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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Mariners install electric-car charging stations at Safeco Field

Wow! Back in 1969, Seattle wouldn’t even give you a decent Oyler change!

Well, this isn’t something you see every day: the Seattle Mariners are installing four electric vehicle charging stations available for public use at Safeco Field.

The four Blink Pedestal Charging Stations are located on the plaza next to the Safeco Field parking garage. The stations are part of The EV Project, which will install approximately 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 18 major cities and metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and is overseen by ECOtality, Inc.

The four charging stations at Safeco Field are Level 2, or 240 volt AC input. Each is capable of fully re-charging a vehicle battery in two-to-six hours. Anyone can plug into the charging stations 24 hours a day, even on days when the Mariners are not playing.

Repoz Posted: November 08, 2011 at 09:15 PM | 147 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, mariners

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   1. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 08, 2011 at 11:31 PM (#3988873)
I'd think hard about dragging my dryer to Safeco in the offseason if I lived nearer - make the gubmint pay for the electricity to dry my clothes.
   2. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:19 AM (#3988898)
I'd think hard about dragging my dryer to Safeco in the offseason if I lived nearer - make the gubmint pay for the electricity to dry my clothes.


I think you still have to pay for it, although plugging your car in and charging it might wind up being cheaper than paying for parking. Riding my bike is still probably the easiest and fastest way to get home from Safeco, though.
   3. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:33 AM (#3988905)
The four charging stations at Safeco Field are Level 2, or 240 volt AC input. Each is capable of fully re-charging a vehicle battery in two-to-six hours.


Only 4 stations, taking up to 6 hours to recharge a single vehicle? Yikes, I wouldn't count on getting one of those slots on gameday.
   4. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:56 AM (#3988917)
I think you want to stay away from the word "Blink" when your product is a pure, unrelenting, consistent stream of electricity.
   5. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:00 AM (#3988920)
Seattle has a mediocre at best public transit system. Compared to any most other big and or "progressive" cities: NYC, Chicago, Portland, Boston, Toronto, San Fran -- it sucks.

Be nice if the mariners encouraged car pooling or something. This seems like the sort of idea that gets a intern a full time gig however. Good on them.
   6. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:10 AM (#3988924)
The four charging stations at Safeco Field are Level 2, or 240 volt AC input. Each is capable of fully re-charging a vehicle battery in two-to-six hours.



Only 4 stations, taking up to 6 hours to recharge a single vehicle? Yikes, I wouldn't count on getting one of those slots on gameday.


Unless the spots are for electric cars only, and the restriction is enforced ala handicapped parking, I'd guess the charging stations never get used.
   7. Obo Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:14 AM (#3988927)
Seattle has a mediocre at best public transit system.

Uh-oh. I'll be visiting Seattle for the first time next week. The airport link at least works, right? That's how I'm planning on getting downtown.
   8. Shibal Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:28 AM (#3988935)
Of course they won't be used. That isn't the point.

Gotta keep the good PR coming so the free government money keeps coming.
   9. SY Ruined School Lunches! Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:51 AM (#3988946)
I'm only 25 (turned today) but of the four cities that I've lived in for significant time- Boston, Columbus, Cleveland, and Chicago- a quality public transit system is make or break for a city. Cities that don't have one just suck.
   10. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:15 AM (#3988958)
Uh-oh. I'll be visiting Seattle for the first time next week. The airport link at least works, right? That's how I'm planning on getting downtown.


Light rail to downtown works well. Just plan on walking about a half mile from the terminal to the train. I seriously wonder how they couldn't get it closer. Just don't try to go from Ballard to Capitol Hill via bus (for example), and expect it to go quickly. Also the buses peter out around 10pm on weekdays. I like Seattle, but I miss the NYC transit system very, very much.
   11. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 09, 2011 at 03:14 AM (#3988986)
I think you still have to pay for it, although plugging your car in and charging it might wind up being cheaper than paying for parking. Riding my bike is still probably the easiest and fastest way to get home from Safeco, though.


How's the bike parking situation there?
   12. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 03:36 AM (#3989001)
And still nothing beats oil.
   13. LionoftheSenate Posted: November 09, 2011 at 03:41 AM (#3989006)
Gotta keep the good PR coming so the free government money keeps coming.


