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Re: [carfree_cities] Fwd: [UrbanMaglev] "A Streetcar Named Disaster" HoustonReview 2/4 (at-grade LRT vs. ..)

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  • Peter Cook
    ... That is a rather odd question - of course the answer is yes.. Why do Americans always think that their attempt at something is the first time it has ever
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 8 8:05 PM
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      At 02:26 PM 9/03/2004, Chris Miller wrote:
      >An interesting article about problems met with Houston's try at
      >introducing light rail while keeping automobile traffic in the same
      >right of way. I wonder if there have been any difficulties like this
      >elsewhere?

      That is a rather odd question - of course the answer is yes.. Why do
      Americans always think that their attempt at something is the first time it
      has ever been tried in the world?

      Here in Melbourne, there are an average of three crashes a day between
      Trams (Streetcars) and Motorists getting in their way. Our network
      involves about 200km (125mi) of electrified on street running, of which
      about 800 yards (Bourke Street Mall) is isolated from motor traffic, the
      rest of the on street running is mixed with traffic or is in painted median
      fairways. There are about 500 trams in the fleet.

      >This seems to be a good argument for grade separation, and
      >it will become especially important to take this into account when the
      >time eventually comes (I assume) that more public transportation starts
      >to be phased in while many people are still driving around.

      Nope.. It's a good argument for slapping some perspective into
      people.. Tram drivers are professionals, trams always have right of way
      over motorists, and motorists need to learn to appreciate that either
      through education or through experience when they have to collect their
      cars from crash repair shops after a few days without it.

      Also, if all those people on the Trams had been driving or on a bus instead
      and the trams were not there, how many additional car-car or car-bus
      crashes would have happened?


      PC
      Melbourne, Australia
    • Christopher Miller
      Hi, ... Actually, I m Canadian and just happen to be living in Washington DC now. I was rather stung by your reaction to my post. I took the trouble to
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 8 9:14 PM
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        Hi,

        On 8-Mar-04, at 11:05 PM, Peter Cook wrote:

        > At 02:26 PM 9/03/2004, Chris Miller wrote:
        >> An interesting article about problems met with Houston's try at
        >> introducing light rail while keeping automobile traffic in the same
        >> right of way. I wonder if there have been any difficulties like this
        >> elsewhere?
        >
        > That is a rather odd question - of course the answer is yes.. Why do
        > Americans always think that their attempt at something is the first
        > time it
        > has ever been tried in the world?

        Actually, I'm Canadian and just happen to be living in Washington DC
        now. I was rather stung by your reaction to my post. I took the trouble
        to cross-post it to the Carfree Cities list because it is of obvious
        interest; getting this kind of a reaction (in this case the unmerited
        and inaccurate stereotyping of Americans) can be enough to discourage a
        person from participating any further in a discussion group like this.

        I posed the question out of curiosity, not knowing how much of a
        problem auto-tramway collisions are elsewhere. When I was in Prague,
        for example, it seemed to me that this was no problem. Nor, as far as I
        know, in Amsterdam. My impressions are certainly superficial given my
        very short stays in either place, and I was wondering how well at-grade
        trams coexist with other street traffic (whether pedestrian,
        human-powered, or automobile) in various places around the world. The
        problem will always come up as long as there is coexistence between
        public transit and some sort of individual locomotion on the same right
        of way. It doesn't matter whether the individual locomotion is by foot,
        bike, rollerblade, wheelchair or automobile; you still have to worry
        about the problem of collisions. (It's worth remembering that Antoni
        Gaudi, the famous Catalan architect, died when he was hit by a
        Barcelona streetcar while leaving the worksite of the Sagrada Familia.)

