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View Poll Results: Which city has the best light rail/subway/train system in U.S. for public transportation?
NYC 47 64.38%
LA 1 1.37%
Dallas (DFW) 11 15.07%
Chicago 14 19.18%
Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-18-2007, 01:28 PM
609 posts, read 2,673,134 times
Reputation: 138


Originally Posted by Ben Around View Post
Do you know how LA got so aprawled? Not because of highways, but because of a huge rail transit system called Pacific Electric. It basically linked the suburbs (which basically looked like small towns, with a main street, downtown and residental neighborhoods all clusterd around a rail station.) The system operated from the 1890s until the last lines were abandoned in the mid 1960s. Today's freeways follow the routes (an in many cases overlay the routes of the Pacific Electric trains.

While it was sprawl, it was highly efficient. People had great mobility without a car, and the infamous LA smog was but a small adrk cloud on the horizon, due to the low use of automobiles. Interestingly, Pacific Electric was a private company. It was the government, which put the PE company out of business through the construction of the freeway system, that created the unsustainable mess they have there today!

THanks for that information. Much appreciated. It's ironic how the train is what sprawled out LA and yet it's the freeways that put the train into the grave.
Either way, LA is representative of a lot of US cities. With strong urban core, it's sprawled out over miles and miles.
DFW is the same way...9400 sq miles is what makes up the Metroplex. We are actively trying to double the size of our DART rail, but it's probably only a bandaid. FOr the 4th largest metropolitan area in the country, we are definitely behind in public transportation...but we're not last...there are other cities that are way behind us....but when people think of public transportation, they think mainly northeast cities plus chicago.
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:43 PM
7,960 posts, read 17,606,711 times
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Without reading the all of the posts here... and with all due respect to metroplex2003... I feel the poll is pretty one-sided. It's unfair to have LA on there as they are really no competition. There's probably more rail in San Diego, Atlanta and even South Florida... and that's not really saying a whole lot there. DFW (especially the "D" side) has come a long way but there are still better rail systems out there.

For a true competition, LA and DFW would need to be replaced. The SF Bay is a lock with its BART system. After that, Philly's SEPTA and Washington's Metrorail would have to duke it out for the last slot. Considering I spent most of my life in the former and am a relatively recent transplant to the latter, that's kind of a tough decision. But I'll have to give the nod to Philly... not just because of hometown bias ...but because it's the clear winner to me in terms of coverage. (If we included comfort and safety in the mix, then DC and SF would be strong contenders. Street wisdom can be useful in Philly subways and elevated trains after rush hours.) With SEPTA's commuter rail, you have not only have a reach over an hour outside of downtown, but it also serves three states (PA, NJ and DE). One could make an argument (or at least I'll make it ) that Philly is second best as while Chicago's commuter rail grazes Wisconsin, Indiana had to fund its own line to come into the Windy City.

Still, after all that, I would pick NYC as the winner. I honestly don't know why anyone in the Big Apple - Manhattan in particular - even bothers to own a car unless: a) their job requires them to drive to see clients, or b) it's a requisite status symbol in a hyper-image-conscious city.

But that's just my 41 cents, subject to inflation.

Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
Several cities in America have adopted either a light rail system or heavy rail system. I have become acquainted with several of these systems throughout my travels.

So I would like to know which rail system do you think is the best in the country.

Let me share with all of you on my opinion of the top 6 Metro areas:

1) NYC : Excellent subway/rail system. Basically I think of NYC as one of the founding fathers of subway/rail public transportation in the U.S. Great system, eliminates the need for a car in so many instances. Wish there were a direct connection into LGA.

2) LA: Not so nice. LA, cars rule here. The rail is not as convenient as NYC's, and given the city's very sprawled out nature, may only serve as a bandaid to traffic jams across the LA MSA.

3) Chicago: Excellent system. Not as developed as NYC, but has fairly high ridership, especially in the downtown area and into Chinatown. The suburbs are well served by it. Many people park in the burbs, and do not need to use a car for the rest of the day.

4) DFW: Much like LA, cars rule here. Also part of the so called "New American City" or "Sunbelt city" modeled after LA. Lots of freeways, not as much rail. The DART system where it is located does funnel people into downtown nicely. DART is expanding to include other parts of the metroplex.
DART will also finally establish connections to Dallas Love Field and DFW Int'l by the year 2013. DART plans to double in size over the next 5 years.
However, this may also be a bandaid in terms of public transportation.
Ft. Worth needs to join in on DART.
The TRE serves the mid-cities and into Ft .Worth This could also be expanded as well to accomodate the growth of one of the fastest growing MSA in the country.

