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Old 07-18-2014, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,681,041 times
Reputation: 26671

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Oh you get more traffic and parking issues downtown and parts of the north side, but that is just about it.
You are underestimating the impact of those issues you call minor. Here is the economic impact of SFs under-performing transit system that breaks down often.

Report: Muni Breakdowns Cost Commuters $4.2 Million Last Month Alone
Quote:
San Francisco Municipal Railway service disruptions cost commuters at least $50 million in economic production annually and the system remains far away from its on-time service goals, according to a report released today by city officials.
Downtown SF is served by a few agencies, and this is just one of the agencies. This could easily be extrapolated to include BART, which drives about 50% of the transit use in SF's downtown!

 
Old 07-18-2014, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,252,873 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
The same is true of roads. I am not sure why transit is always supposed to take the "hit" on being "subsidized." All modes of transit in this country are subsidized: auto, rail, transit, airplanes....
Your post has nothing to do with what I wrote. I was pointing out that the notion that transit would keep on running in the absence of public funding--while roads would crumble into dust under the same circumstance--was absolutely ridiculous. If there was no public funding for either roads or transit, we'd have some really crummy roads and virtually NO public transit. I mean, it's not like roads get sooooooo much funding anyway. Try driving on some backroads in Virginia or the Carolinas and you'll see plenty of roads that haven't been maintained in years.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 12:49 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,675,691 times
Reputation: 1838
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Your post has nothing to do with what I wrote. I was pointing out that the notion that transit would keep on running in the absence of public funding--while roads would crumble into dust under the same circumstance--was absolutely ridiculous. If there was no public funding for either roads or transit, we'd have some really crummy roads and virtually NO public transit. I mean, it's not like roads get sooooooo much funding anyway. Try driving on some backroads in Virginia or the Carolinas and you'll see plenty of roads that haven't been maintained in years.
But imagine if those were heavily used freeways rather than hidden country backroads. They wouldn't survive heavy usage that major thoroughfares see. The roads would quickly fall apart. In the mean time, investors would pick up the ailing transit infrastructure, bring it to standard, and run the transit systems as private enterprises. That's how most transit systems started-they were brought about by the free market as private companies rather than public services. You can't really do that with roads.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,252,873 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
But imagine if those were heavily used freeways rather than hidden country backroads. They wouldn't survive heavy usage that major thoroughfares see. The roads would quickly fall apart. In the mean time, investors would pick up the ailing transit infrastructure, bring it to standard, and run the transit systems as private enterprises. That's how most transit systems started-they were brought about by the free market as private companies rather than public services. You can't really do that with roads.
And by "quickly," we're talking about months and years, not days and weeks. You don't see road crews out steampaving I-20 in Atlanta every day. In contrast, public transit would be immediately crippled without public subsidy. So the notion that transit would still run (this was your assertion, after all) absent funding is a joke.

And what investors are going to pick up the tab for MARTA (or any transit system for that matter)? You have got to be kidding me. If that's the case, then we really are better off pulling the plug on transit. Is that the policy you're recommending?
 
Old 07-18-2014, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,681,041 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Your post has nothing to do with what I wrote. I was pointing out that the notion that transit would keep on running in the absence of public funding--while roads would crumble into dust under the same circumstance--was absolutely ridiculous. If there was no public funding for either roads or transit, we'd have some really crummy roads and virtually NO public transit. I mean, it's not like roads get sooooooo much funding anyway. Try driving on some backroads in Virginia or the Carolinas and you'll see plenty of roads that haven't been maintained in years.
I know! I've got plenty of family that lives on those roads.

I think the intent of this thread was to illustrate that although we think "no one is getting a free ride" no matter what ride they take, in reality is, everything is in one way or another.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,252,873 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I know! I've got plenty of family that lives on those roads.

I think the intent of this thread was to illustrate that although we think "no one is getting a free ride" no matter what ride they take, in reality is, everything is in one way or another.
We've seen 15 quintillion similar threads already. Everyone knows roads are subsidized. Everyone knows transit is subsidized. What transit supporters are upset about is the perception that roads are hogging scarce transit dollars that could be directed towards transit (though some go even farther and rail against auto-transit altogether). And that's really the heart of the matter. Are roads hogging up a disproportionate amount of transit dollars?
 
