Sunday, January 18, 2009

Norfolk, VA Building Light Rail

With but 40% of the population of the City of Milwaukee, Norfolk has started its light rail system construction.

4 comments:

tww said...

Norfolk Numbers:

Population:
Norfolk: 234,000
Milwaukee: 600,000
Norfolk Metro: 1.5 million
Milwaukee Metro: 1.7 million

Ride the Tide (Norfolk Light Rail):
7.4 miles (in Milwaukee miles, that's the lakefront to State Fair Park)
Cost: $288 million, or $39.1 million per mile. Reduced cost because existing rail corridors are being used.

Average Speed: 21 miles per hour while moving.
Travel time: 7.4 miles in 21 minutes, 36 seconds.

Percent of commuters by mass transit: ~ 6%
Current percent along light rail corridor: 0.7%
Proposed percent w/light rail: 1.1%
In other words, light rail will carry 0.4% of Norfolk commuters. How does this lighten traffic conjestion and justify spending $288 million?

Annual operating costs: $8-9 million.
20% fares
30% federal taxes
20% state taxes
30% city taxes

Estimated ridership: 6,000 - 11,400 passengers per day.
These numbers don't add up. If 0.4% of commuters are represented by 3,000 riders per day (1/2 of the 6,000), then the commuter traffic to downtown Norfolk would be 750,000 people. This is not believable.

James Rowen said...

Norfolk is counting on transit-related development.

It will no doubt use the system in its marketing, transit system integration and in other ways.

Business and schools will use it in recruiting. It's not a matter of rider and cost statistics only.

Anonymous said...

The Light Rail line in Norfolk will use an existing rail corridor. It will be nice to access the Virginia Beach waterfront, with it's boardwalk and the VA Beach Pier.
Remember, a boardwalk is for walking, so there's no sense in bringing your car. The boardwalk has a parallel bike path, but the bike path currently has no connector into downtown Norfolk. Bring your bike on the train and your commute will be easy.

James Rowen said...

Light rail, as earlier envisioned, would have connected the Third Ward, downtown, Valley, Miller Park and County Grounds.

With the casino also providng riders, it would have been an unqualified success by now, would have been extended to the harbor and airport, and the suburbs would have demanded it - - with the Zoo Interchange congestion also on the horizon.

A great loss for Milwaukee.