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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 10-21-10, 10:57 PM   #1
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A Conservative Case for Public Transit

It's [strike]heartening[/strike] surprising to learn that there is a group of conservative Republicans out there who actually support funding public transit. Here's an interview with the director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation, William Lind, who sees America's dependence on imported oil as a national security issue. He favors rail, as opposed to buses, because he believes those of his ilk will never be willing to sit next to the poor, non-white folks who often ride buses.

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-10...c-transit-but-

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Old 10-22-10, 12:58 AM   #2
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It's heartening to learn that there is a group of conservative Republicans out there who actually support funding public transit. Here's an interview with the director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation, William Lind, who sees America's dependence on imported oil as a national security issue. He favors rail, as opposed to buses, because he believes those of his ilk will never be willing to sit next to the poor, non-white folks who often ride buses.

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-10...c-transit-but-
I wonder if it could be that light rail is also smoother, has a right of way, is not restricted by traffic and tend to be nicer for commuters, at least the ones we have here. The last one I was on had a table and WiFi connection and took far less time to get to LA than a Bus no matter what color people were riding on it.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:32 AM   #3
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He favors rail, as opposed to buses, because he believes those of his ilk will never be willing to sit next to the poor, non-white folks who often ride buses.
I think his point has some validity to it....uncomfortable as it is to admit. However, being afraid of black men isn't the only reason why some people avoid the bus. Usually the bus is just slow....maddeningly ****ing slow. We have buses around here, but I refuse to use it. I can almost walk faster than the bus and certainly can bike faster than the bus. Rail, of course, is much faster and I use it all the time.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:06 PM   #4
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Rail is incredibly expensive. The city of Sao Paulo in Brazil has the right idea: make buses more like trains. In other words, have dedicated lanes and traffic lights and issue the bus ticket outside of the bus rather than taking fares while boarding. I agree with mihlbach - buses are just way too slow. At least they way they are usually operated.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:18 PM   #5
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If you're talking about shipping rich folks from the suburbs to jobs in the city financial centers, then trains are probably the best way to go. Of course they'll be driving their cars to the train station and cabbing in the city, so I'm not sure you'll save much foreign oil.

But the main reason that right wingers should support public transit is that the right is pro-business, and buses and light rail are very good for business.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:28 PM   #6
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But the main reason that right wingers should support public transit is that the right is pro-business, and buses and light rail are very good for business.
Not to mention, that until the past few decades, railroads were very good businesses, as 19th century tycoons could attest. If the government will build the infrastructure, the big businesses will be happy to monopolize it.
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Old 10-22-10, 04:30 PM   #7
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If Paul Weyrich endorses some form of public transit, that is a sea change. You'd never know it by how they have treated Amtrak all these years. A good sign . We can only hope , because it is a national security issue. Look to Los Angeles after the Northridge Earthquake. Luckily the trains fared OK.. If not for those lite speed rail lines, thousands of people would not have made to work for months. The Red line was standing room only for weeks on end..


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Old 10-22-10, 10:21 PM   #8
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I think his point has some validity to it....uncomfortable as it is to admit. However, being afraid of black men isn't the only reason why some people avoid the bus.
I think he has a point too but there are so many exceptions.

For example, he supports subways but this kind of rail is use predominantly by blacks, Hispanics and minorities! In fact, depending on the city, light rail is also used by minorities in large numbers too! It makes me wonder if Mr. Lind ever rode public transit other than those in his town? If the truth be told, Lind only supports public transit if it excludes black males.

He stated that whites will not ride public transit buses in cities and I believe this is mostly true. This is why many of these conservatives want to defund city bus service and focus on commuter rail. Did anyone notice how the governor in California defunded the public transit system but was all for the high speed rail project?

However, all this talk about conservatives supporting rail is a joke! This man is one in a million and if you're watching what real conservatives are doing, they are defunding public transit billions of dollars across the nation. We are watching cities balance their budget by cutting both rail and bus service in almost every state! I have never seen such defunding of public transit on such a large scale. Ever.

In New Jersey, our governor recently cut a project to build a new tunnel under the Hudson. We lost BILLIONS of dollars in government funds and thousands of jobs because the conservative attitude today is cut pubic transit while keeping the funding for highways at an all time high.

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Old 10-22-10, 11:02 PM   #9
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I think he has a point too but there are so many exceptions.

For example, he supports subways but this kind of rail is use predominantly by blacks, Hispanics and minorities! In fact, depending on the city, light rail is also used by minorities in large numbers too! It makes me wonder if Mr. Lind ever rode public transit other than those in his town? If the truth be told, Lind only supports public transit if it excludes black males.