        > Here in Melbourne, there are an average of three crashes a day between
        > Trams (Streetcars) and Motorists getting in their way. Our network
        > involves about 200km (125mi) of electrified on street running, of which
        > about 800 yards (Bourke Street Mall) is isolated from motor traffic,
        > the
        > rest of the on street running is mixed with traffic or is in painted
        > median
        > fairways. There are about 500 trams in the fleet.
        >
        >> This seems to be a good argument for grade separation, and
        >> it will become especially important to take this into account when the
        >> time eventually comes (I assume) that more public transportation
        >> starts
        >> to be phased in while many people are still driving around.
        >
        > Nope.. It's a good argument for slapping some perspective into
        > people.. Tram drivers are professionals, trams always have right of
        > way
        > over motorists, and motorists need to learn to appreciate that either
        > through education or through experience when they have to collect their
        > cars from crash repair shops after a few days without it.

        Much as I would agree with your point of view about peoples'
        perspective, this kind of gives up on the imperative to design the
        transit system in a way that minimises problems like this. When you
        design something, you always have to take into account the fact that
        many people are going to act irrationally: pointing out that they are
        irrational after the fact isn't going to make your problems go away.
        (Think of subway suicides, which regularly hold up the Montreal Metro:
        why not do like Paris does in newer stations, i.e. install glass walls
        with automated sliding doors on the edge of the platform?) What you
        need to do is to anticipate difficulties, on the basis of other
        people's experience (Houston in this case) and try and design a better
        alternative that avoids interruptions because of occasional irrational
        behaviour (due to absent-mindedness, tiredness, mental distress,
        whatever) by some people.

        > Also, if all those people on the Trams had been driving or on a bus
        > instead
        > and the trams were not there, how many additional car-car or car-bus
        > crashes would have happened?

        Interesting question: I *suspect* that there might be fewer simply
        based on my experience as an urban cyclist. It is astounding how many
        drivers seem not to twig on to the fact that something that is not a
        gas-powered vehicle is also part of traffic and needs to be taken into
        account. My *feeling* is that some drivers would likely identify buses,
        unlike trams and such, as "real" street traffic to be taken into
        account. Perhaps part of the problem with the Houston Metrorail is that
        it is on a marked-off corridor distinct from the street. Since drivers
        are basically worried about the street, i.e. the paved areas where they
        can navigate, perhaps there is something about the design of the
        Houston system that somehow encourages drivers to ignore it as a
        transportation corridor, since they don't perceive it as part of the
        street as such. As I have already said, this is a major issue to take
        into account when cities inevitably start phasing in more and more (non
        petrochemical based) public transit lines in the coming decades.

        Chris Miller
        A Canadian in Washington DC, USA
      • J.H. Crawford
        Hi All, Regarding the Houston issue, notice that nearly all the crashes involve cars turning left. The only way to tackle this problem is to forbid all left
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 9 2:48 AM
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          Hi All,

          Regarding the Houston issue, notice that nearly all the
          crashes involve cars turning left. The only way to tackle
          this problem is to forbid all left turns across the
          tracks, which, I believe, run in a center reservation.
          Drivers are literally getting blind-sided, and the
          signalling is always a bit confusing in the case of
          left-turn-on-arrow-only. Colorblind drivers may be
          seeing a red arrow and thinking it's green. (I know
          there aren't supposed to BE colorblind drivers, but
          I'll bet there are plenty in America, where it's drive
          or die.)

          Drivers would get used to the idea that you can NEVER
          turn left across the tram tracks. Instead, they will
          have to go around the block and approach straight on,
          when they will be able to cope with the standard traffic
          signal, which should see them safely across the tracsk.
          Their sight lines are good and mirrors aren't needed.

          If this doesn't work, then they will have to physically
          block all crossing traffic and provide some over- or
          underpasses to get cars across the tracks.

          Remember that in Zurich, the decision was made to get
          cars off the streets where they were interfering with
          the trams. Gotta get your priorities straight. This is
          going to be difficult in Houston.

          Regards,



          -- ### --

          J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
          mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
        • Karen Sandness
          A couple of points worth noting: 1. A conservative student monthly serving the Houston area mocking public transportation? I knew that this was an article
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 9 7:44 AM
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            A couple of points worth noting:

            1. A "conservative student monthly serving the Houston area" mocking
            public transportation? I knew that this was an article written by some
            rightwing outfit before I got to the bottom of the article, because I
            already recognize the snide, triumphant tone. If it's like comparable
            articles written by anti-transit types in Portland and Minneapolis, I
            would be cautious about accepting its claims at face value. The
            anti-transit crowd in both cities routinely lies, exaggerates, and
            leaves out inconvenient facts.