Totally true. All hat.

Oil simply has the best energy density at the moment. Energy density by definition is most efficient.
   14. LionoftheSenate Posted: November 09, 2011 at 03:48 AM (#3989010)
Seattle has a mediocre at best public transit system. Compared to any most other big and or "progressive" cities:


The US west tends to have worse public transit than the east, for various reasons. Anyway, the future of transit is not train but individual vehicles. Eventually we will have batteries that and deliver a lot more power which will allow them to replace most oil powered individual vehicles.

However I'm well aware that "public transit" basically means mass transit and its proponents aren't as interested in oil/electric as they are interested in forcing people to live on top of each other like they do in NYC, Boston, much of Europe.

One reason people dream of being American because we have open roads.
   15. Tripon Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#3989018)

I'm only 25 (turned today) but of the four cities that I've lived in for significant time- Boston, Columbus, Cleveland, and Chicago- a quality public transit system is make or break for a city. Cities that don't have one just suck.


I am guessing you never lived in L.A. or owned your own car, so I going to excuse your ignorance for you.
   16. Hombre Brotani Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:05 AM (#3989024)
And still nothing beats oil.
Never saw him conserve.
   17. Hugh Jorgan Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:21 AM (#3989030)
Each is capable of fully re-charging a vehicle battery in two-to-six hours.

So if Buerhle is on the mound it's just got you covered. When they host the Sox or Yankees, then your car will benefit from that long, full charge of 4 hours or more.

Eventually we will have batteries that and deliver a lot more power which will allow them to replace most oil powered individual vehicles.

In theory, nice idea. In short to medium term reality, no. Petrol driven cars become more and more efficient everyday, to the point where the pollution from running one is far less the environmental negatives attached to producing all those damn electric batteries. Of course, oil is supposed to run out eventually, so there is that...
   18. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#3989037)
How's the bike parking situation there?


Not bad! But you do have to ride around a little to find a spot, because lots of people go to the game that way. There's almost always something available pretty close, though.

However I'm well aware that "public transit" basically means mass transit and its proponents aren't as interested in oil/electric as they are interested in forcing people to live on top of each other like they do in NYC, Boston, much of Europe.


I just want to get where I'm going, cheap, without waiting in a bunch of dumb traffic or wasting money on expensive gas. I absolutely love driving, love it, but it costs an absurd amount of money in infrastructure, foreign natural resources, and engineering to move people around that way.

Also, no one's forcing anybody to live anywhere - housing costs more in the city because people actually want to live there. That's how capitalism works. If you don't like density, go back to Russia. Plenty of wide open space out there.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:10 AM (#3989043)
However I'm well aware that "public transit" basically means mass transit and its proponents aren't as interested in oil/electric as they are interested in forcing people to live on top of each other like they do in NYC, Boston, much of Europe.
The funny thing is that it's actually the other way around. Zoning laws forbid density in most of the country, and only in a few metropolitan areas are we free to live a walkable lifestyle.
   20. JoeC Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:17 AM (#3989045)
I am guessing you never lived in L.A. or owned your own car, so I going to excuse your ignorance for you.


Are you saying that LA sucks, or that it doesn't have a quality public transit system? Either way I disagree, but I can only refute one of them with actual data...
   21. Obo Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:32 AM (#3989052)
Light rail to downtown works well.

Good to hear that part works at least. Thanks for the info, Matt.
   22. Tripon Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:45 AM (#3989056)
The powers that be don't consider a bus system to be 'mass transit', if you follow the grants and bonds issues of the past decade or so.


Also, for everyone who extols the wonders of a subway system, I just can't see how it beats owning your own car and letting you go anywhere you want.
   23. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:47 AM (#3989079)
Also, for everyone who extols the wonders of a subway system, I just can't see how it beats owning your own car and letting you go anywhere you want.


