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Old 04-04-2014, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,062 posts, read 16,078,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
But most Americans don't live in those places.
Define walking distance.

I would say that most Americans live in places where their daily needs could not be met by a convenient walking distance of 1/4 mile or even 1/2 a mile. While It's true that I could go to the convenience store, there's nothing else within 1/2 a mile. The nearest shopping center is just outside that distance and has nothing I ever go to in it. Nearest regular supermarket is over a mile. You could walk there, but not conveniently. I do my shopping at Winco which is over four miles away. I save more money driving there than I would walking to the Raley's that's just over a mile away.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
People use whatever mode of transportation works best for them in the location and the design of the location.

In dense cities, automobiles have large negatives. Increased pollution and noise, makes the envirnoment less practical for non-car users. Zurich restricted space for cars with popular support:

The Transit Metropolis: A Global Inquiry - Robert Cervero - Google Books
I also think you can make policy changes to give people a small little nudge in order to make different choices. For many people, the price of gas pushed them on to transit.

I was chatting with an official for the city I work in about ways that I would stop driving to work. They are thinking about getting free train places for employees of local businesses via a program where employers pay a greatly reduced fee for the passes.

Personally, I have been pondering an occasional transit commute, on the days where the roads are super packed, but it is too expensive. It requires 2 agencies (at least). The cheaper option requires a 30 minute bus ride that cost $2, the expensive option requires a 5 minute train ride that'l cost $4. Clearly I'd rather take the shorter ride (it is a 10 minute walk, the bus is across the street). But I am too cheap to pay $4 for that short ride on top of the $10 train ride on the other system. An $18 commute is way more than driving, even factoring the $5 bridge toll (and I get reimbursed for parking). But if there was a free train pass? I would do the train commute no problem. It actually makes it cheaper than driving.

Some people are transit friendly, with a nudge. The nudge can be parking price, transit price or something else.....
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:36 PM
 
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If your standard for stores is limited to big-box stores, shopping centers and supermarkets, those are rarely going to be within "walkable" distance, because each store of that size requires a certain number of customers to be viable. Walkable places tend to have smaller stores, which can mean corner stores, convenience stores or bodegas, and small boutique type stores instead of big superstores.

Employers are hesitant to pay for transit because they can get a tax deduction for the cost of parking, but not for the cost of paying for their employees' transit passes. That becomes a structural incentive in favor of parking, based not on the market but on government fiat. Some government agencies subsidize the cost of transit passes, because it's cheaper than providing sufficient parking for public employees and also takes the demand off of roads, saving money for the government in several ways. It's common here in California (the agency normally pays about two-thirds, the commuter pays the rest) but not universal.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:45 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
The majority of Americans live in the suburbs. That's a documented fact. We have people carrying on here about how the suburbs have no commercial areas. While I disagree with that, a 10 min. walk is a pretty high bar. That's about 1/2 mile.
Yes, I know most Americans live in suburbs, not sure how that disagrees with what I said. And I know 10 minutes is 1/2 a mile. That would be hard to do given the style of most American suburbs. So no, I agree most Americans don't live within 1/2 mile of a commercial zone. However, 1/2 mile isn't that extreme. Most of the residents in this suburb are within 1/2 mile of a commercial area. I typed "restaurants" as a way to highlight the commercial areas:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=resta...staurants&z=14
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:54 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 19 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,002 posts, read 102,592,596 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
If your standard for stores is limited to big-box stores, shopping centers and supermarkets, those are rarely going to be within "walkable" distance, because each store of that size requires a certain number of customers to be viable. Walkable places tend to have smaller stores, which can mean corner stores, convenience stores or bodegas, and small boutique type stores instead of big superstores.

Employers are hesitant to pay for transit because they can get a tax deduction for the cost of parking, but not for the cost of paying for their employees' transit passes. That becomes a structural incentive in favor of parking, based not on the market but on government fiat. Some government agencies subsidize the cost of transit passes, because it's cheaper than providing sufficient parking for public employees and also takes the demand off of roads, saving money for the government in several ways. It's common here in California (the agency normally pays about two-thirds, the commuter pays the rest) but not universal.
Where do you buy groceries, at some little bodega? Do you buy your clothes at trendy boutiques that are located near frou-frou restaurants as they are in Denver? You said once you don't like to buy hardware ay the grocery store (bodega), so where do you buy it?

