T2 - the Light Rail project in Louisville

I had emailed some of the people in charge of the T2 Working Group in Louisville, asking various questions that I was unable to find answers for - I had recently heard some interview on State of Affiars about the "T-2" project. Here is the response I received:

Thanks for your question. We've had quite a response from the radio show. It's great to know that people are listening.

Apologies that the website wasn't able to get you the information that you needed. We're always trying to update and keep information current and accessible there, so please check back in a few months.

Why Light Rail?
There's not a quick and easy answer to the question. We've worked hand in hand with our Work Group comprised of citizens from the community, agency representatives, elected officials and business members (about 150 active members with over 500 on the mailing list.) They've been key to every decision made, including the selection of the consultant being utilized to conduct the many studies we have embarked upon. In the first phase of work, the Major Investment Study, the Work Group looked at several alternatives, including busways, light rail, bus rapid transit, monorail, and commuter rail. From this study, it was narrowed down to bus rapid transit or light rail. In the end, light rail was chosen as the locally preferred alternative because it was seen to have a greater positive impact on development around station areas; it could carry more people more efficiently and can coexist with pedestrians, bikes, other buses, cars, and trucks. Busways can as well, and busways or bus rapid transit systems do have station area development around them, but their success and implementation is somewhat limited. Most transit systems with busways aren't stand alone, they're tied into a rail system.

In addition to the station area development benefit, there were some qualifications that the Work Group had. They wanted the system to be able to fit seamlessly in with existing urban streets and neighborhoods with the least visual impact. Also, there was some concern with using tested technologies. A monorail or mag lev system did not meet these qualifications. An underground system wasn't explored mainly because of cost. It's many times more expensive to build a system underground.

There are portions of our proposed alignment that are elevated. Towards the southern end, the alignment parallels and crosses the CSX tracks, it's elevated there. It's also elevated around and through the airport and KFEC. The last elevated portion is around Hill Street. The CSX track is elevated and our line would run parallel to it. The elevated structures add some cost, but this is where much of the speedier travel times can occur.

As a final note, we do have five other corridors in the long range plan and we are continually collecting information on new technologies, as well as keeping current with existing systems. Light Rail might not be the best solution for these other corridors.

Our next Work Group Meeting is on Wednesday, December 4th at 1:15 pm (for newcomers) with the rest of the meeting from 2pm to 4pm. It will be held at the Cathedral of the Assumption at 443 S. 5th St in the Undercroft. If you can make it, we'd be happy to have you.
Sincerely,

Carrie Butler Karen Scott
T2 Communications Coordinator T2 Project Director
1000 West Broadway 1000 West Broadway

Louisville KY 40203 Louisville KY 40203
phone: 502-213-3490 phone: 502-213-3484
cbutler@ridetarc.org
kscott@ridetarc.org
www.t-2.org