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Streetcar Circulator Update


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#1 AndyN

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 08:00 AM

It is encouraging to me to see progress on the proposed streetcar circulator. The concept of having a streetcar system to move passengers to their ultimate destination after they have used line haul transit (like the TRE or DART light rail) adds value to the line haul system. Line haul transit is not as attractive if you realize when you get to the intermodal station, then you have to walk, catch a bus or find alternative means to get to your final destination.

There are definite steps that need to be taken to implement a circulator and I went to one of the meetings last Friday. It was heartening to see 3 city councilors at the meeting as well as many city staff and downtown stakeholders. The presenters included Charles Hales who was involved with the Portland Streetcar, David Vozzolo who was with the FTA, and Keith Jones who oversaw the Little Rock, Arkansas streetcar implementation and works for URS on the Denton Commuter Rail project and the SW2NE project here in Fort Worth.

The message that these men brought included information on what steps to take to implement a circulator, how circulators are doing in other cities (especially Portland), how to fund a circulator (preferrably avoiding federal funding to avoid delay and added expense) and general information on vehicle selection and route selection.

The interesting facts about the Portland system, which supplements a light rail system, show that 3.5 billion in private investment has occurred in the vicinity of the streetcar. There are 11,000 daily riders and 9,600 new housing units. They estimate that the streetcar in conjunction with the housing density has eliminated 56 million annual vehicle miles travelled. A really interesting graphic and accompanying picture shows that the density (or what they call Floor Area Ratio) has increased since the implementation of the streetcar circulator. The developers were building at about the 40% density level allowed by zoning until the streetcar circulator was developed. Since then, the buildings are approaching 90% of the allowable zoning density. The picture showed some 3 story townhomes built before the streetcar and then across the street after the streetcar, the buildings were 7-10 stories. Another notable fact is that the streetcar is partially funded through a Tax Increment Finance District. The TIF is recovering taxes at a rate far ahead of projections, so much so that the TIF is actually refunding tax revenue to the school district.

Something I found interesting was the statement that, while urban living is experiencing a surge, cities that do not offer alternative transportation will not be able to maintain that development. I reflected on that and for the small urban residential experiments I am familiar with in places like Wichita Falls, Midland and Abilene, that seems like a valid statement. But surely not here in Fort Worth? Our downtown is dynamic enough to support increased urban residential development even if we never put in a circulator. Right? Isn't it? The speakers contend that urban cities have competition among themselves for residents. The baby boomers and the Creative Class have choices and are exercising them. I am fairly conservative when it comes to issues of man-made climate change, but many are not and are looking for the cities with the infrastructure to support their lifestyle choice. As stated by the speakers, some cities will win them over and some will fall behind. "Fully urban communities are prospering, and are positioned to continue in the post-oil era".

As I said, it was very refreshing to see the information presented by these gentlemen and to hear the city council members asking thoughtful questions. The bright spot was when Angela Hunt said that she was ready for us to start construction on the downtown circulator tomorrow....

Oh, Angela Hunt... She's on the Dallas City Council, isn't she? Well, heck I suppose I was at Dallas City Hall for their downtown circulator study meeting. They have their hands full with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of light rail construction and expansion and now they are taking on construction of a downtown streetcar circulator? And Fort Worth, where do we stand? Have we decided whether we even want a circulator?

I may be repeating myself, but there was a time when Fort Worth had an award-winning, progressive transit system that was at the forefront of transit development. These days?


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#2 McHand

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 09:40 AM

Joel Burns is really excited to get a streetcar installed.

#3 safly

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 10:01 AM

This information sounds very encouraging. I know that I'm excited about the prospects here in Fort Worth. It's a no brainer that this kind of TIF action encourages development to those who seek it (urbanites) and feel that they are doing a great service by using it and living nearby.

Let me know how I can be of service.
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#4 AndyN

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 10:15 AM

Yeah, ok we're all excited about it, but while we sit excitedly Dallas is DOING something.

I just ran across Jim Schutze's take on it. Sounds like he highlighted one of the same concepts that I picked up on.

Dallas Observer Article

In Downtown Dallas, Perhaps, a Streetcar Named Common Sense

Just came back from the "streetcar workshop" in the basement of City
Hall. A bunch of trolley experts from around the country talked to a
small crowd of downtown policy wonks, wonkettes and wonkerinas about
building a trolley system in downtown.

And guess what? It looks like the best idea since Mad Max
Goldblatt's scheme for a downtown monorail.

Seriously. They have some pretty interesting numbers to show how
streetcar systems have spurred development in other cities around
the country. Because streetcars can bend around corners and slip
through small openings, they fit well into the "built environment."
You don't have to tear everything down in order to make way for them.

That makes them hand-in-glove for the whole urban renaissance the
nation is seeing in almost every major city. One theme they hit over
and over again today was this line: "The Creative Class and the Baby
Boomers have choices … and are exercising them. Some cities will win
them over, and some will fall behind."

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#5 ghughes

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 02:10 PM

"Well, heck I suppose I was at Dallas City Hall for their downtown circulator study meeting."

Psych!

Ouch!

I was bummed that I didn't know about the meeting, but I'm more bummed knowing it's Dallas. Our misguided sense of competition with the "city to the east" will be even another barrier to a Fort Worth implementation.

