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New Capital Projects for 2015: A Representative Selection of Some BRT, Rail Modes and Stations

The coming year will be a busy one for public transportation capital projects. Agencies throughout North America are moving forward on projects in several modes: commuter rail, heavy rail, light rail, modern streetcar and BRT, which is increasingly popular. Here are some examples of new and expanded public transit services scheduled to open during 2015.

CTfastrak, built by Connecticut DOT and operated by Connecticut Transit, will enter service March 28. Operating on a 9.4-mile dedicated guideway with 10 stations, the line will provide a 20-minute ride between downtown Hartford and New Britain. CTfastrak also connects to local and express bus routes as well as interstate rail.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will launch the first BRT service in the San Francisco Bay area when Alum Rock BRT line begins operation late in the year. Alum Rock—the first of three BRT lines planned by VTA—will operate in a dedicated lane for part of the route and will feature high-tech vehicles, 11 new stations with passenger amenities and transit signal priority.

The Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority plans to open the first of five First Coast Flyer BRT corridors in December. The opening segment includes almost six miles of track and 12 stations with amenities and landscaping.

Colorado DOT will begin service this spring on Bustang, an intercity express bus service that will operate along two interstate highways into downtown Denver. Thirteen 45-foot buses will comprise the Bustang fleet, which will serve locations including Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Vail.

Final testing is underway for the DC Streetcar’s H/Benning Line, which will run 2.4 miles between Washington’s Union Station and Oklahoma Avenue at Benning Road.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit will open a streetcar line later this year between the Union Station area in downtown Dallas and Oak Cliff, a distance of about 1.6 miles.

The Charlotte Area Transit System is preparing to open the first phase of its CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar. The initial segment includes 1.5 miles of track with six stops, including a connection to LYNX Blue Line light rail.

In Seattle, construction of the First Hill Streetcar is finished but manufacturing of the six vehicles in the fleet is not yet complete.

Light Rail
Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County is preparing to open two new light rail lines in April. The 3.3-mile Green (East End) Line connects downtown Houston to the Magnolia Park Transit Center with nine stations, while the Purple (Southeast) Line covers 6.6 miles with 10 stations; the two lines will share track in the downtown area.
Valley Metro in Phoenix plans to begin service this year on the 3.1-mile Central Mesa light rail extension. Construction is underway on the overhead contact system and at several of the stations.

In Portland, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon will open its latest MAX light rail line, the Portland-Milwaukie Line, Sept. 12. This 7.3-mile route will link Portland State University, inner Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and Oak Grove in north Clackamas County.

Construction continues in Sacramento on the Blue Line to Cosumnes River College, which is scheduled to open in September. This project includes four new light rail stations, 2,700 park-and-ride spaces and a major new public transit center and parking structure at the Cosumnes River College Station.

The 3.3-km Metro Line to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, AB, originally scheduled to open in the spring of 2014, is now scheduled to open early this year.

Heavy Rail
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District expects to open its 5.4-mile Warm Springs Extension late in 2015. It will connect the existing Fremont Station with a new station in the Warm Springs District of the city of Fremont with an optional station to be located approximately midway in the city’s Irvington District.

The extension of MTA New York City Transit’s 7 subway line will enter service in the first quarter of 2015. The subway line currently terminates at Times Square; the extension leads to the far west side of Manhattan, terminating at a new station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

Commuter Rail
Union Pearson Express, part of Metrolinx in Toronto, will connect the downtown area to Toronto Pearson International Airport in 25 minutes when it enters service this year. In addition to the terminal stations, the train will stop at the GO Transit stations at Bloor and Weston.

Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority expects to finish construction of its Wachusett Commuter Rail Extension by the end of the year. This project includes the new Wachusett Commuter Rail Station and a new Westminster Layover Facility to replace an existing facility in Lunenburg. Also, upgrades to the existing rail line will accommodate the extension of commuter rail service four miles west from Fitchburg to Wachusett.

Metrolink commuter rail in Los Angeles plans to open the Perris Valley Line late this year. The line—the first extension of Metrolink service since 1994—will add 24 miles of track from the station in downtown Riverside, CA, to south Perris, along with four new stations.

New Stations
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) plans to open its new $50 million Cermak Station on the Green Line near McCormick Place in February. It will be the first station at that location since 1977 and the 146th in the CTA system.

Miami Central Station, the final component of the Miami Intermodal Center, will open in late March or early April. Miami-Dade Transit already provides service to the intermodal complex; the new station will serve South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail light rail and, later, Amtrak.

Work is underway on New York’s Moynihan Station. Located across the street from the current Penn Station, the station is taking shape in the landmark James A. Farley Post Office Building and ultimately will include mixed-use development.

The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) will open the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in Lower Manhattan late in the year. PATH trains began serving a platform at the site in 2014.



A CTfastrak bus preparing to enter service. 

The multimodal Tilikum Crossing Bridge--the first of its kind in the U.S.--will carry TriMet's Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Line, along with streetcars, buses, bicycles and pedestrians, but no private vehicles.



Houston Metro prepares to open its new 10-station Purple Line, pictured above, and the 9-station Green Line. 

Miami-Dade Transit's Miami Central Station will open this spring as part of the agency's intermodal complex. An artist's rendering shows the complex. 

Coming Soon
Public transit capital projects beginning construction in 2015 include:

MBTA’s Silver Line Gateway BRT, which will add a new connection to the Blue Line and East Boston to the existing Silver Line route. In Chelsea, the Silver Line Gateway will operate with four new stations in a new dedicated busway built in a former ­railroad right-of-way now owned by the commonwealth.

Sun Metro in El Paso expects to begin construction this spring on the second of four Brio BRT corridors. When the Alameda Corridor enters operation in 2016, it will begin at the Downtown Transfer Center and include service to the Five Points Transit Terminal and Mission Valley Transfer Center.

The Chicago Transit Authority plans to begin construction in March for Central Loop BRT, with completion scheduled in 2016.

Construction will begin mid-2015 for Fresno Area Express’ Blackstone/Kings Canyon BRT. The 15.7-mile line, with 54 stations, will start service early in 2017.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is preparing to break ground for its first full-featured BRT project, operating on dedicated bus lanes along a ­two-mile stretch of Van Ness Avenue.

Valley Metro plans to follow up on the opening of the Central Mesa Extension by beginning work on the 1.9-mile Gilbert Road Extension to the new route.

Construction of San Diego’s Mid-Coast Trolley, extending trolley service from Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego to the University City community, is ­scheduled to begin this year.

Florida DOT plans to launch work on the next segment of SunRail commuter rail. The new 29-mile segment, with five stations, will connect Sand Lake Road in Orange County to Poinciana in Osceola County and DeBary to DeLand in Volusia County. 
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