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Old 01-13-2014, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
As to the bolded, do you mean a rail system or something else? Having a rail network doesn't prevent Cleveland from having a abysmal rail ridership. And a black population isn't an excuse, black people ride transit too. A transit system could get decent ridership just from minorities.

Under that logic, you'd expect Boston to be more friendly towards transit than Philadelphia. And maybe San Francisco friendlier to transit than Boston. And DC less friendly to transit than all of them... the DC Metro was built after white flight*.

*People go on about Portland's transit system, DC's transit system must have a much higher impact
At least here in Pennsylvania, a substantial amount of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia's transit system is supposed to be funded through the state. The rural voters hate this funding, because they think this amounts to welfare for the cities. Never mind the state also pays to pave rural roads, and far more tax revenue comes in from the cities and suburbs than said rural areas.
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Old 01-13-2014, 07:52 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,827,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
At least here in Pennsylvania, a substantial amount of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia's transit system is supposed to be funded through the state. The rural voters hate this funding, because they think this amounts to welfare for the cities. Never mind the state also pays to pave rural roads, and far more tax revenue comes in from the cities and suburbs than said rural areas.
Governor Ed Rendell proposed putting a toll on I-80 in order to fund Philadelphia mass transit. Look at a map and tell me that's anything but welfare for the cities.
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Old 01-13-2014, 08:02 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Governor Ed Rendell proposed putting a toll on I-80 in order to fund Philadelphia mass transit. Look at a map and tell me that's anything but welfare for the cities.
you could also argue rural interstates are welfare for the countryside, though I-80 is an important throughfare. Cuomo's rural expressway proposal to connect I-81 and I-87 sounds like rural welfare.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:38 PM
 
900 posts, read 794,750 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Last I checked Utah is pretty keen on public transit. I mean Salt Lake City isn't as right-wing as you'd think (the city itself is quite progressive) but support for commuter rail is even pretty popular out in the ruby red burbs.
The OC is another exception, or it seems to be. As renowned an example of white-bread political conservatism as it is, it boasts several Amtrak stations and at least as many Metrolink stations on at least two routes. Given the county's small size geographically, it's a reasonably dense rail network.

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I think honestly a lot of it still comes down to the legacy of race in America. Places which already have mass transit can keep it an expand it of course. But places where there was a good deal of white flight in the mid to late 20th century, and no transit system was set up, tend to think of mass transit as something for poor people - especially poor black and brown people. In contrast, in areas where the core city doesn't have a large historic underclass you don't see the same animosity towards transit, because people aren't afraid of "those people" moving into their neighborhood once a commuter line is put in, and don't see public transit as a form of welfare given to the undeserving.
That pretty much describes L.A. from about 1946 to 1990, when the typical white flight migration occurred abetted by urban renewal projects which decimated the downtown population along with its housing stock. Somewhere around the late 1980s, though, the political climate changed and transit funding began to win at the polls, both as bond issues and as sales taxes.
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:55 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,954,813 times
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Originally Posted by Marv101 View Post
Portland's public transit system is in the process of being slashed thanks to abysmal ridership when compared to the expense incurred in building it and the revenue it generates as demographer Joel Kotkin pointed out recently in the Orange County Register.
Kotkin. This is such a joke. Transit ridership is down in Portland for several reasons - 1. They eliminated the "fareless square" around downtown. Something was free and now it costs money. Who is surprised that fewer people are using it? 2. The economy is still crap. Transit ridership always lags behind employment stats. 3. Portland's density is increasing (only made possible by the robust transportation network) and as that happens more people are able to walk and bike for more trips where before they might have hopped on a bus. The gain in cycling mode share clearly bears that out.

Quote:
The answer to the thread title is no; SF, DC, Boston, Chicago & NYC all have successful transit systems with rail serving as the backbone due to density
None of those cities would enjoy the density they do today if not for their transit networks.