#6 McHand

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 03:48 PM

Well Andy, do you have any suggestions as to how we the citizens of Fort Worth can do anything to get the powers that be to act? Can we schedule a meeting for them or something? Or more realistically, speak at council meetings, circulate petitions...I really don't know.

Is Dallas more progressive because the people of Dallas are really clamoring for more public transportation? Is there a palpable resistance to change in Fort Worth? I'm young and naive, and I still believe this can happen. What do we who want this do? Convince our leaders to act or convince our friends and neighbors that it's a good idea?

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#7 safly

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 11:47 PM

Convince business owners that THIS is a great voyage to take. Then convince the public and let them know that local business owners support it. Then let City Hall know that if this project does not garner the attention it deserves by them, then we (the people and supporting businesses) will vote in those who will.
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#8 Keller Pirate

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 01:18 PM

Portland must be on a road trip promoting street cars. Last week there was a seminar in Los Angeles on streetcars.

Interesting take from Larry Wilson at the Pasadena Star-News. I'll post the whole article since I don't know how long the link will last.

New-found undying desire for streetcars

Q: What is it about a bus that isn't sexy?

A: Only everything.

It's not nice to say. It just is what it is.

Whereas streetcars, right, define sexy: One is even named Desire.
But in all our pushing for light rail - heavier, faster, fewer stops - we have forgotten the streetcar.

A quarter-century ago, one Gold Line route under consideration would have taken the thing right down the middle of Pasadena's leafy Green Street instead of down the middle of the godforsaken 210 Freeway.

That was nixed by more practical types than I.

And a half-century ago, the remnants of Henry Huntington's Red Cars and some other rich guy's Yellow Cars crisscrossed the Southland. To look at a map of where they went - only everywhere - makes a grown man cry.

Ours is not to debate the conspiracy theories about whether Big Oil or Big Rubber killed the streetcars. Ours is to bring them back.

Or so goes the theory of my friend Gloria Ohland, the former LA Weekly writer and co-author of "Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century." Last Thursday Gloria organized an amazingly stimulating conference attended by several hundred people at the gilded old Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. The sole agenda item: Bring back the streetcars to downtown's Broadway in hopes they create the real tipping point we've heard predicted every year for the last 30 or so: A strolling entertainment neighborhood at the heart of L.A.

The great thing about the conference was that it was by no means all mere New Urbanist theory. Instead, a passle of Oregonians were imported to tell the true tale of what streetcars have meant to Portland's Pearl District. To the merchants and transit guys on one morning panel, the Portland story is not about sexy. It's about happy economics.

Michael Powell, owner of Portland's Powell's Books, the largest used- and new-bookstore in the world, recalled that a decade ago, pre-streetcar, "You couldn't buy a stick of furniture in downtown Portland." All the stores were in the suburbs, where people lived. "Now, there are 20 or 30 (furniture) stores downtown." He did a pedestrian study of one city block in 2000: three walkers per hour. In 2007, post-streetcar: 900 walkers.

He didn't argue that it was all because of a few miles of slow-moving trains on tracks down the middle of the street. But he does believe that the streetcars are what has created the notion that the downtown Pearl District is a fun place to be and to live. Which adds up to a big chunk of change for his store and those that surround him. In fact, all the planners at the conference called streetcars "development-oriented transit" instead of the reverse. And you know who paid for the streetcars initially? Retailers, through a Local Improvement District. And you know who was the biggest group at the conference outside of Los Angeles and Portland? Pasadenans: Mayor Bill Bogaard. Transportation Director Fred Dock. Erlinda Romo of the Playhouse District. Steve Mullheim of Old Pasadena.
Just maybe there's a streetcar on leafy Green Street in our future after all.


#9 AndyN

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 05:00 PM

QUOTE (Keller Pirate @ May 26 2008, 01:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And you know who paid for the streetcars initially? Retailers, through a Local Improvement District.


I suppose it's considered a good thing that the streetwalkers went from 7 to 900 too. Perhaps that shows the improvement in economics in Portland biggrin.gif

It's funny. I've been involved with MATA in Dallas since 1991. They've been running since 1989 and formed in 1983. There has been close to 1 billion in development along the Dallas streetcar and the PID credits the streetcar with causing some of that growth. Now, some johnny-come-latelys in Portland get one started and everyone thinks the idea originated in Portland. This stuff works and I think until I get my hydrogen powered car (which doesn't necessarily have to fly), it's city infrastructure we ought to be investing in.

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#10 Keller Pirate

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 07:36 PM

QUOTE (AndyN @ May 26 2008, 06:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I suppose it's considered a good thing that the streetwalkers went from 7 to 900 too. Perhaps that shows the improvement in economics in Portland biggrin.gif

In Ft Worth the streetwalkers would be arrested and their customers would appear on John TV. ohmy.gif

Here is a link to a recent story about the South Lake Union Streetcar in Seattle.

http://seattletimes....reetcar23m.html

From Houston, high fuel prices and high light rail construction prices are driving tough choices.

http://www.chron.com...an/5797660.html

#11 AndyN

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 10:25 AM

OK, My anger at the Dallas City Council being further along than Fort Worth is beginning to subside and as topic moderator and originator of this thread, I would like to rededicate this thread to discussion of the proposed Fort Worth Streetcar Circulator. I am going to ask particpants to limit their discussion in this thread to the topic at hand and use or start other threads to talk about transit in general, transit in other cities, light rail, Amtrak, commuter rail, etc. This takes a little knowledge on the part of the contributor to keep from posting irrelevant material, but I think we can do it.

