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  1. #1
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Have We Got a Bridge to Sell You - The Columbia River Crossing

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEvsSLOd0oM

    Virtually all of our major local politicians including Portland Mayor Sam Adams have given the go-ahead for this 12-lane $4-Billion spawl-enabling nightmare.

    Rally April 5 Tom McCall Waterfront Park 12N

    BikePortland.org story

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    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    So?
    Learn what's a platform pedal.

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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    it goes against all the transporation and land use planning principles Portland and Oregon are known for, all it does is enable suburban and exurban sprawl in Vancouver on the Washington side of the river, where people move to avoid Oregon taxes and then commute by SOV into Portland on a daily basis. Portland's streets are already clogged with Washington commuters and all the new bridge will do is move the congestion to another spot on the highway, meaning in a few years ODOT will want to expand the highway as well. Portland has successfully fought off these types of urban highway projects before (google Mt. Hood freeway), and will hopefully be able to kill this bridge project as well.

  4. #4
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    What's the point of a 12 lane bridge that has only six to eight lanes on either side of it?

    One of the likable things about central Portland is it wasn't designed with convenience for automobile traffic in mind, and as a result has a wonderful walkable (and ridable) downtown. I do a maintenance route for seismographs every 3 months there and I always bring my bike.

    This is a step backwards for Portland, and Clark County as well.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    it goes against all the transporation and land use planning principles Portland and Oregon are known for,
    I'm not particularly fond of the land use planning principles that Portland is known for. They have only encouraged the construction of ugly condo highrises with overpriced units that are no longer selling, similarly ugly condo lowrises in inner southeast, and shoddy townhouse complexes that take up entire blocks without any provision for greenspace. More concrete, steel, and vinyl siding -- fewer trees. Yuck.

    all it does is enable suburban and exurban sprawl in Vancouver on the Washington side of the river, where people move to avoid Oregon taxes and then commute by SOV into Portland on a daily basis.
    Eh. I'm okay with it. They're replacing one-made made environment (farmland) with another (houses -- which might actually involve planting more trees than what you would see on a plot of farmland). I do think they should preserve woodland in the form of parks. Also, I don't know that people who want a single-family house regard a condo or townhouse as a replacement value, even if it is close-in.

    I don't like the disconnected subdivision layout of newer developments, but that's a different issue.

    Portland's streets are already clogged with Washington commuters and all the new bridge will do is move the congestion to another spot on the highway, meaning in a few years ODOT will want to expand the highway as well. Portland has successfully fought off these types of urban highway projects before (google Mt. Hood freeway), and will hopefully be able to kill this bridge project as well.
    I wouldn't want to see any new freeways constructed in Portland, as it would involve the destruction and division of a neighborhood (as the Mt Hood Freeway would have done to the Division/Clinton area). However, considering that I5 is already there and happens to be the main connector to Washington state, I don't see this as an equivalent. I'm not going to get worked up over it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriswnw View Post
    I'm not particularly fond of the land use planning principles that Portland is known for. They have only encouraged the construction of ugly condo highrises with overpriced units that are no longer selling, similarly ugly condo lowrises in inner southeast, and shoddy townhouse complexes that take up entire blocks without any provision for greenspace. More concrete, steel, and vinyl siding -- fewer trees. Yuck.
    You're confusing land use planning with architectural design standards, they are two separate things


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    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    it goes against all the transporation and land use planning principles Portland and Oregon are known for, all it does is enable suburban and exurban sprawl in Vancouver on the Washington side of the river, where people move to avoid Oregon taxes and then commute by SOV into Portland on a daily basis. Portland's streets are already clogged with Washington commuters and all the new bridge will do is move the congestion to another spot on the highway, meaning in a few years ODOT will want to expand the highway as well. Portland has successfully fought off these types of urban highway projects before (google Mt. Hood freeway), and will hopefully be able to kill this bridge project as well.
    So, the freeway is crowded now and people want to live on the other side of the river. But you want that to be difficult to do and wish that more people would stay to live where they don't want to live.