Many ways:

- Depending on your usage pattern, it can be a lot cheaper
- More importantly, nearly zero initial cost and time to start using (e.g. when first starting a job) compared to learning to drive and actually buying a car, although I suppose you can rent
- No age limits
- You don't need a parking space, ever
- You don't need someone to abstain from alcohol to be able to travel anywhere safely
- You can travel somewhere and read a book/watch a movie/play a game at the same time
- You can still go pretty much anywhere you want, using a taxi. But 99% of the time, you don't go anywhere you want. You go somewhere other people go too

Plenty of good reasons for owning a car, and plenty of good reasons for not owning one. All depends what you do. I have no children and live in a major city, I don't find driving interesting and I don't like throwing my money away. So I don't drive. It's not a decision I took absent any of those factors, and were most of those inputs different, the output would be too.

One reason people dream of being American because we have open roads.


And yet, in pretty much every major country in the world, the trend is towards urbanization.
   24. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:54 AM (#3989080)
One reason people dream of being American because we have open roads.

There's no reason to set up a false dichotomy. We can have both great subway systems in urban areas, and lots of open roads. There's no need to assume that a proponent of one is an opponent of the other.
   25. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:55 AM (#3989081)
Never saw him conserve.

Well done.
   26. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 08:16 AM (#3989082)
There's no reason to set up a false dichotomy. We can have both great subway systems in urban areas, and lots of open roads. There's no need to assume that a proponent of one is an opponent of the other.


In fact, they're probably complementary, aren't they? The more people are happy to live in cities, the more our roads can be open and un-congested without miles after miles of sub-urban areas.
   27. Greg K Posted: November 09, 2011 at 08:24 AM (#3989084)
Also, for everyone who extols the wonders of a subway system, I just can't see how it beats owning your own car and letting you go anywhere you want.

Setting aside my #1 personal reason for mass transit over driving (I would be the all-time worst driver and probably last 6 months tops before I'd be behind bars for vehicular manslaughter)...but in addition to the above, depending on where you live, a GOOD subway system is so much more efficient and getting you where you want to go. My family's place is in a suburb of Toronto, with no traffic it's quicker to go downtown by car. But during the evening rush-hour if I want to go to a Jays game the subway gets me there quicker. Also I've never lived in London, but after making a few visits, I don't know how any sane person could own a car in that city. The mix of insane driving conditions and a subway system that gets you pretty much anywhere in the city ridiculously fast = subway all the way in that town.
   28. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 08:46 AM (#3989085)
Also I've never lived in London, but after making a few visits, I don't know how any sane person could own a car in that city. The mix of insane driving conditions and a subway system that gets you pretty much anywhere in the city ridiculously fast = subway all the way in that town.


Plus, we've got the Thames Clippers, which are - although not the quickest or the cheapest - simply the coolest way to travel into or out of major destinations if you live anywhere near the river.

Plenty of people do still own cars, I think largely because of a reluctance to let schoolkids travel on public transport unaccompanied. Above the age of 11-12, during busy times, I think that's a pretty silly reservation, but then fear of crime is so much higher than actual crime over here that it's ridiculous.
   29. Lassus Posted: November 09, 2011 at 11:22 AM (#3989093)
And still nothing beats oil.

Good response! To... nothing.
   30. Mr Dashwood Posted: November 09, 2011 at 11:33 AM (#3989094)
fear of crime is so much higher than actual crime over here

In my experience, fear of crime was at a quite reasonable level in inner London. By the time I sold my house in London, I was very concerned that someone one day would be caught in a cross-fire near where I lived, and it happened two-and-a-half years later. That girl was wounded in a shop I used to visit a couple of times each week.
   31. bobm Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:02 PM (#3989098)
The four charging stations at Safeco Field are Level 2, or 240 volt AC input. Each is capable of fully re-charging a vehicle battery in two-to-six hours.


With an organization like the Mariners, it's closer to six.
   32. bookbook Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:17 PM (#3989100)
"And still nothing beats oil."

Global warming sucks... But science isn't actually a liberal conspiracy.
   33. Swoboda is freedom Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:31 PM (#3989106)
And still nothing beats oil

Boyd had a couple of good seasons for the Red Sox, but he was beatable.
   34. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 12:35 PM (#3989108)
In my experience, fear of crime was at a quite reasonable level in inner London.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LOndonHomicide.jpg. Unadjusted for population, so the slight downward trend is actually more pronounced on a per capita basis. The UK has a moderately high crime rate compared to other European cities - though nowhere near as high as the US, I understand - but popular conception is that it's soaring, whereas in fact it's on a gentle downward trend. Guess who I blame? That's right, tabloid media.

Having lived in Peckham for a couple of years, I can't pretend violent crime doesn't exist, but fear of it - particularly in nice, quiet areas of London - is ridiculously disproportionate.

Found this: http://extra.shu.ac.uk/ndc/downloads/reports/Fear of crime_perceptions relate to reality.pdf. "Residents from the London NDCs are not significantly more likely to experience crime than the NDC average, yet fear of crime is perhaps higher in London." From 2005, though.
   35. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3989112)
Global warming sucks... But science isn't actually a liberal conspiracy.


Tide comes in, tide goes out, you can't explain that.
   36. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:37 PM (#3989118)
The UK has a moderately high crime rate compared to other European cities - though nowhere near as high as the US, I understand - but popular conception is that it's soaring, whereas in fact it's on a gentle downward trend. Guess who I blame?


Chavs. You blame the chavs.
   37. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:44 PM (#3989122)
They have electric charging stations here on campus. Also there are a few Chevy Volts in the campus car pool. So that is good. And the busses are natural gas.

Oh wait, green energy plus higher education? I am the world's greatest monster.
   38. Jose is an Absurd Sultan Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#3989124)
When I worked in downtown Boston I loved using the subway to get around. Parking is crazy expensive and difficult to find. For what was then a $27 a month T pass (the "T" is the local subway system) I had access to the entire city.
   39. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:50 PM (#3989125)
Is wind energy bad? Or good? There are lots of wind farms out here. They are cool.
   40. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 01:53 PM (#3989126)
I drive to campus but on campus I use the bus. I am so confused if I am bad or good.
   41. BrianBrianson Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:05 PM (#3989129)
I'll be visiting Seattle for the first time next week. The airport link at least works, right?


Being from Toronto, where getting to the airport from downtown not only requires taking six buses, three trains, two taxis, a ferry, a rickshaw, and a canoe, but has a fourteen mile portage, I loved the airport link in Seattle. Like it was designed and built by God herself.
   42. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:06 PM (#3989130)
I really don't get the freakout over government spending on renewable R&D -- if my math is right, the 2011 budget spends approximately the same amount on renewables research and subsidies as it wastes on the F-35 GE "backup" engine that won't die, despite the fact that BOTH the Bush AND Obama administrations have tried to kill, that the DoD says is a waste...

Granted, the cost of the GE spare part to a single aircraft is spread over years and I'm just talking about a single budget year -- but still... someone puts in a charging station that might be garnering a few pennies in subsidies and its the end of the republic.... while a clearly unnecessary and wasteful line item in an already bloated beyond belief DoD (which the DoD says they don't even want) continues to feed at the hog trough.

Madness, pure madness... and spare me the "well that should be killed to" -- the sturm und drang comparison makes it pretty clear where the reality lies.
   43. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:13 PM (#3989136)
Global warming coming to Alaska:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - An "epic" storm was bearing down on western Alaska on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said, warning that it could be one of the worst on record for the state.

The storm, moving inland from the Aleutian Islands, was expected to bring hurricane-force winds with gusts up to 100 miles per hour, heavy snowfall, widespread coastal flooding and severe erosion to most of Alaska's west coast, the National Weather Service said.

"This will be an extremely dangerous and life threatening storm of an epic magnitude rarely experienced," the service said in a special warning message.
   44. The Bowling Guy Invited Me Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:13 PM (#3989137)
Granted, the cost of the GE spare part to a single aircraft is spread over years and I'm just talking about a single budget year -- but still... someone puts in a charging station that might be garnering a few pennies in subsidies and its the end of the republic.... while a clearly unnecessary and wasteful line item in an already bloated beyond belief DoD (which the DoD says they don't even want) continues to feed at the hog trough.