Thank yew.
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#12 AndyN

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:08 AM

Dana Burghdoff of the City of Fort Worth Planning and Development gave a presentation to the City Council this morning in the pre-council meeting regarding the status of the proposed streetcar circulator study. She presented some of the discussion outlined in the Streetcar White Paper and recommended that a committee be formed comprised of 15 members with 1 each appointed by city council members and 7 appointed by the mayor. The committee would be tasked with determining whether the city should pursue design and construction of a modern streetcar circulator system, how to fund it, and what should be the initial route. Burghdoff suggested that appointees should be in place by the end of the month and the committee should deliver its final report in 6 months.

The council members comments were generally positive, although there were several misconceptions about the proposed system.

  • The mayor suggested that the Phoenix Light Rail was supposed to be running by their Superbowl game but was still unfinished. It seems like comparing apples to oranges when comparing light rail construction to streetcar construction.
  • A comment was also made about the number of business shutting down because of light rail construction in other cities. Once again, probably not a valid comparison.
  • One of the council members complained that the streetcar would take a lane of traffic and therefore the study would need to find additional right-of-way to regain a lane for automobile traffic. Fortunately, upon completion of construction, the streetcar can share the lane with automobile traffic, so the lane is not lost.
  • Some of the council members suggested that the study needed to look closely at connecting with other cities and being a regional effort. I think this idea is losing sight of the purpose of the streetcar circulator, which is to complement the Commuter Rail which is the regional rail transit mode selected by Tarrant County, the T and Fort Worth. The streetcar paid for and developed by the City of Fort Worth is for circulation in Fort Worth only and while it will interchange with the regional system, it should not bear the burden of being regional or connecting to other cities. Can you imagine sitting on a streetcar going 35-40 mph from Downtown Fort Worth to the east side of Arlington?


It is heartening to see the City Council addressing the issue. It was also almost flabbergasting to her fiscal conservative Chuck Silcox say that we needed to "start planning where to put these rails". Joel Burns was solidly behind the effort and emphasized that the Tacoma route that served 200,000 riders when it was served by a bus saw ridership jump to 900,000 riders annually after the line was converted to streetcar. Nobody wanted to go crazy shouting "If you build it they will come", but the phrase was mentioned and Silcox suggested that with the price of gas it wouldn't be too hard to draw riders to it.

biggrin.gif
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#13 Fort Worthology

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:11 AM

Sounds like there is a lot of misconception there. We're talking about a streetcar circulator, not a DART dedicated ROW system. We need to whack some of the participants here with the clue stick.

#14 AndyN

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 09:18 PM

Oh, I also forgot to mention that ETBs were mentioned in conjunction with Bus Rapid Transit as one of the possible modes.
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#15 djold1

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 05:49 AM

QUOTE
I would like to rededicate this thread to discussion of the proposed Fort Worth Streetcar Circulator.


Andy... I think this is a good idea

I have been out of pocket with busiiness and personal stuff for some time and have lost some sources. I need to play some catch up...

As the moderator could you:

1. Give us the link to the offiicial FW Circulator proposal so that I can go back and review. Hopefully it will have maps, etc.

2. If there are any private proposals for a circulator (I think I saw one a while back but lost it) could you give us some links?

3. Give us your ideas of an ideal FW circulator system including whatever comments you may have.

4. For those that are still confused, give us your definition of a "streetcar" system as it applies to FW vs. light rail, interurban, etc.

Thanks

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#16 jefffwd

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 08:54 AM


Wednesday, Jun 18, 2008
Posted on Wed, Jun. 18, 2008
Fort Worth considering streetcar study



By ANTHONY SPANGLER
apangler@star-telegram.com
FORT WORTH — The desire is to study the possibility of streetcars in Fort Worth.
Although there is no name yet in mind, city planners envision a modern streetcar system linked to other public transportation lines, which might resemble those in cities such as Seattle; Portland, Ore.; or Tacoma, Wash.

"There are lots of positives, but I want us to be blissfully aware that there’s lots of negatives as well," Mayor Mike Moncrief said.

"It is going to take creative thinking . . . to figure out how we’re going to pay for this."

Typical streetcars

The system could have stations every two to four blocks, use overhead electric lines and share the roadways with other vehicles at an estimated $16 million to $40 million per mile, according to a preliminary report by the Fort Worth Planning and Development Department.

Obstacles

In 2002, the city spent $1 million to study the feasibility of streetcars. The City Council approved a proposal but failed to secure funding for the system, which would have connected downtown with the Cultural District and the Stockyards, the near south side and the southeast Polytechnic area. Councilman Chuck Silcox also said it is challenging to get people to ride public transportation.

Next steps

City staffers asked that the council appoint a 15-member committee to study whether the city should move forward on a streetcar plan. The committee, which is expected to be appointed by June 30, would review previous light-rail studies, visit several cities that have light-rail or streetcar systems, identify potential routes, and estimate the cost and find possible funding sources. City staffers hope that the committee would complete its work by late December.