    Oh, and what does this have to do with bicycle advocacy or safety? I guess you are saying that the designers are making it too easy to drive instead of cycling. Can people not cycle from one side of the river to the other? I guess you try to advocate cycling from the idea of making automobile travel a pain, whereas I would promote cycling from the aspect of it being fun, healthful and economical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
    So, the freeway is crowded now and people want to live on the other side of the river. But you want that to be difficult to do and wish that more people would stay to live where they don't want to livel.
    No, the issue is that they are catering to people who don't actually live here, and prefer-- no, demand-- their right to congest Portland's roads with their SOVs, rather than use light rail to get here.

    And of course, once they build more lanes, the lanes will soon fill to beyond capacity, as Vancouver becomes an even more attractive place for sprawl development, due to all those lanes facilitating SOV commutes to Portland.

  9. #9
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    While I think that freeways serve two good purposes -- namely, removing congestion from local roads and allowing cars and trucks to reach their destination more quickly -- I find that the typical implementation of American highways leaves much to be desired. The standard 6-8 lane highway has led to the the segmentation of cities (in addition to the demolition of many neighborhoods). There are a limited number of crossings, many of which are on high-speed arterials. The cloverleafs that connect the arterials to the freeways are dangerous to both cyclists and pedestrians. However, their design can be significantly improved. Japan, for example, is very densely populated, and their real estate is too valuable to sacrifice to a freeway. Most of their inner city highways are four-lane elevated expressways that are constructed along the routes of existing arterials. Local streets that previously crossed the arterial still provide access through. This is a good example. They are ugly, but probably not any uglier than a regular arterial by itself. Also, we wouldn't need as many as Japan due to our lower population density.

    Many European cities are building a toll-based tunnelways underground, so as not to disrupt the urban fabric. I'd much prefer underground highways to elevated expressways, but they are more expensive to construct. They would likely have to be paid for in part through tolling.

    I think it would be great if we had a sufficient number of easily passable expressways -- either elevated or underground -- that we could afford to lower the speed limit for all in-city surface roads to 25 mph -- the perfect speed for bicycles to integrate into traffic. While bicycles are vehicles, they aren't the same class of vehicle as automobiles. We only integrate well within certain speed limits. The same thing can be said about mopeds, scooters, golf carts, small electrical cars, etc, many of which are not allowed on highways. I am not a fan of bike-specific infrastructure, but speed-specific infrastructure is great.
    Last edited by chriswnw; 03-20-09 at 02:31 AM.

  10. #10
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Im not up on Portland issues but having lived in a number of places
    that built hi-speed arterials to ease congestion or make car travel
    easier, the exact opposite happened shortly thereafter. Florida should
    be a must-see for anyone who thinks big, hi-speed roads work for
    an infrastructure. Its time to shift the gamut wheel of transpirational
    thought process to the right.....If you choose to drive a car, what you
    get is ...what you get. Live with it. Constantly biggifying roads
    to accommodate cars is insanity. Forcing people to like bike transport
    wont happen, but forcing people to sit in their cars a half hour more or
    so per day might force them to rethink public transportation and other
    alternatives. If anything, we should be closing urban roads to cars.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  11. #11
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    Good Randya, let your voices be heard.

    Livable city advocacy seems to be fairly tightly coupled to cycling advocacy.

  12. #12
    Randomhead
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    it seems this is the last sort of thing we need to be spending 4 billion on. The only reason we "need" such a bridge is to put people into their cars so they can cause a traffic jam somewhere else. You just have to look at the D.C. area to see what building bridges like this can do for you. Places where nobody in their right mind would have commuted to D.C. from 40 years ago are now suburbs.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Im not up on Portland issues but having lived in a number of places
    that built hi-speed arterials to ease congestion or make car travel
    easier, the exact opposite happened shortly thereafter. Florida should
    be a must-see for anyone who thinks big, hi-speed roads work for
    an infrastructure.
    I don't like arterials either. They are basically highways with traffic lights, which shouldn't really mix. Also, a lot of our freeways are very badly designed. Many European countries seem to be doing a much better job creating less intrusive highways. I don't want to live in Florida either.

