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Old 02-11-2014, 03:08 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Yes, 'tis! I thought we started out taking about how highways divide cities, whereas, supposedly train tracks do not.
Ok, then I'd say train tracks can still divide but usually much less than highway. [see the streetviews I posted] Of course, it depends on the tracks and maybe the highway. But in my experience, I've found rail lines going through the centers of towns not much of a barrier while highways a larger one. Another one, space for two tracks:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=01060...40.27,,0,-0.46

will have Amtrak on it. State just bought it (almost all passenger rail in the state is on state-owned tracks), so no freight worries.

However, I wouldn't want to have a home facing train tracks. The LIRR passes by the backs of lots of homes. Besides the noise, having tens of thousands of people peer into your backyard isn't the best. Being a short walk to a train station is nice. Living adjacent to the train tracks isn't. But neither is living next to a busy road.

Quote:
I said "rail". You're the one who first started talking about commuter rail, then denying that passenger trains and freight trains ran on the same tracks, even though I posted links confirming that 60% of Amtrak routes run on freight tracks. Historically as well, when the expression "wrong side of the tracks" was coined, freight and passenger trains shared track. I never meant "light rail" which is one subset of commuter rail.
The 60% figure is a bit misleading, as it includes lines that get few passengers. Weighted by passengers, it's less. In the Northeast, as I explained before, freight use of the busier passenger rail is often rather small. I suspect "the wrong side of the tracks" came from not the trains themselves, but the fact that industry tended to cluster on one side.
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
On 7th avenue in Midtown Manhattan, bikes don't get through either. It's a gridlock of pedestrians spilling out into the road, taxis, trucks, and buses. I try to avoid it. The point being that if too many people need to traverse too small a space, there's a traffic jam, regardless of mode.
I find 'people jams' more frustrating than 'vehicle jams.' At least in the vehicle I have some personal space, music and a barrier from other people who may or may not have nefarious intentions like pick-pocketing.
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ciceropolo View Post
What do you think about flying cars?
Flying cars will help to alleviate traffic somewhat. Right now the bulk of transportation is operating on a 2-dimensional plane (the ground). Flying cars will enable transportation to take place in a 3-dimensional environment and if some people choose to continue ground transportation it will spread out the traffic even further.

The Transition® | Terrafugia
Awesome!
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
Commuter rail is used to service those that live much further out rather than local commutes. Many commuter rail lines borrow freight lines which is where delays can come from, but those tracks are primarily for freight rail. If you look at systems that are exclusively commuter rail, you will see a much different structure of tracks in the sense that commuter trains are not as long, nor as loud as freight rail. You aren't going to see commuter trains that are several miles long making it impossible to cross.

Commuter trains make a fair amount of noise, they just add value because being near one is a useful thing where as freight creates more noise and is not of direct use(i.e. You can use the commuter train to get downtown, the freight train not so much.).

They are faster than a freight train but still do block traffic and if the station is not properly designed the train can block an street while loading and unloading passengers. However no one really wants to live near rail lines. They can bring the property values of an town up if service on the commuter train is good but I suspect that the houses nearest the tracks take an hit from the noise factor.

Also it isn't rail investment vs. highway they can work together. What likely happened was Detroit only had street cars(which are the equivalents of busses) and not much or very useful commuter rail and let it's downtown slip too much. If you have grade separated rail that is going towards a desirable location then there is an possibility that the train can be as fast or faster than driving.

The EL can beat the car downtown during rush, it is just at other times of the day when the train can go no faster that the car beats it. Metra likewise can get one downtown in an reasonable amount of time vs. driving. It just falls down due to lack of frequency outside of rush and limited public transit\ability to walk in the burbs. If one needs to head places other than downtown but in the city of Chicago, an suburbanite would find the rail system pretty inflexible and not likely to get them near to their destination. You would have to drive or face a long slow crawl on the bus. So even when public transit is available and good you still can't get everyone to stop driving.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:05 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Hmm. The LIRR (and probably Metro North), isn't like that, I can't think of any trains that block streets in station, many lines are grade separated, too. The south shore (Babylon) line was elevated in the 20s. Perhaps the fact Metra is diesel creates more noise? I lived a block from a lightly used freight railroad, I didn't find the noise problems a big deal, the more distant highway was a bigger irritant IMO.

One thing I noticed about Chicago from visiting is you could see freight trains really close to downtown, I think from the Willis Tower. Very different NYC and Philly, though Boston does have above ground tracks downtown.

As for trains vs highways, opposite to Detroit is London. No highways going to the center city, train always beats driving time-wise to the center city and usually going through the city (pick your poison: congested local roads, including arterials, or a circuitous, often jammed ring expressway). I think a lot of London's mainline rail are freightless.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
If one needs to head places other than downtown but in the city of Chicago, an suburbanite would find the rail system pretty inflexible and not likely to get them near to their destination. You would have to drive or face a long slow crawl on the bus. So even when public transit is available and good you still can't get everyone to stop driving.
My parents used to travel a Queens neighborhood occasionally from the suburbs (Long Island). They took the LIRR even though it was slower because they weren't that comfortable driving and parking in the city. But no bus, LIRR to a station about 10 miles before the end, then transfer to a subway. So not too clumsy. There's also a Brooklyn branch of the LIRR that I use to visit a friend living in Brooklyn when in Long Island rather than drive (sometimes). From the LIRR terminal, it's a short subway ride. Driving is still a bit faster (unless you get unlucky with traffic, which does happen) but sometimes not driving feels a bit more convenient. Chicago's rail is more "hub and spoke" than NYC, though all rail systems are to a certain extent.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
What's so great about highways cutting through the landscape, dividing neighborhoods?
Railroad tracks also cut through the landscape. When I lived in Quincy Massachusetts my residence was between I-93 and the MBTA's red line. Both corridors had underpasses and overpasses. Neither one was any harder to cross on foot than the other although the highway had more local roads crossing under and over it. The red line was more of a barrier at ground level in some sections.

