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Old 06-13-2008, 01:51 PM   #46
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Why does the USA have such a poor railway system? If the French SNCF were running it, you'd have fast trains, mostly on time.[/QUOTE]

I think its because of the automotive lobby. AND because train rides are still more expensive than the gas for the car, however that may change ...
The good news about increasing oil price is that it may force the issue
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:44 PM   #47
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Ridership is up on public transportation here in New England this year.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:20 PM   #48
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Here in the Boston area we have really good public transportation. I ride the T quite a lot. It saves me the hassle of driving into town, the hassle of using gas, the hassle of parking, and I can go just about where I want rather easily.
The T is tremendous. I would much rather that system than what we have in NY. I have to drive to NY City and park. Fortunately, I have a company provided vehicle and the gas as well as parking is paid for. I would rather take the LIRR in and walk, because the subway does not cover the east side very well.
If it makes sense, the powers that be tend to avoid it. I travel up to the New England area a few times a year. The biggest problem I have is that there is no damn bridge connecting Long Island to Connecticut! Think of how much less fuel would be required. I have to drive 25 miles west to Queens, only to have to drive 50 miles back through Connecticut! The Long Island Sound is maybe 12-15 miles across at its widest point! BUILD A BRIDGE!
Too many stupid people making decisions. Frank Zappa said,"It is not getting any smarter out there, you need to come to terms with stupidity and make it work for you."
I know this has gotten but something needs to be done!

As for the airlines fees, I make out on the deal. Although I am not a "passenger of size", it still costs more in fuel to fly me than others.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:02 AM   #49
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Actually it is quite the opposite Zelda. Paris and also older New York neighboorhoods are organic... people lived there and worked there... so there is a good mix of residential, office, retail, etc in each area. While as urban planners like to have the Offices all in one area, the Retail in one area, the residential in one area. This is why US commute is so bad, in the AM 90% of the residents are streaming into the downtown office area. In the PM they all leave. If the major residential areas are all one direction the highways are terrible.
this is an interesting point, however it's only partially true... first because Paris as we all know it today is thanks to Baron Haussmann, who basically razed the city and rebuilt it in the second half of the XIXth century. He created the wide streets with many intersecting diagonals.

one main reason for these streets was to ensure that the army could easily get through in case there were more popular uprisings, because it's much harder to build barricades across a wide, straight open avenue than narrow twisting alleyways... however the *publicly* announced reason was to create a city where people and vehicles could easily circulate and to improve the overall urbanism and hygiene of the city. so in fact there is almost nothing organic about the paris of today.

and since then, the city planners have taken very seriously the regulation of zoning and building permits ; for instance, after the Tour Montparnasse was built (a huge glass office building, the tallest building in the city), they realized what a mistake that had been so no more skyscrapers are allowed. the government is also making a lot of efforts recently to tear down all the sinister suburban housing developpments built in the 60's and 70's and replace them with more "human scale" housing ; several smaller buildings instead of one monolithic one, with parks and open spaces and cafés and shops, and public transportation easily accessible. this is what i mean when i say urban planning.

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i think its because of the automotive lobby. AND because train rides are still more expensive than the gas for the car, however that may change ...
The good news about increasing oil price is that it may force the issue
yes, it's completely because of the automotive lobby. like the "Great American Streetcar Scandal" i mentioned earlier in the thread. but that's a good point about the price of oil ; perhaps it will be the catalyst needed to finally make a dramatic change in the attitude toward travel and transportation. although i beleive i heard somewhere that the US government provide a tax decrease to people who buy hummers, which consume obscene amounts of fuel, but which seem to be astoundingly popular, so maybe there is still a long ways to go yet...
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:42 AM   #50
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In praise of urban sprawl...

I like urban sprawl. I live in one of the most sprawled cities in the world, (and like a good Texan) am proud of it! Let me explain what I get for my sprawl.

Bad - Air Pollution

Heavy Auto Traffic

Long Commutes (although I am currently between commutes at this time)

Minimal sense of neighborhood.


Good - A 220 sq meter house, (nice brick, in an affluent, nice neighborhood) on a 825 sq meter lot. I split the house with my brother when we bought it. It cost less (30 year mortgage) than 2 average separate 80 sq meter apartments (at the purchase time).

On the lot, I garden. A pecan tree, 60 rose bushes, a raspberry patch (ripe right now!), 6 dwarf orange trees in pots (along with 10 tropical hibiscus plants), amaryllis (5 varieties), daylilies, irises, tomato plants, daffodils, ect., and a lawn. I see various birds, (including hummingbirds), lizards, squirrels, the ocassional frog, (I have water lilies in tubs), and butterflies, among others...(Future plans include a 4-in-1 apple tree and a boysenberry patch)

I can also hop in the car and go anywhere I want, 24 hours a day, as long as I don't have to go across water. (Can't drive to Hawaii or Europe, for example - But I could drive to Nome, Alaska, if I wanted to.)

I'm not totally impervious to envornmental concerns (just almost!), and my longer term plans are to panel my roof with solar panels, which should provide all my electricity needs (in 5 to 10 years, IMHO), and my next car will be a serial hybrid (when they come out).


I like my lifestyle....(did I mention the hot-air ballons that fly overhead every year.....)

Last edited by Ralph Sir Edward; 06-14-2008 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:02 AM   #51
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Sold.
Can I come live with you please?
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:16 AM   #52
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Today's high will be around 38 C. (And it's be around that (or hotter) for the next 3 months....)

Warm winds blowin',
heatin' blue skies,
and a road that goes forever....


Chris Rhea
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:13 PM   #53
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Two words: PEAK OIL

I think you laid out nicely the good and the bad of urban sprawl. Hopefully, you will be able to support that lifestyle for life. However, The USA's love of the Automobile is now about to enter a new phase. Your gardening and solar panels are great ideas. Maybe the traffic will lesson if gas prices continue to rise.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
I like urban sprawl. I live in one of the most sprawled cities in the world, (and like a good Texan) am proud of it! Let me explain what I get for my sprawl.

Bad - Air Pollution

Heavy Auto Traffic

Long Commutes (although I am currently between commutes at this time)

Minimal sense of neighborhood.


Good - A 220 sq meter house, (nice brick, in an affluent, nice neighborhood) on a 825 sq meter lot. I split the house with my brother when we bought it. It cost less (30 year mortgage) than 2 average separate 80 sq meter apartments (at the purchase time).

On the lot, I garden. A pecan tree, 60 rose bushes, a raspberry patch (ripe right now!), 6 dwarf orange trees in pots (along with 10 tropical hibiscus plants), amaryllis (5 varieties), daylilies, irises, tomato plants, daffodils, ect., and a lawn. I see various birds, (including hummingbirds), lizards, squirrels, the ocassional frog, (I have water lilies in tubs), and butterflies, among others...(Future plans include a 4-in-1 apple tree and a boysenberry patch)

I can also hop in the car and go anywhere I want, 24 hours a day, as long as I don't have to go across water. (Can't drive to Hawaii or Europe, for example - But I could drive to Nome, Alaska, if I wanted to.)

I'm not totally impervious to envornmental concerns (just almost!), and my longer term plans are to panel my roof with solar panels, which should provide all my electricity needs (in 5 to 10 years, IMHO), and my next car will be a serial hybrid (when they come out).


I like my lifestyle....(did I mention the hot-air ballons that fly overhead every year.....)
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:14 PM   #54
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Sold.
Can I come live with you please?
You'd have a much easier time going to live with my son-in-law. he also lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. It would be a lot less hassle moving.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:17 PM   #55
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Two words: PEAK OIL

As stated before the love of the automobile in the USA due to a huge effort to make Interstate highways expand at the expense of Railways and streetcars did not help in the least. The USA is not too large or heavily populated to have a good public transport system. Russia has a good rail system and is SLIGHTLY larger than the USA.

PEAK OIL: the rise of oil may actually help accelerate public transportation in areas of the USA without good public transport.


Unfortunately, The sad truth is that the Suburban system is all based on the abundance of cheap oil. That time is coming to an end. It will change many aspects of life.





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Why does the USA have such a poor railway system? If the French SNCF were running it, you'd have fast trains, mostly on time.
I think its because of the automotive lobby. AND because train rides are still more expensive than the gas for the car, however that may change ...
The good news about increasing oil price is that it may force the issue[/QUOTE]
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:26 PM   #56
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Well, Dixie Gal, I imagine that the public transportation in Bham will change quickly in the future. Hopefully a light rail system connected with a good bus system ie: Portland, Oregon will help show people that Public transport can be used by all people rich and poor. The commute between office and work is another problem. Most cities in the world are focused around the city center for travel. Traveling from one suburb to another is often a long process. People will have to get used to it, Move, or use a bike more to offset there commute.

Urban Sprawl: unfortunately, Many of the suburbs in the USA until the end of the 20th century are not designed in a way that is utilitarian to local residents. My sister's neighborhood in Atlanta has not sidewalks for people to walk on. There is no supermarket or any type of shop for good with in easy walking distance.

I live in Japan. It has a very good transportation system. Local shops are everywhere, in small towns and large cities. You can walk to a convenience shop and get fresh fruit usually within minutes of your house or a quick bike ride.





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Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
Nobody wants public transport in the US more than me, but even if a train system were to become possible - Amtrak is useless and doesn't count - then there is another infrastructure hurdle to meet: Urban Sprawl.

Say I were to somehow have bus service from my suburban home 11 miles outside of Bham, how would I get to work from the bus station? Our city buses are practically useless also, becuase they are old and stay broken down on the sides of the roads. The city is too spread out to walk from the station, which is located in a very bad part of the city. The city center is dead and scary, and businesses and homes are spreading farther afield every year.

Paris, on the other hand, is perfect for public transport. It is a big city, but everything is centered within the city. They spent a century getting the Metro just right, and have maintained it well. A person can go from point A to point B, and point B will be within walking distance of wherever you may need to go.
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:05 PM   #57
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When I lived in San Francisco it was the greatest to buy a month pass and be able to get everywhere without a car. In Georgia you need a car. Buses are few and don't run to many places except the Mall.
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