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Old 02-18-2013, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,784 posts, read 23,800,954 times
Reputation: 6195

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
To Mahrie:
1. This is not the Religion Forum.
2. You're wrong about oil. The amount is finite, the human race has been using it in very large quantities for the last 80 years or so, and the oil which is cheap and easy to get out of the ground has already been gotten. Increasingly, oil is now more expensive to get out of the ground (deeper, etc.). You may be able to cite one or two locations where it is "bubbling up", but that does not represent any general truth.
3. This is not the Economics Forum either. However, the dollar absolutely still has worth. Over the years, there has been inflation. Prices and wages, say, 100 years ago were such that a dollar then was worth many times what a dollar now is worth. But since wages have increased with prices, the dollars that we earn now still buy as much (more, actually) than the dollars that an average worker earned in 1913.
4. What is it about urban planning that makes the subject such a draw for ideologues?
I think it is the titles that make it to the top of the forum, at least from the comments I've seen in threads.

The Urban Planning Forum, and stuff like this thread, have a lot of assumptions about how life is/should evolve with a heavy emphasis on mass transit discussions.

A lot of folks disagree, for various reasons, that this is an inevitable or even a desirable outcome. Frankly, I agree with you that this forum should be more about the planning processes, such as how to build a logical mass transit process, but instead it does seem that the forums often goes off into economics and negative views about stuff like suburban lifestyles and vehicles.

Such is the internet, and discussion forums.

So for this forum, some folks may not view their vehicles as a cash drain, but rather enjoy buying them, owning them, and driving them. Instead, they may view the taxes for constructing and maintaining mass transit as a cash drain.

 
Old 02-18-2013, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,057 posts, read 16,066,811 times
Reputation: 12630
Cheap is a relative term, Escort. While it's true the oil we're extracting now is increasingly expensive to get at, it's still undeniably cheap as a means of stored energy. The current other alternatives -- batteries, fuel cells, etc -- are much more expensive. The fuel cell Honda costs quite a bit to manufacture and then is more expensive in fuel costs than the so-called expensive fossil fuels its fuel cell is replenished from. That shouldn't be surprising. You're taking a fossil fuel and turning it into something else (energy) and then expending more energy to get the hydrogen into the fuel cell. Just run the car off natural gas directly makes far more sense. Natural gas isn't the only way to produce hydrogen, just the cheapest. In the scenario where fossil fuels are not still cheap, it might make sense to do since electricity produced from nuclear or PV sources could be used.

I'm sure you already know that, but I'm throwing it out in general. Cars are quite energy efficient, we just generally don't prioritize the energy efficiency in our selection of vehicles precisely because energy as a whole is, in fact, quite cheap. It's just not a priority. If it were, we'd be driving Priuses, which are far more energy efficient than public transportation is at around 1700 BTU per mile. NYC Subway is double that... not that a Prius would get 1700 BTU per mile in NYC, driving in those conditions is far from ideal from any standpoint the same way rail in San Jose is far more wasteful than it is in NYC. In either case, energy efficiency isn't a top consideration. Manhattan with no Subway doesn't work (Sandy) regardless of energy efficiency much better than public transit works in very low-density suburban or rural areas.

Rather than blindly pursuing a cars are bad agenda, it's better to look at solutions that fit the urban landscape. Rail with a big parking lot might make sense in a distant suburb with horrible transportation. There's not going to be any demand for a parking lot-free anti-car utopia there anyway. If you took BART in Pleasanton and built a bunch of shoebox condos atop retail, it's not like anyone would go there. Pleasanton has lousy transit and people get around by automobile. And who the heck is going to want to live in Pleasanton adjacent to the freeway in a shoebox condo with no means of getting around? Even the Transit Villages (such as Pleasant Hill station) have quite a bit of parking. You have easy access to BART to take in to work at the City which means you don't have drive in at rush hour, fight for parking. And you also have access to a car to get around Walnut Creek. Walnut Creek is not Manhattan. It's pretty easy to develop parking lots into something else as areas do become more urban, something seen along along BART.
 
