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)
 
Old 04-30-2013, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,248 posts, read 26,220,119 times
Reputation: 11701

Advertisements

lol
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-30-2013, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,103,705 times
Reputation: 3979
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
So where did you get this assumption the Yellow and Red Cars were 'complete crap' at the end of their life? Which 'hippy-dippy blog' gave you that impression? And did they put it into context?

Chrysler automobiles were pretty crappy cars that nobody wanted to buy...and yet the company still received a very large taxpayer bailout when it went bankrupt. How do you explain the double standard?

Maybe it had something to do with the anti-trust activities of GM who bought out
the Yellow and Red Car lines through their front company National City Lines. In violation of the Sherman anti-Trust Act, and hence the front company to disguise their illegal activities an act of which GM was convicted of in 1949. This is not a conspiracy theory. The conviction was held up on appeal. But by then it was too late. National City Lines had done their dirty work. LA's trolley tracks were all but torn up, and nearly all the trolley cars had been set to fire. GM certainly had an interest in seeing to the demise of the streetcar and they did just that. This was pretty much how large corporations often did business back in the day, and perhaps still do. They were ruthless. Despite what you may think, these car companies were not saints.
I believe Streetsblog has linked to articles talking about how the big Streetcar Conspiracy is mostly blown out of proportion. Yes GM had a hand in it but the casting of them as the evil villain may leave out some historical context. I'll have to find the articles online somewhere, I think they were just linked through Streetsblog. Maybe it was KCET, who does a lot of specials on the urban form / development of Los Angeles.

One thing to clear up - I don't like to drive, only do it about once a week (if that) and 9 times out of 10 prefer to walk or take transit for my trips, even if it is more inconvenient than driving. I don't get your stance that anyone that disagrees with you is a car-apologist that loves sprawl, the mainstream media and driving. From his posts, doesn't seem like the OP does either. I just think this hype for new streetcars lacks some critical thinking and financial discipline.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 05:03 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,264,546 times
Reputation: 2924
Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
And Angelenos rioted in the streets over this injustice!

They had no idea what GM was up to. They were too busy fighting and dying alongside other Americans, by the millions, in a world wide war at the time. A fact that GM took advantage of. It was known as World War 2. You may have heard of it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,103,705 times
Reputation: 3979
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
They had no idea what GM was up to. They were too busy fighting and dying alongside other Americans, by the millions, in a world wide war at the time. A fact that GM took advantage of. It was known as World War 2. You may have heard of it.
I agree with you GM had something to do with it. However it is a much deeper story than that.

Still having a hard time finding the articles I had read about the streetcars' final days in LA. I'll try to post it when I do.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 05:37 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,264,546 times
Reputation: 2924
Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post

One thing to clear up - I don't like to drive, only do it about once a week (if that) and 9 times out of 10 prefer to walk or take transit for my trips, even if it is more inconvenient than driving. I don't get your stance that anyone that disagrees with you is a car-apologist that loves sprawl, the mainstream media and driving. From his posts, doesn't seem like the OP does either. I just think this hype for new streetcars lacks some critical thinking and financial discipline.

You say you use transit 9 times out of 10 in a very autocentric city, in an area that could use much more high-capacity transit. And yet you are quite hostile and condescending towards the expansion of more rail? Huh? I don't think I'm the one in need of critical thinking here.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 05:49 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,057 posts, read 16,066,811 times
Reputation: 12630
FWIW Seattle's streetcars died because of the fixed 5 cent fares (as in most of the country) weren't adequate. You had a series of things going on. First and foremost was inflation and the 5 cent fares in exchange for monopoly rights. 1916-1920 saw massive inflation (upwards of 18%), which resulted in most street car operators no longer being profitable by 1920. Even before then, they weren't the cash cows they'd been. SF Muni got its start because they couldn't find anybody to give away a monopoly to back in 1909. Take something that already wasn't that profitable and through inflation cut the selling price in half. You also had the height of anti-trust regulations during that time period. The government was terrified of monopolies which was another blow.

