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It seems so obvious to me to create a place like you describe... and yet I can't think of any just like that. Places that have been historically hubs of transit activity tend to be shopping streets. Either the value of having retail next to transit precludes parks, or the ridership from having your transit lined with retail on both sides moves the routing elsewhere... Only in "City Beautiful" cities with a strong investment in monumental open space. Have you considered places in Washington DC, like Dupont Circle, Washington Circle, the Mall, or the park in front of Union Station? ( Otherwise, maybe the parks in the center of Detroit.
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That's kind of what transit in Atlanta would look like, if we built subway instead of rail... The last line wasn't good enough, so we'll just build a totally new one in the same general area. Actually, the map is very appropriate for a place like Gotham. Gotham/NYC are the only places you could have parallel, competing subway lines without hurting your ridership. Also, the lines are all very swoopy; looks like the focus was on building 'modern' ultra-fast rail, and they didn't have to worry about ROW acquisition. (Areas were too poor to resist or too decrepit to care.) I any case, it was definitely built by an alliance of the rich and powerful, with neither creativity nor knowledge of the needs of transitizens. Competing business/ political interests are probably the reason for the competing lines.
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I agree totally - sometimes a service, like a good pruning, is just what the doctor ordered. I had the privilege of interning at Atlanta's MARTA as they prepared for their biggest service cut ever... Taking effect in September 2010, it ended up just being an 11% cut to bus revenue hours. However, it cut a system of 131 bus routes down to just 90. While there was a lot of fear before hand, (and I don't want to downplay those who were inconvenienced,) I heard a lot of good feedback - people could still get where they were going about as easily. Overall, I feel like the MARTA service cuts made the bus system a lot leaner, and has allowed the agency to bounce back fairly well. They have added some service back and made some small changes... but it helps when you are tweaking on an overall system that is up-to-date. Interesting thing about that situation - they originally planned for a 34% cut to bus service, so they were really planning for a worst-case scenario, and then adding-back service. Of course, it helps when you have AVL-linked APC data, performance metrics, and regular performance reports... they were able to look at fairly precise ridership numbers by stop and time of day.
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Is there some rule of thumb for how many stations, trains, or passengers justify building a new branch? If there's only one or two stations, it seems like you should just people into a station on the main line - be that by bus, auto park-n-ride, people-mover, etc.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2011 on what rivers teach about transit at Human Transit
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How about "switch"? It implies something quick, easy, and decisive... like flipping a light switch, or in railroad switching yard, where the train just keeps rolling. Certainly I could "take the 1 to Five Points and switch to the 55", switch to the train at Midtown, or switch between the Doraville and North Springs train on the same line. (Can you guess what city I'm in?) If I'm standing on the sidewalk you'll know I'm making a switch. If a bus diver is heading back to the garage, he'll have to switch me to another bus - not apply force, but communicate succinctly what is going on, such that I choose a different alternative. This word 'switch' respects my values and my volition in being a transit passenger. You can switch me to a bus, but if you abandon me and the bus doesn't show up, know that I'll be just as easily switching to foot, or to a car next time.
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2011 on unhelpful word watch: to transfer at Human Transit
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Apr 23, 2011