#17 Fort Worthology

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:37 AM

Going more in-depth, as is my way - this article presumes some level of familiarity already, since Fort Worthology has been covering the streetcar plan for over a year now:

http://fortwortholog...-the-streetcar/

And a more general-interest informational post at West & Clear:

http://westandclear....etcar-proposal/




#18 cjyoung

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:44 AM

QUOTE (Keller Pirate @ May 26 2008, 08:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (AndyN @ May 26 2008, 06:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I suppose it's considered a good thing that the streetwalkers went from 7 to 900 too. Perhaps that shows the improvement in economics in Portland biggrin.gif

In Ft Worth the streetwalkers would be arrested and their customers would appear on John TV. ohmy.gif

Here is a link to a recent story about the South Lake Union Streetcar in Seattle.

http://seattletimes....reetcar23m.html

From Houston, high fuel prices and high light rail construction prices are driving tough choices.

http://www.chron.com...an/5797660.html


I was in Seattle recently and I rode the streetcar and it was at least half full the two times that I was a passenger.

I preferred walking because everything I needed was downtown or near downtown. One night I walked from the Mariner's stadium to South Lake Union! blush.gif

#19 Sam Stone

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 08:43 AM

We need committees and months of studies to figure out if what we already had and worked would work again along some of the same routes. Does this strike anyone else as absurd?

#20 Keller Pirate

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 10:38 AM

I suppose you can't build any municipal project today without exhaustive studies. I think the streetcar white paper has a good plan for a system. I suppose there is room for some haggling over which street might be better to route the line down. Some business owners won't want their streets torn up for construction and will fear losing customers during the construction phase.

The white paper is good and Ft Worth can't go wrong as long as they start at the ITC and fan out from there. I have mentioned to Andy that I think building the system outlined in the paper at one time would be too much and too expensive. I see it as a good finished system, but it should be constructed in two or three phases. Andy disagrees.

Last year I did a little unscientific study of streetcar systems across the country and they seemed to average about $21 million a mile. With costs rising that may not be accurate anymore. The S-T article said $16-40M per mile. Figure $25M and multiply that by how many miles you want to start with and then just find the money. I would think the cash for 5 or 6 miles of starter line from DTFW to the museum district and back could be had for $125-150M. That would be a longer starter line than any other city I can think of. Then just add on from there.

The new 7th Street bridge probably will have to be built before construction can really get underway but the streetcar should be constructed down 7th at the same time the bridge is going up. One other thing Andy and I don’t agree on is the FWWR tracks near Montgomery Plaza. Railroads have traditionally not allowed light rail or streetcars to cross their tracks at grade. I think there should be a contingency plan for a grade separation at that location. Of course, that will make the cost in the high per mile range if a bridge or underpass must be built. Maybe they could just extend the bridge over the Trinity and make it pass over the tracks and grade seperate autos at the same time.

The mayor’s statement seems ominous. "There are lots of positives, but I want us to be blissfully aware that there’s lots of negatives as well," Mayor Mike Moncrief said.



#21 mosteijn

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 10:58 AM

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ Jun 19 2008, 09:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We need committees and months of studies to figure out if what we already had and worked would work again along some of the same routes. Does this strike anyone else as absurd?

I dunno, I was actually thinking that six months sounds fast for the city to come to a final decision about something like this, at least, for Fort Worth. Who knows, maybe they'll decide quicker?

Honestly, I think as long as there is some sort of rail connection from the TRE to (at least) W. 7th, and maybe the Southside, by the time the Super Bowl comes around, I think we'll be in good shape. I think we can do it, we just need to get out there and SUPPORT this thing! I know public effort made a huge impact on Cincinnati's recent streetcar decision.

#22 Sam Stone

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:53 PM

Sorry about not linking these, I just wanted to put them on here quickly. These are all stories about how the FW City Council has been, is, or will be studying light rail. My point is that every year, they seem to get together and form a committee, do a study, or hire a consultant to do a (very expensive) study. Then, nothing happens and the next year someone says, "Hey, let's study light rail," as if it had never been done before. All this time that we've been studying it, we could have just built the damn thing and it would be up and running by now.

2003
http://www.accessmyl...286-8594412_ITM

2002
http://www.accessmyl...286-8623565_ITM
http://www.accessmyl...286-8631039_ITM
http://www.accessmyl...286-8844028_ITM

2001
http://www.accessmyl...286-8320661_ITM
http://www.accessmyl...286-7214863_ITM

2000
http://www.accessmyl...286-7212923_ITM
http://www.accessmyl...286-6463260_ITM

#23 Sam Stone

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:57 PM

Nevermind, it linked them automatically. Is that a new feature?

#24 gdvanc

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 11:59 PM

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ Jun 19 2008, 09:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We need committees and months of studies to figure out if what we already had and worked would work again along some of the same routes. Does this strike anyone else as absurd?


No, because it might be possible that things - important things - have changed in the decades since we had a working streetcar system.

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ Jun 19 2008, 01:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry about not linking these, I just wanted to put them on here quickly. These are all stories about how the FW City Council has been, is, or will be studying light rail.


Alright, Sam, this is the streetcar topic. Don't be throwing in light rail. I'm confused enough as it is.

I have noticed, though, that municipal governments (and probably others) seem to study the same issue every year or two. Sometimes - but not always - I think it's because they didn't get the answer they were looking for.

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ Jun 19 2008, 01:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nevermind, it linked them automatically. Is that a new feature?


