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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

ShysterBall: Calcaterra: Great Moments in Mass Transportation

(pant) I’m late on (huff) this. I just got (groan) back (splat)...

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a story about how few people ride the light rail line from downtown to the airport each day:

  It’s cheap, reliable and fast. But the RTA rapid that whisks riders from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to downtown in 20 minutes—for $2—has an identity problem. Airport employees and those who arrive for conventions love it. Vacation and business travelers generally spurn it in favor of cars or taxis . . . Currently, Cleveland’s airport line attracts only about 300 riders a day.

However:

  The rapid helped lure the Society of American Baseball Research convention to Cleveland last July. Many of the hundreds who arrived by air took the rapid to their downtown hotel, said Susan Petrone, director of communications for SABR.

I was at SABR, and I remember that Repoz from BTF and I left the hotel at about the same time, me in my car for the 135 mile trip back to Columbus, him to the RTA station to hop the train to the airport. I think I sat down at my desk at work the next morning as the train finally came by to pick him up.

Thanks to Bob Transit.

 

 

Repoz Posted: December 02, 2008 at 02:24 PM | 96 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball geeks, indians, online

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   1. Gamingboy Posted: December 02, 2008 at 03:22 PM (#3018641)
I didn't even know Cleveland had public transportation... and I was there last summer for a Indians game! So, yeah, I think it is safe to say it has a "identity problem"
   2. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: December 02, 2008 at 04:02 PM (#3018693)
"The Rapid" is a stupid name. That's probably why it's failing.
   3. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 02, 2008 at 04:10 PM (#3018709)
Chicago's Blue Line (that runs all the way to O'Hare) is really successful. I see people with luggage on it all the time. It's $2, as opposed to the $25-$30 a cab would cost. People ride the BART to San Francisco airport all the time, too.

If Cleveland's line isn't successful, they're doing something wrong.
   4. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: December 02, 2008 at 04:27 PM (#3018729)
It's failing because it goes to two places: East Cleveland and the airport. People don't go to the airport all that much and nobody ever goes to East Cleveland. Unless they want to buy crack. Or get shot. Or buy crack and get shot.
   5. WillYoung Posted: December 02, 2008 at 04:36 PM (#3018739)
It was also pretty inconvenient. The fare was $1.50 or something like that and there was no where around in the airport to break a $10 bill (at least after 10pm). Finally a passerby just handed me $1.50 after the first 10 people who walked by told me they couldn't make change.

The scenery was also pretty bizarre: "Welcome to Cleveland, here's some homeless guys sleeping on the Rapid tracks"

By the way, during the Browns-Colts game on TV, they showed our whiffleball field. That was pretty cool.
   6. Repoz Posted: December 02, 2008 at 05:04 PM (#3018785)
The scenery was also pretty bizarre:

A truly depressing ride on the RTA (sorta like having a paper route on Frelinghuysen Ave in Newark) to and from the airport. One closed factory after another...failed graffiti blocks...piss-dripping tressles...wild grass growing over the tracks...fare breaks for Crips...old fart-SABRdude razzing me on stats...

So, natch...I had a great time!
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 05:05 PM (#3018787)
"'The Rapid' is a stupid name. That's probably why it's failing."

How about "The Tranny"?

The slogans write themselves: "It'll get you where you're going - just don't look down."
   8. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 05:24 PM (#3018810)
My Rapid Transit out of Cleveland resulted in a $130 speeding ticket in Willoughby Hills.
   9. Steve Treder Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:32 PM (#3018899)
I took the train from the airport to the SABR hotel and back, and it was fast, clean, efficient, and cheap. What's not to like?
   10. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:33 PM (#3018900)
I was surprised to find out that Saint Louis had something like this from and to the airport.
   11. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 06:54 PM (#3018923)
If Cleveland's line isn't successful, they're doing something wrong.
Light rail is essentially a flop everywhere. It costs obscene sums of money, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in its operating costs, and nobody rides it.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#3018934)
Light rail is essentially a flop everywhere. It costs obscene sums of money, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in its operating costs, and nobody rides it.

Limited mass transit doesn't really work. It has to get you basically everywhere you need to go. In a spread out city/suburbia, this would be incredibly expensive to build.

If you have to drive 20 min. to get to a subway stop, no one's going to bother getting out of the car.
   13. jolietconvict Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:04 PM (#3018935)
I was surprised to find out that Saint Louis had something like this from and to the airport.


It runs all the way to East St. Louis!

I was once approached to play 3-card Monte on the Metrolink. I politely declined.
   14. Mark S. is bored Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#3018939)
Light rail is essentially a flop everywhere. It costs obscene sums of money, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in its operating costs, and nobody rides it.


