Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (and Streetcars!).

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby buildomaha » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:56 pm

omaha79 wrote:I wonder if when they talk about the frustration of taking a bus, they are equating it to traditional urban bus systems vs. having Ollie The Trolley style busses that some cities utilize. If it could be packaged in such a way that is pedestrian friendly, it could solve the same need at a fraction of a cost.

I think that some trolleys with personality would be better used than a traditional bus just because they are more of a novelty. As said in the article just posted though it's not always in people's minds that it's a good idea to take a bus.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Coyote » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:30 pm

Stothert says Omaha is 'stronger and safer' than it was 4 years ago, calls for streetcar line

Roseann Moring / World-Herald staff writer wrote:Stothert also said a new bus rapid transit system is on schedule to begin operation next year, connecting downtown to west Omaha. And the mayor said she wants to see a modern streetcar line in place as early as four years from now.

“The vitality of our downtown and midtown depends on it,” Stothert said.
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Coyote » Sat Feb 18, 2017 1:43 pm

Mayor Stothert wrote:The bus rapid transit system is on schedule to open next year connecting downtown to west Omaha.

And, I believe that we need to move forward with a modern streetcar. The vitality of our downtown and midtown depends on it.

The potential of better connections to our downtown, midtown, large employers, and civic attractions is exciting.

The direct benefits in employment, housing, entertainment, and commerce are without limit.

A street car has been studied in Omaha for decades and it is time to advance a concept for public input and approval.

Our financial analysis is complete and we believe we can pay for a streetcar without a property tax increase.

I will appoint an advisory group to study the financial options and make a recommendation so we can proceed.

This project needs a mayor who says let’s move forward, so “Let’s Move Forward”. My goal is to see a modern streetcar as early as four years from now.
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby almighty_tuna » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:22 am

Phew, good thing that the timing is finally just right now for a streetcar line. I mean, just in time for an electio-....oh. wait. :roll:

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby GRANDPASMUCKER » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:09 am

almighty_tuna wrote:Phew, good thing that the timing is finally just right now for a streetcar line. I mean, just in time for an electio-....oh. wait. :roll:


You are correct sir. What a crock Mayor Stothert is laying down now. First they make restaurant patrons pay for the bogus unused baseball stadium telling them the tax will go away. Then Stothert gets elected promising us she will make the restaurant tax go away. Then Stothert decides to pull the sheet out from under the restaurant patrons and keep the tax and build a street car. What started out as the best mayor we had in the last 20 years is now turning into a monster.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby iamjacobm » Mon Feb 20, 2017 12:48 pm

I actually think it is interesting that she has come out so strongly pro streetcar. There are probably more people in the city that are anti or at least don't care rather than pro streetcar. Makes me think some big players want it pretty badly.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby GetUrban » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:36 pm

iamjacobm wrote:I actually think it is interesting that she has come out so strongly pro streetcar. There are probably more people in the city that are anti or at least don't care rather than pro streetcar. Makes me think some big players want it pretty badly.


That is interesting...makes one wonder if there is some strong private $ coming into play..... to help make it happen. That seems to be the only way it will. They should include a connection to Eppley in the mix as further justification.
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby buildomaha » Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:58 pm

GetUrban wrote:
iamjacobm wrote:I actually think it is interesting that she has come out so strongly pro streetcar. There are probably more people in the city that are anti or at least don't care rather than pro streetcar. Makes me think some big players want it pretty badly.


That is interesting...makes one wonder if there is some strong private $ coming into play..... to help make it happen. That seems to be the only way it will. They should include a connection to Eppley in the mix as further justification.

Eppley only seems logical.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby joleo » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:22 pm

GetUrban wrote:That is interesting...makes one wonder if there is some strong private $ coming into play..... to help make it happen. That seems to be the only way it will. They should include a connection to Eppley in the mix as further justification.


