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Old 04-07-2014, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,504,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Commuters in Dallas, Atlanta, San Jose, Denver and Miami have shorter commutes, on average, than commuters in Boston, Washington, DC and San Francisco.
I can definitely believe that, did you by any chance have a link that shows average commute times?
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,504,059 times
Reputation: 7830
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Then a policy of trying to centralize workplaces will only guarantee more congestion and traffic because more people have to use the same routes to get to the same places.

Distributing workplaces is not a guarantee that there won't be congestion and traffic but it is the solution for which there is a chance of spreading traffic better across an entire network. I do not support the proposition that "planners" have any right or authority to dictate where workplaces will be. Natural growth is likely to be distributed and reactive to "network problems". Centralization is likely to occur only if forced using governmental mandates/discrimination. Government mandates inevitably wind up being bad ideas especially since it won't have to take care of the "network problems".
The construction of our cities happened naturally and centralization was a natural effect before the car and highway, if it wasn't for that government funding we would still have mostly centralized cities today.

A region can design a transit system that connects multiple business districts together so that it reduces congestion by spreading it out. For every person that rides transit, bikes, walks, or works from home, you have one less commuter on the road in a car.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,650,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
No form of transportation succeeds through consumer demand. With very few exceptions, everywhere in the country the transportation infrastructure is decided by the government, not the market.

If I live in NYC where transit tends to be more convenient than driving, I am no more "forced" to use transit than I am "forced" to use a car if I live in Houston where driving is more convenient than transit.

In both places the government, not consumer demand, shaped those decisions, whether it is a public subway system in NYC or government-built roads and minimum parking regulations in Houston.

So saying government mandates are why people use transit answers nothing because government mandates are why nearly 100% of people use any form of transportation.

What would the free market choose if allowed to work without government mandates? It might not choose NYC-style development but it is far from clear it would choose Houston-style development either.
We have regulated the choice out of transportation and development. Mixed used development is hard to get loans for, and now that real estate aspires to be publicly traded in the stock market, mixed use development is also hard to bucketize into a commodity product to make it easy to create a standard valuation for. Over the last 40 years or so, real estate went from being something that was highly local into something where the "product" can be shoehorned into any locale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
No one suggested that people did not ride transit.

However, as much as you claim to not be "anti-car" it is clear that indeed you are.
Terminology such as "car dependent" is tossed around like a handicap, yet you seem okay to be "transit dependent" and to promote "transit dependency" which is what the article suggests using the government to impose on the populace.

If there is a comparison between "car dependent" and "transit dependent" then "transit dependent" certainly seems far worse - particularly since your article promotes using government to force transit dependency on a population.
The problem is, making everyone car dependent leaves a good chunk of the population out, and leaves other people in a really precarious situation. People who have little income to work with need to put 25% or more of their income towards transportation, and often take other risks (like forgoing insurance) to make ends meet.

For example, making everything car dependent would mean people like JR_C would be stuck at home with no independent mobility.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
I use public transit because I'm visually impaired, and can't get a driver's license.
ITA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddyline View Post
Given that our urban highway systems are at or beyond capacity and growth of many urban areas is expanding, it is a good thing that planners are "promoting" transit. It is called wisely allocating limited resources, it is what I expect of our elected leaders. For the last five decades highways into the cities were "promoted" and that has not worked out that well.
We spent 5 decades eliminating transportation choice, it is about time to make choice a reality!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Commuters in San Jose,have shorter commutes, on average, than commuters in Boston, Washington, DC and San Francisco.
The Bay Area has terrible congestion, and the San Jose people have no options not to drive. The problem is, the few people who luck out and can find a short commute. But most people are commuting further. Something like 20% of San Franciscans commute to Santa Clara County: 40 miles away. (Most people in SF work in SF, and I posted in another thread that getting around SF can take forever. It is closer for me in Oakland to get to downtown than many places in SF city limits.)

Sadly, we have the most mega commuters, and that number is growing (because of housing costs and the lack of transportation options).
Bay Area tops new 'mega-commuter' Census list defining the worst trips to work - San Jose Mercury News
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:46 PM
 
2,824 posts, read 3,347,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
The construction of our cities happened naturally and centralization was a natural effect before the car and highway, if it wasn't for that government funding we would still have mostly centralized cities today.

