Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:58 am

Ridership's looking good: http://downtowndevil.com/2012/04/06/257 ... c-transit/

Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta attended the press conference. Banta said that Valley Metro did not assist with the study but that the study promotes public transportation.

“The total transit network, which is many modes working in concert, will help keep our young people in the region and support our local economy,” Banta said in a press release.

Valley Metro ridership has increased since it opened in 2008. February ridership of all Valley Metro operations in Phoenix was at 3,939,009, compared with February 2011, when ridership was at 3,577,855, according to Valley Metro’s monthly ridership reports.


Not sure if that's all rail related or not. I think they're a blended system.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat May 12, 2012 12:35 pm

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoe ... vised.html

extension route revies:

It calls for the 11-mile West Rail Link to run near Interstate 10 from Tolleson into Phoenix.

From there, it would run along Interstate 17 and then Van Buren Street to an area near 18th Avenue, and then to Jefferson Street through the St. Matthew's neighborhood to connect to the current 19-mile rail downtown.

The extension is to be operating by 2021.

Regional transit officials must still work out details for funding the project.

Originally, Metro light rail and Phoenix transit officials proposed the route travel through the St. Matthew's neighborhood on Jefferson Street, which would cut through the neighborhood with homes that date to the early 1900s.


Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoe ... z1ug66th9o
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon May 28, 2012 12:41 pm

Ground breaking: Metro breaks ground Wednesday on Mesa light rail segment

Metro will hold a groundbreaking Wednesday to celebrate a new light rail segment that will link downtown Mesa to Tempe and Phoenix.

The 3.1-mile, $200 million extension will be the first new segment since Metro opened the 20-mile system in December 2008. While the transit system is seen as a catalyst for downtown Mesa, Metro anticipates Wednesday’s kickoff will draw people from across the Valley.

Train aficionados have already shown interest, but Metro spokeswoman Hillary Foose said a broader range of people are welcome.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:26 pm

http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/no ... hannel=535

About 10, 11 miles:

ARIZONA's Maricopa Association of Governments has approved plans for the western extension of the Phoenix Valley Metro light rail line.


The 17.7km extension will link Phoenix city centre with the State Capitol area before terminating at a park and ride station at the junction of 79th Avenue and the I-10 West highway.

The next phase of the project involves an environmental assessment and preliminary design.

Construction is already underway on a 5km eastern extension of the line to Central Mesa, which is due to open in 2015.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:10 pm

and now, being accelerated!

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/p ... ion--32381

Valley Metro's construction of the Northwest light-rail extension in Phoenix has been accelerated by seven years, agency officials announced yesterday.

The project, which involves extending the route along 19th Avenue from the current end-of-line north 3.2 miles to Dunlap Avenue, has been given the green light to accelerate completion from 2023 to 2015, Valley Metro officials said in a prepared statement.

Final design is under way and construction is slated to begin in early 2013, they said.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Zmapper » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:56 pm

$65 million a mile, for a light rail expansion in the median of existing streets? That is nearly double of what Denver will pay for the I-225 corridor, which has to cross multiple roads and rivers on grade-separated structures. What is the reason for the cost discrepancy?
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby electricron » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:06 am

Zmapper wrote:$65 million a mile, for a light rail expansion in the median of existing streets? That is nearly double of what Denver will pay for the I-225 corridor, which has to cross multiple roads and rivers on grade-separated structures. What is the reason for the cost discrepancy?

The proximity of what's under city streets compared to freeways are the main reason. You could find every possible utility imaginable under the entire length of a city street that needs to be made compatible for light rail track electrical currents that you will not necessarily find under an entire length of a freeway median.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby amtrakowitz » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:05 pm

electricron wrote:
Zmapper wrote:$65 million a mile, for a light rail expansion in the median of existing streets? That is nearly double of what Denver will pay for the I-225 corridor, which has to cross multiple roads and rivers on grade-separated structures. What is the reason for the cost discrepancy?

The proximity of what's under city streets compared to freeways are the main reason. You could find every possible utility imaginable under the entire length of a city street that needs to be made compatible for light rail track electrical currents that you will not necessarily find under an entire length of a freeway median.

No, that does not follow. Systems like Portland Streetcar have been installed for about $10 million per mile including rolling stock and maintenance facilities.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby electricron » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:27 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:No, that does not follow. Systems like Portland Streetcar have been installed for about $10 million per mile including rolling stock and maintenance facilities.

Portland's 66 feet long streetcars are no match in weight or size to Phoenix and Mesa's over 90 feet long light rail vehicles, which can be coupled together into a 4 vehicle train that's over 350 feet long. Extra size and weight requires a much stronger foundation, and therefore higher costs.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:52 pm

For comparison: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail ... _operation

It will be seen that whatever the opinion of the costs as presented, or the value received for those costs, Phoenix's system falls into line with most other LRT systems.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby amtrakowitz » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:16 pm

electricron wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote:No, that does not follow. Systems like Portland Streetcar have been installed for about $10 million per mile including rolling stock and maintenance facilities.

Portland's 66 feet long streetcars are no match in weight or size to Phoenix and Mesa's over 90 feet long light rail vehicles, which can be coupled together into a 4 vehicle train that's over 350 feet long. Extra size and weight requires a much stronger foundation, and therefore higher costs.

No, it does not require a stronger foundation. Would an 80,000-lb GVWR dump truck cause more or less damage to the road than a 100,000-lb loaded LRV with more axles than the dump truck and on rails? (You've got 20,000 lbs per axle on the dumptruck assuming four axles; the LRV would have six axles per unit, and have close to 17,000 lbs per axle, and less vibration than the truck.)
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby electricron » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:02 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:
electricron wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote:No, that does not follow. Systems like Portland Streetcar have been installed for about $10 million per mile including rolling stock and maintenance facilities.

