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On August 16, my attention was drawn to the article The carbon cost of building and operating light rail, by Emory Bundy, a board member of the Seattle anti-rail group, Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives.

What especially raised my ire was:

But the greatest harm to the environment and the public comes when you calculate the lost opportunities. ...

The leading forfeited opportunity is bicycling, the best possible transportation mode: cost-effective, energy-efficient, non-polluting, and healthy — save for the danger from surrounding cars.

I thought I would, as a public service, wade through this one. Some of this is with the help of discussants from the Eurotrib, in the diary Help! w/Anti-Light Rail arguments ... ... of course, I selfishly appropriate all credit for any errors.

One Thing I Want To Make Clear, Before Starting

Yes, I intend to write a short, clear, hard hitting, op-ed style reply to the steaming pile of Bullshit that Mr. Bundy dropped into the Seattle light rail funding debate.

But I gotta wade through the bullshit first. I have my anti-rail BS waders on ... I suggest you outfit yourselves appropriately as well, before following along. After I have waded through and have had a chance to hose the waders off, and have altogether returned to a state fit for civilized company, I will compose the civilized reply. Given the long weekend, I hope I will be able to get it done before Tuesday, but if not, certainly by next weekend.

Update: Trains and the Environment: One Cycle Commuter's Perspective.

The Big Bang

The article starts with a big bang: the northern extension of the tunnel under Seattle:

To extend light rail service north from downtown, the next phase, Sound Transit will have to dig through and remove more than 600,000 cubic yards of rock and muck — equivalent to a pile of debris 350 miles long, three feet wide, and three feet high. Sound Transit plans to expend lots of energy digging and excavating that stuff: 17.4 trillion British Thermal Units, according to its environmental-impact statement, equivalent to the energy in 140 million gallons of gasoline. That much gas, or diesel, would fill 8,000-gallon tanker trucks lined up from Seattle to Canada. If all the energy consumed by tunnel-excavating and hauling is generated by gasoline or diesel, it will emit nearly 1.3 million tons of greenhouse gases, CO2, into the environment.

And then the estimated CO2 savings from light rail by Sound Transit are used to arrive at 90 years to payback the CO2 from this tunnel.

The first thing that popped into my mind when reading this argument was, what about the indirect CO2 savings? That is, Transit Oriented Development (TOD) leads to a reduction in total travel miles, by establishing activity centers as opposed to the sprawl of Highway Oriented Development (HOD). And that reduces total miles driven by those who use cars, in addition to getting people out of cars and into transit.

The second thing was, what about network effects? The CO2 savings from operation of this particular line will be compounded by the operation of additional routes north of the tunnel ... both extensions of the new line, and routes connecting to the new line.

And, of course, these are interactive effects. If, conservatively, indirect TOD CO2 savings are half the total saving, and further extensions end up accounting for only half of the eventual usage of the tunnel, 90 years drops by 3/4 to 22.5 years.

And then after some helpful nudges by others, including on the Eurotrib and the commentators to Mr. Bundy's original article, I finally saw the most glaring flaw in the argument: it is comparing the CO2 capital and operating cost of the rail to the operating cost of cars. It is, in other words, assuming that road construction and maintenance has a zero CO2 cost.

Now, consider that light rail is far more space-efficient than road transport ... and only a relatively small share of the total proposed light rail network is underground.

To actually make his argument, Mr. Bundy needs to estimate the CO2 impact of the construction of the proposed light rail network, and the CO2 impact of the construction of sufficient roadworks to cope with the estimated ridership. Thanks to his effort to make the light rail look as bad as possible, we can already estimate that the operating savings payback the CO2 cost of the tunnel in around 25 years as a worst case. So even if the total roadworks came in at 50% the CO2 cost of the light rail infrastructure, we'd have a payback of under 15 years.

Obviously, if the CO2 cost of the light network is less than the CO2 cost of the equivalent road capacity, there is nothing to pay back.

An Egregiously Inflated Estimate Should Be Accompanied by Smoke and Mirrors

In order to make his distorted comparison seem more reasonable, Mr. Bundy throws in a non-sequitur:

Further, public transit's contribution to fuel efficiency is exaggerated. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's 2006 Data Book, per-passenger energy consumed by rail transit is only 19 percent more fuel efficient than today's automobiles (2,784 vs. 3,445 BTUs per passenger mile). If the improvements before Congress are enacted, shortly cars will be more energy-efficient.

Of course, many of the commuter vehicles in Seattle are not cars, but SUV's, which show up in the light trucks category in the Data Book ... 7,652 BTU's per vehicle mile, which in typical commuter use of 1.25 passengers per vehicle or less would be in excess of 6,000 BTU's per passenger mile.

And at the same time, the idea that commuter energy use, largely one person per car or SUV, in congested stop and go traffic, is going to equal the overall average ... that is more than a bit silly.

But what makes this argument a non-sequitur is the premise that ... in the US context, with capital spending on public transport being shortchanged for decades, and with Federal funding formulas completely ignoring energy efficiency ... there are no energy efficiency gains available in public transport.

Referring to the DOE Data Book reveals the absurdity of this premise. While average car energy efficiencies per mile have been steadily improving (matched by steady increases in total miles per vehicle per year), the greatest energy efficiency for rail transit listed in the Data Book was 2,144 BTU's per passenger mile ... in 1978.

How does this technological progress run in reverse? It is, of course, not the "hard" side of technology, but the "soft" side ... the social organization side. Almost three decade policy, since Reagan, of starving public transport of funds has succeeded in driving away passengers, reducing patronage, increasing energy cost per passenger mile.

And of course, if we combine the load factors we were able to achieve after the first Oil Shock, with the energy efficiency of new technology (largely developed in Europe and Japan), we can clearly do better than we were doing in 1978.

Having Turned Them Around, Hit The While They're Dizzy

Another environmental drawback is that Sound Transit actively promotes and subsidizes sprawl by operation of Sounder commuter rail. It provides spacious, handy free parking at all Sounder stations and intends to build a lot more so people can live hither and yon, drive their single-occupancy vehicles to the train, and take long, lavishly subsidized trips to downtown Seattle to work. ...

... as opposed to driving their single-occupancy vehicles to the Interstate and taking long, lavishly subsidized trips to downtown Seattle to work that way.

Of course, if people are driving to the station to commute to work, and that community adopts Transit Oriented Development, the people in that community will drive less than the community that relies on the Interstate Highway for their lavishly subsidized travel to work. However, as already established, Mr. Bundy does not take indirect development impacts into account, and prefers to ignore the environmental costs of road construction and maintenance.

And Then The Grand Finale

Well, OK, so I have not gone through every twist and turn of Mr. Bundy's argument ... but now we are at the Grand Finale:

But the greatest harm to the environment and the public comes when you calculate the lost opportunities. Much could be done to move people and reduce congestion in energy-efficient, cost-effective, health-enhancing ways, but Sound Transit is sucking up a huge share of the fiscal oxygen. Vanpools and better use of existing transit have been mentioned. Carpools are a third option. Incentives and programs to increase carpooling just a little would take more cars off the road, and save more energy, than anything Sound Transit aspires to do, and do it much faster, more reliably, with less risk. Completing the HOV system and instituting congestion pricing should be high priorities.

The leading forfeited opportunity is bicycling, the best possible transportation mode: cost-effective, energy-efficient, non-polluting, and healthy — save for the danger from surrounding cars.

The limitations of vanpools and carpools as long term solutions seem obvious, at least to me. Given an increasing range of "flexible" working arrangements, which almost always means that the worker's schedule flexes to suit the needs of the business, it is becoming harder and harder to carpool ... let alone vanpool. Take my situation ... I am currently working as a temp, and I will not know until around 7:30 Tuesday morning whether I am going to be working on Tuesday. And since that department ships on Tuesdays, and the pallets have to be ready to ship before we leave, if I am called in, I will not know for sure whether I will be done at 3:30.

My options are to drive or to cycle, which leaves cycling if I am going to have enough left at the end of the month to pay my student loan.

Now, if gasoline goes to $5/gallon or more, interest in carpooling and vanpooling will, of course, shoot up, and with it the numbers involved and the energy savings ... but many of those who will need it the most will be unable to use it, because of unstable hours.

What they will ... well, OK, what we will need is transport that does rely on petroleum, and that can be used when we need it.

And of course, the higher the share of capital cost and lower the share of operating cost, the less financial pressure to restrict the hours of operation, which results in better availability through the day for rail compared to buses. Even if my work hours were stable enough to use it, the dial-a-ride bus in my county starts operating at 7:00am, and for a normal shift I have to be on the clock by 7:00am.

Now, don't get me wrong ... carpools and vanpools will be very useful when the crunch comes. But they are not the reliable means of transport that allows someone to go without a car.

So, Mr. Bundy, You Ever Commute By Bike

Of course, if none of the rest of the article makes it clear what Mr. Bundy is doing, the bike section does. Mr. Bundy is not trying to sway the well-informed member of the electorate ... because when the argument gets to bikes, it becomes almost too absurd for words. Mr. Bundy is trying to find someone who wants to rationalize a knee jerk opposition to light rail, whether it is some association of public transport with the wrong sort of people, or just a preference to free load off of society.

Look, I cycle commute to work. Work is 14 miles away, and that is an hour and a half plus commute to work, over the rolling countryside of Northeast Ohio. We will simply not see large numbers of people doing that by choice.

And I do not believe for a minute that Mr. Bundy believes a system of dedicated cycleways alone will allow large numbers of people to abandon their cars for bikes ... without substantial investment in public transport. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, it is on occasion necessary to go further than five to ten miles. On the other hand, if there is a train station within that five miles ... five riding miles, that is, not five miles as the crow flies ... and that connects to the heart of a major city, well, now we're talking.

I know the difference because before I was cycle commuting in Northeast Ohio, I was cycle commuting in Newcastle, Australia. And while I could not conceivably get to Sydney by bike, I could cycle down to the rail line and catch a train to Sydney, and be in the heart of a big city.

Now, there is the situation that Mr. Bundy concludes, in the finale of his piece:

Sound Transit compounds the bicycle imbalance by poor planning to facilitate cyclists. Recently it announced that light-rail cars will accommodate 200 passengers (by cramming them on) but only two bicycles. Two!

Of course, Cityrail carriages accommodated more than 200 passengers each ... they are double-deckers ... and had very limited space for bicycles. On the one hand, my bike was a folding bike, so I could put it in the regular luggage space.

But that is not the main game here. Because when you have the advantage of a dedicated route with dedicated stations, that opens the door to this approach to handling cycle-and-ride transit:
 title=

... that is, park the bike and catch the train. I think this is an especially effective response to Mr. Bundy, because when he raises the issue of bikes, he focuses on one country:

A quarter-century ago, Amsterdam and Copenhagen were accumulating heavy automotive traffic, more congestion, more accidents, squeezing out bicycles and pedestrians, just like American cities. Since then, they've worked and invested to facilitate and promote bicycling and walking, reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases, improve air quality, enhance the health of participants, and radically reduce the frequency of accidents. Much of the focus has been the provision of safe, exclusive corridors, often taking lanes or even streets that had been dedicated to (or encroached on by) automobiles. Also key is paying close attention to safe crossings, so that children, even young children, can safely bicycle to school, as most now do.

In those cities, the market share of transit is six to eight times what it is here — 16 percent in Amsterdam and 20 percent in Copenhagen, contrasted with less than 3 percent in Sound Transit's domain. Bicycling outstrips transit, with market shares well beyond 20 percent and growing. Here, it's roughly 1 percent.

... and that multi-level bike garage in Amsterdam is one of the results ... since in Amsterdam, which Mr. Bundy sets forward as the example to follow for getting people onto bikes, with those examples of 16% and 20% transit shares ... what is the foundation for their transit system?

Yup, you guess it ... rail.

If Mr. Bundy seriously wanted to make several jumps in level of cycle use in Seattle in order to reach the levels of the Netherlands, one of the first things he would do would be to quit the board of his anti-rail group, and join a pro-rail group.

And given his "strong environmental concerns", that is just what Mr. Bundy ought to do, since after all:

The leading forfeited opportunity is bicycling, the best possible transportation mode: cost-effective, energy-efficient, non-polluting, and healthy — save for the danger from surrounding cars.

... by supporting trains, he would not only be supporting bikes directly, by making it far easier to go without a car ... but he would be helping to get more of those nasty death cages off the road.

Conclusions

Well, so I have waded through the bullshit ... and actually, because this diary is already so extremely long, left out a couple of clumps along the way ... and now that this is off my chest, I've been able to have a sleep and start thinking about my op-ed reply to Mr. Bundy.

Of course, it would not have done to publish this and go off to sleep, so I've waited until this morning to put this up.

Mind you, I lived long enough in Australia that the difference between when I wrote this and when I publish it poses no serious compositional difficulties. All I have to say is, ...

G'Day, lets talk about Greenwashing Anti-Rail arguments, and how to fight them.

Originally posted to BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Man, you know how to RAIL! (11+ / 0-)

      Can we borrow you here in Atlanta, as a comparable debate starts to heat up in the next few years?

      How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
      Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

      by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:43:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hopefully in a few years I'll be back to my ... (5+ / 0-)

        ... target employment as an economist ... in which case, sure!

        SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

        by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:47:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm going to remember! (3+ / 0-)

          Our metro area has been adding - net! - 100,000 people each year. For each of the past 25-30 years.

          We're now approaching 5 million people, depending on how many of the - and I am not making this up! - 22 counties in the Atlanta SMSA you want to actually include in a functional "Greater Atlanta."

          And many of the people of power & influence still think of the little ol' Atlanta of their youth. And they remember how our mass transit org, MARTA, tore the crap out of the city to put in heavy rail, and how lame they operate their heavy rail/bus system.

          New thinking is coming (on board many of those 100k/yr) but slowly!

          How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
          Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

          by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:57:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Lamely." Or "pathetically," if you wish. (2+ / 0-)

            how lame they operate

            How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
            Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

            by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:57:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  well, to be fair (4+ / 0-)

            The "counties" in the east, including Georgia, are tiny by western U.S. standards.

