muncien wrote:TNWE wrote:Parker Road wrote: I'm not against D2 at all, but I've come to realize it's a "regional" fix for a "local" problem.
Recall that the original D2 plan had a tunnel branch east of Metro Center leading to a station at the Convention center that would have served this exact purpose, but idiots on here and at the public meetings acted like it was the dumbest idea DART ever had because "the tunnel doesn't go anywhere!!!" and DART staff didn't care enough to explain or defend the value of a terminus station to people who've never given even a moment's thought to how a train system operates (hint- trains can and do terminate in the middle of downtowns all over the world).
While I am not generally opposed to the idea of having terminus stations in downtown, I was vehemently opposed to DART's D2 terminus proposal. Having lived in Europe for years and utilized countless such stations, they are typically at the HUB of the city core and that is where most get on and off to access the city. They are beneficial in the fact that you have less pressure to find your train boarding time as there are numerous services at the station and your train will typically sit there for ten mins or so prior to leaving and you can always board early and get situation.
DART's proposal was to put it at the convention center and hotel. A place where six our of seven days any given week, is dead. You can't create a hub out of nothing... and therefore having a majority of inbound and outbound passengers boarding at neighboring satellite stations negates nearly all benefits of the terminus. Instead, it appeared to be a poorly disguised attempt to support (via massive tax $) an already tax $ heavy investment that was the convention center hotel. But instead of boosting the hotel (who does that with transit???), it would have been another massively empty boondoggle that the city is noted for.
Such a station under EMC would be far more beneficial. Or, deferring D2 and the terminus idea altogether until some game changer development like the previously proposed Smart District would make more sense.
In general, the CC Hotel area is pretty dead, sure, but in that case there was still the penultimate stop at Metro Center, where you could interchange with any other bus or LRT line- It's not like they were proposing a terminus in the middle of the Trinity Forest. For the sake of argument let's say that CC stub tunnel was just used for layover track and turning trains around - that makes Metro Center the terminus and it meets all the requirements of a good downtown endpoint.
My problem was with the people at the various planning meetings who couldn't fathom the idea of a train turning around (like they do hundreds of times a day at Parker Road, North Carrolton, DFW, Westmoreland, UNT-Dallas, and Rowlett). Everyone rightly complains about the LRT system being a downtown-centric hub and spoke model, but it's even worse than that - because every line is designed to run through downtown, they can't raise capacity to meet demand on any given spoke without also raising capacity on an opposite spoke that doesn't need the capacity (They do occasionally take SB Red Line trains out of service at Cedars, but that doesn't address the transit mall capacity issue).
Making a capital investment that enables real operational cost savings has a clear ROI, unlike the pie in the sky ridership and TOD projections that usually drive DART's major capital investment proposals. A subway station at Commerce street doesn't generate any new riders (all the AT&T employees are happy to walk from Akard), but makes D2 massively more expensive. The sooner DART builds the infrastructure that allows them to optimize frequency by spoke, the sooner they'll get their operational (i.e. ongoing) costs under control. So far, all their capital projects have steadily added to operational costs as more route miles require more trains and drivers, with no way to constrain added capacity to a single spoke from downtown.