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Old 06-05-2013, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,711 posts, read 31,942,195 times
Reputation: 13788

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prytania View Post
I can assure you that there are rail stops in areas with very few people. England's population is skewed because so few people live in the rural areas yet the trains run through those areas and stop.
That's not the point. Not every stop along a train route has to have super high densities. But there needs to be enough density on the whole to support the line. You can't have passengers if you don't have, well, people.

And these people have to need to go somewhere. And the train needs to be cost-competitive with driving. Nobody's going to pay $120 for a roundtrip ticket between Atlanta and Charlotte when they could just fill up the tank and travel for half the cost.

And England's population density is not "skewed." The density is what it is. It may be true that few people live in the rural areas, but that just shows that the urban areas are considerably denser than anything you'd find in Georgia or North Carolina.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prytania View Post
And this is not only regarding Atlanta but Charlotte and all points between.
Peachtree Station only sees 287 boardings per day. Are the other 10,000 people going to board between Atlanta and Charlotte?
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
7,214 posts, read 5,817,657 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
That's not the point. Not every stop along a train route has to have super high densities. But there needs to be enough density on the whole to support the line. You can't have passengers if you don't have, well, people.
Atlanta to Charlotte easily has the number of people to make a service worthwhile.
Quote:
And these people have to need to go somewhere. And the train needs to be cost-competitive with driving. Nobody's going to pay $120 for a roundtrip ticket between Atlanta and Charlotte when they could just fill up the tank and travel for half the cost.
How much is your time worth? The main customer base of an Atlanta-Charlotte rail route isn't families, and those on vacation, it's business travelers. People to whom the mode of transportation with the greatest productivity time can win over the cheapest, especially when they're expensing it to their company. A four hour car drive means that they can't get any work done, unless they extend their car ride by making stops. Flying from Atlanta to Charlotte, requires a MINIMUM time investment of 3 hours, during which you might have 20 or 30 minutes to get work done. During a four hour train ride however, you can work right from boarding to deboarding, and the train puts you in downtown, not way out at the airport.
Quote:
Peachtree Station only sees 287 boardings per day. Are the other 10,000 people going to board between Atlanta and Charlotte?
Again, putting an effect in front of a cause. There can only be about 287 people boarding each day, because that's about 2.4 coaches out of 4 for each train Atlanta's station serves. The Crescent only runs about 4 coaches. Filling over half of the capacity, with people from one city, is nothing to sneeze at. IF you want a success story where excess capacity was created, and then ridership grew, look at North Carolina itself. Ridership on the Piedmont train was hovering about 6k for the two daily roundtrips, they added a third roundtrip, and ridership nearly tripled to 15k.
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,711 posts, read 31,942,195 times
Reputation: 13788
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Atlanta to Charlotte easily has the number of people to make a service worthwhile.
No, they don't. And the combined density of both metro areas is still lower than the entire UK. It's not enough to say, "We have X number of people" when those people are sprawled out all over the place. The State of Georgia, for example, only has a pop. density of 165 ppsm despite being significantly smaller than the UK. England squeezes in roughly 60 million people in area about the same size as Georgia. That's why HSR can work there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
How much is your time worth? The main customer base of an Atlanta-Charlotte rail route isn't families, and those on vacation, it's business travelers. People to whom the mode of transportation with the greatest productivity time can win over the cheapest, especially when they're expensing it to their company. A four hour car drive means that they can't get any work done, unless they extend their car ride by making stops. Flying from Atlanta to Charlotte, requires a MINIMUM time investment of 3 hours, during which you might have 20 or 30 minutes to get work done. During a four hour train ride however, you can work right from boarding to deboarding, and the train puts you in downtown, not way out at the airport.
I seriously doubt there's that much business travel between Atlanta and Charlotte. Certainly not as much as there is between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which are more powerful economies by any objective measure. And even San Francisco and Los Angeles aren't even all that connected (no air shuttle between those cities).

And a lot of people traveling between those cities will need a car anyway. What would be the point of paying $120 for a roundtrip ticket and then renting a car once you arrive at your destination? That's a completely unnecessary expense. And not everyone needs to do work on a train anyway. There are only so many attorneys that need to draft that 11th Circuit brief during their trip to Atlanta. I don't see why a pharma rep, for example, would have so much work to do on the train.