I guess we know who is with the terrorists.
   45. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:14 PM (#3989139)
Is wind energy bad? Or good? There are lots of wind farms out here. They are cool.


Wind energy is fine, and it works. Just not nearly as well as oil.
   46. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3989141)
Chavs. You blame the chavs.


Russell Howard: 'Chavs' is code for, "Oh, don't poor people dress funny!"
   47. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:18 PM (#3989142)
Wind energy is fine, and it works. Just not nearly as well as oil.


Wind/solar/tidal energy plus natural gas (mostly from shales) on hot standby is probably a good mix for the next 10-40 years, ideally with nuclear as a baseload (though I think public opinion post-Fukushima has killed that option in a lot of markets). You can't build renewables as baseload just yet, and probably not for 50-100 years, but you might as well use them when you have them.

Coal is the first problem fuel to kill; we urgently need to re-balance from coal to gas. Getting rid of oil comes later.
   48. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:21 PM (#3989144)
The problem with individual cars, even if you could clean up the energy they use, is that it doesn't solve our road congestion problem or our problem with suburban sprawl. Higher density cities built around mass transit hubs are just incredibly more efficient than everyone driving around in a car, whether electric or gas.

That said, does anyone here actually drive an electric car? Do you find them less/more convenient? Cheaper/more expensive to maintain?
   49. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:23 PM (#3989146)
I'd think hard about dragging my dryer to Safeco in the offseason if I lived nearer - make the gubmint pay for the electricity to dry my clothes.

From TFA:
Each Blink Pedestal features a touch screen with information on charge status, cost, payment options (mobile phone or credit card) and billing information. Charging costs are set by ECOtality. [emphasis added]

There is no free lunch.
   50. Spahn Insane Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3989148)
The Chicago Tribune's comments feature posts like #43 every time any sort of snowfall is forecast for Chicago. "It's to snowstorm in Chicago, therefore global warming is a hoax." Love it.
   51. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3989150)
Global warming coming to Alaska:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - An "epic" storm was bearing down on western Alaska on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said, warning that it could be one of the worst on record for the state.

The storm, moving inland from the Aleutian Islands, was expected to bring hurricane-force winds with gusts up to 100 miles per hour, heavy snowfall, widespread coastal flooding and severe erosion to most of Alaska's west coast, the National Weather Service said.

"This will be an extremely dangerous and life threatening storm of an epic magnitude rarely experienced," the service said in a special warning message.


Of course -- when you miss the distinction between "weather" and "climate" -- you miss this part:
Powerful storms in the North Pacific and Bering Sea are common this time of year, but this event is unusual because of its trajectory, Brown said.

"It's going very far north," he said.

Posing an additional threat is the lack of sea ice off northwestern Alaska, he said. The last time a storm of a similar magnitude was sent in the same northward direction was 1974, but the sea surface was much more frozen then, he said.

"History tells that the sea ice helps subdue the storm surge," Brown said "With no sea ice there, we could see the full brunt of that 6- to 9-foot storm surge."

Arctic sea ice this year reached the second-lowest coverage since satellite records began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.
   52. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3989154)
My absolute favourite subway system that I've been on is the one in Paris.
It's fast, expansive, and every station is unique in design and feel.

If I lived in Paris, there is no way I'd drive anywhere in that city.

(for comparison, I've also used the New York, London, Montreal, and Toronto subway systems)
   53. UCCF Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:34 PM (#3989158)
I'm here in the Bay Area, and there are free charging stations everywhere. At my previous job, they had preferred parking for electric vehicles.

One guy who was parked there every day had one of those $100K+ Tesla roadsters. Pretty nice looking car.
   54. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:36 PM (#3989159)
My absolute favourite subway system that I've been on is the one in Paris.

Man, it gets crowded, though. You do NOT want to be on a packed Metro in France...
   55. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3989160)
My absolute favourite subway system that I've been on is the one in Paris.
It's fast, expansive, and every station is unique in design and feel.


I've not been, but apparently the Moscow system is a site to see. Genuine architectural splendor.

On the other end of the scale, the small Amsterdam system is fairly nasty, probably because most of the population fare-dodge. But then, you can cycle from one end of the city to the other in 15 minutes or so anyway. It's only in bad weather where its limits really get shown up.
   56. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3989164)
I've been car free for the past two years and I'm never going back. It's great.

