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Old 05-31-2010, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
6,630 posts, read 9,810,792 times
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Hello 2008..........
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:37 PM
 
159 posts, read 365,994 times
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I've got to say this: I just returned from a 3 week trip to China. I went to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, and several smaller cities.

The Shanghai Subway system and Beijing Subway system are excellent. Hangzhou is building one right now. Its a city of 8 million, and all it has now are buses and taxis. It will make life a lot easier for them. Xian was lacking a subway system, but had a lot of underground tunnels for walking.

I've visited London and Paris as well, which have wonderful subways, as well as Washington DC. I have yet to visit New York.

Here's the problem in Houston. We don't walk anywhere, and even if wanted to, its not practical in most places. I live in Sugar Land. For a Subway system to work in Houston, it would have to extend out here. However, it would probably be a 2 mile walk for me to get a place where one would make sense.

Houston is far too spread out for a system to work. For now, the light rail system makes sense for the downtown area, or most areas within the 610 loop. However, outside of that, it becomes too spread out to make sense. Its just not practical, even though I really really wish it was. Paying a couple of dollars a day to get to work is so much better than owning a car.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Austin, Houston, and San Antonio
1,438 posts, read 1,780,114 times
Reputation: 791
lanewidick, I'm going to China again this summer and the subways really make it easier to travel around the city. Every time I go there I end up wanting to live in some US city with a subway.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
13,477 posts, read 15,016,924 times
Reputation: 5083
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanewidick View Post
I've got to say this: I just returned from a 3 week trip to China. I went to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, and several smaller cities.

The Shanghai Subway system and Beijing Subway system are excellent. Hangzhou is building one right now. Its a city of 8 million, and all it has now are buses and taxis. It will make life a lot easier for them. Xian was lacking a subway system, but had a lot of underground tunnels for walking.

I've visited London and Paris as well, which have wonderful subways, as well as Washington DC. I have yet to visit New York.

Quote:
Here's the problem in Houston. We don't walk anywhere, and even if wanted to, its not practical in most places. I live in Sugar Land. For a Subway system to work in Houston, it would have to extend out here. However, it would probably be a 2 mile walk for me to get a place where one would make sense.
Houston is far too spread out for a system to work. For now, the light rail system makes sense for the downtown area, or most areas within the 610 loop. However, outside of that, it becomes too spread out to make sense. Its just not practical, even though I really really wish it was. Paying a couple of dollars a day to get to work is so much better than owning a car.
So have the bus system feed from the subway system. That's what DC does. Houston and it's suburbs needs to improve it's bus system astronomically. Get the bus into the minds that it can connect them anyplace from anywhere.

When I lived in Northern Virginia, I was 2 miles from the subway system myself. But I had four busses to choose from to take me to the subway system and had no problem doing so. When the public starts to trust the bus, it will make the transition to the rail system much smoother and more efficient.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:30 PM
 
Location: south by midwest
11,445 posts, read 17,710,120 times
Reputation: 5445
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanewidick View Post
I've got to say this: I just returned from a 3 week trip to China. I went to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, and several smaller cities.

The Shanghai Subway system and Beijing Subway system are excellent.
...
I've visited London and Paris as well
...
Houston is far too spread out for a system to work.
How is Houston too spread out but not London or Beijing?

The problem is not geography. The problem is many people in America, the South particularly, associate buses with poverty and crime. What you would do in Sugar Land is board a bus to take you that two miles to a rail stop.

There is also the assumption that rail would replace bus service, which is inaccurate. They will say the current LRT line simply overlapped bus service. No, what it did was allow bus routes to be adjusted to bring people to a more efficient way of moving a larger amount of people, so that even if you don't live right on the rail line, you can get on a local bus, ride a mile or three and then get on the rail. The same would happen with the new proposed/under construction lines, and the same would happen with any future commuter service to the suburbs.

Problem number one is nobody here understands how it works. It's a foreign concept. That's OK, getting around without owning a horse was once a foreign concept too. People will get it sooner or later.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
13,477 posts, read 15,016,924 times
Reputation: 5083
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfre81 View Post
How is Houston too spread out but not London or Beijing?

The problem is not geography. The problem is many people in America, the South particularly, associate buses with poverty and crime. What you would do in Sugar Land is board a bus to take you that two miles to a rail stop.

There is also the assumption that rail would replace bus service, which is inaccurate. They will say the current LRT line simply overlapped bus service. No, what it did was allow bus routes to be adjusted to bring people to a more efficient way of moving a larger amount of people, so that even if you don't live right on the rail line, you can get on a local bus, ride a mile or three and then get on the rail. The same would happen with the new proposed/under construction lines, and the same would happen with any future commuter service to the suburbs.

Problem number one is nobody here understands how it works. It's a foreign concept. That's OK, getting around without owning a horse was once a foreign concept too. People will get it sooner or later.
Yep. Especially in the bold. Metro and even the city of Houston and the surrounding suburbs needs to change the mindset of the bus. Once that mindset is changed, I bet they would be more open to getting rail transit systems. I particularly do not care for the bus but I do understand that it does it's job. I prefer rail to bus but do understand that rail will not work over the bus in many areas throughout a city.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:44 PM
 
Location: ITL (Houston)
8,969 posts, read 8,723,881 times
Reputation: 3292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spade View Post
Yep. Especially in the bold. Metro and even the city of Houston and the surrounding suburbs needs to change the mindset of the bus. Once that mindset is changed, I bet they would be more open to getting rail transit systems. I particularly do not care for the bus but I do understand that it does it's job. I prefer rail to bus but do understand that rail will not work over the bus in many areas throughout a city.
I think the mindset has a changed a bit though. Many, many people take the Metro buses each morning (park and rides).
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:29 PM
 
Location: south by midwest
11,445 posts, read 17,710,120 times
Reputation: 5445
They seem to be OK with it as long as they're not mingling with those scary inner city folks.

But yeah, there's another mentality-related problem - it seems people are locked into the idea of "well, if it doesn't serve me right away, it will never work." Case in point here would be "I live in Sugar Land, so if it doesn't go to Sugar Land, it won't work." We just had that right here. We've only had rail for six years. That's a short time compared to the age and duration of freeway construction in this city. The first freeway in Houston didn't go through Sugar Land, but eventually the system made it that way. To put it in perspective - 610 is simply a loop freeway around the city center, right? It took 23 years to build that loop, from the first section in 1952 until its completion in 1975, with several stretches opening in the interim. Similarly, the rail system isn't going to come about all at once and serve everyone right away.

We've been building freeways for 62 years and we're still not done.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:17 PM
 
159 posts, read 365,994 times
Reputation: 116
What I really mean is that the simple fact is that most cities that use subways have people who walk or can walk places that have the subway stations. I work in West University, and would love a train that would take me into downtown to grab a bite somewhere different, or be able to go run errands.

I will agree that the bus system would help a WHOLE lot, but right now, they don't even let buses into Sugar Land! While in China, I used the bus a whole lot, but in the places that had Subways, I didn't have to because I could usually walk to the next station.

I would use the bus right now, but its very impractical to have to drive 3 or 4 miles to the park n ride, wait for a bus, transfer a time or two on the buses, and finally get to my location. It takes a good 45 minutes longer for me to take the bus than when I just drive, plus when I get to my office, buses aren't reliable enough to get me around to different locations.

Ultimately, I would love to see it, believe me. I wouldn't mind it if I had to take a bus, but again, right now they don't even have buses near my home.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:41 PM
 
Location: south by midwest
11,445 posts, read 17,710,120 times
Reputation: 5445
One of the reasons Sugar Land doesn't have the bus service (same with other suburbs like Pearland) is the idea that refusing to join METRO will keep the riffraff out. Problem is, there's already a criminal-mover that runs right through Sugar Land called the Southwest Freeway. Everything that comes across the border into Houston goes through there.

Just wait until gas prices shoot up again. That always lights a fire up people's butts.
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