    Forcing people to like bike transport
    wont happen, but forcing people to sit in their cars a half hour more or
    so per day might force them to rethink public transportation and other
    alternatives. If anything, we should be closing urban roads to cars.
    So basically, make driving so miserable that people will have little option but to take public transit? I admit that I don't comprehend the enthusiasm for public transit that many bike advocates display. Bicycles are a form of personal transport, and have more in common with cars than with mass transit. Personal transport gets you where you want to go, at the time of your choosing with the company of your choosing. Public transit is a cattle-car that forces you to into a confined space with thugs, obnoxiously loud people, sick people and various creeps and crazy people. It restricts you to a specific route, doesn't take you directly to your destination, and it takes forever to get anywhere. I took public transit for years -- in Portland, where it is highly praised, no less. It sucked, and I'm pretty happy about not relying upon it anymore.

    My experience of the closing-off-streets-to-cars thing was in downtown Eugene. The area was deserted, with the exception of street kids, stoners, and assorted crazies. The city eventually ripped out the pedestrian mall and put a street back through. It was cool, as it became a good street to bike on.

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    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriswnw View Post

    So basically, make driving so miserable that people will have little option but to take public transit?.....

    I admit that I don't comprehend the enthusiasm for public transit that many bike advocates display. Bicycles are a form of personal transport, and have more in common with cars than with mass transit. Personal transport gets you where you want to go, at the time of your choosing with the company of your choosing. Public transit is a cattle-car that forces you to into a confined space with thugs, obnoxiously loud people, sick people and various creeps and crazy people. It restricts you to a specific route, doesn't take you directly to your destination, and it takes forever to get anywhere. I took public transit for years -- in Portland, where it is highly praised, no less. It sucked, and I'm pretty happy about not relying upon it anymore.
    Probably the best description of the inadequacies of mass transit i have read in a long time. It is odd that those who are so enamoured of mass transit always resort to "lets make driving cars the most miserable experience in the world!" as the only way to get people onto buses. Nor, do I suspect, that they use mass transit themselves.

    And I might add the transit of mass destruction ends up in the SAME TRAFFIC JAMS as the cars do. If there is one thing worse than sittin' in car in a traffic jam, its sitting on a BUS in a traffic jam. At least in my car I can turn on Rush Limbaugh and get a good chuckle to start the day.

    AND I might add that buses harass cyclists alot more than cars do. First they belch out pathetic fumes when they accelarate using their deisel engines....of course, whats a little pollution for la causa, right? Second, since they pull over to the curb almost every block or so their corpulent riders won't have to walk to far to their offices, they cut into the bike lane (if there even IS one) or in front of riders constantly. Lets not forget that they disgorge passengers who, trying to cross the street, are obstructed by the bus until they get right into the lane of traffic.... well, i could go on and on.


    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriswnw View Post
    So basically, make driving so miserable that people will have little option but to take public transit?
    Here's the deal with Vancouver.

    At their worst, people who move to Vancouver are tax refugees. They choose Vancouver because it is close to the state line. Washington has no state income tax, and Oregon has no sales tax. Thus, Washington relies upon property taxes and sales taxes for its revenue stream, while Oregon relies upon property taxes and income taxes for its revenue stream. Tax refugees play the system by working in Washington (thus enjoying the advantages of paying no state income tax), and shopping in Oregon (thus enjoying the advantages of paying no sales tax). These people are sponges-- they soak up the benefits provided by taxpayers on both sides of the border, but contribute nothing to the revenue stream that produces those benefits.

    At their best, people who move to Vancouver choose Vancouver because it is close to the state line, and thus, to the jobs in Portland, but offers an affordable suburban lifestyle.

    By itself, there's nothing wrong with that choice. However, Clark County residents have repeatedly rejected paying for extending the MAX line across the river. Thus, they have left driving or riding across the bridge as the only option for getting across the river-- and virtually everybody chooses driving.

    So Portland has all of these drivers across the river wanting to drive to their jobs or shopping in Portland. Those drivers place a load on Portland, in the form of demand for road infrastructure, wear and tear on the roads, added congestion, added demand for parking space, added air and water pollution, and so on.

    Adding lanes to the bridge will make their commute easier (and will eliminate a bottleneck for interstate trucking). And because the commute will be easier, more people will choose to live in Clark County, creating more demand for sprawl development. Obviously, Clark County residents have the right to choose sprawl development if that's what they want, but they don't have the right to force Portlanders to shoulder the traffic burden created by that sprawl development.