No, although it seems like it used to be optional.

#25 AndyN

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:21 AM

QUOTE (Keller Pirate @ Jun 19 2008, 10:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I suppose you can't build any municipal project today without exhaustive studies. I think the streetcar white paper has a good plan for a system. I suppose there is room for some haggling over which street might be better to route the line down. Some business owners won't want their streets torn up for construction and will fear losing customers during the construction phase.

The white paper is good and Ft Worth can't go wrong as long as they start at the ITC and fan out from there. I have mentioned to Andy that I think building the system outlined in the paper at one time would be too much and too expensive. I see it as a good finished system, but it should be constructed in two or three phases. Andy disagrees.


I do? Well, thanks for letting me know. In reality, there are some routes shown in the white paper that I doubt will or should ever be built. Too pie-in-the sky. And for what it's worth, I think there should be a starter route, not routes.

QUOTE (Keller Pirate @ Jun 19 2008, 10:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Last year I did a little unscientific study of streetcar systems across the country and they seemed to average about $21 million a mile. With costs rising that may not be accurate anymore. The S-T article said $16-40M per mile. Figure $25M and multiply that by how many miles you want to start with and then just find the money. I would think the cash for 5 or 6 miles of starter line from DTFW to the museum district and back could be had for $125-150M. That would be a longer starter line than any other city I can think of. Then just add on from there.


It seems to me that looking at the total cost of the system divided by the length of the system is on of those statistical tricks used by anti-rail people. The initial route cost per mile figure is skewed by the fact that you have to include everything, including the carbarn, power supply and streetcars. For the South Lake Union Streetcar, all these costs are included on a route that is basically 1-1/4 miles long. The price per mile is fairly high because the fixed costs are only spread across a short distance. If you extend the system, the price per mile comes down significantly if you don't have to add cars, etc.

QUOTE (Keller Pirate @ Jun 19 2008, 10:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The new 7th Street bridge probably will have to be built before construction can really get underway but the streetcar should be constructed down 7th at the same time the bridge is going up. One other thing Andy and I don’t agree on is the FWWR tracks near Montgomery Plaza. Railroads have traditionally not allowed light rail or streetcars to cross their tracks at grade.


Not true. Grade level crossings happened all the time in the old days and I can think of two in Memphis and one in Tampa that have been installed in the modern day. But, I am not adverse to grade separation or shutting down the FW&WRR.

QUOTE (Keller Pirate @ Jun 19 2008, 10:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The mayor’s statement seems ominous. "There are lots of positives, but I want us to be blissfully aware that there’s lots of negatives as well," Mayor Mike Moncrief said.


The mayor was the one who decided in the last study that we should focus on commuter rail and leave streetcar circulator alone for the time being. Perhaps he is wary that it looks like he is backtracking, but I think we need to approach the circulator as a supplement or enhancement to the commutor rail. Some of the negatives expressed by the mayor and another council member were more applicable to light rail. No problem, the mayor does not need to be a specialist, but should rely on the study group's recommendations.

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#26 AndyN

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 04:37 AM

QUOTE (Sam Stone @ Jun 19 2008, 12:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry about not linking these, I just wanted to put them on here quickly. These are all stories about how the FW City Council has been, is, or will be studying light rail. My point is that every year, they seem to get together and form a committee, do a study, or hire a consultant to do a (very expensive) study. Then, nothing happens and the next year someone says, "Hey, let's study light rail," as if it had never been done before. All this time that we've been studying it, we could have just built the damn thing and it would be up and running by now.


It might seem like there was a study every year when you post it like that, but in actuality, these stories that you are posting are about THE same study. Before THE study began, it took a little time to get consensus on whether to do the study. Then you have a few articles about doing THE study and then your last article was about the results of THE study. Something did happen with THE study. The study determined that to make the route meet federal guidelines, it was bordeline too expensive and rather than submit an application for limited federal funds, the decision was made to focus on commuter rail. Which is probably why we have the SW2NE route under design today.

You are right in that there have been 3-4 studies in the past 20 years, though. One which I liked included extension of the Tandy Subway. I bet we could dust that one off and implement it without additional study. With the price of gas approaching $1.25 and talk of new apartments at the old Firestone automotive building, I think we've got a real chance this time. devil.gif
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#27 Fort Worthology

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 08:01 AM

QUOTE (AndyN @ Jun 20 2008, 05:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do? Well, thanks for letting me know. In reality, there are some routes shown in the white paper that I doubt will or should ever be built. Too pie-in-the sky. And for what it's worth, I think there should be a starter route, not routes.


I'd be curious to pick your brain about that. The most important lines IMHO are the 7th Street and Near Southside lines, and I think they should be where the initial priorities and focus are. Past that we'll see what makes sense.

Where I differ from the white paper is on that Near Southside line - I believe the line should go down Magnolia, not Rosedale.

#28 Sam Stone

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:45 AM

Sorry, I didn't mean to confuse light rail with streetcars. I lumped them in with each other because they public transit that are not buses but that run on tracks.

Also, I realize that most of those stories refer to the same study, albeit different stages of the same study. Although, I could have sworn that I also saw something about The T conducting it's own separate study. Maybe I left out the story I saw on that.

I was just airing frustration at the fact that this issue of non-bus public transit does not seem to get past the study stage.

