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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 09:45 AM   #21
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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Originally Posted by justin
And the fact that most rail-type mass transit is primarily (~80%+) federally funded. It's a good way to bring money back to your city/state from the federal coffers. And it pumps money into your local economy (for construction and professional work). We're talking many hundreds of millions or many billions for most of these projects, the great majority of which are paid for by "someone else".
Oh, yeah, they were going to shake down the feds for a rail from Mia to Orlando... even made a state constitutional amendment to force legislators to do it... was a travesty.... haven't heard too much about it since the time it was shown that the drive was all secretly funded by (who else?) guys who were all tired up in the rail biz and stood to get rich[er] off of building the whole operation, which would never be economically viable...
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 09:47 AM   #22
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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There are some true success stories - DC, NY... but I just wish fans of mass transit would keep in mind what makes it work, and where it doesn't 'scale' well.
It works well around "older" infrastructures which built more up than out. Many of the larger east coast cities fit into that category, and perhaps some midwestern cities like Chicago.

Most cities which have experienced most of their growth in the last half century were built around the auto, and thus tend to grow "out" rather than "up." They tend to have less of a downtown core, and the jobs tend to be more dispersed than the "older" cities which likely have a core where most of the jobs are.

So even though it feels good, mass transit in sprawled metro areas is likely to be a boondoggle.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 11:06 AM   #23
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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Originally Posted by Nords
We spent a couple weeks riding it last July. Stayed for a week on U Street and commuted regularly to the Mall for the Smithsonian museums and over to Arlington. We even used the bus link to Mount Vernon. Plenty of trains, no dirt, no crowds out side of rush hour and rush-hour crowds not too bad. It was the type of experience that's so good you don't even notice it.

I don't know how recent this improvement is, but the platforms now have digital displays that let you know when the next train is coming. It eliminates a lot of guessing.

We still gamed the fares. If we'd known that we were going to ride the Metro as much as we did then we would have bought a pass. Commuters are strongly encouraged to buy fare passes that reduce the gate time. But the fare machines were pretty painless and I managed to charge almost every ticket on a well-worn credit card.
I was living in the DC area when they were implementing the fare card machines.

Some people just couldn't seem to handle it.

There's an arrow on the card and on the machine for a reason.

Some older men seemed to think there was a trick to it and they had to outsmart it.

There's nothing like standing behind some giggling old ladies trying four different ways too put the card into the machine while a train is coming through every five minutes.



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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 12:21 PM   #24
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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I'm confused. You mention Seattle. Although they are building a very limited underground system, to my knowledge it doesn't exist yet and won't for quite a while. There is the Monorail, which was built as part of theWorld's Fair and runs I would guess less than a mile, and the Sounder Trains which I think run from Tacoma on the South to Everett in the North. But there are no laterals, no eastside service, and a schedule which gets pretty sparse outside of rush hours. There are pretty good express buses, largely oriented to commuters
I live in the downtown Kirkland area, which has many of the characteristics you described earlier. I'm within a short walking distance of a grocery store, library, movie theater, restaurants, etc. In addition, I'm close to the Kirkland Transit Center, which has, for example, a bus that serves downtown Seattle at least every half hour except for late at night when it's about once an hour. There's also fairly decent service to the neighboring towns on the Eastside.

Since I retired, I only use my car about every 1.5 to 2 weeks. My fuel costs are in the $10 to $15 per month range. I think the thing I hated the most about working was the need to commute. I don't userstand why people would drive if they could walk.

I think light rail is cool, but it's basically a bus with steel wheels. So I've never quite understood the fascination with light rail.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 01:04 PM   #25
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

Chicago's mass transit system works fairly well.

DW and I grew up in the city and lived there until we bought a home in the suburbs while raising the family, so we're very familar with hopping a bus, elevated train or subway to get around. DS has always lived in the suburbs, with us or on his own, except for the time he was away at college.

Last summer my 32 year old son and I decided to go see a Cubs game one afternoon. We drove to the city limits and took the CTA the rest of the way. Afterwards, we used a combination of buses and cabs to hit a restaurant and some bars/pubs/taverns I wanted him to see. No transportation issues at all, despite returning home in the wee hours.

DS was kind of amazed how well it worked out. I was surprised that he was amazed....... Then I remembered that despite living within a stones throw of Chicago all his life, he'd never been on the CTA before! He'd had access to a car since he was 16, lived in the suburbs and always drove when going into the city. A person can only know what they experience I guess...... :P

If we could afford it, we'd move back into the city where things are within walking distance or public transit gets you where you need to go. But here in Chicago-land, gentrification of all our old haunts has driven prices way, way out of our reach.





