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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It would be nice if Randal O'Toole could do more than take cheap shots.

It would be nice if Randal O'Toole could do more than take cheap shots. We would have better transit if we had thoughtful criticism of it. Instead, we have thoughtless criticism and uncritical boosterism.

This bit is mostly rhetoric--although he makes a few good points:


  • Trip chaining on transit is misery. 
    • The more kids you have, the more trip-chaining you have to do. 
      • The more time-sensitive 'emergency' trips you have to make.
    • Running errands to arterial strip malls is misery.
    • Getting groceries is tough.  
      • A wheeled shopping basket is really useful. 
      • Bike baskets are great
      • Being able to Uber home is so worth it.
    • Big suburban shopping malls are great to take the train to. 
      • Lots of shopping within a walkable distance.  


  • For less than half a mile, walking is usually faster. 
    • Putting transit stops too close together is stupid. 'Too close' is 400m, which is about 2 Salt Lake City blocks. Personally, I'd prefer 600m (3 blocks) because I think the 600 East and 900 East Trax stations are too close together. But I recognize not everyone is young and healthy. 
  • For any distance shorter than two miles, it's faster to bike. 
    • Weather matters. Rain, snow and ice can all be dealt with, but they do suck. 
    • Bikeway quality matters. I'll bike on anything, but my wife loves the protected bikeways. And with a kid in tow, so do I. 
  • "For most Americans, transit doesn’t serve the complexity of most of their adult lives"
    • Nor does it need to. Transit doesn't have to be for everyone, all the time. 
    • It does offer a chance to cut down the miles that have to be driven, the cars that have to be owned, and the 'trips to fetch' that have to be made. 
      • Living in suburban Sandy, my mom took the train to work downtown for years. Saving (30 miles a day at 50 cents a mile) $15 a day, every day. 
      • My brothers and I took the train to University for years.
      • My wife and I owned two cars, then one car, then no cars.  I estimate that means we have 15% more of our income to spend on other things. 
        • No more sudden thousand dollar bills for car repairs.