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Old 10-28-2010, 11:08 PM
 
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On the other hand, there are "super-commuters" in California who live in Bakersfield and work in Los Angeles, and those who live in Sacramento and work in San Francisco. In both cases, it's about a two-hour trip. Driving, the Sacramento-SF commute (about 90-100 miles each way) costs about $25-30 for gas, $10 for tolls, and probably $10-15 a day for parking--figure about $50 a day, or about $1000/month. I imagine the Bakersfield/LA commute is comparable, but without the bridge tolls. In northern California, there is a rail option--the Capitol Corridor, which costs $439 for a monthly pass. Southern California has no rail option. People generally do it because they make really good money in the big city but value living in a smaller city (and resulting lower housing prices) so much that the four-hour commute is worth it to them.

The other difference is that commuting on a train, high-speed or no, involves sitting in a comfortable seat with access to a diner and a restroom. You can nap, eat breakfast, read, work on a laptop, chat or text on a cell phone. You don't have to spend that time staring at the taillights of the car in front of you.

Also keep in mind that the United States already has one semi-"high speed rail" vehicle--the Acella in the northeast corridor. We don't have to theorize about HSR's effects on development, we can see it in action.
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:29 AM
 
1,137 posts, read 1,023,364 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Not true. The interstate highway system, as envisioned in the 1950s, had "defense" in the title, but it was explicitly intended as a method to allow commuters to commute. Some of the earliest highways were primarily intended as scenic routes, when cars were still kind of a luxury item, but they became commuter routes before the big interstates were built. Escape from central cities, lowering of overall densities, and spreading out of the population (at least certain segments of the population) into single-family homes were deliberately pursued objectives.
I don't know where you're getting this at. Everything I've come across indicates that Eisenhower's intention was to connect cities, and suburbanization was not part of the equation. It's even stated in the purpose of the Act itself. I thought the design had been modeled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which avoids going through cities.

My point was that the interstate system was changed once politics became involved, and the same might happen with rail. Once state legislator A becomes aware the HSR line isn't stopping in his district, but is stopping in legislator B's district, they'll probably add a stop in legislator A's district.
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Chicago
721 posts, read 903,242 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyev View Post
I don't know where you're getting this at. Everything I've come across indicates that Eisenhower's intention was to connect cities, and suburbanization was not part of the equation. It's even stated in the purpose of the Act itself. I thought the design had been modeled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which avoids going through cities.

My point was that the interstate system was changed once politics became involved, and the same might happen with rail. Once state legislator A becomes aware the HSR line isn't stopping in his district, but is stopping in legislator B's district, they'll probably add a stop in legislator A's district.
The intention of expressways was to create massive suburbs. It wasn't the only reason by any means, but it was definitely on their agenda. They came about at a time when cars and homes for Vets and others were extremely affordable. It may have never been stated verbally that you can ditch the city and buy a 3 bedroom house in the suburbs 10, 20, or 30 miles away, but the writing was plastered all over the wall.
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:38 PM
 
7,203 posts, read 7,544,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyev View Post
I don't know where you're getting this at. Everything I've come across indicates that Eisenhower's intention was to connect cities, and suburbanization was not part of the equation. It's even stated in the purpose of the Act itself. I thought the design had been modeled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which avoids going through cities.

My point was that the interstate system was changed once politics became involved, and the same might happen with rail. Once state legislator A becomes aware the HSR line isn't stopping in his district, but is stopping in legislator B's district, they'll probably add a stop in legislator A's district.
Eisenhower's act was the "National System of Defense and Interstate Highways," enacted in 1956--the Pennsylvania Turnpike's first section was completed in 1940. Post-WWII automobile suburbs were being churned out all over the country by that time. The "Road Crew," a collection of a couple hundred lobbyists representing auto manufacturers, petroleum, tires, and road construction, were very involved in that legislation. It was nominally for "defense" purposes, but obviously had no real defense function.