A region can design a transit system that connects multiple business districts together so that it reduces congestion by spreading it out. For every person that rides transit, bikes, walks, or works from home, you have one less commuter on the road in a car.
So you're really anti-car since you don't mind buses, pedestrians, bicycles, and all commercial vehicles on the road.

Centralization was not a "natural effect". If anything, decentralization was - and long before the period you complain about. People were encourage and incentivized (due to the bad conditions in the cities they were in) to move out and expand westward. Moreover, at the earlier time their goal was agrarian (i.e., not high density living). The cycle is pretty clear. As density increased so did crime, cost of all the public amenities/monuments, taxes, cost of living, etc. and "urban" people moved further out and away from the city. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Last edited by IC_deLight; 04-07-2014 at 06:54 PM..
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,650,120 times
Reputation: 26646
Personally I take transit when it is convenient. That typically works out to be about 2-3X per week, but I have also been swapping my car for my bike too.

I typically choose transit under a few scenarios:
parking is expensive
parking is annoying to find and you need to circle the block a million times
transit is faster
to avoid congestion (since that stresses me out)
I need to multitask

For example, this weekend I took transit twice. I went to San Francisco to do some shopping. (It is about the same amount of time to take transit, and cheaper than parking). I went to a basketball game, and took transit. Although it is only about a 10-15 minute drive to the Arena, parking is like $30, and when you leave the game you are stuck in a 30 minute traffic jam to get out of the lot. The train ride is $3 and 20 minutes. All you have to do is get off the train, head down the stairs, head upstairs and take the pedestrian walkway that is a little further than the parking lot. No contest.

At the moment, a driving commute is the best option for me. But for example, today there was way more traffic than usual. It took 15-20 minutes longer than usual (aka 33-40% longer) because there was some unusual congestion along the way. I think a truck stalled and blocked one of the lanes, but I am not sure. When I got to work, I felt extra stressed and totally annoyed that it took so long to get to work.

I plan to take transit to work on the heavy traffic days (Tuesday) once I figure out the route. It will take longer, but Tuesdays are so unpredictable, it would be nicer to just multitask on the train.

Transit is generally a lot more predictable, and less variable in the time that it takes. Not all systems are equally predictable. Or all routes. But I know, BART has an on-time performance rate of about 88%. And in the roughly 18 years I have used BART, I can only think of a handful of delays longer than 10 minutes. My local bus agency is fairly on-time in the routes I take most often, but there are 2 options for real-time arrival tracking, and I use those to stay up to date or determine if I should use an alternate route.

There are really a few key things that push me into using transit (and keep it convenient)
1. Frequency and duration: the transit system needs to run frequently enough and in the right time frame to be useful. So a bus that runs once an hour from 10-5 is likely not to useful for me
2. Coverage and options: the system should cover most of my key destinations, and I should have multiple ways to get to those places (not just one bus line). For example, the bus closest to my place, the stop is across the street, only runs once every 30 minutes. (and it goes to the train station and downtown). It also ends at 8pm. But I know that if I miss that one, there is a bus that runs every 15 minutes that goes to a different station on the next block. And 3 blocks away there is another bus that goes downtown and to the train station that also runs 15 minute headways (both of those run till about 1am). So I have options and alternate routes. Additionally, I also know, that if I miss the last bus, the train station has a cab stand or I can use Uber.
3. Real time arrival info available on the go. This is actually a game changer for transit usage. Now on your phone you can check when the bus or train is coming. So before you leave you can determine if you have time to go to the bathroom or you should wait a little longer inside before venturing to the bus stop. Or if you should walk fast or meander to the stop. Or if you should go to the stop 1 block over, because that bus will arrive sooner. This really opens up more options. For example, whenI commuted to SF, the commute bus ran every 30-40 minutes (the stop was across the street). If I was behind, and new I was going to miss it or was cutting it close in the AM, I could just check the real time schedule and plan an alternate route before I left home (or work). Instead of waiting bored at the bus stop for 25 minutes.
4. Convenient payment options. A decade ago, using transit meant exact change. Most of our local agencies use the "clipper card" where you can either load your passes or cash value onto a card and use it to pay for the bus/train/etc. Now I just keep my cash stocked, so I can ride transit whenever, without dealing with exact change. I just tag my card. No worries, I just keep it next to my ID and bring it always. Now if I go out for a walk, and decide I want to walk to another neighborhood, I know I can just take the bus home if I am out of energy, no change needed.
5. Backup options. Of course there are times when the bus doesn't run, or it is running late or whatever. There were always taxis (well in the Bay Area, they weren't too convenient). But now we have even more choices: car sharing, bike sharing, ride sharing apps (Uber, Lyft, Getaround), and other apps that use real time info to tell you whether it is faster to walk, bike, take the bus or a cab to make your trip. All of this stuff makes it way easier and more convenient to use transit.