            For example, a local "taxpayers'" group commented on the Twin Cities
            transit strike and claimed that since the traffic was no more jammed
            than usual, transit was an unnecessary drain on the "taxpayers'"
            pockets. This claim appeared on the front page of the Minneapolis
            Star-Tribune on Sunday. Fortunately, the following day, the paper
            carried a story about non-drivers who were being forced to spend $10 a
            day on taxis or walk several miles or beg rides or simply stay home and
            miss out on jobs, medical appointments, and other necessities of life.
            The article concluded that the non-drivers could cope for a few days,
            but that an extended strike would cause real pain.

            2. This is reminiscent of the Portland anti-transit crowd crowing about
            "killer trolleys" after five pedestrians were killed on the westside
            MAX line shortly after it opened. The problem was not that the MAX was
            especially lethal to pedestrians but that people couldn't get it
            through their heads that one has to look both ways before crossing a
            train track. In one case, a drunk had passed out on the tracks. There
            were always fender benders between the MAX and cars, and I witnessed
            some of them. In every case that I saw, they were the fault of the
            motorist.

            3. The claim that light rail reduces traffic congestion has come back
            to bite transit advocates. It clearly doesn't do that, as a visit to
            Tokyo will prove. What it does do is allow people to *opt out* of
            congestion. Publicity for light rail lines should stress this notion.

            4. Is ridership really that low? Why has light rail been so successful
            in Dallas? Are the Houston lines in the wrong places, is the system
            poorly managed, has any PR been done? Is this a case of
            passive-aggressively mismanaging something to prove that "it doesn't
            work"?

            Just some things to think about.

            In transit,
            Karen Sand ness
          • Greg Steele
            Thank you Karen for pointing out that the author of the story was A conservative student monthly serving the Houston area. I think that may have something
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 9 12:32 PM
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              Thank you Karen for pointing out that the author of the story was "A
              conservative student monthly serving the Houston area." I think that
              may have something to do with Peter's reaction. I have to admit
              after reading the article I had to get up and take a short walk to
              cool off. The tone of the article has a "see, told ya it wouldn't
              work" feeling to it that reflects poorly on both Texans and Americans
              (from the US – sorry I know Canada, Mexico and the rest of two
              continents have the right to be called Americans, but that is another
              issue). It is the article not you as the poster is pushing some
              buttons.

              One thing with the article that really burned me up was the whining
              about $340 million. That is NOT a lot of money for a transportation
              improvement project, but when you use a figure like, without putting
              it in perspective it seems like a lot. I did a quick query of
              Pennsylvania's department of transportation's constructions projects
              database (I have access to this at work). Most projects for standard
              road repair are about between $10 and $20 million that is just for
              fixing pot-wholes, resurfacing, etc. And there are three projects
              this year over $340 million.

              I am sure there was a design option to put the light-rail on its own
              right-of-way, but that option would have been much more expensive and
              people like the one who wrote this article would have been the ones
              to shoot it down.

