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View Diary: Public transit won't revive GM (97 comments)

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  •  I don't think people are presuming anything here (1+ / 0-)
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    Obviously, some small town isn't going to have a subway or light rail.  The problem is there are plenty of suburban and urban areas that could benefit from better transit options.  And some smaller towns, particularly with commuters to suburban and urban jobs could benefit from bus service.

    •  OK, here's a scenario. (1+ / 0-)
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      There is a semi-urban corridor about 40 miles north of where I live.  I say that because it consists of two large towns, separated by 25 miles, each with a population of about 30K.  The large towns themselves are very sprawling, easily close to 10 miles from one side to the other.  There is no "suburbia" as it is generally understood, as these towns have two Walmarts and ONE single-level shopping mall between them.  However, there is a much larger community of people who work in either of these areas but don't live there.  They can commute from any number of small towns, such as the one I live in, and the towns are more or less evenly distributed around this semi-urban center.  I have heard of people commuting as much as two hours one-way.

      An hour and a half south of me, in the meantime, is another large town of about 35,000.  It too has a community of small town populations that have commuters.  So the commuting is not all in one direction, as it generally is in the Northeast, where people who live outside the big cities often commute there anyway and there is minimal commuting occurring in another direction.

      The Northeast can have a robust public transit system even outside the urban areas because of where the job base is.  The arrows point mostly in one direction.  In the Southeast, it's much more evenly distributed, and people can and do commute in pretty much any direction.

      How are you going to have a bus service for this?

      You're not.  This would have to be a massive project, coordinated at the state level, and it would almost certainly have to have an advisory board that represented the entire REGION of the Southeast.  And, frankly, the South doesn't have the tax base to support it.  This is plausible only if blue states are willing to pay more taxes to support red-state projects.  Somehow I doubt that many are willing to do that.

      However, if more Southerners drove hybrids and/or electric vehicles, that would stimulate the economy as well as cutting back on emissions.  That, I think, is the answer for this region. There ARE still liberals hailing from the Deep South.

      by PolitiCalypso on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 03:19:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fine (1+ / 0-)
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        I'm not suggesting mass transit in your area.  I lived many years in the middle of nowhere FL.  And yes, hybrids and electric vehicles are great.  But there are opportunities in the South as well.  Shouldn't Tampa and Orlando have better transit options?

        It's not a zero sum game.

        •  That's exactly what I've been saying (2+ / 0-)
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          NoMoreLies, JeffW

          Go with what fits for a given region.  Those cities that have the tax base, geography, and distribution of urbanized areas to support a public transit system can start to develop them.  Sprawling areas can have clean and safe buses.  (Late night buses in many cities are often rather dangerous.)  Areas where public transit isn't practical should encourage green cars.  There should be carpooling awareness as well in these areas.

          The mistake that many of this site make, and the mistake that is in Moore's diary, is to discount the fact that the automobile is indeed a necessity for certain areas of the country, and that because of this, it should be made as efficient as possible.

 There ARE still liberals hailing from the Deep South.

          by PolitiCalypso on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 03:35:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The mind boggles (3+ / 0-)
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        rehana, BYw, cheinke

        However, if more Southerners drove hybrids and/or electric vehicles, that would stimulate the economy as well as cutting back on emissions.  That, I think, is the answer for this region.

        Have you ever heard the statistic that Americans make up 5% of the world population and consume 30% of its resources?

        Do you really think that's sustainable?

        Petroleum is only a tiny portion of that 30%.  The only, literally the only solution you propose is something that would cut down slightly on petroleum usage, while keeping everything else the same.  And somehow that's a solution?

        May you live long enough to see what that attitude does to the world.


      •  First, how close are you to ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... a proposed Regional HSR corridor? If its not too far away, the strategy to shift from the settlement pattern that public policy has put in place in that area to to one that is more sustainable could well involve:

        (1) Establishing the location of the HSR station ... or given the extent, possibly stations ... state and Federal support are critical to getting this up and running as the fulcrum, but its an excellent starting point.

        (2) Given the HSR station(s) as anchors, identify the most promising line of travel for a Rapid Streetcar service. This will depend in part on existing and  legacy rail rights of way in the area ... while the Southeast was not as well endowed with interurbans connecting almost all small towns to big and medium sized cities as the Great Lakes and Midwest, there are often alignments that even residents are unaware existed.

        (3) Zoning easements are provided for the target infill development centers ... often original town centers ... of perhaps 1/2 a mile in length, returning to the rail corridor to run through ... operating inside the corridor from one stretch to another.

        (4) Short circulator bus loops connect origins and destinations to the rail backbone, with integrated ticketing and scheduling.

        Once the rail corridor is established, it will of course begin to attract development, so over time the pattern of destinations will become less sprawling and more clustered. And then that will make it easier to combine trips, and permit greater energy efficiency by motorists.

        In the background, the existing cross-subsidies from existing development to new greenfield development is eliminated, so greenfield developments have to pay the cost of their establishment, including cost of integrating them into the transport system, while infill development is given a discount reflecting the greater cost efficiency of providing services to infill sites. IOW, stop bribing developers to behave in the way that creates the problem in the first place.

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