0
   

This is clearly backwards

 
 
Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 12:33 pm
Chai Tea--some of us do drive sensibly for environmental reasons, but too few to make a big difference, hence the current mess.

Freeduck--agreed!
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 12:33 pm
Well then, people ARE backwards.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 08:44 pm
Re: This is clearly backwards
ebrown_p wrote:
Everyone is complaining about gas prices.

The reason that gas prices are too high is because there is a great demand for gasoline. Obviously a good solution for this problem is to convince people to drive less. Getting more people to use public transportation is a very good way to achieve this.

So what are we doing?

First politicians are moving to give "rebates" to drivers for gasoline, and lowering taxes on gas. These are excellent ways to convince people to drive more.

Second (at least in Boston) there are plans to increase the cost of public transportation, which of course means less people will use public transportation.

Don't you think this is a bit idiotic?


Public Transportation in truly urban centers is a viable alternative to private passenger auto use, but it is a non-starter in the suburbs, where the commuters live.

We insist on addressing problems in an extremely narrow fashion and it only serves us well in times of crisis.

America's economy is second to none largely because of the productivity of its workforce. Reality tells us that increased productivity comes from working smarter, but it also comes from working longer. We outwork the rest of the developed world.

People who put in extra hours cannot car-pool, and they cannot be tied to rail or bus schedules.

If one works a 9-5 job; 5 days a week, alternative transportation means can work.

Public transportation is only one (small) piece of the solution.

Our mobility is a treasured benefit and one which we should restrict only in the most dire of situations.

The answer is not to encourage people to drive less, but to drive more efficiently.

The fact of the matter is that Americans will dump their SUV gas guzzlers before they will substantially cut back on the number of miles they travel, and this is they way we should approach the problem.
0 Replies
 
SierraSong
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 08:47 pm
Re: This is clearly backwards
ebrown_p wrote:
Everyone is complaining about gas prices.


Many. Not everyone.
0 Replies
 
Roxxxanne
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 09:31 pm
Re: This is clearly backwards
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
ebrown_p wrote:
Everyone is complaining about gas prices.

The reason that gas prices are too high is because there is a great demand for gasoline. Obviously a good solution for this problem is to convince people to drive less. Getting more people to use public transportation is a very good way to achieve this.

So what are we doing?

First politicians are moving to give "rebates" to drivers for gasoline, and lowering taxes on gas. These are excellent ways to convince people to drive more.

Second (at least in Boston) there are plans to increase the cost of public transportation, which of course means less people will use public transportation.

Don't you think this is a bit idiotic?


Public Transportation in truly urban centers is a viable alternative to private passenger auto use, but it is a non-starter in the suburbs, where the commuters live.

We insist on addressing problems in an extremely narrow fashion and it only serves us well in times of crisis.

America's economy is second to none largely because of the productivity of its workforce. Reality tells us that increased productivity comes from working smarter, but it also comes from working longer. We outwork the rest of the developed world.

People who put in extra hours cannot car-pool, and they cannot be tied to rail or bus schedules.

If one works a 9-5 job; 5 days a week, alternative transportation means can work.

Public transportation is only one (small) piece of the solution.

Our mobility is a treasured benefit and one which we should restrict only in the most dire of situations.

The answer is not to encourage people to drive less, but to drive more efficiently.

The fact of the matter is that Americans will dump their SUV gas guzzlers before they will substantially cut back on the number of miles they travel, and this is they way we should approach the problem.


Public transportation can be a major part of the solution. You have obviously never been to San Francisco.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 09:48 pm
Quote:
The answer is not to encourage people to drive less, but to drive more efficiently.


No, the real answer is to do away with the Suburb, the worst setup for human living imaginable.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Wolf ODonnell
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 07:50 am
Look, our public transportation system is often complained about, but the one thing you can count on is that it is possible to commute from the suburbs to the inner city perfectly well here in the UK.

Unfortunately, there was that one time a train was missing four of its usual eight carriages and all of its toilets were inoperative (which didn't really matter seeing as the trains were so jampacked nobody could get to them).
0 Replies
 
Roxxxanne
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 08:09 am
Former San Francisco Mayor Wille Brown was in a limo trying to get to a conference in Berkeley, as they approached the Bay Bridge the driver could see they were going to run into a traffic jam and the mayor would likely be late. He told Mayor Brown, if you want to get there on time, I will drop you off at the BART station and I will meet you there. The Mayor took the train and got to his conference on time. The limo showed up a half hour later.

