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Thread: Implementing a light rail / street car system into a dense urban core.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Implementing a light rail / street car system into a dense urban core.

    Grand Rapids might take a page form the past, and from Portland, and bring back a downtown street car system. It has been more than 50 years since the last streetcars rumbled up and down the streets of Grand Rapids, but with increasing traffic congestion, parking concerns, and a lack of interest in the Cities downtown busing system, they are looking at the idea of reintroducing rail based street cars back into the city, and will use the existing streets.

    But how can the city do this given that they will be sharing streets with cars, dealing with traffic lights, and only going in a limited few mile? What other cities have done this type of transportation project? Was it successful? What issues came up?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    While it isn't in operation yet, Atlanta Streetcar Inc has put a lot of research and effort into bringing back the streetcar to Atlanta. It won't answer all your questions but I think you'll find some good information on their site: http://www.atlantastreetcar.com/

    There is a feasibility study in the FAQ section.

    I think you have to be cautious as to how it is implemented. If you're just going to put in a streetcar and not change anything else to improve the pedestrian environment and de-emphasize cars, it's not likely to be a success. It needs to connect places that people often travel between. A connection between the senior center and the nigh club district wouldn't get a lot of use as neither would a streetcar that travels amongst blank walls and large parking decks... which isn't to say it shouldn't go near parking facilities. If you can get people to park and then use the streetcar for all of their travel in the district, then you've done good. But that'll only work if it goes to or very close to the destinations in the area you are covering. I've heard that the Little Rock streetcar isn't doing very good because it just loops around some blocks downtown without really connecting anything.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Its my understanding that GR will be using a BRT system at first.

    Looks like you need to take a road trip to Toronto to check it out, it works fine. Kenosha, WI has developed a system similar to what I hear GR wants, but there is a problem. It does not have the density. In some places the streetcars do not run on actual streets either!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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