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View Diary: Sunday Train: zOMG these aint REAL HSR trains! (33 comments)

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  •  This diary was back in ... (8+ / 0-)

    ... 2009, but then, as now, the California HSR was an Express HSR and facing the problem of logrolling federal support for HSR. Except now, over the next four years, the Chicago / St. Louis, Michigan, and Virginia Rapid Rail systems will be going into service, and Washington (state) and North Carolina conventional rail sytems ready to step up to Rapid Rail in another round of funding, so the prospects for securing that logroll are very strong. With funding secured for the next five years, the California delegation has lots of time to secure the funding required in 2017/2019.

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    by BruceMcF on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 05:58:06 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Does CA Have The Political Will? (6+ / 0-)

      I can only really speak for my state. We wanted all the money the feds wanted to give us. Sure there were a few wingnuts in the state house that didn't want it, but not many. Generally speaking everybody, even the Republicans wanted the money.

      Heck about three years ago, both Democrats and Republicans from "downstate" (the term for southern IL, where I live) came together and stop all work in Springfield cause a large percentage of highway funds were going to Chicago and not here for our local rail system.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 06:02:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I Should Note In The County I Live In (8+ / 0-)

        if you are handicapped or a senior citizen all mass transit is free. 110% free. For me a one day pass is $7.50 or $1.75 for a two hour pass. I mean how cool is that.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 06:05:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The biggest hurdle ... (8+ / 0-)

        ... was the one they passed last month. With work for the next five years funded, the opponents have lost their best chance to kill the project.

        And despite the noisiness of the opposition, the support is not just from the Democratic side of politics ~ Disney wants it, for one example.

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        by BruceMcF on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 06:38:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  re. last week: folding bikes: (7+ / 0-)

          I missed the chance to comment on last week's entry, so:

          Better & more accessible folding bikes with cargo capacity!

          The key to this is to fold the bike into a configuration that works like a hand-cart or two-wheeled shopping basket.  Instead of carrying the folded bike like luggage, the user would wheel it onto the bus or train, and wheel it off.  

          This configuration would also provide means of attaching a cargo container with about a cubic foot of carrying capacity (essentially your classic milk crate or equivalent).  While riding, the cargo box would fit above the rear wheel.  When folded and being wheeled around, it would hang from an attachment point on the folded frame.  

          I actually designed something like this years ago, in the form of a cargo trailer for the Strida folding bike.  The cargo trailer would have 2 - 3 cubic feet of capacity and function like a 2-wheeled grocery cart in stand-alone mode.  The Strida folding bike would be hung from hooks on the side of the trailer that normally faced the person when they were pushing it.  

          This was not intended for long-distance use, but for city use where public transport covered the longer distances.  It's not a "biker's bike," it's a basic practical solution for urban environments.  Thus you'd hook the trailer to the folding bike, and pedal to the nearest bus or urban rail stop.  Then fold up the bike (the Strida is designed to be easy and fast to fold), clip it to the trailer, and roll the trailer onto the bus or train as easily as rolling a two-wheeled grocery cart.  

          At destination, roll off the bus or train, unclip the bike, unfold it, attach the trailer, and pedal off to the grocery store.  Do your shopping, load the bags into the trailer, and pedal back to the bus or light rail stop.  Unhook the bike from the trailer, fold up the bike, and clip into the trailer.  Wheel it onto the bus or train, have a nice ride back to your local stop, roll it off, set it up, ride it home.

          Strida is here:  http://www.strida.co.uk/...

          Another clever urban folding bike is here:
          http://sinclairzx.com/

          Here's a typical folding shopping cart:
          http://www.amazon.com/...

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 08:08:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I more or less did the roll-on, ... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sychotic1, G2geek, RunawayRose, BYw

            ... roll-off thing sometimes with my Dahon folder, though it did not act like a cart and it took a knack to do it.

            Not all buses, though, are ultra-low floor boarding. If its steps up into the bus, with wheelchair users requiring use of a lift, having the bike in a bag slung over your shoulder reduces (though as reported last week, does not eliminate) the risk that there will be an objection to bringing it on.

            In areas that allow people to roll the portable little shopping carts onto a bus, a folding bike that doubles as a portable little shopping cart would give a second argument ~ "but, that lady over there has her cart on the bus!"

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            by BruceMcF on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:31:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ultimately this is about disability rights. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RunawayRose, BYw

              What do you call a shoulder or back that hurts like hell when you try to sling something heavy over it?  

              Compared to someone who's young & spry, it's a disability, and it's a predictable one that comes with age.  

              Any transit agency that doesn't allow a little old lady to roll her little portable shopping cart onto the bus, is just begging for an ADA lawsuit.  What's she supposed to do, carry a week's worth of groceries in a frame pack on her frail shoulders?  Oh Boy!, here comes a slip-and-fall accident that's directly attributable to policy, with a huge medical bill and a lawsuit to make anyone wish they hadn't gotten up that day.