Old 07-18-2014, 01:33 PM
 
1,998 posts, read 2,934,174 times
Reputation: 2150
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Highways were created by the government because they were an faster, more efficient way to move people, troops, cargo. The Germans in WWII showed the value of having an highway system and even before WWII there were interstate routes like route 66. An train full of something is an lot, sometimes you don't want to ship that much sometimes you want full control over shipping(instead of needed an rail company). It is inefficient to force everyone to use rail because the road system isn't developed. It would be like being forced to use propeller planes because the airport isn't built for Jets. It will hurt economic output.

Min. parking became demanded as the automobile became popular and people wanted/needed somewhere to park. I live in an city that has lots of older buildings and it is an problem if there isn't enough parking. People simply don't do without the car that easy, they simply take up all available space. There are restrictions on destiny for health and safety as well as comfort reasons. Buildings have an occupancy limit due to reasons like need to evacuate in fire. Height restrictions for all sorts of reason(you probably don't want an skyscraper next to an busy airport). Height restrictions because the local fire department might not have the equipment/training. All sorts of reasons.
I won't focus on the highway issue because it's too big but I'll just say that no one is denying that highways provide some economic value. But just because we need a highway system doesn't mean the highway system we currently have is the best. The highway system clearly goes beyond the more narrow economic goal of cargo and shipping routes. If that was the only goal of the highway system, it would look a lot different than it does now. There is no evidence that the highway system we have right now is optimal.

Now, on the minimum parking issue: if the consumer demand for parking is so great, why does it need to be government-mandated? If there is a money-making opportunity to be had, people will try to fill it. If there is not enough parking in an area, that is an incentive to build commercial parking garages or lots to meet the unmet demand. Or people will bike more or walk more. The point is it is more efficient for people in a market to figure out the best way than it is for the government to fiat that choice for them. Why do you trust government codes to know the "right" amount of parking? How can they possibly know that unless it is put to the test of the market?

In most cities, parking is not determined by the free market, and some require parking more than others. Take Houston for example. It is one of our largest cities, yet significantly more suburban, sprawling and auto-dependent than many other large cities. It is also has stringent minimum parking rules that prevent a developer from building anything without donating vast amounts of space to parking. Read more here: http://joshblackman.com/blog/wp-cont...ton-Sprawl.pdf
Do you think it is just a coincidence that these rules exist and that one needs a car to get anywhere in Houston? How come other large cities like Philly or Chicago can get away with not requiring so much parking, making walking, biking and other forms of transportation more feasible?


As for density, again, just because there might be a justification for some density restriction doesn't mean the density restrictions we have are the right ones. Why do some towns allow more density than others? If the towns with looser restrictions can get away with it, why not the others?

It is interesting that anti-urbanists attack government policies to promote transit as anti-choice and anti-property rights, but then when it comes to the myriad policies that promote the automobile choice and property rights go out the window. But we need the government to tell us how much parking to build! But if density is allowed there will be chaos!
 
Old 07-18-2014, 02:24 PM
 
2,941 posts, read 3,860,722 times
Reputation: 1439
Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
I won't focus on the highway issue because it's too big but I'll just say that no one is denying that highways provide some economic value. But just because we need a highway system doesn't mean the highway system we currently have is the best. The highway system clearly goes beyond the more narrow economic goal of cargo and shipping routes. If that was the only goal of the highway system, it would look a lot different than it does now. There is no evidence that the highway system we have right now is optimal.

Now, on the minimum parking issue: if the consumer demand for parking is so great, why does it need to be government-mandated? If there is a money-making opportunity to be had, people will try to fill it. If there is not enough parking in an area, that is an incentive to build commercial parking garages or lots to meet the unmet demand. Or people will bike more or walk more. The point is it is more efficient for people in a market to figure out the best way than it is for the government to fiat that choice for them. Why do you trust government codes to know the "right" amount of parking? How can they possibly know that unless it is put to the test of the market?

In most cities, parking is not determined by the free market, and some require parking more than others. Take Houston for example. It is one of our largest cities, yet significantly more suburban, sprawling and auto-dependent than many other large cities. It is also has stringent minimum parking rules that prevent a developer from building anything without donating vast amounts of space to parking. Read more here: http://joshblackman.com/blog/wp-cont...ton-Sprawl.pdf
Do you think it is just a coincidence that these rules exist and that one needs a car to get anywhere in Houston? How come other large cities like Philly or Chicago can get away with not requiring so much parking, making walking, biking and other forms of transportation more feasible?