When Miami wanted to build a rail system, Reagan told the planners it would be cheaper to buy everyone a car. That kind of backward thinking is what got us into this mess. I would love to get rid of my car but I need becuase I have to drive to see clients. If I had an office job, I would sell it and go with public transportation. In San Francsico, they now have car rentals by the hour. The only thing I would really need a car for is when I go shopping and buy a lot of items. But I could rent a car to do that once a month as well as when I want to take car trips, it would be far cheaper than maintaining a car.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 08:12 am
Re: This is clearly backwards
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:

The fact of the matter is that Americans will dump their SUV gas guzzlers before they will substantially cut back on the number of miles they travel, and this is they way we should approach the problem.


I agree. But I don't think we should stop there. Sprawl is a problem and not just for commuters. Better city planning could remove some limitations of public transportation. People have a limit to how much they're willing to spend in time and money on a commute. You see it in every major city. People will move further and further out until the cost of commuting exceeds this limit. Then there is a massive influx of people trying to move closer to their jobs. See Washington DC metropolitan area late 90's to present day. So, just as people will dump their gas guzzlers when the price of gas gets too high, so will they dump their ginormous suburban homes when the price of the commute gets too high.

There are many dimensions to this problem, so I agree that we ought not to take too narrow an approach to solving it -- like a stupid $100 rebate which is equivalent to 1 tank of gas for a SUV.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 08:56 am
There ya go.

Adding to the suburbs thing, it depends on the suburb -- I used to live in Naperville, Illinois, a very suburban suburb about 30 miles West of Chicago, that has a commuter train that runs straight to downtown Chicago. Was a major (I would say the main but I don't know) means of commuting.

Similar to Roxxxanne's story, if I had a meeting I had to get to in the morning I would take the train rather than driving as it would take half the time. (Chicago rush hour traffic sucks.)
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 09:13 am
Suburbs pretty much suck.

I guess in some places they might be designed intelligently, but here in Texas they sure as hell aren't.

A suburb is designed in a way that there are no intergrated businesses or commerce in the designated 'living area.' This means that for anything one wishes to do outside one's house, it is generally neccessary to drive a car. No walking to the grocery or corner store. No busses or bike lanes, hell, most suburbs are so far away from centers of commerce that there just isn't anywhere to bike to. This forces citizens into a lifestyle that is reliant upon Automobiles, almost exclusively so. And every person living in the house, has to have their own car; so multiply the number of automobiles and pollution by several per household.

It is innefficient in the extreme, and destructive to our environment. It is also, I believe, bad for our culture; the suburb allows people to live in close proximity with no care whatsoever for their neighbors. There is no sense of community, because there doesn't have to be. There is no incentive to be. One can live in a suburb for years, and never get to know their neighbors or neighborhood in the slightest. And though it is just a personal belief of mine, this has in large part led to problems in our society; a lack of caring about one's fellow man, a lack of interest in their or their childrens lives, a lack of action when action needs to be taken. It allows people to focus so strongly on themselves - get that fence up in the backyard, get that second mortgage, get that fifth car so that everyone has one - that they tend to exclude larger notions altogether, they don't focus on any sense of community at all.

Having a logical interspertion of business and neighborhood encourages people to walk and ride bikes; it allows Bus systems to move throughout the area; and it encourages citizens to take an active interest in what happens in their own neighborhood.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 09:26 am
I agree that suburbs suck, as a concept.

Naperville had the makings of a non-sucky suburb, but didn't quite pull it off. (Too rich, too snooty, not diverse enough.)

Namely, it was a town that had been there for a long time before Chicago sprawl made it a suburb. We lived near the old downtown and walked there for most everything (corner stores for milk + other necessities, drugstores, a bakery, a butcher, many restaurants/ cafes, bookstores, clothing stores, etc.)

Then it also had the train station with easy access to downtown Chicago -- a car, strictly speaking, was not necessary at all. (Easier said than done, especially while toting a baby/ toddler and especially when it was below zero, but it was at least theoretically possible.)

This goes back to urban planning, as FreeDuck mentioned. There are ways to create walkable communities that have lifelines (trains, light rail, whatever) to larger cities.
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 09:36 am
Raleigh started doing the planned community suburbs about ten years ago. Durant, Wakefield, Leesville area, and other "burbs" have schools, shopping, dining and other businesses as part of the development. They are combining million dollar homes with first time homes, condo's and apartments sharing sidewalks and recreation areas.

Kinda harkens back to the fifties, but for the SUV's still driving a half mile to the ice cream parlor rather than biking or walking.
0 Replies
 
Wolf ODonnell
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 09:40 am
Roxxxanne wrote:
When Miami wanted to build a rail system, Reagan told the planners it would be cheaper to buy everyone a car. That kind of backward thinking is what got us into this mess.


Well, at least he was more sensible than Churchill.

His Government decided not to invest more money into the railways, because he believed people would be taking helicopters everywhere.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 09:40 am
Yep, I was going to say something about little pods of somewhat dense population centers where one could work and live if they wanted to, but where they had access to a major population center if not, being preferable to large scale uncentered population sprawl. I'm thinking along the lines of a hub and spokes with commuter lines connecting them. But I think a lot of Americans want country living with city salaries.

The snobby problem is just so damn prevalent I don't know what you can do about it. We saw that in the DC area and we see it again here in Atlanta. I work in the mother of all snobbiness suburb called Alpharetta. Not only is it a bitch of a commute with only one major highway connecting it to Atlanta, but the Marta train stops about 20 or more miles away from it. You have to drive to everything and there are practically no sidewalks. Everyone there seems to drive an SUV. You couldn't pay me to live there. But in DC there were several little cities that had already been there, like Fairfax and Fredericksburg and Falls Church that just got connected up as the sprawl reached them. Those weren't bad places to live, even if the growth was too fast for them to keep up with. DC also had its share of the Snobbivilles.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 May, 2006 10:01 pm
Re: This is clearly backwards
Roxxxanne wrote:
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
ebrown_p wrote:
Everyone is complaining about gas prices.

The reason that gas prices are too high is because there is a great demand for gasoline. Obviously a good solution for this problem is to convince people to drive less. Getting more people to use public transportation is a very good way to achieve this.

So what are we doing?

First politicians are moving to give "rebates" to drivers for gasoline, and lowering taxes on gas. These are excellent ways to convince people to drive more.

Second (at least in Boston) there are plans to increase the cost of public transportation, which of course means less people will use public transportation.

Don't you think this is a bit idiotic?


Public Transportation in truly urban centers is a viable alternative to private passenger auto use, but it is a non-starter in the suburbs, where the commuters live.

We insist on addressing problems in an extremely narrow fashion and it only serves us well in times of crisis.

America's economy is second to none largely because of the productivity of its workforce. Reality tells us that increased productivity comes from working smarter, but it also comes from working longer. We outwork the rest of the developed world.

People who put in extra hours cannot car-pool, and they cannot be tied to rail or bus schedules.

If one works a 9-5 job; 5 days a week, alternative transportation means can work.

Public transportation is only one (small) piece of the solution.

Our mobility is a treasured benefit and one which we should restrict only in the most dire of situations.

The answer is not to encourage people to drive less, but to drive more efficiently.

The fact of the matter is that Americans will dump their SUV gas guzzlers before they will substantially cut back on the number of miles they travel, and this is they way we should approach the problem.


Public transportation can be a major part of the solution. You have obviously never been to San Francisco.


And you, obviously, have never been outside San Francisco.

You are, clearly, subsumed by ebrowns's urban liberal perspective.

Public transportatin is something of a success in San Fran/Oak, but, clearly, that succees does not extend throughout the nation, and, I would argue, it cannt be expected to.

The factors that make public transportation feasible in San Fran/Oak do not exisit throughout our nation.

In the overall scheme of things, the fact that San Fran/Oak, Portland, NYC, Chicago, and others, have viable public transportation solutions is hardly material to the issue of national energy conservation.

Twits like Roxxy tend to view the world with a very local prism, but such a perspective is, clearly, stiltled if not absurd.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 May, 2006 07:27 am
Question for those of you who do take public transportation....

