What’s happening at other transit agencies?

The eleven streetcar lines that criss-cross Toronto are about to get some new wheels. Rendering by TTC.

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.

Toronto’s streetcar system to get sleek new rolling stock

The Toronto Transit Commission is inviting Torontonians — yep, that’s their demonyn — to “meet their new ride.” These new streetcars will replace a fleet built between 1977 and 1989 that is approaching the end of its useful service life and frankly look pretty worse for wear. But there’s brawn to go with the beauty of the new cars: Each will carry more than double the amount of passengers as the existing articulated (aka “bendy”) streetcars. Perhaps most importantly, the new vehicles will be entirely “low floor,” meaning that patrons don’t have to climb stairs to board so the cars are more accessible to those with limited mobility. Here are the specs with non-metric approximations in parenthesis:

  • Seating: 70
  • Standing: 62 (average) & 181 (maximum)
  • Length: 30.20 m (98 feet)
  • Width: 2.54 m (8.25 feet)
  • Height: 3.84 m (12.5 feet)
  • Weight: 48,200 kg (53 tons)
  • Maximum Service Speed: 70 km/h (42 mph)

Cincinnati defeats Issue 48 and votes a younger, more progressive city council into office

Speaking of streetcars: There’s good news for Cincinnati’s proposed starter line. The Urban Cincy blog reports that voters rejected an initiative that would have “banned all investments in rail transportation for the next decade.” On top of that, Cincy voters elected into office a new city council that “includes a 7-2 majority in favor of the Cincinnati Streetcar” — the previous council had been split on the matter. The planned four-mile streetcar line will connect a variety of civic institutions and other destinations in the downtown area. It’s projected to cost $100 million: The bulk will come from local public and private sources, with the Feds kicking in $25 million via an Urban Circulator Grant.

Bus rapid transit speeds into fast lane with CTA board OK today

The board of directors of the Chicago Transit Authority has approved a new bus-rapid transit line for the Windy City. The Jeffrey Street line will feature dedicated bus lanes, real-time travel information on-board buses and signal prioritization. An agency press release noted that the Jeffery BRT line is “funded by an $11 million Federal Bus and Bus Facilities Livability Grant which was awarded to the CTA in 2010.”

Light rail will attract new public transport users

Let’s see if this story rings a bell: A west coast port city that ripped up its extensive rail system decades ago is implored by civic leaders to now consider a large-scale light rail transit expansion. Sounds like something you might have seen in an editorial ahead of the vote on Measure R. But in this case — and kudos if you saw this coming — we’re talking about Perth, Australia. Marion Fulker, chief executive of the business interest group Committee for Perth, argues that the Perth should look to cities like Portland, Dallas, Manchester, U.K. and Bordeaux, France for inspiration. No mention of kindred spirit L.A.?

Introducing the Bayshore–Airport Express Bus Service

The Milwaukee County Transit System had been bracing for “a massive reduction in service” in the face of cuts in state funding, reports Urban Milwaukee. MCTS has managed, thankfully, to avoid that fate with some creative use of funds dedicated to reducing congestion and improving air quality. Those funds will go in part to bolstering bus service — a sort of BRT lite — on a busy corridor between the neighborhood of Bayshore and the city’s airport. Urban Milwaukee adds that the bus will have “stops roughly every 1/4 of a mile, [service] seven days a week, with headways of 10-15 minutes during the rush hours, and 15-20 minutes during off-peak times.”

Transportation ballot measure roundup

The Center for Transportation Excellence website has a comprehensive list of the 28 ballot measures that voters across the country weighed in on this Tuesday. One big winner was Raleigh-Durham, N.C., where voters approved a 30-year sales tax hike to fund expanded bus service and three new rail lines. Seattle residents, however, rejected an additional levy on car ownership that would have raised $200 million for transit, road repairs and safety enhancements for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Fighting congestion in Minneapolis on a tight budget

Atlantic Cities’ Eric Jaffe examines a plan in Minneapolis to overhaul the city’s stoplight control system. The existing system was installed in 1974 and is showing its age. The new one would allow traffic engineers to better manage the flow of vehicles with the help of computer modeling. The city of Los Angeles has had a similar program for some time now; one likes to think that it has succeeded in preventing traffic from getting worse than it could have.

The traffic management lair at LADOT

2 replies

  1. I did a double take on the Toronto streetcar picture because I thought it said “Long Beach,” not “Long Branch.”

    I would love to see a streetcar in Long Beach, something to complement the Blue Line or replace the Passport.

    But the Toronto streetcar looks much longer than the ones we are considering for downtown.