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Old 10-02-2017, 11:26 AM
 
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All very true. Excellent post.

Maybe the tide has started to turn, at least at the local and state levels in many areas.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,328,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That_One_Guy View Post
The Urban Planning forum is funny sometimes. It really does open your eyes to the way most Americans view the world. I remember one thread not too long ago that said something along the lines of: "I find it hard to believe that there are neighborhoods where one person can walk from their home to a grocery store, a bakery, and a bar all within a short distance of each other"

... At first I was very confused like why is that so hard to believe?? But that is really how the majority of the country lives.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays25 View Post
The urban planning forum is definitely not a den of urbanists or planners. I gave up on it long ago.

And yes, the ability to walk everywhere is pure freedom.
The UP forum has almost become a place where people dig in to fight against anything walkable or urban. But it's a testament to why transit is so poor in this country on the average. Misunderstandings, a lack of experience, resistance to change or understanding of different ways of life.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:36 AM
 
2,289 posts, read 1,294,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonkid123 View Post
In many cases, the population density in cities such as suburban Houston or Atlanta simply doesn't justify expensive subways or light rail. A simple Bus Rapid Transit with protected lanes, articulated buses, and good frequency are more than sufficient, and can be done at a fraction of the time and cost. And in the future, when ridership does indeed grow, these cities can then look at upgrading existing bus routes and lanes into light rail or heavy rail, as long as there is population density and ridership to justify]
Most U.S. cities, with the exception of downtown, have relatively little density, being mostly made up of Single Family Homes/with yards. A bus system may be doable, but there usually isn't enough density to justify rail.

One possibility may be TODs (Transit Oriented Developments). Ironically, this may be because a TOD can function as a mini-downtown for people who don't use public transportation.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,328,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonkid123 View Post
Part of the reason we are where we are today is historic: massive federal investment in interstate highway infrastructure since the end of WWII that pretty much set the tone for the way of life for the vast majority of Americans.

Part of the reason is that automobile users/auto companies/oil companies tend to be louder and a lot more influential with our policymakers, not to mention huge organizations like UAW unions that have the organizational capacity to affect infrastructural policy on a national level. Sure, urban planners and transit advocates have been getting more vocal in recent years, but they are still light years behind in terms of funding, political influence, and organizational capacity to be able to match entrenched interest groups on the other side.

Another interesting phenomenal about the proliferation of autocentric life style is how the entire conversation has been shaped around "freedom" - freedom of choice, freedom to drive, freedom of mobility, freedom of the highways, freedom of the roads, and anything that takes away this "freedom" is almost the equivalent of treason. It's a political and emotional statement that appeals to Americans' founding identity, one that has been successfully implanted in our heads with years of lobbying, never-ending automobile ads, and an unlimited supply of campaign donations by oil/auto companies to make sure that they are always the ones who get to set the transportation and infrastructure agenda for the United States.
This is something that drives me nuts in these conversations in the UP forum. "Freedom" is synonymous with the automobile. I'm sorry, when did freedom require that you drop thousands of dollars as an entry fee to participate in access to jobs, groceries and other basic necessities? And why does freedom require me to pilot a hugely expensive, dangerous machine in complicated traffic both ways to work?

IMO, freedom includes walking out my door and having the option to drive, ride or walk to the things that I need to access in order to live life. Luckily I have "freedom" where I live now. But there aren't a lot of places like this in our country.
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Old 10-02-2017, 12:57 PM
 
2,559 posts, read 2,177,631 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Randal Walker View Post
Most U.S. cities, with the exception of downtown, have relatively little density, being mostly made up of Single Family Homes/with yards. A bus system may be doable, but there usually isn't enough density to justify rail.

One possibility may be TODs (Transit Oriented Developments). Ironically, this may be because a TOD can function as a mini-downtown for people who don't use public transportation.
Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is a great concept, and probably the only way in this country where we can create transit-friendly communities.

With that said, many municipalities have attempted various versions of TOD but with varying degrees of success. DC's new streetcar is a classic example of modern TOD, but the problem is that municipalities tend to focus too much on the "development" part of TOD, and in the process partially or completely mess up the "transit" part of TOD. The DC streetcar, Atlanta Streetcar, Detroit Streetcar are all part of larger TODs, but the streetcars themselves are almost "trophy" projects that do very little to alleviate the current transit needs of the affected neighborhoods (not only do 1-3 mile long "tourist" streetcar lines not address real transit needs, it can even divert much needed transit dollars away from current bus and metro lines that actually require the funding - further contributing to that vicious spiral of neglected service and falling ridership).
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:53 PM
 
2,289 posts, read 1,294,870 times
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Unfortunately, rail tends to be fashionable among urban planners. Perhaps because they associate rail with dense European cities?

Streetcars may be "trophy projects" to planners, but seem like a gimmick to me.

Unless a city already has a fairly high population density, it is hard to see how rail could be cost effective.



So...instead of building streetcar lines, why not buy some more buses? That being said, I can expects howls of protest, because buses are neither fashionable nor glamorous.

I imagine a TOD being built where two or more bus routes intersect.

Last edited by Tim Randal Walker; 10-02-2017 at 02:20 PM..
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Old 10-02-2017, 02:04 PM
 
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Besides adding more buses, I would choose to emphasize cycling. Provide infrastructure for the bicycle. Make cycling a useful alternative for the commute.
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Old 10-02-2017, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,328,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Randal Walker View Post
Besides adding more buses, I would choose to emphasize cycling. Provide infrastructure for the bicycle. Make cycling a useful alternative for the commute.
Buses in their current form suck for the most part. The benefit of traditional rail is dedicated ROW. Buses get caught in the same traffic as private autos. But that's what is left of many "transit systems" in the US. Now, if we dedicate ROW for buses with real infrastructure (concrete, real stations vs. a lousy bus "shelters", etc.), then that could be highly effective. I would take that over streetcar systems. Although Portland OR seems to work pretty well.

But that rarely happens. Taking lanes away from drivers (for driving or parking) is often a big fight. Same as dedicating funding above the minimum operating expenses.
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Old 10-02-2017, 02:37 PM
 
2,559 posts, read 2,177,631 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Randal Walker View Post
Besides adding more buses, I would choose to emphasize cycling. Provide infrastructure for the bicycle. Make cycling a useful alternative for the commute.
Transit Oriented Development should include a host of complimentary mobility options, not just one or two bus lines or a lone cycling lane or a lone streetcar line that does not connect to other transit. To make it work, it should be:

Dedicated cycling lanes + cycling storage + pedestrian friendly streets + frequent bus service + streetcar/heavy rail (in high density areas) + car-sharing options (electric car rentals, reserved parking for those who car pool/car share, etc.)

Along with frequent monitoring of ridership and usage levels to properly adjust the amount of investment needed. That way we build real transit infrastructure that actually suits the needs of each locality, not just trophy projects by local officials with very little utility.
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Old 10-02-2017, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
6,060 posts, read 3,381,283 times
Reputation: 7704
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangerous-Boy View Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...off-the-plane/

I seriously do not know why americans continue to have their rights violated by the TSA and the airlines.

Vote for passenger rail!
I'm sorry but that passenger was in the wrong in that situation. If she truly has a life threatening allergy, she should have let the airline know long before boarding. It was her own fault. Also, she should always carry her own epi-pen with her.
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