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Old 03-11-2014, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,327,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Suburbanites sometimes don't have a lot of experience with public transit. I once read a comment in a blog(which I like) which caused me to laugh. The guy was taking his very young child on public transit and surprised to find that public transit isn't very accommodating to changing diapers. He complained about having to get off the bus ect, and attempted to list some things to help(that I didn't think would work). I guess he unlike me hadn't got the hint that way many mothers deal with diaper changes is to do it on the bus while the passengers choose not to look her way!
I gotta say, I have never run into that one. I've been on a bus a few times when a kid had a dirty diaper, but the mother never changed it ON the bus. I'd be curious to know if others have encountered this.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,252 posts, read 26,220,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
The issue overall is really complicated, because it's my impression that a good number of Americans that drive do not want transit. Because of that, enough money doesn't make it to most transit systems to keep coverage/quality of service high. Then when people try to use it in the suburbs (or city), it doesn't have good enough coverage/service quality, and then they say transit is useless...and then probably vote against it...and it remains underfunded.
I think there may be some truth to that. But I think the bigger reason why so many people find it useless is that there's no realistic way to take transit from home to work. Employment in most metro areas is extremely decentralized and you probably have as many if not more people working in office parks as you do in downtown cores. And there's no economically feasible way to create that home to work transit connection in the suburbs other than buses. Even if you built a light rail around the northern suburbs of Atlanta, connecting all of the diffuse areas of employment, it would only really be useful to the people living near it. And even a lot of the people living near it won't ride because: (1) their job offers free parking or (2) the light rail still doesn't go to their place of employment.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
While true, I think the premise is that people would use transit more for less burdensome trips. It's doubtful that a suburban commuter, who's giving transit a try to get to work, is going to get rid of the car all together and then will be lugging a Xmas tree onto a train. Again, the premise of this article is a commute to work or a night out with people.

As someone who has only one car, there are only a very few instances throughout an entire year that we use the car to get big/heavy stuff. In that case, there are lots and lots of options, all of which are only relevant if you don't have a car in the first place.
My experience has been grocery shopping tend to be something a car really helps with. Dropping or picking a child up is also something a car is useful for as work, school and/or day care might not be on one route. Taking clothes to the dry cleaners is much easier with a car and heaven forbid if you need to take your clothes to a laundry mat.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:37 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,856,857 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
I gotta say, I have never run into that one. I've been on a bus a few times when a kid had a dirty diaper, but the mother never changed it ON the bus. I'd be curious to know if others have encountered this.
Had it happen to me on 2 separate occasions. Also had the joy of smelling kid with dirty diaper near while on transit. However driving might not spare you that sight. Once saw a mother changing the diaper on the back seat of her car in the gas station while I went in to pay for gas.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I think there may be some truth to that. But I think the bigger reason why so many people find it useless is that there's no realistic way to take transit from home to work. Employment in most metro areas is extremely decentralized and you probably have as many if not more people working in office parks as you do in downtown cores. And there's no economically feasible way to create that home to work transit connection in the suburbs other than buses. Even if you built a light rail around the northern suburbs of Atlanta, connecting all of the diffuse areas of employment, it would only really be useful to the people living near it. And even a lot of the people living near it won't ride because: (1) their job offers free parking or (2) the light rail still doesn't go to their place of employment.
I suspect that if more transit projects were funded and public perception was widely different, development would be different. Obviously it isn't, and the result is that a suburban, autocentric society is going to have trouble making transit work in the current environment (outside of areas that are dense/suitable).

To me, the amount of scattered employment and free parking is a direct impact of the automobile ruling the transportation system. I suppose all these debates and louder lobbying for transit projects has something to do with trying to change the current environment. There's surely no clean/easy way to change it from what it is now to where it's going. And while (or IF) that is to be rectified, transit is still going to be a bad option for most people for a long time.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,327,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Had it happen to me on 2 separate occasions. Also had the joy of smelling kid with dirty diaper near while on transit. However driving might not spare you that sight. Once saw a mother changing the diaper on the back seat of her car in the gas station while I went in to pay for gas.
Or it could happen to you. I knew someone who get rear-ended HARD while driving and he dirtied his own diaper.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:51 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,556,250 times
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Delivery of parcels became less efficient when people split for the suburbs--suddenly completing a route through a low-density subdivision became a less efficient solution. That's why a more traditional "streetcar suburb" development pattern makes life easier for delivery services as well as residents, in terms of access to transit and delivery vehicles' access to their delivery locations.