Phoenix's light rail will get its chance to fail later this month. They're already running ads reminding people that the light rail cars are silent, so you need to look around to avoid being run over.
   15. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#3018940)
Light rail is essentially a flop everywhere. It costs obscene sums of money, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in its operating costs, and nobody rides it.

So David, what kind of public transportation does work?
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:21 PM (#3018951)
"I took the train from the airport to the SABR hotel and back, and it was fast, clean, efficient, and cheap. What's not to like?"

Well, it's in Cleveland, for starters.
   17. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:22 PM (#3018952)
Light rail is essentially a flop everywhere. It costs obscene sums of money, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in its operating costs, and nobody rides it.

So David, what kind of public transportation does work?
Generally speaking, and looking at transit within a metro area (as opposed to between cities) the most cost effective public transportation is buses. They have the lowest initial capital cost and are the most flexible in responding to changes in residential and commuting patterns. (The problem is that they're just not "sexy" -- you can't build the Frank Lautenberg Bus Stop the way you can the Frank Lautenberg Rail Station -- and don't provide jobs for construction unions.)
   18. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:25 PM (#3018958)
"The Rapid" is a stupid name. That's probably why it's failing.


It's an homage to Feller.
   19. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:25 PM (#3018960)
Generally speaking, and looking at transit within a metro area (as opposed to between cities) the most cost effective public transportation is buses. They have the lowest initial capital cost and are the most flexible in responding to changes in residential and commuting patterns. (The problem is that they're just not "sexy" -- you can't build the Frank Lautenberg Bus Stop the way you can the Frank Lautenberg Rail Station -- and don't provide jobs for construction unions.)

Thanks - I would add that it helps if busses have a dedicated right of way, thereby avoiding traffic issues that private commuters have to face. In Marin County (north of SF), this is a huge issue - I take the ferryboat to work in SF as it doesn't have to deal w/ the rigors of 101 congestion.
   20. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#3018963)
Light rail is essentially a flop everywhere. It costs obscene sums of money, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in its operating costs, and nobody rides it.

My experience with light rail is limited to the MUNI in San Francisco and the El in Chicago, but both of those are packed during rush hours.

It's extremely helpful in places where the traffic/parking situation is otherwise a nightmare (like Chicago and San Francisco). Where it fails is when they try to cram it into places where it's not needed, or when they run it from a place where nobody lives to a place where nobody goes (as in Los Angeles).
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#3018968)
Light rail "doesn't work" because it's subsidized (that is, built and maintained) by government, and provides opportunities for unnecessary employment of union members? That sounds a lot like, say, roads.

As far as "nobody rides it", maybe if it were subsidized even more, people would. You know, like how people will sit for hours in traffic because they don't have to pay anything to take up space on the highway (in other words, their driving is subsidized). Also, in my experience, lots of people ride it. I refute you thus!

Where it fails is when they try to cram it into places where it's not needed, or when they run it from a place where nobody lives to a place where nobody goes (as in Los Angeles).

This may seem like corruption or insanity, but it also is the government trying to predict where development will occur in the future, and building transport systems to encourage people to move there.

The government has to make choices, man.
   22. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#3018967)
SF and Chicago are rather densely packed compared to most cities; even big league cities.
   23. Mark S. is bored Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:32 PM (#3018970)
It's extremely helpful in places where the traffic/parking situation is otherwise a nightmare (like Chicago and San Francisco). Where it fails is when they try to cram it into places where it's not needed, or when they run it from a place where nobody lives to a place where nobody goes (as in Los Angeles).


This is why it is going to fail spectacularly in Phoenix.
   24. Paul M Hates Krispy Kreme Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:34 PM (#3018971)
Light rail is essentially a flop everywhere. It costs obscene sums of money, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers in its operating costs, and nobody rides it.

My experience with light rail is limited to the MUNI in San Francisco and the El in Chicago, but both of those are packed during rush hours.

It's extremely helpful in places where the traffic/parking situation is otherwise a nightmare (like Chicago and San Francisco). Where it fails is when they try to cram it into places where it's not needed, or when they run it from a place where nobody lives to a place where nobody goes (as in Los Angeles).


When I go to Chicago (not that often, but it happens), I drive straight to the park and ride (don't remember the name of it, but it's right off 94, stop after O'Hare), park ze car and take the train in. I'll deal with transfers and train rides well before Chicago in-town driving.

I did that once and wound up going the wrong way up the street (seriously, who designs streets so that consecutive one-way streets go the same direction?) and barely avoiding accidents. I grew up in NYC, so public transport is natural to me.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:46 PM (#3018998)
My experience with light rail is limited to the MUNI in San Francisco and the El in Chicago, but both of those are packed during rush hours.

