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Subways VS Monorails & Changing Traffic Directions Daily

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
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9,329
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Looking for help (and/or general comments) about.....

Subways VS Monorails: I'm a frequent visitor to subway (and transit) web pages AND a visitor to a monorail society site.
The writers on the monorail site estow the virtues of monorail as if it was the greatest thing "since sliced bread". If they are correct about reliability, per/mile construction costs, operating expenses, etc......why the h@## are we not seeing these things in more cities? Any thoughts?

And.....anybody know of major routes that change traffic flow directions......maybe one-way (west) in the morning and one-way (east) in the afternoon? Or, changing an 8-lane xway to a different number of lanes to accomodate different dirfectional flow?

Doesn't Chicago do this on some xways? Toledo has a major road (years ago, since changed) that was different directions in morning and afternoon. It was confusing. Entering the street from an adjoining street meant looking at a sign with a time on it and then checking your watch.

Any help or comments would be appreciated.

Bear
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
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34
Bear Up North said:
And.....anybody know of major routes that change traffic flow directions......maybe one-way (west) in the morning and one-way (east) in the afternoon? Or, changing an 8-lane xway to a different number of lanes to accomodate different dirfectional flow?

Doesn't Chicago do this on some xways?

Yes. I-90/94 (the Kennedy Expressway) has two center "express" lanes. In the morning they are open in-bound, and in the evening they are out-bound. There are only a couple exit points once you are in them. At the time I still lived in Illi-hell, they worked well enough, despite some problems. One was that some people did not realise what they were and got into them by mistake, then panicked as they passed their exit with no way off. Another problem was people in the right lane cutting across several lanes of traffic to get to them. The last one I recall was that when there was an accident or break-down, they came to a complete stop because there was no way to get out. (There is a median and guardwall between them and the regular traffic lanes.)
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
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4,853
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26
In Santiago there are reversible streets (that change traffic) depending on the time of the day, haven't heard complaints so I guess it works somewhat well..
Santiago also has a subway system which is quite good, and now is expanding a few lines and creating a new one. It works well, and a fair amount of people use it daily, with no major problems.

I've never been on a monorail, hence can't give an opinion about it, and guiding my opinion about the simpson's chapter when they built a monorail wouldn't be fair :p
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Bear Up North said:
Looking for help (and/or general comments) about.....

Subways VS Monorails: I'm a frequent visitor to subway (and transit) web pages AND a visitor to a monorail society site.
The writers on the monorail site estow the virtues of monorail as if it was the greatest thing "since sliced bread". If they are correct about reliability, per/mile construction costs, operating expenses, etc......why the h@## are we not seeing these things in more cities? Any thoughts?

I think their data is mostly bullshit. Monorails and light rail both have lobby groups that make Wendell Cox look fair and unbiased.

I know one of the worst things that website in particular does is use amusement park and casino monorails for cost estimates. Those are bullshit though because those lines generally only have one train making a circult so there's no need for signaling or crossovers.

Crossovers are a big deal on monorail, and incredibly important for a transit operation. On a monorail, the whole rail physically has to swing. With a large network, the rail yards will need dozens of crossovers, and they need to be spaced along the rail for reliability. When a train breaks down, for instance, the alignment needs to go into "single track operation", where trains use the crossovers onto the other track to get around the stalled train. Otherwise, one breakdown means the entire line shuts down.

Most of the cost associated with any new infestructure in an urban environment is aquisition of right-of-way. By looking at amusement parks, the monorail people conveniently ignore all those costs. Also transit operation can't use those temporary monorails they gush over because a system that's supposed to be in use for decades. And you can't shut the line down to repair it without losing all of your ridership (as the CTA found with the green line, which was over 100 years old when they repaired it). Transit agencies are very cautious about new technology because they know how important reliable operation is. When a factory's equpment fails, they lose money while empoyees sit around. When transit equipment fails, there's the same problem, but also customers are stranded, which has long term repercussions for the system. Case in point is the trucks on the New York subway some time ago. They developed fractures after a short period of use, causing breakdowns all over the subway. The system took a huge riderhship hit and the agency took an enormous amount of political fallout.

