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Old 03-22-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: The People's Republic of Austin
5,184 posts, read 5,724,635 times
Reputation: 2553

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Dreary Saturday, waiting on NCAA BB to start. Exploring, I came across this interesting UC Berkeley study on density and the correlation with successful and unsuccessful heavy and light rail systems.

Basically, what it said was, successful light rail systems need about 27 residents per acre feeding a central business district of at least 20, and preferably 50 million sq. ft. of office (non-residential) space. The problem is, most of Austin is SF-3 zoning, with densities 1/4 that, feeding a CBD of just under 9 million sq. ft. That, in a nutshell, is why LR won't work here for the forseeable future. If you build it, they WON'T come, because there aren't enough "theys". There is zero political will to push the requisite up zoning down throats of the powerful NAs. And our CBD has only half the office space required for success. In short, we lack the mass for mass transit.

Then, we have this disasterous Highland routing that, well, let the OurRail PAC describe:

Quote:
If built, Highland will be a symbolic rail alignment. From Hancock Shopping Center inbound, it is an identical twin to the earlier Mueller rail proposal. The Highland-Mueller alignment will send near-empty trains running up and down Red River Street. Both serve the stadium that holds 7 games a year, the medical school with a projected enrollment of 175, an aspirational “innovation district” in a Capitol Complex that a new state law put off limits, past blocks of parking garages to the convention center where the plans turn one of downtown’s few parks, the historic Brush Square, into a transit station.

Empty trains will be visible to the thousands of drivers in stalled traffic on the IH-35 upper deck. This high-subsidy line will be a daily reminder to the region of Project Connect’s wasted opportunity, and a lasting legacy of today’s leadership. Instead of a successful, expandable high-ridership line that connects people where they live to where they work, it may be the first and last light rail alignment built in of our lifetimes.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:10 AM
 
2,818 posts, read 3,333,777 times
Reputation: 3015
Quote:
Originally Posted by scm53 View Post
Dreary Saturday, waiting on NCAA BB to start. Exploring, I came across this interesting UC Berkeley study on density and the correlation with successful and unsuccessful heavy and light rail systems.

Basically, what it said was, successful light rail systems need about 27 residents per acre feeding a central business district of at least 20, and preferably 50 million sq. ft. of office (non-residential) space. The problem is, most of Austin is SF-3 zoning, with densities 1/4 that, feeding a CBD of just under 9 million sq. ft. That, in a nutshell, is why LR won't work here for the forseeable future. If you build it, they WON'T come, because there aren't enough "theys".
It's also not so much a "choice" at those densities because the residences at those densities make it economically infeasible or difficult to own a car.

Quote:
There is zero political will to push the requisite up zoning down throats of the powerful NAs. And our CBD has only half the office space required for success. In short, we lack the mass for mass transit.

Then, we have this disasterous Highland routing that, well, let the OurRail PAC describe:
When folks stop ignoring people that claim to represent all the other homeowners in the area then you won't be under the rule of a irrational tyrannical minority. I saw one woman appear in Travis County Commissioners Court earlier this week claims to represent 2-3 "neighborhoods". She didn't represent squat and she certainly didn't represent the people that lived in those areas. The "NAs" aren't as powerful as you believe. You have a few people claiming to represent thousands of other property owners and voters and it simply isn't so. The property owners aren't even members of these organizations.

These "associations of associations" follow the same deceitful game plan over and over again because people are stupid enough to fall for it.

The members of these "associations of associations" are not the homeowners, voters, renters, citizens, or persons they claim to represent. Isn't it interesting that these organizations claim to represent people that aren't allowed to even be members? Duh. Just a con. All they represent are the individual desires of the very few individuals comprising the controlling interest of the board of the "association of associations". The organizational structure was designed to exclude the actual citizens, residents, owners, tenants, etc. they claim to "represent" from actually being members or having any say in the matter to begin with.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Austin
4,102 posts, read 7,351,180 times
Reputation: 2124
The OP has a great point-- we need more density before rail can be successful. Will people drive a few miles to the nearest station when they can just drive a few more miles to their destination? There will not be enough people within walking distance of stations at the current population densities we have to make rail a viable option.

Last edited by Debsi; 03-22-2014 at 09:45 AM.. Reason: Removed quoted deleted post
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, AUSTINtx
3,566 posts, read 5,291,087 times
Reputation: 2192
Something needs to be done about the NAs and the "zoned SF forever" approach we have now. In the meantime densities can increase by intensely developing our main corridors like what is happening on South Lamar now. With mixed use there doesn't even have to be any sacrifice of commercial space, just put them on the ground floor and ideally underground parking below.

Looks like for Plaza Saltillo they are looking at a 40' option with 491 units or a 60' one with 908. I hope they go with the latter:

http://www.capmetro.org/uploadedFile...20Saltillo.pdf
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:39 AM
 
2,818 posts, read 3,333,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brattpowered View Post
The OP has a great point-- we need more density before rail can be successful. Will people drive a few miles to the nearest station when they can just drive a few more miles to their destination? There will not be enough people within walking distance of stations at the current population densities we have to make rail a viable option.
That's kind of like saying there aren't enough people suffering from a particular disease to warrant treatment for one of the symptoms so make more miserable people to justify the expense of the treatment. The treatment wouldn't be necessary without the disease and your disease (density) is completely man-made which means both the disease and the treatment are completely avoidable.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:55 AM
 
2,818 posts, read 3,333,777 times
Reputation: 3015
Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
Something needs to be done about the NAs and the "zoned SF forever" approach we have now.
Ignore the NAs. They do not vote and they don't allow voters to be members. Recognize that and ignore them.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Austin
4,102 posts, read 7,351,180 times
Reputation: 2124
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
That's kind of like saying there aren't enough people suffering from a particular disease to warrant treatment for one of the symptoms so make more miserable people to justify the expense of the treatment. The treatment wouldn't be necessary without the disease and your disease (density) is completely man-made which means both the disease and the treatment are completely avoidable.
Do you think rail will be a success at the single family 1950s suburbia density levels we have? If so, call UC Berkeley to argue. Also your point is muddled and can use a little clarification.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:44 PM
 
319 posts, read 483,458 times
Reputation: 128
It's worse than that. You can build it today - there's lots of cheap land for it. But it's unsustainable. If you wait until it's sustainable, then you won't be able to build it anymore. There won't be cheap open land for it and the number of people angered by it will be too great to overrule. All cities face these problems nowadays, thanks to massive leverage and an over empowering political system.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, AUSTINtx
3,566 posts, read 5,291,087 times
Reputation: 2192
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
That's kind of like saying there aren't enough people suffering from a particular disease to warrant treatment for one of the symptoms so make more miserable people to justify the expense of the treatment. The treatment wouldn't be necessary without the disease and your disease (density) is completely man-made which means both the disease and the treatment are completely avoidable.
Density isn't a malady. Some people like density and the convenience of a wide array of amenities.
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:21 PM
 
2,818 posts, read 3,333,777 times
Reputation: 3015
Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
Density isn't a malady. Some people like density and the convenience of a wide array of amenities.
Then neither is lower density but you would never guess it from the urban planning crowd.
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