What’s happening at other transit agencies?

One of many transit lines in the growing system for the Salt Lake City basin. Photo by Nancy White, via Flickr.

This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.

Opening soon(ish)

Utah Transit Authority to open new commuter-rail line in December

A 45-mile extension of the Salt Lake-area’s FrontRunner commuter rail line will open later this year to Provo, Utah, the home of Brigham Young University. The line is one of several that have opened in the last few years — or will open soon — as part of Salt Lake City’s locally funded transit expansion program, FrontLines. Progressive Railroading has additional details on the commuter rail line here.

Groundbreakings

$196.6 million Tucson streetcar project breaks ground

Tucson, Ariz., broke ground this week on a 3.8-mile streetcar line that will connect downtown Tucson to the University of Arizona and a variety of other activity centers along the way. This press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation notes that 85,000 residents live or work within walking distance of the line. Most importantly, the line is expected to substantially improve transit trip times along the corridor. $63 million of the project’s cost is coming from USDOT’s competitive transit grant funding program TIGER.

BART to San Jose construction to break ground

A crowd of dignitaries, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, was on hand this afternoon to usher in the next great phase of BART expansion — a $3 billion extension from Fremont to East San Jose. BART expects construction on the first 10-mile segment to wrap up by 2015 with service starting a year later. A further extension into the heart of downtown San Jose is as yet unfunded. NBC Bay Area described the extension as the single largest public works project in the history of Silicon Valley.

Planning

Vancouver, Wash., C-Tran board: Light rail vote will happen this fall

The transit agency for Vancouver — that is, Portland’s neighbor across the Colombia River — has approved allowing city residents to consider taxing themselves to fund a connection to the popular MAX light rail network. However, according to the news outfit, the Columbian, the board of Vancouver’s transit agency, C-Tran, has yet to determine what kind of tax that would be — apparently turning away from a sales tax increase, which has become an increasingly popular means of financing transit. Despite some uncertainty about what kind of tax will be on the table, the board is pushing for a city-wide vote this November.

Amid political bickering, NY-NJ rail tunnel at least a decade away

When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed the ARC rail tunnel project last year — over concerns about cost increases — the project’s advocates feared a seemingly interminable delay in improvements to the New Jersey-to-New York commute. Next American City takes stock of the situation going forward: “No new rail tunnel will be built under the Hudson River for at least a decade, and the new tunnel will end up costing a lot more money [than ARC] when it is finally built.” Transit backers are now turning their sights to Amtrak’s proposed Gateway Tunnel, hoping that New Jersey commuter trains could gain access and provide relief on the already maxed out bridges and tunnels across the Hudson River.

5 replies

  1. Why cant any of our MetroRail stops be as simple as the one pictured in Utah. The Little Tokyo stop on the Gold Line has so many crossing lights and crosswalk signs that people get confused and no one pays attention to them. They cost an exorbitant amount of money as well and make the stations look so cluttered.

  2. 1. Little Tokyo Station is where the Gold Line makes a sharp turn from 1st Street to Alameda.

    2. Trains are different than cars, they need a wider arc to turn. The smaller the arc, the more slow the train needs to go as it makes that sharp turn.

    3. A surface level train at a sharp turn therefore, makes things more cluttered, confusing, and expensive to build.

    4. Metro has no money to make this section to go underground to reduce clutter; digging costs more than street level.

    5. Metro has no money to make this station an aerial station; building aerials costs more money than street level.

    6. The City of LA has no money to rebuild 1st St to go underneath the tracks as an underpass to the Gold Line tracks.

    7. Metro has no money to buy out the parking lot across the JANM which could offer a better turn half a block down 1st Street than the sharp turn at that cross section with confusing signage.

    8. If you want Metro to fix the clutter at the Little Tokyo Gold Line Station, they are glad to accept your generous donation. Being a taxpayer funded agency that doesn’t make any profit , they will consider taking payments in forms of tax hikes, fare increases, or making cost adjustments by reducing services to make funds available to fix the station.

  3. Actually, since the current at-grade Little Tokyo station will be replaced by the regional connector subway station there, that whole problem WILL be solved (as well as many others such as trains waiting at the light to cross Temple ave. or when making the turn on or off 1st street). While I don’t like the way the current station is configured, at least it will be replaced fairly soon by far superior design (inherent in grade-separation). The question is, why did metro commit to building a full at-grade station only to be replaced in in 2018?

    • Connor,

      The short answer, I believe, is that construction on the Gold Line Eastside Extension was well underway before Measure R and Proposition 1A were passed, both of which are pegged to provide significant funding to the Regional Connector.

      Carter Rubin
      Contributor, The Source

  4. As Connor said, correct. The problem is that our rail system is not the result of a coherent plan, but always the result what we can get at the time or the result of unrelated law suits against the 105 for decades (the Green Line “to nowhere” as detractors like to call it) or forced at the last minute (blue and red connection) because 2 agencies were ZERO percent cooperating or a peace offering in the form of the Eastside extension of Gold Line that was supposed to be extension of subway or resurrected from the grave (Gold Line to Pasadena), and then cheapskating the whole line so that PCC is NOT directly served, and have you tried to transfer from Gold to the buses on Colorado?

    Measure R the closest to a plan since the early 1980’s, but filled with bits and bones for each area to assure broad political support (Supe Antonovich was against Measure R–UNTIL he got his Eastern SGV extension) not necessarily efficiency of a well-thought out system.