That's not really light rail. Those are full blown "subway" systems.

In dense cities, NY, Chi, Bos, SF, Phi (?), mass transit works b/c it goes basically everywhere, and there is a city core that a lot of suburbanites come to for work/leisure.
   26. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:50 PM (#3019007)
In dense cities, NY, Chi, Bos, SF, Phi (?), mass transit works b/c it goes basically everywhere, and there is a city core that a lot of suburbanites come to for work/leisure.

Which I guess begs the question: How do you design an effective mass transit system in a not-so-dense city? i.e. Phoenix, Orlando
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 02, 2008 at 07:56 PM (#3019014)
Which I guess begs the question: How do you design an effective mass transit system in a not-so-dense city? i.e. Phoenix, Orlando

In those situations buses are preferable to trains, I think. Because the areas with less or more population shifts over time, leaving the tracks behind. As well as the area being of low density so it would be super expensive to build the actual tracks.

But if you have only a few buses, people won't take them because they don't want to plan around a bus that only shows up every 90 minutes, doesn't run after 8 PM, and is on an uncertain schedule because it gets stuck in traffic with all the other cars.

So...you need to give everyone a car. And tell them when to drive.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:00 PM (#3019020)
Which I guess begs the question: How do you design an effective mass transit system in a not-so-dense city? i.e. Phoenix, Orlando

I think the answer may be, you can't.

Mass transit is great at connecting relatively few nodes with high traffic between them. Cars are good at connecting many nodes, with few high trafficked pairings.

I think congestion pricing is a way better bet for improving transportation in low density cities.
   29. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:02 PM (#3019022)
Which I guess begs the question: How do you design an effective mass transit system in a not-so-dense city? i.e. Phoenix, Orlando

I think the answer may be, you can't.


Maybe the answer is more densely populated cities? I haven't thought a great deal about this, but maybe it's our city planning that's ass-backwards? Hmm. Any city planners out there? There's always at least one expert in this crowd.
   30. Mark S. is bored Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#3019023)
Which I guess begs the question: How do you design an effective mass transit system in a not-so-dense city? i.e. Phoenix, Orlando


Buses are the best current alternative. Long term you need to increase density in the city core to bring more people together that will allow other mass transit systems to work. Phoenix has a bigger city footprint at 1/10th the density of New York, 1/8 the density of San Francisco and 1/6th density of Chicago.
   31. tribefan Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:05 PM (#3019027)
#4 is spot on. The rapid is semi-useful for people traveling from the airport to downtown, but not many people live downtown. The bus lines in town are much, much worse, it's simply ridiculous. I don't know a single person who ever uses any form of public transportation in Cleveland.
   32. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:06 PM (#3019029)
Maybe the answer is more densely populated cities? I haven't thought a great deal about this, but maybe it's our city planning that's ass-backwards?

Of course, for the two examples I cited, the ability to drive wherever you want is one of their selling points.

I honestly don't know what the answer is either. Having been to both cities, I will just say the ability to drive anywhere is undermined by the fact that you HAVE to drive everywhere and deal with traffic.
   33. Yardape Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:13 PM (#3019039)
Being able to drive wherever you want is a selling point, until the cities get too big. Then it's a pain. L.A. is the ultimate example, I think. The freeway system is Southern California is really quite good, but there's just too many people and too many cars so it's frequently not as efficient/convenient as it should be. But because L.A. is a car town, which poured all its infrastructure money into roads, it would be hugely expensive to build an effective regional public transit model.
   34. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#3019058)
The DC-area light rail seemed to function well, in my limited experience.
   35. flournoy Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:28 PM (#3019059)
Having grown up in southern California and metro Atlanta, I can't stand anywhere where driving is not the most convenient way to get from one point to another. Public transportation and parking scarcity are huge turn-offs. Where I live now, to go downtown, you have to plan out "Where do I want to park?" beforehand. The answer to that question should always be, "In the parking lot right in front of where I'm going."
   36. Padgett Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:31 PM (#3019062)
I haven't thought a great deal about this, but maybe it's our city planning that's ass-backwards?

In case you're not being ironic, you should check out some James Howard Kunstler.
   37. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:33 PM (#3019066)
In case you're not being ironic, you should check out some James Howard Kunstler.

Not being ironic. City planning is something I won't pretend to have any knowledge of.
   38. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:34 PM (#3019068)
Where I live now, to go downtown, you have to plan out "Where do I want to park?" beforehand. The answer to that question should always be, "In the parking lot right in front of where I'm going."

I am assuming an amount of irony in that statement, but if that isn't the case, how can a 40 story building have a parking lot in front of it?

check out some James Howard Kunstler.

