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  1. #26
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Hutch View Post
    You're absolutely right. Installing a second mainline will not only be a requirement of the Class I railroads, it will be necessary to provide effective and dependable rail transit service. Besides creating the RTA and getting a dedicated funding source approved by the voters, the other big hurdle is negotiating a workable agreement with BNSF, UP and the other railroad operators. It can be a win-win situation, where if we agree to pay for and install a second mainline, they will prioritize our rail transit operations during our systems operating hours and in return they will have a second mainline to utilize for their operations during our rail transit systems non-operational hours. Installing the additional mainline, including overpass widening and other infrastructure requirements, is the most costly part of developing the commuter rail system. However, it's still only 20-25% of the cost of developing a light rail system.
    Okay, having worked for the BNSF/ATSF it's going to take an immense effort to get commuter trains on the mainline. One example is the new bridge going under 50th, will be single track leading to single track bridge over I-244. So no double track to Edmond. Going south from Burnet you have a single track bridge over South 59th, that the ATSF sorely need two tracks on, but since the govt was replacing the old single track bridge over 59th, and they (ATSF) wouldn't pay for it, it's another single track. Another single track bridge over Western, so there's some major expenses.

  2. #27

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I'm not an expert in the finances of all this but it seems to me that a metro-wide commuter rail system in a place like Oklahoma City requires more than funding an RTA with a permanent fractional penny sales tax. It requires a fundamental paradigm shift in how we all view the typical modern American lifestyle. This paradigm shift probably costs almost as much as will take almost as long as the shift away from rail and to Interstates from 1945-1960 took. I'm optimistic it can happen as ride-sharing and automated automobiles upset the apple cart, but we have to be ready to seize the opportunity.

  3. #28

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Mott View Post
    Okay, having worked for the BNSF/ATSF it's going to take an immense effort to get commuter trains on the mainline. One example is the new bridge going under 50th, will be single track leading to single track bridge over I-244. So no double track to Edmond. Going south from Burnet you have a single track bridge over South 59th, that the ATSF sorely need two tracks on, but since the govt was replacing the old single track bridge over 59th, and they (ATSF) wouldn't pay for it, it's another single track. Another single track bridge over Western, so there's some major expenses.
    You're spot on. The good news is that everyone working on these efforts is aware of the infrastructure upgrades that will be required to make commuter rail a reality. And those requirements are being figured into the cost and time required to get the system operational. The bad news is that we could be saving tens of millions of dollars right now on future system development if the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was just a little more willing to support our efforts whenever possible.

    For instance, several years ago and long before final plans and bid letting were completed, ODOT was asked to upgrade the BNSF 50th street railroad bridge from single track to double track so that there would already be two main lines there for our future needs. It would have been an easy thing to do and only add a minimal incremental cost to the project, as they already have to build a temporary "shoe-fly" bridge next to the current bridge in order to allow freight service to continue while they remove the old bridge and build a new one. All they would have had to do is engineer the shoe-fly as a permanent bridge to function in tandem with the other new bridge. Instead, they will simply tear down the shoe-fly when they are done, wasting considerable funds that could have gone to a permanent structure. At the time, they said it just wasn't in their budget, and that since we were only in the planning stages for commuter rail, there was no reason to spend the extra money at this time.

    There is some other good news in that regard though. After considerable effort and pressure by OKC and the FHA, ODOT agreed to provide extra mainline track capacity for the new BNSF railroad bridge over the Boulevard. In this case, ODOT agreed to design the shoe-fly to be part of the final permanent structure. There will now be enough additional width in the overall bridge design to allow for a total of four tracks (two additional tracks). That decision was extremely valuable, as that section of the BNSF line will have to integrate directly into the Santa Fe Station terminal to the north and the additional track capacity will be necessary to ensure effective rail transit service in and out of that facility in the future.