He stated that whites will not ride public transit buses in cities and I believe this is mostly true. This is why many of these conservatives want to defund city bus service and focus on commuter rail. Did anyone notice how the governor in California defunded the public transit system but was all for the high speed rail project?

However, all this talk about conservatives supporting rail is a joke! This man is one in a million and if you're watching what real conservatives are doing, they are defunding public transit billions of dollars across the nation. We are watching cities balance their budget by cutting both rail and bus service in almost every state! I have never seen such defunding of public transit on such a large scale. Ever.

In New Jersey, our governor recently cut a project to build a new tunnel under the Hudson. We lost BILLIONS of dollars in government funds and thousands of jobs because the conservative attitude today is cut pubic transit while keeping the funding for highways at an all time high.
It seems as if we are allowed a political bent to this post.
I was under the impression the power and the votes necessary to fund or defund anything in this country was in the hands of the liberals. Am I wrong or don't they hold the majority in both houses and the executive branch? In my state they are in control as well. So if they, the liberals, have the votes and the power to pass pretty much whatever they want how can the minority conservatives be responsible for forcing the majority in power to cut funding against their will? And yes I know the conservatives tend to dislike public transportation funding. Still in most cases they donít tend to have the power right now to stop much of any funding on their own.
Never mind there is no answer because they are both just two different sides of the same coin. Sorry I rose to the bait.
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Old 10-23-10, 05:58 AM   #10
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It seems as if we are allowed a political bent to this post.
I was under the impression the power and the votes necessary to fund or defund anything in this country was in the hands of the liberals. Am I wrong or don't they hold the majority in both houses and the executive branch? In my state they are in control as well. So if they, the liberals, have the votes and the power to pass pretty much whatever they want how can the minority conservatives be responsible for forcing the majority in power to cut funding against their will? And yes I know the conservatives tend to dislike public transportation funding. Still in most cases they don’t tend to have the power right now to stop much of any funding on their own.
Never mind there is no answer because they are both just two different sides of the same coin. Sorry I rose to the bait.
You are correct and there are some liberals who will side with the conservatives and vote against public transit. However, you cannot ignore the fact that it does not take a supermajority to block funding on these rail projects. For example, the governor of NJ was able to block funding for the new rail tunnel into New York City which took years to put together. He did not have to bring this up for a vote at all and simply defunded the program.

There are other reasons why conservatives are against rail and bus service. Once established, these transit systems form unions which fight against the conservative agenda.
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Old 10-23-10, 06:08 AM   #11
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I suppose it's a good idea that people like Lind see blanket support of fossil fuels industries as a dead end.

The bad side is that now, coming to a train station near you, will be people like William Lind.

Maybe in the future, the world will divide into a bus/train dichotomy.
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Old 10-23-10, 06:48 AM   #12
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I was under the impression the power and the votes necessary to fund or defund anything in this country was in the hands of the liberals.
It's not difficult for the Republicans to defeat or water down legislation by joining forces with conservative Blue Dog Democrats. You know that, Robert.
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Old 10-23-10, 09:11 AM   #13
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It seems as if we are allowed a political bent to this post.

Well, so far, it's actually been civil, and no ranting or reason to move it. It's topical, ie, Mass Transit, which would have application in living car free. As long as you guys keep it from degenerating into a P&R style bashfest, I see no reason the conversation can't continue right in here.
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Old 10-23-10, 01:17 PM   #14
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Well, so far, it's actually been civil, and no ranting or reason to move it. It's topical, ie, Mass Transit, which would have application in living car free. As long as you guys keep it from degenerating into a P&R style bashfest, I see no reason the conversation can't continue right in here.
Well with that admonition in mind I will continue.

It is hard for me to believe that the liberal majority today is powerless against the minority and that they can walk away from the state of mass transit with clean hands. TheĒ it is not our fault we were just following orders didnít work for the Germans and it shouldnít work for the party in power today. However I do see the excuse as endemic or our attitude today that nothing is our fault it is the other guy. I can understand someone that disagrees with me or the things I believe in voting against those things. I cannot understand excusing a group that professes the things I believe in and even promoting them when getting elected voting against them nor will I give them a pass when they do.