Do you ever feel trapped?

I live just a mile from Austin little down town, and work 10 or 11 miles north of that. Takes me 20 minutes to get to work.

When I went on the bus website and entered my home and work address, the quickest I could get to work was just over an hour.

Then of course, if I took a bus, there'd be no being able to run a nearby errand in the middle of the day, getting to a doctors appt easily, etc.

Plus, there's no....well, I'm ready to go now, or I don't want to leave for an hour, I'm busy.

How do y'all handle this?

Plus, for the time I'd spend on the bus, I'm pretty sure my little car uses up much less gas than for my share of the bus gas for the time I'd be on it.

How about those who carpool? I would find that really difficult. Again, once you get to work, you're stuck.

I have to do work running around town, and that would be impossible.

The other thing with car pooling....thinking of the people I know, we all work in different enough areas that someone would be schlepping all over, and we don't leave next door to each other either.
0 Replies
 
Wolf ODonnell
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 May, 2006 07:51 am
Chai Tea wrote:
Question for those of you who do take public transportation....

Do you ever feel trapped?


Only when the jokers don't have the time to ensure the train has the usual number of carriages. Otherwise I feel as if I'm standing in a crowd.

But yeah, it didn't help that our railway system was heavily underfunded for so long.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 May, 2006 07:53 am
Well, now so imagine that you didn't have a car and had to use it.

My take is that that is part of the problem with urban/suburban sprawl. Things are laid out in such a way that you have to drive to everything. Therefore, whether you drive or take the bus, the problem still exists. But public transportation is a necessity for poor and old people, and it works well in some places. I'm guessing that your city wasn't really planned for public transport, so using it is an inconvenience. I drive two hours a day because the bus would take four hours, and the train stops 20 miles away. But I drive a fuel efficient car and this job is temporary. I'm aiming to work closer to where I live, and live closer to public transportation. Public transportation, btw, involves more than just one source. I'm thinking NY, where you have trains, buses, and taxis (and carpools) all working in concert so that you don't actually need a car. The key to that success is that 1) you can always get where you need to go using public transport 2) it isn't significantly slower than driving yourself (mostly it's faster and cheaper than paying for parking) 3) it is always available.

People aren't going to get rid of their cars and I don't think they should. But it would be nice if we could use them a little more judiciously, especially when they suck gas. It would also be nice if, in the process of cutting down on our driving, we managed to get more excercise by walking and biking to things.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 May, 2006 08:21 am
Yeah, that's kinda my take on it FreeDuck...

In places like NYC it's great. It use cheaper and usually as fast if not faster. Plus, living in such a big city, anything you want can be found within a few blocks.

And yes, it is kinda useless to encourage people taking PT if where they life in particular is not set up for it.

In Austin...there is a suburban sprawl...but although I live in a house, it's in a neighborhood that's been established for 50 or more years. Still, even living a mile from the center of downtown, in a neighborhood near well used roads, unless I was actually traveling TO downtown, it would hardly be worth taking a bus.

In all this is the individuals choice of how they'd like to live.

I've had to live WAY out in the country and I absolutely HATED it. On the other hand, if I had to live in the middle of a large city, I'd be miserable as well. On the third hand, living in what my idea of urban sprawl, being 15 miles out, cookie cutter houses, cookie cutter stores, everything too far to walk to, is equally unappealing.

Where I and many other people live one can travel within a 2 or so mile radius to get everything they need, too far to walk in 100 degree weather, and too far if your needing to carry stuff back home.

Cabs? - uses as much gas
Bus? - I can't cart an entire weeks worth of groceries on one, plus with the time difference, food would spoil.

I see people every day who are too poor to own their own transportation, waiting for a bus, and my heart goes out to them. Their entire day is taken up with getting from one place to another.

That's as bad as when I lived way out in the country. I had not washer or dryer, and every week had to travel 45 miles one way to wash clothes and get food. Doing those 2 things basically took up the whole day, and that WITH a car.

Urban sprawl, or even living in what I consider a convenient enough neighborhood is a reality that isn't going to go away. PT, car pooling for most people is just not a realistic goal.

The solution lies in fuel efficiency and individual accountablility.
0 Replies
 
 

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