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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 02:53 PM   #26
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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Originally Posted by Dudester

I think light rail is cool, but it's basically a bus with steel wheels. So I've never quite understood the fascination with light rail.
Not quite, but close.. the ones here are bigger than the busses and can be connected together in at least a four car train... maybe even six when you look at a platform...

But as some people would say when they proposed it here... the Mayor wants a choo choo...

BTW, the newer lines that are supposed to go in Houston will at first be busses on the routes even though they are going to put in the rails when they build them.. when ridership increases enough to justify them, they will put the train there instead of the busses...
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 03:32 PM   #27
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

Philadelphia Pa has mass transit. Buses, subways and regional rail. SEPTA lovingly known as SEPTIC around these parts.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 06:20 PM   #28
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

Boston has nice mass transit BUT it is $2 for a ticket now... in 2001 it was $1... that's inflation for you.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:03 PM   #29
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

Los Angeles is listed as having a mass transit system.

I'll have to add my two cents here as I am somewhat familiar with the light-rail mass transit that LA has to offer:

The mass transit system in Los Angeles is not great. LA is just too spread out to make any mass transit system built at an affordable price work well. A more compact city like San Francisco or Boston works better for mass transit. The problem for an LA transit system is that most of the people here do not commute towards downtown for their work. We work all over the place and that is very difficult for a transit system to serve.

Having said that I understand that for some of those light-rail systems they have here in LA are heavily utilized. I have read that The Green Line here is the most utilized light-rail segment of anywhere in the country.

They are adding links slowly decade by decade. But it may be well after I am gone that an effective system will be in place.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 07:53 PM   #30
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

I think you can take Baltimore off of that list. We have a light rail system that no one pays much attention to, and a metro that doesn't go anywhere unless you are going to Johns Hopkins hospital.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 10:10 PM   #31
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

Seattle rapid transit?... give me a break!!!! Their best mass transit in and around Seattle is the ferry system.

In the NW Portland's Max light rail is hard to beat.

I hear Portland's aerial tram will be free for the next couple Saturdays. We are there at the moment and hope to try it out.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-21-2007, 10:45 PM   #32
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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Seattle rapid transit?... give me a break!!!! Their best mass transit in and around Seattle is the ferry system.
Certainly the most pleasant ride.

BTW, I think I heard lately that the Bremerton passenger only ferry run had been cancelled.

The Bremerton Ferry ride on a sunny day is an A+ tourist activity, and the price is definitely LBYM.

Ha
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-22-2007, 09:03 AM   #33
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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Originally Posted by Nords
We spent a couple weeks riding it last July. Stayed for a week on U Street and commuted regularly to the Mall for the Smithsonian museums and over to Arlington. We even used the bus link to Mount Vernon. Plenty of trains, no dirt, no crowds out side of rush hour and rush-hour crowds not too bad. It was the type of experience that's so good you don't even notice it.

I don't know how recent this improvement is, but the platforms now have digital displays that let you know when the next train is coming. It eliminates a lot of guessing.

We still gamed the fares. If we'd known that we were going to ride the Metro as much as we did then we would have bought a pass. Commuters are strongly encouraged to buy fare passes that reduce the gate time. But the fare machines were pretty painless and I managed to charge almost every ticket on a well-worn credit card.
How did you like U Street? Was there last week at Bus Boys and Poets -- great place for lunch. We recently moved into a condo off the Orange line in Arlington and are loving the walking to places and taking Metro. My son can easily visit us from Annapolis, your old grounds (he'll be USNA O7), by driving from the Yard to the Metro and taking the Metro to us. This is a transitional place for us as we transition into retirement in the next few years. I think Ha is right on target -- walking is great and an urban lifestyle near rapid transit really adds to your quaility of life.

I also grew up in NYC, like Ha, and took the subway everywhere for my first 25 years of life, until I came to the DC area, where I had to get a driver's license and then proceeded to drive to everywhere for the next 28 years, including a nightmare long distance commute for 20 years. I loved having a single family home to raise our 3 kids, I hated the maintenance head aches. Condo living near the Metro is very appealing. And we are adjusting from downisizing a 4000 Sq ft home into a 1370 Sq ft condo -- but the walking part of our new lifestyle is great and it will be a number one priority for our permanent home, which might suggest an urban lifestyle or home near rapid transit.