The use of public-funded highways to facilitate the sale of automobiles and trucks dated back to a cross-country military expedition in 1909 (a convoy including a young Lt. Dwight D. Eisenhower) and the use of public roadways to facilitate suburban expansion (instead of private streetcars) became commonplace in the 1920s and 1930s. Federal housing policy legislation during the Depression was based on the model of auto-centric single-family suburbs built out onto greenfields, a model that only works if there are paved highways connecting the suburbs with workplaces and shopping areas. Zoning of land became commonplace in the 1920s and 1930s, resulting in horizontal sprawl as land functions became separated by zones. I can recommend some swell books on the subject, like Kenneth Jackson's Crabgrass Frontier, Robert Fogelson's Downtown: Its Rise and Fall and Dolores Hayden's Building Suburbia.

Sprawl in its current form was the result of deliberately enacted policies intended to disperse and segregate the populations of cities.
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Old 10-30-2010, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,163,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyev View Post
Someone on one of these forums commented that high-speed rail (300 mph) connecting Pittsburgh and Washington DC could turn Pittsburgh into a suburb of DC. That got me thinking...

The interstate highway system was created to rapidly connect American cities. Sprawl and commuter use of the highways was not envisioned. But, eventually, the entire highway system was usurped by commuters.

Wouldn't the same thing happen with high speed rail? Theoretically, a commuter could live just about anywhere in New York State and commute to New York City; the entire state of West Virginia would be within an hour of DC; Reno and Tahoe would be less than an hour from the Bay Area and even less than that from Sacramento; I could live anywhere in rural East Texas and easily commute to Houston, Dallas, Austin or San Antonio.

Now this seems as if it would be the ultimate sprawl - new tract home subdivisions 300 miles from the centers of employment. Or would you even be able to get the density for subdivisions? Maybe it'd sprawl back to rural living and suburban living would completely disappear?
There is a vast misunderstand as to why the Interstate Road system. One lesson learned during WWII was that the German Autoban could move MILITARY equipment very fast whereas railroads were getting bombed out of existence during the war. Eisenhower did not want that to happen in America plus he needed good jobs for returning Vets.

This will explain these little known facts.......
Do you know why Interstate Highways were built? | The Reasoner

Some other facts about our Interstate system.....
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/faq.htm

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/i....htm#question1
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:57 PM
 
7,203 posts, read 7,544,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
There is a vast misunderstand as to why the Interstate Road system. One lesson learned during WWII was that the German Autoban could move MILITARY equipment very fast whereas railroads were getting bombed out of existence during the war. Eisenhower did not want that to happen in America plus he needed good jobs for returning Vets.

This will explain these little known facts.......
Do you know why Interstate Highways were built? | The Reasoner

Some other facts about our Interstate system.....
Eisenhower Interstate Highway System -Frequently Asked Questions

Eisenhower Interstate Highway System - Interstate Myths
That was the original justification for highways, long before the Autobahn--Lt. Eisenhower saw it firsthand in 1909 as part of a military convoy across the United States intended to show the need. Even then, it was the auto companies that built the military trucks driving the effort. The first grade-separated highways, like the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Arroyo Seco Parkway, were already completed before Eisenhower saw the Autobahn. He supported the effort, but it certainly wasn't his idea.

The "defense highway system" was useless for military convoys. A lot of military equipment of the era (such as loaded tank transporters) wouldn't even fit under a standard highway underpass. And remember, this act was passed in 1956--the World War II vets had long since gotten jobs, and even the Korea vets were already back a few years by then.

The last link makes clear that defense uses were part of the justification for the legislation, although they weren't really useful for that purpose:

Quote:
President Eisenhower conceived the Interstate System.
The Interstate System was first described in a Bureau of Public Roads report to Congress, Toll Roads and Free Roads, in 1939. It was authorized for designation by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944, with the initial designations in 1947 and completed in 1955 under the 40,000-mile limitation imposed by the 1944 Act. President Eisenhower didn’t conceive the Interstate System, but his support led to enactment of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which established the program for funding and building it.

President Eisenhower supported the Interstate System because he wanted a way of evacuating cities if the United States was attacked by an atomic bomb.
President Eisenhower’s support was based largely on civilian needs—support for economic development, improved highway safety, and congestion relief, as well as reduction of motor vehicle-related lawsuits. He understood the military value of the Interstate System, as well as its use in evacuations, but they were only part of the reason for his support.

