South and Central Florida Grade Crossing elimination possibilities

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west point

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There is a reason Tri Rail has fewer grade crossing incidents. The I-95 upgrade that paralled the ex CSX Tri Rail track had many streets and roads fly over the Tri Rail tracks. That was the easy way to do it as those roads did a fly over I-95 and at same time over the RR tracks. Maybe we need to count number of grade crossings on both systems MIA - Palm Beach.
 

Anderson

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There is a reason Tri Rail has fewer grade crossing incidents. The I-95 upgrade that paralled the ex CSX Tri Rail track had many streets and roads fly over the Tri Rail tracks. That was the easy way to do it as those roads did a fly over I-95 and at same time over the RR tracks. Maybe we need to count number of grade crossings on both systems MIA - Palm Beach.
So, I tallied this up for Brightline. It's just over 170 grade crossings (I think this is...170?)...and not a lot are well-placed to be bridged.

-NW 14th St appears to be the first one.
-NW 19th St/Miami Ave is next (I'm counting it as one).
-NE 20th St
-NE 27th St
-NE 29th St
-NE 36th St/NE 2nd Ave
-NE 38th St
-NE 54th St
-NE 59th St
-NE 61st St
-NE 62nd St
-NE 71st St (this is where a Tri-Rail service going into downtown splits off)
-NE 79th St
-NE 82nd St (this looks relatively easy to bridge)
-NE 87th St (bridgeable?)
-NE 6th Ave (bridgeable?)
-NE 96th St
-Golf Course Crossing (bridgeable?)
-NE 107th St (bridgeable?)
-NE 125th St
-NE 16th Ave
-NE 135th St
-NE 141st St
-NE 146th St
-NE 151st St (bridgeable?)
-NE 163rd St
-NE 172nd St
-NE 179th St
-NE 186th St
-NE 203rd St/Ives Dairy Rd (this is an odd one since it's bridged eastbound but not westbound)
-NE 215th St
-SW 3rd St
-Hallandale Beach Blvd
-NE 3rd St
-Pembroke Rd
-Washington St
-Monroe St
-Harrison St
-Hollywood Blvd
-Tyler St
-Fillmore St
-Johnson St
-Garfield St
-Taft St
-Sheridan St
-Dixie Hwy
-Stirling Rd
-W Dania Beach Blvd
-NW 1st St
-Old Griffin Rd
-Griffin Rd/Taylor Rd (SR 818)
-Marina Blvd (bridgeable?)
-SW 22nd St
-SW 17th St
-SW 15th St
-Davie Blvd
-SW 9th St
-SW 7th St
-Sw 6th St
-SW 5th St
[New River]
-SW 2nd St
-W Broward Blvd
[Fort Lauderdale Station]
-NW 4th St
-NW 6th St
-N Andrews Ave
-NE 3rd Ave
-E Sunrise Blvd
-NE 13th St
-NE 17th Ct
-NE 24th St
-NE 26th St
-E Oakland Park Blvd
-NE 34th Ct
-NE 36th St
-NE 38th St
-Floranada Rd
-E Commercial Blvd
-NE 56th St
-NE 62nd St
-SW 6th St
-SW 3rd St (bridgeable?)
-SW 2nd St
-E Atlantic Blvd
-NE 3rd St
-NE 6th St
-NE 10th St
-E Copans Rd
-NE 33rd St
-Sample Rd
-The Spice Lab Factory Access
-NE 48th St
-NE 54th St
-SE 10th St
-SE 4th St
-E Hillsboro Blvd
-SW 18th St
-E Camino Real
-W Palmetto Park Rd
-NE 2nd St
-Glades Rd
-NW 20th St
-NW 28th St
-NE Spanish River Blvd/NW 40th St
-W Yamato Rd
-W Hidden Valley Blvd
-Lindell Blvd
-Linton Blvd (bridgeable? tricky with mall)
-SE 10th St
-SE 4th St
-SE 2nd St
-SE 1st St
-E Atlantic Ave
-NE 1st St
-NE 2nd St
-NE 4th St
-George Bush Blvd
-NE 14th St
-Gulfstream Blvd
-SE 23rd Ave
-Woolbright Rd
-SE 12th Ave
-SE 5th Ave
-E Ocean Ave
-E Boynton Beach Blvd
-NE 6th Ave
-NE 10th Ave
-NE 15th Ave
-E Gateway Blvd
-Miner Rd
-Hypoluxo Rd
-W Central Blvd
-W Pine St
-W Ocean Ave
-Lantana Rd
-Washington Ave
-12th Ave S
-10th Ave S
-6th Ave S
-Lake Ave
-Lucerne Ave
-2nd Ave N
-3rd Ave N
-7th Ave N
-10th Ave N
-13th Ave N
-17th Ave N (bridgeable?)
-19th Ave N (bridgeable?)
-Worthmore Dr
-Gregory Rd
-Forest Hill Blvd
-Hunter St
-Bunker Rd
-Nottingham Blvd
-Roseland Dr
-Monroe Dr
-El Vedado
-Avenida Hermosa
-Hampton Rd
-Monceaux Rd
-Belvedere Rd
-Westwood Rd
-Ardmore Rd
-Claremore Dr (bridgeable?)
-Flamingo Dr (bridgeable?)
-Park Pl (bridgeable?)
-Palm St (bridgeable?)
-Okeechobee Blvd
-Lakeview Ave
-Hibiscus St
-Gardenia St
-Fern St
[West Palm Beach Station]
 

