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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 12/31 (149 comments)

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  •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Nir, NMLib, JBraden

    If you really think about it, there are three distinct "regions":

    1. The eastern section, extending from the Atlantic Ocean until Interstate 35, with population density gradually declining on average the further west you travel.

    2. At Interstate 35, the population density suddenly plummets and you are left with basically wide open spaces with a few intermittent population centers (El Paso, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, Denver, Las Vegas, Boise, Tucson, Spokane, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City being the ones that stick out on the map, with the smattering of cities - the Missoula to especially, oddly, Kalispell corridor - in Western Montana also noticeable).

    3. And then the Western Seaboard which has four major population centers (SoCal, NorCal, Central Valley, and Portland to Seattle), but is generally sparse between these major groupings.

    23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

    by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:30:15 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  not regions (0+ / 0-)

      I'd rather go with "sections".

      23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

      by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:33:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting way of looking at it (0+ / 0-)

      Particularly #2 (I'm definitely not up on my interstate highway numbers, so I had to look that one up). Do you think the rough approximation with I-35 is meaningful, or is it just coincidence?

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      by David Nir on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:34:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Coincidence (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think there's anything particularly meaningful about it specifically, just that it happens to be very specifically where the population density suddenly "drops". It doesn't matter if you're passing the highway going west through Austin or through Minneapolis; the moment that you pass it the population density plummets.

        The only exception to this is Omaha, which quite definitely fits more naturally with the eastern section that the middle section. But even it is only a hop skip and jump past the 35 corridor.

        23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

        by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:40:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BeloitDem, wwmiv

          Do you know have a rough grid of the interstate system in your head? I mean, do you look at a map like this and say, "Oh yeah, that's roughly where I-35 is"? Or do you open up a tab with a highway map?

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          by David Nir on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:43:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

            Given that I've lived for the last 10 years along the 35 corridor in Austin and then San Antonio, and the very high profile bridge collapse in the Twin Cities a few years ago, it's really up there in my mind. There's also the fact that it is the chief NAFTA trade route.

            I basically know the routes of it and Interstate 10. Beyond that I couldn't tell you anything about the interstate grid numbers other than the rules by which they get their numbers and the general layout (which I could probably draw you on a piece of paper... just, again, without labeling them).

            23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

            by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 10:52:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The road follows the people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Allen

        The disperation of the people was roughly similar back when the Interstate system was created.  I-35 is just the road that kinda marks where population grew to in the 1800s before people started going all the way to California rather than just going to the next open space.

        Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

        by tommypaine on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 12:23:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ... (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, but that's almost beside the point. There's no reason why the road had to almost exactly match that path. It could have gone any number of other ways to other areas of people.

          23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

          by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 12:34:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it went where the people are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JohnnyBoston

            It's no coincidence at all.

            The 35 goes through Des Moines to directly connect the Twin Cities with Kansas City.  It would have never went anywhere else.

            Then Omaha is connected to the 35 via the 80.

            That's the point of the interstates.  You wouldn't need to population map posted today to know where the population centers are, just follow the Interstates.

            Likewise, I-15 goes from san Diego to Las vegas to Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls to Butte.

            The Interstates connect the dots north to south, and east to west efficiently.

            Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

            by tommypaine on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:20:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Allen

              What I'm saying is that it wasn't pre-ordained that 35 would go from Minneapolis to Des Moines. It could have very well gone from Minneapolis to Omaha directly, as Omaha was larger at that time.

              As for other examples, Austin was a tiny city when the interstate was built in Texas. It could have easily gone to, for example, San Angelo and then to Dallas instead. Or 35 could have bypassed both Austin and San Antonio for Houston (completely erasing the need for I-45).

              You're looking at the populations with a modern lens. Besides, just because they have populations does not mean the only possible means of connection is the way the current highway system is set up. There are many other legitimate layouts to connect the major cities. I.E. it was pre-ordained that a single highway would so perfectly match the edge of population density.

              23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

              by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 01:38:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, you are ignoring 1950s (and before) (0+ / 0-)

                The 35 runs from the Twin Cities to Dallas, via Kansas City.  You can ignore everything else, and just look at the map of that journey.  There is little population to the west of the 35, and lots of small and middling cities to the east.

                The 35 doesn't go though Omaha because it makes no sense to.  The more minor I-29 goes through Omaha from Kansas City, on a similar journey up through Sioux City, Sioux Falls , Fargo and Grand Forks.

                It would make no sense to make drivers from KC to divert all the way over to Omaha to get to the Twin Cities.  Instead you get to Omaha via the 80 from des Moines or via the 29 from KC.

                The I-35 is all about Kansas City.  It's the great metropolis of the middle of the country.  The main north south center of the country freeway must run through it, and KC/Independance was the literal jumping off point for far west expansion.  The country east of KC is a dot-based map fundementally diferent than the area to the west.  The I-35 follows that "border" from the Twin Cities all the way through to San Antonio.  To curve to Houston or Corpus Christi would be to ignore the mission of the I-35, to be the freeway that hits the east-west border cities in the middle of the country.

                Look at where it runs everywhere, including going through OK City instead of Tulsa.  It deliberately chooses the westernmost population dot that it can.

                Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

                by tommypaine on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 02:05:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  .. (0+ / 0-)

                  I think you're missing my point, by I don't care about this anymore.

                  23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

                  by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 02:21:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Nevermind, I do care. (0+ / 0-)

                  Interstate 35 was not built until 1956, and was not completed until the middle of the 80s, so we can really ignore that far back.

                  You also contradict yourself in multiple places:

                  It would make no sense to make drivers from KC to divert all the way over to Omaha to get to the Twin Cities.
                  Whereas you also say:
                  It deliberately chooses the westernmost population dot that it can.
                  ignore the mission of the I-35, to be the freeway that hits the east-west border cities in the middle of the country.
                  You can't both have the chief goal to "hit the big cities" as well as "hit the cities that are westernmost" AND have to make sense for drivers for mileage.

                  If we're talking the need to connect Dallas, Kansas City, and the Twin Cities as the most important angle, the best and most obvious route would have been to go from Dallas to Tulsa, to Kansas City, and then up directly to the Twin Cities. OR if the west is the most important thing then to go from Dallas, to OKC, to Wichita Falls, to Omaha and then directly to the Twin Cities. But they, instead, combined the two options with a disjointed connection between Wichita Falls and Kansas City, adding much mileage to the route.

                  What I'm getting at is that the highway route was chosen out of many different possible alternative routes none of which was "pre-ordained" despite your post hoc ergo propter hoc rationalizations. There very well could have been many different alternative routes where one medium sized city a hundred miles off was chosen instead.

                  We actually see this in battles for new interstate highway designations today. Getting a big highway is very beneficial for a city. Look, for instance, at the possible routes that the new Interstate 69 in Texas, which could pass through any number of medium sized cities that are nearby each other. The population in principle, yes, is a precondition, but the specific populations chosen and linked together in very specific ways is not just about "well the population is there so it had to be that way". It so very well certainly did not have to be that way.

                  23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

                  by wwmiv on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 02:38:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  A quick geography lesson. (7+ / 0-)

      The line that you refer to as being approximately I-35 is actually the point where the land to west ceases to get ~10 inches or more of precipitation  per year. East of the line dry land farming is possible. To the west is prairie where irrigation is required to grow crops.

      The vast majority of the population west of there is along rivers such as: The Platte, Missouri, Arkansas, Columbia, Snake, Salt, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Rio Grande, Colorado, Provo, Los Angeles, San Diego, etc...

      The point map is extremely impressive from a technical point of view. He allocated the population in the blocks based on the borders of the US Census "Place" aka "CDPs" the population was based in.
        The map makes it very easy to see errors in the census where population within a large block is spread out when its actually quite concentrated or the population is assigned to totally the wrong block.

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