Getting back to Seattle, there were a series of negotiations where the city was attempting to buy out the lines and preserve them. The price tag was too high and they couldn't get tax payer approval, rail had very little public support at the time (monopoly, poor service since they were cutting every corner they possibly could to try and stay afloat). Ultimately, the mayor arranged a bailout loan from the federal government in the 11th hour. The decayed rail was ripped out and buses replaced the streetcars since they couldn't get a large enough bailout loan to cover the necessary track repairs.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,103,705 times
Reputation: 3979
Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
You say you use transit 9 times out of 10 in a very autocentric city, in an area that could use much more high-capacity transit. And yet you are quite hostile and condescending towards the expansion of more rail? Huh? I don't think I'm the one in need of critical thinking here.
I'm all for transit where it is necessary and in forms that make sense financially and ridership-wise. Los Angeles doesn't need more high-capacity transit, it needs higher-speed transit (including shorter headways). A streetcar doesn't provide either of those, and perhaps to a lesser degree than a Rapid Bus or a BRT bus in a dedicated lane. I am totally in favor of the DTLA streetcar, especially because I don't have to pay for it - it is in a special tax district that voted in favor of it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,103,705 times
Reputation: 3979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
FWIW Seattle's streetcars died because of the fixed 5 cent fares (as in most of the country) weren't adequate. You had a series of things going on. First and foremost was inflation and the 5 cent fares in exchange for monopoly rights. 1916-1920 saw massive inflation (upwards of 18%), which resulted in most street car operators no longer being profitable by 1920. Even before then, they weren't the cash cows they'd been. SF Muni got its start because they couldn't find anybody to give away a monopoly to back in 1909. Take something that already wasn't that profitable and through inflation cut the selling price in half. You also had the height of anti-trust regulations during that time period. The government was terrified of monopolies which was another blow.

Getting back to Seattle, there were a series of negotiations where the city was attempting to buy out the lines and preserve them. The price tag was too high and they couldn't get tax payer approval, rail had very little public support at the time (monopoly, poor service since they were cutting every corner they possibly could to try and stay afloat). Ultimately, the mayor arranged a bailout loan from the federal government in the 11th hour. The decayed rail was ripped out and buses replaced the streetcars since they couldn't get a large enough bailout loan to cover the necessary track repairs.
This sounds very similar to what I have read about Los Angeles. Service suffered due to declining ridership and low farebox recovery, which created a downward cycle.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 06:51 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,096,962 times
Reputation: 3117
Streetcars' decline, in many cities, was not entirely dissimilar from passenger rail's decline. Over regulation forced service levels to uncompetitive levels ... And then there was nothing left worth bailing out.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-30-2013, 07:49 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,264,546 times
Reputation: 2924
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
FWIW Seattle's streetcars died because of the fixed 5 cent fares (as in most of the country) weren't adequate. You had a series of things going on. First and foremost was inflation and the 5 cent fares in exchange for monopoly rights. 1916-1920 saw massive inflation (upwards of 18%), which resulted in most street car operators no longer being profitable by 1920. Even before then, they weren't the cash cows they'd been. SF Muni got its start because they couldn't find anybody to give away a monopoly to back in 1909. Take something that already wasn't that profitable and through inflation cut the selling price in half. You also had the height of anti-trust regulations during that time period. The government was terrified of monopolies which was another blow.

Getting back to Seattle, there were a series of negotiations where the city was attempting to buy out the lines and preserve them. The price tag was too high and they couldn't get tax payer approval, rail had very little public support at the time (monopoly, poor service since they were cutting every corner they possibly could to try and stay afloat). Ultimately, the mayor arranged a bailout loan from the federal government in the 11th hour. The decayed rail was ripped out and buses replaced the streetcars since they couldn't get a large enough bailout loan to cover the necessary track repairs.

A few things.
-- that makes sense. since you're not allowed to raise fares to cover your costs, not even to keep up with inflation, the only thing you can do to stay in the black is to drastically cut back service. streetcars would first arrive every 10 minutes, then every 20 minutes, then every 30 minutes, 40 minutes to the point where the system is almost useless and people are fed up with unbearably long wait times.

-- streetcars didn't lose public support because they were a monopoly. when you're forbidden from raising your prices in any case it totally invalidates the point of having a monopoly. the monopoly aspect had nothing to do with it. you fear a monopoly because it can charge any price it wants, due to lack of competition. but the streetcar fares were artificially fixed by law. the public liked the cheap fares. what they didn't like was the poor service and would have gladly paid more for better service.

-- by the turn of the century, cars were a common presence on city streets all across the country. the electric streetcar companies could not be accurately described monopolies. they had plenty of competition from the motor car. I don't get this idea that they were a monopoly. if anything, the car companies were the ones engaging in uncompetitive and monopolistic practices in their drive to eliminate the competition (streetcars).

-- allowing private companies to run and own public transit systems in the first place is a pretty stupid idea to begin with. what private company can afford to build and maintain its own tracks and wiring, pay all the employees, etc. on 5 cent fares? as stupid as the idea of for-profit private companies owning and running all the police departments and fire departments. or having private interests own, build, maintain and operate all the roads and highways. private companies can be contracted to build the police stations and provide the fire trucks and police cars. but they can't be allowed to run a police department as a private business. it will never work and will never be profitable.

these things are non-profit because they are meant to be a public service. they exist as a public good, not to line the pockets of some private for-profit special interest.
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