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Old 10-23-2009, 10:55 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,058,741 times
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Here's an idea for the OP.
Go survey all of the residents of your apartment complex. (You also get the bonus of getting to meet your new neighbors.) Find out where they work, and plot all of their destinations on a giant map. (Also the bonus of new decor for your apartment). Then design a mass transit system that gets all of those people where they need to go, when they need to get there. Factor in those who need to drop off children at school or daycare during their commute, and those who have second jobs or evening classes to attend.
You can worry about how to pay for it later. My guess is that you will find that people are heading in all different directions (sometimes different directions on different days) at different hours, and no public transportation system will meet all of their needs.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,834,488 times
Reputation: 18992
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymous703 View Post
May I ask, if you were in, or stuck behind, a 20-car pile-up on the beltway, would you stop using the beltway?
Nicely put, I totally get your point. The big difference between being stuck behind a 20-car pile-up on the beltway and being stuck behind a train accident is that I would still have my car. When you're completely reliant on a train, you're a little vulnerable.

If you're stuck behind a 20-car pile up, you may be there for a while but before an hour's up you'll find a way to make a u turn and take another route. If something major happens to a train, you can be stuck for hours.

And if I'm in my car, I have a place to sit. I have a place I can take a little nap and not worry about my purse being stolen (since I can lock the door). I have cd's and a radio to entertain me. I have a box of emergency supplies in my car, too. It includes aspirin, a spare pair of shoes and socks, cash, and usually some breakfast bars (if I remember to replace them, I tend to eat them fairly regularly). Those were all things I could have used that day.

I still take the metro, especially when going into Arlington or DC. But I probably won't use it for longer trips any more.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
606 posts, read 1,517,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Nicely put, I totally get your point. The big difference between being stuck behind a 20-car pile-up on the beltway and being stuck behind a train accident is that I would still have my car. When you're completely reliant on a train, you're a little vulnerable.

If you're stuck behind a 20-car pile up, you may be there for a while but before an hour's up you'll find a way to make a u turn and take another route. If something major happens to a train, you can be stuck for hours.

And if I'm in my car, I have a place to sit. I have a place I can take a little nap and not worry about my purse being stolen (since I can lock the door). I have cd's and a radio to entertain me. I have a box of emergency supplies in my car, too. It includes aspirin, a spare pair of shoes and socks, cash, and usually some breakfast bars (if I remember to replace them, I tend to eat them fairly regularly). Those were all things I could have used that day.

I still take the metro, especially when going into Arlington or DC. But I probably won't use it for longer trips any more.
If something major happens on a highway, you can be there for hours, too. I was driving from Atlanta, GA to Johnson City, TN back in 2003 and a big rig had jack-knifed off the road and down the side of a steep embankment. It was held up by some trees. They had some giant trucks trying to pull the thing back up from the embankment. I was stuck in the mess for over 2 hours.

The main difference is that "something major" happens much less often with trains. There's less room for user error. In fact, it's so rare that when it does happen, it normally makes the national news; whereas, if the national news showed every major auto accident, they'd have no time for anything else.

I think the accident rate for trains is about 1/30 of what it is for cars. The fatality rate for train accidents is about 1/20 - 1/100 of that for car accidents, depending on what mode of rail we are talking about. Light rail has virtually no fatalities over the past decade or so. Commuter rail has some, but it's still phenomenally low compared to car accidents.

Many of the rail accidents that do occur are arguably the result of severe underfunding, as well. One reason Metro has been so behind on safety is because their funding is so pathetic, despite being one of the most heavily utilized public transit systems in the nation.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,834,488 times
Reputation: 18992
All good points. But I'll tell ya, this train incident was more annoying than any traffic incident I've ever been in and I've been driving since 1962. I've lived on both coasts (Los Angeles and DC) so over the years I think I've seen some of the worst traffic in the US.

