U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-20-2013, 07:09 AM
 
1,161 posts, read 1,983,001 times
Reputation: 2584

Advertisements

The difficulty with light rail is that a fixed route of tracks is being overlain onto an existing fragmented metropolitan area. Heavy rail, including light rail, works not only when there's the population density to support it but if it's constructed so that it can move high volumes of people from point A to point B (usually home to the office and vice versa). But with work places scattered across the region instead of in a handful of concentrated employment centers and people living just about anywhere they can, light rail isn't as useful as buses can be. Other countries do have smaller cities with successful light rail systems but they also have much more powerful planning and zoning regulations that channel workplaces into concentrated employment districts, which makes it easier to have a light rail serving as many people as possible.

Why do more people not use buses in America? There is the social stigma but it's also undeniable that private car ownership gives you far greater degree of freedom of movement in where you can go and makes life much easier for most people in most American cities. Light rail also suffers from the same problem. To top it the light rail isn't necessarily quicker. It's quicker to drive from the furthermost stop on the Baltimore light rail route to downtown than it is to take the light rail, even in rush hour.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-20-2013, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,298,452 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't think they'll be tearing out any LR lines, either. That was not my prediction. I do think the urban planners of 50 years from now will probably be saying "what were they thinking?", though. Light rail lines all over the place. (I'm not just talking about Denver, mind you.)

If you've been following this thread, or even the news in Denver, you know the NW corridor is not expected to be completed until 2044, IF THEN, so it's going to take a long time for this system to mature. I'm not so sure density is going to increase that much. For one thing, the Denver burbs are built pretty densely now, compared to many other cities. nei posted some information about that on another thread recently. Among the cities he cited, Denver has the smallest lot sizes, something those of us who live here already knew, but some on this forum did not want to believe. For another thing, the birth rate is dropping, seriously, just like it has done in much of Europe and Japan.

No, of course, no one wants to see metro Denver turned into another LA, but I can tell you, people have been saying that since we moved here 33 years ago.

I'm great with walking. I'd like to see more stuff within walking distance of my house. But walking is also a form of personal transportation. Public transit for work is nice for people who have day jobs that have regular hours. It's not for everyone.
Yes I agree. It's hard to "retro-fit" light rail into a metro area. I guess they're doing about as good of a job as I would expect here in Denver. I think it helps if you have only a couple major employment centers so people can at least drive to a park and ride in the 'burbs and then take the train. In the LA metro area, there are so many employment centers scattered all over that there is no predictable traffic patterns (like heavy traffic going toward downtown in the morning, away in the afternoon) so it's even more difficult to have effective light rail.

I worked downtown Denver for a couple years and the parking is so expensive that it's an incentive to take the train. I know some employers will susidize your LR pass, but won't pay for parking. The key in Denver is to live and work near train stations. I'll live near the Stapleton station when it's up and running.

I don't believe Denver will truly turn into an "LA", but it seems like traffic is much worse than it was the first time I moved here in 1994.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,298,452 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Most of the extra cost of light rail is in construction, not operation. Fifty years later, complaints about overspending on light rail from a long time ago would probably not be thought of all that much in comparison to other spending.



The lot sizes are applicable only to single family (detached?) homes; much higher densities are possible. It's possible (whether the locals, want to is another issue) to densify corridors along the light rail, even with the system currently existing. While the NW corridor may never got built, there are a number of others that probably will.

Vancouver seems to use its new rail system to concentrate new development and has seen a rather sharp rise in transit use.



Currently, most population growth is from immigration though that may slow down.
You can see a lot of denser development in Denver near LR stations. Primarily housing (condos/apartments) in the 4 - 8 story variety, often with retail on the ground floor.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,298,452 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Immigration has slowed down since the recession. Whether it will pick up when the recession is over (if that ever happens) is unknown. I think Mexico was looking at ways to slow emigration out of Mexico before the recession took care of it for them.
Yes, but isn't Denver still attracting a lot of people from within the U.S.? I don't knwo the numbers, but it still seems to always pop up on those lists of fastest growing metro areas.

