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Old 12-18-2007, 10:26 AM
 
20,847 posts, read 39,070,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hello-world View Post
.... as for mass transit, i wonder how much influence the oil interests and GM/"National City Line" (the not so covert operation by the auto industry to destroy trains/mass transit where it could to bolster automobile dependence...and of course much of the rest of the corporate culture probably didn't complain if it meant more sprawl, more resource use, more growth, more business) mid-last century had on the car-ification of the area. and now, it seems like the car-ification is part of the culture and who it's attracted and how it's affected habits here. the buses are pretty good, though! ....
I almost brought up National City Lines myself, figgered that no one wanted to hear my old rant on that topic.

For those who haven't heard of NCL, here's the gist of it. After WW-2, many cities got into a wave of "contracting out" city functions to "save money," the validity of that concept still being in doubt, to me. At war's end, much of our nation's railroad and tracked transit was worn out by the huge beating inflicted by the massive workloads of WW-2, not to mention 12 years of financial starvation during the Great Depression, and public funding of roads.

NCL notoriously underbid all the firms bidding to take over the trolley systems and operate them on behalf of the cities. First thing NCL did was tear out the tracks, burn the trolley cars and switch to buses. NCL was a phony firm, a front for General Motors, Firestone Tire and Standard Oil. Guess what 3 firms provided the buses, tires and fuel? Yes, they got caught by the early 1950's, fined a pittance, and that was it.

Other factors involved are that President Eisenhower (Ike), the famed WW-2 Supreme Allied Commander, was a big believer in motor transport, having seen it's value during wartime. So he and his pals dreampt up the interstate highway system, and had it publicly funded. Chief planner of the highway system was a senior VP of General Motors who came to work for Ike's administration. Imagine that. Eventually a phrase got coined: "What's good for GM is good for America." These days, I don't care if GM goes broke, and they can take Firestone (and their deadly Firestone 500 and Wilderness XT tires) with them.

So here we are in 2007, dependent on the auto. For 75+ years we've used taxpayer money to build roads, while starving our railroads who must raise all their capital funds via equity markets or borrowing, earn a profit and pay it all back as interest or dividends. The imbalance in public policy is so huge that no one seems to see it. Except for those like myself who spent a lifetime in the transportation business.

I'll end this history lesson / rant by clobbering G.W.Bush for giving a trillion dollar tax cut to the wealthy. He said they would know what to do with it, that they'd open factories. Sure they did. Intel just opened a billion dollar chip factory. In Vietnam. Intel just shut their plant in COL SPGS. Thank you George W. If we had put the bulk of that trillion dollars into mass transit, nuclear, wind & solar power, and electric cars, we could be a lot closer to energy independence. Denver would be a lot easier to traverse and nearer to greatness. It's truly depressing to see the opportunities squandered these past 7-8 years as the oil & auto lobbies have run rampant over us - again.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 12-18-2007 at 10:35 AM..
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Parker, CO
1,080 posts, read 2,732,448 times
Reputation: 1761
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
I'll end this history lesson / rant by clobbering G.W.Bush for giving a trillion dollar tax cut to the wealthy. He said they would know what to do with it, that they'd open factories. Sure they did. Intel just opened a billion dollar chip factory. In Vietnam. Intel just shut their plant in COL SPGS. Thank you George W. If we had put the bulk of that trillion dollars into mass transit, nuclear, wind & solar power, and electric cars, we could be a lot closer to energy independence. Denver would be a lot easier to traverse and nearer to greatness. It's truly depressing to see the opportunities squandered these past 7-8 years as the oil & auto lobbies have run rampant over us - again.
Amen. Couldn't have said it better myself. What a waste of financial resources that could have really helped people who really need it.

"The world is burning in the fire of desire, in greed, arrogance and excessive ego.” - Granth Sahib
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:14 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,516,032 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveco. View Post
...Unfortunately the mass transit situation is not as great as it once was and the city might have made a huge mistake in removing the street car system when it did. At the same time though that time period was when inner city's suffered. Fastracks won't be as extensive to the city of denver as the street car system was but it serves the needs of a far more larger geographic area and is focused on union station downtown. I doubt it will take 50 years for it to be completed
You cannot compare the old street car system with Fastracks. Fastracks is a multi-modal project with commuter rail, Bus Rapid Transit, more buses, more park and rides, more call and rides, extensive feeder buses to new rail stations. Fastracks is an addition to the already extensive bus and light rail system that is already in place.