    That's where bridge design comes in. The maximum size proposed is 12 lanes, plus bike and rail options. With 12 lanes, there will be no incentive for Clark County commuters to get out of their SOVs and use the bike or rail options, so they will continue to drive, and demand will lead to sprawl, adding more SOVs to the traffic burden placed on Portland. And once they get past the bridge bottlenecks, there will be new bottlenecks on I5 in Portland, and those bottlenecks will place additional burden on Portland streets as SOV drivers seek to use Portland streets to escape the I5 bottlenecks.

    With fewer lanes (somewhere between the existng bridge structure and 10 lanes), coupled with bridge tolls, there will be some incentive for SOV drivers to choose to commute by rail, and that will result in less out-of-state burden on Portland's road infrastructure.

    And here's the thing-- eventually, even 12 lanes will fill to beyond capacity, and that "eventually" will be here sooner rather than later. So "eventually," we'll either have to build even more lanes, or incentivize MAX use by refusing to build more lanes, and charging bridge tolls. For Portland's transportation activists, "eventually" is already here. For Vancouver's tax refugees and SOV commuters, "eventually" is somewhere in the future.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 03-20-09 at 12:19 PM.

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    Speaking of which, what's the problem then if a bridge toll were implemented RIGHT NOW, so that the "massive" crush of vehicles can pay their fair share? It would also discourage to some degree the temptation to live on one side and shop on the other to avoid taxes, and the bridge would perhaps even pay for itself over time.
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
    Boycott Wal-Mart, union-buster.

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    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Here's the deal with Vancouver.

    At their worst, people who move to Vancouver are tax refugees. They choose Vancouver because it is close to the state line. Washington has no state income tax, and Oregon has no sales tax. Thus, Washington relies upon property taxes and sales taxes for its revenue stream, while Oregon relies upon property taxes and income taxes for its revenue stream. Tax refugees play the system by working in Washington (thus enjoying the advantages of paying no state income tax), and shopping in Oregon (thus enjoying the advantages of paying no sales tax). These people are sponges-- they soak up the benefits provided by taxpayers on both sides of the border, but contribute nothing to the revenue stream that produces those benefits.

    .....
    Or, you could EQUALLY say the ones who live in Oregon, and pay the income tax, and go shop in Washington, so that they feel all good and cushy about paying the sales tax, are complete saps. Of course how many do this? NONE.

    Tax evasion is as american as tea parties and apple pie. If it wasn't for the threat of lost sales tax revenues, god knows WHAT sales taxes in Washington would be. If it wasn't for the threat of folks going across the river, god know WHAT income taxes in Oregon would be.

    And we haven't even mentioned property taxes! Arf!

    roughstuff
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
    Tax evasion is as american as tea parties and apple pie.
    Maybe, but those of us who do pay taxes are under no obligation to build roads so these welfare queens can have an easier time of gaming the system.

  19. #19
    biking and fighting!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ngchen View Post
    Speaking of which, what's the problem then if a bridge toll were implemented RIGHT NOW, so that the "massive" crush of vehicles can pay their fair share? It would also discourage to some degree the temptation to live on one side and shop on the other to avoid taxes, and the bridge would perhaps even pay for itself over time.
    Agreed. My understanding was that variable tolling -- depending upon given levels of congestion -- was to be a part of the project: http://www.columbiarivercrossing.org...idgeTolls.aspx

    12 lanes does sound excessive.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriswnw View Post

