Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Paying the Rent

Insurance, depreciation and financing charges are major costs. "If you have two cars sitting in the garage, you can sell one for eight grand and that will help pay the mortgage,"
Who knew transit made money for you? The Washington Post has an article that in tone belays the shock that while gas prices are dropping, people are still taking transit. There are many who have known the benefits for years. It's like finding Narnia or something for those on the outside of urbanism though.


rhywun said...

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of "hey, the train isn't as horrible as I've been led to believe all my life" going on.

Cavan said...

I posted a commentary about this story at Greater Greater Washington. The masses aren't scared anymore. It's that simple.

Transit is no longer for "them." It's now for "me." It's now for "us."

Randy Simes said...

Unfortunately funding for transit projects has not kept pace with their growing demand. Many systems are using antiquated rolling stock while others could use modernization of their fare and collection systems.

I'm glad Americans are finally starting to "see the light," but at some point we are also going to have to start seeing dedicated revenue streams for these systems beyond the relatively low far collections.

jon said...

the same goes for the new acceptance of urban living and of course transit and urban living support each other.

its a full package, transit and urbanism. but i think the first step is getting the transit then focusing on urban design and creating/revitalizing neighborhoods along these routes.

certainly they should be done together but after 3-4 years of rail construction its done whereas a neighborhood takes a generation to build out.

it also cant be just slapping up housing like eastern europe with bleak soviet project-like towers served by streetcars. if people are giving up their backyards, private swimming pools and kitchens the size of a small house then there has to quality parks, civic institutions, museums, theaters and a good selection of restaurants to substitute for them.

its all about great places that people want and enjoy to be in. housing is one component but so are the amentities of urbanism that make it desirable...
parks/squares, variety of everyday stores, markets and restaurants and a vibrant street life.

americans travel to europe to enjoy sidewalk cafe culture and ride high speed trains and local commuter trains and walk to get around and seem to enjoy it, so why not have the same here at home in the USA?

i always enjoy when a city/region welcomes its first transit line and all of a sudden transit is not just acceptable but cool. and this month it will likely be phoenix, probably the most autocentric region in the world.

LightRailBlogger said...

Jon, you are absolutely right. The debut of METRO light rail here in Phoenix is just over three weeks away. The local paper (Arizona Republic) has a new story almost every day leading up to the big launch. The comments range from "I can't believe we spent $1.4 billion dollars on this, what a waste of money" to "it will be the best thing since sliced bread" - I think people will see the benefits to light rail once it's up and running with passengers on December 27th

njh said...

Another thing to realise is that the reason gas prices have fallen is not due to suddenly finding more oil. No, it's because americans no longer have the money to buy it. Remember that gas is traditionally a very inelastic good, so this means that if the supply of money drops slightly, the price of gas drops dramatically.

With any luck this will bankrupt some of those tarshale and coal gasification projects and lead us away from the fossil carbon future.