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Justin N
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Also, don't forget that buses don't have to be polluting. Trolleybuses are a thing, and battery/supercapacitor electric buses are also slowly coming to fruition. (There's one here in greater LA, the Foothill 291.)
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This only works if you have the "New Google Maps," FYI.
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I've found DC's system in particular to severely reinforce the bus-rail divide. Even though both Metrobus and Metrorail are run by WMATA, they don't have integrated maps or fare policies. (The SmarTrip card works on both, but you can't buy a pass to cover both bus and rail trips. You can buy a bus pass, or a train pass, but not a bus-and-train pass.) So that may be influencing the choice of the map-maker to include only one mode. I wrote a bit on my experience in DC last summer here:
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I'm guessing here, but I think that the place where you can infer a different operator solely from the route number in LA is around LAX. The two LAWA shuttles, C and G, are represented and colored just like the Metro circulators. I think Seattle is a special case when it comes to multi-agency networks. They have strongly integrated regional fare media that are basically the only sort of fare media available, and are accepted on all regional operators. If I tried to use a map like this in, say, the Bay Area, it would really matter that I was waiting for one agency's service rather than another-- and differences between routes can't be inferred from route designations, generally speaking.
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And I was riding on a deviated fixed-route (or "flexible", for those speaking buzzwordese) transit route in 6th grade. Innovative...
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When I was in Chicago this summer I noted the appalling information provided about bus connections at rail stations. The only time my wife and I (as tourists) took the bus was when Google Transit suggested it- I never got a clear idea of how the buses flowed through the city. Finally, as we were waiting for the bus to take us back to the Amtrak station, the shelter we were at had a bus system map. Looks like that attitude about bus service is prevalent at CTA.
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My wife, my best friend and I have a running joke about that fishbowl routine in Zumanity-- that a fishbowl full of scantily clad lady acrobats is "the best sort of fishbowl." (It comes up in very strange conversational places.)
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At age 10, I was one of the few people who rode the local bus in my town. By age 14, I'd drawn my own system map for the local transit agency, who still to this day does not provide one. (Even after I sent them mine! Granted, it was a pretty awful schematic map drawn in Paint...) My transit fare media collection includes a representative sample of every pass I've ever held, and most tickets as well. And yet I'm a political scientist. Does volunteering on the City Parking & Streets Commission count?
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I think it's key to understand the unit of analysis you're talking about when doing an analysis based on MSA's. If you want to say something about *people* in metro areas, the MSA is probably a fine measure- the minor statistical noise introduced by the handful of people who live outside of the "metro" bits of the MSA is probably negligible, and the improvement in your results in using some finer-grained measure probably isn't worth the time. However, if you want to talk about *geography* in metro areas- as we often do when we talk about transit- they have some significant disadvantages as detailed above.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2011 on great american "metro areas" at Human Transit
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Also, more weirdness on their interactive map: my hometown, a 3,000-person mountain enclave, is served by a single 90-minute-headway route which often has to be reserved in advance. The town's two census blocks show median rush-hour frequency of 31 and 27 minutes. My current apartment is served by a 30-minute and a 40-minute route, the latter only weekdays. It shows a median frequency of 15.6 minutes. A block covering the San Jacinto mountain wilderness- an area with, as you might expect, no transit service of any kind- shows a median frequency of 9.8 minutes. I'm beginning to think that Brookings' data is entirely crap.
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Another problem with the Brookings report is their use of MSA's as the unit of analysis. This advantages not only small, relatively suburb-less areas (such as Fresno or Merced), but it also advantages areas with small counties. One of the reasons that Riverside-San Bernardino are listed in the "bottom 10" is the vastness of the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA, which is larger than West Virginia. More details on my blog:
1 reply It looks like not all of it was HSR money, but a substantial chunk was. Each of those articles note CHSRA's partnership in the purchase, and the SJ Mercury News throws around the number $30m. (They also say that the bulk of the money would come from Metro.) Also, they mention $6m in revenue, with more coming, as the station develops commercially. If Metro had to put up $45m of their own money, this would pay off in a little over 7 years- smart move if you ask me.
You should send those signs to the Unnecessary Quotation Marks blog.
The funding for this project came from federal high-speed rail monies. Like most capital money, it couldn't be spent on operations. CHSRA can make the case to spend its money buying Union Station (for future HSR service), but not on funding bus service. I'm all for criticism of our public agencies, but only when they deserve it. Getting LA Union Station back into public hands is a good thing. It will pave the way for better rail service in the region, and it'll probably even save Metro money! (They were somehow leasing the station, and I'm sure it cost them some money though I'm unaware of the details.) And no, they couldn't use this money to fix the buses. I'm not saying that the buses don't need fixed... but this wasn't the pot of money to do it with.
Many of the prior posters here seem to believe, erroneously, that public employees are better paid than their private sector counterparts. Even if that were the case, however, that's not an argument for getting rid of unions- it's an argument for organizing the private sector! Back in the prosperous post-war period, from V-J Day to Reagan, the average CEO made 40 times what his line workers made. Today, he (and it's overwhelmingly "he"s) makes over 400, and rising. During the same time period that this statistic was skyrocketing, union membership was falling like a stone, to the current low of 7% of the private sector. Coincidence? Public employee, private employee, no matter. Organized labour is responsible for the creation of the American middle class, and its continued maintenance rests upon union shoulders.
