Monday, January 17, 2011

Ticket to Ride

JMD @ Transit Utah had a fine idea, of listing all the transit systems he has ridden. So I thought I'd do the same.  I'll use his list as a starting point. I've added a few. Bold indicates systems I've ridden. 

Heavy Rail:

  1. San Francisco Bay Area - BART (Most recently 2007)
  2. Washington DC - Metro (2007 & 2009)
  3. New York- Subway (Many times, 1994-2009)
  4. Los Angeles - Metro Rail 
  5. Miami - MetroRail 
  6. Atlanta - Marta (2010)
  7. Boston - "T" (2010)
  8. Chicago - "L" (2010)
  9. Baltimore - Metro Subway
  10. Philadelphia - SEPTA 
  11. Philadelphia - PATCO 
  12. New York/New Jersey - PATH
Light Rail Lines
  1. San Francisco - Muni (2007)
  2. San Diego - Trolley
  3. Portland - MAX (Expo 2000, Airport Line 2007)
  4. Salt Lake City - TRAX (2002-2010)
  5. Denver - The Ride 
  6. Seattle - Central Line 
  7. Pittsburgh - "T" 
  8. Boston- "T" (2009)
  9. Dallas - DART
  10. Baltimore - Light Rail
  11. Philadelphia - Light Rail
  12. Camden - River Line 
  13. Newark - NJ Transit
  14. San Jose - VTA
  15. Minneapolis - Light Rail
  16. Charlotte - Lynx
  17. Jersey City - Hudson/Bergen Line
  18. Oceanside - Sprinter 
  19. Buffalo - Metrorail 
  20. Cleveland - Light Rail
  21. Houston - MetroRail 
  22. Phoenix - Valley Metro (2009)
  23. St. Louis - Metrolink
  24. Norfolk - Tide
Commuter Rail:
  1. San Francisco - Caltrain
  2. Los Angeles - Metrolink 
  3. Miami - Tri-Rail 
  4. Salt Lake City - Front Runner (2008)
  5. Portland - WES 
  6. Washington DC - MARC 
  7. Dallas - Trinity Railway Express 
  8. Chicago - Metra 
  9. Philadelphia - SEPTA 
  10. Washington DC - VRE
  11. New Jersey - New Jersey Transit
  12. San Jose - ACE 
  13. Nashville - Music City Star
  14. New York - Metro North 
  15. New York - Long Island Railroad (2005, 2007, 2009)
  16. New Haven - Shore Line East
  17. Boston - MBTA
  18. San Diego - Coaster
  19. Seattle - Sounder 
  20. Chicago - South Shore
  21. Austin - Capital Metro
  22. Minneapolis - North Star
  23. Albuquerque - Railrunner
  24. Dallas - A Train 
  1. Seattle - Seattle Monorail
  2. Las Vegas - Monorail (2007)
  3. Miami - Metromover (2007) 
  4. New York - JFK Airtrain (2007)
  5. Morgantown - WVU PRT 
  6. Detroit - People mover 
  7. Las Colinas (Dallas) - PRT 
  8. Jacksonville - Skyway 
  9. Newark - Airtrain
  1. San Francisco - Cable Cars (2000, 2007)
  2. Portland - Portland Streetcar (2007)
  3. Tacoma - Link 
  4. Seattle - Seattle Streetcar
  5. Dallas - McKinney Ave Trolley heritage line
  6. San Francisco - F Line
  7. Charlotte - Charlotte Trolley heritage line
  8. Kenosha - Kenosha Streetcar heritage line
  9. Little Rock - River Rail Streetcar heritage line
  10. Memphis - MATA Trolley heritage line
  11. New Orleans - original streetcars 
  12. Philadelphia - Girard Line original 
  13. Savannah - River Street Streetcar original
  14. Tampa - TECO heritage line
  15. Tucson Trolley (2009)
Bus Rapid Transit
  1. Boston 'Silver Line' (2010)
  2. UTA MAX (2011)
Bus Systems
  1. Los Angeles - RTD/Metro
  2. San Francisco - San Francisco Muni
  3. Spokane - Spokane Transit Authority
  4. Salt Lake City - Utah Transit Authority
  5. Seattle - King County Metro and Sound Transit
  6. Portland - Tri-Met
Long way to go to ride them all. But there have been a number of cities I've visited, where the system seemed too similar to what I already knew to bother ride. Denver and Baltimore LRT systems being notable examples. But there are a fair number of cities I've visited that I didn't get a chance to explore the transit system.