And if the transit share in those metro areas is as low as it is, what makes you think people are going to want to take a train to go to Charlotte?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Again, putting an effect in front of a cause. There can only be about 287 people boarding each day, because that's about 2.4 coaches out of 4 for each train Atlanta's station serves. The Crescent only runs about 4 coaches. Filling over half of the capacity, with people from one city, is nothing to sneeze at.
Those numbers are not inspiring. Do you know why the East Coast is a candidate for HSR? Because it sees nearly 20 million passengers per year in its stations. That's why. We know the demand for HSR exists along that corridor. We certainly don't know that down south.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:37 PM
 
9,731 posts, read 9,625,135 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Okay, is there any serious argument for building HSR between Atlanta and Charlotte?
...Not in the mind of someone such as yourself who seems to be ideologically opposed to investing in a multimodal transportation network, particularly the transit part of the network, under any circumstances, for a very fast-growing corridor in a very fast-growing part of the nation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Who are the people who desperately need these connections?
...Well, you can start with the hundreds-of-thousands of college students who attend the dozens of colleges and universities along the Washington-Atlanta corridor may have limited access to personal vehicles.

And then there's the millions of longer-haul airline travelers who make shorter haul connections of 50-150 miles between major airports and their ultimate originations or destinations (like between an Atlanta Airport and a Gainesville or a Toccoa or a Clemson) where shorter haul air shuttle service is not necessarily feasible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Where's the demand for such rail service?
...The demand comes from the area of the Piedmont region between Richmond/Petersburg, VA and Atlanta, GA where continued population growth is outstripping highway capacity and where there are limitations to how much the road network be expanded along the I-85 corridor (see the political inability of the State of Georgia to build an Outer Perimeter/Northern Arc highway around the Atlanta region despite the increasingly pressing need to somehow remove growing amounts of already heavy freight truck traffic from already severely-congested Atlanta freeways).

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Where is the density to support it? As I just demonstrated above, the Atlanta metro has a population density lower than the entire UK's. And one million people is 635,000 less people than what you'd find in Philadelphia, which is only 135 sq. miles.
...That is true, but the population density of 630 persons per square mile is not spread out uniformly across the entire 8,376 square miles of the Atlanta metro region.

There are many areas in the expansive Atlanta metro region (like, for example, in the Chattahoochee National Forest and Dawson Wildlife Management Area in Dawson County north of Atlanta, or in the Paulding Forest WMA in Paulding County west of Atlanta, or in the Pine Log and Allatoona WMAs in Bartow and Cherokee counties north of Atlanta) where there may be as few as zero people per square mile over many square miles.

Meanwhile there are many other areas in the Atlanta metro region (particularly close to established major radial roads in parts of Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett counties) where the population densities are as high as 3,000-5,000 persons per square mile or more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
So where are the riders going to come from?
...The riders are going to come from the fast-growing area of roughly 20 million-plus people that live in the corridor between Washington DC and Atlanta (a corridor that includes the fast-growing metro regions of Washington DC-MD-VA; Richmond, VA; Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Cary, NC; Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, NC; Charlotte/Gastonia/Concord/Kannapolis, NC; Greenville/Spartanburg, SC and Atlanta, GA).
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:54 PM
 
Location: East Point
4,712 posts, read 6,243,086 times
Reputation: 4608
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
It's not about "fun." Transit is not meant to be fun. It's meant to be useful. Spending billions of dollars for 200 people to travel between Atlanta and Charlotte every day is just a bad idea. It's not useful. And it's a huge waste of my tax dollars. Atlanta and Charlotte don't even come close to making the list of the busiest train stations in the country. The demand just isn't there.
the reason that is so is because the train service is so crappy between charlotte and atlanta. why don't you instead look at the number of people who fly between charlotte and atlanta, and who would be willing to take the high speed rail because it would be cheaper and faster than flying? that would be a lot of people. believe it or not businesspeople frequently fly between atlanta and charlotte all the time. and now imagine all the people who would rather take the train that have to drive for 4-5 hours. between those two, you've got a considerable amount of people that would rather take the train.

the fact of the matter is that you're assuming that toll roads are the only thing that would dissuade people from driving between the two cities, when the fact of the matter is that it's too long to drive conveniently— the distance AND driving time between charlotte and atlanta is much more than that of a new york-boston trip. yet, it still isn't long enough to justify the price and time wasted of air travel for many people. charlotte to atlanta is the best corridor we've got in this entire section of the country for high speed rail.