    Also, several years ago when the City of Norman undertook a major road project to re-construct Robinson Street as an underpass below the BNSF line, Norman officials worked diligently with BNSF and ODOT to convince them to build the bridge substructure wide enough to not only accommodate the current two tracks (mainline and siding), but to allow for a second mainline in the future by simply dropping in place the additional track and supporting beams....like this...

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    At the very least, this is what should be done on any railroad bridge that gets replaced in the near future and supports a line that is part of the planned commuter rail system. If anyone tells you that it can't be done, you now know otherwise.

    It would be great if a more vigorous and unified effort could be made going forward between metro area cities, ODOT and BNSF/UP to find a way to upgrade any bridge structure along the proposed commuter rail corridors that gets replaced to spend the additional incremental costs necessary so that the structure provides for two main lines or can easily be retro-fit for additional track capacity.

  4. #29

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by riflesforwatie View Post
    I'm not an expert in the finances of all this but it seems to me that a metro-wide commuter rail system in a place like Oklahoma City requires more than funding an RTA with a permanent fractional penny sales tax. It requires a fundamental paradigm shift in how we all view the typical modern American lifestyle. This paradigm shift probably costs almost as much as will take almost as long as the shift away from rail and to Interstates from 1945-1960 took. I'm optimistic it can happen as ride-sharing and automated automobiles upset the apple cart, but we have to be ready to seize the opportunity.
    You're spot on too. It will require a paradigm shift in the way metro area residents think about public transportation in order for them to be willing to approve and use a regional transit system.

    There's good news here too, though. Slowly, but surely, over the last many years, metro area residents are becoming more and more aware of the benefits and need for a regional transit system, and the fact that every other city has one, while they're stuck in traffic every day on I-35, I-40, I-235, I-244 and Northwest Highway. It doesn't take many years of suffering through that to start being willing to support development of a regional transit system.

    And those residents are also hearing more about local efforts to create such a transit system, whether through public meetings during transit planning processes or the increasing news reporting about transit system development projects, like the Modern Streetcar and Santa Fe Station. That support will only get magnified in the next two years when both of those projects are completed and residents get to ride a modern light rail vehicle for the first time and step into a our new intermodal hub.

    What's even more encouraging though is the metro areas booming population of millennials who prefer to live and work in a dense urban environment and who strongly support developing a regional transit system for the OKC metro area.

    So, I'm optimistic like you, and totally agree we need to be ready to go when the time is right.

  5. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Hutch and/or Mott, I can understand why we'd need the N/S BNSF corridor to be 2MT across the entire metro for the commuter rail to work well here - the Red Rock Sub carries a pretty hefty volume of freight and they'd need the extra rail to make it work. However, with such low traffic, would the E-W UP corridor really need to be rebuilt as 2MT? In the Chicago area, a few of Metra's routes are largely just single track, like the NCS line. It seems like UP's Oklahoma City Sub would be similar, and just need to have a few sidings added to enable it to carry commuter/passenger service... or is my thinking flawed here?

  6. #31

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by baralheia View Post
    Hutch and/or Mott, I can understand why we'd need the N/S BNSF corridor to be 2MT across the entire metro for the commuter rail to work well here - the Red Rock Sub carries a pretty hefty volume of freight and they'd need the extra rail to make it work. However, with such low traffic, would the E-W UP corridor really need to be rebuilt as 2MT? In the Chicago area, a few of Metra's routes are largely just single track, like the NCS line. It seems like UP's Oklahoma City Sub would be similar, and just need to have a few sidings added to enable it to carry commuter/passenger service... or is my thinking flawed here?
    My guess is you're right on that. Same goes with running a DMU or Commuter Rail vehicle to the airport. Stillwater Central has very little traffic on that line. On lines like those, a combination of adequate sidings and/or a negotiated arrangement (think fee) where the freight trains only run during non-transit service hours often works fine.

