smart phones have 100% penetration and people don't have to rely on information at the bus or train stops.
As far as transit expansion, At this point I think it makes more sense to see more frequencies, larger and newer buses as well as expanded routes over BRT. I can't back it up, but more frequency on well used routes with real time displays seems like it would add more users to the system and thus increase overall ridership. Right now, I can picture the proposed BRT making the commute shorter for some retail/industrial low wage employees but not improving overall ridership or bring in new users to the system as it is proposed. Anyone beg to differ?

As far as transit expansion reality of METRO/County hell bent on watered down BRT. I would at least incorporate designs that would facilitate shared ROW and facilities between the proposed MERTO North Florrisant/MLK (if I got the streets right) BRT route and a future City Streetcar expansion into North and South City. I don't see any reason why a Bus designed for BRT and a low floor streetcar can't share the same ROW and stops/facilities. Heck, schedule it so BRT Bus stops at every other or every third streetcar stop when it is in the city limits or vice versa, increase the frequency of the Streetcar stops along the BRT route.
Some simple upgrades to make bus service friendlier like everyone's talking about would be great. The SMS-based bus tracker that CTA uses came to mind -- it's simple, and it's accessible to anyone with a mobile phone (not just a smartphone).

http://www.transitchicago.com/riding_ct ... rtext.aspx

And looking at that page made me think: Wouldn't it be nice if there was some sort of useful information on signage at bus stops or Metrolink stations? The way things are give people another reason to not try the bus. It'd be nice to use the system we have to its full potential, but as it is the only people that are on the bus are people who don't have another option.
all these ideas cost $, so how do you raise money? for metro projects would there really be an appetite to raise the sales tax again so soon after Prop A and if you look at what Prop A promised, it just hasn't delivered even close to what was promised.

For road/bridge- there are many options on the table, someone just needs to have balls (GOP) and act on those options on the table- gax tax and tolls. 10 cent gas tax hike = $268,000,000 a year for MoDOT, $56 million for cities to split and $56 million for counties to split....