Defense was the primary reason for the Interstate System.
The primary justifications for the Interstate System were civilian in nature. In the midst of the Cold War, the Department of Defense supported the Interstate System and Congress added the words “and Defense” to its official name in 1956 (“National System of Interstate and Defense Highways”). However, the program was so popular for its civilian benefits that the legislation would have passed even if defense had not been a factor.

The Interstate System was launched by the Interstate Defense Highway Act of 1956.
No such legislation passed in 1956 or any other year. Nevertheless, this title appears widely throughout the media instead of the correct title: the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.

One in five miles of the Interstate System is straight so airplanes can land in emergencies.
This myth is widespread on the Internet and in reference sources, but has no basis in law, regulation, design manual—or fact. Airplanes occasionally land on Interstates when no alternative is available in an emergency, not because the Interstates are designed for that purpose.
I stand corrected about the name--but note that Congress added the words "and Defense" to the act, as seen on page 2 of the actual document, here:

http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=old&doc=88#
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:50 PM
 
8,124 posts, read 6,130,309 times
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Whatever "sprawl" may be, there is no doubt that faster train service does influence development. Study history and you will find the first suburbs were made possible by commuter trains. In Spain there was a sharp boost in development at some stops that became only an hour from Madrid with the new AVE route. I have also heard that many Italians commute between Florence and Rome since they are linked by High Speed Rail.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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pvande: And there is nothing wrong with that at all--I mentioned upthread that the first suburbs were made possible by commuter trains. Transportation infrastructure is the strongest overall influence on development--the American cityscape, in its centerless, road/auto driven fashion, is because that transportation structure influences development. Fixed-rail transportation, whether it is a streetcar, an electric interurban, a steam railroad or high-speed rail, influences development too--but in a very different way.

Rail's development pattern is based around a series of nodes at transit stops. Density and land values are highest around the transit stop, with concentric rings of lower land value within a short distance of the stop--typically half a mile. The faster that transportation method goes, the farther apart the transit stops are. If you add a streetcar, you get a ribbon of development a couple of blocks wide that follows the streetcar right-of-way. If you add public roads and private cars, the whole developed area multiplies because of the need for multiple parking spaces for each car, but you lose any sense of district center.

So a HSR-based "sprawl" model would have two main transit modes: people who live in one node and work in another node (commuters) who might take an hour on the train to work 150 miles away, and people who live and work in the same node, typically by walking or taking a streetcar, or even driving a car, for a few minutes. Those working in between transit nodes would probably still drive, but roads wouldn't be the sole form of regular long-distance transit.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
25,170 posts, read 11,568,221 times
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Some people live in Philadelphia and commute to NYC. The cost of monthly train pass (Amtrak) is a bit over $1000, but you could save much of the cost in cheaper housing. Driving, taking a commuter train or bus would all be slower and probably much less comfortable.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:28 AM
 
4,400 posts, read 4,473,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
On the other hand, there are "super-commuters" in California who live in Bakersfield and work in Los Angeles, and those who live in Sacramento and work in San Francisco. In both cases, it's about a two-hour trip. Driving, the Sacramento-SF commute (about 90-100 miles each way) costs about $25-30 for gas, $10 for tolls, and probably $10-15 a day for parking--figure about $50 a day, or about $1000/month. I imagine the Bakersfield/LA commute is comparable, but without the bridge tolls. In northern California, there is a rail option--the Capitol Corridor, which costs $439 for a monthly pass. Southern California has no rail option. People generally do it because they make really good money in the big city but value living in a smaller city (and resulting lower housing prices) so much that the four-hour commute is worth it to them.

The other difference is that commuting on a train, high-speed or no, involves sitting in a comfortable seat with access to a diner and a restroom. You can nap, eat breakfast, read, work on a laptop, chat or text on a cell phone. You don't have to spend that time staring at the taillights of the car in front of you.

Also keep in mind that the United States already has one semi-"high speed rail" vehicle--the Acella in the northeast corridor. We don't have to theorize about HSR's effects on development, we can see it in action.
This pretty much sums up my opinion. Especially the Acella comment. This is perhaps the best gauge at what high speed rail would look like and the development it would spawn. My question is, let's take my area. I live in the Piedmont Atlantic megaregion (Charlotte). The main hubs would be Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville, Atlanta, and Birmingham. Would there be enough distance for HSR to reach the top speed of 300mph?
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