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Old 08-31-2012, 11:35 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,344,192 times
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As many of you know, Los Angeles had one of the most extensive streetcar networks in the world. However, due to a number of reasons - the rise in the automobile's popularity, but also General Motors etc conspiring to end the Streetcars, perhaps sub-standard service by the companies, the system was gradually dismantled and finally closed in 1963.

LA was actually still quite sizeable in 1945, and although low density compared to east coast cities there were pretty high density nodes among the 'sprawl', as there are today. In fact DTLA used to be quite vibrant from the gilded age to World War II. While one might argue that even if the street-car survived, automobiles would still take over and LA would sprawl regardless. Assuming that, against the odds, the street-car did survive mostly intact, how do you think LA would be today?

Would it be much different, or not that different? Would there be less impetus to sprawl outwards, to create such a vast metropolitan region, and while LA was never that centralized, would it's compactness make it more like SF or the East Coast cities?
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:17 AM
 
Location: Prepperland
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A robust electric rail mass transit system would negate the need for as many vehicles to provide the same level of transportation.
A single streetcar may be thought of as a replacement for 500 to 1000 private automobile trips per day. The more streetcars, the less automobile traffic would be necessary, in general.
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:30 AM
 
Location: Phoenix,az
395 posts, read 698,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetgraphics View Post
A robust electric rail mass transit system would negate the need for as many vehicles to provide the same level of transportation.
A single streetcar may be thought of as a replacement for 500 to 1000 private automobile trips per day. The more streetcars, the less automobile traffic would be necessary, in general.
And compared to a bus system?
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Old 09-01-2012, 02:28 AM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,264,094 times
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Originally Posted by kremit View Post
And compared to a bus system?
buses are a crude form of transportation. they are loud, uncomfortable and unreliable.
in short, they are obnoxious. most people would rather slit their own wrists then take the bus.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:52 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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I think a question such as the thread title is impossible to answer. That's not the way it happened. Period.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:29 AM
 
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LA wouldn't be the autocentric sprawl hell that is today, if it kept its vast 1600 mile streetcar network which was once was the largest and best in the world.

the problem was the private streetcar companies never received a dime of public funding. they could never effectively compete with a heavily subsidized auto industry which was lavished with unlimited federal dollars, tax breaks and unlimited bailouts by Uncle Sam every time they ran into financial problems. no private company or industry can hope to compete on such an uneven playing field for long, so the demise of the LA streetcars was inevitable.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:47 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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^ That sounds familiar. I guess the whole policy at the time was that the auto was the way of the future, that streetcars were a thing of the past.
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:39 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,264,094 times
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
^ That sounds familiar. I guess the whole policy at the time was that the auto was the way of the future, that streetcars were a thing of the past.
but in a democratic market system the government is supposed to allow the marketplace to decide the future of our transportation system. that's how democracy is supposed to work. that's how the marketplace is supposed to work. the people decide what the future will be. but by providing massive subsidies to the auto and oil industries the government decided the outcome for us, while artificially skewing and corrupting the marketplace. that's not democracy. that's big brother...and authoritarianism at work.
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:49 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,981 posts, read 102,527,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
but in a democratic market system the government is supposed to allow the marketplace to decide the future of our transportation system. that's how democracy is supposed to work. that's how the marketplace is supposed to work. the people decide what the future will be. but by providing massive subsidies to the auto and oil industries the government decided the outcome for us, while artificially skewing and corrupting the marketplace. that's not democracy. that's big brother...and authoritarianism at work.
Then public transit should not be subsidized, either! I'm interested in hearing what kind of auto industry subsidies you are referring to.
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:56 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,554,265 times
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It was kind of a choice between which "Big Brother" you wanted--Pacific Electric (the interurban "red car") was owned by Southern Pacific, who were positively loathed by Californians after decades of the state being basically controlled by SP corporate interests, and Los Angeles Railway (the local "yellow car") considered not much better, owned by SP founder Collis P. Huntington's nephew (and former SP vice-president) Henry Huntington. Both were vigorously anti-union corporate overlords--the vulture capitalists of their day--and were the target of Progressive antitrust legislation. The fact that the replacement system of highways and automobiles resulted in an even more complete monopoly of corporate control is, in retrospect, an enormously ironic result, but at the time, it basically amounted to being run by one corporate monopoly or another--but one was nominally on the side of "the people," on the surface at least.
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