Station Developments

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Re: Station Developments

Postby Arlington » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:14 pm

east point wrote:The Empire Builder ridership for the first 3 months of the FY 2017 coach vs. 2016 is essentially the same. For sleeper ridership it is down 6%+ for FY 2017.

If we were going to see a "new station drives ridership" trend, my hypothesis is that it would primarily boost corridor routes. On short, corridor routes, the station is more important:
- On a corridor trip, a good station can make business trips & day trips more attractive, particularly in a business district
- On a corridor trip, your station visit is a higher % of total trip time
- On a corridor trip, you're more likley to use the station because you missed the 4pm and are waiting for the 6pm trip

The Empire Builder has none of that. The station is a small % of trip duration, trips are likely leisure trips (with a Twin Cities endpoint "at home" far from the station), and it is a once-a-day trip

New Station on routes like the Wolverine or NHHS Shuttle seem better positioned to change who is travelling and why they choose it.

So the failure of St Paul to show growth on the Empire Builder should not be taken as discrediting the general hypothesis that new stations drive increased ridership, but those claiming a new station effect may need to draw their hypothesis more tightly around corridor trips.
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Re: Station Developments

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:42 pm

Woody: do you have a location for the Minneapolis station proposal? I have an idea where I'd put one (Central & Broadway) but haven't seen anything yet.
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Re: Station Developments

Postby jobtraklite » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:05 pm

Arlington wrote:If we were going to see a "new station drives ridership" trend, my hypothesis is that it would primarily boost corridor routes. On short, corridor routes, the station is more important:
- On a corridor trip, a good station can make business trips & day trips more attractive, particularly in a business district
- On a corridor trip, your station visit is a higher % of total trip time
- On a corridor trip, you're more likley to use the station because you missed the 4pm and are waiting for the 6pm trip

I would add another bullet point to your hypothesis:

- Reliability is more important for corridor trains than LD ones.

I mean if you are going to Seattle, what's a few hours here or there? But to Winona, Lacrosse, Milwaukee, or even Chicago, it makes a big difference. So poor reliability would cause a drop in MSP ridership.
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Re: Station Developments

Postby GU1001 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:16 pm

An update on Springfield Union Station.

Article states an opening date the weekend of 6/24/17.

http://wwlp.com/2017/03/06/union-station-to-reopen-in-a-few-months/

Brief fair use quote:
When it opens, Union Station will offer Amtrak service, PVTA bus service and likely intercity bus service. Congressman Neal said in early 2018, there will be up to 12 more commuter trains traveling north and south.

In addition to the 11,000 square feet of retail space in the train station, the top 2 floors offer 62,000 square feet of commercial space. They’re hoping businesses will fill this area. In the grand concourse: a Dunkin Donuts, Subway and convenience store.

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Re: Station Developments

Postby BandA » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:54 am

$96M, wow. How does that compare? Did they get value for our money?
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Re: Station Developments

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:46 am

BandA wrote:$96M, wow. How does that compare? Did they get value for our money?


The reno brings rent-paying retail back to a cruicial downtown-anchor building that previously had nothing in it, and builds a brand new local + intercity bus terminal and parking area for an integrated transit center. YMMV on whether they overspent to achieve the baseline goals of the project, but it absolutely is a project that will amortize its full cost over time in new revenue and thus...in absolute terms...is "worth it".
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Re: Station Developments

Postby Kilo Echo » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:57 am

While I'm delighted that Springfield's Union Station has been rehabilitated after more than four decades of dormancy, its delayed grand reopening is slightly disappointing. Last June, MassLive wrote that "everything but the platform will be completed in December and open in January 2017 …" and that a six-inch ADA discrepancy "puts construction back six months, but only for Platform C." At this point, not only will the station reopen nearly six months late, MassLive reported yesterday that "Construction continues making train platform C, located high above the station where the tracks are, handicapped accessible. This project, spearheaded by the state Department of Transportation, will be completed by early 2018." Huh? If my arithmetic is correct, the six-month delay should have allowed the station's grand reopening to include the new platform. Does anyone know why Platform C is so far behind schedule?
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Re: Station Developments

Postby jstolberg » Sun May 28, 2017 5:33 pm

I've moved west along the BNSF and thought I'd share a picture from my new local Amtrak station.
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Denver Union Station
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Re: Station Developments

Postby gokeefe » Sun May 28, 2017 7:21 pm

jstolberg wrote:I've moved west along the BNSF and thought I'd share a picture from my new local Amtrak station.


Should be interesting to see how many trains Amtrak is running out of Denver in 10 years vs. now. I think there will be more.
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Re: Station Developments

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:59 pm

The new station at Pontiac, IL opened (in preparation for the IL high-speed service) opened yesterday with service starting today.

Article: http://www.pantagraph.com/business/loca ... c300b.html

PONTIAC — Pontiac Mayor Bob Russell had no idea where to start when comparing Pontiac’s new passenger rail station to the previous one, built nearly a century ago.

“You could start with the parking lot,” he said Monday during special ceremonies to officially open the $2.65 million station. “In the old one, we had about five spaces. Now, we have 29 and it’s great that they are all full to celebrate this day.”

In what was described as another step toward the completion of the Illinois high-speed rail Chicago to St. Louis corridor, the new depot officially opened Monday with an official ribbon cutting.

