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But Public Transport will totally solve congestion... [Sep. 16th, 2008|12:03 pm]
Too funny that Kudrasslipper had a bad public transport story today, since I came in determined to purge this rant from my system.

It's always used as the answer to congestion and traffic. If only people would use more public transport. Or, we can add another 5,000 housing units to a small section of Rockville Pike because it's within walking distance to Metro and bus stops and all of those people will use public transport.

For starters, they're luxury condos, which means that every unit will own 2.5 cars. And they will drive them. Maybe not all of them every day to work. But a lot of them. Out shopping, running errands, going out at night....

First there is the "Great Unwashed" or "Over-perfumed" or "Took advantage of every smoking break and got in half a pack while I was waiting for the bus". Sorry, but add the stop and go motion of the bus, plus the never air-conditioned enough, or at all, atmosphere of a bus and I'm going to add vomit to the overall atmosphere. And those people who just bought $500,000 condominiums. Most of them are not going to rest their Brooks Brother's Asses on a bus seat. Not when they've got that nifty Aston-Martin in the garage.

There's the waiting. People who pay half a million dollars for a fancy apartment aren't going to stand outside, huddled in a bus shelter, waiting 10-20 minutes for their bus to show up. They're either too entitled and priveleged or, well, they didn't make the kind of money that buys a half million dollar condo by standing around waiting for it to show up.

And there's the carrying your stuff. Used to be you got a piece of meat, some veggies, a loaf of bread, maybe a carton of milk when you went grocery shopping during the week. You did the big shopping once a month and took the car to get the bulky stuff. Well, yes, and June used to pack a lunch for the Beave everyday, but times have changed. I'll walk down to the store now, thinking I'll just get a suitcase of Dew, head of lettuce and an avocado. But then I get there and the Dew is "Buy Two, Get Two Free". It then makes me crazy that I have to pay essentially double because, brute that I am, I can't lug four cases (plus the veg) a half a mile anymore. Okay, I could...but it would HURT. Back and forth to work, okay -- but running your errands via public transport? Tell me you don't feel sorry for those people who have to do it that way.

And then there's the parking. My closest metro station was usually full by 7am. So, I had to drive farther away from the city, then head back in...which is not very green or very convenient. Sure I could have taken a bus to the station. So, let's see, hike six blocks to the bus stop. Wait ten minutes. Take an eight minute bus ride to the station. Into the bowels of the station, wait ten minutes for the train. 45 minute metro ride. Walk six blocks to work. Two hours minimum. To go....16 miles! Augh!

And of course, everywhere I want to go, is terribly NOT on the beaten path. I live at one end of a metro line. I work at the exact opposite. I would have to take the train all the way downtown and then back out. Hey, an hour and a half. And then take a shuttle bus to work. Or just drive 25 minutes straight to work and have my car to run errands, etc., during lunch hour. No contest. Purple line? Again, with the waiting for the bus to take me to the light rail which will take me to the metro, which will take me to the shuttle bus....you guys know how patient I am....

Anyway -- you need a serious spiderweb of public transport and a nicely developed downtown to even come close. In the meantime, quit yer building!

This rant brought to you by MARC commuter trains, running again late this morning, as they do at least once a week, stranding the Captain somewhere and screwing up plans/appointments, getting into work on time...

[User Picture]From: sestree
2008-09-16 04:41 pm (UTC)
I run into this a lot. I would LOVE to take public transit. Fer goodness sakes I live right on a metrobus line.

...but it don't go north. Baltimore busses don't go south - not enough anyway.

For me to attempt to take mass transit to work I'd have to leave around 6 a.m. to get in between 9:15 and 9:30 providing no connections are missed. If there are add an extra 2 hours.

I don't live in a good area and it shows - people are waiting for the metrobus at nearly all hours. They're the smart ones - they don't work north.
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From: kudrasslipper
2008-09-16 06:16 pm (UTC)

I did "my time"

I consider it sort of a rite of passage. A young, optimistic youth moves to the big city, vows to live without a car and use the robust (in smell at least) public transport. I did it. For 5 years, my commute was at least an hour and a half door to door, no matter where I lived or worked. I bused, I biked, I metro-ed, I walked... but when I finally got a car, I considered my previous 5 years my "time served."

So maybe an age limit? No one under 30 can drive on weekdays? hmmm.......
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[User Picture]From: regineaubergine
2008-09-16 08:22 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the lift

Thanks for the lift to Metro this morning when the MARC train was late again (with no announcements at all!!). At least they accepted our MARC tickets on the Metro so we didn't have to pay. For me, public transit works most of the time; walk a few blocks to MARC train and then catch a free bus at Union Station or get in my mile of walking and I'm there. Driving in actually took longer the few times I had to do it. Of course it works because I'm following the expected commuter flow. If your not then it's a lot tougher to make it work.
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[User Picture]From: queenmaggie
2008-09-16 09:21 pm (UTC)
When I lived in Boston and NYC, I had no need for a car. In fact, I couldn't imagine being able to afford one, then. The problem is that mass transit only works with in define limits, and people don't see that the spread has been so influenced by the car culture that we cannot go back to an exclusively transit oriented format (like many European cities) simply because we've got too many people flung too far. But we could have a much better system than we've got now, that would wrk for those who commute within a reasonable distance.
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[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2008-09-16 09:46 pm (UTC)
How can I not have an economist icon? Oh well, I suppose the crazy chicken will do.

This entire subject drives me nuts. Every aspect of the decision of what mode of transport to use is a balancing of costs and benefits of competing options. Time, convenience, flexibility, safety, and a dozen other intangibles are just as important as the relative prices of gas, parking, and bus tickets. And its quite plain that for the vast majority of people, automobiles are preferable to mass transit *unless* the commute time or price of parking are massively punitive or mass transit is miraculously convenient.

So the new urbanists attempt to move the consumer in the direction *they* know is right by making everyone feel guilty about driving and making driving artifically costly. Yeah, I wish I didn't either have to drive or pray for a parking spot in one of the crappiest, most dangerous Metro lots on the lovely Green line every time I have to go downtown. I also wish I had a herd of flying unicorns and that my dogs farted gold coins.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-09-17 12:12 pm (UTC)
YOUR dogs don't fart gold coins?

Dude, so sorry.....

Every time I see that icon, I think I MUST dig out my rooster picture, sadly from the pre-digital era, so in addition to needing to find it, I'll then have to wrestle with technology....or whimper and make a friend do it. He wasn't crazy, but he was giving me the hairy eyeball....
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