Many businesses here in metro Denver give out bus passes.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Yes, I know most Americans live in suburbs, not sure how that disagrees with what I said. And I know 10 minutes is 1/2 a mile. That would be hard to do given the style of most American suburbs. So no, I agree most Americans don't live within 1/2 mile of a commercial zone. However, 1/2 mile isn't that extreme. Most of the residents in this suburb are within 1/2 mile of a commercial area. I typed "restaurants" as a way to highlight the commercial areas:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=resta...staurants&z=14
Most Americans live within about 1.5 miles though. A little far for a walk, but an easy bike ride.

The real problem is, lots of Americans probably live within a mile of a commercial district as the crow flies, but the street design makes it 2 or more. My parents lived in one of those windy road suburban areas, where if they would have created a pedestrian pathway, people could have easily walked to the strip mall in 10 minutes. But via the street design it required a 2 mile drive.
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:00 AM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,827,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Most of the residents in this suburb are within 1/2 mile of a commercial area. I typed "restaurants" as a way to highlight the commercial areas:
That's a rather dense suburb, it's over 10kpsm.
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:06 AM
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 jade408 View Post
Most Americans live within about 1.5 miles though. A little far for a walk, but an easy bike ride.
Yea, as long as the bike route is safe. I lived in a situation like that and didn't use my car that often for local trips (and I think in college without a car for a summer), wasn't that bad but occasionally it was irritating with weather and I like the feel of being closer to town.

As for the neighborhood I gave an example as having most (though definitely not all) of people living within a 10 minute walk of a commercial street, most of the census tracts have a residential density of around 12,000 per square mile (housing looks like mostly detached homes on small lots, maybe 4000-5500 sq ft plus a few smaller apartment buildings mixed in). I'm guessing that's about the density you need for walking to be practical for local trips (some other areas I looked seem to fit that pattern). Having the bus transit run on commercial streets (where destinations are) probably makes transit more convenient, and you're more likely to pass a useful place walking to/from the bus.

Louisville looks like a third of that, but you get more parks in between (and bike paths!) and maybe a bit bigger lot size. Most residential neighborhoods of Portland are probably similar in density to my view, commercial streets might be cuter and a nicer to walk on, but the layout isn't that different. Transit might not even be that much better. Perhaps if you wanted to have a neighborhood that would have most in walking distance of commercial while still having parks, a possible setup would be have a stretches of neighborhood with about the same density as my link, together with stretches of park in between interspersed maybe every 1.5 miles and a decent bike lane system together with a few small parks within the neighborhood and connecting the parks. But no one planned Long Island very well...
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:42 AM
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 Escort Rider View Post
I certainly accept your point about Zurich. If there is popular support for such measures there, then I agree that the measures are legitimate. However, the poster to whom I was responding was talking in generalized terms, and so I answered him in generalized terms.
Ok, though my point was that some democratic societies, depending on the type of place (density, type of infrastructure) could support anti-car rules.

I get what you're trying to say but I'd argue with some of your points. Anti-car rules for the sake of being anti-car would be nothing but ideological but there may some benefits to others from them.

Quote:
Suppose I were to propose the creation of artificial barriers and impediments to public transit, such as absurdly low speed limits for rail, or a requirement for a station every half mile. And suppose the motivation behind those requirements was simply to kill or severely restrict transit. That would be analogous to what the other poster was suggesting in regard to cars.
Train stations every half mile are common in some denser cities. More stops lower the walk time from the stop. Non-express subway stops in NYC are usually 0.4-0.5 miles apart (in Manhattan, some are almost half that, which is stupid IMO). Boston light rail often stops every 0.5 mile. Obviously requiring them to be every half mile would be dumb. But so would requiring all to be a mile apart. There might be cases where transit is unreasonably slow when there might easy ways to speed it up due to lack of good planning. But yes, not really the examples you had in mind.

