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Sacramento Steetcar One Step Closer


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#1 Blackwolf

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 10:27 PM

The SacBee is reporting that things are looking up for the Sacramento streetcar project. This project is planned to connect downtown Sacramento with the riverfront district of West Sacramento. The self-imposed tax ($80 million a year) on downtown businesses passed with more than an 80% margin.

http://www.sacbee.co...e157410984.html

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#2 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:06 AM

I distinctly remember there being street cars in Sacramento last time I was there- a few years ago.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#3 Eric S

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 11:21 AM

I distinctly remember there being street cars in Sacramento last time I was there- a few years ago.

 

Street-running light rail perhaps?



#4 Blackwolf

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 12:32 PM

I distinctly remember there being street cars in Sacramento last time I was there- a few years ago.

Sacramento has been without streetcars since 1947, when the whole system was shut down and ripped out.  National City Lines, the company that ran Sacramento's public transit at the time, decided it would be much more cost-effective to replace them with buses (NCL was part of the "consipiracy" that had General Motors deliberately replacing rail-based transit with their buses.)  What you saw in Sacramento were not streetcars, but Regional Transit's (RT) light rail trains.  They do street-run in Sacramento, but are not streetcars.  The biggest difference between the two systems will be:
 

  • Light rail has high-floor cars with stairs; ramps are provided at widely-spaced stations (designed more as a commuter rail system) for ADA purposes.
    • Streetcars will be low-floor, street-level boarding. Ramps for ADA will be automatically deployed from the car itself, requiring no additional infrastructure. Stations will be closely-spaced, some as close as block apart, and also have the ability to stop between designated stations for alighting passengers.
  • Light rail has longer headways between trains (up to 45 minutes on Sundays.) Trains travel up to 48 miles away from the downtown region, meaning delays can (and do) compound reliability.
    • Streetcars will have close headways, sometimes as little as 15 minutes between trains.  The full loop, meandering though Sacramento's urban core and West Sacramento's redeveloped Riverfront District, will be confined to the 3.3 mile system. (MAP: http://www.riverfron...tcar.com/route/)
  • Light rail does not serve West Sacramento/Yolo County and does not cross the Sacramento River.
    • The Streetcars will cross the Sacramento River (ironically, on the same exact alignment as the previous Streetcar system did, across the Tower Bridge) and serve West Sacramento.  This includes service to the Raley Field baseball stadium (AAA Minor League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.)

These are some of the bigger points, but there are more.  Find them here: http://www.riverfrontstreetcar.com/


Edited by Blackwolf, 22 June 2017 - 12:35 PM.

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#5 jebr

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 01:29 PM

Most of those seem to be differences between Sacramento's implementation of light rail vs. proposed implementation of streetcars, not actual technological differences. (And, for a practical sake, as a standard passenger I'd see the street running in mixed traffic on the light rail and see that as a streetcar.)

 

Light rail can be low-floor, have short headways, have short routes, and could cross the river if so desired. Especially on the headway part, that can be easily remedied by running more trains; MSP runs their trains at 10 minute headways through most of the day seven days a week, more frequent than the Sacramento streetcar is.

 

I don't doubt that there's differences, but a lot of the proposed benefits of the streetcar could be delivered by an extension of the light rail (maybe with a new line that terminates downtown to keep the route length short) if that was desired.



#6 Blackwolf

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 06:52 PM

Most of those seem to be differences between Sacramento's implementation of light rail vs. proposed implementation of streetcars, not actual technological differences. (And, for a practical sake, as a standard passenger I'd see the street running in mixed traffic on the light rail and see that as a streetcar.)

 

Light rail can be low-floor, have short headways, have short routes, and could cross the river if so desired. Especially on the headway part, that can be easily remedied by running more trains; MSP runs their trains at 10 minute headways through most of the day seven days a week, more frequent than the Sacramento streetcar is.

 

I don't doubt that there's differences, but a lot of the proposed benefits of the streetcar could be delivered by an extension of the light rail (maybe with a new line that terminates downtown to keep the route length short) if that was desired.

True, on all points.  From an operations standpoint, I don't believe SacRT (who runs the county-wide transit operation of light rail and bus) will be operating the streetcars... At least, not in the immediate future.  The streetcar operation is slated to be run as a partnership between the City of Sacramento and the City of West Sacramento.  While there will be shared trackage along K street with both the streetcars and light rail, the two systems will remain wholly separate except to complement each other in a connections sense.  The 15-minute headways are likely a result of that one common routing, actually, since SacRT will be the controlling dispatcher allowing slots between their own trains.

 

Unfortunately, SacRT has absolutely no interest in going to low-floor LRV's and is slated to order new high-floor vehicles in the next 5 years to replace the oldest Siemens LRV's from the 1980's (which, interestingly enough, were built as the very first order at Siemens Sacramento factory and is the reason the company is located there.)  A very widely held gripe for SacRT is that they are inflexible with their scheduling.  Infrastructure-wise, they didn't put passing sidings or an express track into their system design (really poor decision based on saving money.)  The many (MANY) grade crossings along all routes outside of Sacramento proper have caused local municipalities to legislatively limit the system headways because of concerns that too many trains will foul their roadways and cause congestion issues.  Its a legacy issue that may one day be fixed, but in the meantime there is absolutely zero interest in addressing those concerns and more by the SacRT board.  They're too busy with other things, like hiring more fare checkers to combat abysmal fare evasion and increasing law enforcement to address the high crime rates on trains and around stations.  Oh, and maybe extending the Green Line to the airport before the year 2100.

