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Old 03-12-2014, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,390 posts, read 59,868,870 times
Reputation: 54036

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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.
It doesn't require experience - recent or otherwise - to know that mass transit may not always get you where you need to go.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:06 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,676,130 times
Reputation: 1838
Quote:
Originally Posted by revelated View Post
As soon as this becomes a reality like it should.

Maglev Trains

And no, I don't want to hear "it's not practical to go that fast!!!!" Yes, it is. It's all about saving time. Sitting on a train for an hour is NOT saving time, and in fact is making the situation worse because it's driving people to the roads. That's what people don't get. Freeway congestion isn't caused by "building more lanes", it's caused because there are no viable alternatives to controlling time. Make a system that gets people to their jobs as fast as possible, and you'll see less people bothering to drive. As long as the current systems are dirt slow and inefficient, it'll just drive more people to cars.

If I knew I could get from Lynnwood, WA to Seattle, WA in 10-15 minutes by train, I'd do it. But I can't. Instead, you're forced to sit on a bus for over an hour. Why, when a car ride takes 30-40 minutes on average? It doesn't make sense.
But this still suffers from the same problems as traditional rail (finding RoW for construction) while having much, much higher construction and operation costs. Not to mention, the speed advantage that Maglevs have would only maximize over longer distances, probably distances longer than suburb-to-city commutes.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:19 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,861,397 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Unless Katiana's father was named "Adam" and her mother "Eve," it's safe to assume that her parents did not represent 100% of the world's population. So saying "my father did X" doesn't alter or invalidate the fact that most people prior to the 20th century walked to work, because her father is not representative of the entire population.

The automobile (and paved, public-subsidized roads) represented something unique in human history--a far more accessible means of transportation, that allowed greater mobility to many people. But that accessibility and mobility aren't free, and as time goes on, it's getting more and more visibly expensive.

err not quite. It was a more accessible means for the individual but public transit wasn't free either when it first happened.

First there were horse drawn taxis and omnibuses. They were replaced by cable cars which in turn was replaced by electric traction and then on some routes busses. Each one a faster or more flexible means of travel. Each one allowing people to live further and further away from where they worked.

Horses were very practical for farmers and rich people to own. It was just the average city dwellers who had problems owning an horse due to cost nor would it have been practical for large amounts of people to own horses(I.e. waste). The automobile made it possible for large numbers of people to no longer be tied to public transit and IMHO it was a good thing.

However public transit had to adapt to compete with the automobile. In Chicago the first EL lines were not built to compete with cars, it was to compete with horses and they were not elevated for ascetic reasons, they were elevated due to traffic(horses, trolleys, people) on the street! They had to close stations and eventually close a few lines to make the system work for the late 20th centaury but without those changes the system would have been so slow it couldn't even beat a car in rush hour or a street car. Street cars lost out to busses due to cost(no need to pay for the rails and wire) and flexibility(a bus can be easily rerouted, can dodge an accident) and as passenger count fell no need for the larger capacity of the street car.

Currently public transit does have a function, but that function is different from being the only way to get around town like it was from the late 19th centaury till the model T. The model T flew off the lines even in an world without highways, that should tell you how much of an improvement the automobile would be.

Also paved roads are nothing new. Sidewalks were invented to allow people to walk away from the horses carts and mud. For sanitary reasons and practical reasons they were invented. Heck roman cities had sidewalks.

Roads were paved to allow horses and cars to move along more easily(instead of getting stuck in the mud). The automobile and bike took advantage of already paved roads and latter roads were paved with asphalt for a smoother ride in cars, busses, trucks.

Last edited by chirack; 03-12-2014 at 09:27 PM..
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,686,954 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
No, there really shouldn't. There aren't that many buses on Geary. For a lot of it, it's one route. There's the 38, 38L, and 38(A/B)X which runs only at limited times. So at most you're going to have four buses in a five minute window, and that's rarely, usually more like 2-3 at peak times, just the way the schedules overlap. It doesn't make sense to to have a bus-only lane for four buses. 48 and 92 don't really follow Geary for long.
Have you been on those buses? They are packed and represent 50% of the traffic (number of trips) on the street. Additionally the reason it is so slow is because they mix with the car traffic. A bus only lane would reduce congestion for everyone. The 38 in any configuration is standing room only for much of the route. Getting a seat on the 38 is a miracle.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:23 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,634,943 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
However, certainly most people living in towns and cities did not have a horse and buggy. And say, poor farmers wouldn't have had a horse and buggy
My grandparents were as poor as they got. They were poor before, during and after the depression. My grandfather farmed with horses "back in the day". The horse pulled the plow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Unless Katiana's father was named "Adam" and her mother "Eve," it's safe to assume that her parents did not represent 100% of the world's population. So saying "my father did X" doesn't alter or invalidate the fact that most people prior to the 20th century walked to work, because her father is not representative of the entire population.