Old 02-18-2013, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
...If it were, we'd be driving Priuses, which are far more energy efficient than public transportation is at around 1700 BTU per mile. NYC Subway is double that... not that a Prius would get 1700 BTU per mile in NYC, driving in those conditions...
Surely what matters is the Energy use per mile PER PERSON moved.
It would be interesting to see those figures, if you have them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Rather than blindly pursuing a cars are bad agenda, it's better to look at solutions that fit the urban landscape. Rail with a big parking lot might make sense in a distant suburb with horrible transportation. There's not going to be any demand for a parking lot-free anti-car utopia there anyway. If you took BART in Pleasanton and built a bunch of shoebox condos atop retail, it's not like anyone would go there. Pleasanton has lousy transit and people get around by automobile.
I don't know the area you speak of. But in Hong Kong I have seen an area emerge from nowhere and become very dense, and a successful transit area (using Mass Transit) in a relatively short period of time. It is called Tung Chung, and I lived there for some years. It is about 30 minutes train ride from Central Hong Kong.


Tung Chung -there's much more than what you see in this photo.
The MTR station is in the lower right hand corner

Some People do own cars, but the vast majority commute by rail, and there are relatively few "conveniently located parking space." People walk or take a bus to the station. And much of the housing is immediately next to the train station.

I doubt that California developers have the confidence to build this way, which I think is a pity. It solves many problems in a stroke. And "puts PAID to the need to own a car."

You say: "If you took BART in Pleasanton and built a bunch of shoebox condos atop retail, it's not like anyone would go there." Build well, connect well (as they have done in HK), and raise oil prices to $8-10 per gasoline, and people would flock to it since their transport cost would go way, way down. I am not suggesting that governments should push the gasoline price up dramatically (though I think they should raise the gasoline tax), but I do think the market will do that when the dollar slides.


Immediately on top of the station is a popular shopping mall - which is a destination in its own right. Parking is out of sight in multi-layered levels hidden under the mall.


The long journey to Tung Chung

What may look like a far away and unattractive place to live for some, will look far more attractive in a high oil price environment.

Last edited by Geologic; 02-18-2013 at 05:43 PM..
 
Old 02-18-2013, 06:26 PM
 
195 posts, read 235,315 times
Reputation: 247
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geologic View Post


I don't know the area you speak of. But in Hong Kong I have seen an area emerge from nowhere and become very dense, and a successful transit area (using Mass Transit) in a relatively short period of time. It is called Tung Chung, and I lived there for some years. It is about 30 minutes train ride from Central Hong Kong.


I doubt that California developers have the confidence to build this way, which I think is a pity. It solves many problems in a stroke. And "puts PAID to the need to own a car."

You say: "If you took BART in Pleasanton and built a bunch of shoebox condos atop retail, it's not like anyone would go there." Build well, connect well (as they have done in HK), and raise oil prices to $8-10 per gasoline, and people would flock to it since their transport cost would go way, way down. I am not suggesting that governments should push the gasoline price up dramatically (though I think they should raise the gasoline tax), but I do think the market will do that when the dollar slides.


What may look like a far away and unattractive place to live for some, will look far more attractive in a high oil price environment.
You forgot to mention that Tung Chung is right next to one of the busiest airports in the world. This is the main reason the rail line was built. Its not as if they built a railway to the middle of nowhere and all this development magically popped up. Pleasanton doesn't have an airport, or anything else to draw people to the area except the town itself.
 
Old 02-18-2013, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,057 posts, read 16,066,811 times
Reputation: 12630
Quote:
Originally Posted by apm193 View Post
You forgot to mention that Tung Chung is right next to one of the busiest airports in the world. This is the main reason the rail line was built. Its not as if they built a railway to the middle of nowhere and all this development magically popped up. Pleasanton doesn't have an airport, or anything else to draw people to the area except the town itself.
Which also has almost no local transit and 98% of people get around by via car. It's the complete opposite of Hong Kong where 90% of trips are made via public transit. Build needs to reflect the environment. The plans for the TransBay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco look much more like Hong Kong. A lot of it's been cancelled or postponed due to the real estate market, but the cancelled and postponed ones are already coming back as San Francisco's market is quite hot. As far as I now, the five Renzo Piano towers are still canceled, two would have been nearly 400 feet taller than San Francisco's tallest building. The Terminal Building itself will be 200 feet taller than the Transamerican Pyramid, and double the height of the shoeboxes in Tung Chung. But again, that's going in just south of downtown in SOMA and not some far-flung suburb where there's no transit.

