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Oh yes, Randall, I just looked at that cover, and it is creepy. I think what's going on there is that Lady Gaga is using so much artifice that she's entering the uncanny valley. And I'm pretty sure it's intentional, and related to her liking for sadomasochism. She likes to create upsetting images, and she certainly has a talent for it. One of the most upsetting things about that cover image is that it's hard to put your finger on what's so disturbing about it, in contrast to the meat dress. I think that the feeling of contempt we get about failed creation of glamour is somewhat different. A lot of comedy trades on that, like this scene from Miss Congeniality. Not that you can't have both at the same time.
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The more I think about it, the more I have to conclude that glamour is subjective, and emerges from the relationship between the glamorous object and the person affected, and that any attempt to find things that are always glamorous is futile. Moreover, there are four ways people can interact with glamour: attraction, fascination, emulation and creation. Amirite?
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Thanks, Jarrett! Sorry I didn't give you credit for your very helpful discussion of the issue last month. I've edited the post to add a link.
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Wow, that's pretty colorful. New York's Independent Subway took color-coding to the extreme - even if it was realized in a much subtler way.
Toggle Commented Jul 22, 2010 on munich: the station as riot at Human Transit
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Yes, that could very well be, Alon.
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Paris eliminated first-class metro cars in the 1980s, and first-class commuter rail cars in the 1990s, I believe. I don't know the reasons, but it would suggest that the logistics of such a system are hard to manage. Also, the 38 bus in Paris parallels the route of the popular #4 metro line.
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It's not just the dominance of labor costs; it's also the price cap that people put on a system that is seen as a form of welfare. As I wrote last summer, many people who can afford to drive do so because they can be sure the vehicle won't be crowded. Transit for all is still important, but offering an uncrowded alternative is one way to attract the famous "choice riders." Ride the #7 train at rush hour here in New York and you will see a number eastbound passengers who take the train two stops west, from Grand Central to the end of the line at Times Square, so they can get a seat. If people will spend that extra five minutes, imagine how many would spend an extra two dollars.
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I've seen plenty of uncrowded restaurants that have stuck around for years. To amplify what Spyone wrote, one difference between restaurants and buses is that a popular restaurant is able to raise its prices to both reduce crowding and compensate for the revenue lost. If your demand curve runs the right way, you can often make more money serving less customers. In fact, the express buses here in New York cost $5.50, more than double the regular $2.25 fare, and they rarely have anyone standing. It's my understanding that they're still subsidized, but less than they would be if they were $2.25. On one level it would be best for the agency if every route - or every itinerary, or even every trip - had a different fare based on the supply and demand. Of course, it would also be confusing and frustrating to the passengers, and probably wind up driving more business away. Whenever I hear about a route being eliminated, though, I always worry that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy, or at least a vicious cycle. Who wants to bother waiting around for twenty minutes if you can walk a block east and get a bus in five? It makes me wonder: what if they ran that route every five minutes for a month? If people knew that the route was going to be frequent and dependable, would they start really using it?
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Good points, Jarrett and Anonymouse. It's my understanding that there are more than enough people traveling to and from that area to make subway service possible, if they didn't drive. We all expect that in the future, driving will become more and more costly, so taking the train will make become more and more attractive. The question is simply when the area will reach that threshold, and whether the MTA will be ready for it. In the meantime, I guess, people will just have to transfer to the streetcar or bus that will run in the exclusive right-of-way in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2009 on on subways to the sea at Human Transit
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First of all, there are tons of examples of railroads to the beach. Here in the New York area, we have not only the subways to Coney Island and the Rockaways, but the Long Island Rail Road to Far Rockaway and Long Beach, and the New Jersey Transit trains to the North Jersey Coast and Atlantic City. You're right that anchor development can be tricky, which in part explains why the Rockaway branches and the North Jersey Coast line go along the shore, and most of the stations are more than 1/4 mile from the beach. But it's certainly possible to develop a strong resort anchor. Private, for-profit companies built five train lines to Coney Island, and it wasn't to set up a transfer point; that came later. There were also several other streetcar and horsecar lines. It's true that the demand for trains to the beach is much lower now that lots of people have cars and there are highways and parking lots. New York State has maintained demand for train service to Coney Island and the Rockaways by building numerous high-rise housing projects, but that seems to make everyone involved miserable. It's also true that the big lines were built as conventional train lines, not subways, and that the trains ran much less often than the subways do now. The NJ Transit and LIRR lines still run on hourly frequencies most of the time. But I don't see anything stopping the LACMTA from turning most of the subways at Century City or Westwood and only running half-hourly service to Santa Monica.
Toggle Commented Dec 6, 2009 on on subways to the sea at Human Transit
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I'm sorry, I read the article several times and I just don't see it. The vast majority of the article documents various anti-rail and pro-car arguments the CUTR has made. A relatively small section discusses the pro-BRT positions. It doesn't portray Polzin, Mierzejewski and Brosch as pro-bus, but as anti-rail, and casts legitimate doubts about whether they are really pro-transit at all. Jarrett, you know me; I hate false dichotomies and I argue passionately in favor of bus improvements. I honestly don't see a false dichotomy here.
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Speaking of which, does anyone know who came up with this term, if it wasn't Jaime Lerner?
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Jarrett, I'm not convinced that you've got good reasons for hanging onto "BRT." You essentially give three reasons: (1) Americans should just get over it, (2) 'I like words that say what they mean, and "Bus Rapid Transit" says exactly what I mean.', and (3) the term Bus Rapid Transit is not going away. Of those three, only (2) is an actual positive reason; the other two are counter-arguments to objections to the term. "Bus rapid transit" has always seemed awkward to me. Could you imagine yourself spontaneously using the term if you'd never heard it before? I would talk about a "busway," "dedicated lanes," or something like that. I'll point out that as far as I can tell, the term is almost never used in the canonical cities: Curitiba calls them "linhas expressas" or "canaletas," and Bogota calls its Transmilenio a "sistema de transporte masivo" - no mention of buses, just "mass transit." If they got by without it, so can we. With regard to (1), I haven't had much direct contact with the FTA; most of my exposure to "BRT" comes from New York bike advocates who took on the role of transit advocates because the rail advocates were weaker than they were. With regard to (3), I recognize that we transit advocates will have to use the term, but why do we have to use it with each other?
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About proof of payment: sure, there are ways to make it work with the Quickway concept, but it's a completely separate bus improvement that's been incorporated into the "BRT package," but there's no reason it has to be there. Paris has proof of payment on its entire network, much of it without physically separated lanes. NYC Transit's pilot project in the Bronx has proof-of-payment buses running right next to non-proof-of-payment buses, partly in painted lanes and partly in mixed traffic. The Lincoln Tunnel buses have a grade-separated lane with no proof of payment at all.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2009 on bus rapid transit followup at Human Transit
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I think Scotty put his finger on the issue here: that the North American lines in question are aping light rail instead of trying to be the best bus system they can be. The focus on "lines" instead of "busways" makes no sense unless you're either trying to pull a bait-and-switch, or going along with what everyone else is doing. Hoffman and Caine had a great article last year that really helped me focus my thinking on this issue. Their distinction between "Light Rail Lite" (Eugene) and "Quickways" (Brisbane). In a comment on Streetsblog, Hoffman further elaborated on the value of "open" busways: "To those who would question the costs and feasibility of "all those buses," the experience of Brisbane is critical. Since most buses fill up off corridor--before they even arrive at the Quickway--the decision was made to just run them pretty much straight into their downtown (with very few intermediate stops); after all, why force people to transfer from one bus to another, especially if the first one was already full? And as to why not have them transfer to a train, the answer was also simple: they have an extensive train network, but people found the direct buses much, much faster than taking the bus to the train (as well as inherently more reliable and less stressful). So the network structure has a direct bearing on how many passengers you attract to the system (Brisbane has seen a 40% growth in system ridership in 3 years due in great part to its new Quickway system)--but they also saw that the vast improvement in travel speeds meant that they could provide much more service with a given size fleet (when a round trip that took two hours now takes less than 40 minutes, you can operate three round trips with the same bus that previously made only one), vastly improving productivity and ACTUALLY PUSHING MANY TRANSIT ROUTES INTO THE BLACK." That effect on profitability is the same one that I've observed in the Lincoln Tunnel XBL. With that kind of success, I'm baffled as to why people who actually care about transit continue to insist on building "light rail lite".
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2009 on bus rapid transit followup at Human Transit
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Just wanted to clarify that my first paragraph above about "fucking freeways" was a joke. And of course, although I get pissed off by the love that some transit advocates (*cough* ITDP) have for "BRT", I'm not at all pissed off by Jarrett, who just wants to help people get around. In terms of grade-separating bus stations to avoid traffic problems? We do that here. And here. Yes, they're terminals, but they do the same thing you're talking about. And although they function very well, nobody really likes walking under them.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2009 on brisbane: bus rapid transit soars at Human Transit
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"freeway after freeway after fucking freeway. (Pardon my French)." Yes, there's really no fucking justification for using the word "freeway" once, let alone three times. Now go wash your mouth out with soap. Seriously, I agree with Scotty that BRT is often used as a bait-and-switch. The fact that in Brisbane they didn't want to take even one of the six traffic lanes says to me that things are not so different Down Under. Jarrett, I'm curious, why didn't you mention Pittsburgh? They've got grade-separated busways (that used to be rail rights-of-way, incidentally). I don't think anybody's too impressed with them; I wasn't. My take on "BRT" is simply this: bus improvements are great, but don't tell me that they're a substitute for rail. In particular, don't suggest that I should fight any less hard for rail improvements because we're getting these bus improvements. And the improvements can be separated: the "package deal" approach to "BRT" is bullshit, plain and simple. So is the branding argument. The richest, whitest, snobbiest people will take a bus if it's convenient, whether it looks like a train or a wreck.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2009 on brisbane: bus rapid transit soars at Human Transit
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Thanks for the link, Jarrett! And that's an amazing post by the Urbanophile.
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Penn Station is, of course, a prime example of the best and worst practices in through-station design. I'm thinking that it's easier If the tracks are well below grade
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I just want to clarify that the UIC/Halsted station is one where the surrounding development is definitely dense and walkable. I'm not convinced of the others; certainly some of the Dan Ryan stops feel uncomfortable to me as a pedestrian. The Robert Taylor Homes might have qualified as dense development, but their tower-in-a-park configuration was pretty anti-pedestrian. How are the replacement developments that way?
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Also: the CTA Congress Line UIC/Halsted station.
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A couple examples from Westchester County, NY: Larchmont Fleetwood, Mount Vernon In both cases, the railroads pre-dated the highways.
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A solution that's slightly different from the ones you mention is the "offset bus lane" that is currently proposed for New York's Select Bus Service; you can see it on page 29 of this PDF (the picture is actually Amsterdam Avenue, not First or Second). In that scenario, there would be parking between the transit vehicle (a bus in this case) and the sidewalk, except at stops, where a "bus bulb" extends across the curb lane. It's similar to the "Wiener table" except that cars aren't allowed to drive past the stop in the curb lane.
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Dveřa se zaviraji!
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There's a less-well-thought-out example in Manhattan, at Seventh Avenue. For almost any of the cross-platform transfers it would have made more sense to switch at the previous station. For example, if you're on the D train going downtown and you want to be on Eighth Avenue, you would probably have changed for the A or C at 59th Street. The transfers that make the most sense there, from the downtown D to the Queens-bound E and from the downtown E to the Bronx-bound D, require going upstairs both ways. I know; that was a regular part of my commute several years ago.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2009 on vienna: weaving a total network at Human Transit
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