and the next time someone says "my tax dollars" i'm going to blow my goddamn brains out. look, i love "yankees", i know a lot of great folks from up north. but if you're going to move down here, complain about it not being like home and at the same time try to prevent us from making any progress by complaining about "my tax dollars" when you know good and damn well that you're paying lower taxes than you ever have in your life because you moved down here, please do the entire east coast a favour and move out west and stop bothering us.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Charlotte
1,356 posts, read 2,560,638 times
Reputation: 629
Almost 1.8 million people fly from Atlanta-Charlotte/Charlotte-Atlanta each year. I'm sure a lot would be willing to ride a train.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,711 posts, read 31,942,195 times
Reputation: 13788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
...Not in the mind of someone such as yourself who seems to be ideologically opposed to investing in a multimodal transportation network, particularly the transit part of the network, under any circumstances, for a very fast-growing corridor in a very fast-growing part of the nation.
No, I'm not ideologically opposed to investing in a multimodal transportation network under any circumstances. HSR from NYC to DC? All for it. HSR in Tokyo? Makes sense. HSR from Paris to Brussels? Yep. HSR from the Bay Area to LA? I can see that. HSR from Atlanta to Charlotte? Or Atlanta to Birmingham? No.

I don't see transit as a way of raising the prestige of a city ("We have HSR like London. Atlanta has arrived!"). I think only high density, high-priority corridors warrant such service. And Atlanta-Charlotte is not one of those corridors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
..Well, you can start with the hundreds-of-thousands of college students who attend the dozens of colleges and universities along the Washington-Atlanta corridor may have limited access to personal vehicles.
That's what Megabus is for. I'm well out of school and I still take Bolt and Megabus despite obviously having way more money now than I did then. Plus, I can travel roundtrip on the East Coast for $34 flat whereas the Acela may cost up to $200. What student do you know is going to pay $200 for a train ticket if they can take a bus for substantially less? Amtrak seems costly to working professionals little less college students. That's why the Chinatown bus became so popular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
then there's the millions of longer-haul airline travelers who make shorter haul connections of 50-150 miles between major airports and their ultimate originations or destinations (like between an Atlanta Airport and a Gainesville or a Toccoa or a Clemson) where shorter haul air shuttle service is not necessarily feasible.
Is it the American taxpayer's responsibility to make sure every small town in America is connected by HSR no matter the price tag?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
..The demand comes from the area of the Piedmont region between Richmond/Petersburg, VA and Atlanta, GA where continued population growth is outstripping highway capacity and where there are limitations to how much the road network be expanded along the I-85 corridor (see the political inability of the State of Georgia to build an Outer Perimeter/Northern Arc highway around the Atlanta region despite the increasingly pressing need to somehow remove growing amounts of already heavy freight truck traffic from already severely-congested Atlanta freeways).
First, the traffic in those areas is not that bad and is limited to rush hour. If you want to see bad traffic, then you should try driving up I-95 from Bowling Green, VA to DC. On a Saturday afternoon, you can literally roll at a brisk pace of 15mph for about 80 miles all the way (on an 6-8 lane highway, mind you) to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. That's bad traffic. I can drive down the I-85/40 corridor with no problems at all. It's not until 95 meets 64 from Norfolk that you get this intense crush of traffic going up the Coast where I say, "Yeah, I wouldn't mind being on a train right now."

