This came in from Michael Bray the other day:

Apparently a portion of the route for our new trolley system exceeds a 7% grade and will cause problems for our streetcars.  We may have stumbled upon a way to combat obesity in El Paso as riders may be asked to get out and push!


9 Responses to Streetcars

  1. The Oracle says:

    I’ve gone to UTEP a zillion times. . . . up and down every hill around there.
    It . . seems like. . . . .Oregon street has less steep incline at the top ? Yes-no???-Maybe ???

    Seems like. Seems like. . . if I remember correctly.
    Right now, as planned, Oregon street is the DOWNHILL path for the streetcar/ trolley.
    So, if . . . the streetcar cant get UP. . .Stanton street, they can reverse the ride to go UP Oregon and make Stanton street one-way going DOWNHILL.
    And have the streetcar go . . DOWN Stanton street, rather than try and climb it.
    I don’t KNOW if the streetcar wires can do that (run a streetcar in reverse.)


    • Many, many years ago, my Dad was a Street Car Operator in Dallas.(Didn’t call them “Trolleys then. El Paso got that from San Francisco :)). When he got to the end of the line, he would simply pull a lever and the car would go back the very same way it came. No fuss. He did not get off, NOBODY had to get off and push the car any where. Amazing. But in El Taxo in this “Day and age”, I would suggest to you, to taxpayers that the “idea, planning” to figure out how to get these pink elephants to go in REVERSE. as in go back the other way, will result in MILLIONS$$$$ in Add-on’s, “Cost overruns”. These junker cars the politicians “Planners” are wasting taxpayer MILLIONS$$$ on, are NEWER than the Street Cars my Dad operated. But in El Taxo, the politicians, “Planners” got to have the BEST for US, (the Juarez students going from the Ports of Entry over to UTEP).


  2. The Wizard says:

    Okay, the Streetcar project is expensive now and will be in the future. I think it is a wasteful project that, at best, may have some benefits apart from transportation. I’m willing to be proven wrong in time.

    But, I do want to express my support for our Sun Metro bus system that my tax dollars underwrite because ridership doesn’t pay for the system. Each day I see people riding the Sun Metro and think many do so because they cannot afford a private automobile; I call them poor people. A few ride for more noble reasons I guess. I don’t know, but I like to think, the bus system is helping people get to a job, visit a friend, go shopping, or otherwise improve their lives, contribute to the economy, and ultimately improve the city. Business professionals in El Paso generally do not ride Sun Metro like they do the subway in DC or other cities. But there is the rare exception.

    My tax dollars support El Paso road construction, law enforcement for those roads, road maintenance (when that happens) and lighting, signage, plus salaries for transportation employees. So, while a bus system doesn’t pay for itself in ridership tolls and thus requires tax underwriting, taxpayer support for public roads for those of us who choose to use private automobiles is also costly and required.

    I think a well-run bus system (and I know Sun Metro could use improvements) can help lift people from poverty, serve students striving for an education, help the poor obtain goods/services, and otherwise contribute to El Paso’s quality of life.

    Obviously I have no genius ideas. But I do think transportation infrastructure for all residents of El Paso is critical for the city’s success.


  3. Old Fart says:

    Unfortunately Svarzbein wants to extend the trolley route into Juarez, even though the city has other much more pressing transportation needs. Think there are some who would also like to see an interconnecting trolley route expanded eastward to the UMC area.

    Separately there are apparently some in the Las Cruces area, pushing to run that NM Rail Runner passenger train between Las Cruces and El Paso. Again, another project being pushed by a group with a special interest.

    So watch out, more bull shit ways to divert limited transportation dollars from more pressing and useful transportation needs.


  4. Old Fart says:

    I thought this street car grade problem had already been reported on in the past by the media, with assurances given by responsible individuals the trolley could climb that referenced incline. If it fails, hopefully the public and media will raise hell with those responsible.

    But if you are concerned, simply e-mail your city rep for assurances there won’t be an embarrassing screw up. Never hurts to get it on record.


  5. Beto Moore says:

    I think we should get Peter Svarzbein to get out and push.


    • Svarzbein is just another El Taxo politician who will be telling US why there are MILLIONS$$$ in “Cost-over run, delays” because of a little “unexpected” bump in the street. Any “Over runs” should be taken out of his and all the other El Taxo politicians “cut” from whoever WE are being forced to build this little 3 block street car for.


  6. Not happening in El Taxo. The Politicians, “Planners” will just spend MILLIONS$$$$ more to cut down the grade. “Cost overruns”, you know.


  7. The Oracle says:

    Yep, That’s one of the things many of us have been posting about for over a year. I knew about the over 7%.
    Its more like 12%+ as many older/ under-powered/ standard shift cars and small pickups with 4 cylinders can’t properly make it up Mesa Street or Oregon or Stanton Street.
    (Those cars and small pickups avoid that area. . . and go around.)

    Now, add a little snow and ice on those steel tracks.

    Some promoters / public/ on blogs say. . . “Well, they have BAGS OF SAND with them to put on the tracks.”
    (Others boast: “San Francisco has steep hills . . and bla bla bla. . ”
    (Yeah, those are CABLE CARS Dumb Asses.)

    It will be like the “Bridge to Nowhere” that was removed from across I-10 after 40-50 years, was removed last year, between Executive Center exit and Sunland Park exit on I-10.

    Nothing ever connected to either side of that Bridge.

    If a Streetcar holds 40 people x 200 pounds each, ave. = 8000 pounds = about 4 tons to carry, uphill.

    The only way to fix the +7% grade is to tear up the entire street and raise it so that the AVERAGE is under 4-5% grade.

    That means some businesses and buildings would be sunken along the sides of the street. The street would be like raised levels of I-10 and probably cost more than the entire project to re-do.

    Or attach Jet Engines to the back of the Street Cars. Take your pick of stupid ideas.

    One GOOD side effect is that, If the Street Cars can’t properly make it up the hills and the program is canceled, then the ongoing Annual Maintenance costs would be about ZERO.
    (instead of Sun Metro loosing millions a year to cover the ACTUAL COST of ongoing financial loses associated with it.)


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