The most amazing public transit system I've ever seen is the skytrain in Bangkok. The number of people that move in and out of that thing is astounding. You emerge on the platform and think, "this'll take ten years" and you are on the train in moments.

D.C., New York, and Singapore are all really good. I had mixed feelings about Chicago.
   57. UCCF Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3989166)
I've been car free for the past two years and I'm never going back. It's great.

I did it when I lived in Manhattan and loved it. I took maybe 2 or 3 cab rides in 2 years, and walked or took the subway the rest of the time.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of places in the US where living without a car is an option. I'd be hard pressed to do it here in SF - it's a sprawling area, and taking public transportation to my job in the North Bay would add about 2 hours to my commute. Even if I moved up there, there is no housing near where my office is, and (as far as I can tell) the closest bus line drops off about half a mile away.
   58. The Good Face Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3989168)
Gotta love government subsidies for rich people. Doog tiems...
   59. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:49 PM (#3989173)

Of course -- when you miss the distinction between "weather" and "climate" -- you miss this part:


He also missed the fact that his sarcastic refutation of global warming didn't include mention of temperatures at all.
   60. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:49 PM (#3989174)
D.C., New York, and Singapore are all really good. I had mixed feelings about Chicago.


The loop and the lakefront are well covered, but going west of say... Ashland is huge pain. I will say that since they GPS'ed the buses, I use the CTA's bus lines more -- the maps are still a mess, but so long as you're good just doing a straight line down a main thoroughfare, it's awfully handy to just time a sandwich or a cup of coffee and meet the bus at the stop.

If you're talking the Chicagoland area -- I think the tie-ins between the Metra suburban trains and CTA proper is just hellish unless you're in the loop.

Living on the north side, but working in the north suburbs, I tried to go carless for a while -- but the brown line to a bus or brown line + 10-15 minute walk to catch trains that only left every ~half hour just wasn't cutting it. Add that to my only options from the office being either a 4 PM or 6 PM and it was just unworkable.

I'm not expecting front door to front door public transit service, but the total commute time was more than driving a mile or so of the Kennedy + the entire Edens -- and when it's chopped up by transfers on overcrowded runs, it's not like you can really even get any work done.

Still, if I could ever swing fulltime telecommuting or an office downtown - I'd probably go carless... I have no real complaints using mass transit on evenings and weekends for getting about.
   61. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3989176)
Gotta love government subsidies for rich people. Doog tiems...


Not in the US in 2004. "The median household income of public transit users is $39,000 while for the population as a whole it is $44,389". http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/transit_passenger_characteristics_text_5_29_2007.pdf
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3989178)
And still nothing beats oil.

Freaking socialist! Coal all the way!
   63. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3989179)
An "epic" storm was bearing down on western Alaska on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said, warning that it could be one of the worst on record for the state..

How will this affect the crab fishing fleet?
   64. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3989184)
It is raining here and not as warm as yesterday. So much for global warming.
   65. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 03:00 PM (#3989185)
It is raining here and not as warm as yesterday. So much for global warming.
   66. Ray (CTL) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3989191)
Of course -- when you miss the distinction between "weather" and "climate" -- you miss this part:


So does everyone else who writes articles about how Global Warming Is Here because we get a 65 degree day in New York in November.

I'm just playing by the rules they established.
   67. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3989192)

The loop and the lakefront are well covered, but going west of say... Ashland is huge pain. I will say that since they GPS'ed the buses, I use the CTA's bus lines more -- the maps are still a mess, but so long as you're good just doing a straight line down a main thoroughfare, it's awfully handy to just time a sandwich or a cup of coffee and meet the bus at the stop.


Yeah, I went to school in Evanston and then lived in uptown, and found if I wanted to get anywhere on time, especially anything not right on the lake, I needed to drive. Sounds like that bus change would be an improvement.
   68. Spahn Insane Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3989193)
D.C., New York, and Singapore are all really good. I had mixed feelings about Chicago.

