Mapping Major League Baseball’s stadiums by walkablity, transit access

Sean Marshall


What major league ballpark is the easiest to get to by public transit? Which stadium has the highest walk score? And where does the phrase “take me out to the ball game” absolutely require getting in a car and fighting traffic to do so?

Over at Torontoist, I explore these questions in more detail. I created a map of all thirty major league stadiums (and the 2017 home of the Atlanta Braves). About half the stadiums are located in downtown areas or urban neighbourhoods, close to transit stations, bars, restaurants, and shopping; the other half are generally surrounded by parking lots.

SkyDome isn’t a great ballpark, especially when the dome is closed, but in these rankings, it does really well.

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Toronto’s new rapid transit plan

Sean Marshall

Yesterday, City Council decided, by a vote of 27-16, to go ahead with the $3.1 billion one-stop extension of the Bloor-Danforth Subway to Scarborough Centre, rejecting Councillor Josh Matlow’s last-ditch attempt to resurrect the LRT replacement and extension of the ageing Scarborough LRT line. Council — Mayor Tory included — also voted to spend resources studying three more suburban subway extensions and a re-alignment of the proposed Relief Line subway backed by the local councillor.

Unfortunately, the chance of going back to the less-expensive, yet longer seven-stop light rail line is slim-to-nil at this point. In my view, it’s time for transit advocates that backed the LRT to focus their energies elsewhere. Like Metrolinx’s fare integration strategy, and the plans for other LRT lines, such as the eastern and western extensions of the Eglinton-Crosstown.

TT - Scarborough VoteHow council voted on Councillor Matlow’s motion to resurrect the LRT option for Scarborough

In order to ensure that he had enough…

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Ridership has tripled on UP Express, but we can do even better

Sean Marshall


When UP Express — Toronto’s rail link to Toronto Pearson International Airport – -launched on June 6, 2015, the one-way fare between Union Station and Pearson Airport was set at $27.50, or $19.00 with a Presto card. At the time, Metrolinx, the provincial agency charged with planning and integrating transportation services in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and the parent agency of GO Transit, expected that ridership would hit 5,000 passengers a day in a year. But after its launch, ridership sunk instead. 

By January 2016, only an average of 1,967 passengers a day rode UP Express, so Metrolinx cleaned house and lowered the fares. The one-way cash fare was reduced from $27.50 to $12, and from $19 to $9 with a Presto card, and fares between Union and Bloor and Weston stations were reduced to match the GO Transit fares for the same trips. Since the new fare structure was introduced…

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New York State; it’s Railroads, Tourism, History

There are two important WebSites for New York State. New York State is somewhat of a tourist site. It opens with a picture of the Saratoga Race Track. Then sections on New York City, followed by Cooperstown, and the Adirondacks. Followed by the Catskill Mountains and the Erie (Barge) Canal. Then Albany, Schenectady, Utica and Syracuse. Finally an article on the Hudson Valley.

The second WebSite is all about New York Railroads and the NY Central Railroad.

This WebSite starts out with short stories on the many historic railroads of New York State. It concludes with many of the New York Central properties.

We hope you enjoy both WebSites.

2nd Avenue Subway Scandal Shows The MTA Needs Major Reform


Now New Yorkers know why the Q train slows to a crawl when it hits the new Second Avenue tracks: It’s not safe to go full speed.

Oversight reports submitted to the feds tell the sorry tale: In the rush to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New Year’s Day deadline for opening the Second Avenue subway to the public, the MTA skipped final safety testing.

When the station opened for Cuomo’s glitzy New Year’s Eve ribbon-cutting, the fire alarm system was still being tested and some 17,000 defects hadn’t been fixed.

With 7,000 repairs still to go, the line is operating under a temporary safety certificate until at least November.

Unbelievable. But why didn’t the MTA tell Cuomo: “Sorry, meeting your deadline is just crazy”?

“Any suggestion that safety was at all compromised to the deadline to open is patently false,” MTA spokesman John McCarthy told the New York Times, which broke the story.

Fine: The MTA has posted fire watches along the three-station line to keep its nearly 176,000 daily passengers safe. But those inspectors aren’t cheap, and it costs more to do the work with the line operating, too.

We expect that current MTA leadership — No. 1 Joe Lhota and No. 2 Pat Foye — would be willing and able to stand up to the governor. But that’s no guarantee that future execs will say “no” to future govs.

The MTA plainly needs some permanent reform to guarantee a lot more transparency and public truth-telling.

After all, the entire subway system is still downgraded because the agency stretched out its inspection and maintenance cycles after Hurricane Sandy — and never returned to normal in the five years afterward.

Even with Mayor Bill de Blasio naming four members of the MTA board, that damning information somehow never made it to the public until the deferred maintenance caused a systemwide crisis.

De Blasio and Cuomo are still fighting about how to get new money to the agency — but it plainly needs some deeper repairs.

A Surprising New Location Is Emerging as a Favorite to Land the First Hyperloop


St. Louis is the Gateway to the West. It could, someday, become the gateway to the future.

Missouri officials announced Tuesday that they’re teaming up to pursue bringing the hyperloop to their state. Los Angeles-based startup Hyperloop One is part of the partnership, which includes players in both the public and private sectors.

The proposed route would connect St. Louis with Kansas City, two metropolises 250 miles apart. A ride that normally takes about four hours by car would be reduced to 25 minutes.

The newly formed Missouri Hyperloop Coalition will conduct a feasibility study of the route. That study will cost an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million.

The coalition includes the Missouri Department of Transportation, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the KC Tech Council, the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia, and the University of Missouri System. The route would include a stop in the middle at Columbia, site of the University of Missouri’s 33,000-student flagship campus.

In a statement, Andrew Smith, head of entrepreneurship and innovation for the St. Louis Regional Chamber, said that Missouri has “the most favorable regulatory and cost environment of any proposed build site.” Hyperloop One recently unveiled its 10 finalists under consideration for landing the world’s first hyperloop. The list, which includes four potential routes in the U.S., did not include Missouri. But the route’s backers are pushing forward anyway, and they have Hyperloop One’s attention.

“This public-private partnership demonstrates Missouri’s commitment to building one of the first hyperloop systems in the world,” Rob Lloyd, Hyperloop One co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the Missouri Hyperloop Coalition in continuing to develop Missouri’s Hyperloop One proposal from Kansas City to St. Louis.”

Government participation will be critical for any team looking to land the hyperloop. Colorado, one of the four American finalists, recently revealed it estimates the cost to complete a 360-mile route running through Denver at $24 billion. Hyperloop One currently has $245 million in funding.

In addition to massive costs, any route will have to clear the hurdle of government approval at the state and local levels. Hyperloop One told Inc. earlier this year that it strongly favors a route that already has government participation.

The hyperloop would travel 700 mph in a nearly frictionless tube, likely either at ground level or below. Elon Musk first proposed the technology in 2013, and after initially taking a step back from its development, he has since revealed that he’s pursuing it himself.

Hyperloop One has a several-year head start, though. The company earlier this year ran several full-size tests, though the maximum speed the vehicle has gone so far is 192 mph.

The list of finalists Hyperloop One revealed in September includes the Colorado route, as well as pathways in Texas and Florida, and from Chicago to Pittsburgh. It also includes routes in India, Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom.