> Of all that was posted, why would rail specifically
> be needed to handle them? 
> What are the roadblocks for the current bus system 
to satisfying all those
> situations?

I think we are all in the prelimiary stages of
considering this alternative for some key areas - I am
personally holding open the possibility that a
streetcar is not always the best solution.  Which is
I'm glad we're able to spell out both sides - pro and
con, and let  neighborhoods come to terms with the
possibilities themselves.

That said, you raise a key question: why rail, and not

Based on what I know from other cities, there is a
dramatically larger preference for rail transit over
bus service.  When rail service is added to bus
service in specific corridors, ridership clearly
increases, even if it roughly mirrors past bus
service.   It's still early, but the Hiawatha line
provides some guidance.  Whether it is the smooth
ride, faster service, or some simple cultural
attitude, the evidence I have seen is that people just
prefer rail.   

Further, streetcars can carry more riders per
employee, and thus has operational efficiencies.  And
though the initial capital costs are greater than for
busses, rail cars are designed to last decades - often
fifty or more years, whereas busses last only about a
decade.  Charlie touched on these points in an earlier

I think it is fair to say that current transit service
in my hypothetical corrdior doesn't live up to its
potential.  Namely, the #63 that serves Grand Avenue
runs only every half hour at night and every half hour
to hour on weekends.  As a result, bars run separate
shuttles along the same route to the Xcel Center.  And
as a result, many people along the line just don't get
into the routine of using transit for evening
entertainment-related trips.  Once you get to the
point where you have rides every 10 minutes or so, and
don't need a schedule, ridership goes up dramatically.
 People come to expect that service from rail, which
is probably part of its draw.  And as my last post
described, the potential is huge.

Anyway I think the conversation has begun, and that's

Just my opinion,

Bob Spaulding
Downtown Resident
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