    All of the planning efforts to date have looked primarily at the N-S BNSF line, which will definitely need to be double-tracked. We'll have to wait until the other lines are studied in detail and discussions take place with UP and WATCO to know for sure.

  7. #32
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by baralheia View Post
    Hutch and/or Mott, I can understand why we'd need the N/S BNSF corridor to be 2MT across the entire metro for the commuter rail to work well here - the Red Rock Sub carries a pretty hefty volume of freight and they'd need the extra rail to make it work. However, with such low traffic, would the E-W UP corridor really need to be rebuilt as 2MT? In the Chicago area, a few of Metra's routes are largely just single track, like the NCS line. It seems like UP's Oklahoma City Sub would be similar, and just need to have a few sidings added to enable it to carry commuter/passenger service... or is my thinking flawed here?
    The east west line could easily be done, much like the roadrunner between Santa Fe and Belen NM. The UP is a very low density line, probably not more than three trains each way from El Reno to Harter yard. Some passing sidings, and signals, which would require some dispatching oversight would easily accommodate any number of commuter trains. Going east to Shawnee, the track is abysmal, 10 mph on a good day. Power switches and signals aren't cheap, but the track infrastructure could be brought up to 49mph for a reasonable amount. Again visit the Roadrunner project, running on old Santa Fe mainline from just west of Lamy, thru Albuquerque to Belen.

  8. #33

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Just a quick update. The RTA Task Force last week gave its approval for ACOG to send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking to hire a qualified transit and legal consultant to provide expertise and assistance in creating a regional transit authority. The consultant will likely undertake a detailed review and analysis of OKC's regional transit planning efforts to date (system plans, governance models, district models), make recommendations as to the optimal organizational and operating structure for the new RTA, and then draft the necessary formal agreements necessary for creating the RTA. The task force hopes to complete that work by the end of 2017.

  9. #34

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I think should add on commuter rails from El Reno to Shawnee and Chickasha to Stillwater . I think might like to go to watch the games at Norman to Stillwater there have lots of sports games like as bedlam (OU and OSU) or regular games.

  10. #35
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Another thought on commuter rail, several years ago drove to Denton and used their commuter connection from just east of Downtown, also a bus center, to ride south to connect with DART, up from Dallas. Being a railfan on a busman's holiday, (38 yrs on BNSF), I bought the day pass for both systems. A wonderful ride in DMU's from Austria, self powered passenger cars, with great windows and air conditioning. Ran on an old rebuilt MKT line, and I believe, at the time there was still freight service at night. And it was a cross platform connection to DART for the ride into downtown Dallas. Nice! Sure beats driving to big D if DART gets you where you need to go.

  11. #36

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Here is a link an important survey if you're interested to take regarding fares and how they're paid.

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/survey-...Nbg6rmFjPhRLta

  12. #37

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    That's the link to the end of the survey.

  13. #38

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System


  14. #39

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Great story in the Gazette about the RTA efforts:

    Local leaders make moves to establish a Regional Transit Authority

  15. #40

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Tons of misinformation in that article such as Americans are driving less. Not true at all. Horrible article.

  16. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    Tons of misinformation in that article such as Americans are driving less. Not true at all. Horrible article.
    The article takes a clear stance that it supports public transit, but it didn't seem to be filled with tons of misinformation. Could you expound on what makes it a horrible article? Also, could you provide evidence to refute the statement that American's are driving less?

  17. #42

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timei...g-record-2016/

    There are tons of more articles if you Google "record driving levels."

    I see articles all the time about driving mileage hitting record numbers. It is a horrible article because it is inaccurate. Well, it being horrible is more or less my personal opinion on it, obviously.

    Other misinformation includes saying the OKC urban apartment building show no signs of slowing down which is not true. It says public transit ridership is growing and growing which isn't entirely true. I know for a fact it dropped in LA despite the worthless investments in rail that were sold on lies and I've seen articles where it has dropped in other cities as well.