I read that a couple of years ago. Awesome book. Extra points for being anti-Disney.
   39. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:36 PM (#3019074)
City planning is something I won't pretend to have any knowledge of.


So much for the Susan Ross Foundation scholarship, Van Buren Boy. I'm no expert, either, but I am reading The Power Broker.
   40. Padgett Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:38 PM (#3019078)
Not being ironic. City planning is something I won't pretend to have any knowledge of.

Well, she's controversial to some, but Jane Jacobs is another nice place to start. For some more modern, car-specific stuff, try Donald Shoup.
   41. flournoy Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:39 PM (#3019080)
I am assuming an amount of irony in that statement, but if that isn't the case, how can a 40 story building have a parking lot in front of it?


In that case, I'll settle for the deck across the street. But if I have to scrounge for street parking, then I don't want to go.
   42. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:41 PM (#3019084)
Well, she's controversial to some, but Jane Jacobs is another nice place to start. For some more modern, car-specific stuff, try Donald Shoup.

If these books are about how America is being destroyed byt the Wal-Mart/Home Depot/Applebee's/etc etc etc cookie cutter strip malls that make every city in America larger than 20,000 people look exactly the same--ugly--then I am sympathetic to reading them.
   43. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:44 PM (#3019088)
The light rail in Denver is doing OK, helped out by the fact that it goes to the three major sports venues downtown. It costs something like $30 just to park at a Broncos game, so if I could stand the Broncos at all, I'd certainly take the train to one of their games rather than drive.
   44. Padgett Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:44 PM (#3019091)
Put Geography of Nowhere on your Festivus list, then. Terrific read.
   45. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#3019095)
Put Geography of Nowhere on your Festivus list, then. Terrific read.

Will do. St. Nicholas Day is coming and I have big, big shoes!
   46. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#3019096)
The economic value of buses doesn't look as good once you account for the cost of dealing with their pollution, though.
   47. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:51 PM (#3019105)
Having done both (commuted via automobile and by public transportation), I can't imagine anything thinking that driving is preferable, unless the public transportation in their area is truly execrable. I don't mind driving to run errands or to go on trips, but just to get my body to and from work, I'd prefer public transportation, if available.
   48. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:55 PM (#3019112)
Having done both (commuted via automobile and by public transportation), I can't imagine anything thinking that driving is preferable, unless the public transportation in their area is truly execrable.

That would be Atlanta.
   49. WillYoung Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:56 PM (#3019115)
#4 is spot on. The rapid is semi-useful for people traveling from the airport to downtown, but not many people live downtown. The bus lines in town are much, much worse, it's simply ridiculous. I don't know a single person who ever uses any form of public transportation in Cleveland.


Who else was with me when we saw the Cleveland bus absolutely belching exhaust from the back while promoting itself as being clean and efficient?
   50. Bob T Posted: December 02, 2008 at 08:59 PM (#3019117)
I took the train from the airport to the SABR hotel and back, and it was fast, clean, efficient, and cheap. What's not to like?


It was cheap for me because all the fare machines were broken and there was no explanation about how to pay anywhere.

However, the train was close to one hour late with no announcements as to why. And the airport station is unstaffed late at night. Because I suppose it makes no sense to have someone around to help people who are unfamiliar with the area and the transit system to help you with matters.

I like Cleveland in the same way Cato the Elder liked Carthage.
   51. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 09:04 PM (#3019126)
The light rail in Denver is doing OK, helped out by the fact that it goes to the three major sports venues downtown. It costs something like $30 just to park at a Broncos game, so if I could stand the Broncos at all, I'd certainly take the train to one of their games rather than drive.

The "Should we take the car or the boat to AT&T Park" debates I have with my friends are unbelievably complex. I'm all for the boat, but some want the freedom to leave early or go where they want afterwards.
   52. flournoy Posted: December 02, 2008 at 09:06 PM (#3019128)
I can't imagine anything thinking that driving is preferable [...] just to get my body to and from work, I'd prefer public transportation, if available.


It's so restrictive. I go running after work - where would I put my stuff if not in my car? If I want to go to the grocery store afterward, I'd have to go home first. I hate planning my schedule based on transportation - I'd rather plan my transportation based on my schedule.
   53. RJ in TO Posted: December 02, 2008 at 09:07 PM (#3019130)
absolutely belching exhaust from the back while promoting itself as being clean and efficient


I'm sure this also describes most Primates.
   54. rdfc Posted: December 02, 2008 at 09:11 PM (#3019134)
Portland"s (OR) light rail system isn't all that large but is very successful. Light rail also makes up a significant chunk of the transit systems in San Francisco and Boston. Philadelphia still has a number of light rail lines (and citizens are constantly requesting that some former light rail now bus lines be returned to light rail status). Also, the Los Angeles and San Diego systems have certainly built up a significant ridership.