“This is a big deal for our city,” said Russell. “We have a lot of visitors from all over the world and we have a lot of business people traveling through from Chicago to Springfield. We are within one mile of being right in the middle of those two.”

The new station will begin hosting passengers on Tuesday, but about 75 people attended the grand opening. The station is located a block south of the old station on city-owned property at 711 W. Water St.


The station at Alton is supposed to open in July and the plan is to demolish the old 1928 depot unless money for the moving is raised, and it appears that may fail. I hate to see the depot go the way of many a previous, but it's an unfair business.
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Re: Station Developments

Postby BandA » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:03 am

$2.65M Amtrak station with only 29 parking spaces? Does everybody else walk?
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Re: Station Developments

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:36 am

BandA wrote:$2.65M Amtrak station with only 29 parking spaces? Does everybody else walk?


I have not been to the new station, or the new one in Dwight for that matter, but I do remember the elder Pontiac station having very little parking when I was there. If you follow the tracks, the are not going to be room for more than maybe 50.
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Re: Station Developments

Postby BandA » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:40 am

Is there other parking or Amtrak passengers nearby?
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Re: Station Developments

Postby Arlington » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:44 am

BandA wrote:$2.65M Amtrak station with only 29 parking spaces? Does everybody else walk? Is there other parking or Amtrak passengers nearby?

A summary of the below boils down to:
- everyone who parks can use their car as a waiting room (as commuters do), and minimize their waiting with on-demand arrival and departure by car.
- stations, by contrast, are valued most highly as waiting rooms & pit stops--things most needed by people making non-car modal connections (walk, bike, kiss-and-ride, taxi, bus)
- Ergo, the payback of a new station is in being able to attract non-car riders for whom waiting is a key part of their trip, not as an amenity for people for whom SOV is already a good solution
- To the extent that a new station drives growth, it should/would preferentially drive it among car-free trip makers.

Seems to me that they have plenty of parking to support ridership growth:
1) Maybe they will retain parking at the current station (one block north) which looks like it can have 20 spots too[1] While a guess, that'd be essentially a doubling.
2) Ridership is only 15,000 per year (both ways), which we might call 20 people per day, or 30 people per work day [2]
3) Those 30 look like they are 91% going to Chicago (92miles) and 5% going to St Louis (162 miles) [2], which is suggestive of day trips (one spot-day or less per trip with the lot max full at say, 2pm)
- and maybe good share of these Chicago day trips are entirely car-free trips (for many, if they did have a car, they''d drive the 92 miles. That they're taking the train at all may suggest that they don't have access to a car for the day)
4) The station has a WalkScore of 74[3], and downtown Pontiac is in the 80s, meaning the residential probably does walk places
5) Anyone coming out from Chicago to visit "the folks back home" would be Kiss-and-Ride
6) Some share of ridership, maybe 10 to 20% would be HOV (group travel)
7) A mix of day-trips and overnight trips might actually smooth things (with some demand peaking at noon and some at midnight)
8) Some of the longer trips would probably involve weekend parking, which is not in demand
9) As stated, Stations are important to people who cannot wait in their car. To the extent that the station drives growth, it'd tend to drive growth of riders who do not have a nice car to wait in.

Here's a draft swag for spots needed for 52 riders per workday (70% growth) at:
Spots - People
_0 - ? Any seniors who ride the hourly SHOW bus from local apartments (http://www.showbusonline.org/Pontiac.html#Schedule)
_0 - 5 people coming out from Chicago (walk or Kiss-and-ride or taxi)
_0 - 5 people walking/biking from nearby residence as super-commuters
_5 - 15 people day tripping to CHI or STL in groups of 2 or more*
30 - 25 SOV work commuters to Chicago (with 20% staying over an average of 1 night)
10 - 2 people on longer and multi-day trips (demanding 5 spot-days per trip)

45 spots for 52 people

If we scaled that down to 40 riders (30% work day growth), they'd demand 36 spots, so I'd say they're generally within striking distance. Throw in the fact that at least some multi-day trips will use weekend parking days (not the weekday-only we modeled above) and you shift a decent number of spot-days out of the weekday peak)

Those 25 SOVs to Chicago are the big wild card, but maybe they demand almost exactly 25 spots (not overnight trips)

* As group size increases (increasing parking-efficiency) trip size gets longer (decreasing parking efficiency), so this number is probably safe
[1]https://goo.gl/maps/fmrAb9RmTkK2
[2]15,000 arrives + departs /day = 7,500/365 = 20.5 or 7,500/262 = 28.5 from https://www.narprail.org/site/assets/files/2350/pon.pdf
[3]https://www.walkscore.com/score/711-w-water-st-pontiac-il-61764
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Re: Station Developments

Postby jstolberg » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:19 pm

The one time I was at the Pontiac, IL station was a weekend before the arrival of the southbound Texas Eagle. Approximately 30 minutes before the train arrived, cars began to arrive in the parking lot. No one was in the waiting room. A public bathroom was in the park across the street. The Chicago-St. Louis schedule was posted but there was no indication that any trains went beyond St. Louis. I thought perhaps the display of some picture postcards from Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and even Hollywood CA might give waiting passengers something to look at.

By the time the train arrived, there were perhaps 6 cars in the parking lot. 6 passengers got off (generally with 1 suitcase), were greeted by their families and two minutes after the train departed, the parking lot was empty again.
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