Yes, a connection to Eppley is key in the whole thing! Major cities around the world all have a connection to the airport and Omaha is just unique the airport sits right next to downtown which is a massive, untapped advantage! I would put money on businesses rolling into downtown and taking off from an economic standpoint if you could take a train to the airport from downtown/ creighton/ midtown/ UNMC. The entire area would be transformed in less than 10 years. Many many examples around the country of this happening when light rail/ street car is installed.

One very important part is the light rail needs to go fast. Just took a brand new train from the airport in Edinburgh Scotland, it stopped at the stations for just a few seconds and it was off again. I've taken the Minneapolis light rail 4 times from airport to downtown. That thing is brutally slow, the station stops are way too long and seems like it gets ahead of schedule and then one of the station stops is a few minutes. In addition, that train doesn't turn the stop lights green when passing them like Denver does. The MSP train stops at the lights! I'm done with that and no longer take the MSP train, I just take cab or uber now when I fly to MSP.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby MTO » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:15 pm

Omaha having an air train, that'll be the day..
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Busguy2010 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:56 pm

Having an airport extension on the streetcar route is very limiting to the scope of city-wide transportation unless of the city is confident it will or will not build a light rail system in the future that could utilize those same tracks. And an airport extension better be high speed, and at that point you would buy light rail vehicles to allow that high speed. Adding the airport to the mix complicates the deal much more than people realize.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby daveoma » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:20 pm

iamjacobm wrote:I actually think it is interesting that she has come out so strongly pro streetcar. There are probably more people in the city that are anti or at least don't care rather than pro streetcar. Makes me think some big players want it pretty badly.

Perhaps she's trying to appeal to people who will benefit from a streetcar (anyone who doesn't live in west Omaha).

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby iamjacobm » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:38 am

daveoma wrote:
iamjacobm wrote:I actually think it is interesting that she has come out so strongly pro streetcar. There are probably more people in the city that are anti or at least don't care rather than pro streetcar. Makes me think some big players want it pretty badly.

Perhaps she's trying to appeal to people who will benefit from a streetcar (anyone who doesn't live in west Omaha).


Its been shown that removing vehicular trips has an exponential impact on traffic congestion, the opposite is also true that adding more vehicle trips is an exponential negative impact on traffic rather than linear. Using that logic any public transit improvement will help anyone that drives in the city (including anyone in west Omaha).

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby MTO » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:50 am

Well then we need a way to benefit those who live closer to the train and punish those who live out on the boundary. So it sounds like adding people movers is effectively equivalent as adding lanes.
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby bigredmed » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:57 pm

MTO wrote:Well then we need a way to benefit those who live closer to the train and punish those who live out on the boundary. So it sounds like adding people movers is effectively equivalent as adding lanes.

Kind of nasty to people on fixed incomes who moved to west Omaha 30 years ago.

How about we think about a sound plan for mass transit that will at least have some benefit to all the city?

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby HR Paperstacks » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:21 pm

bigredmed wrote:
MTO wrote:Well then we need a way to benefit those who live closer to the train and punish those who live out on the boundary. So it sounds like adding people movers is effectively equivalent as adding lanes.

Kind of nasty to people on fixed incomes who moved to west Omaha 30 years ago.

How about we think about a sound plan for mass transit that will at least have some benefit to all the city?

Why can't we just start somewhere and go from there? There's no way our conservative government is going to fund a city-wide project.

The logical place to start this is in the more established part of the city. The outer fringes are not entitled to anything.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby buildomaha » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:43 pm

HR Paperstacks wrote:
bigredmed wrote:
MTO wrote:Well then we need a way to benefit those who live closer to the train and punish those who live out on the boundary. So it sounds like adding people movers is effectively equivalent as adding lanes.

Kind of nasty to people on fixed incomes who moved to west Omaha 30 years ago.

How about we think about a sound plan for mass transit that will at least have some benefit to all the city?

Why can't we just start somewhere and go from there? There's no way our conservative government is going to fund a city-wide project.

The logical place to start this is in the more established part of the city. The outer fringes are not entitled to anything.