I also canít believe someone can drop the race card on a transportation choice between light rail and buses. My sister drove busses for OCRTD-RTA for 25 years and I have had an opportunity to compare bus travel with light rail and hands down light rail is smoother and easier on the routes where it is available. It carries more people and is cleaner as well. None of those characteristics preclude any race, creed, or political belief from using a light rail so why it would be a racial preference is beyond me.
When a conservative decides they can embrace light rail my first inclination is not to see it as an evil plot against busses and people of different races. I see it as an improvement against the budget cutting direction our liberal and conservative politicians have joined hands on.
It will take a lot more than putting on a Republican or Democrat shirt to convince me you are for or against public transportation. Both groups are responsible for the condition of public transportation in our country today.
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Old 10-23-10, 02:08 PM   #15
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It will take a lot more than putting on a Republican or Democrat shirt to convince me you are for or against public transportation. Both groups are responsible for the condition of public transportation in our country today.
I'll take the Republicans on their word. GOP candidates for governor in some of the states that have won the biggest stimulus rail awards from the Obama administration oppose high-speed rail and are threatening to derail it if elected.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/us/05rail.html?_r=2

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=7510
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Old 10-23-10, 03:25 PM   #16
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I'll take the Republicans on their word. GOP candidates for governor in some of the states that have won the biggest stimulus rail awards from the Obama administration oppose high-speed rail and are threatening to derail it if elected.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/us/05rail.html?_r=2

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=7510
Good for you, and I take the democrats on their actions. Two years in total and complete power and still mass transit is both underfunded and in some cases reduced funded while they have been in power. As it is said, actions speak louder than words. They had a super majority and a president that would sign whatever they passed.
Also I still see no connection to rail verses bus and race in either case. why would one be different than another? Is it just because a conservative endorses it? If the evil conservatives have to power to stop the good liberals from doing all the good they wish isnít the support from those doing the stopping a green light to the doing good people?

If we are so blinded as to suppose that both groups are not guilty of the same crimes against mass transit then we are doomed to continue with no real mass transit reform or support. Remember NAFTA was passed and jobs were sent out of the country, and the big corporations were given a tax break for doing so by a liberal administration and one that is in total support of the administration we have now. what has changed? So if you take conservatives at their word do you hold liberals to their word as well? If they say it and donít do it are you saying it is OK they had good intentions?

I wouldnít care who supported light rail or recommended it as long as something was done to get it going. I am sure not going to oppose it because the ďpartyĒ doesnít like who supports it. I donít ascribe to the idea that my devils are more trustworthy than your devils. To me they are both devils and should be treated as such. If the liberals had a chance with a super majority to change things and they didnít do it then they are just like the conservatives who didnít want the change in the first place, only impotent.
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Old 10-23-10, 04:15 PM   #17
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Good for you, and I take the democrats on their actions. Two years in total and complete power and still mass transit is both underfunded and in some cases reduced funded while they have been in power. As it is said, actions speak louder than words. They had a super majority and a president that would sign whatever they passed.
Also I still see no connection to rail verses bus and race in either case. why would one be different than another? Is it just because a conservative endorses it? If the evil conservatives have to power to stop the good liberals from doing all the good they wish isn’t the support from those doing the stopping a green light to the doing good people?

If we are so blinded as to suppose that both groups are not guilty of the same crimes against mass transit then we are doomed to continue with no real mass transit reform or support. Remember NAFTA was passed and jobs were sent out of the country, and the big corporations were given a tax break for doing so by a liberal administration and one that is in total support of the administration we have now. what has changed? So if you take conservatives at their word do you hold liberals to their word as well? If they say it and don’t do it are you saying it is OK they had good intentions?

I wouldn’t care who supported light rail or recommended it as long as something was done to get it going. I am sure not going to oppose it because the “party” doesn’t like who supports it. I don’t ascribe to the idea that my devils are more trustworthy than your devils. To me they are both devils and should be treated as such. If the liberals had a chance with a super majority to change things and they didn’t do it then they are just like the conservatives who didn’t want the change in the first place, only impotent.
Republican senators have blocked transportation funding and especially infrastructure spending precisely because it did include greatly increased transit spending. And of course they've blocked all carbon pricing efforts, which would probably encourage private spending in rail.
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Old 10-23-10, 04:16 PM   #18
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Well, so far, it's actually been civil, and no ranting or reason to move it. It's topical, ie, Mass Transit, which would have application in living car free. As long as you guys keep it from degenerating into a P&R style bashfest, I see no reason the conversation can't continue right in here.
We just had a 99 % civil discussion of bicycle helmets, so we're feeling pretty confident!
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Old 10-23-10, 04:21 PM   #19
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Republican senators have blocked transportation funding and especially infrastructure spending precisely because it did include greatly increased transit spending. And of course they've blocked all carbon pricing efforts, which would probably encourage private spending in rail.
It is one thing to oppose and block, it is another to say you support and even with a super majority not pass. One may be a conviction I don't agree with. The other is a failure to follow a conviction you profess. Which one becomes the LIE?
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Old 10-23-10, 06:09 PM   #20
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I subscribe to Trains Magazine they have excellent articles on Amtrak as well as the light rail, heavy commuter and of course freight.