Second, a far easier way to take cars off the road is to up the current Megabus service. You just run more buses. But since there are only three Megabuses running between Atlanta and Charlotte (compared to the 25 between DC and NYC), it's pretty clear that the demand for travel between those two cities is weak. If Megabus is not even maxed out at full capacity, I can't see how a multi-billion dollar train route would make any sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
..That is true, but the population density of 630 persons per square mile is not spread out uniformly across the entire 8,376 square miles of the Atlanta metro region.
It's low density any way you want to cut it. I mean, it's not exactly fair to compare a nation of 90K sq. miles to a metro area of 8,000 sq. miles. But yet the UK, being at a disadvantage with a much larger geographic area, still manages to be denser than the Atlanta metro. New Jersey (the whole state) is nearly twice as dense as Metro Atlanta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
There are many areas in the expansive Atlanta metro region (like, for example, in the Chattahoochee National Forest and Dawson Wildlife Management Area in Dawson County north of Atlanta, or in the Paulding Forest WMA in Paulding County west of Atlanta, or in the Pine Log and Allatoona WMAs in Bartow and Cherokee counties north of Atlanta) where there may be as few as zero people per square mile over many square miles.
All metro areas have that issue. Los Angeles has whole mountain ranges and national parks in its MSA. NY/NJ and Philly have a large military base (Fort Dix), parks and reserves within their CSAs. All metros have things that pull density down (the UK does too obviously). Yet those areas still have much higher densities because they are way more urban.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
there are many other areas in the Atlanta metro region (particularly close to established major radial roads in parts of Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett counties) where the population densities are as high as 3,000-5,000 persons per square mile or more.
Those are still low densities. The highest density census tract in Metro Atlanta is only 21,189 ppsm, which is lower than some of the tracts in the neighborhood I grew up in in Philadelphia (and that part of Philly is considered "suburban").

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
..The riders are going to come from the fast-growing area of roughly 20 million-plus people that live in the corridor between Washington DC and Atlanta (a corridor that includes the fast-growing metro regions of Washington DC-MD-VA; Richmond, VA; Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Cary, NC; Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, NC; Charlotte/Gastonia/Concord/Kannapolis, NC; Greenville/Spartanburg, SC and Atlanta, GA).
What's the population density of that corridor? There's not a lot of development between those areas. I wouldn't even say there's much development between Richmond and DC.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:02 AM
 
10,974 posts, read 9,843,002 times
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There are a lot of good points here.

For me, I think there comes a time when you have to accept that no matter how many points that you make that some people will not change their mind. We can show that: there is plenty of demand with flights and cars; that Atlanta has a history of supporting expansive rail networks when it was a much smaller city; that there are smaller cities that are connected to HSR; cities that are less dense that are already connected (Westwood MA, Stanford CT, York UK); that the route it would travel is through the heart of the fastest growing mega region; that it is a connection in a larger transportation network; that Atlanta will be a metro of 15+ million in 40 years if we keep up the historic growth rate that Bajan cites; that it provides transportation options that many would choose. But some people will still go out of there way to find a new criteria or nit-pick a detail to poo-poo what you are saying. If you have a new car that is better than every car in every other way but has a smaller glove box, they will only talk about the glove box.

This is a good project for planning a head for the future. Providing good transportation options for the hub of the fastest growing quarter of the country is good for America. Even if there are a few people who don't like it.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,711 posts, read 31,942,195 times
Reputation: 13788
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
For me, I think there comes a time when you have to accept that no matter how many points that you make that some people will not change their mind.
Clearly. Not that it matters anyway since it's a far from a sure bet that the Northeast will even be getting HSR in the next 40 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
We can show that: there is plenty of demand with flights and cars.
No, you can't. Why continue to make a claim that you can't prove? 72 flights between Charlotte and Atlanta does not mean 72 flights full of people traveling to Atlanta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Atlanta has a history of supporting expansive rail networks when it was a much smaller city
This is really reaching.

List of U.S. cities with high transit ridership - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
that there are smaller cities that are connected to HSR; cities that are less dense that are already connected (Westwood MA, Stanford CT, York UK)
Those cities are also sandwiched between international megacities and other large, densely populated cities.

HSR is not intended for development, or for a smooth ride, or to save the environment, or for fun, or for status, or for the "coolness" factor. It's intended for highly populated, high-density and highly-connected corridors. The state of Georgia has fewer people than Los Angeles County, which tells us that HSR would be a complete disaster in the Southeast considering the low transit shares out West (despite having much higher density). The money that would be wasted on building a system that runs empty for the next 75 years could be used on education, healthcare, repairing bridges that are falling into rivers, etc. We have bigger priorities than building fancy trains in an attempt to make South Carolna more like Belgium.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
30,711 posts, read 31,942,195 times
Reputation: 13788
I-85 should definitely be widened. That's a greater priority than HSR.

I-85 is only two lanes for much of the distance between Atlanta and Greenville.

Atlanta, GA - Google Maps

I-95 is a minimum of three lanes from Petersburg, VA to Boston. That's a distance of 570 miles.

Petersburg

Petersburg, VA - Google Maps

Richmond

Richmond, VA - Google Maps

Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg, VA - Google Maps

Stafford

Stafford, VA - Google Maps
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