The Problem with the Las Vegas Monorail, Rendered Condescendingly in Several Bullets

  • It’s not legitimate mass transit.
  • It’s an extension of an inter-casino shuttle. Their primary market is casino tourists.
  • Vegas has tons of shuttles like that. When I was there in ’07 I rode the one connecting Mandalay Bay to Excalibur. It was very nice and very convenient.
  • It’s still not legitimate mass transit.
  • The monorail only serves one side of the Strip. The Strip is not flanked by casinos on one side. It is flanked by casinos on two sides.
  • More importantly, it serves the back of one side. Makes connecting to surface transit on the street known officially as Las Vegas Boulevard quite difficult.
  • It does not function as legitimate mass transit.
  • There is still no connection to McCarran Airport.
  • There is still no connection to Downtown.
  • There is still no connection to anyplace anywhere that’s not The East Side Of The Strip, or any major employment center that is not The East Side Of The Strip.
  • There is no reason for anyone who actually lives in Las Vegas to ride the monorail.
  • Therefore the only people who actually ride the monorail are casino tourists.
  • Specifically, casino tourists on the east side of the Strip who need to be elsewhere on the east side of the Strip.
  • That is not a big market. That is why the monorail has in the past flirted with or gone into bankruptcy.
  • That is also why the monorail is in roughly the same category as your average heritage tramway.
  • …and is not legitimate mass transit.
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Eboracal Metropolitan, Mk. II

Thinking about updating that fantasy New York subway map from last November.

Here’s what I wanna do:

  • Incorporate that plan for a NJ Rapid Transit network, as depicted here and here.
  • Extend the map westward to show extensions of the 7 and L to New Jersey.
  • Show through-running for commuter rail, using this as a foundation. [done]
  • Turn the A branch between the E 180 St A station and the 179 St F station into a shuttle. [done]
  • Get rid of the Sixth Avenue El (mostly redundant thanks to 1/2/3 from Lower Manhattan to UWS, and at no point did it coexist with the Sixth Avenue Subway anyway). The 13 can be a new line that takes over the Second System 7 branch to Whitestone and shares track with the 7 till Hell’s Kitchen, at which point it branches off to Hudson Yards and possibly points south via the High Line. The 16 would be rebranded as the 14. [done]
  • Extend the U and X lines from Brooklyn Army Terminal to Staten Island.
  • Include Staten Island Railway; extend terminal from St George to Manhattan.

Idle thoughts for a small weekend project.

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Baltimore RER

Pure fantasy.

Pure fantasy.

Companion map to the DC RER thing. The Metro network implied here is slightly different to what’s shown in that other Baltimore Metro map I did so very long ago; Line F is no longer a diesel shuttle from Cockeysville to Monkton—that was taken over by a northern RER branch—but is instead a Metro line that uses the alignment they should have used for the light rail (goes through Towson instead of around it, f’rinstance); and Line E generally instead of exactly follows the alignment of the late and very much lamented Red Line (and has a branch to Edgemere using an old freight line). The B/C/D light rail line is still there, of course, functioning as a local line for the RER L north-south mainline.

In an earlier draft, there were eight southern branches peeling off the RER L from the south. This was troubling, because the max number of branches you can have off a two-track commuter rail mainline and still have some semblance of frequent service is four. (Even the RER C in Paris, in all its impenetrable complexity, only has three branches from the north/west and four from the south/east.) So I broke some of the minor Baltimore City branches off into their own line (RER N), which I had terminate at the stub-end platforms at Camden Yards,* and turned the Fort Meade branch into a shuttle.

I didn’t do a “realistic” version of this map. If I did, the RER K would just run from Odenton to Edgewood, and the RER L would run from Laurel to Camden Yards.

(Thanks also to twitter user Transit Plans for suggesting a sorely needed transfer station between the two big lines.)


*I wanted the RER N to terminate at North Avenue, but the big chokepoint here is the Howard Street Tunnel. From all the photographs and aerial views I’ve seen, it looks like it only has one track, and given space restrictions in the area, any hypothetical replacement would probably only have two at most. I needed those two tracks for the RER L north-south mainline. Two tracks can take four branches, so I was uncomfortable having seven branches clog up that section of track. Furthermore, one track can only take two commuter rail branches, so if we allow the RER L one track under Howard Street, half the trains coming from the south would have to terminate at Camden Yards anyway.

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dc rer with metro realistic

To everyone’s knowledge and deep frustration, there is no through service at DC Union Station. To everyone’s knowledge and deep frustration, MARC and VRE service is frustratingly infrequent. This is a far-fetched attempt to rectify both problems, although I have no idea if turn-up-and-go frequencies between DC Union Station and Alexandria would be even remotely realistic, considering existing frequencies along that stretch of track.

Map initially based off this old, old Metro vision map from 1968, with extensions running to Burke, Germantown, Laurel, and Bowie (given the stop spacing in some places, I don’t think there’d be much call for an all-local service from Manassas stopping at every single station all the way to, say, Baltimore, but I have been wrong many, many times before). The idea to show Metro services in gray shamelessly stolen from Peter Dovak.

I also did a fantasy version of this map with a few more infill stations, a line whose tracks were torn up long ago, and a more extensive streetcar and Metro network than we’ll ever see in this life:

Relative to what, exactly?

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Pentagon City Strip Map

Once more...

One of these days I should figure out how to incorporate accessibile.

I thought I’d do another strip map using more or less the same design language from the last post. I picked Pentagon City because (a) the BL & YL interchange at L’Enfant Plaza at different levels and I was wondering how that would work, (b) I was wondering how to show rush-only service (like the YL to Greenbelt), and (c) this strip map is and remains absolutely horrifying.

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Washington Metro Station Numbering Plan

The thing about station numbering is (a) they’re essential navigational tools for people unfamiliar with the system (especially if they’re also unfamiliar with the local/national language) and (b) they work best when one pair of tracks on the ground carries only one rail service. Washington, DC gets a lot of tourists, so a station numbering system would be useful (Japan uses them even on small, uncomplicated systems like the Nippori-Toneri Liner),¬†however, very often two or three routes have to share one pair of tracks, which complicates the process of actually designing it somewhat.

This is only a first draft; there are probably a bunch of ways to make the system more intuitive but here’s what I got so far after about a week of intermittent thought:

At least I spelled

At least I spelled “Medical Center” right this time.

Continue reading

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Washington Metro Fare Map

Scenes from an alternate history.

Scenes from an alternate history.

A li’l brain-loosening thought experiment I’d wanted to do for a while. This map comes to us from a universe where the fare machines in Metro stations are very, very Japanese, complete with three big maps like this one over everyone’s heads: one for rush-hour fares, one for regular fares, one for senior/disabled discount fares. I also drew this because whenever I’m in Washington I have trouble fully comprehending the Metro’s distance-based fare structure and I wanted it visualized.

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