As for density, again, just because there might be a justification for some density restriction doesn't mean the density restrictions we have are the right ones. Why do some towns allow more density than others? If the towns with looser restrictions can get away with it, why not the others?

It is interesting that anti-urbanists attack government policies to promote transit as anti-choice and anti-property rights, but then when it comes to the myriad policies that promote the automobile choice and property rights go out the window. But we need the government to tell us how much parking to build! But if density is allowed there will be chaos!
Chicago and Philly are older cities or cities that experienced their booms when the street car was dominate. The street car imposes certain requirements just as much as anything else and yes, Chicago does have min. parking requirements. We just have an lot of older building that are built without it(of course some of these older building are also without modern conveniences like washing machines, dishwashers, built in A/C or individual temperature control for their units).

Any one of those requirements was walk ability because the street car or bus can't take you door to door so you need to be able to walk long distances. Bike riding went with paving the roads. The bad part is attempting to build for the late 19th Century in the late 20th.

Lack of parking is an issue because parking is always going to be limited so requiring some space be devoted to parking is an good thing. The automobile genie is out the bottle and people will not go back to living like they once did and so that means that modern development is going to have to support parking.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 03:05 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,005,842 times
Reputation: 1348
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
The trouble with rail is the way it works. An truck is not limited by timetable and can deliver door to door. Rail can not this is what caused the shift from rail to truck in the first place. This is also one of the reasons why the trolley could never totally replace the horse and carriage. Sure they did have some specialized trolleys for cargo but most things that were delivered were delivered by horse and carriage. In other words the horse and carriage took cargo from station or dock to door very often.

Roads and cars are just more flexible time wise about departure and route and the fact that it is non-stop means it will beat public transit speed wise in many situations.
Each mode has its role and its limitations, and we have to be explicit about the context of each mode's constraints.

Trains offer efficiency but, with so few rails vs. roads, have limited schedules and routes. Their local use is constrained, but they shine as inter-regional and inter-state haulers. But, we must be clear that it has been a choice by the government to continuously expand road networks instead of more rails, and this has artificially constrained the punctuality, frequency, speed, and destination flexibility of trains.

Trucks offer flexibility of routes in a way a train never could. The flipside is that a truck is a relatively inefficient way of moving cargo across regions. And this is only made worse when they fail to carry a full load in either direction.

Whereas cargo rail could be (and has been for some local systems) electrified, and thus offer the efficiency of being able to access large-scale renewable electricity sources, it is so expensive and complicated to do so for inter-city and inter-regional trucks as to not be worth considering at all. Yes, it's possible, but only reasonable over short distances (FedEx has some battery-powered delivery trucks) or for specific routes (major ports to warehouse districts), in which case rail might be the better choice anyway.

At the same time, trucks don't pay demand-based usage fees ("demand pricing") for (most) interstates, highways, and expressways (though they do pay mileage fees in some states, and a gas tax generally). If we got rid of the gas tax and mileage fees and put demand pricing on our interstates and highways, the value proposition for trucks would certainly, and fairly, shrink.

It's not that trucks are better and trains are worse, it's that each is better at some things, but not others, and that we influence that balance with our fees, taxes, and subsidies.
 
Old 07-18-2014, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,681,041 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
We've seen 15 quintillion similar threads already. Everyone knows roads are subsidized. Everyone knows transit is subsidized. What transit supporters are upset about is the perception that roads are hogging scarce transit dollars that could be directed towards transit (though some go even farther and rail against auto-transit altogether). And that's really the heart of the matter. Are roads hogging up a disproportionate amount of transit dollars?
I think the question is a little different. Have we enabled car infrastructure to take up a disproportionate amount of funding due to other decisions (land use, zoning, financial policies). Is it really a free market decision or a socially engineered one. Have we really developed our infrastructure around giving people choice, or creating a single choice?

We like to say that trying to make transit more attractive/useful is a form of social engineering, but we don't think of the ways we have socially engineered driving as a favored choice. And we think (or accuse) anyone who isn't married to driving is a socialist weirdo.
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