Today's C-J story on this 2009 Urban Mobility Report deals with one problem out of many in our our transportation system: congestion delays. Congestion is costly, and the study can tell you all about that. But is congestion cost actually significant in the grand scheme of our household transportation budgets? You'll be surprised. How would you rank these three car driving expenses: gasoline, crash costs, and congestion costs? Read on...
Denzel Washington stars as New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber, whose ordinary day is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the hijacking of a subway train. John Travolta stars as Ryder, the criminal mastermind who, as leader of a highly-armed gang of four, threatens to execute the train's passengers unless a large ransom is paid within one hour. As the tension mounts beneath his feet, Garber employs his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages. But there's one riddle Garber can't solve: even if the thieves get the money, how can they possibly escape?
Wow, so it would be kind of fun to see Denzel "employ his vast knowledge of the subway system in a battle to outwit Ryder and save the hostages". I'm in. Unfortunatley, his vast knowledge does not seem so vast. And the game of wits is frankly not much of a game. Lots of mockery (and some spoilers) after the jump. Also, what it all means to the transit zeitgiest.
Transit just works better in the Bay Area than it does here. No Duh. But why? And what can we do to bring that here? Click through the jump.
We have networked computers. They can do some nifty things. eBay turned every pack-rat's attic into a treasure-trove. If we used networks to turn 50% of empty car seats in the country into usable passenger space for transporting strangers, would that help or hurt public transportation, bicycling, and walking? Well, lets break it down:
It would definately help the average transit user. They'd have smoother connections in the "long tail" - out where the big buses don't fly. It would immensely help transportation in rural areas. So the urban core would get a good feeder system. Who knows, Sprawliville might even become viable.
Politics and Place brings us this piece lamenting the overly-train-focused bent of public transportation advocacy in 2009. Worth a read: "Train Goggles":
If all of the sudden every streetcar and commuter train that ever ran was to suddenly reappear, would we still need buses? I would argue "absolutely, yes".
By combining a couple of transportation projects we've already built, and by uniting them with some on the drawing board, we can create an awesome new Southwest Louisville transportation corridor. You may have seen this graphic on the front page of USA Today last week:
How do we satisfy all these people without breaking the bank? Here are the pieces of the puzzle:
If you're viewing from the front page, click Read More to continue.
TARC is running flat-out during the recession to furfill these three goals:
"Balancing the budget" isn't on the list - TARC Executive Director Barry Barker calls the budget 'unsustainable'.
If I understood correctly, the projected budget shortfall for this year is $~6m and for next year is $~8m. TARC has $~10m saved, but this would overwhelm it in a short time.
Update: The correct burn rate is $~2m / year. $~10m is saved. You can do that math.
Read this good article at Planetizen about why it is so hard for cities to get rail on the ground. The author's description of the process sounds eerily familiar with our experience here.
Pictured: Oregon Iron Works / United Streetcar in production - the first streetcar built in the United States in a long, long time, is 90% complete.
Hat tip to infrastructurist for both links.