Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Building a Transit System

A lot has been said about different transit modes over the years but I'd like to offer some commentary on some advocates including sometimes myself. While we want to believe that there is a silver bullet for congestion out there but there isn't. What is needed is a system. A system where people can choose to take another mode instead of driving everyday everywhere. While some freeway opponents want to believe we can just expand our freeways, that is not possible. The reason being is that your never going to relieve congestion that way. However much room there is on the freeway, it will always fill up. Always. But if we have a transit SYSTEM, people can avoid that. Is it really so hard to understand?

Here is a quote that relates from Molly Ivins, who recently passed away....

"It's hard to argue against cynics -- they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side."


Mike said...

I'm going to go all cynic again - this is typical Top-Down thinking. If I provide a choice, they'll choose it. Sounds good, right? Who's against choices! But if you provide a choice no additional people WANT, how are you helping?

Bottom-up thinking says: how does building this next thing make more people WANT TO CHOOSE my system over the car. It's much harder, of course. It means you need to not BEAT the car, but at least compete with it. Maybe you don't beat it in speed but you're in the ballpark, and you beat it on reliability and comfort. (i.e. light rail).

I like to THINK it's not cynical, but unfortunately it usually ends up that way.

Mike said...

And the Atlanta example is a perfect one to use: providing a streetcar on a road in shared traffic which is extremely congested. It's a new 'choice'; but how is it going to attract any 'choice commuters'?

(I went up/down Peachtree a dozen times between Midtown and Buckhead on my last trip there - there is no way this thing is going to work - the road is a disaster; too many turning movements in the right lane which get stuck; too much weaving by cars to avoid backups; etc.)

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I think they are going to completely redo the street, hopefully with the streetcar in a middle ROW. But I haven't seen any plans. I'm a bit skeptical as well at the moment. But its a good start. We'll see.

Mike said...

I saw one place where they mentioned "shared traffic lane".