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Re: [carfree_cities] FW: Montrain: RE: Montrain: Re: notable voltages for EMUS?

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  • J.H. Crawford
    via Ronald Dawson and David Clark [not sure whose comments are whose] There are some very important points here. ... Street running has an old and honorable
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 2, 2000
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      via Ronald Dawson and David Clark [not sure whose comments are whose]

      There are some very important points here.

      >>>>Why do you want to go back to street-running, at grade PROW makes much more
      >>>>sense. If you segregate transit from traffic, it's much quicker & more
      >>>>reliable.

      Street running has an old and honorable tradition. It works
      pretty well in smaller cities, less dense areas (but denser
      than modern suburbs), and when the vehicle traffic isn't too
      frequent and noisy. The San Francisco/Boston/Brussels/Straasbourg
      solution of putting streetcars in tunnels in the downtown areas
      is an excellent, effective, and relatively economical approach
      to providing very high quality public transport.

      >>>Yes, but there are also questions of access and available space. Dawson

      Absolutely. However, if you move out the cars, then very few streets
      are too narrow--in fact, most streets become TOO WIDE. (In the book,
      I've proposed constructing a row of buildings right down the middle
      of existing streets, giving two much narrower streets instead of
      one very wide one.

      >>Another interesting thing....if part of it is in traffic or at least close
      >>enough, it gets more noticed! And, light rail, even when it is street running,
      >>tends to be more popular than busses. Why? Because laying the track and
      >>stringing the catenary indicates that the service will last.

      That's one of the important reasons--people are not going to make
      large, long-term financial commitment on the basis of transport
      infrastructure unless they're sure it's going to be there for a
      long time. Bus serivce never provides that kind of certainty.

      >>If you simply have a bunch of signs that say "bus stop" and a fleet of busses,
      >>then what? The routes could be changed at will.

      yup

      >Hi, I agree to the above comments, but I deplore traditional street-running,
      >mixing with other traffic.

      >If you can create an Amsterdam style street metro, if necessary by removing
      >a traffic lane, then it's possible to run a high quality, frequent &
      >noticeable service without going underground. All the new UK systems have
      >taken this approach, especially in city centres. In the 'burbs, trams mix
      >with fast-moving traffic, but have priority at all controlled intersections.

      I predict that within a couple of decades, most of these
      systems will have been put underground, at least in the
      downtown areas.

      >Pedestrianisation of main city streets also works well, as it's perfectly
      >possible to run a tram service amongst the walking public. Many examples in
      >Europe, Rotterdam, & Amsterdam are known to me personally.

      Yes, and we kill a couple of pedestrians every year under trams.
      It's by no means a perfect solution.

      >All those German cities that have insisted in constructing a "U" Bahn,
      >(usually a tram subway), have found that you loose customers, especially
      >when it's quicker to walk on the surface, rather than walk to/from
      >underground tram stations.

      It's not customers but acess that counts. If some people elect to
      walk rather than ride a subway, that's fine by me--they can
      probably use the exercise anyway. The main purpose of a public
      transport system is to carry people the longer distances. Bikes
      and feet work fine for short distances.

      Another reason is that metro systems generally stop less frequently
      than trams. Stops are typically 500 meters or more apart (with
      notable exceptions). You'll notice, for instance, that
      New York closed the Lex. IRT station at 18th street (it's still
      there; the trains just don't stop). This helped to speed up
      service on the IRT, which generally has stops every 5 blocks,
      or 1320 feet. Taking the IRT local in Manhattan is a very
      slow experience.

      Trams, on the other hand, stop very frequently. Here in my
      street, they took out a halt for several years because there
      were halts in either direction within 200 meters. People
      complained and they put the stop back, but it slows service.
      Any public transport system is a compromise between convenient,
      frequent stops and fast running. Only continuous systems, such
      as a belt, don't suffer intrinsically from this conflict.
      Problem is, nobody has ever come up with a practical system
      for this that's fast and energy efficient. Someday, maybe.

      One other problem commonly plagues metros: they're far too deep
      in the ground. The T station at Porter Square in Cambridge must
      be at least 100 feet below ground. It takes a couple of minutes
      just to get up to the surface. (There is a good reason for this,
      the commuter rail train station is below grade and above the
      T station.)

      In the book, I've proposed a way to build subways so that the
      platforms are only about 10 feet below grade level, for quick,
      easy access (even by ramp, instead of elevator, for wheelchairs
      and grocery carts).

      It's really important to get these details right.



      ###

      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      postmaster@... Carfree.com
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