One recently built, very successful light-rail system is the one in Salt Lake City.
   55. Traderdave Posted: December 02, 2008 at 09:16 PM (#3019140)
#4 is spot on. The rapid is semi-useful for people traveling from the airport to downtown, but not many people live downtown. The bus lines in town are much, much worse, it's simply ridiculous. I don't know a single person who ever uses any form of public transportation in Cleveland.


It's been a decade, but when I lived in Cleveland I used the train almost daily for work, and it was the only way I ever went to the airport. Never had a complaint or a problem, though the Blue/Green trains were MUCH cleaner than the Red ones.
   56. sardonic Posted: December 02, 2008 at 09:42 PM (#3019186)
As others have echoed, public transit only works if it can solve the last mile, or, in my experience, last .25 mile problem. People seem to relatively happy with walking about <10 minutes to a stop and waiting <10 minutes for a ride (assuming the train/bus is clean, safe, etc).

People tend to be more reluctant to use it if those conditions are not met, though they still might if the inconvenience of getting to a station and working around a schedule < dealing with traffic parking.

Whether or not the first model is feasible given the geography and demographics of most places is a different problem.
   57. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:18 PM (#3019256)
I lived in Denver when the light rail was initially opening in the early aughts, and it was pretty successful other than running into a lot of people.
   58. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:22 PM (#3019264)
I lived in Denver when the light rail was initially opening in the early aughts, and it was pretty successful other than running into a lot of people.

BART and Cal Trans have this issue in the Bay Area. The unfortunate flaw of any transporation system is the "How to Idiot-Proof against any and all types" issue (i.e. people jumping fences so they can listen to their Ipods while walking down a railroad track)>
   59. TerpNats Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:29 PM (#3019272)
It's been a decade, but when I lived in Cleveland I used the train almost daily for work, and it was the only way I ever went to the airport. Never had a complaint or a problem, though the Blue/Green trains were MUCH cleaner than the Red ones.
I rode the Rapid in 1990, when I had a tryout at the Plain Dealer. The Blue and Green lines had their eastbound terminus at Shaker Heights, IIRC, a more affluent area than east Cleveland. (Not sure if Shaker Heights still has that status, or whether it's declined along the lines of some other inner suburbs.)

Just wondering -- how close does the Rapid come to the Indians/Cavaliers sports complex? Rail didn't serve the lakefront area until the mid-nineties, I believe.
   60. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#3019275)
Having done both (commuted via automobile and by public transportation), I can't imagine anything thinking that driving is preferable, unless the public transportation in their area is truly execrable. I don't mind driving to run errands or to go on trips, but just to get my body to and from work, I'd prefer public transportation, if available.
I now commute via public transportation into Manhattan after previously commuting by car for 15+ years into jobs in various suburbs, and I can't stand public transportation. It's horrid, even in a place like Manhattan where the transit is about as good as it gets in the U.S.. (Not that I'd want to drive here either, of course. The bottom line is that cities suck, generally.)

It's so restrictive. I go running after work - where would I put my stuff if not in my car? If I want to go to the grocery store afterward, I'd have to go home first. I hate planning my schedule based on transportation - I'd rather plan my transportation based on my schedule.
Exactly. But it's not just about the shopping; it's about the commuting itself. I want to go to work or go home when I want, not when the trains are running.
   61. phredbird Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#3019285)
you haven't lived until you've ridden the new orleans streetcar line to and from work in the middle of the summer. it's picturesque and all that, and i wouldn't change it for the world, but the cars are exactly the same as they were in the 20s. no a/c, wooden seats, etc. ... it could get brutal.
   62. Lassus Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#3019287)
The government has to make choices, man.

Any choice made by the government - other than self-immolation - is not okay with David.

He's definitely right about city buses, however. I rode them EVERYWHERE in Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle.
   63. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#3019288)
I'm kind of fond of having a job that I can walk to; although I do drive most of the time.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 02, 2008 at 10:51 PM (#3019291)
I now commute via public transportation into Manhattan after previously commuting by car for 15+ years into jobs in various suburbs, and I can't stand public transportation. It's horrid, even in a place like Manhattan where the transit is about as good as it gets in the U.S.. (Not that I'd want to drive here either, of course. The bottom line is that cities suck, generally.)

How do you come in?

I take Metro North, and the ride is fine, ~40 min to GCT. The train is clean, usually on-time.

I then have to take the subway downtown, and that's the wildcard. But if I worked in midtown, I'd love my commute.
   65. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:01 PM (#3019301)
Exactly. But it's not just about the shopping; it's about the commuting itself. I want to go to work or go home when I want, not when the trains are running.