The automobile (and paved, public-subsidized roads) represented something unique in human history--a far more accessible means of transportation, that allowed greater mobility to many people. But that accessibility and mobility aren't free, and as time goes on, it's getting more and more visibly expensive.
You really do need to learn to read for comprehension. I was talking about my grandparents, not my parents! And he was a flippin' farmer! He worked at home! Now my father, knowing where he worked before WW II, I'd guess he took the bus. After the war, he bought a car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
err not quite. It was a more accessible means for the individual but public transit wasn't free either when it first happened.

First there were horse drawn taxis and omnibuses. They were replaced by cable cars which in turn was replaced by electric traction and then on some routes busses. Each one a faster or more flexible means of travel. Each one allowing people to live further and further away from where they worked.

Horses were very practical for farmers and rich people to own. It was just the average city dwellers who had problems owning an horse due to cost nor would it have been practical for large amounts of people to own horses(I.e. waste). The automobile made it possible for large numbers of people to no longer be tied to public transit and IMHO it was a good thing.

However public transit had to adapt to compete with the automobile. In Chicago the first EL lines were not built to compete with cars, it was to compete with horses and they were not elevated for ascetic reasons, they were elevated due to traffic(horses, trolleys, people) on the street! They had to close stations and eventually close a few lines to make the system work for the late 20th centaury but without those changes the system would have been so slow it couldn't even beat a car in rush hour or a street car. Street cars lost out to busses due to cost(no need to pay for the rails and wire) and flexibility(a bus can be easily rerouted, can dodge an accident) and as passenger count fell no need for the larger capacity of the street car.

Currently public transit does have a function, but that function is different from being the only way to get around town like it was from the late 19th centaury till the model T. The model T flew off the lines even in an world without highways, that should tell you how much of an improvement the automobile would be.

Also paved roads are nothing new. Sidewalks were invented to allow people to walk away from the horses carts and mud. For sanitary reasons and practical reasons they were invented. Heck roman cities had sidewalks.

Roads were paved to allow horses and cars to move along more easily(instead of getting stuck in the mud). The automobile and bike took advantage of already paved roads and latter roads were paved with asphalt for a smoother ride in cars, busses, trucks.
Again,
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:30 PM
 
1,110 posts, read 909,893 times
Reputation: 1201
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.
But some things don't need actual experience - or even recent experience. Issues concerning accessibility, scheduling, and family needs can all be determined by looking at a map or transit schedule. Personally, I have very little issue with transit, but it works in certain places better than others. Most of the people who want to use transit live in an area with relatively good transit, and the people who don't desire transit own a personal car. The problem arises when people try to force mass transit in places where it is inefficient or undesired, or when transit is lacking in place where it is wanted. Usually in these threads it's more often a case of the former.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,094,154 times
Reputation: 12647
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Have you been on those buses? They are packed and represent 50% of the traffic (number of trips) on the street. Additionally the reason it is so slow is because they mix with the car traffic. A bus only lane would reduce congestion for everyone. The 38 in any configuration is standing room only for much of the route. Getting a seat on the 38 is a miracle.
Yes, a few times. Bus-only lane wouldn't change anything. It'd, if anything, make it worse since more people would be inclined to take the bus since it would be a few minutes faster than it currently is. More people on the same number of buses means even less likelihood of getting a seat. Add more bus is more needed than a bus-only lane.

38 is every 5 minutes (peak)
38L is every 5 1/2 minutes (peak)
38(A/B)X is every 10 minutes, recently added only at peak hours.

Not enough buses for a bus-only lane. Maybe bus/carpool lane if the number of buses increases. Needs more bus more than it needs a dedicated lane. Other big improvement would be to cut the number of stops for the 38 in half. It's almost unusable it stops so frequently. Or just cut the headway times on the 38L from 5 1/2 to like 4 minutes.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,686,954 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Yes, a few times. Bus-only lane wouldn't change anything. It'd, if anything, make it worse since more people would be inclined to take the bus since it would be a few minutes faster than it currently is. More people on the same number of buses means even less likelihood of getting a seat. Add more bus is more needed than a bus-only lane.

38 is every 5 minutes (peak)
38L is every 5 1/2 minutes (peak)
38(A/B)X is every 10 minutes, recently added only at peak hours.

Not enough buses for a bus-only lane. Maybe bus/carpool lane if the number of buses increases. Needs more bus more than it needs a dedicated lane. Other big improvement would be to cut the number of stops for the 38 in half. It's almost unusable it stops so frequently. Or just cut the headway times on the 38L from 5 1/2 to like 4 minutes.
There is way too much bunching due to the congestion. early needs dedicated right of way for everyone's sake. The buses can't be predictable. Muni in general has way too many stops, I wouldn't call this out as a Geary problem. But that isn't one that is easily rectified. They are working in stop reductions.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:41 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,686,954 times
Reputation: 26671
Saw this great blog posts about the benefits for teens of using transit (to get independence, plan their own schedules etc.