At the current level, even without fastracks, the system of buses and rail is far more extensive than the old street car system.

Street cars started in the period of no cars and was an early system in the auto age. The auto age of course gave us personal transport as well as an extensive highway system which some onsidered mass transit--to get many people quickly to another destination, however in individual units. We now know that is unsustainable as a sole transportation option.

Now we have an opportunity to mesh the auto transit system with a new mass transit. So we have park and rides, we have rail along a highway. The old street cars were successful being the only one on the street, but as more cars--it had to compete with the same means---the road. Modern systems for most part integrate better into the transportation network. We will not get rid of cars and mass transportation is an addition.

It is misleading to say that the street car system was more extensive because Denver was so much smaller. In most of the street car era--people had few other transportation options, so the system had to serve more of the residents then a mass transportation system today.

Even in New York City, many of the people stilll commute by car to Manhattan from the other boroughs and the suburbs. New York is the largest and concentrated system of transportation in this country but can never completely fulfill all the needs of all the people. If all cars disappeared in NYC, then the transit system would be in trouble.

So it is in Denver--more so. The mass transit system was never and is not being designed to totally replace individual auto transport. It is a system that will integrate a multiple means of mass transit into the auto transit system.

As you know, I do not drive much and use the extensive bus and rail system. Hopefully in the future, the mix of transit needs will be more fulfilled by the public transit system--that is what the transportation and city planners are trying to do to make our transit system, auto and public transit, sustainable.

Livecontent
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Westminster, CO
271 posts, read 1,251,384 times
Reputation: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by livecontent View Post
You cannot compare the old street car system with Fastracks. Fastracks is a multi-modal project with commuter rail, Bus Rapid Transit, more buses, more park and rides, more call and rides, extensive feeder buses to new rail stations. Fastracks is an addition to the already extensive bus and light rail system that is already in place.

At the current level, even without fastracks, the system of buses and rail is far more extensive than the old street car system.

Street cars started in the period of no cars and was an early system in the auto age. The auto age of course gave us personal transport as well as an extensive highway system which some onsidered mass transit--to get many people quickly to another destination, however in individual units. We now know that is unsustainable as a sole transportation option.

Now we have an opportunity to mesh the auto transit system with a new mass transit. So we have park and rides, we have rail along a highway. The old street cars were successful being the only one on the street, but as more cars--it had to compete with the same means---the road. Modern systems for most part integrate better into the transportation network. We will not get rid of cars and mass transportation is an addition.

It is misleading to say that the street car system was more extensive because Denver was so much smaller. In most of the street car era--people had few other transportation options, so the system had to serve more of the residents then a mass transportation system today.

Even in New York City, many of the people stilll commute by car to Manhattan from the other boroughs and the suburbs. New York is the largest and concentrated system of transportation in this country but can never completely fulfill all the needs of all the people. If all cars disappeared in NYC, then the transit system would be in trouble.

So it is in Denver--more so. The mass transit system was never and is not being designed to totally replace individual auto transport. It is a system that will integrate a multiple means of mass transit into the auto transit system.

As you know, I do not drive much and use the extensive bus and rail system. Hopefully in the future, the mix of transit needs will be more fulfilled by the public transit system--that is what the transportation and city planners are trying to do to make our transit system, auto and public transit, sustainable.