              As to a discussion of safety and light-rail sharing right-of-ways,
              Philadelphia has continuously operated trolleys on the street for
              about a hundred years now. A collision is a very usual event I can
              only recall one, about four years ago. Another good example is the
              streetcar in New Orleans. In parts in operates in the same right-of-
              way as cars (including going around Lee Circle) and then operates on
              the median of a high traffic roads where car traffic makes left turn
              across the rail (often without the aid of a signal). While living
              there for three years I cannot remember any collisions. In
              conclusion, I do think that it is something people need to learn how
              to co-exist with, not as both article seem to be saying - a design
              fault of the system. Neither the New Orleans or Philadelphia systems
              have good signage (some cases none) at crossing. You just grow up
              knowing that the streetcar can't stop quickly and regardless if you
              hit it or it hits you it is your fault.
            • Peter Cook
              ... My apologies. I probably got out of bed on the wrong side yesterday. ... Sounds like a bit of a cultural issue - people in European cities are more urban
              Message 6 of 11 , Mar 9 1:52 PM
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                At 04:14 PM 9/03/2004, Chris Miller wrote:
                > >> An interesting article about problems met with Houston's try at
                > >> introducing light rail while keeping automobile traffic in the same
                > >> right of way. I wonder if there have been any difficulties like this
                > >> elsewhere?
                > >
                > > That is a rather odd question - of course the answer is yes.. Why do
                > > Americans always think that their attempt at something is the first
                > > time it has ever been tried in the world?
                >
                >Actually, I'm Canadian and just happen to be living in Washington DC
                >now. I was rather stung by your reaction to my post. I took the trouble
                >to cross-post it to the Carfree Cities list because it is of obvious
                >interest; getting this kind of a reaction (in this case the unmerited
                >and inaccurate stereotyping of Americans) can be enough to discourage a
                >person from participating any further in a discussion group like this.

                My apologies. I probably got out of bed on the wrong side yesterday.

                >I posed the question out of curiosity, not knowing how much of a
                >problem auto-tramway collisions are elsewhere. When I was in Prague,
                >for example, it seemed to me that this was no problem. Nor, as far as I
                >know, in Amsterdam. My impressions are certainly superficial given my
                >very short stays in either place, and I was wondering how well at-grade
                >trams coexist with other street traffic (whether pedestrian,
                >human-powered, or automobile) in various places around the world.

                Sounds like a bit of a cultural issue - people in European cities are more
                urban focused than in North America or Australia. However, saying that,
                I'm sure there is a problem, just one that isn't given much publicity.

                >The problem will always come up as long as there is coexistence
                >between public transit and some sort of individual locomotion on the
                >same right of way.

                And there always will be coexistence of RoW in a city's transportation
                system. Cars share with cars, cars share with pedestrians, with cyclists,
                cyclists share with pedestrians, cars cycles and pedestrians share with
                trams and trains. Why foist Transit with massive capital costs when cars
                are getting a free ride and are still knocking down pedestrians and cyclists?

                >Much as I would agree with your point of view about peoples'
                >perspective, this kind of gives up on the imperative to design the
                >transit system in a way that minimises problems like this. When you
                >design something, you always have to take into account the fact that
                >many people are going to act irrationally: pointing out that they are
                >irrational after the fact isn't going to make your problems go away.
                >(Think of subway suicides, which regularly hold up the Montreal Metro:
                >why not do like Paris does in newer stations, i.e. install glass walls
                >with automated sliding doors on the edge of the platform?)

                Another option is to give a more convenient method of suicide.

                Again in Melbourne, we don't really have that much of a problem when it
                comes to train suicides. The fact that our trains and trams are fitted
                with wheel guards, which are basically a cast iron block that go in front
                of the front wheels, tends to sweep suiciders aside and leave them with a
                headache and an embarrassing story for the hospital staff.

                We do however have this little wonder called the West Gate Freeway, which
                culminates in an approach to the downtown area over a shipping channel (The
                West Gate Bridge). It opened in 1978, carries 150,000 vehicles a day, and
                has 4 lanes plus a breakdown lane in each direction. It's basically a
                bridge of death. On October 15 1970, 35 construction workers died when
                part of the structure collapsed. The fact that it's 53 metres above the
                river below and is not far from the bay means that crosswinds are often
                intense, and cars can be dragged across several lanes by the wind, though
                not always with fatal results. They drop the variable speed limit from
                80km/h (50mph) to 60 (37) or 40 (25) when the wind gets intense, but it
                doesn't always help. Oh, and to top it all off, an average of one person a
                week abandons a car, pushbike or motorbike on the bridge, or walks up, and
                commits suicide by jumping off the side. And of course, the installation
                of fencing on a bridge with high wind would add too much stress to the
                structure.