This is good way to introduce public transportation to the city and, at the moment without emptying the coffers, this is the best Omaha can pull off. People out west don't need the public transport because the majority of people own a car and can afford operating a car. The western part of the city was also designed completely FOR cars and will continue being car centric for a long while.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Dundeemaha » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:40 pm

We're spending millions to widen 168th St. If we invest 5% of the roads budget on Metro Transit it will be a huge improvement. Don't act like west Omaha is lacking for city welfare compared to midtown.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby bigredmed » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:32 am

Dundeemaha wrote:We're spending millions to widen 168th St. If we invest 5% of the roads budget on Metro Transit it will be a huge improvement. Don't act like west Omaha is lacking for city welfare compared to midtown.

The stupid hurts

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby bigredmed » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:38 am

Dundeemaha wrote:We're spending millions to widen 168th St. If we invest 5% of the roads budget on Metro Transit it will be a huge improvement. Don't act like west Omaha is lacking for city welfare compared to midtown.

I would argue with you, but as I have pointed out in earlier posts, you need a mass transit system in Omaha. One that moves people from where they are to where they need to be. It has to be reasonably efficient. It has to not involve people driving. It has to be something that would t get you fired because you are either really late or smell like you just finished a 5k because you had to walk 2 miles to get to the bus stop.

If you want a toy, go hit Toys R Us. If you want a real grown up functional mass transit system then you have to have a workable plan for the whole city, not just Dundee.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Dundeemaha » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:00 am

bigredmed wrote:
Dundeemaha wrote:We're spending millions to widen 168th St. If we invest 5% of the roads budget on Metro Transit it will be a huge improvement. Don't act like west Omaha is lacking for city welfare compared to midtown.

I would argue with you, but as I have pointed out in earlier posts, you need a mass transit system in Omaha. One that moves people from where they are to where they need to be. It has to be reasonably efficient. It has to not involve people driving. It has to be something that would t get you fired because you are either really late or smell like you just finished a 5k because you had to walk 2 miles to get to the bus stop.

If you want a toy, go hit Toys R Us. If you want a real grown up functional mass transit system then you have to have a workable plan for the whole city, not just Dundee.


As far as a toy for Dundee you must not have read any of my earlier posts saying that we'd be 1000x better off putting the street car money in to buses and we should think twice about using government funds to so drastically subsidize wealthy organizations when we completely under fund poorer residents' communities.

My post that apparently gave you an aneurysm is just stating that your complaining about focusing spending money on transit east of 72nd is ridiculous given the amount of transportation dollars focused on widening roads west of 132nd.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Busguy2010 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:06 pm

There are too many people living too far apart, going too many different places for a bus system to ever be successful in the suburbs. You could assume putting 140 million into metro as a system to put buses out there would get people riding, but I'm going to assume people who live there are plain unwilling to. The whole dynamic of suburban areas is not conducive to an all-encompassing bus system. It's plain and simple.

Now, putting 140 million into the existing routes would be a great idea. Except there's no private backing for that, so I will take the streetcar.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby bigredmed » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:37 pm

Busguy2010 wrote:There are too many people living too far apart, going too many different places for a bus system to ever be successful in the suburbs. You could assume putting 140 million into metro as a system to put buses out there would get people riding, but I'm going to assume people who live there are plain unwilling to. The whole dynamic of suburban areas is not conducive to an all-encompassing bus system. It's plain and simple.

Now, putting 140 million into the existing routes would be a great idea. Except there's no private backing for that, so I will take the streetcar.


There are 5000 people working at UNMC, another 1000 working at Childrens, another couple of thousand at the VA, a couple of thousand more at Methodist. Add in Bergan and the schools, and UNO and Creighton and you have lots of employers who have parking problems. UNMC has already set up a parking working group to figure out how to handle this issue. They want people to use the buses. They can't get people to do that because of the short sighted thinking your point above illustrates. You can't conceive of something working, so it must be impossible. The fact is that we have a lot of employers who desperately want to off load their parking problem onto MAT. Start thinking of the problem in reverse. Instead of thinking about how to get people from Millard to "downtown", think of getting people from West Omaha to UNMC. By focusing on a point and the conditions needed at that point, you can start working back toward the other point.