Livecontent
+1. While I too am a proponent of effective and efficient alternative transportation methods, I am most certainly against eliminating cars. They serve purposes that would be harder to fill by mass transit. Mass transit also serves a purpose that is hard to fill by cars. There is no reason why we can't have a comprehensive transportation system. It is my hope that Fastracks will make RTD more effective, especially in the north metro. One day I hope to not need to use my car on a daily basis to have some happy medium between time spent getting around and time spent driving.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,894 posts, read 102,330,852 times
Reputation: 32957
Many cities had better mass transit in the 20s than they do today b/c fewer people had cars then. Pittsburgh is one example. For the last 75 yrs people have been in their single-occupant cars. Hopefully, we're moving a bit in the other direction.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:49 PM
 
1,267 posts, read 3,032,430 times
Reputation: 191
i agree with much of what you all have to say. at this point, trying for a rail system NYC (or london, or etc.) style might be a little little and a little late. it's already suburbanized (in no small part due to things like the National City Line boondoggle), so, car dependence will be very difficult to shake, at the very least for a while. but i do agree that it is important to try and limit further dependence. granted, now, the light rail is truly pretty limited for a city this size, and while the bus system is pretty good, it's not as comprehensive as it could be (there could be more express runs, for example, if there was more demand rather than people jumping in their cars to go everywhere instead), and all the while it's almost always EASY to find a seat or 10 on a bus from what i see. people need to take more advantage of these things for these things to take off, and that might take higher fuel prices, more awareness concerning the impacts of the car culture (and consumer culture), and/or fastracks and other more available alternatives zipping by people sitting in rush hour traffic...again. burning expensive fuel. and kicking tons of garbage into the air. and waiting. and waiting. "hmm - sure would be nice to be on that train right about now...or home with the rest that passed me on it about 30 minutes ago. and not spending $4 a gallon...and $900 on insurance every 6 months, maybe. hmm"

re pittnurse's comment, it is also true. though now, some cities have much more extensive transit than others. perhaps in part due to culture? perhaps due in part due to special interests that had more of a grip on some places than others? perhaps due to economics? it seems to me that changing some of these could help effect any of denver's "greatness" potential. rather than just throwing up more tract housing and big box shopping that falls apart in 5-10 years for a quick buck, e.g..
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:59 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,516,032 times
Reputation: 6928
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittnurse70 View Post
Many cities had better mass transit in the 20s than they do today b/c fewer people had cars then. Pittsburgh is one example. For the last 75 yrs people have been in their single-occupant cars. Hopefully, we're moving a bit in the other direction.
Remember in the 20s, people shopped closer to their homes. Shopping was built along the street car line. There were not the extensive shopping centers that were miles apart. So a transit system could serve more people better because their needs were more concentrated. However, we have now extended suburbs and people need to drive more to get to these areas.

Now with the movement to transit oriented communities with denser housing, we have the option to rebuilt the best of the past. So that housing, shopping and places to work are closer together and can be served more efficiently by a transportation network.

We are rebuilding, remodeling and resettling the old trolley car shopping areas in Denver. I live just north of Tennyson Street and this is an example of a rebirth of a trolley car neighborhood. I love going there and just walking, seeing the older homes:

I feel I am back in the 1920s---

I am getting dressed, with my new starched shirt collar, my new spats and I am going dancing, just down the street, at the Trocadero Ballroom--

Livecontent
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:09 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 35,885,922 times
Reputation: 7510
Back the the original question, why does Denver need to be a "great" city? Who decides? If NYC, LA, and SF are what it takes to be great or near-great, I hope Denver never is. I'm trying to get away from 10,000,000 people per square ft, not get more of it.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Westminster, CO
271 posts, read 1,251,384 times
Reputation: 91
Livecontent, could you regale us with your stories of Prohibition and how you ran a popular speakeasy?
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:39 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,516,032 times
Reputation: 6928
Default A Blind Pig

Quote:
Originally Posted by oberon View Post
Livecontent, could you regale us with your stories of Prohibition and how you ran a popular speakeasy?
A Blind Pig was only for poor me,
The Speakeasy had too much of a fee,

A Blind Pig served it hard and cheap,
The Speakeasy served it smooth and neat.

A Blind Pig was more in the town around,
The Speakeasy has fewer gentler grounds.

A Blind Pig was the drinking worker's bars,
The Speakeasy was for the drinkers with the cars.

Ah, The Speakeasy was found the best of the prohibited spirits,
But, A Blind Pig was the place where the beer was the dearest.

I in the 1920s did
Livecontent
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