Thursday, August 6, 2009

Assorted Quotes

More HSR in Spain:
By then 90% of the population will be within 30 miles of a station. New lines have already been opened to Segovia, Valladolid and Malaga in the last 18 months. New links will eventually connect France and Portugal.
Madison has a choice between Airport and Downtown Amtrak Station
Moreover, they argue a First Street location has unlimited potential for sparking "transit-oriented" development of apartments, stores or offices that could generate millions in new property tax revenues while providing a catalyst for the long-awaited overhaul of the blighted East Washington Avenue corridor.

"Compare that to the airport, where you have zero opportunity for anything like that," says Barry Gore, a Madison-based urban planner who has previously worked on transit issues in Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Check out the Obama story at the start of the article.

H/T Planetizen
The Streetsweeper has this to say about the Lazarus piece:
Lazarus at one point says that we will need to make our cities less comfortable in order to force our population into mass transit. Are these Japanese or European cities so uncomfortable that we will stop visiting in such great numbers? Are they so uncomfortable that their own inhabitants are fleeing in droves? I think not. So, why do we visit there (repeatedly) and long for what they have, yet fail to bring it about in our own country. Even our own "world class" cities cannot pull it off with the same panache as they do. I don' t think that we want their comfort level, because we are Americans and we deserve more.
A coworker mentioned the other day that only 20% of Americans have passports. Another lower number actually use them. I wish more people would go and see other places. Just to get a feel of not America.


Matt Fisher said...

Don't forget the completion of the new high speed line from Madrid via Saragossa to Barcelona! That was in the past 18 months. And it should be quite fun when they'll get the same thing up and running to Lisbon, which is a similar distance from Madrid.

Unknown said...

Though having TGV's running from Paris to Madrid would be awesome!

Bob Davis said...

I sent Mr. Lazarus a rather lengthy e-mail commenting on his column. Regarding the paucity of passports among Americans: we have enough things to see and do in the USA to fill several lifetimes, so many people don't want to get out of their "comfort zones" to visit other countries. Remember that "travel" is just below "travail" in the dictionary. Whether it's learning to drive on the other side of the road in England, dealing with the London Underground ticket machines, or having to learn at least the rudiments of a foreign language, to many people the tasks involved in travel to other countries is "too much like work". Then there's the fact that a lot of Americans get little or no paid vacation (especially when compared to Europeans) and can't afford much more than day-trips and it's no mystery why passports are so scarce in the US.

njh said...

There is certainly a lot of area in the US, but limiting oneself to only the US for travel is like limiting oneself to only mcdonalds for food. If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all. Put another way, all the cultural diversity I've seen in the western states of the US (And I've seen them all, and lived in 3) is probably equivalent to that of say scotland.

Bob Davis said...

If the only thing you can afford is McDonald's, that's where you're going to eat. Europeans have an advantage: they're already there. One can travel from London to Rome with just a few changes of trains. We Yanks have to spend hours stuffed into a jetliner; airline travel used to be glamorous and exciting, now the planes (in coach, at least) are more like Greyhound buses with wings. Then there's all the airport security hassle. Before you even leave home, there's the maddening hunt for air fares that don't blow your budget. I could also comment that there are some Americans who probably shouldn't have passports--I'm referring to the folks who, when they do visit a foreign country, do nothing but gripe about everything that isn't like back home.

njh said...

Bob: True, though I do wonder if the US airways weren't full of short hops, intercontinental travel couldn't be made cheap and comfortable again.

Alon Levy said...

Bob, most people don't ride trains from London to Rome. For all Britain-Continent travel except London-Paris and London-Brussels, air is the dominant form of travel.