cirdan

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Sometimes when grade crossings are made into bridges they are not replaced on a 1:1 basis but several lesser ones that are in some sort of proximity may be aggregated into a single bridge.

I'm nor sure how many of those in your list would fall into that sort of category.
 

jis

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There is a reason Tri Rail has fewer grade crossing incidents. The I-95 upgrade that paralled the ex CSX Tri Rail track had many streets and roads fly over the Tri Rail tracks. That was the easy way to do it as those roads did a fly over I-95 and at same time over the RR tracks. Maybe we need to count number of grade crossings on both systems MIA - Palm Beach.
The other reason that both I-95 and consequently Tri-Rail was able to get many flyovers is because I-95 when it was built, was built through relatively unpopulated areas. In contrast population built around the FECR line.

There are many miles of a situation where there is a main artery paralleling FECR in close proximity and many of the cross roads cross the railroad in grade crossings and there is no space to build ramps for flyovers. This true in cities and towns north of est Palm Beach too.

There is little chance that the local population will agree to whole sale replacement of crossing by road flyovers in those areas. A better solution would be to raise the railroad on a viaduct like was done on the LIRR South Shore line for example between Rockville Center and Babylon.

Also BTW this thread is primarily about extension north of West Palm Beach and somehow we seem to be discussing stuff south of West Palm Beach in this road crossing discussion. ;)
 
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Well, I just had the craziest of crazy thoughts: viaduct all those railroads like older cities, such as Chicago, did - big earthen embankments - and use them as flood control dikes for storm surges (thought they might hold water on the inside, inland side, [leeward is it? ] if not properly designed). Though I don't know where the rubble would come from and if the ground could take the additional weight of the fill. There's have to be flood gates at the underpasses too.

I think something like this exists at Cairo, Illinois.
 

Qapla

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Many of these grade crossings have existed for decades. Back in the 60's and even into the 70's there did not seem to be such a problem with grade crossings.

What has changed?

The crossings have not changed. The trains have not changed - they still only ride on the tracks. What has changed are the "people".

Vehicle drivers seem to have become more impatient and, instead of patiently waiting for the train(s) to cross, try to get ahead of the train, often with devastating results.

Maybe, just maybe, the more cost-effective solution is to reeducate the automobile drivers to exercise proper highway decorum and quit trying to "beat the train".


On second thought, with all the road-rage - that might not work. Perhaps it is better to spend several billions to fix a "problem" that shouldn't even be a problem if people would just stop, look, listen" and quit being so impatient.
 
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Many of these grade crossings have existed for decades. Back in the 60's and even into the 70's there did not seem to be such a problem with grade crossings.

What has changed?

The crossings have not changed. The trains have not changed - they still only ride on the tracks. What has changed are the "people".

Vehicle drivers seem to have become more impatient and, instead of patiently waiting for the train(s) to cross, try to get ahead of the train, often with devastating results.

Maybe, just maybe, the more cost-effective solution is to reeducate the automobile drivers to exercise proper highway decorum and quit trying to "beat the train".


On second thought, with all the road-rage - that might not work. Perhaps it is better to spend several billions to fix a "problem" that shouldn't even be a problem if people would just stop, look, listen" and quit being so impatient.
In line with the general decline of courtesy and decorum in this country.
 

cirdan

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In line with the general decline of courtesy and decorum in this country.
But also in line with urban sprawl leading to increased automobile traffic.

What may have been insignificant farm roads 60 years ago now serve developed and mature residential subdivisons, so it's natural there should be many more cars on those crossings.
 

jis

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But also in line with urban sprawl leading to increased automobile traffic.

