Public Transportation

Time Mag: Why are Southerners so Fat?

Concludes Lack of Transit, Walking, and Biking Options to Blame

From the article:

... "I think that has more to do with Southerners' lack of physical activity rather than the food."

Bassett isn't just talking about neglected gym memberships and people who sit on the couch all day. Physical activity can be something as simple as walking to the bus stop. That's another problem, by the way: the South doesn't have many bus stops. Public transportation is paltry, and for most people the best way to get around is by car. "You don't really think of riding the train as exercise, but at least you have to walk a few blocks to get to the stop," says Bassett. States like Mississippi and Tennessee also have a surprising lack of sidewalks, discouraging even the most eager pedestrians. Many roads are narrower than those in the North — where streets have wider shoulders to accommodate winter snow — and people who want to bike or jog find themselves uncomfortably close to traffic.

2009 Urban Mobility Report on Congestion

transit the only cost-effective choice to solve nation's transportation problems

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...

Transit Movie Watch: "The Taking of Pelham 123"

Pelham 123 page on IMDBIts summer time, and that means violent movie time! I walk by movie posters every day, and didn't give this one a second thought for several weeks. But then I read the BaxFax, which has this to say:

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.

Impressions of SF Bay Transit

Transit Ridden

  • VTA express bus
  • VTA light rail
  • BART heavy rail
  • SFO airport monorail
  • AC Transit bus
  • TARC bus

Transit Seen

  • Muni cable cars
  • Muni streetcars
  • Muni trolley buses

[This is Part 1 in a three part series examining alternative transit in the Bay and what can be applied to Louisville]

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.

Salt Lake City Rail & Road Ad

Car Sharing: Friend or Foe of Traditional Alternative-Transit?

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:

Public Transportation

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.

In Defense of Bus Advocacy

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".

BART Musical Tribute

This is pretty catchy. I've got a soft spot for the ol' Bay Area Rapid Transit, as its the first public transit I used seriously.

Putting It All Together: the Southwest Super Corridor

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:

USA Today graphic showing which modes of transportation people want the federal government to pay more attention to: Train:56%, Roads: 27%, Buses: 21%, Bike paths: 15%, Sidewalks:14%.

How do we satisfy all these people without breaking the bank? Here are the pieces of the puzzle:

  • Dixie Highway
  • Downtown Multi Modal Station
  • Riverwalk / Louisville Loop
  • P&L Commuter Rail Line
  • TARC #18 Bus
  • P&L Commuter Bike Path
  • AMTRAK Passenger Rail
  • K&I Bike/Ped Bridge to New Albany

If you're viewing from the front page, click Read More to continue.

TARC Budget 'Unsustainable'

TARC Headquarters at Union Station

TARC is running flat-out during the recession to furfill these three goals:

  1. Make it Affordable to Ride
  2. Keep Buses on the Streets
  3. Keep Jobs

"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.

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