              Once you allow it for the 90-year-old, or the 20-something with a spinal injury, you also have to allow it for the 50-something or the 40-something who has the normal aches and pains of age.  

              Electric powered bicycles got legalized that way.  Basically anything that looks like a bicycle but has a battery and motor, is street legal anywhere in the US.  In some places the motors are limited to 350 watts or a top speed of 15 miles per hour, but none the less.  And from there, anything with comparable power and speed characteristics is also legally a "bicycle" even if it has four wheels and it's completely enclosed; thus we have velomobiles.  

              There are disability rights issues in play with velomobiles as well: for example someone who is subject to vertigo and can't balance on a bicycle, has to have three or four wheels on the ground.  Someone with a compromised immune system has legitimate need of protection from rain and cold wind.  Etc.  

              But getting back to the starting topic here, it seems to me that there should never be an issue with "something like a small portable grocery cart that has a folded bike strapped to it."  If it fits into the space allotted to some other permissible device, it's got to be permissible.

              BTW re. your complaint about your bike falling under the bus, seems to me a bungie cord could fasten it to something on the rack at the front of the bus, to prevent it falling off.  

              And yeah I also agree that those racks on the front are an ungainly and aesthetically objectionable adaptation: what's needed instead is an adaptation of the interior space in the bus, and hooks to vertically hang the bikes are a viable solution.  

              While we're at it, let's also have all-wheel steering on buses, so they can turn tighter corners (think of a "hook & ladder" truck) and, using the "crab steering" mode, glide into bus stops in perfect parallel alignment with the curb.  The latter will also prevent bus rear-ends sticking out into traffic, thereby removing the hazard of automobile drivers trying to speed around the bus and squeezing lanes to do it.  

              All this stuff can easily be designed by engineers and built on assembly lines in the US.  All that's needed is the political will.  
               

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 07:50:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What issue there should never be ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... and what issue there is are sometimes the same thing.

                Remember that the discussion was bus drivers instructed by the transit authority to object to taking a folding bike onto a bus, in a bag, and onto a bus that is running nearly empty.

                Something the same general size and weight in the same bag that wasn't a bike would certainly be allowed.

                If its in folding bike in a configuration as a shopping cart, and they allow shopping carts, that particular transit authority would probably fight against allowing it on. The question is making it harder for them to win that fight.

                BTW re. your complaint about your bike falling under the bus, seems to me a bungie cord could fasten it to something on the rack at the front of the bus, to prevent it falling off.
                It wasn't a complaint about my bike falling under the bus, its a feeling like its going to fall under the bus.

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                by BruceMcF on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 10:01:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yep, more lawsuits! (0+ / 0-)

                  Yes, I meant "felt like it might" rather than "actually fell under the bus," thereby demonstrating once again that attempts at brevity by way of omitting words, are usually doomed to fail by way of generating additional back-and-forth that ends up using more words than were originally omitted;-)

                  Re. "bus drivers instructed by the transit authority to object to taking a folding bike onto a bus, in a bag, and onto a bus that is running nearly empty."

                  OK, so now two passengers attempt to board a bus, carrying more or less identical ruck-sacks, one containing a folded bike and one containing bagged groceries of equal weight and bulk.  The driver, following his orders from the transit authority, asks what's in the ruck-sacks, allows the passenger with groceries, and denies the passenger with folded bike.  Ka-ching!, lawsuit time!

                  Meanwhile back at the grocery cart:

                  Assume the Strida folder, with its composite belt drive, thus no chains and no grease.  Or assume the Sinclair A-Bike with its totally enclosed drive system.  Now let's go one step further and build the trailer with solid sides all made of fiberglass, so the whole thing is an enclosed pod with a hinged door, and the folder goes inside.  Ultimately it's a relatively simple matter to engineer something to accommodate any objection to concerns that the object may cause trouble to another passenger whether by injury on sharp protruding parts or by harm to clothes from contact with dirty or oily surfaces.  

                  So ultimately it's a matter of a transit authority objecting to "the idea of a bike," as distinct from an equivalent "non-bike object."  And that's the point around which a lawsuit over the "shopping cart with space for folding bike" comes into play.

                  What I'm getting at here, is that in order to be of any value at all, a transport system has to accommodate peoples' real usage needs, that may include carrying something other than a briefcase to and from an office tower.  The most basic of these is the need to get to and from the stops at either end: e.g. home to outlying bus stop, and downtown bus stop to work, school, or shopping; and then back again, and that's where we get the folding bike issue.  Next comes the ability to carry goods from shopping to home, and that's where we get the folding shopping cart issue as an absolutely defensible ADA accommodation.  

                  But if the transit agencies are geared to "office commuters with briefcases ONLY," as a matter of policy and philosophy, they are going to get exactly that, and the rest of us will find other ways.  

                  "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                  by G2geek on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 02:21:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The ideal would be to not have to sue ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    G2geek

                    ... a transit authority in order to get it to allow an increase in ridership and an increase in farebox recovery.

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                    by BruceMcF on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 07:36:51 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

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