Well, where I live, the trains are running all the time.

It's actually a bit faster door to door to get to and from my job via public transportation - the only issue is that the bus that runs from the train to my job only runs every hour to hour and a half. If it ran as often as the train, it wouldn't even be an issue - I'd never drive to work.

I'd much rather be reading a book during my commute than fighting traffic. I don't enjoy driving per se.
   66. tribefan Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:05 PM (#3019304)
(Not sure if Shaker Heights still has that status, or whether it's declined along the lines of some other inner suburbs.).


Shaker is still a very nice area. Very beautiful houses, one of the larger concentrations of Tudor style homes in the country.

There's a rapid station in Shaker, so it would be convenient for people on the east side to get downtown. I'm on the west side and the stations are all pretty inconvenient, I'd need to drive there which sort of defeats the purpose. I actually would like to use public transportation but I'm afraid I'll have a seizure on the bus and then get robbed.


The rapid drops you off at the Terminal Tower downtown, not far at all from Indians/Cavs games. Kinda far to walk for a Browns game in crappy weather though.
   67. Repoz Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:14 PM (#3019312)
The rapid drops you off at the Terminal Tower downtown

Which is of no use if you had to go (in the rain) to the SABR sub-station at the <strike>Pimp</strike> Radisson Hotel.

Just ask Jim...
   68. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:14 PM (#3019313)
I'd much rather be reading a book during my commute than fighting traffic.

Or eating, drinking, chatting, reading a newspaper, etc.

The convenience factor alluded to above is important, though. Ideally one should be able to go wherever they want whenever they want, or at least have the wait times/walking distances be trivial.

Perhaps at some point the major thoroughfares will be lined with a ski lift-type mechanism, where all one has to do is hop on and hop off where desirable. Shoppers could use the system, but be charged a premium. Ahh, Sci-Fi, Skiing, and Public Transportation, what a winning combination!
   69. Mike Webber Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:41 PM (#3019334)
I'd much rather be reading a book during my commute than fighting traffic.

Or eating, drinking, chatting, reading a newspaper, etc.

Where do you live that don't see people doing this at 65 MPH in bumper to bumper traffic while driving an H3 during the morning rush?

Kansas City the fall of 2007 passed light rail plan that would run from the zoo, in one of the least desirable areas of town to the Plaza, probably the most expensive shopping area of town. There is basically no major employers on the route, so it wouldn't help any of the commuters. It was just a crazy plan, fortunately the politicians grid locked it until this fall when the voters overturned the decision. It would have been a spectacular failure.

The KC airport is as far from downtown as Cleveland's - or farther - though the are in between is farmland and suburbs rather than the setting from a zombie movie Repoz described above. It makes it really hard to lure a convention of any size, because the only way to get there for most is a fairly expensive taxi ride.
But no one seems to think a light rail from the airport to downtown makes sense for KC except me.
   70. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:52 PM (#3019342)
Where do you live that don't see people doing this at 65 MPH in bumper to bumper traffic while driving an H3 during the morning rush?

Point taken. I just prefer to partake in the eating/drinking/reading w/o having to worry about driving too. Sadly, many disagree.

Marin/Sonoma counties also passed a light rail plan that is SCHEDULED to debut in 2015. If it at least reached the ferry terminal, it would be somewhat logical. Instead, it connects bus depots in Santa Rosa and San Rafael, with a couple of stops at major employers (Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, Marin County Civic Center), and a couple of other bus terminals. In between, it will NOT have the right of way in various downtowns, so this will cause more congestion.

While I'm a public transportation buff, I voted against it.
   71. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:53 PM (#3019343)
The rapid drops you off at the Terminal Tower downtown, not far at all from Indians/Cavs games. Kinda far to walk for a Browns game in crappy weather though.

I was in Cleveland last year during the blizzard. The Rapid was packed with Browns fans. I went out to the airport (which was closed) and back into the city. The Browns fans are a hardy lot.
   72. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 02, 2008 at 11:55 PM (#3019345)
Where do you live that don't see people doing this at 65 MPH in bumper to bumper traffic while driving an H3 during the morning rush?

I only wish that I could go 65 MPH during the morning rush (or the evening rush). I'm happy if I'm going 35 MPH.
   73. sardonic Posted: December 03, 2008 at 12:13 AM (#3019362)
I take Caltrain to and from work now. Luckily I live about an 8 minute walk from the station, and my work is about a 2 minute walk on the other end. In the morning, there are a good number of trains, but in the evenings, it does cramp my style a bit to have to time the trains now, which come every hour.