#29 dustin

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:55 AM

QUOTE
Where I differ from the white paper is on that Near Southside line - I believe the line should go down Magnolia, not Rosedale.


I actually think Rosedale might actually be a better solution due to its proximity to all of the hospitals. Unless it was to turn down Pennsylvania, down 8th then return to Downtown along Magnolia, i think that Rosedale provides better/closer access to the hospitals.

#30 Keller Pirate

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 03:22 PM

Andy, I am glad to see we don't disagree. rolleyes.gif

#31 Jamie

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:10 PM

QUOTE (AndyN @ Jun 20 2008, 04:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You are right in that there have been 3-4 studies in the past 20 years, though. One which I liked included extension of the Tandy Subway. I bet we could dust that one off and implement it without additional study. With the price of gas approaching $(4?)1.25 and talk of new apartments at the old Firestone automotive building, I think we've got a real chance this time.


That one actually goes back about 35 years. I can't remember if I posted this link before: http://www.northtexa...ubway/CBDS.html

#32 Templeofheaven

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 07:13 PM

QUOTE (Jamie @ Jun 24 2008, 01:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (AndyN @ Jun 20 2008, 04:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You are right in that there have been 3-4 studies in the past 20 years, though. One which I liked included extension of the Tandy Subway. I bet we could dust that one off and implement it without additional study. With the price of gas approaching $(4?)1.25 and talk of new apartments at the old Firestone automotive building, I think we've got a real chance this time.


That one actually goes back about 35 years. I can't remember if I posted this link before:
http://www.northtexa...ubway/CBDS.html


Jamie, what is the talk of new apartments at the old Firestone automotive building about? Did you mean the Firestone Apartments?

I think it's a great idea to look into the Tandy Center Subway, and incorporate it into any other potential proposals.

Great thread.

#33 Jamie

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:58 AM

QUOTE (Templeofheaven @ Jun 24 2008, 08:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Jamie, what is the talk of new apartments at the old Firestone automotive building about? Did you mean the Firestone Apartments?

I think it's a great idea to look into the Tandy Center Subway, and incorporate it into any other potential proposals.

Great thread.


Thanks. I was quoting Andy so perhaps he can shed some light on the Firestone Apartments.


#34 Fort Worthology

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:39 AM

I'm pretty sure Andy was being funny - the "gas nearing $1.25 a gallon" is another tipoff.

#35 mosteijn

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:40 AM

I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic - trying to make the point that we've been talking (but not doing anything) about light rail for quite a while now. wink.gif

#36 AndyN

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 11:10 AM

Yep, I was being a little sarcastic. I was trying to illustrate the need for a new study because, 1) The Tandy Subway ain't there no more 2)There is more density in downtown and nearby as illustrated by the Firestone Apartments which did not exist at the time of the early streetcar study done by PB (I think) and 3) The price of gas has gone way up, which will affect your ridership numbers and make a new line more justifiable.

We have done past studies and the decision was made to focus on commuter rail. Times are changing and rather than dust of a 5, 10 , 10 or 35 year old study that is now invalid, we need to put this study group together, update our plan and get moving!
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#37 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:14 PM

ANDY:



#38 AndyN

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 06:13 PM

FYI:

Modern Streetcar Study Committee

Mayor Appointees
Andy Taft (Chair)
Louise Appleman
Johnny Campbell
Ed Casebier
Marvinell Johnson
Fran McCarthy
Phillip Poole

Council Member Appointees
Dr. Carlos Vasquez (District 2)
Pending (District 3)
Bob Riley (District 4)
Pending (District 5)
Bob Parmelee (District 6)
Bill Cranz (District 7)
Janet Saltsgiver (District 8)
Jeff Davis (District 9)

Ex-Officio Member
Michael Morris, NCTCOG Transportation Director
Judge Glen Whitley, Tarrant County Judge

Next meeting: Aug. 11, 2008 4:00pm (proposed) Pre-Council Chambers
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#39 tamtagon

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 09:21 AM

Voluntary cooperation between municipal leadership of the 'signature' cities in North Texas may have reached a historic highpoint as Fort Worth and Dallas tag-team for the return of streetcars.

http://www.star-tele...ory/766632.html
July 18, 2008
By GORDON DICKSON
gdickson@star-telegram.com

..."The future people mover in this region is regional rail, commuter rail, light rail and streetcars," Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief told the crowd after a 20-minute walking tour. The group rode the Trinity Railway Express and DART trains to Mockingbird Station, where they were greeted by Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, DART officials and others.

...Fort Worth officials are considering a streetcar system connecting downtown, the Cultural District, the Stockyards and neighborhoods to the south and east. But the system is not designed or funded.

...said Phillip Poole, "...While commuter rail brings riders from one city to another, a streetcar system "picks you up and drops you off in your neighborhood."


That print article is encouraging for people who want mobility options to visit the regions' popular destinations, but this KERA podcast ratchets up the heady optimism to a whole other level:

http://www.podcastdi...odshows/3393767

- coordinating schedules to share equipment and double the purchasing power
- lobby state legislature for municipal financing options to create seamless regional rail

The best case scenerio for improving quality of life and increasing variety of lifestyles available in North Texas requires excellent access between Fort Worth and Dallas as well as pervasive rail access across each downtown area. Central Business Districts will gain renewed prominence.