Where I've been: Salt Lake City, New York City, San Francisco, Portland, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Paris, Amsterdam, Monaco, Nice, Rome, Seattle, Los Angeles, DC, San Diego, Albuquerque, Tucson, Yuma, Denver, Vegas suburbs, Baltimore, DC suburbs, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago.... 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mode Share

As American Community Survey 5 year estimates become available, I'm starting to see more and more posts like this one, discussing the changes in mode share. The pattern seems pretty consistent: Carpooling is down, but bike usage is significantly up. On one level, it's frustrating--I think many transit advocates were expecting to see a surge in transit use. After all, substantial amounts of transit infrastructure has been built in the last ten years. Transit systems that didn't even exist in 2000 (SLC, Denver, Houston) are now well developed. I expect anti-transit partisans will harp on this. But all is not grim--single occupancy cars LOST market share, despite the fact that they are still receiving the vast majority of Federal Funding. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Compliments of Steve Berg

Great blog post from Net Density today. Specifically:

Urbanists are accused of wanting to take away people’s cars and force them to live in tight quarters, but that’s absurd. Urban-style living isn’t for everyone. People should live where and how they want. What urbanists do favor, however, is a system of rules and prices that fairly reflect the costs of people’s decisions. Those who prefer to drive long distances and occupy large footprints should pay a fair cost. Those who choose smaller footprints shouldn’t be penalized by cumbersome rules or burdened by price systems that continue to reward inefficiency and heighten risks to the environment and to national security.
These don’t seem like elitist or radical positions to me. They seem reasonable and downright conservative, even patriotic. They pose no threat to personal liberty so far as I can see. Most important, they are proactive. I’d rather anticipate the future than try to recapture a past that’s already behind us.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I've spent a strange amount of time talking with the homeless. Partially as a result of so much time spent walking around various cities, and partially because I was willing to hold a civil conversation. But mostly, I am forced to believe, because I didn't look like I had any money. What I wore was thrifted, worn, slept in, and stained. But I had some great conversations. But when I got an office job, that changed. There was a lot less mutual civility, and the panhandling was a lot more aggressive. I was less a person and more of an ATM.

Homelessness makes most people uncomfortable, for both reasons of wretchedness and panhandling. Its easy to wish they would just disappear and stop bothering us. But I think we do most of the long-term homeless a real disservice. There are some that live reasonably decent lives, on combinations of grifting, begging, charity, and working. And there are some that are a wretched mess. Our experience with the former makes us try to banish the latter.

I've become a big believer in the 'housing first' strategy to end homelessness. Talking to service providers, I've come to realize that the vast majority of the homeless population are temporarily homeless. A couple of months here and there, getting a new job, money for a deposit on an apartment, whatever. But you've got a hard-core who are homeless for years, if not decades. From what I've read, that hard-core consumes 80% of the system resources, in outreach, medical treatment, police complaints, counseling, etc.

Housing can be done cheaply and easily. Land price chews up about 20% of the value, and half of that space is typically used for parking. Eliminate that, and you can build at some pretty high densities, even with three-story walk-up apartments. Windows and natural light should be mandatory, of course.

Of course, excessive concentration should be avoided. Just because you can build at high densities doesn't mean you should build a whole lot at high densities. The rule of thumb I've heard is that no more then five percent should be subsidized, or else the price of market rate units will be affected. The structure itself can be done pretty cheaply. Appliances would be a great place to cut costs. I live in an apartment. It's not a great apartment, but it has a stove with range, micro-wave, and dishwasher. All in all, a lot of expensive alliances. But you can eat pretty well with a two-burner hotplate and a microwave. I'll call a full-sized refrigerator a waste as well. I certainly don't use more than a fraction of mine.

Beyond that, I'll leave it up to the architects.