And then you have Stapleton. We're doing our part to keep the population growing. Must be all the wine drinking
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,298,452 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
Even those who never set foot on a train benefit from quality rail transportation. If denverian and many others find a good rail line to ride, more room for Katiana and friends on the freeway.
Yes, very true. My theory is that the more they build effective LR in Denver, the less need for adding lanes to freeways.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,298,452 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
You know, I find these comments annoying and condescending. denverian is not riding the light rail, in any event. It doesn't go where he needs to go.
No, not yet. But it will in a couple years I figure it'll still take 45 min. to get from Stapleton to the tech center on LR, but I would choose it over driving for personal reasons. Just being able to relax, do some work, read the paper, and no wear/tear on my car is why I'd choose it. I'm not going to put anyone down for choosing otherwise, or just not having the option to use it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,120,354 times
Reputation: 3982
Quote:
Originally Posted by denverian View Post
Yes I agree. It's hard to "retro-fit" light rail into a metro area. I guess they're doing about as good of a job as I would expect here in Denver. I think it helps if you have only a couple major employment centers so people can at least drive to a park and ride in the 'burbs and then take the train. In the LA metro area, there are so many employment centers scattered all over that there is no predictable traffic patterns (like heavy traffic going toward downtown in the morning, away in the afternoon) so it's even more difficult to have effective light rail.
Funny because LA's LRT is leagues more effective than any other city building new lines.

Actually, for those very reasons you listed transit planner Jarrett Walker of Human Transit believes LA is an ideal city for transit: Human Transit: los angeles: the next great transit metropolis?

Any though the job centers are not all in one place, many of them are very jobs-dense, they really are not that far apart and many of them are already connected via mass transit, be it LRT, heavy rail or BRT. Warner Center, DTLA, Hollywood, Koreatown / Mid-Wilshire, Pasadena, Long Beach, Culver City, the USC area and El Segundo / LAX are all already connected;

Santa Monica and the West LA business district will be connected in the near future with Expo Phase II;

LAX / El Segundo will get another line running through (plus a connection to a future LAX people-mover) it in the near future with the Crenshaw Line;

The Miracle Mile, Century City and Beverly Hills business district will be connected in further off future with the Purple Line extension (not LRT);

I think it is too easy to talk about LA hypothetically and write it off as "too spread out" or "too many job centers" for transit to work. However, looking at the numbers and dealing with specifics it becomes clear that transit will and does work well here. In fact, a single LRT line in Los Angeles (the Blue Line) singlehandedly gets more ridership than the entire Denver LRT system.

If this is in reference to the entire metro area, yes Orange County, the South Bay and environs are too low-density to have really effective LRT transit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Kalamalka Lake, B.C.
3,044 posts, read 4,019,161 times
Reputation: 3898
It's an axiom that public transport takes you to where the money is spent, not where it's earned. As different as my two hoods are, this axiom is true for both.
What really helps long term transport policy is an absence of graft and corruption.....er...sorry....lower level graft and greed.
Long term planning means attracting the best and the brightest as both cities have recruited from all over the world planners wanting to, as they say, "make a statement".

Both Vancouver, B.C. and Calgary, Alberta (two extremely different cities) have areas around the stations zoned for intense development, with a minimum of the kind of insane local city council gerrymandering for their real estate, lawyer, mafia and farm friends that you see almost all over North America. What happened to all those sixties studies on US city planning?

Unlike Montreal, who while it has always had an incredible metro system, has other east coast issues, such as envelopes full of "kash" and cultures that consider under the table to be "normal". Just try to break that habit.

However, in the US I might have safety issues. Here it's primarily very annoying cell phone calls, drunks who want to be your new best friend, and kids using words, repeatedly, that I don't want to hear.

Last edited by thedwightguy; 02-20-2013 at 01:28 PM.. Reason: word choice
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
1,329 posts, read 873,878 times
Reputation: 217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallybalt View Post
Why do more people not use buses in America? There is the social stigma but it's also undeniable that private car ownership gives you far greater degree of freedom of movement....
They may happily give up the "social stigma" when oil prices are high enough and/or they find that some developments are not "accommodating the car-dependent" with enough parking.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-20-2013, 05:53 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,268,539 times
Reputation: 2924
Quote:
Originally Posted by apm193 View Post
At the end of the day most people don't care if their riding a train or a bus, as long as it gets from A to B in a timely manner.

the difference is ride quality and comfort.

the bus is the equivalent of an old Ford pickup truck - harsh ride, big noisy V8 engine, cramped seating, smelly exhaust, etc. but light rail is comparatively smooth, quiet, with a spacious interior. light rail runs on electric instead of combustion, so hardly makes any noise at all and there's no loud and smelly exhaust. people prefer light rail over buses for the same reason they prefer the ride of a smooth quiet Mercedes-Benz luxury car over riding in a noisy, beat up old 1950s Ford pickup truck with no muffler.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top