    Statements like this

    "“The days of pulling up your vehicle to the front door of the post office are numbered. It will become less and less of an option, and we have to adjust our mindset,” said ACOG executive director John G. Johnson. “For the average person, they might prefer to sit back on a train or bus and, over the course of their commute, check emails or read.” are laughable, not true, and are a good way to lose support.

    Suburban housing growth accounted for over 80% of new housing growth. So you're gonna tell those people their days of living the way they want/choose to live are numbered? Lol okay do that at the next public forum and not some off beat news source I'm guessing the majority of people in OKC metro haven't heard of, don't remember by name, or read much.

    If autonomous cars happen as fast as some claim it will(I have my doubts), the argument for mass transit about being able to do work or check emails is going the way of the dodo bird just like the argument that gas prices would force Americans out of their cars went.

    Now I'm not saying that public transit ridership didn't go up as a whole, but that is to be expected due to population increases. Next thing you know freeway lobbyist are going to come out with a miraculous study that car ridership went up. Hint: it did.

    I'm excited to see transit progress in the OKC metro, but if ACOG want to suddenly disregard investment in car based infrastructure for transit based, enjoy this small boom of transit investment while it last. Being as OKC metro is extremely particular towards roads and freeways much more than other cities like LA are and seeing as even LA is showing the residents there are driving more than ever, the residents won't take kindly and will be very quick to kill off transit progress when the city starts experiencing chronic traffic congestion. That is exactly what will happen.

    So if you truly support transit, I'd be very careful with how you go about it. Again, I think this article is horrible and full of misinformation. It might not flat out lies, but they are definitely spinning things.

  18. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    So, your issue isn't with the article, but the narrative that there is more of a reliance on public transportation and urban dwelling?

  19. #44

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    It's great to see Acog saying this whether it's true right now or not. Like it or not, reducing our dependence on cars and limiting road growth will be an economic necessity in the years to come. Eventually we will hit a point (maybe we already have) where we cant pay for our infrastructure or basic city services due to the imbalance of Infrastructure per acre vs. tax rev per acre. It is a good thing leaders are beginning to focus on transit other than auto oriented.

  20. #45

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Mississippi Blues View Post
    So, your issue isn't with the article, but the narrative that there is more of a reliance on public transportation and urban dwelling?
    Eh, both. But more with the article.

  21. #46

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross MacLochness View Post
    It's great to see Acog saying this whether it's true right now or not. Like it or not, reducing our dependence on cars and limiting road growth will be an economic necessity in the years to come. Eventually we will hit a point (maybe we already have) where we cant pay for our infrastructure or basic city services due to the imbalance of Infrastructure per acre vs. tax rev per acre. It is a good thing leaders are beginning to focus on transit other than auto oriented.
    I completely agree. If it wasn't for ACOG's efforts and leadership over the last many years, we'd be no closer to creating a regional transit system than we were a decade ago. They are responsible for the success of the Fixed Guideway Study, Regional Transit Dialogue I, RTDII, Intermodal Hub Study, Commuter Corridor Study and RTA Task Force. And at this point in time, they are the primary local governmental organization championing the regional transit system cause. Having participated in most of those efforts, I've seen how hard they work on these issues and applaud their dedication and efforts.

    As for the article, it could have been better, but ACOG didn't write it. I certainly didn't read it as some sort of effort to spin misinformation. They are professional transportation planners and from my experience working with them, I know that's not their intent. It may not have been stated as precisely as some would like, but the message they were trying to convey is that Oklahoma City's continued population growth is going to force us to change the way we think about transportation, and that means providing transit options as part of a less auto-centric transportation network. And that involves creating a regional transit system.