Quote:
as well as the fact that folks of all income levels ride the rails in those cities daily as opposed to here in LA, where the overwhelming majority of metro riders live in near-poverty level, with an average income of around $18K.
Because LA is diffuse - and it is that way because the rail network was dismantled in favor of a freeway network - an "urban" model incredibly difficult to serve effectively with transit because of the necessity (of riders) for multiple transfers.
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:03 AM
 
12,299 posts, read 15,194,052 times
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It seems that a large oil industry presence is a negative factor for mass transit. For many years Houston had no rail lines. Even LA had little when oil was a major industry there. On the other hand, waterways seem to breed public transit, probably because it limits the number of auto routes. I believe these matter more than politics.

Last edited by pvande55; 01-14-2014 at 04:06 AM.. Reason: Add line
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:20 AM
 
4,586 posts, read 4,621,421 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
I noticed, in most of the US there is an association of transit-friendliness with certain views on the political spectrum.

For example, in the US, the left-wing cities tend to be more public transit friendly, obviously with examples of NYC, San Francisco being the archetypes etc. plus the stereotypically liberal college towns. Rural areas or conservative towns and cities have less public transit. Often this is associated with "big government", since public transit is seen as something requiring a lot of tax money and car ownership associated with more individualism and economic independence. Whatever the causality or whatever the direction of correlation, this seems to be the case within the country.

It seems to hold across countries too (at least at the country level). European countries seem more liberal than the United States and have more public transit. Canadian and Australian public transit is said to be in between the US and Europe and indeed those countries are also intermediate politically on the spectrum: more liberal than the US but less liberal than Europe.

Are there exceptions? Is public transit usually associated with left wing places everywhere?

One exception that seems to stand out is Japan. I don't know that much about its politics but it seems not particularly left-wing, yet has big, dense cities with ample public transit.

Also, does anyone know if this is always, or generally the case that left-wing views and public transit go hand in hand, or is it likely just my impression (based on US worldview assumptions, with only a little knowledge of Europe)?
This is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard people debate over!

Public transit should be a permanent fixture anywhere. Forcing people in more rural areas to drive everywhere is retarded! I am not speaking from a political point because this is a SOCIAL issue and not a political one; the fact that "certain" people want to make it look like that is smoke screen...the same "tea drinkers" also spend 60% of the entire budget of America on the military leaving nothing for everything else to be accomplished! Look at fast speed trains! A country of our size, with the distances we have, not having speed trains is the dumbest thing in the history of Earth as a whole!

IF you want to build on pastures, and then force people to drive that is ANTI people! The suburbs NEED public transit! What if the car just breaks down? why shouldn't we have a speed train available to us? Dumbest thing in the world to build, build, build as far out of a city as possible and NOT install speed trains!
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,419 posts, read 11,923,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Governor Ed Rendell proposed putting a toll on I-80 in order to fund Philadelphia mass transit. Look at a map and tell me that's anything but welfare for the cities.
I drove that route fairly frequently going back to visit family in CT when I first moved out here. Well over half of the traffic is freight. The idea was to institute a tax that mostly out of state businesses, rather than residents, would have to pay - which makes some sense considering the wear and tear on the highway is due to people who don't pay state taxes.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:37 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,996 posts, read 102,581,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I drove that route fairly frequently going back to visit family in CT when I first moved out here. Well over half of the traffic is freight. The idea was to institute a tax that mostly out of state businesses, rather than residents, would have to pay - which makes some sense considering the wear and tear on the highway is due to people who don't pay state taxes.
An interstate highway is a federal highway. More than state taxes are paying for it.
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:57 PM
 
12,299 posts, read 15,194,052 times
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Detroit is a liberal city with some of the worst public transit in the country. Gary IN has some commuter rail stations by virtue of being a Chicago suburb, but no rapid transit and their bus service stinks. Some other cities liberal but with rotten public transit: Birmingham AL and Flint MI.
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