The question, in the same with maglev, what's the advantage over birail? The only one I've seen that's legitimate with monorail is that the tracks can be more narrow. If that's worth the added cost and the risk of using technology that's largely untested, as Seattle thinks it is, then I see no problem with it.

And.....anybody know of major routes that change traffic flow directions......maybe one-way (west) in the morning and one-way (east) in the afternoon? Or, changing an 8-lane xway to a different number of lanes to accomodate different dirfectional flow?

This could increase capacity but they'd have to eliminate the median and probably install some exensive moving barriers. I have seen some expressways that do that but I'm not aware of any in Chicago.

I'm not a big expressway driver though. :p
 
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jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
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23
We have a variation of reversible flow on the Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman Bridges.

It's a moveable barrier that's something like a cross between a jersey barrier and a slinky. It gets moved twice a day by this big, crooked, green truck with a cab at either end. The bridge is 7 lanes so at 2 am the truck slides the barrier over so that 4 lanes are inbound and at 2pm the truck makes another trip so that 4 lanes are outbound.

A deck repair job was going on for a few days that took out two lanes on the inbound side so they actually swung the barrier over one more lane so traffic had 3 inbound and 2 outbound lanes.

http://www.barriersystemsinc.com/products/productfamily.asp?key=1&nav_family=1

Monorails*

Newark Airport has a monorail that connects the three airport terminals, parking lots, rental lots, hotels, and the Amtrak/NJTransit airport station. It's an entirely automated, double-tracked system and headways are 3-5 minutes for most of the day. At either end of the alignment trains have to reverse direction and cross over to the proper track. The rail that the trains run on looks more or less like an I-beam and the switches are just S-shaped rail segments that flip over to switch the cars from one track to another. It's pretty clever.

I think they went with monorail instead of light rail because it made the most sense. The Port Authority is using light rail at JFK to connect it with LIRR's Jamaica Station but the distances are much greater and the ridership coming from the LIRR is likely to be much heavier.

The monorail at Newark was built in several segments - first they connected the terminals with the parking lots, then they got the rental car lots, then they had to go over US1/US9 and over the Anhueser-Busch plant to get to the train station. The curves are tight and some of the passages are narrow.

Much of the JFK light rail line is elevated as is the entire Newark Monorail but i have a feeling that the elevated light rail segments are a lot more expensive. The big difference - There's no way the Newark monorail could handle anything resembling a peak period crush. I would be really surprised if the monorail could handle any more than 3,000 people an hour.
http://www.trainweb.org/subwaymark/transit/US East/Newark/newark_mr.htm
 

H

Cyburbian
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2,850
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SkeLeton said:
In Santiago there are reversible streets (that change traffic) depending on the time of the day, haven't heard complaints so I guess it works somewhat well..

Roswell Road in Roswell Ga is three lanes. Two go towards Atlanta in the morning, two go away in the evening. I think it is a good idea, but my dad is scared to drive in the middle lane because he thinks people will mess up and be driving the wrong way.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,523
Points
23
Reversible Roads

Sydney Harbour Bridge and most of the approach freeways have reversible lanes. Traffic sewer into town in the morning and traffic sewer out in the afternoon. They use a slinky/jersey kerb device as described by jresta but it is automated (ie. self propelled, moves on inbuilt wheels and is remotely controlled). The operations of the lanes seem very flexible, with the traffic authority actively managing lane direction throughout the day. There are many other isolated examples around Sydney though they tend to be less sophisticated than the bridge.

Monorail

Sydney also has a short monorail. It operates on a single track and moves in an anti-clockwise loop through part of the CBD and down to Darling Harbour - an entertainment/residential precinct. It operates on a 5 to 15 minute headway for about 16 hours a day (from memory). It is a toy and has been consistently pilloried by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Planning Institute and transport engineers. It is unlikely to ever be extended - cheaper, higher volume alternatives such as streetcar/light rail or moving footways will prevail in the future - and it may be removed when the operator's licence expires.