If I catch a Baby Bullet, I can usually be at work in under an hour door to door, and it's quite relaxing to start off the day catching up with my RSS feeds. On the way back, it's also nice to not have to worry about driving when I'm tired -- I can hop on and get a nice nap in before getting home, which is nice, because then I have a bit more energy to get dinner, do stuff around the house, go to the gym, etc. after I get there.
   74. flournoy Posted: December 03, 2008 at 12:41 AM (#3019376)
Hmm, well I just want to brag that I live 15 minutes from work, and if I'm driving 65 on the short stretch of the interstate I use, that means it's a bad traffic day.
   75. phredbird Posted: December 03, 2008 at 12:51 AM (#3019382)
hm, well i just want to brag that i now live 15 min. from work, by foot.
   76. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: December 03, 2008 at 01:08 AM (#3019387)
Hmm, well I just want to brag that I live 15 minutes from work, and if I'm driving 65 on the short stretch of the interstate I use, that means it's a bad traffic day.

Ok, I'll bite - where is that?


hm, well i just want to brag that i now live 15 min. from work, by foot.


Ok, I'll bite - where is that?
   77. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: December 03, 2008 at 01:09 AM (#3019389)
There's a rapid station in Shaker, so it would be convenient for people on the east side to get downtown. I'm on the west side and the stations are all pretty inconvenient, I'd need to drive there which sort of defeats the purpose.

I grew up in Canton so I never used the rapid, but it seems like any mass transit system in metro Cleveland that doesn't serve Parma and the southern suburbs or Lorain and the western suburbs is a really bad idea that's destined to fail. Just in Parma and Lorain alone, within the city limits of those two cities, there are 134,000+ people, and that doesn't count Rocky River or Avon or Brecksville or North Royalton or any of the other places the rapid doesn't serve.
   78. JGLB's Not Punk, And He's Telling Everyone Posted: December 03, 2008 at 02:21 AM (#3019428)
IIRC correctly doesn't Orlando have a lot of existing abandoned track in it's urban core?
   79. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: December 03, 2008 at 02:53 AM (#3019454)
The DC-area light rail seemed to function well, in my limited experience.

It's the best I've used, in terms of being on time, letting you know when a train was coming, cleanliness and availability. It's hard to go to other cities and wait on the platform for an undetermined amount of time.

Drawbacks: They don't run 24 hours, and exit fares are kind of a pain.
   80. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 03, 2008 at 03:14 AM (#3019471)
Loved the Metro when I lived in DC. I was a half block from the Braddock Road station and took the blue line to Foggy Bottom for law school (when I bothered going to class). I sometimes wonder if my favorite blue line driver still works there. He used to say "Next station, Arlington Cem-ee-tary" and "next station Foooooogggy Bottom."

I kind of wanted to be a Metro driver back then.
   81. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:01 AM (#3019485)
The best transit system I've ever been on is the one in Paris.
The subway trains are frequent, the stations are individualized (and some of them, works of art) and they took me and my wife to 90% of the locations we needed with minimal walking in between. The 5 day subway/train pass we got for Paris was easily the best value we've found in our various travels.
   82. nycfan Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:01 AM (#3019486)
I was a half block from the Braddock Road station and took the blue line to Foggy Bottom for law school


I'm a 1L at GW now, when did you graduate?

I really like the DC metro (eastern market to farragut west, 25 min. door to door), but its a little iffy on weekends. Its annoying to have to wait 15 minutes for a train in the middle of the day, which can happen on the weekend. I grew up in NY and went to college in St. Louis, so moving back to a city with real public transit has been pretty sweet. Also, its nice that the metro is not as crowded as the NYC subways. NYC is really getting to the point where it has so many people riding they can't accomodate them no matter how often the trains run
   83. nycfan Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:15 AM (#3019493)
I agree that mass transit (especially rail) probably doesn't have much use in cities like phoenix. But i think it can be extremely helpful in attracting young people to cities like St. Louis that are trying to revitalize their urban core
   84. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:24 AM (#3019500)
I'm a 1L at GW now, when did you graduate?


1998. Different world. The whole law school was Lerner Hall, that old middle section, and the little bit of the library connected to it. The rest of the buildings on the quad belonged to other schools. The journals were in an old house that has since been demolished. To say it was cramped quarters understates things considerably.

You don't have Seigel for Civ Pro, do you? My class was his first ever as a professor. He used the baseball rules as a teaching aid. Pretty sweet.
   85. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:33 AM (#3019507)
I think it's important for me to reiterate a point that I made earlier: It's not fair to blame mass transit as a whole for the failings of Cleveland's mass transit, because Cleveland is just a gigantic, swirling vortex of suck. Public transit there sucks, yes. So do the streets, and the bars, and the houses, and the businesses, and the residents, and even natural landforms like the Cuyahoga River. It's just a singularly awful hell-hole with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. If you judged mankind by the state of Cleveland, you'd have to start rooting for the meteors and the icebergs.