For example: UNMC has huge parking problems. To get the staff there at 0700, they need to park 1000 people at 0630 to get them to their respective job sites by 0700. There is only so many spots and if you fill them with nurses, etc, you can't put patients there. So you offer these staff a bus pass or discount and the bus stops at the corner of Dewey and 42nd thus close access to Clarkson, the psychiatry building, the education campus, and the University tower. If that bus drops off at 0630, and it is an express bus, it could leave a central location in Millard say at 132nd and L, at 0600, and be there. By people parking and riding or getting dropped off at the bus stop, you get rapid transit. Does this work for people going from 154th and Harrison to 96th and Western? Probably not, but the big dogs can get fed.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Dundeemaha » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:22 pm

Why doesn't UNMC's parking working group commission a study to see if changing the 97 to go to midtown before downtown would be feasible and present that to Metro then?

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby buildomaha » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:37 pm

No one has really mentioned the fact that the streetcar route proposed doesn't just affect midtown/UNMC/CenturyLink areas, it goes right through the business core/old market. I know many would like to call this project "corporate welfare" but this is a benefit for the employers downtown also (It isn't always a bad thing to help out the businesses that employ our citizens and put our city on the map). Not only so, but this could be a small pro that would tip the balance of a large corporation building a large suburban campus (adding to the suburban sprawl and the addition of more cars/roadways...) or moving downtown and building a high density campus and possibly even a building that adds to our skyline (who doesn't want that?!).

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Busguy2010 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:02 pm

Dundeemaha wrote:Why doesn't UNMC's parking working group commission a study to see if changing the 97 to go to midtown before downtown would be feasible and present that to Metro then?


This is a great suggestion.

Route 92, bigredmed, is a good example of what you're talking about. It stops at Village Pointe and FNB park, and also drops commuters off at various important destinations farther west of downtown. This particular route works because it is a straight shot through these destinations. It makes more sense to run the route down Dodge and serve these destinations than it does to utilize the interstate for approximately the same duration. Now, in the cases of route 93, 94, 96, 97, you have the opposite point. Rerouting to Dodge would make the ride x amount of minutes longer for the people who already use them. Like dundeemaha said, if there was a way to find out if UNMC staff could support their own Metro bus routes, I would be all for it.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby bigredmed » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:13 am

Dundeemaha wrote:Why doesn't UNMC's parking working group commission a study to see if changing the 97 to go to midtown before downtown would be feasible and present that to Metro then?

Given the feedback the group got (with both barrels, if you know what I mean), park and rides got very very negative responses. Fundamentally, the idea of leaving your car in some random parking lot, waiting for a bus that maybe late (and a lot late often), getting to work late, and having to take the hit from your boss just so UNMC could be "green", was not even close to being supported by the staff at these sessions.

Metro has a poor performance history and the employees have come from other cities, including ones where mass transit is the norm. These people related having to work a little Iate and missing the last train, turning commuting into a struggle, having their park and ride sites turn into park and steal sites, and getting their vacation time sucked away bit by bit because the bus was late or being blamed for messing up the OR schedule.

This option was explored by admin, but was met with a shocking amount of resistance from RN, NP, and PA level staff as well as odd hour people like med techs and physicians. I suspect it will not be brought up for a while.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby GetUrban » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:20 am

bigredmed wrote:
Dundeemaha wrote:Why doesn't UNMC's parking working group commission a study to see if changing the 97 to go to midtown before downtown would be feasible and present that to Metro then?

Given the feedback the group got (with both barrels, if you know what I mean), park and rides got very very negative responses. Fundamentally, the idea of leaving your car in some random parking lot, waiting for a bus that maybe late (and a lot late often), getting to work late, and having to take the hit from your boss just so UNMC could be "green", was not even close to being supported by the staff at these sessions.