                Perhaps Futurama style Suicide Booths might be a less disruptive option
                still. Even if only 50% of those who'd otherwise suicide off a bridge or
                under a train decided to go in a purpose designed environment, there'd be
                less need to send police wandering through West Gate Park every week
                fishing out missing body parts here, and fewer subway disruptions in cities
                like Montreal.

                >Interesting question: I *suspect* that there might be fewer simply
                >based on my experience as an urban cyclist. It is astounding how many
                >drivers seem not to twig on to the fact that something that is not a
                >gas-powered vehicle is also part of traffic and needs to be taken into
                >account. My *feeling* is that some drivers would likely identify buses

                Here in oz, bus drivers are allowed to force their way out of bus stops and
                into traffic - not that cars give way like the signs on the back of the bus
                and the question in their drivers license exam says they must do. There
                are occasionally crashes, but not always with the bus. Someone could
                swerve out of the way of the bus and into the side of another car for example.

                >unlike trams and such, as "real" street traffic to be taken into
                >account. Perhaps part of the problem with the Houston Metrorail is that
                >it is on a marked-off corridor distinct from the street.

                Isn't the LA Blue Line the same? Not to mention plenty of other Streetcar
                and Light Rail systems across North America. Things will settle down in
                Houston eventually..

                Also, keep in mind that those who do get injured or killed are only self
                destructing, as their biology tells them to do, lest they reproduce and
                pass on the moron gene. In the past, people like this would have been
                wiped out at an earlier age and humanity was able to evolve as a
                result. Now they are being protected and humanity is going backwards.

                (Yes, I'm a fan of www.darwinawards.com )

                >As I have already said, this is a major issue to take
                >into account when cities inevitably start phasing in more and more (non
                >petrochemical based) public transit lines in the coming decades.

                We may have to agree to disagree there..


                PC
                Melbourne, Australia
              • mauk_mcamuk
                ... back ... to ... notion. ... This is an amazingly good point. Light rail provides a second, complimentary pathway. After enough time has passed, maybe we
                Message 7 of 11 , Mar 9 5:30 PM
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                  > 3. The claim that light rail reduces traffic congestion has come
                  back
                  > to bite transit advocates. It clearly doesn't do that, as a visit
                  to
                  > Tokyo will prove. What it does do is allow people to *opt out* of
                  > congestion. Publicity for light rail lines should stress this
                  notion.
                  >


                  This is an amazingly good point. Light rail provides a second,
                  complimentary pathway. After enough time has passed, maybe we can
                  start retiring the cars from city centers, thus creating carfree
                  zones.
                • Matt Hohmeister
                  This reminds me of New Orleans, where the streetcars of an era past not only cross streets, but travel in the same lanes as vehicles. In the Garden District, I
                  Message 8 of 11 , Mar 9 7:08 PM
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                    This reminds me of New Orleans, where the streetcars of an era past not only cross
                    streets, but travel in the same lanes as vehicles. In the Garden District, I have seen people
                    riding bicycles and jogging on the streetcar tracks--knowing, of course, to get out of the
                    way if they see a streetcar coming. Does anyone have New Orleans accident figures?

                    Oh--I looked at the list of Houston tram accidents, and saw no pedestrain or cyclist
                    accidents. Could this be because a pedestrian or cyclist is not belted into a seat and can
                    more effectively look both ways before crossing the tracks? Just a thought.