            Still, the political nightmare of coordinating that many little fiefdoms.  Yikes!

            •  Yes, but they're legitimately "Eastern-sized"... (2+ / 0-)

              ... counties. Same size counties as throughout the East, because the county-size standard was set during Colonial times. That's why Georgia, the largest state east of the Mississippi, has the largest total number of counties of any state in the Union.

              No metro area in the East has anywhere near that many counties, i.e. as large a diameter, as does Atlanta, nor do any but perhaps 1 or 2 Western cities.

              How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
              Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

              by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:29:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yes indeed! I missed your coda. (0+ / 0-)

              Still, the political nightmare of coordinating that many little fiefdoms.  Yikes!

              It's horrible! No metropolitan government at all. Tentative first steps w/r environment, transit, etc. But major fiefdoms, absolutely.

              Imagine a metro area that's as complex as, say, Boston, but without centuries-long traditions of towns & cities working together, with counties still in place as an active layer of governance, and the ever-present issue of race that helped shape some of our suburban counties in the 70s.

              The missed opportunity of the 1950s and early 1960s was to create metropolitan government. But who knew then, when Atlanta was the same size as Birmingham, Charlotte, New Orleans, etc., that it would become a 5-million person metro area?

              How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
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              by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:28:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Why does Georgia have so many counties? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pat208

            I could never understand that. I do know that they tried to build a commuter rail line from Atlanta to Lovejoy, but it seems to have failed through. There are efforts to bring lines from Atlanta to Macon, but even that has been put off. I hear that Georgia is home to the most hostile Republicans to any sort of public transportation, especially rail.

            What are the 22 counties that make the Atlanta area? What makes the Atlanta area so attractive?

            •  It says it up there ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pat208, carver

              ... counties east of the Mississippi all tend to be of a similar size, established by the need to be able to get to the county seat during colonial days  ... and Georgia is the biggest state east of the Mississippi.

              When you get over the Mississippi, the counties start to get bigger in average size. Indeed, I grew up in the second biggest county in Ohio, and it wouldn't hold a candle to a county in western Nebraska

              SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

              by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:17:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  From what I understand, ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... the standard was set by the distance a person, on horseback, could ride from one county seat to any of the adjoining county seats, in one day.

                The only shame in ignorance is taking pride in it.

                by carver on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:48:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Atlanta is attractive, IMO... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              raines, tribalecho

              ... because it's:

              • economically thriving across a wide range of industries/professions
              • inexpensive c/w North & both Coasts
              • racially diverse & tolerant, even welcoming
              • politically diverse
              • culturally attractive to collegiates & 20-somethings
              • globalizing at a rapid rate
              • attracting job-based immigration of Latinos
              • got great climate (c/w the North & rest of South)
              • got the busiest airport in the US (access)
              • I'm here. Seriously. I'm downright magnetic.

              How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
              Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

              by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:24:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

                But I've heard that the traffic is miserable there and the public transportation infrastructure is extremely lacking. I've driven on I-75/I-85 through Atlanta, near where that bus flipped over, and it was scary. I wouldn't want to live there.

                •  Infrastructure blows... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  unterhausen, pat208

                  but all of the other good stuff is true.  As a misplaced Northwesterner, I find the city a pretty good place.

                  Now, all those crazy people in the countryside that seem to think Atlanta is a unitary scorge upon their God-fearing lands ... I might stay away from them.  But there are a pretty good number of nice and decent folks as well.

                  Although I would argue against the good climate.  I have pretty Northern European blood, and 100 degree summers with humidity don't do me too well.

                •  Yeah, as Yogi Berra once said about a NYC club... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tribalecho, skeptigal, ER Doc

                  ... "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

                  I wouldn't want to live there.

                  Around 100K other people, each year, and even now, still find it to be worth diving in.

                  It's still a terrific place to live, as long as you choose to live near where you work. Which is pretty sensible, dontcha think? I live 2 miles from work and don't have traffic issues at all!

                  It's the folks who thought they'd be living in bermuda-grass lawn, 4500 square foot, cul-de-sac paradise with a 20 minute commute who were seriously deluding themselves. Those commutes turned into 60+ minute stressfests when they were joined by 100k others who had the same idea.

                  In the past 10 years we've seen a remarkable (and, IMO, wonderful!) turnaround in terms of development. The city itself (and "inside the Perimeter") towns and neighborhoods have been booming, with a lot of higher density residential and live-work-play development. It's turning into a real city.

                  The missing piece? The transit to connect these areas of higher density.

                  How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
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                  by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:41:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And from what I've heard GA's politicians, (0+ / 0-)

                    especially its Republicans, are hostile to any and all forms of public transportation.

                    •  Repubs, yes, who are now in charge at state level (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      skeptigal, ER Doc

                      City of Atlanta is pursuing the innovative BeltLine transit/park/economic development initiative. It will require funding from outside the City, but remarkably, this entire ring of rail rights of way lies entirely within the City of Atlanta. (And Republicans are interested, or at least not dismissive, because of the implications for real estate development.)

                      It looks like it's going to happen, and the Beltline will be an early and important part of the transformation of the metro area into a more transit-oriented place.

                      How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
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                      by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:37:34 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That would shock me because everything that (0+ / 0-)

                        I have read out of GA indicates that there is strong opposition to any rail-based forms of transportations.

                        •  This "GA" you speak of is large and heterogeneous (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Odysseus

                          So you're clearly missing some important pieces of the picture.

                          Check out the Beltline site and see for yourself. It's a great project, and it looks like a winner.

                          MARTA is several years into the planning work for a major expansion of its meager linage, tending toward the C-loop concept and South Dekalb lines that will go for low-hanging fruit -- already-dense areas with no rail access.

                          The metro area is also going to get some combination of light rail or (more likely) BRT (bus rapid transit) to the northern suburbs. And within the city, there are serious trolley line proposals for Peachtree and some other urban corridors.

                          Commuter rail to Athens or Lovejoy are having a much harder time, and state Republicans are going to be even more stingy about funding on those than the other projects.

                          How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
                          Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

                          by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:45:02 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Added the MARTA link. (0+ / 0-)

                            MARTA is several years into the planning work for a major expansion of its meager linage, tending toward the C-loop concept and South Dekalb linesthat will go for low-hanging fruit -- already-dense areas with no rail access.

                            How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
                            Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

                            by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:49:53 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Damn! Nothing up the northwest corridor. Damn (0+ / 0-)

                            you MARTA.  I've lived withing walking distance of a rail station for years but there's no way to get to work without a tedious and unreliable bus connection.  Almost two hours for a 15 mile commute.  And I work right of I-75.  

                            I had jury duty in downtown Atl recently and I loved the convenience of the taking the train.  

                            "Yes dear. Conspiracy theories really do come true." (tuck, tuck)

                            by tribalecho on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 11:20:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think Cobb County will be doing its own thing. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tribalecho

                            No surprise. But their thing appears to be Bus Rapid Transit along the I-75 corridor. Stay tuned.

                            How many cars have you taken off the road this year?
                            Join the Kos group at One Billion Bulbs

                            by pat208 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 11:51:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And no one will ride BRT (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tribalecho, The Overhead Wire

                            That's the reality. Most BRT proposals amount to nothing more than glorified bus service, which won't attract the ridership that would ride a rail-based system.

                          •  I only wanna go to Paces Ferry/Northside Drive. (0+ / 0-)

                            The last time I used public trans the bus broke down at about 11pm.  We were near the 14th st Humane Society (the bus maintenence place is around there).

                            The driver told us he didn't know how long it would take to get help and we should all walk to the nearest train station.  Not a big confidence builder.

                            pat208, do you post at any local Atlanta blogs?  Or recommend any?  I haven't paid much attention since Doug Monroe left town.  I really need to keep tabs on BFD, at least.

                            "Yes dear. Conspiracy theories really do come true." (tuck, tuck)

                            by tribalecho on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 07:17:45 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

                            But BRT is a joke. No one is going to ride buses. While people will ride light-rail, commuter trains, subways, and streetcars, they won't ride buses. Well I hope that you're right about GA implementing more public transportation options. I heard, though, that a lot of people view MARTA as "Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta".

                          •  Perth was very successful in getting people ... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pat208, Grass

                            ... onto buses, when they re-opened their rail system, with a new electric train replacing the old diesels that had been shut down a while before ... the bus routes were re-organized to tie into the train network, and bus ridership jumped, while the train system also attracted much better patronage than the system that had shut down.

                            The idea that buses and trains are rivals is one promoted by those who use buses as the public transport excuse for highway oriented development funding.

                            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 11:14:52 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But we are talking about BRT (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            The Overhead Wire

                            BRT is a different animal altogether. The logic behind BRT is to--taking the words from a GAO report on it--"think rail, but use buses". The idea is to have subway-like stations where a bus would stop at an at-grade boarding. The buses would come as frequently as a subway would with the same number of limited stops.

                            BRT proposals range from simple express bus service to actual lines that have their own right-of-way with subway-like stops. But in the end it's still a bus and won't attract the same patronage that a rail line would.

                          •  It should also be noted that (0+ / 0-)

                            the GAO report pushed by our buddy Tom Delay has been debunked many times for making false comparisons.  But yeah, the issue has to do with buses that hope to be like trains.  But as we all know, they aren't.

                          •  Of course they aren't (0+ / 0-)

                            Here in DC they supposedly have a version of BRT called the "Circulator". These buses run on the major tourist route in Georgetown and Downtown DC and are supposed to run so frequently that there is no schedule. But I've noticed that no one really rides the Circulator. It's attracted few of the promised riders. Yes, it isn't like the full-blown BRT, as it had to share the same right-of-way with cars; but it has at-grade boarding, limited stops, and very frequent service.

                            They did start something called "Metro Extra" on the 70 line on 7th Street NW/SW and Georgia Avenue NW. It is similar to BRT in that it has limited stops. That line has riders, but that is because there is no comparable Metro service that goes up Georgia Avenue. While the Green and Yellow lines run under 7th Street NW/SW, after the Shaw stop, they turn toward U Street and Columbia Heights before passing the Georgia Avenue/Petworth stop. Passengers going straight up Georgia Avenue still have to take the bus.

                            But the demographic that public transportation ideally is meant to attract from their cars--working suburban, affluent riders--will not ride buses. They will take trains, subways, streetcars, and light-rail. But they aren't going to abandon their cars to ride a glorified bus. The public has a strong preference for rail.

                          •  They will take the bus for a short hop to .. (0+ / 0-)

                            ... a train station. That is one of the lessons of the Perth experience, among others.

                            And I get the impression that it really is an explicit, not just tacit, excuse ... people actually saying, "I'm catching the bus to the station" actually being said, so that people don't get the wrong idea that they are bus riders, as such.

                            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:35:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

                            But they aren't going to ride a bus trying to be a subway or light rail line.

                          •  Some will, if its well done ... (0+ / 0-)
                            ... but not as many as a light rail or subway line, which is why its an alternative to consider when deciding upon the appropriate type of bus system in routes with under 10,000 trips.

                            Of course, an underground tunnel to run buses underneath the downtown of a big American City is absurd ... as Don King says, Only In America.

                            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:55:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm all for BRT ... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... when operating below the passenger threshold for light rail, then a BRT route, especially one that interchanges with a higher demand light rail or rapid transit route, is superior to an ordinary city bus route.

                            It goes without saying that a Curitiba style BRT system requires far heavier zoning controls to be as successful as rail-based TOD, and anyone that says otherwise is trying to blow smoke up the asses of the public ...

                            ... but below the threshold for light rail, which, recalling the appropriate diary (4/5) from Daneel's excellent rail series:

                            Light rail is the right choice for ten to hundred thousand daily trips, not higher (or lower). With that, it could serve as the backbone of public transport in cities between 100,000 and 3-500,000 inhabitants. Above that, it is best used as feeder/distributor for heavier rail systems. For example, should the (already well-frequented) METRORail in multi-million city Houston expand from a single line to a real city-wide system, and induce a large proportion of inhabitants to switch to public transport, the addition of a proper subway or express railway would become unavoidable.

                            ... so for fewer than 10,000 daily trips (on maturity), a BRT system may well be the choice ... especially if the BRT system can support trolleybuses.

                            Or, IOW, don't get the transit alternatives themselves confused with the bullshit arguments that people spin regarding them. BRT itself is a perfectly sensible bus alternative to consider.

                            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:23:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But even Curitiba, Brazil, home to the heralded (0+ / 0-)

                            BRT system, is now considering building their own transit system. The so-called "shining star" of BRT is considering adding "Metro Elevado".

                            I don't see BRT as a substitute for a subway or light rail line. The BRT proponents argue that it can provide the same benefits of rail, and I disagree. Again ultimately the target demographic for public transportation--working middle and upper class suburban professionals--is not going to ditch their car for glorified express bus service.

                          •  But that's what I'm saying ... seperate BRT ... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... from the BRT proponents. True BRT is better than a bus that competes with street traffic. And the better the grade separation, the easier it is to provide light rail to replace the most heavily used of the BRT routes as the transit share in a city rises.

                            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:02:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But I still don't see BRT as a substitute (0+ / 0-)

                            for high-quality subway or light rail service. And most of the BRT proposals that I've seen amount to being nothing more than glorified express bus service. The other issue that I have with the argument is that BRT simply won't attract enough riders. Riders who would otherwise take rail will not use BRT. And thus the strategy to put in a BRT before rail would fail because it would result in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

                          •  BRT before rail in a given route ... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... since, as I noted above, for best effect it will interchange with one or more higher capacity routes.

                            Proposing BRT before rail citywide in a high income nation would be madness ... and therefore it would  be pushed hard, as Don King says, Only In America.

                            If does not have its own dedicated corridor for at least part of its route, its not BRT ... but then, as the Europeans have shown, a "Quality" bus service with express service and effective bus priorities can attract patronage if it interconnects into a larger transport network.

                            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:25:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Maybe so (0+ / 0-)

                            I just don't see BRT as the "wonderful" solution that its proponents claim it to be.

                          •  It isn't ... most useful solutions to ... (0+ / 0-)
                            ... specific problems are promoted at one time or another as the be all and end all. Its something that seems to go with the terrain.

                            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:35:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think they (0+ / 0-)

                            dropped plans for the monorail and have plans for light rail.  But I haven't seen anything lately so they might have dropped that as well.

                          •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

                            That is what is on their site when I last checked.

              •  You're kidding (0+ / 0-)

                got great climate (c/w the North & rest of South)

                I don't know what kind of climate you consider "great," but Atlanta, and the rest of the Southeast US, would be the last place I would live mainly because of the climate.  The humidity and temperatures are stifling.  Is it any wonder that Atlanta remained a wasteland of those who couldn't escape until air conditioning became widely available?

                Give me a snowy winter over a sauna-like summer any day.

        •  we need you in Harrisburg too (0+ / 0-)

          just wrote a diary about teh stupid here.

          ohhh sweet mystery of life at last i found youuuuu blogroll

          by terrypinder on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:51:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No, we need you in Charlotte too, (4+ / 0-)

      where all the anti-rail-BS is heating up as a group of knuckle-dragging mouth-breathing organisms is leading a campaign to repeal the 1/2 cent sales tax that is being used by Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to both build a rail system and expand and operate the bus system.

      The "greenmail" is a new, "Seattle-centric" tactic, though, and one that wouldn't work in Starbuck's-deprived Charlotte: the anti-rail wankers also hate bicycles. Their anti-rail arguments mostly originate within toxic-waste heaps such as the Reason Foundation and the John Locke Foundation.

      But my biggest question is: WHY?

      WHY do these people oppose transit so much? The economic arguments are lies, the environmental arguments are smoke and mirrors...the only hint I've ever had came from a few of "them" who seem to have a fundamental, gut-level, ideological aversion to transit of any sort, insofar as it is a socialist plot to force all of us Comrades to live and work where Big Brother wants us to. Yes, to these people, transit is THE anti-Christian, THE anti-American, THE anti-capitalism, THE anti-family, THE anti-free-will embodiment of the worst of all socialist plots that are destroying the very foundationsof 'Merican society. To them, it is right up there with same-sex marriage, universal healthcare, and Larry Craig's closet.

      Is that the mindset of the anti-rail folks in your necks of the woods, too? Just curious.

    •  devastating. (4+ / 0-)

      nice rebuttal. Are you aware of The Stranger? Seattle's free weekly paper. You might invite them to publish your thoughts on this.
      http://www.thestranger.com/...

      •  I second that! (0+ / 0-)

        I would definitely submit this piece to them. It would be great to have your voice heard by the Seattlites on this topic. Great piece Bruce, much appreciated!

        "Under John, the constitution will return", Elizabeth Edwards.

        by sarahlane on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:36:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  we've got a couple spare intertubes (0+ / 0-)

      but they've been to Burning Man, so not sure if you'd want 'em.

      We camped with a bunch of Seattleites as part of Sustainabilville, had some great conversations about the environment, Sustainable MBA programs, and the like.

    •  I commute by bike (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackGriffen, skeptigal

      But that doesn't mean that there shouldn't be a good rail system too.
        It really isn't a question of bike vs. rail. Bike groups have no problem with a good rail system.
        The issue is bike + rail vs cars.

      "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." - Mark Twain

      by gjohnsit on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 01:26:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At least someone is looking at a bigger (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Overhead Wire, Judge Moonbox

    picture and hopefully getting others like you to look at the all the facts. One of the biggest problems we will face in fighting global warming is recognizing the hidden disadvantages to many things that look like great solutions on the surface. Personally I would have thought surface light rail would make more sense. I lived in Seattle from 1980 to 1994 and we were talking about it back then and it seemed if I remember correctly there were adequate above ground surfaces for light rail in conjunction with existing hi-way system etc. But I have no idea what they are planning.

    We aren't going to destroy the Republic by enforcing the Constitution, we destroy it by inaction, by being fearful of the consequences.

    by ghengismom on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:31:41 AM PDT

    •  This is, as I understand it, an extension of ... (9+ / 0-)

      ... the light rail that was added to the existing underground bus tunnel ... from the map put out by Sound Transit, the underground portion beneath downtown is the trunk of a mostly above-ground system.

       title=

       title=

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:46:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the maps, Seattle is a good (3+ / 0-)

        green yardstick for me. I will have to look into this more.

        We aren't going to destroy the Republic by enforcing the Constitution, we destroy it by inaction, by being fearful of the consequences.

        by ghengismom on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:54:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  one thing about those potential extensions (0+ / 0-)

        is the croos-lake ones using the bridges.

        During the monorail debates it was stated that the I90 bridges could not support the light rail system, but could handle the monorail.

        I have a friend working in the DOT and asked them about this. They poked around, talked to engineers involved in a study, and agreed that it is iffy if light rail can be added to the I90 bridge, at least without a fairly expensive and disruptive modification.

        The 520 bridge simple can't as it exists now. It needs to be replaced, and there is talk of including light rail in the new bridge. Potential problems there are that the corridor runs through the Arboretum and next to some rather expensive residential real estate on both side of the lake. Resistance to expansion of 520 past the current capabilities is already evident.

      •  Thanks for this! (0+ / 0-)

        When I first started looking at the proposed route I was worried. Until I saw that they do have plans to extend the rail to the east side. The suburbs of Seattle are also suffering greatly do to the massive population explosion. The route they're planning the rail for looks great, glad to see that they identified the most congested routes.

        "Under John, the constitution will return", Elizabeth Edwards.

        by sarahlane on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:39:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Up-front costs in these scenarios (7+ / 0-)

      are of what I would call the "super bullshit" class, where the assumptions of comparison are so bad as to make the whole thought process worthless.

      The assumption is that current roads require no maintenance or expansion and that everything we have is hands-off save for cars.

      If we don't build any light-rail, we will continue to expand lanes and remanage traffic.  Further, the current choke-point in downtown Seattle (under the convention center underpass where things get necked to 2-3 lanes IIRC) will require massive rework in order to be fixed.

      Carbon-wise, I would think the efforts of road and train would be more or less equal.  Road is made of asphalt, so that is a major carbon boost right there (in all the cracking and petroleum products - but do you count this out of a 'waste' stream or fresh oil?).  Yes, there is some underground construction possible, but most should be localized to downtown Seattle - I don't see much outside of the city core that requires underground tracks.  Even the international district has room for tracks, IMHO.

      I'm all for full life-cycle costing, but I'll start with taking only analysis from proven green groups.  Conservatives aren't good enough at systematic thinking yet to be trusted.

  •  I've found it interesting ... (9+ / 0-)

    How well organized the anti-rail movement astroturf is.

    A lot of it seems to be coordinated by an outfit called the Thoreau Institute. (Doncha love the names these guys come up with?) On the face of it they're a bunch of Ludwig von Mises type cranks, but I'd be interested to know who they're a stalking horse for.

    The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

    by al Fubar on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:37:54 AM PDT

    •  Looked at their website (4+ / 0-)

      Fanatical, libertarian diatribes.  No indication of people supporting or managing it.  Well funded by the Cato crowd, who probably get support from the well-integrated auto-petro-highway construction lobbies.  Thoreau would have thrown up had he known what use is being made of his name.  

      (Note that there is another "Thoreau Institute" near Walden Pond, focussed on public lands and housing the writings of Helen and Scott Nearing, pioneers of the ecology movement.  The Nearings would have had nothing to do with the Randall O'Toole Thoreau Institute, which is a front for anti-transit interests.)

      Incidentally, the US Chamber of Commerce spent millions trying to stop the creation of the Washington Metro.  Can you imagine what the congestion in DC would be without the Metro?  Bad enough as it is.

      Radical Republicanism is Ruining our Republic.

      by djohnutk on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:01:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The important thing is preventing the ability ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dufffbeer, Judge Moonbox

        ... to pose that question, for the roadworks lobby ... preventing people from having examples to point to and say, "lord, imagine the traffic congestion if we didn't have that".

        SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

        by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:10:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And ironically now the same US Chamber of (0+ / 0-)

        Commerce now actively is supporting the Metro extension to Dulles, although the project seems to be in peril.

      •  Thoreau did say, "The railroads ride on us." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, sfbob

        Fanatical, libertarian diatribes.  No indication of people supporting or managing it.  Well funded by the Cato crowd, who probably get support from the well-integrated auto-petro-highway construction lobbies.  Thoreau would have thrown up had he known what use is being made of his name.

        If Thoreau was around today, he'd be far more critical of the automobile for riding on us, far more dismissive of the convenience we think we get from the car.

        It should be said that even within Transcendentalist circles, Thoreau was a Luddite. While we may hold him as an example of simple living, few of us would be prepared to make the sacrifices that he did.

        To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

        by Judge Moonbox on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:22:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think it's just ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, dufffbeer, skeptigal, ER Doc
        Highway/oil lobbies; maybe not even mainly them. Oceanstar17 mentions the American Dream Coalition downthread.

        The main bug in their butt is land use planning, and I've picked up the same vibe from the "Thoreau" group. Basically pro-sprawl. Obviously the highway/oil guys do have this interest - tThough if you're a construction contractor you'll make money on rail lines too, and there just aren't gonna be many more urban highways.

        What I suss out is that some kind of real estate interests are funding these guys: people who make their money on housing developments out in the hoonies, and who won't see a dime from redevelopment of land along rail lines.

        Or maybe it is mainly political. People who live in higher-density, transit/walking oriented areas - even the upper middle class - trend toward the Dems, while exurbs and "edge cities" trend very GOP.

        The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

        by al Fubar on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:49:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Them, too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          al Fubar

          I don't think it's just ...
          Highway/oil lobbies; maybe not even mainly them. Oceanstar17 mentions the American Dream Coalition downthread.

          The real estate interests clearly have a stake. That does not mean that highway and oil lobbies don't. Shortly after WWII, the National Car Company, owned by GM and companies that made oil and tires bought up a lot of street car companies and gradually converted the streetcars to buses.

          Let's just say that there are a lot of industries putting their shart-term interest ahead of this country's prosperity.

          To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

          by Judge Moonbox on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:57:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, this is the foundation of the ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          al Fubar

          ... roadworks lobby:

          The main bug in their butt is land use planning, and I've picked up the same vibe from the "Thoreau" group. Basically pro-sprawl.

          Now, its possible to use divide and conquer against developers, given that rail tends to increase property value, but it still seems to be the biggest developers driving the roadworks lobby.

          Maybe the big money is in big box and suburban tract greenfield development ... if infill development more favors smaller developers, and redevelopment by existing owners, then it is harder to corral them together into a pro-rail lobby.

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:28:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe the big money ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, BruceMcF

            is in big box and suburban tract greenfield development ... if infill development more favors smaller developers, and redevelopment by existing owners, then it is harder to corral them together into a pro-rail lobby

            That's pretty much what crosses my mind. Infill is more piecemeal - not square-mile projects. Moreover, it doesn't even really begin till the rail line is already in place. I've seen that locally, a mile from here in my exurban CA county. Amtrak put in a station, and the dump area around it has been sprouting developments, but they're individually small and began after the station went in.

            The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

            by al Fubar on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:50:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well another organization that is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skeptigal, blue in NC, Judge Moonbox

      extremely hostile to public transportation is the American Dream Coalition.The ADC is extremely hostile to any form of public transportation, especially rail. They release publications with polarizing language about light rail, subways, and trains.

      But, on a sidenote, if you visit their website, you can see how effective the right is in using PR to advance their cause. Notice the name of the organization; it conveys the message that they are "preserving the American Dream", while anyone in favor of smart growth or rail-based transportation is, by default, fighting "to destroy" or to "undermine the American Dream". The right is effectively in using these marketing techniques to act like a majority of Americans supports them, even though the biggest benefactors to the ADC are right-wing corporate and political interests hostile to public transportation.

      •  I commented on this upthread, (3+ / 0-)

        but thanks for another anti-rail organization name.

        Hereabouts, we have the John Locke Foundation and the Reason Foundation. In all cases, the anti-rail idiots frame their arguments in economic terms, but seldom reveal their true motivation.

        Between the lines of their rhetoric can be observed a deep, gut-level hatred of all things transit. To them, it's downright anti-Christian. I don't understand the origin of this paranoia, but it is extreme and powerful.

        •  A lot of these organizations are really (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wondering if, The Overhead Wire

          fronts for corporate interests connected to the automotive and oil industry. They present the image of being supported by "ordinary citizens", while really being front groups for private industries opposed to rail-based transportation.

          The other reason for their "hatred" for transit is their fear that, if you have public transportation extended toward suburbs and exurbs, it will be easier for "undesirables" from the innercity (i.e., minorities, the poor, and "criminal behavior") to come into their communities. That is why they moved to their exurbs. They won't say that directly, but it is probably a major reason behind their visceral, gut-hatred of all things related to transit, especially rail.

    •  Thoreau, Cato, American Dream (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skeptigal

      are all libertarian front groups with a certain special someone behind the anti-rail propaganda.  A certain RandalL O'Toole.  You can't get a better name for an anti rail jihadist as we call them on the light rail listserves.  

      But this guy has been attacking with this kind of crap for the last 20 years.  It's not abnormal to see op-eds from him in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal etc spreading his muck.  It's a virus and it must be stopped.

  •  One of the reasons I don't mind being away (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Overhead Wire

    from my hometown, Seattle, is because of the ridiculous  public transportation battles that went nowhere and did  no good. Around the time I left, there were plans to build a tunnel from downtown.. not to the airport, but to some location in South Seattle. I don't remember the exact location, but the craziness of going South and not going to the airport was too much!

    •  Actually, look up at the map up there ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... extending the light rail to SeaTac is the next step. The idea of bus-tunnels is, of course, that the buses can leave the tunnels and go onto the road ... to get caught in traffic, so that with stops they will always be slower than driving that segment of the route ... so you can always leave essential bits out.

      But they have been retrofitting the bus tunnel to take light rail, and extending the light rail to the airport would seem to be one of the next things on the agenda.

      Of course, a big part of the insanity is the Federal Funding constraints, where a plan that is merely a tremendous improvement gets no funding at all, and where the only criteria is how much travel time is saved ... energy savings do not count at all in getting federal funds.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:51:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, isn't the cost of the best systems (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Overhead Wire

        really prohibitive? Look how much money they spent in Boston. Was that worth it?

        •  Not compared to the cost of the auto system, ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, skeptigal, Judge Moonbox

          ... its not. Its more a matter of how the cost is distributed. If we put all the public spending in support of the car transport system ... not merely roadworks, but right of way acquisition, public parking, law enforcement time spent on cars, capital and operating cost of larger emergency rooms, public subsidies for HOD infrastructure, which due to lower density is intrinsically more expensive per person served, and so on ...

          ... and required drivers to come up with a funding plan for those expenses before they could drive in a given county ...

          Well, then the cost of driving would be "prohibitive" as well ... some places would get the funding approved, some wouldn't, and the country would be a patchwork quilt of places where driving was supported and places where driving was forbidden.

          Its a combination of spreading the costs of the HOD system around, plus the "buy first, forced to spend to cope with traffic after" system that means that no matter how high, there is nobody there to say, "you don't have funding authority, you cannot drive in this county".

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:02:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Any right of way can be upgraded. (3+ / 0-)

          To get it up and running, the original segment of St. Louis's Metrolink system was built on the cheap. Used rail and slag for ballast. Now those materials are wearing out. But that's OK because they lasted long enough to prove the concept, and meanwhile they're still serviceable. Metro will find the money to upgrade both.

          As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

          by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:05:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Boston? (3+ / 0-)

          Well, isn't the cost of the best systems really prohibitive? Look how much money they spent in Boston. Was that worth it?

          The big project I've heard about in Boston is the Big Dig, a highway tunnel that replaced an elevated highway through downtown Boston. The Reagan administration fought hard to exclude piggybacking a rail tunnel linking North and South stations onto the project. I think that if the rail tunnel had been included, and the whole project held to the standards by which rail projects are judged, the increased scrutiny would likely have saved more money than the increased construction would have spent.

          To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

          by Judge Moonbox on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:33:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder how much CO2 was expended on I-705 (5+ / 0-)

        a 1.5-mile exit rampto downtown Tacoma.

        As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

        by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:01:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good point, and also a good line. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ticket punch, Judge Moonbox

          I'm going to steal it.

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:23:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  First demolish the myth of the killer metric. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Judge Moonbox

            Otherwise you're just playing whack-a-mole.

            Next week the killer metric may be "transportation for the poor." And then they'll crunch the numbers to make a talking point that reads "It would be cheaper to buy all those poor people Priuses/Escalades/Hummers."

            The week after that? The killer metric will be "reduces congestion by taking cars off the road." At which point they'll take 24-hour traffic counts for every single road in the metro area and call light rail the 0.2% solution or some such.

            As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

            by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:52:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't know ... this one is playing to a ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ticket punch, Judge Moonbox

              ... major strength of rail. The fact that this CO2 argument is steaming pile of bullshit does have to get out there.

              The issue that another commentator has raised needs to be repeated at every opportunity ... that this is the only transport alternative that can reduce traffic congestion. A majority of Americans are drivers, and the clear and strong benefit to the driver has to be included, even if the ultimate aim is the euthanasia of the HOD system.

              SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

              by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:02:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fine, but do both. Go on offense (0+ / 0-)

                and make them look stupid for begging the question.

                As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

                by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:43:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am thinking of starting with ... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ticket punch

                  ... applauding Mr. Bundy for looking beyond the question of reducing traffic congestion, and asking drivers to live with traffic jams in defense of the environment, and then launch into helpfully expanding the limits of Mr. Bundy's argument.

                  SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                  by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:30:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Applaud? No, knock his teeth down his throat. (0+ / 0-)

                    "While I'm sure Mr. Bundy means to promote public dicusssion of light rail, he has unfortunately begged the question: Can a light-rail system be justified only on the basis of carbon-dioxide reduction?"

                    No applause. Just wistful regret. Poor poor Bundy, so easily taken in . . .

                    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

                    by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:59:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  There are easy responses (0+ / 0-)

              First the 2% crap is destroyed when you look at (as I mentioned above), the big dig's fun 2% of passenger miles for the $15 Billion project.   But also, you have to look at transit competitive trips. Those trips on major arteries that are more clogged can get 50% of the trips.  We don't care if someone makes a trip to the ice cream store at 2am.  That shouldn't count against transit's helpfulness.

        •  this is a top comment (0+ / 0-)

          ohhh sweet mystery of life at last i found youuuuu blogroll

          by terrypinder on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:47:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The airport extension is being built. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        N in Seattle, BruceMcF

        Actually, look up at the map up there extending the light rail to SeaTac is the next step.

        It just won't be ready to open until 5 months after the line to Tukwila will be.

        To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

        by Judge Moonbox on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:27:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bruce I might ask you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BruceMcF

        to help me out on here.  There is a notice of proposed rule making for federal funding structure that I'm going to respond to soon.  It's going to take the FTA to task for their short sighted funding requirements and I might need your help spreading the word.

      •  it's already extended to the airport... (0+ / 0-)

        the light rail structure is in place and it can be seen if you follow I-5 South and take the Sea-tac exit. It is a suspended railbridge that curves along the roadway, cuts north through Tukwila (follows a portion of the old Interurban Avenue, which a hundred years ago was the old rail line from downtown Seattle), and then moves across I-5 near the south end of the Boeing Field and crosses to Martin Luther King Boulevard. That 1.7 mile extension is due to open in December 2009.

        The rest of the rail line will open in July 2009.

        The northern terminus that cuts back into the city is on Beacon Hill, and that transit area is perhaps 80% complete.

        I haven't looked at the schedule, so that percentage could be off.

        Sound Transit Link Light Rail Projects

        BoringDem's comment is correct - the original plan was to stop the light rail before the airport, but they modified it after public derision, iirc.

        How we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives. - Annie Dillard
        Visit me at exme arden

        by exmearden on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:50:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If I hadn't left Seatlle, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dufffbeer, Judge Moonbox

      I had given serious thought to trying to get on this board.  They needed a good engineer-politician to both work on the plan and explain it to folks.

    •  It will go to the airport (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      N in Seattle, exmearden, BruceMcF

      The light-rail line to Sea-Tac is under construction and plans to open in December 2009.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:21:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  SeaTac Light Rail is under construction right now (0+ / 0-)

      -7.88, -7.13 Republicans hate us for our freedoms

      by ocooper on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:37:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I cycle to work (6+ / 0-)

    Although I love the exercise, I have to adjust my commute times to avoid the car crazies.  Having an effective rail and light rail system enables to people to go without cars, facilitating more commutes by foot and peddle.  Bundy is definitely spouting the disinformation designed to discourage alternatives to the car transportation and increasing carbon consumption through inefficient vehicles.  

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:48:01 AM PDT

  •  Decapitation is more effective than kneecapping. (6+ / 0-)

    Start the attack right at the top: with the begged question that CO2 is the sole rationale for building out the system.

    This is a classic strategy, used in city after city, to undermine mass transit: Pick one metric, frame it as the ONLY valid one, and then pick it apart. And then repeat as needed.

    Truth is, the case for mass transit rests on a variety of metrics, not just one. Diarist identifies a big one: the potential to forestall or even obviate highway expansion. Others include quality-of-life issues for the people who use mass transit.

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:48:03 AM PDT

    •  Remind people of 5 benefits. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, ER Doc, BruceMcF

      Start the attack right at the top: with the begged question that CO2 is the sole rationale for building out the system.
      This is a classic strategy, used in city after city, to undermine mass transit: Pick one metric, frame it as the ONLY valid one, and then pick it apart. And then repeat as needed.

      There are at least 5 public benefits that public transit can make a substantial contribution: energy conservation, pollution reduction, congestion relief, mobility for the poor and disabled, and downtown renewal. Public transit advocates should get the list (including any I've overlooked) and bring it to the hearings on projects, so if the enemies try to make the debate about 1 benefit, we can ask about the other 4.

      To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

      by Judge Moonbox on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:43:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And remind them that anyone who focuses on 1 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Judge Moonbox

        to the exclusion of the other 4 is being dishonest.

        Question their motives, maybe even their character, not just their data.

        As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

        by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:47:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is where the 'of course, Mr. Bundy ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, ticket punch

          ... can get to work from his luxury condo at the taxpayers expense with a free bus, so the problem of traffic congestion may not hit home as hard for him.

          But still, it is important that a local personality asks Seattle area drivers to think of the environment, instead of being seduced by the reduced traffic congestion and easing of parking problems that will come from the light rail line.'

          ... may come in, since, after all, he does have his, Jack.

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:36:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is you're dealing not with logic (13+ / 0-)

    But with religion.  Some pro-bike people are fanatics.  By that I mean those who have an almost fanatical disgust with automobiles and want to see more construction of bike lanes at the expense of any other transit development.  

    Then there are the anti-rail fanatics, who proselytize their religion that rail is a waste, rail is inefficient, rail is bad, and the obvious answer is more roads.  You hear them weigh in every chance they get here in Portland, which is building one of the more diverse urban rail systems in the U.S.

    They're both wrong, in my opinion.  The real answer is a well-thought out, integrated system of all three, including buses and vanpools.

    There are a lot of bike commuters in Portland, which is a few hours south of Seattle and has a similar climate.  But, outside the West Hills (aka the Tualatin Mountains), and a few "buttes" (really, dormant volcanoes) on the east side, Portland is a relatively flat alluvial plain.  It's downtown is a gently sloping grade to the north and west. Compare that to downtown Seattle, which is characterized by jaw-dropping steep slopes leading down to Puget Sound. Does Mr. Bundy truly believe the average Seattle commuter will pump his or her bike for the better part of an hour, up and down steep glaciated hill slopes, in the rain, only to be presented at their destination downtown with slopes that provide even bike messengers moments of sheer terror, exhilaration, and extreme aerobic challenge?  And then, tired, at the end of the day, they're supposed to mount their metal steeds and climb those hills back home?

    Some will.  Some do.  But never a majority or even a significant minority.  Never.  

    Seattle wants to be a world class city.  It needs to grow up.  A common characteristic of nearly any world class city is a permanent rail system that shapes transportation and development over the decades.  

    Even the yahoos down in Stumptown (Portland) have figured that out.  Our sophisticated neighbors to the north should too.

    •  You also must recall (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, esquimaux, BruceMcF, TomP

      that for all of its progressiveness, if you look at the structure of Washington state government, it is shockingly conservative.

      Lots of red farmers from Eastern Washington.  And also a pretty regressive taxation structure primarily through sales tax.

      But, yes, you would think with Vancouver BC to the north and Portland to the south, Seattle could get some pretty useful minds for the project.  Of course, the real political muscle was used to shove through two nearly identical stadiums (much as I love both Safeco, I can't see how the design would have been made much worse by integrating accomodations for football).

      Unfortunately everywhere around the country, there's still a lot of one dollar, one vote out there.

      •  Oregon's got the same problem (4+ / 0-)

        The urban/rural divide is quite pronounced.

        I've long joked that that the Oregon Territory should have been split north-south instead of east-west.  The capital of the west could be Seattle, Portland, or Olympia and the capital of the east could be Spokane.

        •  Haha, yeah (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Judge Moonbox

          And geographically / climatically speaking north and south are much more compatible with east and west.  The east part is a high plains wanna-be Idaho while the north-south line is the beautiful green land we all know and love.

          I also remember an Oregonian friend going off about how the levy system for school funding in both states is also messed up.  Bunch of backwoods old people always seemed to find a way to make it hard to pay for schools.  We've actually had schools on the brink of collapse due to years of successive levy failure.

          •  Although I guess I should note (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            that levies are quite the pinnacle of locality, so maybe the world's not so different after all.

            Every year, the same old garbage about "waste" and how horribly the kids are served is trotted out.  And every year, the answer is (surprise!) to starve the beast until them no-good teachers get some sense knocked into them.

          •  Not quite true (0+ / 0-)

            In Oregon, at least, the truly rural counties have not been the biggest sources of opposition to taxes for school funding.  They're poor, they need better schools, and they know it.  Plus they know that state taxes hit the Portland area hardest anyway.    

            The strongest support for tax-cutting measures comes from suburban/exurban areas of Portland and the Willamette Valley, like outer Clackamas and  Washington County, Marion County, etc.  And in a latent sense with all the people who move to Vancouver to avoid Oregon taxes (but at least can no longer vote in Oregon when they do).

    •  Actually, I didn't add to the diary ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, TomP, Judge Moonbox

      ... that when I took my bike down to Sydney, it was not for cycling in downtown Sydney, but for the freedom to choose return stations when I got back to Newcastle.

      Secure, covered Bikestation parking at origin stations is a primary need for a cycle commuter in a city where downtown is not on cycle-friendly terrain ... and if there was secure Bikestation parking available at any one of four different stations, many a time I would have used that instead.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:14:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a bikestation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, ER Doc, BruceMcF

        at the CalTrain station in downtown Palo Alto, CA (the station closest to Stanford University). IIRC, it's actually run on a contract basis by a local bike shop; they provide secure parking for bicycles, sell bicycle gear, and I think they even do minor repairs on site while the bike is parked there (say you pick up a nail in your tire on the way in; you can pay for them to change out the tire while you're at work).

        And every CalTrain station has enclosed bike lockers that can be rented for a small yearly fee by regular bike commuters; what would be great is if they could add some that could be used by occasional riders (maybe $1 a day, with the sort of locking system used by those short-term lockers found in airports where you pay the money and take the key).

        The spouse and I are hoping to get bikes next year -- but we're trying to figure out where to store them; we could put them in our storage room once we get it organized, but that would mean adding time to carry the bikes out through the apartment, coming back in to close up the storeroom and patio door, etc.

        "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:26:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Error correction (0+ / 0-)

      It's downtown is a gently sloping grade to the north and west.

      Should read:

      Its downtown is a gently sloping grade to the north and east.

      Sorry 'bout that.

    •  BTW, I am a bit of a skeptic ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... on massive investment in a parallel system of bikeways. While I am all for specific bikeways that serve specific needs, like an express route between neighboring towns, or a dedicated route within the ROW of a State Route or US Highway heavily used by semi trucks, or to support young cyclists riding to school ...

      ... an adult cycle commuter engaged in effective cycling is safer cycling through traffic than driving through traffic.

      In many cases, bikeways are really a means of denying the pesky cyclist the use of the public right of way that we have been entitled to since before this experiment with horseless carriages began.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:22:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I lived in Seattle (8+ / 0-)

      This guy is nuts.  The idea of riding a bike from Second Avenue to Capitol Hill makes me tired just thinking about it.  I fell on my ass downtown more than once just going up a hill in office shoes.  What about old people?  Are they all going to ride bikes up and down those hills?

    •  Also (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, Downriver Gal, terrypinder

      Some people often oppose rail-based transportation projects because they are afraid that "undesirables"--i.e., Blacks, Latinos, the poor, and anyone else with whom suburbanites associate with the criminal element--will come into their suburban/exurban neighborhoods and commit crime. They are afraid that having a light-rail or subway line will make it easier for the "riff-raff" to come into their communities.

      And so they are opposed to public transit. Ironically this is why the Metro here in DC doesn't serve Georgetown. Neighbors aggressively lobbied against it because of the fear of crime. Now three-four decades later, if you were to go to Georgetown, people there are beating themselves over the head because there is no Metro.

      You're right that there are also road fanatics who see any form of rail as a waste. It is unfortunate, though, because roads eventually clog up. You can't build yourself out of congestion.

      •  Negro mobility. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Downriver Gal, wu ming, ER Doc

        Some people often oppose rail-based transportation projects because they are afraid that "undesirables"--i.e., Blacks, Latinos, the poor, and anyone else with whom suburbanites associate with the criminal element--will come into their suburban/exurban neighborhoods and commit crime. They are afraid that having a light-rail or subway line will make it easier for the "riff-raff" to come into their communities.

        The great unspoken in the Public Transit debate. There is a pretty solid history of pt enemies trying to link projects to crime. I think the way to defeat it is to ask, "Can you call something a crime if you don't mind it happening elsewhere?" I doubt that they'd go so far as to argue that potential thieves think the inner city's been picked over; but the suburbs are too tempting. Get people to see that the way to fight crime is to fight crime, don't tax commuters by denying them an alternative to the highways and think that somehow that'll make people safer.

        To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

        by Judge Moonbox on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:51:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  world's stupidest argument (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, ticket punch, BruceMcF

        (not yours)

        If someone is going to come and steal your shit, they're not going to ride the rail out to McSuburaland. They'll steal a car and ride out on the 200 million dollar bypass to steal your shit.

        But idiots don't want to hear that.

        ohhh sweet mystery of life at last i found youuuuu blogroll

        by terrypinder on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:45:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Would there be any possiblity of legally tying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      light rail/bikes to road construction? Something along the lines - if you are building or reworking an 8 lane (or more) highway, you must be light rail and bikeways (separate from the roads) put in at the same time?

      They do not serve the pleasure of the president. They serve justice. It's time all DOJ employees were reminded of that fact. - J. Radack

      by sailmaker on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:36:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That may be the case (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sailmaker

        here in California, but I'd have to do some research on that...

        "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

        by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:06:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In NSW in Oz, there is a requirment that a ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sailmaker

        ... small percentage of all road construction budgets go to cycling improvements. I think its 1% ... about the transport cycling share.

        Of course, since a dollar spent supporting cycling often goes further than a dollar spent supporting the Auto-Over-All system, a similar rule for federal road funding, even at 0.5%, would be a tremendous boost ... especially for funding cycle bridges over interstates, which can be a bottleneck when relying on back roads for cycle commuting in exurban / outer suburban areas.

        SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

        by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:43:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Complete Streets does part of this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sailmaker, BruceMcF

        Not rail or transit, but Complete Streets policies require that bicyclists and pedestrians be accommodated with any road construction or expansion.

        The Thunderhead Alliance and Complete the Streets are working on this nationwide.

        I'd urge everyone to ask your city, your county, your MPO, your state DOT whether they have a Complete Streets policy. If not, can you help push one?

        Transit is most effective and most environmentally friendly when people can safely walk or bicycle to access it rather than having to drive.

        Plain old mother talk ain't nowhere near strong enough to describe such a terrible mix-up as life. -- Mark Harris

        by skeptigal on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 05:21:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They're learning from Atwater-Rove: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dufffbeer, esquimaux, Judge Moonbox

    Accuse your opponent of your own worst tendencies.  Thus, construct an argument that shows that a light rail system produces more pollution, uses more fuel, encourages sprawl, and is somehow harmful to bicyclists.

    I truly detest people like Bundy, actively working to hamper progress for the sake of a paycheck.

  •  They also killed the monorail. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, NCrefugee, wondering if

    Monorail is a proven technology that is a useful component of urban transit plans. It can be implemented in full developed urban areas with minimal footprint. The new hybrid Malaysian system eliminates the need to electrify the track, which is a huge cost savings.

    The new Seattle monorail was a great idea that got beaten down by special interests. I hope the same thing doesn't happen to this light rail project. Any sane analyst will tell you that light rail is an important part of any urban mass transit plan.

    Larry Craig called Bill Clinton a "nasty, bad, naughty boy." Which came first--the pot or the kettle?

    by homogenius on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:23:17 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary, Bruce. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox

    Using bikes as a way to undercut trains seems to acually serve the interests of cars and SUVs.  It's not either bikes or trains; it's minimizing car and SUV travel.  We can have both bikes and trains.

    "The greatest anti-poverty movement in American history is the organized labor movement." John Edwards

    by TomP on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:27:52 AM PDT

  •  It's an insane argument (9+ / 0-)

    The tunnel north to the U-District will prove overall to be a MASSIVE savings in carbon. It is the key that allows light rail to be built northward. Currently the heaviest traffic congestion in the Puget Sound region is from downtown north to Lynnwood. The Sound Transit 2 plan would relieve that by 2020. There is NO WAY buses and bikes can handle that alone. ONLY rail can take cars off the road. Even if Bundy were right about the carbon costs of the tunnel, they would be more than repaid over the next several decades in reduced car trips.

    Over at EuroTrib (where I post as Montereyan) I dismantled some of his other arguments. More investment in buses is already happening, but it has its limits - as anyone who has sat on I-5 or I-90 or the 520 bridge during a commute knows, buses get stuck in the same traffic that the cars do - and spews forth pollution in the process (even though King County Metro's buses are now fueled by biodiesel). Light rail, however, on its own track, does not emit that kind of pollution.

    As to bikes. Seattle already has a wide base of bike commuters. And they are fighting the greenwashed mayor, Greg Nickels, in an attempt to get the city to live up to its promises of becoming more bike-friendly.

    But Seattle has problems that will always mean that bikes are not a viable option for most commuters. One, the city is VERY hilly. Seattle has hills that rival San Francisco in steepness. (It's those hills that Sound Transit is tunneling under). Worse than that, of course, is that it rains a lot in Seattle. One a rainy day, the number of bike commuters drops dramatically. They instead use buses or cars.

    Finally, the "Sound Transit induces sprawl" argument is a flat lie. The Puget Sound region has sprawl limits that are among the nation's strongest. Sound Transit instead promotes infill development. These rail lines will become the spine of a new urban density - already taking place at Northgate, for example - that will limit the need for sprawl even further. Of all Bundy's points, that one is the most out and out bullshit one of them all.

    In any case, what this Bundy guy is doing is concern trolling. He is not an environmentalist. He wants more roads, and thinks the Puget Sound can continue living in the 1950s, where roads were the backbone of transportation. He also hates new taxes, especially for something that helps people like rail. I don't expect most voters in the region will go for his ideas, but I look forward to your op-ed denouncing his lies.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:30:29 AM PDT

    •  Of course, this refers to the exclusive cycle ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... commuters that Mr. Bundy hopes to con his readers into thinking of:

      But Seattle has problems that will always mean that bikes are not a viable option for most commuters. ...

      Cycle and ride is a different proposition. It is, indeed, a different proposition even if there is a hill between the train station and home, because you've had the train ride for some recuperation from the workday. And it becomes an even more attractive proposition when terrain and effective cycle routes to the local station are taken into account in zoning for multiple-unit residencies.

      Indeed, in hilly terrain, infill development around the train station can easily be the factor that makes heavy reliance on a bike possible, because it means that most local area trips are too the vicinity of the train station, so that an effective route to the station doubles as an effective route to a range of other destinations. And it also means that route can be developed in confidence that the local destination, and regional springboard, is not going to be jumping around or vanishing, as a bus route can easily do.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:57:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm looking forward to it also (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, gatorbot, Judge Moonbox

      Please post a link if/when it's posted -- I'd like to direct my transit enthusiast spouse to it (as I should to this diary -- we love the Seattle area, and our favorite Seattle home base hotel is right on the new light rail line, near Fred Hutch; they were starting the construction preparations on the station last year when we were up there).

      "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:39:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which hotel? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming, gatorbot, Judge Moonbox

        There is a new rail line being built near Fred Hutch, but that's a separate project - the South Lake Union Streetcar Line which will link the Fred Hutch campus to Westlake Center, where it'll connect with the light-rail line that is also under construction.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:42:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's probably the one (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eugene, gatorbot

          We like to stay at the Residence Inn Lake Union -- yeah, Merry-rot sucks, but it's a good location, we like the in-room kitchens so we can eat healthier, they have a decent free breakfast buffet, and the hotel has MSNBC so I can get my Olbermann fix. ;)

          Our last trip to Seattle we didn't bother renting a car...we try to plan our vacations where we can use transit as much as possible...

          "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:16:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  After December 2009 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Overhead Wire

            You won't need a car in Seattle at all - the light rail line from the airport to downtown will be open. You get out at Westlake Center, transfer to the streetcar line there, and ride up to Lake Union.

            I love Seattle. And I miss it a lot.

            Did you see my Carless in Seattle diary from April?

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

            by eugene on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 01:10:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  GREAT diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox

    We're currently having the light rail debate here and it's  especially interesting to me because the first line would probably go through our neighborhood. We think this is great. My husband has been biking to work downtown, 13 miles, and it'd be great if in winter, he could switch to rail (though he's already given me his strategy for winter riding--this would be the first season for him for that). My neighborhood association is campaigning against the proposal which is why we won't join it. Our friends in St. Louis say that property values have only gone up near their light rail stations and that people are moving to be near it, but here, the president of our N.A. hands out articles from that libertarian magazine that say, "Don't tax us for light rail!" Somehow, I don't think he's telling all the sides to the argument.

    tragically un-hip

    -5.88, -6.82

    by Debby on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:46:51 AM PDT

    •  I recommend lightrailnow.org (3+ / 0-)

      as a source of ammo--and these days, lots of good news.

      As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

      by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:58:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Light rail here in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox

      Silly Con Valley has had its ups and downs -- but currently ridership is up on LRT and down on the bus lines, so it's obviously starting to make an impact.

      Part of it is finally extending lines to areas where people live -- especially out into East San Jose and up to the northern part of Santa Clara County; my nephew is actually able to live at home and attend classes at San Jose State, saving himself (and his folks) some serious money. (San Jose State is a participant in the EcoPass program; students and staff just show their ID and get free rides on buses and light rail.) And there's been a bit of infill along the existing light rail lines -- some of the larger lots that had been zoned for industrial were rezoned after the dot-bomb crisis for residential, and there are some very nice high-density complexes right along North First Street (a friend of the spouse's who recently relocated from NYC bought a condo in one of them).

      It can take a little while for ridership to grow -- it doesn't happen overnight...

      "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:49:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jesus, I voted for RTA (light-rail) back in 94!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox

    And they're STILL fighting about it 13 years later???

    Shop for pearls from a Union Democrat - my aunt Maryjane's Sea of Pearls!

    by boofdah on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 07:54:58 AM PDT

    •  Yes ... as far as I can tell, the only ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox

      ... alternative to fighting for each and every step of a better transport system, often multiple times for each step, is to not fight and surrender to the roadworks lobby.

      Because the roadworks lobby will be there to take the anti-rail side, anywhere and everywhere that any step toward a better transport system is being proposed. They are making their money from the HOD system, and do not want to see money going into the TOD alternative.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:05:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Follow the money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Judge Moonbox

    His arguments are a little bit beside the point, what would be interesting is to find out who is paying for them.

    I don't have the answer but you can start here

  •  Excellent diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox

    I lived in sydney for twenty years, 70's and 80's (missed the City to Bondi tram system which was pulled out, I think, in 1968) and mostly biked around the place. Best rail ride I took was Sydney Perth, which took three days, and plenty of beer!

    Progressive Dems should be reborn as Aggressive Dems and 1) get out of Iraq asap 2) impeach Cheney then Bush 3) elect Gore.

    by Asinus Asinum Fricat on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:00:14 AM PDT

  •  i see lots of bicycle commuters here in seattle (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Judge Moonbox

    but it's really only practical for people who live somewhat nearby the burke-gilman and at least semi in a valley as the topography gets pretty intense here, too.

    eventually, what's right becomes popular

    by mediaprisoner on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:02:14 AM PDT

    •  Yes, and I Grew Up in Diarists' NE Ohio (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, mediaprisoner

      and now live near Seattle. There's no comparison climate wise. For about 6 months of the year in NE Ohio you'd arrive at work either drenched in sweat or two days late lugging your bike through the snow.

      The bike season in Seattle, like the boating season, is 365.26 days.

      Oh, and we don't have anything resembling what Ohioans know as "rain" or "storms."

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:15:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is a shame that the US public transportation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dufffbeer, Judge Moonbox

    system is so weak in this country. It is a travesty how Amtrak is horribly underfunded. Although some cities have started to finally build light-rail, subway, commuter rail, and streetcars, we are still light years behind Europe. Here in the DC area, just to build the Purple Line and Metro to Dulles, it has been a decades-long struggle. I fear that the Dulles Metro project may be dying.

    It is a shame that the US has a poor public transportation system. It truly is.

  •  A mom biking a sick kid to the doctor (5+ / 0-)

    is not really an option.  

    I was at a talk recently by the founder of ZipCars.  She said that, in fact, 50% of Americans do not drive.

    Some are kids--but still need to get places.  Some are seniors--my dad on a bike?  I don't think so.... Some are unable to drive for medical reasons, which might also be a biking issue.  Some errands are not bike-friendly.

    Public transit is so much broader, to serve more people for more reasons.

    How frustrating that people are trying to de-rail these initiatives.  Good luck with your quest.

    "More and better Democrats, please." --Atrios

    by mem from somerville on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:10:00 AM PDT

    •  ... it depends on the weather ... and ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Cali Scribe, Judge Moonbox

      ... how far the doctor is.

      A favorite game of the roadworks lobby is to pretend that the objective of each and every transport alternative is to be a one-size-fits-all system, and then point out how you can't do everything with that piece of the puzzle.

      But one size fits all really means one size fits all that it fits, and fits most of them poorly. The way we presently cope with the misfit between the auto transport system and our needs is to throw additional energy at the problem ... but we are coming to the end of that particular option.

      Our next transport system will be composed of a large number of different pieces, and that offers the prospect that each performs its particular part of the task more efficiently and effectively than any one-size-fits-all system could possibly do.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:14:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Emory Bundy's Commute (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Overseas, Judge Moonbox

    If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Bundy lives in a million dollar condo in a downtown Seattle highrise. He lives within the downtown "freeride" zone, so his bus ride to work costs him nothing.

  •  OT request (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Judge Moonbox

    Bruce et al...... I am working on a diary on intra-megalopolis transit, based on BosNYWash, ChiPitts, HouDal and SanSan.... I am positing that virtually all transportation within these megacities should be by rail.  If you have any links or references, I'd appreciate it.  My e-mail is on my use page.

    thanks

  •  Time to whine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    First off let's be clear, I do not oppose Light rail. I voted for it every time it came up.

    The Discovery Institutes "Intelligent design Transit" is indeed a full scale AstroTurf outfit and the bald faced lies used to make their "argument" need to be called out and debunked.

    But another issue is mentioned here.

    Monorail.

    If Discovery institute supported monorail for any reason it was in hopes of killing both Monorail and rail as far as I can tell.

    I supported monorail. I supported monorail long before there was even a plan.

    One reason? I am in West Seattle. Look at the light rail map upthread. There are two places that are not listed. They are erased as if they never existed.
    West Seattle and Ballard. The residents of both of those neighborhoods voted overwhelmingly to tax them selves so as to have a transit option that was not susceptible to the logjam of surface streets and unwanted sports stadiums.

    The shortsighted politicians and apparently this diarist, killed transit to these neighborhoods for all time it seems since the Cascadia morons convinced them that it "competed" with light rail.

    Am I bitter? You bet. And I get even more incensed when told over and over that I should put my 50 year old butt on a god damn bicycle to get to downtown.

    Enjoy your light rail. I will never have a reason to ride it and still must pay for it. As a Democrat I accept that for the common good. But the glee with which many of my fellow Democrats denied me the same option of mass transit, sticks in my craw and I will not be quiet about it.

    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:26:20 AM PDT

    •  Weren't there significant problems with the (0+ / 0-)

      Monorail? I don't know the whole story, but I had heard that the Monorail had had significant cost overruns and wasn't running effectively.

      •  Those were lies (5+ / 0-)

        There were no cost overruns. The problem was that the initial tax to build the system was underestimated, and so collections provided only 2/3 the money needed. The monorail board then screwed up - instead of going back and asking for a slight technical fix, they tried to get creative, and floated a bond plan that would have cost $11 billion over the life of the bonds.

        At the same time downtown developers were opposing the monorail, for reasons that were unclear, and had astroturf groups littering the city with their propaganda.

        Finally, the city leadership did not back it strongly enough - the monorail was a people-powered project. So when a repeal measure hit the ballot in 2005, no local leaders stepped up to save it, and it was narrowly approved - the monorail was dead.

        That was all separate from the stub monorail that DOES exist, running from Westlake Center to Seattle Center, built for the 1962 World's Fair. That one does have a lot of problems, but those are due to its antiquated technology.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:51:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Our Mayor (4+ / 0-)

          and the King County Executive sabotaged the funding options for reasons that still remain unclear. The "Hail Mary" bond plan was a result of all "good" funding options being blocked.

          These are Democrats but I walk out of the room every time they appear at functions I attend.
          I cannot trust myself to keep my mouth shut in their presence. I spoke my piece to their face at the time and continuing at this point is just disruptive.

          The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

          by NCrefugee on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:00:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Since you know where the bodies are buried... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eugene, exmearden
            Who do we replace and how do we start replacing them with truly green and progessive thinkers?

            There's a ready made diary here.  Write it.  Add as many links to background information as you need to.  The situation won't get better until this is public.

            -7.75 -4.67

            "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

            by Odysseus on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 11:15:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is a lot of speculation (0+ / 0-)

              That Peter Steinbreuck will run against Nickels in 2009. One hopes that happens. Nickels sucks.

              As to Ron Sims, he's been great on so many issues...and yet was AWOL on the monorail. A real strike against him, although to my knowledge, the ONLY strike against him, on any issue.

              I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

              by eugene on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 01:13:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I still plan on voting for Sims. (0+ / 0-)

                He has been right on a lot of issues. However, he was one of the earliest believers that it was an either or situation with the monorail vs light rail.

                He bet everything on the light rail and could not allow any heresy concerning "at grade" rail vs elevated.

                I am sure he thinks it was worth it and he might have had some unrelated political knives that could be buried at the same time. He was at least up front about it from the start. I respect Sims ability to stab rivals in the front with a smile. Most politicians are not skillful enough to pull that off.

                Unlike Mayor Nickles who went along until the critical point in public, all the while throwing a wrench into the process in private.

                Still, Seattle is one of the best cities I have lived in, and even the looniest of the druids of Evergreen State College, believe they are acting for the common good.

                The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

                by NCrefugee on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:20:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Another problem was that it was inside Seattle (0+ / 0-)

        only, and not out into the County, as it was an initiative within the city. Possible extensions out into the county were shown, but as that would involve county level work they couldn't be included in the plans voted on.

        And as the bus system is county run, there wasn't a lot of handshaking going on between them and the monorail folk. Several of the stations in the first build plan were meant to be connections into residential areas, feeding the dense downtown core. But there were no plans for nearby parking, and no coordination to include local bus lines to service the monorail stations. A lot of the bus lines are long runs, it's tough to get the bus guys thinking about neighborhood loops that connect with fast lines for the long distances.

        And there was some resistance from the RTA supporters, although mostly in the background. The monorail could take steeper grades than the light rail, meaning expensive tunnels could be omitted, and it could use the I90 bridge which is problematic with light rail. There definitely was some resistance from people in the RTA to the monorail.

    •  I don't blame you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, NCrefugee

      I supported the monorail, voted for it every time, and believe its death was an unconscionable disaster. I also think it can and should be revived - the West Seattle to Ballard corridor is a very important one and, as you note, will not yet be served by light rail.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:53:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This diarist? Say what? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, The Overhead Wire

      The shortsighted politicians and apparently this diarist, killed transit to these neighborhoods for all time it seems since the Cascadia morons convinced them that it "competed" with light rail.

      First, Mr. Bundy will be against monorail funding when its monorail funding up, and against bus funding if its bus funding up, against substantial subsidies to vanpools if vanpool funding were to come up, and certainly against bikeway funding if bikeway funding were to come up. That side of his argument is nothing but a shell game.

      However, I do want to be clear that I'm not a fanatic for any given mode ... perhaps that would be clearer if you looked at my Rail Recruiters diary, or my America was Made for HSR diaries, or my Buses and Trains Should Be Friends diary.

      Indeed, I tend to lump monorail, other suspended technology like the Aerobus, street trams (often singled out in the US as if it was the only 'light rail' technology), and all other fixed guideway systems that fall into that same general patronage level upper and lower thresholds as light rail, broadly defined. If a monorail line is a viable solution to a particular transport task, and a street tram line is a viable solution to a different transport task, and they have a connecting station with interchangeable ticketing, then each helps support the other.

      As I said in answer to the "take the kid to the doctor" comment:

      A favorite game of the roadworks lobby is to pretend that the objective of each and every transport alternative is to be a one-size-fits-all system, and then point out how you can't do everything with that piece of the puzzle.

      But one size fits all really means one size fits all that it fits, and fits most of them poorly. The way we presently cope with the misfit between the auto transport system and our needs is to throw additional energy at the problem ... but we are coming to the end of that particular option.

      Our next transport system will be composed of a large number of different pieces, and that offers the prospect that each performs its particular part of the task more efficiently and effectively than any one-size-fits-all system could possibly do.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:55:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Or even (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, terrypinder, Judge Moonbox

    ride your bike and take it on the train -- light rail here in the Silly Con Valley has space for, IIRC, 4 bikes (hanging racks) in each light rail car; with most trains having 2 cars standard, that means 8 folks can ride their bike to the station, take the train to the destination station, then ride their bike the rest of the way. (And if the train's not too crowded bicyclists can still bring their bikes on, they just have to stand and hold on to it.)

    CalTrain (heavy rail) has a dedicated bike car on every train from San Jose/Gilroy to San Francisco -- I forget how many it holds but it's quite a few.

    Rail and cycling don't have to be an either/or situation -- you can have both.

    "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 08:32:45 AM PDT

  •  Biking in Seattle? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, Judge Moonbox

    I know lots of folks do bike in Seattle, but I'd sure hate to be the guy who works at the waterfront and lives in Capital Hill.  Sure, it's fun going DOWN the hill to work....

    I was fortunate this past year in Seattle that I lived a 35 minute walk (in good weather) or 20-25 minute bus ride from work...and no major hills.  I rarely used my car during the weekdays.

  •  A Canard (4+ / 0-)
    The leading forfeited opportunity is bicycling, the best possible transportation mode: cost-effective, energy-efficient, non-polluting, and healthy -- save for the danger from surrounding cars.

    This is the absolute definition of a canard. The repub freakazoids have absolutely no interest in supporting biking as an alternative. We see the same thing in the Twin Cities, although the stooges use another form of transportation as a canard, namely some idiotic form of personalized rapid transport that tows around a few people at a time.

    •  The wedge issue of PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) (4+ / 0-)

      Again bring up the bicycling is purely a wedge issue that the rethugs are planting as a tactical diversion. Minnesotans are familiar with this tactic in terms of the wacked PRT proposal:
      http://dumpmarkolson.blogspot.com/...

      Interesting that this is all related to the Discovery Institute (i.e. the Intelligent Design crowd), which includes Emory Bundy.

      The idea of the wedge is to just further subdivide progressives into factions that will fight each other. You could see this building a few years ago:
      http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/...

      These people are clever but not that clever.

      •  Creationists connected? (0+ / 0-)

        Interesting that this is all related to the Discovery Institute (i.e. the Intelligent Design crowd), which includes Emory Bundy.

        I find it interesting that a leading group opposing the teaching of evolution is working against public transit. I had thought that the DI could have been an independent outfit trying to push a creationist agenda, but if they're also invoved in the transportation debate, that means they're part and parcel of the Right Wing Noise Machine; and their pushing Intelligent Design is one more way to agitate anyone they can.

        To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

        by Judge Moonbox on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:16:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A Canard - the sequel (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox

      The absurdity of this statement reveals the amount of thought that went into it.

      The leading forfeited opportunity is bicycling, the best possible transportation mode: cost-effective, energy-efficient, non-polluting, and healthy  

      A bike trail built parallel to the rail.  The right of way is already in place; and, light rail requires leveled grade - a perfect grade for quick, easy commuting by bike.  All at a minimal additional cost to the light rail construction.

      — save for the danger from surrounding cars.

      Another problem solved.

      The only shame in ignorance is taking pride in it.

      by carver on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:03:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the winter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        carver

        A perfect grade, and a nirvana, for cross-country skiiers.  Alas, only sporadic snow in Seattle.

        I think of this because of the amazing converted rail beds around Cortina in Italy, and lots of other places in the Alps.   Biking in the summer and skiing in the winter.

        •  No skiing in Seattle. And one can imagine (0+ / 0-)

          how nasty a commute in the ever present mist/light rain during Seattle's winters would be.

          And I bike during much of the winter here in Maine.

          "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

          by Spud1 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:49:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  In Seattle the light rail (0+ / 0-)

        is in large part elevated, underground, or down the center of a major arterial. None of those are particularly conducive to bike trails.

        On the other hand the Viaduct, which many(*) want to see torn down, could support a third deck slung under the automobile decks, for bikes and foot traffic. This would give a covered bypass around the crowded and busy streets of downtown Seattle, with access to the ferry terminal, sport stadiums, and public market.

        • Many appearing to be developers and the same people behind bikes-over-lightrail.
  •  good work (0+ / 0-)

    nice job writing this diary

  •  The logistics and cost of cycle/train (0+ / 0-)

    are daunting. I find it very difficult.

    UNPLEASANT FACTS:

    Even in the Bay Area,  where the climate is so good,  and environmental consciousness is so high, and light rail so available, it is so difficult to make it work with reasonable cost, hassle, and time.

    It takes a lot of space, and a lot of time, to load, carry and unload bikes. That is a for the system, and for the riders.

    And the rail fare is just what it would cost to drive a car.   Why pay $5 a day for the bike/train/bike when,alternatively,  you can leave when you want, drive your SUV door to door, for $5? And do it in half the time? And not look like a mess?

    They need to reduce fares to a buck, and provide better bike parking facilities.

    Its to the benefit of all to maximize utilization.

     

    fouls, excesses and immoderate behaviors will not be ignored at Over the line, Smokey!.

    by seesdifferent on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:31:00 AM PDT

    •  It doesn't take a lot of space or a lot of time . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, wondering if

      ... to load, carry and unload folding bikes ... fold it, put it in the shoulder bag, board the train. And it takes zero space or time to load, carry and unload when the bike is parked at a Bikestation at the origin station.

      There's a reason why the primary push by cyclists groups is for Bikestations ... because quite often, what makes the most sense is for the bike to be local transport in the place where you live, and the train to be the regional transport.

      And why folding bikes are more popular in areas with good public transport systems than in areas without.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:01:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not railcars (0+ / 0-)

        with a section for storing ordinary bikes, using a locking system where you take the 'key' with you during the train ride?  People have already invested in bikes, and may want to use their bike at both ends of the commute.  

        A bike store section at the doorway, easy access to the outside. Push your bike into an empty slot, pull the key out and go sit down. When you lead, push the key in and take your bike off with you.  Space above the bike storage could be similarly outfitted for bulky package stowage.

        •  It depends on what the transport task is ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... for longer hauls, sure, it makes a lot of sense. For intra-urban transit, speed of onloading/offloading becomes a much more important issue for the overall speed of the trip.

           title=

          Especially for a city where cycling in the downtown as as challenging as everyone is saying about Seattle, something like this at the local train station will satisfy a big part of cycle-ride needs. This is a reference design from the Puget Sound Regional Council Bikestations project.

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 01:31:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  cycling in Seattle (0+ / 0-)

            takes a little planning.  The region has long glacier-built ridges running north-south, with occasional big lumps to one side of a ridge.

            In the Seattle core, you get off at the northern edge of the core, where the E-W grade isn't too bad, get to the street you want, and head south which is nearly level to a long moderate grade downhill.  Leaving you continue south until you reach the south edge of the core, where again the E-W grade is much less, and the existing train station is.

            This hold true so long as you don't need to be east of I5, in the region known as Pill Hill.  For that you'd take the Capital Hill station, accend the roughly 200 feet to the surface, and travel N/S on Broadway until you reach your cross street, then head downhill.  Getting back to that station is daunting, so you'd continue downhill into the core, then south to pick up your train at the south edge.

            Out in the residential areas and outside the city you're likely to be looking at hill climbing at least in one direction unless you happen to be near the station.  Good bus service will be needed to make it work out there.

            This is all in terms of using some sort of mass transit in/out of the city core. Just doing 100% biking generally means facing some steep hills.

            •  This is the focus ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wondering if

              ... as at least shows up in a tacit way in the Recruiters diary:

              Out in the residential areas and outside the city you're likely to be looking at hill climbing at least in one direction unless you happen to be near the station.

              ... and permitting more people to live near the rail station involves, as described in the Retrofitting Outer Suburbia diaries, zoning for proximity to the train station.

              With the ongoing development of electric bike, some hill climbing is not itself a severe impediment. The ideal is, of course, something like the Stoke Monkey:
               title=

              ... since it works through the existing gearing, and so is much better suited for hill climbing than a hub motor of equivalent power output. Mind you, a hub motor would do me fine, given that I am able to reach my destination and return on five gears on the middle chain ring ... but working through the gearing is a much better solution for very hilly areas.

              Note that this particular design requires that the bike be first modified to be a Sports Utility Bicycle:
               title=

              ... but I presume that as gasoline breaks through $5/gallon and heads toward $10, the market will deepen and we will start seeing this kind of technology available for a wider range of bikes.

              Electric bikes are still complementary with rail (more generally, fixed corridor) public transport, rather than general replacements for it, because they are still limited in terms of top speed and range. And given the greater investment required, secured bike parking becomes an even more critical issue.

              SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

              by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:23:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Red herring. Who wants to take your car away? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, BruceMcF, The Overhead Wire

      And it's not just a door-to-door proposition. When the trip takes place at rush hour, it's also a door-to-door-THROUGH-congestion proposition.

      As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

      by ticket punch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:11:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Precisely ... plus the aggro ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, The Overhead Wire

        ... of stop and go driving. My experience is that being able to sit back and do something ... read a book at the time, though sometimes I marked papers ... on the commute is something I would pay extra for. And all up, counting petrol, insurance, and car payments, it was cheaper than driving.

        SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

        by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:22:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you're just driving a few miles (0+ / 0-)

      sure you can do it for $5.

      But add in the hidden costs -- parking (especially in SF), bridge tolls, maintenance costs, insurance (most policies will charge more if you drive a lot of miles in a year), etc. -- and you'll find it actually costs far more than the $5 to drive.

      On light rail, it takes no time at all to load a bike on the train -- you just wheel it on, then can lift it onto the rack while the train is moving and sit right across from it. And on CalTrain, most bike commuters board faster than those heading for the airport with a reasonably sized suitcase. (Bikes are a lot lighter-weight than they used to be, thanks to some of the modern technologies).

      The problem is if you reduce fares too low, the money to run the system's going to have to come from somewhere, and you know how the Howard Jarvis folks scream if anyone even whispers the word "taxes" here in the Golden State...

      "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:37:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This argument is null when you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruceMcF

      consider all of the issues, not just the cost of your car.  There are bridge tolls which can be $4 a pop.  There are parking fees, paid for by you or your employer, there are environmental externalities which you can't yet add up succinctly, there are rising oil cost issues since we are at war to keep that drive at $5 and finally there is all those other things that cost so much including maintenance, insurance, a new car payment etc.

      I live in San Francisco and work in Oakland.  I could not live here without BART.  It would cost for parking and tolls alone $16 a day to drive.  And at 52 cents a mile (AAA 2007) That would make my 12 miles into $6.  Since my employer pays for my transit pass before taxes, I pay nothing.  That means I have a personal savings of $22 dollars a day.  And for 240 days or so I save $5280.  Over my 30 year work life, I would have saved $158,400.  That is personal savings.  So you tell me whether you want to throw away 100 Gs or just keep driving your car.  Wonder why housing is so expensive?  Because you're not saving money by driving.

  •  I live an hour north of Seattle, and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF

    about a year ago, I took the train from Seattle down to Portland,OR for a visit. What a wonderful trip!

    Once in Portland, the light rail system that runs through out the city was within easy walking distance from the train. Quiet, clean and inexpensive, by hopping on the LR I was able to go everywhere in the city with no problems, no hassels and I thouroughly enjoyed my stress free day seeing one end of Portland to the other (I wish I had had longer to see more).

    The light rail system in Portland is a shining example of how well light rail really does work, and I dare anyone to try it and not see the benifits to the economy amd environment it provides.

    As I see it, the longer Seattle holds out against a light rail system, the more it will cost...

    ...strength is not without humility. It's weakness and untreatable disease, and war is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. Bono

    by Peperpatch on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 10:15:46 AM PDT

  •  Northeast Ohio (0+ / 0-)

    BruceMcF

    Excellent comments.  Note that Cleveland is building a bus-rapid-transit line down Euclid Avenue because not enough people joined us in fighting for a rail line and because the federal government was willing to subsidize rebuilding the road but not building rail.  Returning long-term planning to our infrastructure development needs to be a crucial part of returning a democrat to the White House.

    Another source of information about transit in Northeast Ohio (please more trains!) see the UrbanOhio  Transportation forum
    http://www.urbanohio.com/...

  •  Dedicated hybrid/bio-Diesel bus lanes better deal (0+ / 0-)

    More cost effective. Less cost than huge infrastructure required for trains.

    More flexible to match transportation patterns.

    US mfg. vs. foreign mfg. for trains.

    •  Sounds like the dot points for ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... another "mode versus mode" diary. Apologies in advance if I can't make it, I don't buy the founding premise of most "mode versus mode" arguments, that there is a "silver bullet" solution that is some kind of one size fits all alternative to the Auto-Over-All system.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:30:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bus vs. Rail is the issue. (0+ / 0-)

        Not sure what your comments above were referring to, a bit jargony.

        The dedicated bus routes are a much cheaper, more effective and more immediate way to provide public transportation.

        Using hybrid bio-Diesel buses makes it work environmentally.

        Trains work in densely populated cities where they need to go underground where the bus alternative won't work though at the fringes the dedicated bus routes can be effective.

        •  BRT is a joke (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Overhead Wire

          People won't ride buses; they prefer rail.

        •  This post has been played out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BruceMcF

          in other recent posts.  As Bruce has said in his diary Why can't bus and rail be friends referenced above, there are certain modes that do certain jobs and the network agglomeration is what should be looked at.  I love light rail.  But there are some things that buses do better.  Another side to this is the disingenuousness of anti-transit advocates who try to kill good projects by rooting for the opposite technology but when that technology comes up, they will go against that one as well.  Berkeley is a perfect example. They are looking to build BRT but some will say that they should just add more buses after they went down from light rail because they compromised on that.

        •  They are complements, not alternates. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Overhead Wire

          For 10,000 to 100,000 trips daily, light rail is normally the most appropriate alternative, for more than that, rapid transit of some form, for less than that, buses.

          And of course, any route that supports more than 100,000 daily trips is going to support feeder routes in the next level down, and any route that supports 10,000 to 100,000 daily trips is going to support feeder routes in the next level down, so in a city large enough to support rapid transit, a well-integrated hierarchy of rapid transit, light rail (of some kind, whether street cars, monorail, or whatever), and buses.

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:28:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bus and trains are alternatives more often. (0+ / 0-)

            In all but the most densely packed city, the buses are a much more cost effective. Even there, going with bus only streets typically beats trains from any cost-benefit analysis.

            Prior to hybrid bio-Diesel technology, the issue was fuel cost and pollution. Buses are also ideally suited  as leading edge for first hydrogen powered vehicles.

  •  Failure of land use controls gives TOD + HOD (0+ / 0-)
  •  Can you tell me where this has occured (0+ / 0-)

    You claim:

    And that [TOD centers] reduces total miles driven by those who use cars, in addition to getting people out of cars and into transit.

    My experience is that the TOD centers increase growht and economic activity, which increases both total trips and INCREASES VMT.

    Can you show me a place where a TOD had caused an absolute net reduction of current VMT?

    •  The most broadly based study is ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rolet

      ... the Victoria Transport Policy Institute's Rail Transit In America (pdf), which found 21% fewer vehicle miles per capita in their Big Rail sample of cities compared to Bus Only cities.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:37:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Increasing density does this (0+ / 0-)

      "One well-known study determined that doubling residential densities promotes a decrease of 20 to 30 percent in VMT per capita."

      For a real-world example, see Vancouver, which has seen its VMT fall as development in its downtown becomes more dense and diverse.

      Plain old mother talk ain't nowhere near strong enough to describe such a terrible mix-up as life. -- Mark Harris

      by skeptigal on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 05:38:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  TOD increases density. (0+ / 0-)

        Were you under the impression that TOD has at sometime since its inception jettisoned the infilling part?

        Indeed, while TOD encourages clustered infilling around transport nodes, there is a certain threshold density that only becomes possible with the support of rapid transit.

        SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

        by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 06:31:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Density has an incremental and absolute value (0+ / 0-)

          TOD's are typically located in built up areas.

          You have to consider the interaction of the TOD incremental growth (population and regional economic) and the pre-existing population and it's car dependent economy.
           
          The new increment of population living in the TOD may have a greater reliance on rail than the pre-existing car dependent development. But some in the TOD will still drive, it is never 100% rail. Result: new car trips and additional VMT.

          In addition, the TOD has spillover effects and triggers an increment of population and economic growth in the region. Again, some of this new growth will use cars. Result: new car trips and additional VMT.

          Existing residents - in anticipation of congestion reduction projections of the light rail capacity increase - actually increase trips and VMT (this happens with highways - as capacity increases new trips increase offset the new increment of capacity). Result: new car trips and additional VMT.

          This dynamic increases total VMT, if not offset by a shift by the existing car dependent trips to rail (and rail serves almost exclusively to provide the commuter based trip).

          I am not aware of places where the light rail (or any other transportation infrastructure) - across a region - has been intergrated with land use controls and mandatory trip reduction requirements in a way that results in net reduction in total VMT.

          •  TOD's create density. (0+ / 0-)

            TOD's are typically located in built up areas.

            Transit Oriented Development creates density ... both relative and absolute. It creates relative density through encouraging infill development. And it creates absolute density by permitting levels of density that are unsupportable by Highway Oriented Development.

            And, of course, the VTPI study is giving the regression effect on VMT of having a developed rail system ... so this is the reduction in VMT after density has been controlled for.

            However, the most important point is that the notion of  VMT per acre that appears here:

            In addition, the TOD has spillover effects and triggers an increment of population and economic growth in the region. Again, some of this new growth will use cars. Result: new car trips and additional VMT.

            ... is simply confused thinking. The population is not created as a result of the TOD ... if it arrives, it arrives from somewhere, and for the United States, the dominant sources of population will be areas dominated by HOD.

            The metric that must be used is VMT per capita, not VMT per acre.

            On this point:

            Existing residents - in anticipation of congestion reduction projections of the light rail capacity increase - actually increase trips and VMT (this happens with highways - as capacity increases new trips increase offset the new increment of capacity). Result: new car trips and additional VMT.

            ... this does indeed happen with HOD since, after all, the nation has had more than half a century to become accustomed to the effects of "a new highway coming in".

            Further, with HOD, it is a permanent effect, since the new highway (new highway exit, road widening of highway access routes, etc.) is accompanied by infrastructure subsidies that decentralize transport tasks.

            Even if this effect were to show up with fixed corridor transit projects in process, it would only be transitory, because TOD encourages infill development.

            On the debating challenge:

            I am not aware of places where the light rail (or any other transportation infrastructure) - across a region - has been intergrated with land use controls and mandatory trip reduction requirements in a way that results in net reduction in total VMT.

            ... mandatory trip reduction requirements are not an element of TOD. Indeed, the focus of changes in land use controls is on eliminating obstacles to infill development ... and from commentators on this diary, many of the counties in the Greater Seattle Area already have development controls that favor infill development over extensive development.

            Rather, the reduction in VMT is achieved by reversing the cause of the increase in VMT, which is the dispersal of transport task destinations across a region. When main destinations are located around stops on a fixed transport corridor, there is a reduction in the total miles that need to be driven to accomplish the same transport tasks.