I am about a 10-20% transit user (even though I have a car) and 10-15% bike user. I like having options. And we need to create policy and prioritize funding so more people can have more choices.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,504,059 times
Reputation: 7830
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
So you're really anti-car since you don't mind buses, pedestrians, bicycles, and all commercial vehicles on the road.

Centralization was not a "natural effect". If anything, decentralization was - and long before the period you complain about. People were encourage and incentivized (due to the bad conditions in the cities they were in) to move out and expand westward. Moreover, at the earlier time their goal was agrarian (i.e., not high density living). The cycle is pretty clear. As density increased so did crime, cost of all the public amenities/monuments, taxes, cost of living, etc. and "urban" people moved further out and away from the city. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So you think downtowns were just government created? I don't think you know much about the history of cities if that is the case.

And how exactly am I anti-car if I own a car, drive a car, and have no problem with people driving cars? Also, this is the "why people use transit" thread, you want the other thread, "why people don't use transit" for your anti-transit talk.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:09 PM
 
2,824 posts, read 3,347,681 times
Reputation: 3030
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
So you think downtowns were just government created? I don't think you know much about the history of cities if that is the case.
I think urbanists have to spend lots of money to keep trying to draw people into downtown. You've written in numerous posts about steps to be taken to attract people downtown. If downtown was such a great place you wouldn't have to worry about attracting people downtown and you wouldn't be so sensitive about things such as parking lots which you claim "destroy the urban fabric". The "history" of cities is cyclical.


Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
And how exactly am I anti-car if I own a car, drive a car, and have no problem with people driving cars? Also, this is the "why people use transit" thread, you want the other thread, "why people don't use transit" for your anti-transit talk.
But you do have a problem with people driving cars and you promote using government in order to economically harm them for using cars or to prevent them from being able to drive places.

You started your thread asking "what could be done to improve transit quality and the use of transit in general" - not "why people use transit". You proclaim excitement about an article that takes the position that transit won't really succeed unless steps are taken to economically harm car drivers. In particular your article states:

"At the end of the day, though, improving trains and buses alone can only attract so many riders. The bigger changes in travel mode won't occur until local governments pair such transit incentives with automobile disincentives"

Given your claim that this was a "great article" along with your comments in many other posts, it's not a stretch to categorize you as "anti-car". As to your own ownership of a car there is no shortage of hypocritical collectivists. Much like the Onion article: you are "anti-car for everyone else."
Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

You can call your thread whatever you want but perhaps you should have called it "what can be done to force people to use transit".
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,504,059 times
Reputation: 7830
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
I think urbanists have to spend lots of money to keep trying to draw people into downtown. You've written in numerous posts about steps to be taken to attract people downtown. If downtown was such a great place you wouldn't have to worry about attracting people downtown. The "history" of cities is cyclical.
Does this mean downtowns are void of people? Or does this mean no one goes downtown? I assume no money is spent in the suburbs, suburban city governments work with zero budget because they don't need money to function?


Quote:
But you do have a problem with people driving cars and you promote using government in order to economically harm them for using cars or to prevent them from being able to drive places.