                    --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi All,
                    >
                    > Regarding the Houston issue, notice that nearly all the
                    > crashes involve cars turning left. The only way to tackle
                    > this problem is to forbid all left turns across the
                    > tracks, which, I believe, run in a center reservation.
                    > Drivers are literally getting blind-sided, and the
                    > signalling is always a bit confusing in the case of
                    > left-turn-on-arrow-only. Colorblind drivers may be
                    > seeing a red arrow and thinking it's green. (I know
                    > there aren't supposed to BE colorblind drivers, but
                    > I'll bet there are plenty in America, where it's drive
                    > or die.)
                    >
                    > Drivers would get used to the idea that you can NEVER
                    > turn left across the tram tracks. Instead, they will
                    > have to go around the block and approach straight on,
                    > when they will be able to cope with the standard traffic
                    > signal, which should see them safely across the tracsk.
                    > Their sight lines are good and mirrors aren't needed.
                    >
                    > If this doesn't work, then they will have to physically
                    > block all crossing traffic and provide some over- or
                    > underpasses to get cars across the tracks.
                    >
                    > Remember that in Zurich, the decision was made to get
                    > cars off the streets where they were interfering with
                    > the trams. Gotta get your priorities straight. This is
                    > going to be difficult in Houston.
                    >
                    > Regards,
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > -- ### --
                    >
                    > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                    > mailbox@c... http://www.carfree.com
                  • Mike Harrington
                    There are three kinds of accidents on Houston Metro s new light rail line. Turning left where left turns are illegal, turning left from a center lane instead
                    Message 9 of 11 , Mar 10 10:51 AM
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                      There are three kinds of accidents on Houston Metro's new light rail
                      line. Turning left where left turns are illegal, turning left from a
                      center lane instead of using left turn lanes which share the way with
                      the light rail tracks for 50 meters at certain intersections in the
                      Texas Medical Center, and motorists running red lights. The injuries
                      have so far been minor to the drivers who are invariably ticketed for
                      moving violations, since the rail cars are moving at 20 to 35 miles
                      per hour, city streetcar speeds. There has been one serious injury
                      so far and one which Metro has not prosecuted, a Union Pacific
                      Railroad employee who raised the railroad crossing arms on light
                      rail's high speed test track, drove his UPRR truck through the Kirby
                      Street crossing and promptly had his truck totaled by a fifty ton
                      light rail car moving at sixty miles per hour.

                      Twenty-five collisions with motorcars since light rail opened on
                      January 1 may seem like a lot to someone that lives in comparatively
                      small towns like Phoenix or Denver, but Houston has 900
                      road "accidents" in a month: fender benders, pedestrian and cyclists
                      crushed and horrid multi-vehicle accidents that close down freeways
                      and major roads. To find a city with worse drivers, you'd have to go
                      to Saudi Arabia or Mexico; roads are dangerous in Houston. It is
                      usually only the ones resulting in deaths that get reported, but all
                      light rail accidents do, since light rail is Houston's new toy, a
                      popular one for transit riders.

                      For 1½ miles on the southern end of the light rail line, the LR
                      cars
                      run along their own private right of way alongside Fannin Street,
                      where their speed is a higher, 40 miles per hour. Crossing arms are
                      installed at the intersecting streets, and there so far have been no
                      motor vehicle collisions along that stretch. But there have been
                      motorist fatalities in Dallas and on the Long Beach Line in LA where
                      maniacal motorists have driven around the railway crossing arms and
                      been killed for their efforts. Dallas runs their light rail system
                      on mostly grade-separated abandoned railroad right of ways, with a
                      lot of light rail overpasses and a subway. Since the Dallas light
                      rail vehicles are going sixty-five miles per hour in some places, it
                      can be expected that, although motorist encounters with light rail
                      will be less frequent in Dallas than in Houston, there is a greater
                      probability of fatalities in Dallas.

                      Houston light rail will be running throughout the city, the result of
                      the November 4, 2003 bond election when voters approved a MetroRail
                      expansion. I attended a public meeting on February 28 for the first
                      new line, the northward extension to Northline Mall, 5½ miles from
                      downtown. The community meeting was held at Jeff Davis High School
                      on Quitman St., in an entirely Hispanic neighborhood which the new
                      line will serve. It will be like the existing light rail line,
                      almost entirely reserved lanes for light rail in city streets. Metro
                      have not yet published their maps or aerial photographs shown at the
                      high school, nor did they have any handouts I could scan, but I've
                      drawn a somewhat crude map to help give those who are interested in
                      transit development an idea of what the line will be like. The near
                      northside of downtown Houston is mostly buildings from the 1910's or
                      1920's, a lower income neighborhood with heavy bus ridership. On the
                      following map, the green portions of the line are the street railway,
                      tramline parts. The light rail tracks will leave the street on
                      elevated bridges to avoid the Union Pacific Railroad in the south and
                      the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad in the north, and those
                      viaducts are represented by the blue portions of the line. The brown
                      portion in the south is the existing line in downtown Houston:

                      http://www.pccmph.com/images/northline.gif

                      A community meeting on another new line, the southeast route, through
                      an Afro-American neighborhood, will be held on March 30. There are
                      quite a few new lines, almost all of them streetcar alignments. The
                      following is not Metro's complete rail solutions plan, which extends
                      very far into the future, but it is their intended timetable over the
                      next twenty years:

                      North: UH Downtown to Northline Mal 2008
                      Southeast: Dowling to Griggs/610 2009
                      Downtown: Connector Bagby to Dowling 2010
                      Harrisburg: Dowling to Magnolia Transit Ctr 2010
                      Westpark: Wheeler Station to Hillcroft TC 2012
                      Uptown: Westpark to Northwest TC (via Galleria) 2014
                      US 90A commuter rail Fannin South to Harris County line 2017
                      Harrisburg: Magnolia TC to Gulfgate Center 2017
                      Sunnyside Branch: Southeast TC to Bellfort 2018
                      Katy Corridor: Bagby to Northwest TC 2019
                      Sunnyside Branch: Bellfort to Airport Blvd. 2021
                      Harrisburg: Gulfgate Ctr to Telephone Rd. 2021
                      Southeast: SE TC to Hinman Park & Ride Hobby Airport 2022
                      North: Northline to Greenspoint 2023
                      North: Greenspoint to Intercontinental Airport 2024



                      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi All,
                      >
                      > Regarding the Houston issue, notice that nearly all the
                      > crashes involve cars turning left.
                    • Mike Harrington
                      There is an important difference between New Orleans and Houston. In New Orleans, the car stops are two blocks apart, whereas in Houston they come to about a
                      Message 10 of 11 , Mar 10 11:40 AM
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                        There is an important difference between New Orleans and Houston. In
                        New Orleans, the car stops are two blocks apart, whereas in Houston
                        they come to about a kilometer apart. So Houston's express
                        streetcars are moving faster than the New Orleans cars since they
                        don't stop at most intersections. The faster speed and limited stops
                        of Houston's light rail with more connecting shuttle bus lines is
                        appropriate to a city of its size.

                        Most of that connecting bus system has been put on hold until the
                        completion of the study we've just read. I think the expanded bus
                        connections with the wholesale rerouting of bus lines into Wheeler,
                        Downtown Transit Center, and Tx. Medical Center stations, will happen
                        either this month or April. Houston Metro has a total fleet of 1200
                        buses. When the rerouting occurs the trams will go from every 12 to
                        every 6 minutes during the day, the same as New Orleans. I think
                        they will remain every 12 minutes at night, however. The line runs
                        out of downtown from 4:42 AM to 12:42 AM Monday through Saturday, and
                        5:42 to 12:42 on Sundays.

                        There's another important difference. The Houston car stops are also
                        unlike New Orleans in that they are raised platforms affording more
                        protection for waiting passengers from dangerous drivers, the same as
                        we're seeing on the northside line opening for service in Portland
                        this May.

                        Driving, jogging or cycling on Houston streetcar tracks stands a good
                        chance of getting you a ticket from Metro police. Houston's not as
                        laid back as New Orleans, which doesn't have Houston's traffic
                        problems.

                        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Matt Hohmeister"
                        <mdh6214@g...> wrote:
                        > This reminds me of New Orleans, where the streetcars of an era past
                        not only cross
                        > streets, but travel in the same lanes as vehicles. In the Garden
                        District, I have seen people
                        > riding bicycles and jogging on the streetcar tracks--knowing, of
                        course, to get out of the
                        > way if they see a streetcar coming. Does anyone have New Orleans
                        accident figures?
                        >
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