Quote:
In areas where congestion creates disincentives to driving, transit is a natural solution. It is a total absurdity, however, to seek government imposed additional disincentives to driving, that is, additional to the naturally occurring ones. Such ideologically motivated disincentives include narrowing of existing roads and installation of speed bumps. This can only come from an irrational and generalized hostility to cars per se, the "cars are intrinsically bad" nonsense.
In Zurich example, part of the policy question was whether to take away space for cars and give it to transit. Roads are for transportation, but what kind? It said about half of road space in the central areas of the city are dedicated lanes for buses and streetcars. This would greatly speed up transit speed at the expense of inconveniencing drivers. The origonal proposal was to build a subway, but that failed at the polls because the cost was too high. Instead, the popular choice was a way to speed up transit for far cheaper but at the expense of making driving difficult. Obviously, in an old dense city the advantage of driving are smaller and the disadvantages are larger.

As for narrowing roads, I like the street I live on to be narrow. It decreases car speed on my street, I don't want fast moving traffic on my street. For getting around by foot, being around a wider street can often feel less cozy and unpleasant if full of heavy, fast moving traffic. Noise and local air pollution is also a negative. This city street lost a lane due to an addition of a bike lane. Ignoring the bike lane, the now slower traffic feels more pleasant. The fast moving traffic and the long width to cross wasn't that nice, in IMO:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Prosp...06.86,,0,-3.38

Ignoring the architecture and store difference, this nearby avenue is nicer to walk around (and most people there are getting around on foot; the local stores don't have parking, and about half the locals don't have cars):

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Prosp...210.34,,0,1.37

than this:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=4th+A...06.26,,0,-0.91

not saying the latter should be narrowed, but the extra width for cars is a negative IMO. Each commercial street has different purposes. While we're at it, here's a few more NYC comparisons. In the downtown area of Manhattan. These streets are fun to explore, not great as a driving through street:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Green...228.24,,0,1.46

this one is cozy and might more appealing to those bothered by the lack of trees.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=West+...150.83,,0,2.65

When visiting, I try to get off this one. A loud rumble of traffic most times:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Bower...57.62,,0,-1.37

Also has one of the higher pedestrian death rates among streets in the area. This LA artist made a narrow streets blog, on how local streets would be cozier if narrower.

narrow streets: los angeles: la brea avenue + 6th street, mid-wilshire (I)

and more examples. No, it's not serious. It's obviously not doable. Maybe you think driving convenience in general is more important. But there are some negatives. And as well, heavy traffic in one concentrated area can lead to high local air and noise pollution. If there are possible ways of access conveniently in those locations, discouraging traffic may be worthwhile.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:04 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
45,988 posts, read 41,967,271 times
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Now back on the actual topic of the thread. Here's a bus system that gets decent ridership for American standards, among the higher but the highest per capita. Honolulu's. Aptly called TheBus.

Weekday Riders: 229,400
Annual Ridership: 73.8 million
Total expenses: $185.93 million
Fuel costs: $23.81 million [counted within total expenses]

So each ride costs $2.52 / ride. Not sure what the average fare, but the cost per ride isn't excessively high. However, per weekday rider over the entire year, the cost looks rather high. About $1620 if each weekday rider makes two trips. However, there are also substantial weekend riders and some occasional riders, so maybe that number doesn't make sense.

If you divide the fuel costs by the number of rides, it's $0.32 per ride. Assuming it's all for diesel fuel and diesel is $4.50/gallon, that 0.072 gallons of diesel per ride. It says the average ride 5.2 miles. That's 70 riders miles per gallon. So fuel-wise and cost-wise it's not bad. Given that some people can't or won't drive it improves mobility and helps people on a budget who could forgo a car (either by being carless or having a household with one rather than two cars). The link from their site said the ridership was concentrated on a minority of routes, so some routes are rather efficient (mostly the ones going through the central parts of the city) and others money sinks. TheBus covers the entire county (it's a merged city-county, there's no lower level of government) including rural areas.

Then there's the Dial-a-Ride services or TheHandi-Van


Weekday Riders: 1,850
Annual Ridership: 1.05 million
Total expenses: $36.9 million
Fuel costs: $3.16 million [counted within total expenses]

Cost per ride is $35.17! Fuel in gallons per rider mile is 18, which sounds a bit too efficient considering they're using vans.
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