You started your thread asking "what could be done to improve transit quality and the use of transit in general" - not "why people use transit". You proclaim excitement about an article that takes the position that transit won't really succeed unless steps are taken to economically harm car drivers. In particular your article states:

"At the end of the day, though, improving trains and buses alone can only attract so many riders. The bigger changes in travel mode won't occur until local governments pair such transit incentives with automobile disincentives"

Given your clam that this was a "great article" along with your comments in many other posts, it's not a stretch to categorize you as "anti-car". As to your own ownership of a car there is no shortage of hypocritical collectivists. Much like the Onion article: you are anti-car for everyone else.
Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

You can call your thread whatever you want but perhaps you should have called it "what can be done to force people to use transit".
False, I actually do not have a problem with people driving, but it seems you have a problem with people not driving. It seems you think everyone must drive. But then again, why are you posting in a pro-transit thread when you are so anti-transit? Isn't there already a thread for you?

Actually I asked a two part question, why do people ride transit? And what can be done to improve transit in your city? Do you have any answers to those questions about transit in your city?

You are aware if we all drove and no one took transit, that would harm drivers because it would impair the roads even more, making even the easiest commutes a nightmare. Is that what you wish for where you live for it to be a complete gridlock and people taking twice as long to get anywhere?

Yes, currently many cities provide incentives to driving cars by mandating the number of parking that is needed in cities and funding of highway projects to expand the roads needed to handle the amount of cars. Seems counterproductive if you ask me, and quite destructive of surrounding areas.

False again, I am not anti-car like you claim, you just wish I was anti-car to make yourself feel better about being anti-transportation options. Also, the Onion is a fake news article, you are aware of that right? I personally have no problem with people owning cars to use, and I think it is great you enjoy driving so much and I for one would love to increase your enjoyment with driving by seeing transit usage increase so that there are less drivers on the road so that you deal with less traffic, it is called a win-win, what isn't there for you to like?

Maybe we should change the title of the other thread to what can be done to force people to only use cars? Seeing you wish no one would ever use transit and be forced to only be able to drive themselves to places while sitting in gridlock traffic that they created.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:32 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,673,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Then a policy of trying to centralize workplaces will only guarantee more congestion and traffic because more people have to use the same routes to get to the same places.

Distributing workplaces is not a guarantee that there won't be congestion and traffic but it is the solution for which there is a chance of spreading traffic better across an entire network. I do not support the proposition that "planners" have any right or authority to dictate where workplaces will be. Natural growth is likely to be distributed and reactive to "network problems". Centralization is likely to occur only if forced using governmental mandates/discrimination. Government mandates inevitably wind up being bad ideas especially since it won't have to take care of the "network problems".
Centralization of business and residences has always been a natural occurrence since human civilization began. The government never told people to coalesce into cities, they did it on their own. Why is this? Because people like efficiency, and you get efficiency by consolidation, and consolidation leads to centralization. Natural growth isn't likely to be "distributed" but rather will concentrate within the closest convenient distance of those that it is involved with. To have distributed workplaces would be going against the established grain of cities and centralization, and would thus require a government mandate, which you are so clearly opposed to.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:44 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,673,507 times
Reputation: 1838
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
So you're really anti-car since you don't mind buses, pedestrians, bicycles, and all commercial vehicles on the road.

Centralization was not a "natural effect". If anything, decentralization was - and long before the period you complain about. People were encourage and incentivized (due to the bad conditions in the cities they were in) to move out and expand westward. Moreover, at the earlier time their goal was agrarian (i.e., not high density living). The cycle is pretty clear. As density increased so did crime, cost of all the public amenities/monuments, taxes, cost of living, etc. and "urban" people moved further out and away from the city. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But the cities didnt shrink, did they? No, cities kept on growing. And when cars came about and created suburbia as we know it today, "city" became "metro area" and those urbanized areas continued (and still continue) to grow. People were more incentivized to move to the city than to leave it-for example, in the late 19th century, for every millionaire you had wanting to leave the city for the countryside (or "decentralize"), you had 10 or more farmers that wanted to leave the countryside for the city. Now that the "metro area" and "urbanized area" have come about, not as many people live in city propers, but the vast majority of the population lives in urban agglomerations-MSAs, CSAs, suburbs, cities, exurbs, commuter towns. They aren't all rushing back out to the country as you suggest they are doing, will be doing, and always have been doing. Why? Because people want to live close to one another. It's as simple as that.
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