Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Will you really ride transit if it gets built? Previous Next
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 474
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 10:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have an interesting question for you guys that I was thinking about on my one hour ride home from university this evening on public transit.

Lets say Metro Detroit does get an amazing public transit system off the ground and working.

Would you guys really use it, considering that no matter how great transit is, it can never compete fully with a car.

Do you think that the car culture even in the most pro transit residents of Metro Detroit is just to strong, and that you will have to wait say a generation or more to really get people onto transit, as the ones living right now and driving are not going to switch.

I ask this, because there are aspects of public transit that people will have to put up with. One of the biggest being travel time.

Will you guys yourself make the switch knowing that on average you are going to have to allow one hour to get somewhere on public transit?
It is a known fact that even on the best transit systems, transit riders on average spend almost double the time getting somewhere compared to driving a car to the same place.

Was just wondering your views on this. Transit is great, but will you be willing to also put up with the other things like longer travel times, maybe having to know a timetable for latter evening travel, etc.

Lets hear your views. Would you really turn into a Miketoronto overnight :-), who rides transit for 45-60min to access work, school, and downtown, knowing that I could drive to the same places in 20-30min.

Your views.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 155
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 10:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I use transit whenever I travel to other urban areas, but I can't in Detroit. If it's good I'll use it. I'm willing to roughly double my time to get to a place (since I can use the time while I ride and I neither have to find nor pay for parking when I get there). In Detroit I would have to be willing to triple or quadruple my time, and that's too much.

In general, whether people will use transit depends on whether we build a quality system that's useful. It remains to be seen whether we can do that.
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Detroit_stylin
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Username: Detroit_stylin

Post Number: 3768
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 10:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Withput question I'll use it...
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Jasoncw
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Username: Jasoncw

Post Number: 336
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 10:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think when it comes down to it, a lot of the people who support mass transit wouldn't use it as much as you'd think.


I personally wouldn't use it all the time. I would take it downtown to do stuff, and if I had a job near a reliable transit stop, I'd at least try to use that.

If I was running late though, I guess I would drive, although I don't have a car.
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321brian
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Username: 321brian

Post Number: 314
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 11:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It depends on what I will be doing.

Going downtown for a game I would probably use it more often than not.

Going downtown to work I probably wouldn't use it. I would want to be able to make other stops on the way home.
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Tetsua
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Username: Tetsua

Post Number: 1092
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 11:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think more people would use Mass Trans than you think. The main prospects would be ...

1 Tiger, Wings, or Lions fans who don't want to worry about parking in the big scary city
2 Those who work downtown, and don't want to pay the monthly rates (though this would depend on the rate to use the transit)
3 Someone who intends on drinking, and wants to be responsible by not driving.
4 Poor people, and people under 16.
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Hybridy
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Username: Hybridy

Post Number: 67
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 11:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lived in Europe for 4+ months on 2 separate occasions. car was an option, but i prefer mass transit. no better way to roll. throw on the ipod and go. america or detroit for that matter would be a lot more skinny. just too damn easy if the system is in place. it is hard going grocery shopping though...
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 547
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 11:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The long term trends would say "No".

Spending on public transportation in the US has increased seven times from its 1960's levels, slightly outpacing the inflation rate, yet usage has declined 63% during that same period.

Less than 5% of the people use mass transit to get to work in the US, compared to an also declining 16% in Europe (mass transit's share of European travel has dropped 35% from 1970 to 2000).

The decision to commute with a personal vehicle correlates most highly with personal income levels - not population density, not the availability of public transit nor the cost of gasoline.

For more information, please refer to the Quiz - Our "Car Happy" Culture thread which I started on Jan. 28th. Note also the emotional responses it generated from representatives of the "anti-car" crowd, whose arguments do a disservice to those who legitimately advocate for mass transit.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 948
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 11:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why not? I use transit now as a secondary mode of transport.
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Detourdetroit
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Username: Detourdetroit

Post Number: 262
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 11:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

transit? isn't that the thing they use to get around in cities?
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 156
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 - 11:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Mikeg,

A reasonable follow-up question: what happened to spending on roads during that same period? For one thing, from the 60s through the 80s, about 75% of the Interstate Highway system was built. Zoning and planning laws were changed to encourage driving and discourage walking and transit. Much money was spent to drive down transit use; it didn't happen purely on its own!

One indicator for transit use is living in densely-populated areas. Since many states, and Michigan more than most, have chosen to subsidize and encourage exurban sprawl, more people are able to live in places where transit simply won't work.

The people who want to live and work in cities are more likely to be the people who want to use transit, and from a government's point of view, having people live in densely populated areas is much more efficient economically than having them sprawled out into former farmland.

We must understand that sprawl is not economically sustainable. When SEMCOG tells us we will be $30 to $40 billion short of the money we need to maintain our existing roads over the next few decades, that has happened largely because the amount of pavement per capita has grown dramatically since the 1960s.

You get what you pay for.
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Mama_jackson
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Username: Mama_jackson

Post Number: 197
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When I was in Europe, the best way to get from A to B was with public transit. The station was not far from home, the drops off were right where I needed them to be. Loved it.

If they could come up with a train from Flint to Troy, I would be working there today.

Whatever they come up with for Detroit, I think it will be used-if the stops are placed correctly.
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 548
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Professorscott,

Transit use in Detroit was on the decline long before the Interstate Highway system was approved (besides, most of the Interstate mileage connects areas that were never served by transit of any kind).

As Detroiter's personal incomes rose in the 1920's they purchased cars and chose to drive them to work and shopping, creating the need for surface parking in the CBD and enabling them to live on the outskirts of the rapidly expanding city.

Post WW II traffic congestion was relieved on the major arterials by the replacement of streetcars with curbside bus service as ridership began to decline. These changes to the transit system were not the result of the construction of the first sections of the Lodge and Ford expressways in the early 1950's prior to the 1956 creation of the Interstate System.

The necessary conditions for "sprawl" in the metro Detroit area were in place long before the Interstate System spending of the 1960's and they were accelerated by the expansion of the DWSD in the 1970's.

You wrote, "and from a government's point of view, having people live in densely populated areas is much more efficient economically than having them sprawled out into former farmland." I would argue that the best mass transit systems are those that evolved to meet and serve the needs of a growing population. As long as people can vote with their feet to live where they want, you cannot "force" them to live more densely to conform to a planner's vision of a more economically efficient urban model.
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 2395
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:52 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I use the Amtrak link from Ann Arbor to Detroit whenever possible (limited by few departure times). When/if the commuter demonstration line is implemented, I will use rail exclusively to travel between the cities. Many of my fellow Ann Arborites, especially out of state students, will be thrilled to be able to access Metro Airport through such a line, and it will be much used.

I used an Ann Arbor bus regularly last year when I lived in a neighborhood more distant from campus.

If I can find work in a downtown area someday, odds are I will live within walking distance. If I had a downtown Detroit job offer today, I would buy something downtown. If I was priced out and had to rent in Midtown or along E. Jefferson, I would at least try the bus system, and probably clamor for a people mover expansion.
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 823
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 1:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I use transit daily here in Chicago. I have a car and choose to pay $75 a month for transit rather than $250 a month + gas to drive. It would take me about 5 minutes less time to drive. So there are financial reasons.

But ultimately, I don't think I could ever go back. As was said, it makes getting up in the morning so much easier when you just have to stumble onto the train, put on your ipod, and zone out for another 30 minutes.
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Drankin21
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Username: Drankin21

Post Number: 63
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 8:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wonder what the stance of organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving is regarding public transit. I have to believe it's positive. Do groups such as TRU ever mention support from this or police sponsored groups centered on eliminating drunk driving?

Personally, it would be nice to have a couple of beers at the Tiger game and get home and not have to worry about a designated driver or rolling the dice and driving home. Maybe even stay and have a few more at the Town Pump. With my job, transit is not an option (sales) so I would use it solely for leisure or airport trips.
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Carm
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Username: Carm

Post Number: 36
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 9:09 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Probably not. I work from home, so I don't need it to commute. I need to pick up the product I see from my wholesalers, and I can't do that on a bus or train. I don't drink, so I don't need it to come home from the bar. It isn't going to help me when I have to take my kids to their games or school functions. But most importantly to me, I want to go where I want to go when I want to go there. I don't want to be dependant on someone else's schedule. If it works for the general public that is great. It just isn't for me.
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Hugo8100
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Username: Hugo8100

Post Number: 25
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 9:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No. I live in the city and rarely go downtown. When I do I just ride the 2 miles on my bike or park in the Greektown structure. My gas sipping Honda makes public transportation a poor choice anyway.
This economist contends that public transportation only made sense when it was faster than other means. For most of the country that was from 1890 to 1930. He says a better use of resources today would be car subsidies for the poor as that solves the accessibility problem better and cheaper than light rail or buses.
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Darwinism
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Username: Darwinism

Post Number: 595
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 9:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, I would use it.
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 476
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 9:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The reason public transit has lost so much ground over the decades also has to do with transit not keeping up with demand and our decentralization.

When the conditions are right, transit works, even with people who have high incomes.
But you have to design the city properly and centralized.

Even under those conditions though transit is not always going to be faster, so there are some trade offs. And it was just interesting to see if Detroit residents are ready for the change :-)

The European facts are interesting with only 13% using transit. I know that includes rural areas, as the cities have much higher use with over half the residents on average using transit.

Anyway transit can compete. Cities like Toronto were able to grow their transit use during the first car craze, and actually the only time transit started losing, was when we cut service and started decentralizing in the 90's.

Other cities like Calgary show that transit works even in high-income areas, where transit is bursting at the seams, and its not due to low income people, but professionals going to work.

But at the same time even in these success stories riders do have to put up with increased travel times in some cases, etc.

Its issues Detroit people will have to put up with also if you develop a transit culture.

(Message edited by miketoronto on February 07, 2007)
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 5496
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

SMART and D-DOT is here to stay. Until someone votes NO in Proposal T in 2009 in which NOBODY will not do. Providing a new transit system to the metro-Detroit area takes time, money and a bureaucratic process to happen.
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Nyct
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Username: Nyct

Post Number: 21
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:09 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

when the cost of gas goes through the roof and traffic becomes unbearable, watch how people that said they would never use it change their mind. detroit just has to get used to it, that's all.
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Jeduncan
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Username: Jeduncan

Post Number: 32
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:12 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would definitely use it, I could use the time en route to do the homework I inevitably didn't do the night before, while on my way down to wayne state. It would also be nice to not have to stare directly into the sun on my way to and from school, and I could save about 130 on parking per semester, not to mention about a hundred or more on gas per MONTH. I think the exchange would pose only one downfall -- longer commute times. BUT, like I said, I could make the commute time productive. and if nothing else, I could sleep en route (something I tend not to do enough while procrastinating doing my homework the night before it's due).

I guess this is a longwinded way of saying, "Yeah. I'd ride it."
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 477
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I know I mentioned the commute times, and in many cases it is longer. But there is also areas where trnsit competes well. Just depends where you live in a city.
But on average you will have to allow a little extra time.
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Gene
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Username: Gene

Post Number: 11
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:49 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Transit to where? Its already in place its called a bus ride. This topic was discussed at the AIA 150 meeting last week at LIT dont know what will come of it. Discussion in our group listed the safety and crime concerns as a deterrent to adding ridership to the existing system and this problem/stigma would probably plague any proposed plan.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 157
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 11:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gene,

Many people will use transit if they perceive it to be a quality system. A transit system where buses are unreliable, slow and only come once an hour is not attractive to the general public.

In St. Louis, their single (recently developed) light-rail line carries more traffic than their existing 101 bus routes added together. So if you put something in place that has the perception of quality, convenience and safety, people will use it.

Of course, as Mikeg and others have pointed out, it's a percentage of people who use transit, not everyone. Detroit, with the worst public transportation of any big city in the developed world, has unusually low ridership. If the transit was better, ridership would increase. This has happened everywhere quality transit was implemented since the early 1980s.

Mikeg is also correct that you can't force people to live densely, and I wouldn't want to. However, you can redevelop the urban core to make it more attractive, then more people will want to live there. Then transit makes more sense. In fact, transit is frequently implemented in order to bootstrap this process.
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Thejesus
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Username: Thejesus

Post Number: 535
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 11:23 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If it's useful and practical, absolutley!
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 2125
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 11:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Would you guys really use it, considering that no matter how great transit is, it can never compete fully with a car.



That's a terrible (and loaded) question now, isn't it? Where I live, transit tends to compete very well with a car. For a majority of my trips, taking the subway is a lot faster than driving and looking for a place to park.

quote:

Do you think that the car culture even in the most pro transit residents of Metro Detroit is just to strong, and that you will have to wait say a generation or more to really get people onto transit, as the ones living right now and driving are not going to switch.

I ask this, because there are aspects of public transit that people will have to put up with. One of the biggest being travel time.

Will you guys yourself make the switch knowing that on average you are going to have to allow one hour to get somewhere on public transit?
It is a known fact that even on the best transit systems, transit riders on average spend almost double the time getting somewhere compared to driving a car to the same place.



Source? Transit travel times in DC are very competitive with times for travel by automobile on the same trip. The only faster way for me to get to work is to ride my bike (only because I wouldn't have to walk to and from the subway station).
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Jjw
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Username: Jjw

Post Number: 250
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 11:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Using public transportation is more than just getting to a location fast. I could get to work in about 15-20 minutes if I drove. However for work, I use transit which consists of a bus ride (bad weather) and a subway ride. It takes about an hour to get to work. Now why do I do that when I can get to work quicker? Here ya go---I get exercise with the extra walking, I get a chance to get out in town and be with the other folks, I can stop downtown for various shopping needs without having to find parking, I save money on car expenses (2002 auto with 8,000 miles), I avoid getting stuck in traffic, I don't feel like I have to rush home (something interesting on the way), if I decide to meet for drinks for happy hour I can without the guilt of driving drunk, I do my part to help with congestion and clean air, I can read or do a puzzle along the way, I chat with co-riders whom I have gotten to know, I can sit back and be a voyeur, I can relax.....
So---for those of you skeptical of mass transit because of lost time, you will find out that your priorities may change and you may actually have time to smell a rose or two.
Now--for the skeptics--there are some negatives. Occasionally you have the local character on the bus or subway which can be a bit difficult to deal with but I can honestly say, that has never been an issue for me in Baltimore that I couldn't handle--and believe me--the town can be tough--as much as the Motor City. Oh--and sometimes there can be a rather odorous fellow to two that can irritate ya.
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Iheartthed
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Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 366
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 11:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would definitely use it to get back and forth to the airport when I visit.

I think a lot of you have misconceptions on how a mass transit system in Detroit will have to work (initially, at least). It will have to be primarily a park and ride system in order for it to grow legs thus still allowing you to have your personal car time to yourselves...
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 824
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 11:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think Toronto is a pretty good example of not necessarily needing density to have good transit. Most of Toronto outside the immediate downtown area is little denser than Detroit, and yet they have quite high subway ridership.
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1353
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I already use it. The SMART bus works well for me, the only problem is they do not run at a high enough frequency and do not cover everywhere, so unless it goes where you want to/have to go, you are screwed.
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Mike
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Username: Mike

Post Number: 840
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i most likely would not use mass transit to take me to downtown because i always go there (from dearborn) and know my way around.

but... i would definetly visit the suburbs more, i would venture out to see the Pistons, go to the sommerset mall and big beaver, go to cranbrook, villiage of rochester, ann arbor, novi (okay, maybe not novi) but ya get the hint.
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Dougw
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Username: Dougw

Post Number: 1540
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would probably ride it occasionally, not all the time. Although if I took a job downtown (which is possible), I might ride it every day.

A substantial number of people would probably never or rarely ride it, but that doesn't have that much to do with whether it's a good investment for metro Detroit. IMO it is critical for our region to get some decent level of transit to foster stability and density in some areas, and it would be an excellent investment, if done prudently.
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Patrick
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Username: Patrick

Post Number: 3990
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Depends on how far I have to walk to get to the train. Lazy, I know.
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Fury13
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Username: Fury13

Post Number: 1321
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Transit will work if the system:

1) is extensive, covering a large geographic area.
2) is modern, reliable, and easy to use.
3) features frequent service -- trains need to stop every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 20 minutes otherwise. In other words, public transit needs to tailor itself to the needs of the riders; riders shouldn't have to adjust their schedules much to ride public transit.
4) is safe and clean.
5) has reasonably priced fares.
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Ltorivia485
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Username: Ltorivia485

Post Number: 2938
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 12:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It depends on what kind of transit it is. If it's similar to the Washington DC transit system, I would have no problems riding it. It's clean, safe and convenient.
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Eastsidedog
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Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 899
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 1:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Absolutely. We would sell off one one of our two cars and save $$$ (we spend about $500/month per car = $6,000/year!). We'd likely put that money into our house. Americans could put more money into their homes if they didn't have to own, insure and maintain two or three cars per household. Cars are a huge drain on finances.

I took the bus from Royal Oak to Wayne state for 3 years. Worked great. So I would definitely take it as much as possible to save money.

Oh and Tetsua, you forgot #5. The elderly. It sucks that our current transportation system is only built for healthy adults between 18 and old age.
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Eastsidedog
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Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 900
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 1:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If my wife and I were able to ride the bus to work today and eliminate both cars we would save $840/month ($2 per ride, 2/day, 8/day for both of us to commute, $160 month.). That's $10,080 a year! Yikes!
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 2126
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 1:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

^and it would be cheaper still if your employer provided transit benefits, as outlined by the Internal Revenue Code.
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Iheartthed
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Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 368
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 1:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good point. My monthly MetroCard (NYC) is paid for directly out of my check and that money doesn't get taxed.
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 825
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 1:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oh yes, I forgot that part. I only pay about $50 out of pocket for my entire month's transportation expenses. I still have a car, but it's paid off, and I use it so infrequently, I don't budget for it, so I can't tell you how much a month I spend on gas. I'd guess in the neighborhood of $5-$10 if I don't travel.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 158
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 2:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Fury,

The "frequent service" you mention is critical but it won't apply to commuter rail (never does anywhere). The "starter service" SEMCOG is discussing with the management of the Amtrak service will only run peak hours and a few extra trips, at most once per hour.

Light rail or BRT should run at 3 to 10 minute headways in order to be convenient, but nothing of that sort is in the current SEMCOG/Amtrak proposal. We eagerly await the URS report to the City though.
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 827
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 2:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Metra commuter rail in Chicago runs at 5 minute peak hour headways at some stations...12-15 minutes at mine (near downtown, most express through).

Not that the situations are similar, just that it's not unthinkable to have frequent service from commuter rail.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 159
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 2:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Not unthinkable but unusual. Metra I believe has its own track which isn't the most common situation.

Toronto is a good example of good yet infrequent service. The GO trains run hourly (on most lines, weekdays) and local bus and streetcar service runs frequently enough to provide good connectivity. That is, as long as you know what time to catch the GO train you don't have to worry about the rest of the trip.
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Focusonthed
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Post Number: 828
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 3:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That is true, about the track.
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 481
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 3:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

GO commuter rail is not very frequent. Most lines have 30min rush hour service on average. The lakeshore line has more service with trains as often as 10-20min on the express portion of the routes.

But it totally depends.

But on average commuter rail is not very frequent.

The off peak bus service that replaces most of the train lines can be better on some routes. Most run at 30-60min service, but some do run as often as 10-15min at certain times.
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3rdworldcity
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Post Number: 442
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 3:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 431
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 3:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another interesting side note, is that people really do desire transit. When rail lines get built for passenger traffic, communities can be centered around its stops. This runs the gamut from the 1800s when small towns across the country along rail lines prospered, to today when Portland OR makes a decision on a new stop in their system, that then becomes a highly desireable place in which to live and do business.
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Danindc
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Post Number: 2127
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 3:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This whole thread is kind of silly, really. Why don't we ask, "If the State builds another freeway, will you drive on it?"

I don't know why this is still being debated. Anyone read the article in today's Metro Times regarding the financial straits Michigan is in? Do you suspect it might have something to do with Michigan cities not being attractive places to live and work?
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Jjw
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Username: Jjw

Post Number: 251
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 3:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I actually think MikeToronto's question that started this thread is one of the better ones I have read on this site. Maybe it is for personal reasons. I have a nephew who grew up in East Lansing who now lives in Troy who prides himself on never riding mass transit. And I think that feeling is shared by many in the metro Detroit area. In fact, I would guess the majority. Why doesn't the Detroit area have a decent mass transit system? Is it because the majority of the people in the area really don't want it or wouldn't use it? It may just be a small minority that are in favor of improving on it.
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Mackinaw
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Post Number: 2399
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 4:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Being "independent" and owning a car is associated with being middle class in Michigan, and everyone wants to be middle class. If you walk places or ride a bike or use transit, it's assumed that you are some kind of bum, or just a quirky person. We've got to change that. Ann Arbor still has a lot of the overtones of the rest of the state...people still love to have their own cars around if possible...but it is much more accepted to use transit here.

The more metro Detroiters think about the gain, both for the individual (financially) and the region (less traffic, pollution, energy consumption), the more they will be willing to use transit. We need normal people to set a good example though, and spread the good word/common sense of trying to abstain from using a car. It's a tall order in SE Michigan and especially the vast suburbia of outer Metro Detroit.
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Scs100
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Username: Scs100

Post Number: 432
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 4:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oh yeah, I'd definitely ride it. Wish I could go downtown on Sundays without driving, but no bus service.
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Ray1936
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Username: Ray1936

Post Number: 1128
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 4:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No.
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 586
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 4:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, times, frequencies, stops and smartly laid out routes are the key to get increased ridership.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 30
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 5:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sorry, the previous post was a test. I had trouble posting before and I wanted to check if things were ok.

Getting to the point-- Transit use is related to the design of the city. A little history will help. In NY, the transit system was started and largely built by private companies. I think that most of them worked hand in hand with developers. You put the line out and build the Apartments and housing afterwards. The line lets one build to a higher density.

The problem with Detroit is that now people have adopted their lifestyles to the current system and density levels are likely not high enough to support transit in most places.

The solution would be to build from the center out and build the lines out as density develops. But here is the rub--in hollowed out place like this- the demand for land for parking and highways gets in the way of dense development. A choice then has to be made. Just how valuable are the people who mostly live out of town and commute in or just come in on occasion. Is it worth it to wreck the place for the people who might want to live there?

You have to realise that transit allows for a much more intensive use of land. So developers should have a financial interest in pushing it.
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Professorscott
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Post Number: 160
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 5:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We don't know how the majority feels because there has never been a public vote on this issue.

Of course, the public never got to vote on the desirability of building all these expressways either. In fact, the public never gets to vote on transportation issues except when the public has to reauthorize the SMART millage every so often.

I think in general when cities do smart upgrades of roads or transit, those upgrades attract people, and in various ways. Denver, Minneapolis and St. Louis (among others) have had great success using transit upgrades to revitalize parts of their respective regions. It will be interesting to see what can happen here; commuter rail by itself, of course, won't do very much. But it's a start.
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Nyburgher
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Post Number: 31
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 5:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think that trying to impose a transit system on areas adopted to cars is very hard. I think that is what was done in northern Virginia.

The fact that Detroit is hollowed out makes it easier to start from scratch with a small dense system and perhaps a few main lines out.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 32
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 5:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I guess the moral for Michigan is this. Smart drug dealers don't get hooked on their own product. Check out Japan; most people have cars but they are not addicts like we are.
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Tomoh
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Username: Tomoh

Post Number: 282
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Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 9:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, I would. I've been riding SMART Route 805 all week. It picks people up downtown and then gets on the highway then drops people off around Farmington and at two park-and-ride sites. So it gets you pretty far with few stops and I've found it to be a pleasant ride and very useful. The bus's seats fill up but not to the point of people having to stand (it's definitely not an empty bus riding through town). The park-and-ride system works well.

I think Metro Detroit could use a better system of finding out how to ride the two main bus systems and the DDOT site in particular has many problems that should be fixed. Anyone want to take a stab at this?

Chicago's Metra commuter rail is nice but it's also geared towards getting people to work at 9 and taking them home at 5. I missed a Metra train a week ago and, it being off peak, I had to wait two hours for the next one.

Whether rail is eventually built or not, Metro Detroit needs to build up transit-oriented-capable developments, and the new stuff around Woodward in Ferndale and Royal Oak is promising. Eventually I think 1500 DetroitYesers should flood into Highland Park and settle around a future transit-oriented downtown on Woodward. Yeah.
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 831
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 9:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Tomoh, to be fair, that is the POINT of "commuter" rail. Off peak, it barely runs.
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Trainman
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Username: Trainman

Post Number: 331
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

YES, I want to take a SMART bus to the new Detroit to Ann Arbor rail then travel to Dearborn where I work near the Amtrak Station.

I really enjoyed using SMART going to work before November 27, 2007 and hope they come back to Livonia.

Hopefully, we can opt back in. I think that another $50. a year is worth having SMART back.

So, I'm hoping to get mass transit leaders voted in Lansing to invest in quality transit and take everyone's ideas seriously to make sure we get the public bus and rail system the taxpayers deserve to have and keep.
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Dan
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Username: Dan

Post Number: 1347
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If the system could get me where I needed to go on time, and comfortably, I would sell my car immediately.
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 483
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 10:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some good news. This news comes out of Calgary. Calgary is a very sprawled out and car dominated city, much like Detroit.
Anyway look at the success they are having with their transit system. This could be Detroit in time.

Calgary Transit serves a pop of about one million, and has a daily ridership of about 450,000.

-----------
Transit hit by 10% rise in riders

Calgary Transit ridership jumped almost 10 per cent last year, with nearly 90 million paying customers boarding buses and using the LRT.

That's more than twice the expected increase and about eight million more riders than in 2005.

The numbers include 250,000 people who ride the C-Train every weekday, a boost of 30,000 from 2005.

But transit's increasing popularity comes with a series of challenges. The system is running over its capacity, leading to complaints about crowding and service.

The increase in ridership demonstrates how valued transit is in the city, Ald. Druh Farrell said. But she's concerned so much money is still spent on roads rather than invested in transit.


She said the transit system is the only issue where her constituents encourage her to spend more money.

Farrell said investing in transit can only boost ridership further.

"I imagine we'd be able to get a lot more ridership if the system was better funded," she said. "We should do everything we can to increase capacity."


While customers tell Calgary Transit they find the service safe, affordable and courteous, Bronconnier said "the key is that it remains that."

"We need more routes and resources with which to provide a service."
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 4453
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 2:51 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would do it in a heartbeat.

When I travel to other cities to work or play, I often use the public transportation if I don't feel like the headache of getting a rental car and parking it.

C'mond, admit it. We're spoiled here with our cars. We circle the malls & blocks incessantly looking for a closer parking spot! In other cities, sometimes the first nearest parking spot could be blocks away and it's descended upon like it was lost treasure.

A little stroll from transit stop to our final destination would do us good. That wee bit of exercise would be great and it'd also give you pause to notice some of the great things around. Our city's so car heavy I think we sometimes miss things at street level because we're whizzing by in our cars.

And I don't think grocery shopping would be as big of a hassle as some people would make it out to be here. If my route had me going by my neighborhood grocery store, I'd just pick up that day's worth of food. I wouldn't be able to stock up like I do now but that's a minor quibble for me.
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 484
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 10:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When my parents go away I live totally car free which includes having to buy grocery items. And it really is not that big a deal.

I am a 10min bus ride from two supermarkets, and 5min from another.
Also I work downtown, so after work I tend to walk over to St Lawrence Market, buy fresh meat and veggies, and take it home :-)

It really is not that hard with transit to do shopping like that.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 162
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 11:34 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Smogboy,

Actually a few of us wrote a technical paper where we demonstrated that on average a transit commuter walks 200 miles a year more than someone who commutes by automobile. (Please don't flood me with contradictory anecdotes, folks, I said "on average".)

Grocery shopping is one of those things where you change your habits a bit if you're a transit user. When I have lived in cities where I could use transit, I shopped every couple days instead of once every two weeks. Your veggies stay fresher that way too and your beer doesn't get stale. :-)

While I'm blogging: Has anyone heard even the slightest peep about the work Detroit has commissioned URS to do? All I know is that the scope of that work is confined to Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck and Dearborn. Any details?
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Track75
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Username: Track75

Post Number: 2483
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 12:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I did the bus/subway grocery shopping thing for a few years. It got old, and that was as a single person. I can't see doing that for a family of 5 or 6.

In fact, it seems most transit discussions are from the perspective of a childless adult. Things work a little differently when you have to get children to school and to their after-school activities. Transit isn't as practical then unless you live in a really dense area with ample transit like NYC.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 38
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 1:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was raised by a single mom in NYC with 2 jobs and 3 kids. But, in the area we lived in ( Woodside, Queens ) once we were over 10 or 11 we could pretty much get around everywhere we wanted to be on our own. Swim team practice, basketball, school, pizza, shopping was in walking distance and on the Subway everything was in reach. I thought that was normal.

The dream of an extensive, viable efficient system for the whole Detroit region is a pipe dream. But tying the core areas together and building up a few central areas is not. Buses seem like the most realistic thing for some of the lower density areas.
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 4455
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 1:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Professorscott, why would I or anyone else contradict you with anecdotes to the contrary? I think it's great that people get exercise; I'm sure there are people that get more and there are people that get less. I was just pointing out some of the other benefits to be gained from being a transit commuter.

Bravo to you and your cohorts for writing the paper.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 39
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 1:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I miss the NY fruit stands and bakeries so much.
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Oldredfordette
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Username: Oldredfordette

Post Number: 1131
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 1:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes. For everything but work. I'd need a bit of convincing that it would be safe and one time for when I get off work. Every night, at 2am when I leave my workplace, I walk by a group of huddled commuters waiting for the last night bus. Sometimes (the lot guides tell me) they wait a very very long time.

If they could get a regular reliable schedule going, I'd do it.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 40
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 1:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When we wake up some morning to find Osama Bin Ladin in control of our fuel, we will see how addicted we are.That's the moment to be holding urban real estate.

People need to have grip on the seriousness of the situation. Unlike the 1970's when you had a supplier squeeze but plenty of oil; you now have a problem with supply relative to explosive demand. There are now billions of people who for the first time are entering the market as major consumers. To just keep demand flat or growing slowly will require massive jumps in technology or giant oil discoveries.
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 2128
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 3:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

In fact, it seems most transit discussions are from the perspective of a childless adult. Things work a little differently when you have to get children to school and to their after-school activities. Transit isn't as practical then unless you live in a really dense area with ample transit like NYC.



And families without school-age children only represent 75% of the U.S. population. The remaining one-quarter is not enough of an excuse to deny options to the rest of us.

Besides, if your kids are able to walk or bike to school, the playground, etc--who needs to haul 'em around in a suburban assault vehicle?
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Gotdetroit
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Username: Gotdetroit

Post Number: 35
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 3:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes. In San Francisco, I would sit between some guy making $120,000 and some dude who flipped burgers for a living. No one seemed to care.

Out there, we never had to have this discussion. It was there if you wanted it. I chose to use it.

And as for all that economist mumbo jumbo - whatever. All I know is I personally saved over $500 a month by not owning a car. And I had no trouble getting wherever it was I wanted to go. Instead of metal and oil, I spent that money on myself and my family.

Some people here complain about things they've only ever read about. It's exhausting.
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Jjw
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Username: Jjw

Post Number: 252
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 3:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

hmmm---kiddies being driven everywhere for their convenience. Maybe a bus ride and a bit of a walk will do them some good. It would also free up the parent's time. Everyday, I see tons of kiddies on the subway and buses. What is the issue??? (in fact, sometimes--to many kiddies on the subway and buses--God, sometimes I hate kids!!! forgive me!!
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 41
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 5:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For the record. I think the number one cause of teenage deaths is car crashes, not crime and it's much worse in the youngest driver age range. The further out you live, the younger your kids have to drive.
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Diehard
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Username: Diehard

Post Number: 22
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 7:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For laughs:
http://www.theonion.com/conten t/node/38644

I work downtown, and I'd take a train to work every day if it was available.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 164
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 7:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Diehard,

Nice - that reminds me of a Crankshaft comic where Ed's friend is leading a petition drive to put a moratorium on new subdivisions. "Where are you going with those?" asks Ed. "Why the new subdivision of course," explains his friend. "Nobody is more opposed to another new subdivision than the folks who live in the last one."
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Jjw
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Username: Jjw

Post Number: 253
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 6:07 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Diehard---best post on this thread---i actually put it in my favorites
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Mossman
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Username: Mossman

Post Number: 21
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 9:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The problem with instituting a transit system here is that it is perceived as a public service for the poor (mostly African-American) and that owning a car gives a person, regardless of race, a certain status as being more affluent. The ridership in the suburbs, where most people now live, is pathetic. Most busses are empty. These kinds of class distinctions are less in evidence in other cities where transit is viewed as a convenient (optional) way of traveling rather than a subsidy for the poor. Detroit should begin with a small pilot line that has the best chance of attracting a mix of people and build upon its success.
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 4735
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 9:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I posted this on another thread, but thought it was appropriate here.

------------------------------ ------------------------------ --------------------
LY,
I'm shocked to find myself agreeing with you.

As a regular user of the system, I also am irked by those that ignore what we have now and decide that to save Detroit we must build from the ground up.

Take this list from the prior post for example:

downtown - (served by many bus lines
wayne state - served by several bus lines
oakland university - ?
henry ford - Hospital or the complex both served
cranbrook - Smart Woodward lines
shoping centers - most older centers have multiple lines to and from
belle isle - has buses that go onto the Island as well as Jefferson lins
old suburban downtowns such as birmingham and royal oak - service to both especially with the RO Transit Center as a destination for numerous lines.
Detroit Zoo - Woodward buslines specifically
Ann Arbor - iffy
Hospital Campuses in the Suburbs - inner ring hospitals for the most part have service.
Palace of AH - limited to special events
DCX Headquarters - an auto headquarters?
And most of all... Metro Airport - SMART 125 from Downtown gets you within a few hundred feet of the terminal.

The main problem with the current system is lack of ridership resulting in fewer buses per route. But it is possible to use the system to get around the area, it is just not convenient as things stand now.

If ridership warranted it the routes in place currently would serve much of the area well. Since ridership is low fewer buses are put out and we have a service which is at best mostly inefficient.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 165
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 10:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Most buses are empty". Where do you get that? SMART ridership is up and DDOT I believe has been steady. If you live near the remote end of a line you will see empty buses, on every transit system everywhere in the world.

Metro Airport: It takes about an hour and a half to get from downtown Detroit to Metro Airport on the 125 bus. If you're not downtown (or somewhere along the 125 route) it takes even longer.

The essential problem is that an all-bus system is not efficient for a large urban area, which is why no large urban area anywhere does transit that way (except us). You need some kind of RT to provide the "spine" of the service and move people quickly over distances.

Ridership is not more than it is because buses are slow and infrequent. With RT, the buses can travel shorter distances so "slow" is no longer such an impediment and frequency can increase (since each trip on a bus can be shorter).

It amazes me that folks think an all-bus system can work well. If that is so, why is metro Detroit the only big-city region doing it?
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Gotdetroit
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Username: Gotdetroit

Post Number: 37
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 10:23 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Busses are fine. As a supplement. Getting to the airport or along major arteries such as Woodward would be best served by light rail which is not influenced by vehicle traffic.

Busses do a good job of taking you from those points to other points (if needed).

In SF, I lived on a line (LRT). And worked several blocks off a line. I walked or caught a buss for that portion. I chose to live where I did (mainly) because it was on a line. And because it was on the line, there were tons of prosperous, eclectic businesses in the area.

Now, I don't know what came first, the plentiful businesses, or the LRT line, but that didn't really matter to me. And won't to people in Detroit in either.
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 4737
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 10:57 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What is necessary is for those of you who endlessly debate among yourselves about LRT, BRT, commuter rail, streetcars or donkey carts and their respective benefits is to look at the reality TODAY!

There are thousands of riders in the area who depend on whatever mass transit currently exists and make the compromises in time and effort to use what is available to them.

Improvements are needed NOW!

I welcome the long-term plans, many are great. But why should a plan that may come to fruition in 2010, 2012, or 2025 simply ignore improvements to the current system that is in place now?

It's damn cold out there waiting for a bus today that people must take. Plans for 5 or more years from now have no more relevance for their current day-to-day needs than discussing a climate controlled dome to be put over the region in the future.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 166
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 11:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams, I agree with you, but I don't think the two concepts are separable. In order to make the bus system more efficient, you have to get the public to agree to put more money into it. Right now I would say the system is roughly as efficient as it can be given the money available.

In order to get the public to agree to ante up, you have to convince them you're going to use the money (or at least a lot of it) to do something that benefits them or people they care about.

In the public's mind, for the most part, buses are perceived as being for poor people. This is ridiculous but there you have it. Trains, again God only knows why, are perceived as something people can imagine themselves using.

Look at the Detroit Tigers experience this summer. Every single day of baseball season, you can take a bus from Pontiac or Birmingham or Royal Oak to within a couple blocks of the ballpark. Atanas Ilitch makes some arrangement with NPRC (Amtrak) to provide trains for four days, and the crowd goes wild, and the tickets sell out quickly.

We definitely need improved bus service, but it can't be done without money. Part of what an RT service does is convince people that transit is worth spending money on. And again, the existence of RT makes it possible to run the bus system more logically.

Professor Scott
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 4738
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Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 11:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Atanas Ilitch makes some arrangement with NPRC (Amtrak) to provide trains for four days, and the crowd goes wild, and the tickets sell out quickly.



Will the crowds still be going wild if the service was offered every game?

I am skeptical that any of these plans for the future will turn around a system in the long term no matter the new pretty bells and whistles, if the public is not sold on what is available now.

As part of the long-term plan for the system must include making more attractive the regular use of mass transit, otherwise it will just be another expensive short-term novelty for the most part.
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 4740
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 11:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BTW I find grocery shopping without a car a bitch.
That may be because I enjoy cooking and get my ingredients from a variety of shops such as Hamtramyck, Mexican Town, Eastern Market, and other specialty stores that can't be found at my local market.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 167
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 11:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams,

It's easy to answer this - look at every other large urban area in North America that has improved transit over the last couple decades.

In St. Louis, the single light rail line carries more passengers than all that City's 101 bus routes combined.

In Denver and Minneapolis, light rail has led to massive urban reinvestment and strong ridership. Denver has been adding new lines repeatedly because of demand.

When I spoke to SEMCOG about this, several months ago, I made exactly the point you just made. A rapid transit mode that exists in isolation from the rest of the system (such as the Detroit PeopleMover) will not provide an excellent service. Part of implementing RT must include redoing bus service in the corridor to make the overall transportation package an excellent choice for riders.

As for the other point, people used to be in the habit of taking our region's formerly-excellent transit system to Tiger games. Look at old prints of Tiger Stadium, and the streetcars are often prominently figured. We cheaped-down the transit to the point that few people use it, much fewer than in regions with better transit choices. If we improve it, and do it thoughtfully, more people will choose to use it.

That includes both improved bus service and RT in selected corridors. There won't be enough money to have excellent transit everywhere; few regions are able to provide that. But we ought to be able to have excellent transit somewhere.

And there has never been any big-city region where the public has been sold on what we now have: buses and nothing but buses. That's why all the other regions wisely decided to upgrade. We are now all alone in providing this poor quality of transit.
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 485
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 12:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

[quote]In St. Louis, the single light rail line carries more passengers than all that City's 101 bus routes combined[/quote]

That fact is actually wrong. The St Louis LRT line does not carry more people then the bus routes do. The St Louis LRT carries approx 65,000 people a day. The bus system in St Louis carries over 150,000 a day or more.

Had to correct that :-)
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 486
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 12:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

[quote]In St. Louis, the single light rail line carries more passengers than all that City's 101 bus routes combined[/quote]

That fact is actually wrong. The St Louis LRT line does not carry more people then the bus routes do. The St Louis LRT carries approx 65,000 people a day. The bus system in St Louis carries over 150,000 a day or more.

Had to correct that :-)
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 169
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 12:28 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hmm. I read that somewhere fairly official - I will have to check my sources more thoroughly. Thanks for the correction, Mike.

Still, though caught in an error, there is a compelling thing. The LRT carries 65,000 per day on one line; the bus system carries 150,000 on 101 fixed bus routes or an average of about 1,500 per day on each route. (Obviously some will be much more, some less.) So the LRT line is carrying about 4300% as many people per day as the average bus route in that City.
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 444
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 12:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nyburgher: My wife was born and raised in Queens Village. She went to a scholarship high school in Brooklyn. Every school day she got to school by taking a shuttle bus, a subway and the el. One and a half hours each way, standing up 90% of the way, and doing as much of her homework on the bus, standing, as she could. With a hat pin in her hand at all times; you know what for.

Here mother moved to a little apartment on Hillside Ave w/ a bus stop in front of her door. She and her sister went everywhere by bus. My mother-in-law became ill and even went to the emergency room at Mary Immaculate in Jamaica (8 miles) by bus.

As the old cowboy said, talking about Ralph the snake, "God, I wouldn't want to live like that."
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 487
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 1:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The LRT though is carrying many people that get to it by bus. Without the bus, the LRT would not work well either. It all works together.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 171
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 1:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Absolutely! That's a critical point, very critical. No enhanced transit works unless people can get to it. One of the reasons the PeopleMover is used by so few people is that it is not well connected to existing bus transit.

Buses feed LRT or CRT, and LRT/CRT make transit trips over longer distances reasonable. You need both, in a big-city region, to have a decent transit system.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 44
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 2:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Later on my mom moved to Forest Hills in Queens and I was zoned to Hillcrest High in Jamacia.

The areas you are talking about in Queens are further out beyond the edge of the subway and not very convenient. Near the main subway lines and in towards the city life is very easy. The big problem with most of these areas now is how much they cost.Also this girl was going to some magnet school or something since there are a lot of schools closer.

NY made a big mistake by not building a more extensive system earlier. I think the last big lines built were in the 1940's and after that came the car fashion craze. There are now 24 billion in improvements and extensions on the way. What you are talking about is not a typical NY story.

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