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Old 03-12-2014, 03:23 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,568,112 times
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Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
You're so funny.
I can't rep you again, so I'll do so publicly!
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:41 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
45,987 posts, read 41,937,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
For example, there is talk to build a Geary subway in SF. They are working on BRT and it'll likely not get separate lanes and will open in like 2022.
There are a few bus lines, a mix of local an express on the route (The 38 buses) and they have 50k passengers a day. It also takes 1 hour on the bus to get to downtown on that route. (meanwhile only 20 minutes for me in Oakland).

Can anyone explain how a route that has 50k passengers daily on the bus can't get priority for a subway? Oops, the bus riders are the wrong demographic. But hey we've $5B for hopefully 22k riders (BART has notoriously way overestimated their projections in the past.) on an unproven corridor.
It makes little sense to me, none of the route looks that built up excluding downtown San Jose. There's already rail service to San Francisco, and I doubt there's much demand just to go back and forth on East Bay.

Except are bus riders the wrong demographic? Bus riders are poorer in lower density places with poor transit coverage and transit does badly compared, but not necessarily in San Francisco. The Richmond District isn't poor, and those workers downtown driving is an inconvient option due to parking. And grade separated rail might support from more, though I'd guess mostly attract existing transit riders. But the Geary St. subway sounds like a route that would encourage people to leave their cars, unlike the San Jose BART, which has too many last mile issues. This link claims buses transport roughly the same amount of people on Geary as cars:

Bus Rapid Transit on Geary Boulevard | SPUR

There should at least be a bus only lane, cars can go elsewhere, while the buses could all just stick that one route.

The Second Avenue Subway Phase I extension (which may be the last phase) into the Upper East Side costs about $5 billion. The MTA is projecting 200,000 weekday riders, which if all new riders were Upper East Side residents, it implying they are guessing 1/2 of Upper East Side residents would make two daily trips (one each way) on it. Interestingly optimistic (67k/mile!). The MTA's site claims 23,500 riders would switch from the nearby Lexington Avenue subway to the 2nd Avenue subway, and there 50,000 bus riders on Second Ave, so where are they getting the 200,000 from?

Quote:
That's the kind of stuff that annoys me to no end. There is a route that is literally bursting at the seams, and they are still looking for funding for the $230M they need for BRT, while BART somehow gets $5B to serve 22k people, and another $500M for the Oakland Airport Connector that is projected to serve 5k daily riders.
The Oakland Airport Connector doesn't make much snense to me, either. I like San Francicsco's BART, though the airport circulator is confusing (I got on the wrong one).
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:47 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,873,763 times
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
That has little to do with transit and a lot to do with the ubiquity of the devices. So-called "apple-picking" happens on the sidewalk, in coffeeshops, at the library, on transit....anywhere people with those devices are. I mean, let's think about it. It is a lot easier to grab (and sell) a $400 smart phone than break into a house and grab a TV.
It's a much lesser criminal penalty, too.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,655,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post


The Oakland Airport Connector doesn't make much snense to me, either. I like San Francicsco's BART, though the airport circulator is confusing (I got on the wrong one).
Not only did the price increase 5X, they took away the main reason I voted for: the intermediate stations between BART and the airport. There is a disconnected Walmart strip mall and some other businesses between BART and the Airport that could have used the easy connection with transit.

The stupid OAC requires you to go to BART, take the escalator down, go back up to the OAC, and then it only drops you off at the very bleeding edge of Terminal 1. With no stops at T2 or T3 which is supposed to open soon. So basically you'll be doing a lot of walking with your bag for $500M, and the community gets no benefit.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,655,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Except are bus riders the wrong demographic? Bus riders are poorer in lower density places with poor transit coverage and transit does badly compared, but not necessarily in San Francisco. The Richmond District isn't poor, and those workers downtown driving is an inconvient option due to parking. And grade separated rail might support from more, though I'd guess mostly attract existing transit riders. But the Geary St. subway sounds like a route that would encourage people to leave their cars, unlike the San Jose BART, which has too many last mile issues. This link claims buses transport roughly the same amount of people on Geary as cars:

Bus Rapid Transit on Geary Boulevard | SPUR

There should at least be a bus only lane, cars can go elsewhere, while the buses could all just stick that one route.
Agreed, well who knows. The Richjmond is mostly Chinese over there. There is finally a Central Subway through chinatown, and the buses that go through are so ridiculously packed. And lots of people travel from chinatown to the Richmond. But for whatever reason, SF doesn't really seem to like the western part of the city. It is less dense than the center of the city, but pretty dense. That area is last in line for bike lanes, bike share, pedestrian improvements (tons of car collisions with pedestrians in that part of the city and the streets near Geary). I don't get it, that area is way overdue for transportation improvements.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:28 PM
 
205 posts, read 289,171 times
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I believe that public transportation is a good thing; I have used it semi-regularly while living in L.A. and Hawaii, ignored it completely while living in a mid-sized city in Michigan, and now have no access to it in small-town Iowa, unless you count public sidewalks, which I do use regularly. I think the originally posted article is valuable to public trans proponents, because when you're trying to sell a product, and most people are using a competing product, it's a good idea to see why those people prefer the competitor. Demanding that potential customers change their lives and values to fit the product is not going to be as effective as changing the product to match potential customers' needs and wants.

So here are the big categories of reasons why I think people don't use public transportation, either ever or in certain situations. Not all of them are barriers to everyone, but all of them are barriers to someone. Any push to get higher usage of public transportation--short of just confiscating people's cars--needs to address a good chunk of these (and the places that have great ridership already have).

