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Thanks, I didn't know about the new downtown section. Still, I'd think the block length constraint would still be putting a lid on capacity at peak hour since I've heard the cars are at or beyond comfortable capacity at the heaviest loading point. (I know they were a few years back, at least.) The future lines would likely increase total system usage, so the Red and Blue might have get more despite the seperate feeding routes.
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Based on the peak hour ridership levels, I don't see how Portland can expand the system beyond this new extension. Their at capacity and I think that can only be corrected with a downtown tunnel to eliminate the short block length constraints. Are there any significant constraints outside of downtown? The Yellow comes to mind as difficult, but if even the Blue or the Red could accomodate longer platforms outside of downtown, it's worth it. I've often wondered why the Portland system has been such a poster child--its been used to sell LRT as a one size fits all approach throughout the US. From what I've read, I feel the integrated planning and construction of the system and the high ridership are what makes Portland transit immpressive, not the system per se. If I were designing a regional rail system for a metro area of well over 1 million people, I would avoid building a downtown surface alignment at all costs, and also not have build the Interstate Ave line; because as soon as the line becomes too popular, you have to rebuild to increase capacity. I suppose when Portland first started the system, doing downtown surface might seem reasonable without a strong ridership precedent--but not the Interstate Ave line. I think many transit agencies are starting to realize that attempting to operate rapid-like LRT in mixed-traffic (even with dedicated lanes) is ultimately short-sighted: they're too slow, too dangerous, and too unreliable.
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Another possibility is that the anticipation of congestion leads people to simply not make trips. I liken this to traffic calming implementations where traffic is "calmed" out of existence, in that individuals decrease their overall productivity and economic output. This may be good from an environmental perspective, but from the planner or the engineer's perspective would essentially defeat the intent of attempting to improve the City's mobility.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2009 on vancouver's insane experiment at Human Transit
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I've looked into this project a bit. For all intents and purposes this project is Heavy Rail, not Light Rail. The only thing "light" about it would be the platform length, about 180' or so (expandable to 300'). Even still the capacity should be quite high if headways are 3 minutes. I think this project is great, because it diminishes the "nobody builds HRT anymore" reasoning. Too much is made of LRT in transit and the modern urban planning school of thought as a one size fits all, when BRT or HRT would be more appropriate technicall, economically, as well as agreeable to the neighborhoods through which it would travel.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2009 on is elevated acceptable? at Human Transit
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