Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tram System in Downtown Des Moines

The San Diego Trolley going through downtown.Image via Wikipedia

Recently two public meetings were held in Des Moines to discuss the possibility of a downtown tram system.

From Living Downtown Des Moines blog...

The following points were made at the meeting:

  • Most people are only willing to walk .25 miles for mass transit.
  • Start the tram system on a small scale that can later be expanded to include a larger area, with the first segment running about three miles in distance.
  • About every 900 feet would be a stop. At tram stops, there would be a GPS tracking system that would tell you how many minutes before the next tram arrives. You could then make a decision to either wait for it or not wait for it and instead walk to your destination.
  • Tram cars would be modern style cars, not historic replicas, and initial run would require three cars. Cars cost approximately $3 million each.
  • The first segment would cost approximately $50 million for planning, construction of track and overhead electrical lines and purchase of rail cars. Over 2/3rds of the money goes toward track construction, about 1/4 towards purchase of the cars.
  • Initial build out is fairly quick since minimal existing utility relocation is done, a three block section can be done in about three months time.
  • The proposed bus transfer station is not part of this project and this project is not dependent on it.
  • Every city that has added tram lines such as this has spurred development along the tram route.
  • Tram would run till 10 pm on weeknights, midnight on Friday & Saturday nights, 8 pm on Sundays.

Various plans for potential routes were also shown that included:

  • A loop that went down Grand Ave. between 10th St. and SE 6th. It then went down to Cherry (via 10th) then East on Cherry to 5th St to Court Avenue. It then continued on Court Ave. to SE 6th St.
  • Along with a loop downtown, an extension that brings it from the downtown library, north on 10th street to Methodist hospital then west on Woodland to 15th street - ending at Hoyt Sherman Place.

All plans included an eventual extensions to places like Gray’s Landing, Drake University, the lower East Village, and a north-south axis from Wells Fargo Arena to Principal ball park.

With all the talk about building infrastructure and Governor Culver proposing $700 million for "shovel-ready" projects, this project might just have legs (or would that be rails?).

Check out the forums at AbsolutDSM for more info.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: