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Unread 03-05-2010, 06:41 PM
 
57 posts, read 209,301 times
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Well, if Denver is what you have in mind when speaking of rail transit, I'm pretty sure KC can do without:

Quote:
Designed primarily to buy off enough politicians and interest groups to sell the idea of a tax increase to the voters, Denver’s 119-mile rail expansion plan was supposed to cost $4.7 billion when it was approved by voters in 2004. The cost has since ballooned to $7.9 billion, then declined to a mere $7.0 billion thanks to the recession. Meanwhile, the increased sales taxes that were supposed to pay for it have not grown by 6 percent per year as planners originally predicted, so they now project a $2 billion shortfall in revenues. Given that Denver’s existing light-rail cars are the emptiest in the nation, ridership projections have fallen so now RTD predicts one of the rail lines will end up costing $60 per rider, nearly four times the original projection.
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Unread 03-05-2010, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
6,720 posts, read 7,649,549 times
Reputation: 2565
The cost of a proposed massive regional rail system has nothing to do with what I'm talking about, but keep spinning!
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Unread 03-05-2010, 08:31 PM
Status: "32F outside; feels like Spring" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: 77 Square Miles Surrounded By Reality
14,766 posts, read 18,594,685 times
Reputation: 7309
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlas1882 View Post
Passenger rail transit is a 19th century technology. It is inferior to the automobile in virtually every way. Cars are faster, less expensive, easier to update, and crucially, provide more flexibility to their owners and passengers which fuels economic growth in a way trolleys, light rail, and amtrak cannot. Passenger rail services are money losers and require subsidies to build and operate that are an order of magnitude greater than those provided to automobiles...and they still lose money. The return on investment is negative.

The purpose of transportation technology is to give people the freedom and ability to go where they want to go, it is not to support anyone's preconceived notion of where or how others should live their lives. KC needs to focus on maintaining and improving its road network to keep pace with the demands of area residents. Privatizing buses and relaxing regulations on taxi services would go much farther toward increasing the mobility options of those unable or unwilling to buy cars of their own.
Privatizing everything and the neoliberal platform has proven not to be a good solution either. The key is an intricate balance of public and private entities functioning as efficiently as possible to create a desirable economic outcome for the metro area. KC should strive to be more like Minneapolis/St. Paul. The prime goals should be toward: greater educational achievement, greater levels of entreprenurship, and greater cooperation among cities within the metro itself. The fact of the matter is KC, MO can not continue its sharp economic decline without any repercussions for the metro as a whole. You can't expect to attract too many outsiders when you mostly have a lot of suburban sprawl to offer as compensation.
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Unread 03-05-2010, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,611 posts, read 3,411,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
The cost of a proposed massive regional rail system has nothing to do with what I'm talking about, but keep spinning!
Every hipster fantasy ignores cost.
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Unread 03-05-2010, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
6,720 posts, read 7,649,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoNative34 View Post
Every hipster fantasy ignores cost.
OK, first off, if you read me replies, I am the one that said KC did NOT need a multi billion dollar regional rail system.

What I proposed was a street car line in the central urban core and a better regional bus system. Right now Metro KC spends about 1/10 of what similar sized metro areas spend on transit. There is no reason why the transit system in KC could not be better.

Second, if this guy knew anything about Denver, he would know that the reason there even was such a grand (and expensive) transit plan was because everybody there wants it (city and suburbs). That entire metro is now fighting over who gets the next light rail expansion even though that city was exactly like KC and would not pass a vote to build the first starter line.

Actually, people in Denver like, use and want transit and are more than willing to pay for it. They just promised a bit much in the fast tracks plan.

Again, KC doesn’t need 200 miles of light rail because the city has way too many uncongested highways. But it does need a better transit system than the one it has.
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Unread 03-06-2010, 07:29 AM
 
57 posts, read 209,301 times
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Quote:
Privatizing everything and the neoliberal platform has proven not to be a good solution either. The key is an intricate balance of public and private entities functioning as efficiently as possible to create a desirable economic outcome for the metro area.
I don't necessarily disagree. The roads are not going to be privatized, and when it comes to buses I can see an argument to be made for having the city designate locations for stops and possibly routes (though I think NIMBYism would limit the efficiency of the system were these functions politicized); the actual running of the buses should be left to private companies however. If the city designates stops and routes and then auctions off leases to these assets, those that purchased the rights would have the incentive to maximize their utility by cutting costs and improving services.

Wrt taxis, I don't see why you should need anything other than a driver's license to run a taxi service.

I definitely agree with the goals of encouraging learning, entrepreneurialism, and cooperation. I also think the evidence suggests that we maximize our progress towards those goals when we increase the scope for private action and limit the undertakings of the state to the safe-guarding of the rule of law.
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Unread 03-06-2010, 07:51 AM
 
57 posts, read 209,301 times
Reputation: 50
Quote:
Second, if this guy knew anything about Denver, he would know that the reason there even was such a grand (and expensive) transit plan was because everybody there wants it (city and suburbs). That entire metro is now fighting over who gets the next light rail expansion even though that city was exactly like KC and would not pass a vote to build the first starter line.

Actually, people in Denver like, use and want transit and are more than willing to pay for it. They just promised a bit much in the fast tracks plan.
I think there are at least a few people who didn't want FasTracks to be built, and I'm certain that there are some who are actively fighting against extensions, like this guy.

Also, wrt costs, wasn't that the whole point, that advocates for rail over-promise and under-deliver. What are your projections for how much it will cost to build your street-car line? How much will it cost to run? How much revenue will it generate through fares? How much will have to be provided by taxes? Who will pay those taxes? How many people will ride it? How long will it take to move people from one point to another? How much energy will it take to build and run on a per-passenger-mile basis? How will that energy be generated?

Now, think about the answers for all those questions when considering three different alternatives: 1) do nothing. 2) increase bus service along the proposed corridor under the current operating paradigm. 3) privatize bus service along the the corridor auctioning off the right to operate to the highest bidder.

If street-cars (or buses, or light rail, etc.) come out ahead when you weigh costs against benefits, then they are a reasonable option to pursue. So far, I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that they win on any dimension other than perhaps one's aesthetic preferences.
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Unread 03-06-2010, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Neither here nor there
3,155 posts, read 4,326,386 times
Reputation: 1609
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post



But if for some reason the state does rebuild 70 and the metro continues to grow and downtown becomes a popular place to work again rather than a zillion office buildings at every exit of 435, then I would build a line from Olathe to Blue Springs. Running light rail right down the side of the interstate of 35 and 70 serving the two most congested and populated suburban commuting areas as well as Downtown and the stadiums. That along with the central city street cars will get people to midtown and the plaza from the suburbs.

But for some reason, the city is hung up on building light rail to the freaking airport where nobody will use it, where congestion and population densities are way too low to even consider building 20 miles of light rail for a billion dollars.
I-35 and I-70 have a good amount of traffic density 24-7. I like the Blue Springs to Olathe route. Very interesting.
I don't quite get the obsession with the airport either. There's not enough local fliers and passers-by to support the cost of building light rail to it.
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Unread 03-06-2010, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Neither here nor there
3,155 posts, read 4,326,386 times
Reputation: 1609
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlas1882 View Post
There, fixed that for you.

Communities are not things you design. They are things that develop organically. You can build a street car and it will not bring back the 1920's. That ship has sailed. People have spoken with their feet. They prefer the suburbs.
I don't know that people prefer the suburbs as much as they're just afraid of the city. That's what I gather from most suburbanites I know.
Suburbs mainly exist because middle class white people did not want to live next to poor black people.
Not because Lenexa is somehow nicer than Brookside.

Nor do suburbs exist, I believe, because people are just sooo infatuated with the car-centric, everything-is-a-mile-apart lifestyle.
The suburbs that you say people prefer are actually prime examples that some communities are heavily designed. That's not a bad thing in and of itself. The problem with many suburbs is that they think everyone has the same idea of what the American Dream is. They also don't fully understand the meaning of up, nor do they seem to care about the once-nice countryside.

I've lived in Arkansas where a lot of communities had little or no planning to them, and to be quite honest, they're hideous and ugly.
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Unread 03-07-2010, 09:04 AM
 
805 posts, read 1,090,862 times
Reputation: 356
It would be nice to have a light rail system, if it could be self-supporting. But it won't pay for itself and is thus nothing but a burden on most people who would not receive any benefit from it. People don't need or want that.
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