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I'll miss 439 and 920, but I can't really give a good reason why they should be kept. Moving to a unidirectional circulator on 607 sucks too, but I suppose it's better than no circulator at all.
Solidarity. I hope this is enough to convince Leahy that the workers mean business, and that they don't need to put this threat into action. But I doubt it. Best of luck to those of you who would be stranded.
The average cost for a structured parking space in Los Angeles, per Donald Shoup's "The High Cost of Free Parking", is in the neighbourhood of $25,000. That's per space. Wad over at MetroRiderLA reports that Metro pays $120/hr for local bus service. Back-of-the-napkin math tells me that every parking space you build next to a train station is worth 208 hours of local bus service, and I would MUCH rather have the latter than the former. Decent public bus service that connects to the train not only expands transit options to more people, but allows for the possibility of re-orienting our development and land use patterns around the train station. Parking lots just mean more sprawl. The truth of the matter is that we're going to be stuck with the trains we build today for a long, long, long time- we don't want to be stuck with the parking lots as well. I'm also sorely disappointed that so many alt-transport advocates are missing the critical, if unsexy, local bus in their efforts. It's going to take every tool in the toolbox to get off the auto addiction- why is our movement tossing the local bus away?
Browne- I agree with you. I want to see an environmental movement that is less focused on buying stuff, because we can't buy our way out of this crisis. That alone will make for a more inclusive movement. Also, WalkScore isn't about whether or not you can walk to a transit station. I am not terribly familiar with the stations you mentioned, but a cursory view of Avalon station tells me that the reason it has a low WalkScore is because it's entirely surrounded by housing. WalkScore only measures how many businesses are near an address. The people who live near Avalon station probably can't walk to much besides the Green Line station (though that is a nice thing to have in your walkshed). I also didn't say the $500k homes were McMansions. I said that, given somebody who's going to buy a $1.6m home, I'd rather they buy it in DTLA than in Orange County or in the Riverside hills. WalkScore is a research tool, and a flawed one at that. It isn't the end-all be-all of the environmental movement. It says one very specific thing about any given address. There are real-estate tools that will tell you other things about said address- the quality of schools, the number of sex offenders in the area, etc. I like that you're using it to critique the environmental movement at large, but I think your wrath may be aimed in the wrong direction.
All WalkScore does is query the Google Places database and count up the number of businesses nearby in certain categories. It's an imperfect tool, to be sure, but it has some value to it. A place with a high WalkScore is not necessarily the best place to walk, but a place with a low WalkScore is pretty much guaranteed not to be walkable. Also, sustainability is one thing, but sustainability doesn't necessarily mean social justice, or even environmental justice. Just because it's ridiculously inequality-inducing to have a $1.6m condo in downtown L.A. doesn't mean it's environmentally unsustainable, and I'd much rather see rich folks in $1.6m urban condos than $1.6m exurban McMansions. I agree that we need to have a broader conversation about sustainability and social justice, but that isn't exactly within the purview of the WalkScore algorithm. I'm not sure if building an algorithm to have that conversation is even possible.
Did the ridiculous streamlining project at OCTA happen under Leahy? (I really don't know.) I know that, back in the mid-90's, OCTA re-organized their routes from a hub-and-spoke system to a grid system. Now, grid systems are great... if they're run very frequently. If they're not, they mean lots of waiting at a lot of unpleasant corners. Transit riders in the OC are suffering from that project still, and there seems to be no political will to turn back the clock. If Leahy didn't start it, he didn't do anything to fix it either.
See, I think inherent in a lot of what you're saying is an assumption that transit is superior to cycling in transporting children. I'm not sure if that assumption is valid. I, personally, was shuttled about in a bicycle trailer for most of my pre-public-school life. Several professors in my department, of both genders, pedal around with child seats attached to their bicycles. (Of course, our university has on-site child care open to all affiliated persons, so this may complicate the relationship.) To be clear, I do agree that our society has a whole mess of basic social welfare challenges that must be met, and child care is certainly among them. I'm just still not seeing the causal link between fewer women cyclists and child care- especially when you consider that women ride transit more.
According to that chart, in 2006 cars killed more *everyone* than anything else, for all age cohorts between 1 and 34, and six of ten cohorts. Why the emphasis on children? For 43 years of the average 70-odd year life, we're more likely to die from a car than anything else. Why focus on only 14 of those years?
Sorry, I'm confused. Are you arguing that European-style parental leave would lead to women's participation in cycling? I'm not getting the causal story here. Of course, our maternity leave institutions here suck and should be fixed, and the lack of women's participation in cycling is also a problem, but I'm not sure how the two are connected. Personally, I think the problem is a culture that defines cycling as "sport", and "sport" as inherently masculine. I could, of course, be wrong.
Of course the lines are drawn to disenfranchise minorities. That's the entire point of drawing lines! Out here, our City Council districts carve the Latino-heavy Eastside in half neatly, and our Congressional district (CA-44) balances all those brown people in Riverside with a huge helping of rich San Clemente hills. This problem goes far, far beyond Metro, and I don't see it getting any better any time soon. Even the solutions proposed aren't hugely effective- Prop 11 from last year created a "citizen's redistricting commission" that's mostly old, white Republican men. Let me know if you figure this one out. Political science would be very intrigued.