An Example That Fuels My Caution

June 26, 2008 at 6:56pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I don’t know if a commuter rail line between Lincoln and Omaha is a good idea. Scratch that. I do think it’s a good idea, in the “Gee, that’d be neat” sense. But is it worth all the resources required to start it up and keep it going? Stories like this latest example from Tennessee make it hard for me to shake off my skepticism.

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Dave June 27, 2008 at 2:50am

I think it’s hard to compare something between Lincoln and Omaha to the “Music City Star” railway which runs from Nashville to Lebanon, TN with a whopping population of 20,000. Honestly, I think it’s a good idea and there would be a steady population that would find it useful.

Now if only we could get a Mag-Lev train…

Isotope June 27, 2008 at 1:27pm

I don’t think it’s a fair comparison either. We can certainly learn though, from other light rail experiences (such as reaction to fares, schedules, internal city public transpo, etc), in order to make a Lincoln-Omaha a successful venture.

Mr. Wilson June 27, 2008 at 1:45pm

Don’t get too wrapped up in the specifics. Of course we’re different from the Tennessee situation. We’re also very different from Portland, but plenty of rail supporters trot out that example to back the idea that commuter rail can work here. It goes both ways. I would love it if we could get a rail system to be as effective as the best systems around the world; meanwhile, my cautious side won’t let me ignore the empty half of the glass.

By the way, did you notice the letter to the editor in this morning’s paper? (Last letter.)

asdf June 27, 2008 at 4:51pm

I wonder why it is so expensive to get one of these things off the ground. Isn’t there already freight rail infrastructure between Lincoln and Omaha? Could that be used with, say, diesel commuter trains initially that cost a couple million a piece to go from the Amtrak station in Lincoln to a transit hub in Omaha?

hbrogan57 June 30, 2008 at 11:58am

Washington, DC has the right idea. http://www.wmata.com/

They have had their system in place for years and, guess what, they are expanding it.  This was started many, many years ago.  There is definitely a lack of parking areas in the Washington metro area and there are a lot of people that work there. 

After living and working there for a number of years I found that it was often easier to take the metro system and park my vehicle at one of the metro parking areas.  When I moved closer to the metro area I often found that I could walk three blocks to the station, ride the train in an arrive relaxed for the work day.

Lincoln and Omaha need to rethink the public transit system,.  Yes I am aware that Lincoln just revamped the bus system.  But they STILL have virtually ALL of the busses making the huge loop all the way back downtown.  Once again a case of lack of planning.

Maybe, just maybe, SOMEDAY the good ‘ol Boy system that is in place in Lincoln will cease.  The city planners need to get on track.

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