I refer to streetcar suburbs as "free-market suburbs" because, during the era when they were built, governments were less involved with the expenses of paving and providing transportation networks. The private developer paved the roads, but the main transportation system was a local streetcar network that was either owned by the developer or another private business paid by the developer to provide transportation to their subdivision.

Yes, part of why we don't have milkmen anymore is because of changes in technology--but technology is still changing, and in some ways making delivery services more practical than they once were. If home delivery wasn't practical, Amazon.com wouldn't make quite so much money. Today I can order groceries online from Safeway, as well as flowers, pizza and lots of other things--to the point where we're getting close to "delivery drones" to deliver burritos!

Other technological advantages we have now include real-time tracking: a modern app can pinpoint the exact location of a delivery truck, updated in real time, so someone expecting a package could look up where their package is, and know whether they have time to step out for a minute before they arrive. Currently this is used by "people delivery" services like Lyft and Uber, high-tech variants on taxi service, so you can see exactly where the taxi coming to pick you up is, and how long it will take to arrive.

Car-sharing services also limit the need for a car and parking spaces while still providing its convenience. Sure, there are times when you want a cargo vehicle to carry stuff from Point A to Point B. But if you only need that service a couple times a month, why be responsible for its care and feeding the rest of the year? Pay for a few hours of Zipcar service to carry that Christmas tree home.

High-tech apps and geolocation also make transit easier to use. A growing number of cities have real-time information at bus stops and light rail stations, so instead of just staring at the sign and hoping the bus arrives based on the schedule, you can look up and know exactly where it is, and how long you will have to wait--including alerts about service interruptions.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:52 AM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,856,857 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Or it could happen to you. I knew someone who get rear-ended HARD while driving and he dirtied his own diaper.
Yeap, however I think I am lucky. Have only seen a few incidents when using transit. One purse snatching years ago. Once stuck with a crazy woman who threw something at me. Once with a crazy guy who just threw punches at the transit officer's booth. The rest of the crazies were not dangerous. Once had someone who was high on something and sweating profusely sit next to me. And my god the smell that homeless people sometimes have ugh.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,327,543 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
My experience has been grocery shopping tend to be something a car really helps with.
This comes down to developed environment and norms to me. In a dense urban environment, most people aren't making a huge grocery shopping trip (I never do). In the burbs, people probably are, and in that case people probably have a car.

13 years ago, I spent four months in London on an internship. I was VERY used to my own ways (with a car and a big box grocery store), and I didn't understand this very concept. Therefore, I went to a big grocery store outside my neighborhood, and got a cab to take me and all my groceries back to my flat. A month in, I was stopping every couple of days to pick up a bag or two of groceries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Taking clothes to the dry cleaners is much easier with a car and heaven forbid if you need to take your clothes to a laundry mat.
I currently walk my dry cleaning to a cleaner in my neighborhood. I carry them over my shoulder. Laundromats are usually pretty local from my experience. However, very poor neighborhoods may not have those types of amenities as frequently.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:53 AM
 
Location: USA
276 posts, read 389,506 times
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Here in the Maryland/DC area? I'd love to take mass transit more often, but I don't because it's just not set up in a way that's very beneficial for me.

For example? We have 3 kids (ages 7 through 11). If we decide to go visit a museum in DC on the weekend, the Metro provides *nothing* in the way of discounts for the kids to ride. (College students get a discount.... not your pre-teen kids. Go figure.) By the time you pay Metro fare both ways for all 5 of us in the family, it's a better deal just to take the car.

When it comes to going to/from work each day? I just don't see any cost savings, plus with the public transportation option, I lose the flexibility to come in to work late or stay late. (I live too far from the closest Metro station so I have to take a bus to the station first, on their limited schedule, and do the same on the return trip. Alternately, I could drive my car to the Metro station and park it there all day, but that costs me $5 a day. Combine that $5 with the Metro fare (not to mention the gas used to get to the Metro station and back), and it's pretty much a "wash" vs. just driving in to work instead. And they're talking about raising fares next year, too.
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