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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
Today the "Sled Faction" FB page touts "Hundreds of Thousands" of users of the Erie Canal Trail.

For a group that suggests the Adirondack Rail Trail would be "free conversion cost" and low maintenance, here is the main subject of the article:

"The $2.3 million project involves new signs, drainage and safety improvements and rehabilitation of trail surfaces." And; "The work, which is being paid for with proceeds of New York state transportation bond sales, should be finished in late summer..."

Also referenced is a 2007 study that projects "158,000 people at Perinton Park, just west of Fairport village, and 145,000 people at Schoen Place in Pittsford village. The only spot east of the Genesee River that was busier was the stretch near Edgewood Avenue in Brighton and Henrietta, with an estimated 190,000 people per year."

My question is how many "users" were local folks vs. true visitors. Where is anyone actually measuring economic metrics rather than quoting a study someone commissioned to justify or legitimize a position and paid for?

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:47 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3031
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Some commentary on the debate; apparently the page in the image is not available online yet:

http://www.broadwingadventures.com/1/po ... exist.html

There is also this poll (Column 3) running at the Adirondack Citizen. Even though it probably means nothing, let's let the trail people know we're watching.

http://adirondackcitizen.wordpress.com/#pd_a_6322763

Current results:

Convert to Trails--39.55%
Keep the Rails--31.64%
Keep Rails and Add Trails--28.81%

The ARTA people will say this is a strong statement for trails--but if you combine the "Keep the Rails" vote and "Keep Rails and Add Trails" as both being pro-railroad, then we have a nice majority of 60.35%.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3031
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
With additional polling going on since this was first posted, the Adirondack Citizen poll now stands at 42.65% trail, 30.39 rail, and 26.96 for both.

The sample must be fairly small. I just voted for rails and trails, and that single vote changed the percentages to trail, 42.44, rail 30.24, and rail with trail, 27.32.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3031
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
For once, just something pleasant. . .photos from the Adirondack Scenic from their first inspection and cleanup on the line between Remsen to Twitchell Creek Bridge (according to them, 45 miles north):

https://scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hph ... 5604_n.jpg

https://scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hph ... 3980_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 0823_n.jpg

They must really get winter up there, judging from the snow and ice this late in the year:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 0407_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/ ... 0514_n.jpg

I'll repeat something I've said before--I'm not a New York Central fan, but am becoming one because of this line. I think those bridges are impressive, with some of the neatest stonework I can recall seeing.

I also find it interesting to look at these photos, and wonder how the trail crowd can get away saying the Adirondack people are all a bunch of old geezers who don't do anything. Looks like plenty of work going on here, and the ties look good in those photos, too. This does not look at all like the horrible Penn Central and early Conrail track I remember.

I think this road is worth fighting for.

I've also been doing some background research on the trail people, and it's beginning to look like they resemble the Geritol set more than the railroad people do!


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 10:35 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 am
Posts: 419
Location: Port Jefferson, NY (LIRR MP 57.5)
J3a-614 wrote:
I'll repeat something I've said before--I'm not a New York Central fan, but am becoming one because of this line. I think those bridges are impressive, with some of the neatest stonework I can recall seeing.


I agree. The New York Central excelled at stonework, system wide. Check out this picture of the stone arches of the elevated four-track NYC main around MP 3.0 north of Grand Central in Manhattan:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... m_east.jpg

The structure dates from the 1870s, but still looks solid (tie rods and graffiti notwithstanding).


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:20 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
J3a-614 wrote:
I think this road is worth fighting for.
I've also been doing some background research on the trail people, and it's beginning to look like they resemble the Geritol set more than the railroad people do!


There is a lot at stake here. The Rail Trail Conservancy is shifting from the mission of preserving rail corridors for future railroad use--to walking and bike trail advocacy for permanent alternative transportation corridors. This is rooted in green and environmental activism, and federal programs like the Transportation Enhancement (TE) initiative are primary funding sources. Short line railroads are increasingly targeted by this shift.

Under current STB rules, an exemption from formal abandonment procedures can take place when a trail group is successful at acquiring a rail corridor, and this qualifies the ROW for rail-banking. This avoids the "new land use" designation of the property and holds it in trust for future railroad needs. However, it also opens up millions of dollars of federal money for trail conversion, that flow to groups like ARTA, when they apply for grants.

So in effect, groups like ARTA use the traditional mission of the RTC to get rail corridors and the federal money to construct the trails; and now increasingly evident are plans to create permanent alternative transportation corridors.

In the case of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, ADK Action commissioned the Camoin study in 2011 and the cost results and user estimates were not particularly vibrant for trail conversion. ARTA was not satisfied with the Camoin results, and therefore paid the RTC $25K to produce a study to legitimize the ARTA position. Please note the RTC and ARTA were both recipients of financial gifts from the Keet Family Foundation.

So trumped up economic data from the RTC study has been used to sway the community into supporting the ARTA recreational plan. Once the rails are removed from the Adirondack Park, political and activist pressure would never permit the railroad to return regardless of need.

I do not want to see this situation in New York set a precedence for other rail-trail conversions, although right now there are several very similar trail projects in the same condition. The RTC should have never provided assistance to ARTA with the railroad corridor status currently being active. I am also troubled when groups like ARPS and the ARS have difficulty getting transportation funding, but trail groups bank accounts are awash in taxpayer funds.