What may have been insignificant farm roads 60 years ago now serve developed and mature residential subdivisons, so it's natural there should be many more cars on those crossings.
Indeed. The root cause of much of the problem is just growth in population density and hence in car density, together with inadequate and poorly planned transportation network development. No amount of disciplining people will cause that problem to go away. In properly planned network development there would not be those zillions of crossings. That is the ultimate solution.

Hey even the North East Corridor through NJ was at ground level with zillions of crossing at one time, before it was grade separated. So this is nothing new and the solutions are well known. The question is do people want to actually solve the problem or wait for the tooth fairy while coming up with someone or the other to blame.
 
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Qapla

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Just curious - why are people not pushing to replace all intersections with flyovers because people run redlights?

If the solution for Brightline (and other train crossings) is to eliminate grade crossings to stop people from violating the obvious lights and gates - the same should hold for intersections 🤷‍♂️
 

jis

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Just curious - why are people not pushing to replace all intersections with flyovers because people run redlights?

If the solution for Brightline (and other train crossings) is to eliminate grade crossings to stop people from violating the obvious lights and gates - the same should hold for intersections 🤷‍♂️
The difference is that trains are intended to run at twice the speed or more, of cars and by their very nature cannot stop in as short a distance as cars, and obstructing a train inconveniences many more people than two cars getting in a smashup.
 

Touchdowntom9

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But you wouldn’t even have to eliminate the grade crossings to reach 110mph right? If that’s the case, then I really don’t think it would make any sense for Brightline do more than the required upgrades to hit the 110mph limit for the original/active section of Brightline
 

GDRRiley

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But you wouldn’t even have to eliminate the grade crossings to reach 110mph right? If that’s the case, then I really don’t think it would make any sense for Brightline do more than the required upgrades to hit the 110mph limit for the original/active section of Brightline
yes you don't need to grade separate to reach 110mph. 110-125 you don't have to but you need a special barrier that no one has made so everyone grade separates above 110mph
 

jis

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But you wouldn’t even have to eliminate the grade crossings to reach 110mph right? If that’s the case, then I really don’t think it would make any sense for Brightline do more than the required upgrades to hit the 110mph limit for the original/active section of Brightline
Speed was not the issue that caused LIRR to elevate the South Shore Line. They just go upto 80mph. It was the frequency of trains. The same issue might arise as the TriRail North East Corridor takes shape along the Brightline route in Southeast Florida.

I've never really been a fan of his - from what I understand the structural gestures cost a lot of build and are even more expensive - and difficult - to maintain. Of course, clients need to review the projects to make sure they function for their needs, which they often don't having been wowed by dramatic design or aesthetics. It seems to happen a lot on what often get called 'grand projects'...

Fortunately none of Brightlines spacious structures come anywhere near the dysfunction that some of Calatrava's creations appear to suffer from as a cost of the structural beauty. Saarinen's creations like the TWA terminal in JFK or the Bell Labs building in Holmdel both were the opposite of dysfunctional.

Anyway, we should perhaps return this thread to Brightline and start a separate thread to discuss Calatrava if there is much interest in continuing that discussion.
 

alpha3

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The question is do people want to actually solve the problem or wait for the tooth fairy while coming up with someone or the other to blame.
LOL. I wouldn't take bets that any south Florida politicians have any interest or willpower to address this. Oh wait.......... maybe you pay them extra............ :mad:
 

railiner

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A better solution would be to raise the railroad on a viaduct like was done on the LIRR South Shore line for example between Rockville Center and Babylon.
In today’s “NIMBY” nation, the likelihood of building an elevated railway or highway in a developed area is rather low…
 

Touchdowntom9

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yes you don't need to grade separate to reach 110mph. 110-125 you don't have to but you need a special barrier that no one has made so everyone grade separates above 110mph
I'm just curious as to why the current BL section isnt 110 yet and that it is part of the expansion line but not the current. The current track geo seems pretty straight and while it might not be 110 the entire route, it seems like it could be close to that due to the limited number of curves on it that would require a slow down. But I could very much be mistaken
 

Anderson

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I'm just curious as to why the current BL section isnt 110 yet and that it is part of the expansion line but not the current. The current track geo seems pretty straight and while it might not be 110 the entire route, it seems like it could be close to that due to the limited number of curves on it that would require a slow down. But I could very much be mistaken
I think it has to do with crossing gates (improvements to which would probably save FEC/BL some money and headaches anyway). I believe that to get over 90, you need to start improving those gates. I'm not sure that there's a lot of difference on the track side.