Metro has a poor performance history and the employees have come from other cities, including ones where mass transit is the norm. These people related having to work a little Iate and missing the last train, turning commuting into a struggle, having their park and ride sites turn into park and steal sites, and getting their vacation time sucked away bit by bit because the bus was late or being blamed for messing up the OR schedule.

This option was explored by admin, but was met with a shocking amount of resistance from RN, NP, and PA level staff as well as odd hour people like med techs and physicians. I suspect it will not be brought up for a while.


This reinforces the fact that there is no easy, quick way to collect people from the widely dispersed suburbs with mass transit. It only makes sense in densely populated areas of the city, unless people's commutes are already taking way too long, as is common in larger cities, then park & ride becomes feasible.
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby choke » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:47 pm

What if it was a streetcar named "Desire?" Would y'all be in for it then?

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby MTO » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:11 am

choke wrote:What if it was a streetcar named "Desire?" Would y'all be in for it then?



I don't get it..
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Coyote » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:24 am

MTO wrote:
choke wrote:What if it was a streetcar named "Desire?" Would y'all be in for it then?

I don't get it..

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby OmahaOmaha » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:20 am

choke wrote:What if it was a streetcar named "Desire?" Would y'all be in for it then?


They should call the streetcar something clever, like in Seattle where they called their streetcar the South Lake Union Trolley aka the babe. It's fun telling everyone that you like to ride the babe.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Coyote » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:27 am

OmahaOmaha wrote:
choke wrote:What if it was a streetcar named "Desire?" Would y'all be in for it then?


They should call the streetcar something clever, like in Seattle where they called their streetcar the South Lake Union Trolley aka the babe. It's fun telling everyone that you like to ride the babe.

You mean Riding the S.L.U.T.
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Omaha Cowboy » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:11 am

From the Sunday W-H:

"People have talked about a modern Omaha streetcar off and on for at least 20 years, but now the discussion is starting to get real.

A financial assessment done for the city lays out numerous options for paying to build a streetcar line, to put trains on the tracks and to operate them.

The analysis, made public here for the first time, is on the Omaha City Council agenda for Tuesday. It estimates it would cost $156 million to build and equip a streetcar line from TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha to 42nd and Farnam Streets in midtown Omaha. It would cost about $7.5 million a year to operate the line.

The assessment leans toward using an assortment of local funding sources, including city money, philanthropic donations and tax-increment financing from real estate developments along the streetcar route.

Several of the funding options would tap real estate development growth expected to be generated by a streetcar — in essence, trying to make the streetcar help pay for itself."..

The complete story link:

http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/assessm ... 74c17.html

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby NEDodger » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:22 am

Given the proposed track, is the thought that there will be only one car that will simply run back and forth? Or would there be two that would be timed so that they pass each other where the "square" section of track occurs at 14th/16th street rather than block each other?

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby choke » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:15 am

MTO wrote:
choke wrote:What if it was a streetcar named "Desire?" Would y'all be in for it then?



I don't get it..


It's before my time too but come on, "A Streetcar Named Desire."

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Garrett » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:17 am

NEDodger wrote:Given the proposed track, is the thought that there will be only one car that will simply run back and forth? Or would there be two that would be timed so that they pass each other where the "square" section of track occurs at 14th/16th street rather than block each other?

I would assume there would be around 4 or so.
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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby Dundeemaha » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:29 am

Garrett wrote:
NEDodger wrote:Given the proposed track, is the thought that there will be only one car that will simply run back and forth? Or would there be two that would be timed so that they pass each other where the "square" section of track occurs at 14th/16th street rather than block each other?

I would assume there would be around 4 or so.


Probably need 6 to have a frequency of 10 min, maybe 8?

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby iamjacobm » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:39 am

KC has 4 cars, but their line is only about two miles I think. OKC is getting 7 cars and I think they are putting in about 4 miles of track which would be closer to what Omaha would need to go from TD to Saddle Creek.

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Re: Official: Omaha Streetcar Discussion

Postby MadMartin8 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:05 am

Have ideas of paying for a project via "increased expected development in the area", ever worked out?
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