Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cause of Some High Cost and Long Planning Periods...

One of the problems we have here in the United States in building light rail lines is that it cost more than comparable lines in other countries.

Among the problems that causes that is that we build systems like tanks so to survive a crash instead of prevent the accidents, politicians putting pork into the project for such items as neighborhood improvements and what we would be talking about today planning.

While good planning is very important, over the last few years the Federal Government is requiring more and more items to be included in the planning. One example of that is the requirement that Bus Rapid Transit is required to evaluated on every project now. While at first this seems to make sense to study alternatives, let me give you some examples from Los Angeles where this is doing nothing but slowing down the process and increasing cost.

First of all I would like to thank Darrell Clarke of Friends of Expo for this information.

Downtown Connector: The two current light rail lines end at two opposite points of downtown. The Gold Line ends at Union Station which at the extreme northeast end of downtown while the Blue Line ends at the 7th/Metro MetroRail Station which is in the center west end of the downtown.

The two lines are currently connected by the MetroRail but requires two transfers are required. The downtown connector is designed to bring these two lines together so that trains can operate through. However, the Federal Transit Authority is requiring them to study BRT for this line instead of light rail. Now why would you connect two light rail lines by a short BRT? Not to mention that the lines are connected by overcrowded MetroRail already. Clearly the study of BRT is political and slows down the process.

Wilshire Subway: Extended the current MetroRail Subway from Western Avenue all the way to Santa Monica. Once again BRT is required to be studied as a possible alternative to the Subway. The problem with that? BRT already runs along with route and is beyond capacity. That is the whole reason the subway extension is being studied!

Expo Phase II: The first phase of the Expo line is now under construction and they are required to study BRT for phase II. This is equivalent to UTA building the first phase of the University line then having to build BRT to the Medical Center.

As you can see in these cases BRT is being used as a Red Herring and is doing nothing but increasing cost.

While we need GOOD planning, we do not need planning that is doing nothing but cost us money.

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