Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.
BART Begins to Move Toward a Second Transbay Tube
The International Raliway Journal reports that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) board of directors took up the subject of a second tunnel under San Francisco Bay at its Nov. 15 meeting.
While BART plans upgrades to the existing Transbay Tube to increase its capacity, a recent Bay Area Rapid Transportation Commission study projected that the population of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Monterrey and San Joaquin counties will increase by four million by 2040. On top of that, employment in San Francisco itself should rise by 300,000 by then.
These two developments put together would cause the Transbay Tube to exceed its capacity even after upgrades.
In addition, BART says that a second subway crossing would help stimulate housing and economic development in the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento. It would also leverage other passenger rail investments California is making, such as Caltrain electrification and the high-speed rail project, by enabling “seamless connections” with the various services. Finally, a second Transbay Tube would increase operating flexibility and make 24-hour service possible.
BART’s first step toward a second tunnel is to conduct an economic impact assessment. It will also issue a request for proposals next month for strategic advisory and program management services. The winning bidder should be announced in mid-2019; that winner will conduct a feasibility study and recommend two to four possible alignments for the second crossing.
Guangzhou Begins Work on Major Metro System Expansion
Also in the International Railway Journal is a report that Guangzhou Metro officials formally marked the start of construction that will extend four lines, add two new ones and expand the total extent of the metro network by 27.5 percent with a ceremony at a future metro station on Nov. 19.
The ceremony at University South Station, one of the termini of future Line 12, kicked off a series of projects that will add a total of 110 km (68.35 miles) to the 400-km (248.55-mile) network, along with 73 new stations, 38 of them interchanges.
The new lines are Line 10, which will add 13.1 km (8.14 miles) and 19 stations to an existing 6.05-km (3.76-mile) section of Line 3, and Line 12, which will run underground for 37.6 km (23.36 miles) from Fengfenggang station in Baiyun District to University South station with 25 stations.
Lines 3, 5, 7 and 14 will all be extended as part of this system expansion.
The current Guangzhou Metro system, the fourth to be built in China, carries more than 8.2 million passengers every day.
St. Louis’ Loop Trolley Finally Gets Rolling, More or Less
“Who’d have thought this day would have come?” KTVI Fox 2 reporter Derrien Henderson asked viewers of the St. Louis TV station on Friday morning, Nov. 16.
Who, indeed. For after a year and more of delays and missteps, the Loop Trolley line finally began revenue service at noon that day.
The 2.2-mile heritage trolley line connects the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park with University City’s Delmar Loop dining, shopping and entertainment district via DeBaliviere Avenue and Delmar Boulevard. Transfers with MetroLink are available at the Forest Park/DeBaliviere and Delmar Loop stations on the latter.
And even this milestone came with some bumps. As of now, the Loop Trolley is not operating over all 2.2 of those miles: it’s stopping at the Delmar Loop Metrolink station, which is located in St. Louis proper. Fox 2 reported that Loop Trolley Development District Chairman Joe Edwards said that “there [were] a few technicalities to be adjusted” on the University City section on the line and that it would be running for its entire length once those were made.
One of those “technicalities” is a $300,000 bond the city of University City has asked the trolley district to provide for restoration of Delmar Boulevard should the trolley line fail. Another concerns an electrical pole next to the line in University City.
Fares on the line are $2 for two hours of riding and $5 for an all-day pass. The line currently operates from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday and noon to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Know of a project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.
Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.