After spending so much of my time in a car the last 28 years, I really am enjoying walking to work, the grocery store, library, movies, barbershop, Gym, church and I'm 25 or fewer minutes by Metro away from the Kennedy Center, Mall, U Street, Reagan Airport, Union Station. DC metro is great and I'm really surprised by the high level of ridership on the weekends and evenings, after the work schedule. By the way, you can link into the Metro website and find out when the next trains arrive at your station -- people do this with their Crackberry's.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-22-2007, 10:14 AM   #34
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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Certainly the most pleasant ride.

BTW, I think I heard lately that the Bremerton passenger only ferry run had been cancelled.

The Bremerton Ferry ride on a sunny day is an A+ tourist activity, and the price is definitely LBYM.

Ha
The passenger only ferry from Bremerton will end this month because of cost of operation. I think it is unfortunate because transit time is a factor for many who work in downtown Seattle and are looking for a reasonably priced home.

The ferry ride from Seattle to Bremerton is a VERY cost effective Sound cruse.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-22-2007, 10:50 AM   #35
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

It's been awhile since I've ridden the DC Metro. I got irritated a few years back when they started making you buy some easy pass thing to park in the lot. I think you have to buy it in $20.00 blocks, and I don't use the subway often enough to take advantage of that. Knowing me, I'd buy the thing, only use part of it, and then forget about it/lose it, and end having to buy another one. So if I'm going into DC, I usually just drive it. My biggest beef with DC is usually finding a parking space, especially if I'm driving my old battle-axe of a pickup, which means I have to occasionally pass up a tighter parking space. But so far it hasn't been too much of a hassle.

Now if I lived in DC, in an area convenient to the Metro, that would probably be a different story and I'd use it more. I have a friend who lives about a 5 minute walk from a metro station, and his office is near a metro station, so he rarely drives his car. I know a few people in DC who actually get along without a car. If you don't have off-street/reserved parking, sometimes having a car can be more hassle than its worth!
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-22-2007, 01:24 PM   #36
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

I think Metro changed that policy on parking. While you might need a Smartrip Card to pay and exit parking, I don't think there is a $20 minimum charge to purchase a Smartrip card. I think there is a $5 fee to have your Smartrip Card registered and protected against loss, but I'm not aware of any mimimum required charge. And I believe, Metro parking is free on the weekends.

The Orange Line in Arlington County, especially the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, is extremely walker-friendly. I know several people who live in the area who go without a car. If you need a car for a few hours, there's a carsharing program in the County, where two companies offer hourly rates for car rentals. Here's one of them: http://www.zipcar.com/dc/check-rates. The cars are parked at designated parking spaces in the area. A number ofyounger professionals living in the area don't own cars. Why pay the annual costs of car ownership, when you hardly use it and when you can rent one out for a few hours or when needed?
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 02-22-2007, 04:38 PM   #37
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

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How did you like U Street? Was there last week at Bus Boys and Poets -- great place for lunch. We recently moved into a condo off the Orange line in Arlington and are loving the walking to places and taking Metro. My son can easily visit us from Annapolis, your old grounds (he'll be USNA O7), by driving from the Yard to the Metro and taking the Metro to us. This is a transitional place for us as we transition into retirement in the next few years. I think Ha is right on target -- walking is great and an urban lifestyle near rapid transit really adds to your quaility of life.
U Street was excellent; we stayed at a B&B in a 100-year-old house and ate a lot of late dinners at Pizza Bolis after putting in 10 miles at the Smithsonians. We were just three blocks from Cardoza Station and it was just close enough.

Hey, we might've worked out with your son (and a thousand or so other people) last July during PEP on Farragut Field! You'll have to tell him from me that the Director of Math & Science (who recently married a submarine veteran) isn't as scary as she allows the mids to think she is. Lemme know if he wants sea stories from our days... and check your PMs for more from me.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 03-01-2007, 11:04 PM   #38
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

nyc is the only city in america where mass transit is acceptable to me.
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?
Old 03-09-2007, 07:36 PM   #39
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Re: Name Some US Cities With Rapid Transit?

Visit www.google.com/transit
to see 10 cities who not only understand mass transit but make it easy to use ... nice tool.
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Old 03-10-2007, 02:22 PM   #40
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I was going to add Pittsburgh to the list of cities with a subway - although it is above ground for most of the way UNTIL you get to downtown Pittsburgh. I think people are surprised at how compact the downtown area of Pittsburgh is. You can easily walk it with little trouble and in a rather short amount of time. The nice thing about the subway system serving the downtown area is - it's free.

Of course, where I get on and off of it, it costs me - but I estimate I save close to $3,000 a year on w*rk-related commuting costs by taking the "T" (the name of the Pittsburgh subway system).
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