    That effort is all about providing transportation OPTIONS. It has nothing to do with trying to force people to give up their cars or to not live in the suburbs. And it's not ACOG that's in charge of expanding our roads and highways. Much of that responsibility lies with the State. And the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has made it clear that there will be no more widening of I-35 and our other metro area highways. I don't know about you, but I frequently drive between Norman and Edmond at rush hour, and as bad as I-35 congestion is now, I can't imagine what it will be like ten years from now. And as for driverless cars, unless they can fly, they'll be stuck in that same rush hour traffic on I-35 just like every other vehicle. That's the main benefit of rail transit...efficient and predictable travel times. Being hands-free and able to work or relax while you travel is just a nice secondary benefit.

  22. #47

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    I'm not trying to nitpick your post and I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but my experience using LA Metro, BART, Valley Metro, and DART tells me transit has extremely unpredictable travel times until you're actually on rail tracks moving. Even then, I still experience all kinds of delays several times a week using BART and METRO.

    I will say I applaud ACOG for their efforts to bring commuter rail to OKC. I very much want to see that but I also really want to see light-rail from DTOKC connecting it to the south central(basically the ring of I-35/I-44/I-240/I-40 and Will Rodgers.

  23. Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    If you want current info there is an upcoming meeting.
    Chamber Forum

    Date: 05/15/2017

    Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
    Location:
    Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Downtown / Medical Center
    741 N. Phillips Ave.
    Oklahoma City, OK 73104

    Learn more about OKC's regional transit initiative.

    At the Chamber Forum, guests will hear from the panelists the impact and importance of public transit on our infrastructure and future growth.

    Panelists
    Mayor Matt Dukes, City of Midwest City
    Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK
    Mayor Charles Lamb, City of Edmond
    John Sharp, Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG)


    Price:

    Member Non-Member
    $40.00 $60.00

  24. #49
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    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Just thought that this might be of interest. The Iowa Central , the regional rail company that loaned WATCO (Stillwater Central) the passenger equipment for the demonstration rides between Midwest City and Stroud, that impressed our legislators enough to approve sale of track, has pulled their equipment from trying to run a private (non Amtrak) train between Chicago and Indianapolis. Now if there's not enough market there, how will the proposed multiple trains between OKC and Tulsa work? Smoke and mirrors!

  25. #50

    Default Re: OKC Regional Transit System

    Quote Originally Posted by Mott View Post
    Just thought that this might be of interest. The Iowa Central , the regional rail company that loaned WATCO (Stillwater Central) the passenger equipment for the demonstration rides between Midwest City and Stroud, that impressed our legislators enough to approve sale of track, has pulled their equipment from trying to run a private (non Amtrak) train between Chicago and Indianapolis. Now if there's not enough market there, how will the proposed multiple trains between OKC and Tulsa work? Smoke and mirrors!
    The problem with Iowa Pacific's Hoosier State service was Iowa Pacific. They are a poorly-managed company with excessive debt, old equipment, and a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants business plan. While they put on a good show offering costly service amenities like an on-board chef and first-class dining, they have frequent equipment issues and their trains are often late. Rail transit, whether it's local commuter rail or intercity passenger rail, is a viable and effective transportation option only if trains consistently depart and arrive on time. If you can't do that, no amount of money thrown at providing fancy dining is going to result in successful ridership. In fact, it will cause you to go broke. Most of us who support rail transit are actually glad that Iowa Pacific's proposed Eastern Flyer service was never implemented, as it was another project doomed to failure because Iowa Pacific's operational plan for the service was not viable or economically sustainable.

    As for the Sooner Subdivision line between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the Governor, Legislature and ODOT had every intention of selling the line, with or without a passenger rail commitment. In fact, the city council's of Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman and Sapulpa all passed resolutions urging the State to continue to lease the line and NOT to sell it in order to preserve the ability to develop future intercity rail transit service between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The State had offers from both WATCO and BNSF. They didn't sell the line to WATCO because of Iowa Pacific's proposed service. They sold it to WATCO because they offered significantly more money than BNSF. WATCO really has no more interest in allowing passenger rail service on their lines than does BNSF. If anyone got hoodwinked, it was the citizens of the State of Oklahoma.

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