My point being that railroads and highways equally disrupt the landscape.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
Hmm. The LIRR (and probably Metro North), isn't like that, I can't think of any trains that block streets in station, many lines are grade separated, too. The south shore (Babylon) line was elevated in the 20s. Perhaps the fact Metra is diesel creates more noise? I lived a block from a lightly used freight railroad, I didn't find the noise problems a big deal, the more distant highway was a bigger irritant IMO.

One thing I noticed about Chicago from visiting is you could see freight trains really close to downtown, I think from the Willis Tower. Very different NYC and Philly, though Boston does have above ground tracks downtown.

As for trains vs highways, opposite to Detroit is London. No highways going to the center city, train always beats driving time-wise to the center city and usually going through the city (pick your poison: congested local roads, including arterials, or a circuitous, often jammed ring expressway). I think a lot of London's mainline rail are freightless.
Not surprising without the expressway system or at least straight roads with few lights the car really can't beat a train. Normal street traffic would slow it enough. It will still run rings around the bus.

It isn't the engines that make the worse noise, it is the horn they blow when they go across intersections sometimes and the bell ringing sometimes. Metra has a few places where it blocks the street in the city and a few places where it blocks the street in the burbs if the train does not pull into the station properly.

Chicago's rail is unlike New York's. Chicago rail is downtown centric with almost all El lines heading to downtown and all Metra lines doing the same thing so if you need to go somewhere not near an El stop or a Metra stop your only choice is usualy Bus and depending on how far you need to go from the station that could be one long bus ride. Also only a few Metra stations connect directly with EL lines and those EL lines are generally heading the same way and so are of limited use(The El will make more stops between those points and downtown but that is that.).
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Commuter trains make a fair amount of noise, they just add value because being near one is a useful thing where as freight creates more noise and is not of direct use(i.e. You can use the commuter train to get downtown, the freight train not so much.).

They are faster than a freight train but still do block traffic and if the station is not properly designed the train can block an street while loading and unloading passengers. However no one really wants to live near rail lines. They can bring the property values of an town up if service on the commuter train is good but I suspect that the houses nearest the tracks take an hit from the noise factor.

Also it isn't rail investment vs. highway they can work together. What likely happened was Detroit only had street cars(which are the equivalents of busses) and not much or very useful commuter rail and let it's downtown slip too much. If you have grade separated rail that is going towards a desirable location then there is an possibility that the train can be as fast or faster than driving.

The EL can beat the car downtown during rush, it is just at other times of the day when the train can go no faster that the car beats it. Metra likewise can get one downtown in an reasonable amount of time vs. driving. It just falls down due to lack of frequency outside of rush and limited public transit\ability to walk in the burbs. If one needs to head places other than downtown but in the city of Chicago, an suburbanite would find the rail system pretty inflexible and not likely to get them near to their destination. You would have to drive or face a long slow crawl on the bus. So even when public transit is available and good you still can't get everyone to stop driving.
Streetcars are definitely more useful for local commuting, I agree with you, Detroit failing to build a heavy rail system like Chicago hasn't helped Detroit and has probably hurt the city.

The key with successful rail is time, if it takes at least the same amount of time by train as it does car, then train becomes more attractive because when you get to your destination, you don't have to park the train like you have to park the car.

Suburban rail in city metros are the tricky one, and where I think we have failed as a country. Had development in the suburbs been more limited and more controlled, it would have been easier preventing the consumption of rural and farm land while making it easier to build alternative transportation from suburb to suburb, though there is nothing wrong needing to use a car for activities in the suburbs that aren't reached by a train, I just feel we failed at building our suburbs more efficient.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:08 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
Streetcars are definitely more useful for local commuting, I agree with you, Detroit failing to build a heavy rail system like Chicago hasn't helped Detroit and has probably hurt the city.

The key with successful rail is time, if it takes at least the same amount of time by train as it does car, then train becomes more attractive because when you get to your destination, you don't have to park the train like you have to park the car.

Suburban rail in city metros are the tricky one, and where I think we have failed as a country. Had development in the suburbs been more limited and more controlled, it would have been easier preventing the consumption of rural and farm land while making it easier to build alternative transportation from suburb to suburb, though there is nothing wrong needing to use a car for activities in the suburbs that aren't reached by a train, I just feel we failed at building our suburbs more efficient.
IF, IF, IF! Give it a rest! You have to deal with things the way they are, not the way you wish they were. People thought they were doing the right thing at the time. Some day, people will look back at us and laugh, too!
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post

The key with successful rail is time, if it takes at least the same amount of time by train as it does car, then train becomes more attractive because when you get to your destination, you don't have to park the train like you have to park the car.

Suburban rail in city metros are the tricky one, and where I think we have failed as a country. Had development in the suburbs been more limited and more controlled, it would have been easier preventing the consumption of rural and farm land while making it easier to build alternative transportation from suburb to suburb, though there is nothing wrong needing to use a car for activities in the suburbs that aren't reached by a train, I just feel we failed at building our suburbs more efficient.
It isn't just parking. The rail has to offer an advantage be it speed or cost. In the case of Downtown Chicago it is both speed and the cost of parking(Which could run around $200 a month). There is some burb to burb Metra riders or city to burb Metra riders(I was one once and my coworkers drove to the station and took the train to save money.) but here it is cheaper than the cost of gas and more comfortable plus I could either walk to my place of work and they offered a shuttle from the station. The burbs can be very dependent on the car, but big houses on big lots with peaceful cul de sacs which can lack sidewalks do not make for an easy place for transit to work.
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