#40 tamtagon

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 09:32 AM

Oh, and for the next rail transit party that Fort Worth and Dallas have, Arlington's DCluck (et al) needs to get the gold plated invitation. Since the folks in Arlington seem wary of the bus, but seem okay with the train, that community will probably be willing to buy into a streetcar connection between UTA, the Stadiums, Amusement Parks, and "downtown" which is links seamlessly to a commuter route between Fort Worth and Dallas. Grand Prairie is almost certain to follow Arlington.....

If Fort Worth and Dallas really are determined to share equipment (such a refreshing directive), it makes perfect sense that Arlington hosts the central 'car barn.'

#41 AndyN

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 02:22 AM

That's just a bit over optimistic in my book. It would be incredibly silly for the lines to share a common carbarn 15 miles from their service areas, much less even to be connected at this point. We're not talking about sharing equipment on a daily basis, but sharing equipment specifications and the possibility of piggy-backing orders to come up with a lower per-unit cost, although sharing equipment for peak use events has been mentioned. The cars would have to be trucked between the sharing cities, since it would be a could day in heck before they could use the commuter line.
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#42 AndyN

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 11:52 AM

From the Fort Worth Weekly 8/4/2008 10:04:21 AM:

"Monday Call": Gayle Reaves

...If public transportation rather than gas drilling is your issue du jour, you may want to check out the streetcar plans that another group is whipping up: the Modern Streetcar Study Committee will hold its first meeting next Mon., Aug. 11, at 3 p.m., in the pre-council chambers at city hall. They're studying three possible streetcar lines, from downtown to the Hospital District and Texas Wesleyan University; from downtown to the Stockyards and beyond; and from downtown west to the Cultural District. The city council wants a final report on funding and possible routes by the end of the year.

And this time, it looks like the streetcar system stands a good chance of actually getting approved: on the panel, 11 of 15 members have been vocal supporters of the idea, and city council members have privately told some streetcar folks that funding won't be a problem, especially if special taxing districts are set up to help with parts of the expected $150-million-plus price tag.


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#43 RD Milhollin

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 08:50 AM

Looks like the streetcar momentum is building. Forumista Philip Poole is emerging early as one of the most quootable, if nt most vocal advocate for a streetcar system sitting on the task force studying the issue. I haven't really noticed any stories in the S-T dealing with these developments; I wonder if this is an implicit editorial statement?

http://www.fwbusines...lay.php?id=8134

Streetcars open up opportunities for developments

BY LESLIE WIMMER
August 04, 2008

Adding streetcars along Fort Worth’s roads may not only increase mobility and help travelers avoid high gas prices, but also could open up opportunities for new mixed-use developments at streetcar stops.

The city’s Streetcar Study Committee was formed in July to research the practicality of bringing a new streetcar system to Fort Worth.

If streetcar lines are set up around town, the first locations to get service will be those with the most demand, said Study Committee member Phillip Poole. Poole is also the lead development executive at Townsite Co., the company in charge of the Museum Place development at the intersection of Camp Bowie Boulevard, West Seventh Street and University Drive, also known as the Six Points Intersection.

“The initial prototype route we’re looking at is where there’s housing density, where there’s activity,” Poole said. The prototype route “may very well be in the cultural district where we have 7 million visitors or downtown where we have the convention center.”

Once routes are developed in areas with strong demand, plans for routes will then begin to develop in areas with growing development opportunities, such as those near the Fort Worth Stockyards along North Main Street and along Magnolia Street, Poole said.

“Every time anyone puts a streetcar in, people do higher-intensity housing because people can walk out their front door and not have to use their car, and they will use the streetcars,” Poole said.

Downtown will probably be the hub for the streetcar system if it is approved, and lines would extend in various directions from there, said Assistant City Manager Fernando Costa. Before becoming an assistant city manager, Costa served as Fort Worth’s city planner.

The system “would facilitate circulation within the central city by connecting mixed-use districts to each other through downtown,” Costa said. “So downtown is where we expect to be the central point. I think we obviously want to consider places that would generate ridership immediately, but we also want to consider places where access to rail transportation could include desirable development.”

In some cases, developers may begin purchasing and developing properties in anticipation of a streetcar line being put in place, Costa said. These kinds of developments would create improved access for the city when the time came to install streetcar lines.

“In other cases, it may take time before the property is economically ready for redevelopment,” Costa said. “Ultimately, the market, the real estate market, will determine where and when development occurs.”

Instead of creating new developments, some companies may choose to redevelop existing buildings, Poole said.

About five years ago, Poole was on a city task force that looked into disinvested areas of Fort Worth, or areas where in years past, before suburbs became popular, people lived in mixed-use environments and then moved out of them, he said.

“I was on that task force and we whittled the [number of disinvested areas] down to about 13 or so, and what we found was almost all of these areas were at one time connected to the original old streetcar,” Poole said.

Some of these areas were in South and North Fort Worth, Poole said.

“If you think about it, people are returning to the center city because of the cost of gas and because they spend so much time sitting in traffic,” he said. “We’re looking at these [disinvested] areas and these are concentrations where there’s already police, fire and even libraries to support development.”

In July, Mayor Mike Moncrief, city staffers and members of the city’s Streetcar Study Committee took a trip to Dallas’ Mockingbird Station using the Trinity Railway Express and Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail system to learn about transit-oriented development.