They had an article on Amtrak a couple of months back that was really interesting; apparently Amtrak was set up to fail, how many "businesses" have to go to congress every year for funding and have to make their plan based on not knowing what their subsidy will be from year to year? But Amtrak has manage to beat at least some odds, the NE corridor with the Acela Express has done very well. Another sector has been the Amtrak/California state combine, it is amazing the level of service they have been able to provide with the funding they have.

FWIW I am a huge fan of public transit and use it whenever and wherever I go, I do agree that many bus services leave a lot to be desired, they seem to be almost operated grudgingly just to prove that the local government isn't really trying to shut out the lower income level people from getting around.

America is going to receive one helluva wake up call pretty soon, oil is going to spike, incomes are going to drop and we have a huge bubble in the population that is going to age to the point where driving is going to become dangerous as they age. We need to be preparing for it, not cutting back.

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Old 10-23-10, 07:07 PM   #21
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I subscribe to Trains Magazine they have excellent articles on Amtrak as well as the light rail, heavy commuter and of course freight.

They had an article on Amtrak a couple of months back that was really interesting; apparently Amtrak was set up to fail, how many "businesses" have to go to congress every year for funding and have to make their plan based on not knowing what their subsidy will be from year to year?
The talk during the begining was that Amrtrak would have to pay it's way without the government subsidy after several years. I highly doubt anyone involved in rail transport believed this was possible and put that in to get it passed. The democrates will say that it was set up to fail but rail transport does not earn enough to pay the cost of capital. I don't believe anyone knowledgable really believed there is a plan to ever make Amtrak self sufficient because it's not possible without raising the price of the fare box by 300-700% or more!

Having said that, I don't see why Amtrak should have to make a profit? Does anyone know of any rail road that does not live off a government subsidy other than some amusment park roller coaster?
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Old 10-23-10, 09:12 PM   #22
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I subscribe to Trains Magazine they have excellent articles on Amtrak as well as the light rail, heavy commuter and of course freight.

They had an article on Amtrak a couple of months back that was really interesting; apparently Amtrak was set up to fail, how many "businesses" have to go to congress every year for funding and have to make their plan based on not knowing what their subsidy will be from year to year? But Amtrak has manage to beat at least some odds, the NE corridor with the Acela Express has done very well. Another sector has been the Amtrak/California state combine, it is amazing the level of service they have been able to provide with the funding they have.

FWIW I am a huge fan of public transit and use it whenever and wherever I go, I do agree that many bus services leave a lot to be desired, they seem to be almost operated grudgingly just to prove that the local government isn't really trying to shut out the lower income level people from getting around.

America is going to receive one helluva wake up call pretty soon, oil is going to spike, incomes are going to drop and we have a huge bubble in the population that is going to age to the point where driving is going to become dangerous as they age. We need to be preparing for it, not cutting back.

Aaron
Did you ever think we would agree on this issue? I believe AM-track is a great start as are things like Metro-rail. We need a plan that connects our whole country and can be an alternative to air travel and yes car travel. Bikes are never going to meet the needs of a nation the size of this one when it comes to shipping and travel and business.
It doesn’t matter what your political bent rail would be a better solution both inter and intra state and subways and mono rails can move more people for less money using less fuel and creating less of a carbon foot print. And I do believe all races would benefit.
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Old 10-24-10, 04:42 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Did you ever think we would agree on this issue? I believe AM-track is a great start as are things like Metro-rail. We need a plan that connects our whole country and can be an alternative to air travel and yes car travel. Bikes are never going to meet the needs of a nation the size of this one when it comes to shipping and travel and business.
It doesn’t matter what your political bent rail would be a better solution both inter and intra state and subways and mono rails can move more people for less money using less fuel and creating less of a carbon foot print. And I do believe all races would benefit.
Personally I think there should be some way to reduce truck traffic to where no truck has to travel more than ~500 miles. Move freight by rail, move more freight by rail use trucks for local delivery only. Then instead of the heavy subsidies for auto and air travel, subsidize trains. This country would benefit in so many ways from a dedicated passenger rail system, reduced pollution, reduced deaths by automobile "accidents", reduced congestion resulting in better productivity.

We are making some progress, but probably not enough and not fast enough. I find it interesting that most if not all major European airports are served by rail service, in the US is it only a few. I know that I can fly into Philly and get to and from the Amtrak station via the Metro, ditto Boston and Minneapolis/St Pauls. Denver is served by bus service but light rail is coming. Atlanta is another. The service in some cases is spotty Atlanta and Boston come to mind, but it is a start.

Unfortunately it is going to take a societal mind shift away from the personal automobile for much to change, and some areas will never make the transition. Also with current special interest groups like the trucking lobby, the oil lobby and the auto lobby controlling the votes that hold the purse strings it is going to be a long uphill battle.

Aaron
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Old 10-26-10, 05:44 PM   #24
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Personally I think there should be some way to reduce truck traffic to where no truck has to travel more than ~500 miles. Move freight by rail, move more freight by rail use trucks for local delivery only. Then instead of the heavy subsidies for auto and air travel, subsidize trains. This country would benefit in so many ways from a dedicated passenger rail system, reduced pollution, reduced deaths by automobile "accidents", reduced congestion resulting in better productivity.

We are making some progress, but probably not enough and not fast enough. I find it interesting that most if not all major European airports are served by rail service, in the US is it only a few. I know that I can fly into Philly and get to and from the Amtrak station via the Metro, ditto Boston and Minneapolis/St Pauls. Denver is served by bus service but light rail is coming. Atlanta is another. The service in some cases is spotty Atlanta and Boston come to mind, but it is a start.

Unfortunately it is going to take a societal mind shift away from the personal automobile for much to change, and some areas will never make the transition. Also with current special interest groups like the trucking lobby, the oil lobby and the auto lobby controlling the votes that hold the purse strings it is going to be a long uphill battle.

Aaron
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Personally I think there should be some way to reduce truck traffic to where no truck has to travel more than ~500 miles. Move freight by rail, move more freight by rail use trucks for local delivery only. Then instead of the heavy subsidies for auto and air travel, subsidize trains. This country would benefit in so many ways from a dedicated passenger rail system, reduced pollution, reduced deaths by automobile "accidents", reduced congestion resulting in better productivity.

We are making some progress, but probably not enough and not fast enough. I find it interesting that most if not all major European airports are served by rail service, in the US is it only a few. I know that I can fly into Philly and get to and from the Amtrak station via the Metro, ditto Boston and Minneapolis/St Pauls. Denver is served by bus service but light rail is coming. Atlanta is another. The service in some cases is spotty Atlanta and Boston come to mind, but it is a start.

Unfortunately it is going to take a societal mind shift away from the personal automobile for much to change, and some areas will never make the transition. Also with current special interest groups like the trucking lobby, the oil lobby and the auto lobby controlling the votes that hold the purse strings it is going to be a long uphill battle.

Aaron
I have seen this work while living in China. However, I do not think our current society is willing to trade oil-used for time-wasted yet. Just watch the way freight and people move in a rail centric society. JIT isn't (it never really worked; but, that is a different issue). Tye whole idea of a business having its facilities, and workers, spread out over hundreds of miles can not work. It is not just one thing, it is an entirely different attitude toward efficiency.

Yes, I want to see less reliance on automobiles. The train is a great way of reducing that dependence. One simple way would be to allow bicycles on all routes and stops. As it is, when I go to the VA clinic(apx. 105 miles) I have to ride my motorcycle. I would use the train if I were able to ride my bicycle from the train stop in the town from the clinic to the VA clinic. However, becauer both the town near me whit a stop, and the town with the clinic are rural stops I can not take a bicycle (and no, I am not going to buy a folding bicycle for this single use, and the ones I can afford are painful to ride, I have tried them. In addition, there are not guaranteed to be allowed on the train; so if I were to buy one I would need to be willing to walk away from it. That necessitates a cheap one).

In addition, there should be better linkage from the train to other forms of transit. As an example, there is no direct way to get from Amtrak to SFO.

I will point out that there is room for a computer program that I have never seen completed. A unified transit planner. With this planner a person should be able to enter where they are and where they want to be. The planner would then give them suggested transit routes. To be successful, this planner would need to incorporate all public transit route databases. If people were able to plan on using public transit they would be more likely to use it.
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Old 10-26-10, 06:34 PM   #25
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I will point out that there is room for a computer program that I have never seen completed. A unified transit planner. With this planner a person should be able to enter where they are and where they want to be. The planner would then give them suggested transit routes. To be successful, this planner would need to incorporate all public transit route databases. If people were able to plan on using public transit they would be more likely to use it.
I think this type of program is very close. Google maps already will give directions for walking, bicycling, and public transit in addition to car directions. I don't theink they have linked different travel modes together yet.
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