The main criticism levelled at it relates to the effect on building facades (particularly historic buildings) of the track, erected about 4 metres above footpaths (sidewalks).
 

Wulf9

Member
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22
The thing I like is the ski areas that extended their gondolas into town to avoid congestion. That is a monorail of sorts.

I suspect this is less expensive than monorails.
 

bestnightmare

Cyburbian
Messages
61
Points
4
Maroon said:
I seem to recall some parkway around DC that was inbound in the AM and outbound in the PM.

Indeed. The Rock Creek Parkway between (I think) Virgina Ave. and Cathedral St. does this. So does Canal Rd. between Georgetown and the Chain Bridge. Though these two are the only roads that are strictly one-way during rush hour, several other inbound/outbound arterials in DC, most notably Connecticut Ave., have one or more lanes that change direction during rush hours.
 
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20
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2
In Phoenix, no left turns are allowed on several north-south routes during rush hours Mon-Fri. At those times, the left turn lanes accomodate an additional lane of traffic. During the morning rush, drivers can use the turning lane going into the city and at night the turning lane is used to accomode the mass exodus.
 

MitchBaby

Cyburbian
Messages
198
Points
7
Vancouver's Situation

Hey

For the changeable lanes situation, Vancouver has two examples. 1. the Lion's Gate Bridge whereby there are three lanes of traffic, and depending on the time and the traffic, two lanes go in one direction with 1 lane going the opposite direction. Works fairly well, though it does get crowded. 2. The Massey Tunnel, normally operates as two lanes in each direction, but through traffic management, an extra lane can be dedicated to the busier stream of traffic during rushhour. There haven't been many problems because in both cases, the transportation system and road pattern has been designed in such a way as it is safe and efficient.

hope it makes sense.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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18,313
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44
The Golden Gate Bridge has changeable lanes--4 southbound and 2 northbound during the AM and 4 northbound and 2 southbound in the PM. I think that the floating bridges in the Seattle area also have changeable lanes.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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Re: Re: Subways VS Monorails & Changing Traffic Directions Daily

jordanb said:
I know one of the worst things that website in particular does is use amusement park and casino monorails for cost estimates. Those are bullshit though because those lines generally only have one train making a circult so there's no need for signaling or crossovers

I agree, but its more than just those points. Public bidding laws result in a 25-40% overall cost bump due to their requirements.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
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25
Nemesis said:
MOnorail topic:

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20030813/1026057.asp

Article in Buffalo News states Niagara Falls Ontario has funding for Monorail. God knows it would help take some load off the people mover system. They are years ahead of any deveopment and planning on the American side.

-Yeah they are years ahead on the canadian side because the ontario govenment made it a top priority to fix the canadian side of the falls years ago. New York state continued to let the american side fall into disrepair.
As for monorail vs light transit or subway, it all depends I guess on the cost and options of each. When our system was built they used the cut and cover method for some of the line which really cost the lives of alot of businesses. Drilling through some of the rock layers was also costly.
While expansion was suppose to happen back in the 70's/80's, it never did thus giving it the name, the rail to nowhere. Finally now some momentum is gaining to use existing rail right of ways to extend the system out to the airport. There's also talk of having a high speed rail line out to the falls and more extensions are mentioned in the MPO's long-range plan.
 

El Feo

Cyburbian
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674
Points
19
Several xways in the Boston metro area change lane numbers between morning and afternoon commutes. In addition, the breakdown lane is a travel lane during rush hour on several of the major roadways.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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29
In addition to the Golden Gate Bridge, there is the Caldecot Tunnel between Contra Costa County and Oakland/Berkeley. There are three bores, with the central bore switching direction during commute peaks.

Not a big fan of "more freeways" but a fourth bore is definitely needed. Oh well, maybe before I am dead CALTRANS (Slogan: "Building highways as slowly and expensively as humanly possible") will get around to it.
 
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