The other possibility is operating speed differentials if/when they add commuter service. It might just be easier to juggle trains with substantially different stopping patterns at 79 than 90 (or 110).
 

GDRRiley

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I think it has to do with crossing gates (improvements to which would probably save FEC/BL some money and headaches anyway). I believe that to get over 90, you need to start improving those gates. I'm not sure that there's a lot of difference on the track side.

The other possibility is operating speed differentials if/when they add commuter service. It might just be easier to juggle trains with substantially different stopping patterns at 79 than 90 (or 110).
yes to go 90-110mph you need quad gates, 110-125 requires a special barrier no ones made so 110mph+ is where we grade separate
If they plan on using the super common bi levels they'll be limited to 90mph.
it should though be at 90mph not 79 unless they are keeping it as class 4 not 5 track.
 
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All those grade crossing from Miami northbound to Cocoa were, in my opinion, rather poor planning by the person(s) who laid it all out in the final authorized plan. If one were ever to look at what the train systems in most European countries do, one would notice that there are actually very few grade crossings. For getting to one side of a town or across any city, there are bridges built roughly every 1/2 mile to a mile apart. Grade crossings on every street was a huge mistake by Brightline. (They ought to have just closed many of those through-streets---saving huge amounts on all the electrical flashing crossing signage, etc. A traffic bridge every mile apart would have worked much better.
 

GDRRiley

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All those grade crossing from Miami northbound to Cocoa were, in my opinion, rather poor planning by the person(s) who laid it all out in the final authorized plan. If one were ever to look at what the train systems in most European countries do, one would notice that there are actually very few grade crossings. For getting to one side of a town or across any city, there are bridges built roughly every 1/2 mile to a mile apart. Grade crossings on every street was a huge mistake by Brightline. (They ought to have just closed many of those through-streets---saving huge amounts on all the electrical flashing crossing signage, etc. A traffic bridge every mile apart would have worked much better.
they are using the existing alignment, grade separations are really expensive and are rightfully not something railroads want to pay for. Road under rail is far better than road over rail if you weren't in a place where flooding is so common.
I'm sure they would have liked to close more but they you get to fight a combo of local gov, NIMBYS and in some cases DOT and or Emergency services
 

bonzoesc

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I'm sure they would have liked to close more but they you get to fight a combo of local gov, NIMBYS and in some cases DOT and or Emergency services
Yeah, it's not a coincidence most of the urban and suburban development in coastal Florida is right along the Flagler railroad, with decades of being used to a couple long freight trains daily. In places like downtown Melbourne I can imagine closing the busy and sidewalks there to elevate a combination freight and passenger railroad going over like a lead zeppelin. My friends that work downtown there were already pretty annoyed by the Melbourne Ave. closure after the cement truck hitting the old Crane Creek rail bridge changed the construction schedule.
 

VentureForth

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All those grade crossing from Miami northbound to Cocoa were, in my opinion, rather poor planning by the person(s) who laid it all out in the final authorized plan. If one were ever to look at what the train systems in most European countries do, one would notice that there are actually very few grade crossings. For getting to one side of a town or across any city, there are bridges built roughly every 1/2 mile to a mile apart. Grade crossings on every street was a huge mistake by Brightline. (They ought to have just closed many of those through-streets---saving huge amounts on all the electrical flashing crossing signage, etc. A traffic bridge every mile apart would have worked much better.
They were laid out about 120+ years ago, so there's that. Actually, most of the crossings came after the railroad was built.
 

railiner

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All those grade crossing from Miami northbound to Cocoa were, in my opinion, rather poor planning by the person(s) who laid it all out in the final authorized plan. If one were ever to look at what the train systems in most European countries do, one would notice that there are actually very few grade crossings. For getting to one side of a town or across any city, there are bridges built roughly every 1/2 mile to a mile apart. Grade crossings on every street was a huge mistake by Brightline. (They ought to have just closed many of those through-streets---saving huge amounts on all the electrical flashing crossing signage, etc. A traffic bridge every mile apart would have worked much better.
If Brightline would have had to finance the elimination of all of those crossings,.....there would not be a Brightline...
 

Qapla

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They were laid out about 120+ years ago, so there's that. Actually, most of the crossings came after the railroad was built.

So, perhaps all those roads should have had overpasses at the crossings - since they came after the tracks.

The short answer is, there is no easy/cheap fix to the physical crossings - but the simple, no-cost remedy is for the people in cars and on foot to obey the law, stop-look-listen and don't try to beat-the-train
 
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