1. It doesn't go where you want to go, when you want to go there
A. Stops are not feasibly close. Tolerance for this varies, but everyone has their breaking point--where I live now I would have to walk fifteen miles (not minutes, MILES) to catch the nearest bus; nearest train is more like fifty miles. That's too far for me.
B. Stops aren't frequent enough/trips take too long. People need to be able to reliably get where they're going on time. Not every life/schedule allows for trips that take twice as long as what Google Maps predicts.
2. It's hard
A. It's confusing/hard to figure out (no obvious route information/timetables, unclear where to buy passes, etc.)
B. It's physically uncomfortable--too crowded, bad smells, no A/C, lots of waiting/walking in bad weather, etc.
C. It's psychologically uncomfortable--too crowded/not private, unfamiliar social mores
4. It's scary
A. You are more exposed to other people, which can feel more threatening than other cars (whether or not this is statistically a greater threat to health and property)
B. No seatbelts/carseats in many buses and trains
C. See 2 above
5. It won't take your stuff
A. No pets
B. No Christmas trees, drywall, etc.
C. Inconvenient for more stuff than you can easily keep on your person--stuff may get jostled, trampled, lost, stolen, or just annoy other passengers
6. It's too expensive, either objectively or apparently

7. It's not great for families--all of the above go up exponentially with each additional dependent child
  • Variety of destinations increases while flexibility of schedule decreases
  • Tolerance for discomfort and perceived danger are much less as a parent than when only responsible for yourself
  • Babies are heavy, and their stuff even moreso
  • Incremental expenses of cars go down with larger families, while there may not be any group discount for public trans
  • Also, time in a private car can be family time (sing-alongs, conversation, etc.) in a way that is much harder to achieve in public
8. It's not cool. Cars are symbols of freedom, status, and individuality in our society, like it or not

All that said, I think we are poised for a public transportation revolution in the next couple of decades. Three trends I think make this more likely:

1. Baby boomers aging out of safe driving. The oldest boomers will be turning seventy in two years. If nothing changes, we could potentially have upwards of fifty million octogenarians on the roads a few decades. This is a generation devoted to "freedom" but also to health and safety, with a lot of political clout, so they could potentially be a pretty big force for increasing non-driving-but-still-independent transportation options (my grandmother lived with my mom, but still wanted to be able to drive herself to her hair appointments when she was 92--she *hated* having to ask for rides).

2. Mobile technology. Millennials don't care as much about driving as they do about devices. Twenty minutes spent focusing on traffic may seem like much more of a waste of time than an hour spent reading an eBook/texting/surfing the internet. It's true that it has always been possible to read on the bus, but options for easily-transportable diversions are much greater now (and that freedom/identity factor of cars can now be fulfilled in a lot of different ways).

3. Transportation technology. Self-driving cars are coming soon. Combined with technology to schedule them (and keep them clean) they could solve a lot of the problems listed above. I'm picturing a system that could combine features of taxis, car-sharing, and possibly HOV lanes/trains: You call for a particular type of vehicle from your mobile device (a Mini-like transport for one if it's just you commuting, a Mini-plus-wagon when you need to haul freight, an apartment-on-wheels for your cross-country family road-trip, etc.), and one is mobilized ASAP right to your location. You hop in your private ride, where you can sleep, surf the internet, what-have-you, and it is routed to a self-drive-only artery for most of your trip (where cars can move very fast, very close together, more like a train than a highway) and then breaks off to deliver you to the door of your destination before heading off to pick up the next passenger.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:32 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
45,987 posts, read 41,937,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nedibes View Post
B. It's physically uncomfortable--too crowded, bad smells, no A/C, lots of waiting/walking in bad weather, etc.
The buses here have A/C. They just upgraded the old buses and the A/C situation worsened. Before, most of the time I'd open the window to have some fresh air while the bus blasts A/C. Now I'm stuck with windows that don't open and it's often too chilly.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:28 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,558,119 times
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I get the sense that a lot of people who don't use mass transit are posting based on what they think mass transit is like, rather than their own experience--as they may not have any--or at least not on recent experience.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,655,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I get the sense that a lot of people who don't use mass transit are posting based on what they think mass transit is like, rather than their own experience--as they may not have any--or at least not on recent experience.
I think you are right. And the other thing I don't think this article is aware of, is the advent of real-time transit info.

Now that I can use my smartphone and check next bus and other apps for when the train/bus/whatever is coming, it gives you "freedom" when you leave.

For example, now when it is about time to leave, and I wonder if I have time to grab a snack or stop one more place or whatever the question is. I can check my phone, if the train is coming in 2 minutes, maybe I'll walk faster. If the train is coming in 15 minutes, I'l go ahead and grab the coffee, stay a little longer to chat with my friend etc. Or maybe I'll find out there is a huge delay and I should take the bus instead of the train or vice versa.

The power of information.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:05 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,558,119 times
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Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
Wow, this is a way over the top extreme view of car ownership. It is none of those things- it is simply another option. Remember in the old days, lots of people traveled by horse or horse and buggy? Cars are just the modern version- lots of people prefer personal independent transportation options. It doesn't mean they are addicted, it doesn't mean they are miserable, depressed people because of it, it doesn't sap any strength- it's simply a mode of transportation that lots of us LIKE because it is the most convenient and least restrictive way to get around!
If by "the old days" you mean "all of recorded human history up until the 20th century," there was never any period when most people commuted to work using a horse and buggy or riding on horseback. The percentage of the population who owned a horse, let alone a carriage, for personal transportation was very small. Most people in cities got to work by walking, or their house was located on the same property as their workplace. People living in rural communities didn't generally commute to work either--if you were a farmer, you lived on your farm or worked a field nearby, and you walked there. Wagons were primarily for moving products to market, not people--they didn't travel much faster than walking speed.
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