And the 1700 BTU for a Prius is BTUs per passenger mile, NYC Subway is 3700 BTUs per passenger mile, although that's old data.
 
Old 02-18-2013, 10:30 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,929,314 times
Reputation: 14804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post

And the 1700 BTU for a Prius is BTUs per passenger mile, NYC Subway is 3700 BTUs per passenger mile, although that's old data.
The other link I posted showed the energy consumption of the NYC subway about half of a single-occupied Prius (~ 100 mpg equivalent / person).
 
Old 02-19-2013, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by apm193 View Post
You forgot to mention that Tung Chung is right next to one of the busiest airports in the world. This is the main reason the rail line was built. Its not as if they built a railway to the middle of nowhere and all this development magically popped up. Pleasanton doesn't have an airport, or anything else to draw people to the area except the town itself.
Yes, there is an airport 10m minutes away - There needs to be some sort of reason for building such a long train line - it is expensive to do so.

But the airport related housing and density was not enough to make the line profitable. So the MTR (who is part owner of the land near the station) has been building, building, and building to get the density up to a level where the line is no longer losing money. I don't know the detailed breakdown, but I reckon they may be at pr above breakeven now. It is a magnificent achievement, and will give the MTR a chance to benefit from "infill" developments along the way - such as at places like Sunny Bay
 
Old 02-19-2013, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 872,207 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
...The Terminal Building itself will be 200 feet taller than the Transamerican Pyramid, and double the height of the shoeboxes in Tung Chung. But again, that's going in just south of downtown in SOMA and not some far-flung suburb where there's no transit.

And the 1700 BTU for a Prius is BTUs per passenger mile, NYC Subway is 3700 BTUs per passenger mile, although that's old data.
At the other end of the Tung Chung line, in Kowloon is the ICC (International Commercial Center), which is the 5th tallest building in the world.


(I live juts one stop from that montrous building)

In a way, you can think of the TC Line as connecting the people living in TC with jobs in the ICC - and also the jobs one stop further in Central, Hong Kong island
 
Old 02-19-2013, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Tallahassee
305 posts, read 757,811 times
Reputation: 144
I certainly agree with premise OP is trying to make that car dependency can lead to an inefficient lifestyle that pretty much is a cash drain individuals and countries. I also understand the concerns of those with cars worried about what they would do without them, particularly in less dense areas.

It think it does not to have to be an either/or kind of thing. People can still have cars if they want but I think our goal should be to make them more fuel efficient (which we have been doing) and find ways to make them needed for fewer tasks. We should find ways to make suburbs more efficient. I hear one poster on hear complaining by talking about how tough it is to pick up a child at a soccer practice from across town. I think that is kind of the point the OP was trying to make. Car dependence has lead to inefficient and time consuming arrangements and distances we have to travel.

When I am not in school I live by the coast in south Florida Public transportation is awful but a lot of things I need are pretty close together. Drive out 15 minutes west and things get unbearably bad IMO. You basically need a car to survive.

These inefficiencies are costly and not environmentally friendly. A lot of people get nervous when they see the price tag on public transit projects they shudder. It is expensive, but I bet if you tried to quantify the costs of the inefficiencies we have discussed as well as the costs of battling the effects of global warming, the costs of making a more efficient public transit system dont seem so vast.
 
Old 02-19-2013, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
12,351 posts, read 7,501,291 times
Reputation: 15950
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaleyRocks View Post
We visited NYC in December and while it was an amazing trip, the reliance on public transportation bothered me. I felt to trapped, especially on the subway. You have to plan everything. You had to know your destination and what lines to connect to and just wow. And you have no control, you've left everything to your local government to ensure everything runs smoothly.

I know exactly what is wrong with my car and I control how I use it. I can change directions or destinations, and often do, with the turn of my wheel. And I don't have to share space with strangers. Like I said, it was fun by after 24 hours I had enough. I wanted out, too many people, too much planning. However, I see how it is a requirement with that many people.
Which is precisely why the closeted Fascists who call themselves "progressives" are so enamored of public transport -- they are afraid of a free people.
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