Sorry for the long post. I spoke to Bill Branson and Senator Pat Toomey's office this week; something needs to change the game for the Remsen-Lake Placid corridor and the rules for the RTC and rail-banking funds, or I fear the story of an active railroad being dismantled in favor of a rail-trail will be repeated often. Railroad preservationists need to think about getting their voices organized.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 9:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3031
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
A post from Railroad.net by someone using the name SCB2525, marked Friday, May 02, 2014, 6:59 pm:

**************************************************************************************************************************************

I only learned of this debate by accident TODAY in looking on information on US Supreme Court's decision on property rights for rail-banked ROWs and coming upon an article about the Lake Placid ROW. I was intrigued and I figured I would find more nuts and bolts information on good ol' Railroad.net

I am not a railfan in the classic sense. My interests in preservation of railroad rights-of-way are for commuter rail operations as they pertain to regional planning (especially in my hometown of Philadelphia) and in freight operations as they pertain to enhancing commerce. If the corridor in question in this thread were some random line that was redundant and of little use (such as the Philadelphia and Thorndale branch down my way or some industrial spur OFF the Lake Placid line), I would not defend its continued existence based on railroad history and would even champion its conversion to a trail. This right-of-way seems to have little value with respect to freight or inter-city travel.

That being said, the Lake Placid corridor in question is one of utmost value with respect to tourism. The idea of vacationing in a town in the Adirondacks (Beaver River) accessible only by boat, a 9 mile hike or potentially railroad intrigues the hell out of me to the extent that I would absolutely do so if the railroad reached it, as I have no interest in hiking or driving all the way there and then taking a boat to my lodging but would love to be that deep in the wilderness. This would be especially true if I could ride direct from NYC.

There are plenty of short-line tourist railroads here in PA that don't interest me in the least as they are their own attraction. I don't want to ride 5 miles at over garbage Class I track just because its some heritage equipment and the conductors dress like its 1910. YOU as locals of the Adirondacks had a blessing dropped in your lap via the Olympics in the form of preservation of 100+ miles of ROW through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States, with a connection to NYC via an ACTIVE DIRECT AMTRAK ROUTE at Utica. To want to pull up the railroad to put a snowmobile trail is truly moronic and myopic for your own sake a local resident.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 1:50 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3031
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Me and my big mouth--posted a similar comment about that poll on the Adirondack's Facebook page, and the trail people read it, and they went and stuffed the poll. Trail is now 52.08%, rail is 24.92%, rail and trail 23.00%.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 10:45 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
J3a. I think that pole is flawed. I was able to vote three times. I suspect the ARTA people have discovered this and started running up the numbers.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 11:56 pm 
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Location: MA
traingeek8223 wrote:
J3a. I think that pole is flawed. I was able to vote three times. I suspect the ARTA people have discovered this and started running up the numbers.

Record this as proof make a video of you doing this so if the poll is brought up you can debunk it.


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 12:42 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
Have a look at the Farmington Valley Trails Council web site:

http://www.fvgreenway.org/pages/default.asp

About the ninth bullet item down is the following statement:

"These repurposed rail corridors are retained permanently as improved community open space or “linear parks”."

Lost somewhere is the idea that railbanking preserves the corridors for future railroad needs.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 1:00 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
Another rail-trail project that looks to make a permanent recreational trail:

http://www.coastalmountains.org/downloa ... ochure.pdf

"Please join us in this exciting effort to create a trail
that will permanently enhance the area’s quality of life
and establish Belfast as a recreation destination."

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 10:07 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:15 pm
Posts: 137
Location: At large
Quote:
Record this as proof make a video of you doing this so if the poll is brought up you can debunk it.


Looks like the problem has been corrected. Wet back again and it now says "your vote has already been counted". Hopefully too much "ballot stuffing" didn't transpire before it was fixed. Not that this lonely pole has any relevance to the process at all. It will most likely be "spun" to benefit ARTA's cause anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 7:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:42 am
Posts: 84
A link to an old NY Times article supporting bike trails from the 1960's, lifted from the ARTA snowmobile faction FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/107243836054598/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/02/upsho ... .html?_r=1

The chart is what interests me the most. What "methodolgy" changed in 2011 that has resulted in the spike and made the RTC so aggressive?

This is also relevant to the thread on the Filmore and Western.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Adirondack RR a Sabotage Victim
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 11:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3031
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
jefalcsik wrote:
The chart is what interests me the most. What "methodolgy" changed in 2011 that has resulted in the spike and made the RTC so aggressive?

Jim


That is interesting indeed. One would think measuring mileage would be a straightforward thing. Heck, the trail people squawk about an accounting change required by the FRA (a round trip now counts as two boardings, not one), making claims that ridership growth on both the Adirondack and Amtrak are inflated by that; never mind that the growth trend was going up both before and after the accounting change at about the same rate.

Another interesting point--where is this statistic coming from? I know it's listed as coming from Rails to Trails, but is it from them or from some independent source? And it's also notable that, unlike the rail ridership charts from Amtrak, that the growth has leveled off after the methodology change in 2011, and actually shows a small decline in 2012. Could that itself be the source of the new aggressiveness on the part of Rails to Trails? Could it be that the trail groups are out of (desirable) roadbeds to convert in good locations, and faced with no growth, are becoming hungrier?

It's also interesting that the trail with rail proposal in Florida (along the FEC) comes up at the same time the railroad is considering reviving passenger service on its own to serve resort traffic in its territory. This is on a privately owned, successful freight road, and also coincides with (a) a speculated big increase in freight traffic due to the rebuilding of the Panama Canal (which has lead to accusations of bait-and-switch by an anti-railroad crowd in Florida, who are afraid of more and more freight trains ruining their property values, caused by increased traffic congestion for autos and boats--FEC has several low drawbridges that will be closed longer because of this), and (b) this increase in traffic, for both the passenger service and increased freight service, is causing FEC to look at rebuilding its long torn out second track.

Could it be that someone doesn't want any of this? Who would that be?


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