So of course their mass transit sucks. Their city line is a Swartzchild radius beyond which no good or decent thing remains worth having.
   86. villageidiom Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:34 AM (#3019508)
But if you have only a few buses, people won't take them because they don't want to plan around a bus that only shows up every 90 minutes, doesn't run after 8 PM, and is on an uncertain schedule because it gets stuck in traffic with all the other cars.
Welcome to Hartford!

Edit:

So of course their mass transit sucks. Their city line is a Swartzchild radius beyond which no good or decent thing remains worth having.
Welcome to Hartford!
   87. Chris Needham Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:37 AM (#3019511)
The whole law school was Lerner Hall,


Ted Lerner? Pretty sure he's an alumnus. I'm just shocked he'd open the wallet up enough to get a building named after him.
   88. phredbird Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:41 AM (#3019515)
hm, well i just want to brag that i now live 15 min. from work, by foot.


Ok, I'll bite - where is that?


miracle mile in the middle of los angeles. i'm also walking distance from Los Angeles County Museum of Art (it's half a frickin block down the street), a half dozen restaurants/bars, live music, the farmer's market at 3rd and fairfax, etc. ... canter's deli is a five minute drive, as is la brea, which has a jillion places to eat etc. great location.
   89. villageidiom Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:43 AM (#3019517)
If these books are about how America is being destroyed byt the Wal-Mart/Home Depot/Applebee's/etc etc etc cookie cutter strip malls that make every city in America larger than 20,000 people look exactly the same--ugly--then I am sympathetic to reading them.
Jane Jacobs' first book (Death and Life...) was written 40 years ago, and is still very relevant. I think you'd enjoy it.
   90. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:49 AM (#3019521)
Vlad, what about LeBron, Grady Sizemore, and um, that center the Browns drafted a couple of years ago, I think he's pretty good?

I will point out that the Frank Lautenberg Station isn't for light rail, although it was a fairly ridiculous boondoggle - especially the Turnpike exit they added even though there isn't any parking there. (Although the idea was a good one - where the lines going into NYC and Hoboken cross, maybe it would be a good idea for people to be able to switch from one to the other.)
   91. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 03, 2008 at 04:59 AM (#3019530)
Ted Lerner? Pretty sure he's an alumnus. I'm just shocked he'd open the wallet up enough to get a building named after him.


Never thought about who it was named after at the time. You're local: go to the corner of 20th and H NW and read the building. If it helps, the building was kind of crappy 13 years ago, so I'm sure it sucks extra Lerneriffically now.

Lots of great alumni from GW: Lerner. J. Edgar Hoover. Me. All of the respectable people.
   92. Chris Needham Posted: December 03, 2008 at 05:02 AM (#3019534)
That'd require me to actually get out of my car in DC. I break out into a rash if I get more than 5 minutes away from 395.

I just googled it. Yeah, it's Uncle Teddy. I wonder which level of government he got to pay for it for him?
   93. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 03, 2008 at 05:10 AM (#3019538)
I just googled it. Yeah, it's Uncle Teddy. I wonder which level of government he got to pay for it for him?


Given that my tuition even back in the day was about five times the GNP of most emerging democracies, I'm sure I helped quite a bit.

Loved living in DC/NoVA for three years; hated everything about GW Law School.
   94. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 03, 2008 at 05:12 AM (#3019540)
The first two don't really live or play in Cleveland - it's all a hoax perpetrated by the city's Department of Tourism, and generated at great expense by Industrial Light & Magic.

The center guy (tackle Joe Thomas?) plays for the Browns. If Jesus Christ came back and played for the Browns, they'd still suck. And he'd probably get caught banging the semi-fresh corpse of a clapped-out hooker in a mop closet in the stadium's sub-basement.
   95. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 03, 2008 at 05:17 AM (#3019545)
To generate the funds to pay for the effects, I think they have to steal a virgin from Illinois every seven years (as there are no virgin women in Cleveland), so they can sacrifice her to Dagon by burning her alive in the river. I might be wrong, though - it could be Michigan instead.
   96. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 03, 2008 at 05:38 AM (#3019550)
Vlad, did something happen to you in Cleveland? Do you need to talk to somebody about it? I'm sure someone could refer you to a qualified professional.
   97. Good cripple hitter Posted: December 03, 2008 at 05:56 AM (#3019556)
In Cleveland, everything Vlad saw seemed so underhanded. In Cleveland, Vlad looked into the heart of darkness. In Cleveland, Vlad discovered that life stinks.

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