Transit widens youthful horizons Vibrant Bay Area
Great quotes:

Quote:
I recall talking with a transit consultant who lives in southern Contra Costa County. His children were fully transit-integrated, having ridden buses and trains from their earliest memories. But his son found that many of the fellow students in his drivable suburban high school didn’t understand the opportunity to see new places via transit.

The young man saw a chance to make a few bucks. For a fee, he would escort a group of classmates to the nearest BART station, show them how to use the ticket machines, educate them on the BART routes, and ride with them into the Mission District of San Francisco.

The students would come up out of the BART station, barely an hour away from their familiar suburban surroundings, and find themselves surrounded by hipsters and tacquerias, without an adult chaperone in sight. The BART train was nearly as miraculous as a time machine.
I was thinking about a family member, after reading this, who had really protective parents. They weren't allowed to even go outside to play. Or even go to the mall alone. Visiting was torture, not that we had transit growing up, but we did have bikes. We had relative freedom with some boundaries. They had all boundaries, no freedom, and it turned out pretty to have significant results, they didn't develop some of those important life lessons.

Quote:
I agree that someone is more likely to meet sketchy folks on a bus than sitting on the living room couch playing video games. But we’re equally likely to run across dodgy folks in a grocery store or a public park. Besides, if our goal is to completely isolate our children from any risk, we’d be better off encasing them in bubble-wrap and propping them in the corner.

But if our goal, which I endorse, is to give our children the training to be effective and happy adults, the better course is to accept the slight risks of public interaction and to encourage them to learn how to navigate in the real world. Riding a bus to a summer day of mild adventure is a fine start.

As a Cal graduate, I’ve often been asked over the years by anxious parents about how best to prepare their offspring for college years at Berkeley. I assume they were expecting answers about academic preparation or developing good study habits.

But the advice I consistently offered was to give their child a chance to experience the real world before arrival in Berkeley. If the first time a freshman encounters an unsavory personality is on Telegraph Avenue thirty minutes after Mom and Dad unloaded him at the dorm and headed home, that’s a recipe for disaster.
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Old 03-13-2014, 12:46 AM
 
249 posts, read 356,333 times
Reputation: 443
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
But the biggest problem with this perspective that "mass transit sucks, it is never better than a car," is that it assumes everyone has access to a car. Depending on how you calculate things, 20-30% of Americans cannot drive at any given time. If we only build infrastructure assuming everyone will have access to a car, then the people who are carless by choice, circumstance, ability or age are stuck without mobility.
BINGO. I just started reading this thread and am only on page four, so apologies if praise has already been heaped on Jade for this valuable point, but this is the crux of the issue right here.

In today's USA, automobile drivers are favored in every possible way, with every post-WWII development designed around car ownership. Consequently, American society has turned a number of people into de facto second class citizens, without any acknowledgement of the fact. Despite the admirable progress of the civil rights movement, for the non-driver things have been going steadily backwards.

If you can't drive, but think you're OK because you can walk to your workplace a mile away, and your employer transfers you to another location that has no transit, not only will you have to quit, but the situation will be seen as somehow your fault. "Take a cab," the over-entitled car owner will say, forgetting that unless you're making a very high income, hiring a taxi to commute to work will cost you so many hours' wages that you might as well just stay home.

Imagine a company that transferred an employee in a wheelchair from her accessible first-floor office to another building where she has to work on the fourth floor and there's no elevator. She can't get up there, and the boss says, "Can't you hire a home health aide to carry you up there?" The news would be all over that! Arnold Diaz would be saying, "Shame on you!"

But do the equivalent with automobiles, and nobody cares.

Once you see it, you can never unsee it. Ubiquitous free parking, which is often written into city codes. The positions of street signs (optimized for visibility from the driver's seat of a car). The thicknesses of the plastic bags that your groceries are put in (which are designed around a 2-minute walk to the parking lot and not a 30-minute walk to your house). "Free" roads and interstate highways that your taxes pay for even if you're forbidden to use them yourself. The length of red and green on traffic lights. Whether or not employers and schools will declare a "snow day" (you never hear about "rainstorm days" because even in the heaviest rain everyone is expected to get to work, by car, and on a snowy day when the car owners can't make it, you won't get credit for being able to pull on your snow boots and trudge to work, because work will close) -- all of this assumes that everyone drives and does not walk.

The average driver never thinks about all these little things -- s/he just notices, unconsciously, that things seem a lot easier and more natural with a car. And so in the suburbs even people who might enjoy taking the train never do. Seniors who would be a lot safer on a train cling to their cars. And just about everyone born with epilepsy, impaired eyesight, or any other condition that prevents them from driving, finds that the vast majority of American towns are closed off to them and that the average person has no sympathy at all.

In the more hard-nosed 19th century I could imagine "progress" leaving a segment of society in the dust like this. Bit int he supposedly more-sensitive late 20th? How did we let this happen?
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