Portland's 66 feet long streetcars are no match in weight or size to Phoenix and Mesa's over 90 feet long light rail vehicles, which can be coupled together into a 4 vehicle train that's over 350 feet long. Extra size and weight requires a much stronger foundation, and therefore higher costs.

No, it does not require a stronger foundation. Would an 80,000-lb GVWR dump truck cause more or less damage to the road than a 100,000-lb loaded LRV with more axles than the dump truck and on rails? (You've got 20,000 lbs per axle on the dumptruck assuming four axles; the LRV would have six axles per unit, and have close to 17,000 lbs per axle, and less vibration than the truck.)

How many 80,000 pounds dump trucks to do you see on Main Street a day? With 15 minute headways, 8 light rail trains an hour, for 16 hours each day, you'll see 128 light rail trains. A ridiculous argument to add dump trucks to this discussion about streetcars and lightrail trains. Trucks using rubber tires have a much larger contact patch to the road to distribute any weight than trains using steel wheels on steel rails. Haven't you ever seen the ruts steel rims place in roads by a 3,000 pound car, imagine the amount of damage to the road from an 80,000 pound truck with flat tires riding on its rims?
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Patrick Boylan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:57 pm

electricron, you've now moved the trolley's point of impact from the foundation, somewhere under the ties and ballast, to the top of the rail.
I have to agree with amtrakowitz, $65 million per mile for what I assume is street running, or maybe reserved right of way, doesn't make sense.

mtuandrew, your link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail ... _operation gives a range
$15 million per mile to over $100 million per mile.
Seattle's new light rail system is by far the most expensive in the U.S. at $179 million per mile, since it includes extensive tunneling in poor soil conditions, elevated sections, and stations as deep as 180 feet (55 m) below ground level.

I have to suspect that bridges, tunnels, etc... skew that average upward. Yes, Phoenix's expansion's in the middle of $15-$100 million, and on the low side of $179 million, but it doesn't seem to have any of the qualities that warrant such expense.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby electricron » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:16 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:electricron, you've now moved the trolley's point of impact from the foundation, somewhere under the ties and ballast, to the top of the rail.
I have to agree with amtrakowitz, $65 million per mile for what I assume is street running, or maybe reserved right of way, doesn't make sense.

mtuandrew, your link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail ... _operation gives a range
$15 million per mile to over $100 million per mile.
Seattle's new light rail system is by far the most expensive in the U.S. at $179 million per mile, since it includes extensive tunneling in poor soil conditions, elevated sections, and stations as deep as 180 feet (55 m) below ground level.

I have to suspect that bridges, tunnels, etc... skew that average upward. Yes, Phoenix's expansion's in the middle of $15-$100 million, and on the low side of $179 million, but it doesn't seem to have any of the qualities that warrant such expense.


The cheapest per mile light rail system built within the last 5 years was Norfolk's Tide. It averaged $43 million per mile. Data points being used are 7.4 miles and $318 Million. No where close to $10 million per mile.
Norfolk's Tide train stations and platforms are sized for just one vehicle per train (90 feet long) while Phoenix's Metro are sized for 3 vehicles per train (300 feet long).
Norfolk's $11 Million light rail yard was built to handle 9 vehicles with a shop having 30,000 sq. ft., while Phoenix's $65 Million light rail yard was built to handle 50 vehicles with the shop having 136,000 sq. ft. That difference of $54 Million for the shops alone accounts for much of the dollars/mile differences.

Norfolk's yard and shops alone costs more than $10 Million/mile. The only way I can see even a streetcar line approaching $10 Million per mile today is if they reusing existing abandoned tracks under the pavement and using restored trolleys. Dallas' Oak Clift streetcar project capital costs will be around $30 Million for a line less than 2 miles in length, which is mainly single track with double track existing at one station approximately centered on the route. As is, it's going to cost slightly more than $15 million per mile; If it were double tracked, it's cost would be closer to $30 million per mile. And on top of all that, the Oak Cliff streetcars will be stored and maintained at existing DART light rail facilities.

Please name one brand new modern streetcar project being built at $10 Million per mile, I don't think you could list even one.
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Re: Phoenix - Mesa, AZ: Valley Metro Light Rail

Postby Patrick Boylan » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:31 am

although the wiki link mentioned the low part of the range $10million per mile, I didn't think amtrakowitz's point was that Phoenix should be $10million, but rather that $65million seems too high.
And what does Phoenix's $65million per mile, or The Tide's $43million represent? Is that right of way construction, is it supposed to include rolling stock, yards and shops? I assume you think it includes at least yards since you mention it as part of your comparison. But isn't that the existing yard, and dedicated to the entire system, not just this extension?

this from our thread's page 1 doesn't say anything about shops, yard, or new rolling stock
Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:03 am
Jeff Smith wrote:...http://www.progressiverailroading.com/p ... p?id=30391

Last week, Valley Metro’s board selected Valley Transit Constructors (VTC), a Kiewit Corp./Mass. Electric Construction Co. joint venture, to continue designing and building the 3.1-mile Central Mesa light-rail extension.

...

The 3.1-mile, $200 million Central Mesa light-rail extension will travel through downtown Mesa, Ariz., to Mesa Drive. It includes four stations and an end-of-line park-and-ride...


I still have to agree with amtrakowitz, $65million seems excessive for an existing system's reserved right of way in streets and 4 stations extension, and I haven't seen you give any decent arguments to justify it.

Does anybody have cost figures on the original system?
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