 

The real reason light rail and the streetcar will be separate is because of cost; LRV is somewhere near double the pricetag versus the streetcar system planned.  The streetcar project is not going to build trackage to a standard high enough to accept LRV's; the corners will have too right a radius for the current LRV fleet and the roadbed for the rails will not be made to the strength standards for them either.  Streetcars are to be a lot lighter than LRV's, resulting in quieter running (think Portland, Oregon and its LRV vs. Streetcar routes.)


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Capitol Corridor (too many times to count!); Coast Starlight (x21); California Zephyr (x6); Empire Builder (x2); Lake Shore Limited (x3); Maple Leaf (x1); Adirondack (x2); Cascades (x1); Pacific Surfliner (x6); San Joaquin (x8); Capitol Limited (x1); Cardinal (x2); Acela (x1)

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Ocean (x4); Windsor Corridor (x2); The Canadian (x1)


#7 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 07:20 AM

Toe-may-toe, toe-Mott-toe.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#8 BCL

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 10:46 PM

Toe-may-toe, toe-Mott-toe.

 

Yeah - it's basically just a matter of semantics.  However, my understanding is that the Sacramento RT system only uses designated stations.  I haven't ridden it myself, but I spent a little time in the area and remember seeing the rail vehicles and stations.  They tend to go on designated rights of way, while crossing intersections with perhaps a few rail crossings.  Santa Clara VTA also operates a similar system.  It's primarily in the medians of major streets, although there are a few areas where they run in the center of a freeway or off to the side of a major road.  They're all high platform boarding.

 

San Francisco's MUNI Metro is the only system I've ever been on that's a combination of subway, above-ground center-median stations, and streetcar service on the same roads that cars use.



#9 tp49

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 01:37 AM

Yup, Sac RT only uses designated stations even when they run on streets (all of the downtown/midtown stops with a couple of exceptions.)

 

As for the streetcar, as someone who lives here, I'd be happier if the funding were used for extension/improvement of the existing RT light rail system then add a streetcar downtown that I honestly don't see being used all that much.  They've been talking about extending light rail through Natomas to the airport for at least the last decade plus that I've been here and it would be nice to see that area better served first.  As someone else said above, the proposed benefits the streetcar is aiming for would just as easily be served by a light rail extension.  Then there's the issue of two separate systems and separate fares and the potential confusion that could come with it. 

 

I'd love to see the ridership projections but it seems like an awful lot of money to spend on what very well could end up being a white elephant.



#10 BCL

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 03:38 PM

Yup, Sac RT only uses designated stations even when they run on streets (all of the downtown/midtown stops with a couple of exceptions.)

 

As for the streetcar, as someone who lives here, I'd be happier if the funding were used for extension/improvement of the existing RT light rail system then add a streetcar downtown that I honestly don't see being used all that much.  They've been talking about extending light rail through Natomas to the airport for at least the last decade plus that I've been here and it would be nice to see that area better served first.  As someone else said above, the proposed benefits the streetcar is aiming for would just as easily be served by a light rail extension.  Then there's the issue of two separate systems and separate fares and the potential confusion that could come with it. 

 

I'd love to see the ridership projections but it seems like an awful lot of money to spend on what very well could end up being a white elephant.

 

I flew from the airport once.  It was a bit convenient that the parking fee was low.  However, it's in the middle of nowhere.



#11 fairviewroad

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 11:40 AM

San Francisco's MUNI Metro is the only system I've ever been on that's a combination of subway, above-ground center-median stations, and streetcar service on the same roads that cars use.

In Philadelphia, the SEPTA Rt 36 Subway-Surface line has a handful of center-median stations along Island Ave in far SW Philly. But most of the "surface" components of the Rt 36 and SEPTA's other Subway-Surface lines are standard streetcar-style on-street routes.



#12 BCL

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 03:45 PM

 

San Francisco's MUNI Metro is the only system I've ever been on that's a combination of subway, above-ground center-median stations, and streetcar service on the same roads that cars use.

In Philadelphia, the SEPTA Rt 36 Subway-Surface line has a handful of center-median stations along Island Ave in far SW Philly. But most of the "surface" components of the Rt 36 and SEPTA's other Subway-Surface lines are standard streetcar-style on-street routes.

 

 

I forgot how Santa Clara VTA's light rail travels through downtown San Jose.  That is actually at street level with street level stations.  Most of the right of way is actually on the sidewalk next to pedestrians.

 



#13 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:59 AM

Traffic interacting street cars are a historic curiosity, but provide no tangible benefit- and quite a few negatives- over a bus. The advantage of the rail comes only with a separated right of way that can't be fouled by cars. Some street running on a mostly separated system is a good thing, but a street car that runs with traffic is just a less flexible bus with metal wheels.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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