    So basically, make driving so miserable that people will have little option but to take public transit? I admit that I don't comprehend the enthusiasm for public transit that many bike advocates display. Bicycles are a form of personal transport, and have more in common with cars than with mass transit. Personal transport gets you where you want to go, at the time of your choosing with the company of your choosing. Public transit is a cattle-car that forces you to into a confined space with thugs, obnoxiously loud people, sick people and various creeps and crazy people. It restricts you to a specific route, doesn't take you directly to your destination, and it takes forever to get anywhere. I took public transit for years -- in Portland, where it is highly praised, no less. It sucked, and I'm pretty happy about not relying upon it anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
    Probably the best description of the inadequacies of mass transit i have read in a long time. It is odd that those who are so enamoured of mass transit always resort to "lets make driving cars the most miserable experience in the world!" as the only way to get people onto buses. Nor, do I suspect, that they use mass transit themselves.
    This perception / reality exists because its allowed to. By constantly genuflecting
    to our god, the car, all other forms of transport are only given minimal funding,
    planning, consideration, etc....Does anyone really think if a lot of Sprawlburbaniods
    were forced to take public trans it would remain as undesirable as it is, today ?
    In Sweden for instance, the train stations are incredibly clean and efficient.
    Revolving our whole society around auto transportation wasnt a good idea to begin
    with but now, after a few decades, its clearly proven to be a dangerously outdated
    and costly proposition economically, environmentally and from a quality-of-life
    perspective.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  21. #21
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Maybe, but those of us who do pay taxes are under no obligation to build roads so these welfare queens can have an easier time of gaming the system.
    Right. But the taxes in this case are misplaced. Sales taxes and income taxes have nothing to do with transit and travel, so transit and travel can arbitrage them away (as a finance guy would say).

    The key is to levy a tax specifically related to the activity you are trying to regulate/pay for/discourage etc. Thus a toll for use of the bridge is the most efficient and useful, and it cannot be avoided by those who commute in the way you describe, which is indeed obnoxious. With todays technology there would be no need for toll gates/booths. If we went to GPS based toll systems you could have peak load pricing, which would be even more efficient.


    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
    Right. But the taxes in this case are misplaced. Sales taxes and income taxes have nothing to do with transit and travel, so transit and travel can arbitrage them away (as a finance guy would say).

    The key is to levy a tax specifically related to the activity you are trying to regulate/pay for/discourage etc. Thus a toll for use of the bridge is the most efficient and useful, and it cannot be avoided by those who commute in the way you describe, which is indeed obnoxious. With todays technology there would be no need for toll gates/booths. If we went to GPS based toll systems you could have peak load pricing, which would be even more efficient.


    roughstuff

    As an ELF supporting Greenie, I could get onboard with this....
    Like a Data Plan from an internet provider....You pay for what you use.
    On my car, I pay outragious Florida insurance rates yet I might drive
    it only a few times per year during hurricane season. The insurance
    lobby has successfully kept pay-per-mile insrance companies out of
    here.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  23. #23
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    This perception / reality exists because its allowed to. By constantly genuflecting
    to our god, the car, all other forms of transport are only given minimal funding,
    planning, consideration, etc....Does anyone really think if a lot of Sprawlburbaniods
    were forced to take public trans it would remain as undesirable as it is, today ?
    In Sweden for instance, the train stations are incredibly clean and efficient.
    Revolving our whole society around auto transportation wasnt a good idea to begin
    with but now, after a few decades, its clearly proven to be a dangerously outdated
    and costly proposition economically, environmentally and from a quality-of-life
    perspective.

    OOps I have probably caused some confusion here. My comment was about buses. Electrified light rail has been proven to be the best way to travel intercity ever since the economics was worked out by Barry Commoner in The Closing Circle many decades ago.

    Auto transportation is superior except where the population is very dense and property values very great, aka cities. Even in cities it may be better than public transit, depending on an individuals' preference for privacy, convenience, and willingness to bear the extra cost.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  24. #24
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Yes, Portland is continuing to build light rail and as it does so is phasing out bus lines. Right now there is only bus service across the river to Vancouver, and Washington residents have voted several times against bringing light rail to Clark County. Right now there is also already a light rail line parallel to the freeway that ends on the Oregon side just south of the river.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    Yes, Portland is continuing to build light rail and as it does so is phasing out bus lines. Right now there is only bus service across the river to Vancouver, and Washington residents have voted several times against bringing light rail to Clark County. Right now there is also already a light rail line parallel to the freeway that ends on the Oregon side just south of the river.
    Why people ride their cars into the city really escapes me. When I visit boston next week, I will take my car to Riverside MBTA station (it IS cheaper to drive than take AmTrak from Springfield) and take the venerable Green Line right into the city. No parking to worry about; no traffic and driving around Boston (which I did once a few years ago and hated it.)

    Hopefully the suburban stations will become loci for cluster development, retail establishments in the stations, etc. Some of the rent businesses pay for these facilities should go toward improving rail further so that it becomes a self fulfilling thing.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

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