            After all, our steady increase in VMT under HOD is not be pure individual choice ... it is due to the settlement system that requires more miles driven to do the same things. Eliminating that requirement is the most direct way to attack the problem and reduce the costs of our transport system ... personal individual cost in time, national cost in energy dependence, and global cost in global warming ... across the board.

            We can hope that over time, the effect of a well integrated system of local and regional fixed corridor transport networks will allow an even larger number of people to gain freedom from the need to own a car ... but in the short and medium term, the reduction in the requirement to drive for TOD compared to HOD, by those still dependent on the car-transport system, is an important leverage for our transport public works.

            SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

            by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 08:19:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Von Thunen, Losch, Iszard, central place theory (0+ / 0-)

              externalities, friction of distance, gravity, urban theory, et al.

              This is trained thinking my friend - regional science to be precise.

              The interstate highways were a real estate development program, as much or more than a transportation system.

              Are you arguing that transportation infrastruture investments do NOT stimualte economic development and atttract population growth?

              Global warming and Peak Oil imperatives drive the need for real, absolute reductions in VMT - not on a per capita or land area basis.

              •  Are you arguing that it is possible to have ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... absolute reduction in VMT without being able to offer people attractive opportunities to reduce VMT per person?

                And, yes, I am aware of Von Thunen, Losch, Iszard, central place theory, the Organization of Space in Developing Countries, The Death and Life of Great American Cities ... after all, regional economics is one of my fields of specialization in my degree.

                However, I have yet to see careful trained thinking in regional science appear in your line of argument, so raising these names as icons seems to be neither here nor there.

                SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:09:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I am arguing that transportation and land use (0+ / 0-)

                  must be intergrated and that tools must include regulatory mandates.

                  Building light rain and justifying more development and density on the absis of some mythical projected VMT reductions is absurd.

                  The system does not respond that way.

                  Light rail will only give density surrounded my car dependent sprawl.

                  •  Density surrounded by car dependent ... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... sprawl is better than car dependent sprawl alone, which is the alternative that is in force if we abandon improvements until they include the mandates you are demanding.

                    SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                    by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:46:07 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Density surrounded by sprawl is NOT better (0+ / 0-)

                      than sprawl alone.

                      A precondition of funding these projects should  mandate land use controls not only in the TOD to encourage density, but in the region to reduce it in the environs.

                      These amdates would also require trip reduction programs by major employers to force a shift from cars to light rail.

                      Why are these condtions not sound?

                      DO you support them?

                      Show me one lgith rail project that has implemetned them.

                      •  Yes, of course it it. We have to move society ... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        The Overhead Wire

                        ... away from the current settlement pattern and having clustered infill development zones embedded in the existing settlement system offers the most rapid transition once gasoline prices hit levels that make HOD unsupportable.

                        And your proposal to raise the barriers to providing those infill zones is collaborating with the roadworks lobby, who will support anything that will greenwash their opposition to offering an alternative to highway oriented development.

                        SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                        by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:57:41 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Because TOD and rail advocates ignore (0+ / 0-)

              land use regulation and trip reduction mandates (i.e the repealed Clean Air Act trip reduction program), the net effect is to get the high density TOD, the infill, and even more low density sprawl HOD regional pattern.

              I see it every day.

              When gas goes to $10/gallon and more, this will change.

              That is the justification for rail.

            •  Density per se is not a pancea (0+ / 0-)

              Where is the energy, food, water, wastewater, waste disposal et al supposed to come from to service that density?

              •  Wherever the energy, food, water, wastewater ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The Overhead Wire

                ... waste disposal are supposed to come from to service suburban sprawl density, since its the same population distributed across an area in a way that requires less energy and less infrastructure investment per person to meet all the other needs that you have listed.

                And, indeed, clustered infill permits food to come from closer, because it reduces the land consumed per person in outlying areas, compared to the alternative Highway Oriented Development. It does not force the food to come from closer, but moving from "does not permit" to "permit" is a step in the right direction.

                The argument you advance here is similar to the argument advanced by Mr. Bundy, of counting the CO2 cost of the Beacon Hill tunnel while tacitly assuming that highway construction requires none.

                SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 09:51:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Misss my point again, so I'll keep it simple (0+ / 0-)

                  Light rail (and virtually all transportation advocates) ignore teh systemic nature of the problems.

                  This erros is compounded because even when tehy do, the planners generally are afraid to advocate for government regulatory tools to land use, energy, and transportation problems, instead relying on market mechansism.

                  To say that this observation amounts to a red herring or somehow support for highway contruction is absurd.

                  I argue exactly the oppostie set of solutions.

                  A light rail system without land use controls make the problem WORSE not better.

                  •  You are ignoring the systematic nature of the ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    The Overhead Wire

                    ... problem if you insist that a necessary element of the solution cannot be put into place because it on its own is not sufficient.

                    New social systems are not put in place in a single piece, and as they are being put in place, they always face opposition from vested interests of the existing social systems.

                    Your are arguing against the pursuit of something that is necessary to have in place in order to win more fights for increasing the land use controls that are already in place.

                    SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                    by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:49:51 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This was your false statement that set me off (0+ / 0-)

                      This is not empirically accurate

                      Transit Oriented Development (TOD) leads to a reduction in total travel miles, by establishing activity centers as opposed to the sprawl of Highway Oriented Development (HOD). And that reduces total miles driven by those who use cars, in addition to getting people out of cars and into transit.

                      I explained why in multiple ways.

                      All I am saying is that the land use controls adn ETR madnates need to be a part of the package.

                      Just think if the federal government madnated them as conditions for inter-state highway money!

                      The reason they dodn't were that the program was a real esate development program, not a transportation program.

                      You seem not to have learned that lesson.

              •  Oh, and by the way, this is a red herring. (0+ / 0-)

                Nowhere is it claimed that density per se is a panacea, so advancing the claim that it is not is a red herring.

                SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 09:52:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •   mandatory trip reduction requirements are not (0+ / 0-)

              an element of TOD"

              This concedes my point.

              Elimination of obstancles to infill does not address either the HOD car dependent sprawl pattern or the need to reduce total vehicle trips or total miles driven in a region.

              Result is dense TOD clusters surrounded by sprawl.

              Happening in every major metro area in US.

              •  Yes, but Peak Oil will take care of that ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The Overhead Wire

                ... as long as the infill centers are available as actual live options.

                When gasoline hits $10/gallon, there will be a substantial tip toward in favor of TOD development. The critical strategic necessity at this point is to ensure that those infill clusters are available, as in areas where they are, the transition will be ongoing as the price of gasoline rises. For those trapped in areas with the dominant Highway Oriented Development model alone, a tremendous amount of effort will be wasted in fighting to save an inefficient and obsolete settlement pattern.

                SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

                by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 09:46:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  a 30% VMT per capita reduction (0+ / 0-)

        Is wiped out by the population increase!

        Is the 30% reduction for the incremental growth of the density doubling?

        Does that study say that existing car dependent development shifted mode from car to rail?

        Has the Vancouver region shown an absolute reuction in total VMT as downtown becomes more dense and diverse? Or is the VMT reduction associated only with downtown tripos?

        From a regional perspective - if land use controls and real trip reduction mandates are not in place and enforcerd before the inrastrucure is installed - the effect of any transportation capacity increase is to promote economic growth and more total vehicle miles.

        Folks realize this dynamic in highway construction - as you build new capacity it is rapdily congested by new trips.

        Light rail does the same thing.

        The best argument for light rail is that gas will soon be prohibitively expensive and peope will need more cpst effective alternatives.

        Of course there is also global warming and air quality too.

        But let's not fool ourselvs that the current scheme is reducing total VMT.

  •  thanks for wading through the bullshit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rolet, NoMoreLies, The Overhead Wire

    I'm actually convinced that Americans like sitting in traffic, since they need to be pulled kicking and screaming out of their fucking cars. Even getting people to carpool is like pulling teeth where I live even though ALMOST  EVERYONE IN TOWN WORKS THE SAME HOURS BECAUSE THEY ALL WORK FOR SOME FORM OF GOVERNMENT.

    yet the voters keep saying no to regional rail, they laugh at bikers, and whine that the roads aren't wide enough and there's not enough parking downtown. Well boo, fucking, hoo.

    ohhh sweet mystery of life at last i found youuuuu blogroll

    by terrypinder on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:37:54 PM PDT

  •  Another savings - reducing the number of cars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rolet, BruceMcF

    on the road used to commute means that whatever is left on those same roads moves more effeciently. Delivery trucks are not sitting in stop and go traffic but can make their deliveries; busses are not ehld up either. So with everything moving more effeciently, this adds another reason to move to mass transit.

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill

    by Spud1 on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 12:48:02 PM PDT

  •  Wanted: Good source for efficiency of train (0+ / 0-)

    car and plane travel.  Been googling for an hour, found good stuff on planes, and some stuff on trains that looks ridiculous, and might be based on 17 passengers per train, which seems ridiculous....

    any help?

  •  Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rolet, BruceMcF, The Overhead Wire

    We're seeing the same kind of tactics in Spokane where the anti-transit folks are actually running the transit agency.  So afraid they were of having the Spokane public adopt light rail, they wrote purposefully misleading ballot language to scare people into voting no.  Even so, they barely failed the initiative.

    The conversation continues in Spokane.  A new group has formed to educate the public since Spokane Transit refuses to do so.  The website has just recently been posted, so it's not useful at the moment, but it will be looking for support soon.  The group is called Friends of Rail Transit (FORT).

    Check back with the web site in a month or so.

    http://www.FriendsOfRailTransit.org

  •  Biking is impossible ... (0+ / 0-)

    from my home to work (6 miles away) - because I can never make it up the hill(s).

    That was if it didn't rain that much.

    I hope they get the rails to east on I-90 and I-520.

    Impeach Cheney to prevent a war with Iran.
    Now Reading : The Dead Sea scrolls : a new translation / Michael Wise et. al.

    by nataraj on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 04:17:45 PM PDT

    •  I had not idea it rained so much in Seattle ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... I make it OK an hour and a half in a roaring Ohio rainstorm, with a raincape, so y'all must have absolute monsoons.

      As far as the hill, an electric stoker is supposed to be a tremendous help in very hilly terrain.

       title=

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 04:38:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its not the quantity ... (0+ / 0-)

        its the duration. Seattle has the most rainy days in US (IIRC, next only to some city in NY state).

        And ofcourse your bike looks promising, though. I'd like to try this atleast in "summer".

        Impeach Cheney to prevent a war with Iran.
        Now Reading : The faiths of the founding fathers / David L. Holmes.

        by nataraj on Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 09:25:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like a 'tech' jacket and chaps ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... would be normal commuting gear for Seattle.

          BTW, that's only my bike in my dreams. My commuting bike is a $60 department store bike that claims to be a 15 speed mountain bike, but the front derailleur doesn't shift, so its a 5 speed.

          I'd definitely have to fix it to ride in Seattle!

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 07:55:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  very different efficiences of mass transit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Overhead Wire

    according to DOE figures, NYC subways use 3700 BTU/passanger mile, while in Boston it is 1200.

    Rather counterintuitive.  Perhaps it is because NYC subway trains are very long and heavy to accomodate the peak traffic and are used around the clock, running empty at night.   If they would reduce the length and weight of off-peak trains, they could perhaps go closer to Boston figures.

    Another example that was given was that in cities with succesful light rail lines the energy efficiency of buses dropped because they carry fewer passangers.  Again, vans could be a solution.

    Personally, I commute mostly on bicycle, 4 miles each way, moderate hills (250 ft rise each way).  However, in bad weather I rely on a bus line (plus car rides).  Public transit relieves congestion on roads and parking spaces and gives opportunities to people who for various reasons have no cars.

    A great idea is some kind of rail with parking garages for bicycles (and for cars for that matter).  With two cheap bikes and a rail line one could live and work within 2 miles to a nearest station and commute.  One thing about rail is that electricity comes in 78 percent from non-hydrocarbon sources, and it occupies less space than extra highway lanes.   In time, we can change electricity generation away from carbon to nuclear and renewables.

    An alternative to rail would be a system of intelligent highways.  While on an urban highway a car would be controlled by the highway, not the driver, allowing for much closer packing of quickly moving cars.  By adding web-based matchmaking of flexible ride sharing and making cars ultra-efficient, the energy expenditures could be divided by 4, and commuting times by 2.  

    •  One the 2nd example, Perth shows the way ... (0+ / 0-)

      Another example that was given was that in cities with succesful light rail lines the energy efficiency of buses dropped because they carry fewer passangers.  Again, vans could be a solution

      The solution is to integrate the bus routes and ticketing with the light rail system, which will yield increases in ridership for the bus system, increasing their energy efficiency.

      Plus result in an increase in average social status of bus riders, increasing their political clout.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:39:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Emory Bundy Wall of Insanity would be... (0+ / 0-)

    ...a pile of debris 350 miles long, three feet wide, and three feet high.

    Possibly Emory's wall could be a tourist attraction and bring revenue to the state, somewhat like the tourist revenues that Beijing receives from the Great Wall of China.

    However, if someone has 124 acres of unusable swamp-land near to the railway line, then 600,000 cubic yards of excavation debris could easily be transported there in order to be used to raise the site by 3 feet and make the land usable.

    OR... if there was 150 acres of marginal land adjacent to a railway track, the excavation debris could be carted by train to this site to provide the material for landscaping of a new golf course. Once established, the golfers would compute by train to go and play a round.

    So Emory, don’t stop looking for creative ideas for using the excavation debris, because we all know that your 350 mile wall is nothing but manipulative spin.

    •  Yeah, I was trying to work out what the point ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... of a wall three feet high and three feet wide was, but it escaped me.

      It could, of course, be used to build embankments to place through bikeways on that reduced the gradient between separate hills, but I prefer an elevated cycleway suspended from cable for that, because I think it can be done in a way that is more aesthetically pleasing.

      The main point, of course, is that Bundy is tacitly assuming that the much greater square footage of roadworks required to replace the light rail transport capacity will generate no debris. And its important to make such assumptions tacitly, because making them explicitly would completely destroy the ability of the article to sucker a reader.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:37:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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