Mockingbird Station, the mixed-use development at the corner of U.S. Highway 75 and Mockingbird Lane, sits just above a light rail stop along the DART system. Mockingbird has 198,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and movie theater space; 211 apartments above the retail and restaurant space; 150,000 square feet of office space and 1,500 parking spaces.

Despite being at the corner of Highway 75 and Mockingbird Lane, Mockingbird Station’s developers have always considered the DART light rail stop to be the entrance to the development, Mockingbird Station General Manager Pam Baker said.

A streetcar system could “expand economic and cultural opportunities in the central city, and expand our tax base so we may be able to deliver public services more economically than we can today,” Costa said. “Fort Worth is growing rapidly and we need to think carefully about how we want to manage that growth. I think a modern streetcar system could be an important component in the city’s revitalization strategy.”

For information, visit www.fortworthgov.org/planninganddevelopment.

Contact Wimmer at lwimmer@bizpress.net


#44 AndyN

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 03:22 PM

Here is a message from Dallas City Council Member Angela Hunt on the Dallas Fort Worth Urban Forum:

Great news! Thanks to the hard work of councilmember and Regional Transportation Council Chair Linda Koop, we will receive $8 million from the RTC to design and engineer our Downtown streetcar system! (The funds come from 121 toll road funds.) I couldn't be more excited about this! This should be enough to engineer the entire system, which will help us leverage other financial support when we seek construction funding. Woohoo!

Hopefully Fort Worth can do the same within a few months.
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#45 FoUTASportscaster

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 09:08 PM

It takes a dedicated government to get it done. Luckily we have that in my council member. Is there anyone on the FW council who is a similar champion for FW's proposal?

#46 AndyN

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 05:27 PM

And the work continues.

Lots of maps today. Nothing in stone, but the obvious routes seem to be the same as from the Streetcar White Paper which includes N.Main to Stockyards, W.7th to Cultural District, S.8th to Berry/TCU, E.Belknap to Six Points and S.Main to Rosedale and then east to TWU/Poly.

Preliminary cost estimates show $333 million price tag if everything is built. But the starter system would probably not include all the routes shown. As for the E.Rosedale route, the total length from downtown would be 8.4 miles. I've ridden 8.4 miles on a streetcar in Philadelphia. It was a loooooonnnnng trip. The suggestion was to use a maximum length of 4 miles for any paticular route, but that might be hard to do and also combine Fort Worth South/Medical District and TWU Poly on the same line. I also think their numbers are high, but better to be high than short, I suppose.
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#47 Fort Worthology

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 09:28 AM

Thoughts:

South Main? Interesting. The rough draft in the whitepaper showed Hemphill being the N/S route. So, did the map show the line going down South Main to Rosedale, then splitting as in the whitepaper - one down Rosedale to 8th, and one E. Rosedale to TWU/Poly? Just making sure I'm visualizing it right. I'm guessing that "8th Ave to Berry/TCU" is reference to the line turning south on 8th from Rosedale, not coming from downtown via 8th exclusively and bypassing the heart of the Near Southside.

Also - the TWU/Poly route from downtown is 8.4 miles round trip, rather than 8.4 miles from downtown AFAIK.

#48 AndyN

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 04:16 PM

Streetcar study group is preparing to leave on their factfinding tour of the Pacific Northwest. As a bonus, City Councilman Joel Burns plans to blog about the trip on Fortworthology.

Read full story here.

Fort Worth officials consider trolley system
11:06 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
By JIM DOUGLAS / WFAA-TV


Fort Worth city leaders want to know if streetcars can ease gridlock and bring new development along the lines.

They want to know so badly that almost every one of them will fly to Washington state Thursday for a first-hand look at three modern systems.

The mayor says this is the biggest delegation he can recall for an out-of-town fact-finding trip, and he says what they find could eventually make a huge difference in how this city grows... and goes.


Trolleys would reduce traffic, noise and pollution in downtown Fort Worth. At the turn of the last century, Fort Worth had a fine electric streetcar system. It moved people around downtown and back to their urban neighborhoods.

But the rails along streets were dismantled in favor of cars and buses.

City leaders say it's time to make a decision about bringing them back.

On Thursday, 10 city staffers and every council member except Chuck Silcox will fly to Washington state on a fact-finding tour. Silcox can't go because of cancer treatments.
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#49 Keller Pirate

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 09:06 PM

I think Andy just posted this to bug me. smile.gif Of course it is not necessary for everyone to make a fact finding trip to look at trolleys. In fact, I'm not sure it is necessary for anyone to go look at them. Is the mayor's bodyguard going along too?

I think there is enough information out about streetcar systems that can be applied to Ft Worth's decision making process on building a line. What can you learn standing on a corner and watching them pass by or riding a trolley with the General Manager of a system telling you every politically correct reason streetcars are the greatest thing to happen in his city since sliced bread?

Just build it!

#50 McHand

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 09:45 PM

Washington smashington.

They could go to Dallas (on the TRE!) and check out McKinney Avenue. Or they could save us a whole bunch of green and do some historic research:

QUOTE
At the turn of the last century, Fort Worth had a fine electric streetcar system. It moved people around downtown and back to their urban neighborhoods.


Surely there's some aspect of the original line that could apply today. Anyone an expert on this?

eta: KP, I guess what I mean is what you just said.

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