5) Philadelphia: Very well developed. The rail serves Philly well as Philly is part of the "Old American City" where urban core is stressed more. I consider the "Old American City" to include places like NYC, DC, Chicago, Boston.
The rail is developed enough to eliminate the need for the car. However, given higher crime rates in Philly, this maybe a deterrant to use of train.

6) Houston: Houston joins LA and DFW as a "Sunbelt" city with limited rail usage. They have a small light rail that connects key sites between downtown and the med center, however, the rail system in Houston is decades behind that of DFW's DART/TRE system. Houston relies more heavily on HOV Bus lanes for their main public transportation.

Those that deserve honorable mention not in the top 6 MSA's:
1) Washington DC's Metro: Often considred the top rail system in the US. Goes to most places in DC. Does not go to Georgetown, but seems to go everywhere else. Very convenient. Links all major sites. Easily eliminates the need for cars in the urban core if one had to do it.

2) San Franscisco's BART: Very good train system. Could have more stops in the central urban core, though the trolley/bus system takes over there.
Does a great job of connecting suburbs to the urban core.

3) Boston's T: Very suitable for a walking city like Boston. Also connects into the burbs nicely

4) St. Louis' Metrolink: Very good system for the city. Recent expansion into Clayton has made this line more complete and turned St. Louis into a more convenient place to get around for public transportation. Being able to commute from Lambert Int'l to downtown Clayton is a huge deal.

5) Seattle: Small system in the downtown area. The geographic layout of the MSA is not as conducive to extensive rail.
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Old 05-18-2007, 05:24 PM
609 posts, read 2,673,134 times
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I agree....the poll was pitting up the top 4 largest metropolitan areas in the country against each other...but in essence it was Chicago vs. NYC.

But yes, maybe I should add DC's Metro, SF"s BART is good, but DC's metro is much better.

Unfortunately, you would have to teach me how to add to the current poll.

I know I"m the author of the original thread.
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:07 PM
609 posts, read 2,673,134 times
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DFW is planning a possible 2nd heavy rail line vs. 6th light rail line in the northern suburbs. It would encourage even more rail use from northern suburbans wanting to go to DFW airport without having to connect at downtown DAllas.
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:38 PM
Location: northern big wonderfull (Wyoming)
150 posts, read 474,179 times
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durango to silverton best by far ask any one that has ridden it. south west colorado.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:32 PM
Location: Jersey City
6,271 posts, read 15,515,707 times
Reputation: 5169
New York Regional rail systems


MTA New York City Subway:

PATH Subway:


MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR):
http://www.mta.info/lirr/images/lirr.gif (broken link)

MTA Metro-North:



Newark City Subway/Light Rail

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:08 AM
Location: Central Coast, CA
115 posts, read 437,329 times
Reputation: 56
Haven't been to NYC, but I always assume it to have the best transit system.

I really enjoyed the Metro setup in DC. Seems like you can get just about anywhere. Easy route map, etc.

BART is nice in the Bay Area, but it would be nice if there was a line going into Marin County. I've always been a sucker for the ferry anyway, I guess.

While I do think MetroLink is great for St. Louis, it could be much better. They should be adding a line along I-64/Hwy 40 while they are replacing the road. Something that would connect the Brentwood line with Spirit of St. Louis airport. I think a lot of people would connect from there to Clayton.

Denver has a good start to their system. But the teller machine took a $10 and only processed it as a $1, causing a bit of frustration. They are supposed to eventually go to the airport correct? That will make things a lot easier to get downtown with the airport being so far away.
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:57 AM
Location: yeah
5,716 posts, read 14,230,721 times
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BART is an outdated piece of crap with irregular rails that cannot be used by standard trains. Oh, but it's in San Francisco so it must be heavenly...
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Old 06-26-2007, 09:01 AM
Location: Texas
2,703 posts, read 2,448,261 times
Reputation: 206
You should have included more. There are many systems out there that beats Dallas'.
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:27 PM
609 posts, read 2,673,134 times
Reputation: 138
Originally Posted by Guerilla View Post
You should have included more. There are many systems out there that beats Dallas'.
I agree. There are many rail systems that beat out dallas. But Dallas also beats out lots of rail systems as well, including that of Houston's.
Houston does not even have heavy rail.
Dallas does, be it very limited...though they have expansions plans for both their heavy rail and light rail.

I voted for NYC in this poll FYI.

But older Northern cities clearly have an edge over southern. NYC, Chicago, DC, Philly, etc.

Texas in general is behind, but I do think DART/TRE does beat out cities like Cleveland, St. Louis, Miami, Minneapolis, etc.
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