Have I ever been in a major traffic jam? Sure, a few times. And were they aggravating? You betcha! But, IMO, they weren't as aggravating as the train incident. The worst traffic situation I've ever been in was probably being behind an truck accident on the Galveston Bay Bridge in Texas back in the late 70s. It was a real PITA, but they got us off that bridge before too much time had passed. I've never experienced anything like the aggravation I experienced the day of the train accident.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who've had the opposite experience and I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear of people who've been stuck in traffic for hours. But like everyone else my experiences are what color how I feel--and my experiences are that I'll take a major traffic jam over a major train jam any day. Not saying I don't support metro. I do. And I still use it from time to time. We're using it for our restaurant challenge. But I'm not using it quite as much any more and I'm gaining more and more appreciation for my car. Even if it does mean getting stuck in traffic.

Last edited by normie; 10-23-2009 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:37 PM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,964,161 times
Reputation: 1289
Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
Here's an idea for the OP.
Go survey all of the residents of your apartment complex. (You also get the bonus of getting to meet your new neighbors.) Find out where they work, and plot all of their destinations on a giant map. (Also the bonus of new decor for your apartment). Then design a mass transit system that gets all of those people where they need to go, when they need to get there. Factor in those who need to drop off children at school or daycare during their commute, and those who have second jobs or evening classes to attend.
You can worry about how to pay for it later. My guess is that you will find that people are heading in all different directions (sometimes different directions on different days) at different hours, and no public transportation system will meet all of their needs.
And maybe he'll find a neighbor who also works in Tyson's, and they can carpool, thus taking a car off the road. Or even two neighbors, taking two cars off the road. Then he won't be driving solo, and will be part of the solution.
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,834,488 times
Reputation: 18992
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeesfan View Post
And maybe he'll find a neighbor who also works in Tyson's, and they can carpool, thus taking a car off the road. Or even two neighbors, taking two cars off the road. Then he won't be driving solo, and will be part of the solution.
I'm a huge fan of carpooling. It's good for the environment/traffic problem, and it's a good way to make a friend or two. You really get to know people after carpooling with them for a few months.

(Oh OK I admit it... I'm a fan of the train, too. Even if train jams do get aggravating. After all, as Jakila pointed out, that doesn't happen very often. In fact, hardly ever. )
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,541,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
I'm a huge fan of carpooling. It's good for the environment/traffic problem, and it's a good way to make a friend or two. You really get to know people after carpooling with them for a few months.
Me too! I've got to know some really great people riding to work with them and an enjoyable conversation makes the ride go by faster too. There are lots of ways to find people to ride with - I've been most successful talking to neighbors and crusing bus stops but I also found one person through the commuter connections.

Commuter Connections
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:23 PM
 
139 posts, read 257,958 times
Reputation: 57
Something that Fairfax and Montgomery counties are doing is to focus business developlment in concentrated areas and then trying to locate housing around them. Theoretically, people will live close to work this way. Although I don't see it making much of a difference in the short term, I do think it's a great idea. As the area gets more congested, we're probably going to become more local. You just won't be able to commute to Tyson's from Ashburn, etc. so you'll have to live closer to work. That's also what I'm saying about quality of life. If you want to own a single family home and also work in DC, it will be difficult. The Silver Line Metro will also help, but again, you'll have to live close enough to the line and still be willing to take a long commute.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:31 PM
 
257 posts, read 499,715 times
Reputation: 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
I still take the metro, especially when going into Arlington or DC. But I probably won't use it for longer trips any more.
Yeah... I had to go somewhere in Rockville last Saturday. Took about 20-25 minutes from my place. If we were to have taken metro (could have walked to our destination from White Flint station) from Vienna, it would have take over an hour -- metro lists it as a 70 minute trip.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:34 PM
 
257 posts, read 499,715 times
Reputation: 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
The worst traffic situation I've ever been in was probably being behind an truck accident on the Galveston Bay Bridge in Texas back in the late 70s. It was a real PITA, but they got us off that bridge before too much time had passed. I've never experienced anything like the aggravation I experienced the day of the train accident.
I've lived in LA as well (405 still sucks, as does the 210, 10, 5, 605...) but oddly, the most frustrating traffic situation I've been in was on I70-W east of Wheeling, WV on my way to Cincinnati for Labor Day. At 9:30pm on a Friday night, we were in stand-still traffic for an hour. Because they had a lane closed for road construction.
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