I live in Chicago, and have been carless for 4 years (other than rentals and I-go.). I too have mixed feelings about Chicago's mass transit. I recognize that it's better than most cities' systems, but it's not as good as it could be, and I can't get around the El's total inferiority in comparison to NYC's subway (and probably DC's metro as well, though DC-dwelling friends tell me the Metro's got its quirks as well, so perhaps it's a case of familiarity breeding contempt).

Anyway, if the weather's good, I'd rather bike to work than take the CTA.
   69. Mike Hampton's #1 Fan Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#3989194)
Not in the US in 2004. "The median household income of public transit users is $39,000 while for the population as a whole it is $44,389".

It's not as if it's 100% clear from what he said, but I understood him to mean not that public transit is a government subsidy for rich people, but that electric car charging stations at Safeco are. Poor people are probably not buying a lot of Nissan Leafs (Leaves?) or Chevy Volts.
   70. Spahn Insane Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3989195)
So does everyone else who writes articles about how Global Warming Is Here because we get a 65 degree day in New York in November.

I'm just playing by their rules.


They must hang out with the same "resident progressives" who were arguing vociferously for the hiring of random African American managers in the recent thread on that topic. Your swatting down of that strawman was similarly impressive.
   71. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3989196)
I'm just playing by the rules they established.


I don't think you understand the rules or could even comprehend the rulebook.
   72. Spahn Insane Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3989197)
zonk, where do you live? I was thinking you were a south suburban (Joliet?) guy, for some reason.
   73. The Good Face Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3989199)
Gotta love government subsidies for rich people. Doog tiems...


Not in the US in 2004. "The median household income of public transit users is $39,000 while for the population as a whole it is $44,389". http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/transit_passenger_characteristics_text_5_29_2007.pdf


I was referring to the government subsidizing charging stations for cars that cost $40k+.
   74. Spahn Insane Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3989206)
I was referring to the government subsidizing charging stations for cars that cost $40k+.

Yeah, for a lefty socialist tree hugger, I'm pretty ambivalent about this charging stations bit, for that reason (and because I'm on the fence--strictly because I don't know the science--about whether the environmental impact of constructing electric cars/batteries is any better than fossil fuels). I'm open to persuasion, I suppose.
   75. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#3989207)
I was referring to the government subsidizing charging stations for cars that cost $40k+.


Ah, my bad.

So does everyone else who writes articles about how Global Warming Is Here because we get a 65 degree day in New York in November.

I'm just playing by the rules they established.


Then maybe ignore the rules of the obvious partisan shell game (whoever the 'they' would be that established them) and revert to the science instead?
   76. The Good Face Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3989223)
So does everyone else who writes articles about how Global Warming Is Here because we get a 65 degree day in New York in November.

I'm just playing by the rules they established.


You don't understand Ray... unseasonably hot weather is evidence of global warming. Unseasonably cold weather is evidence of global warming. An absence of storms indicates global warming. A surfeit of storms indicates global warming. Both droughts and flood, no matter where they occur or what the circumstances are, are the result of global warming. It's serious man.

But there's no need for panic! In the same manner that ancient shaman forced Night Wolf to spit out Moon Virgin in times of lunar eclipse, our modern leaders can propitiate the wrath of Gaia! I'm talking about sacrifices of course. Your sacrifices to be more specific.
   77. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3989225)

So does everyone else who writes articles about how Global Warming Is Here because we get a 65 degree day in New York in November.

I'm just playing by the rules they established.


Ok Rush.
   78. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#3989228)
You don't understand Ray.


Well Ray doesn't understand science, so the circle of life is complete.
   79. scotto Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3989236)
Yeah, for a lefty socialist tree hugger, I'm pretty ambivalent about this charging stations bit, for that reason (and because I'm on the fence--strictly because I don't know the science--about whether the environmental impact of constructing electric cars/batteries is any better than fossil fuels). I'm open to persuasion, I suppose.

Hey Gern!

A post that I wrote about south side Chicago needing to rely on busses, patterns of redevelopment and how it follows lakefront and subway lines got swallowed up.

So I'll talk briefly about lead acid battery manufacturing. In short, it's a pretty crappy thing to live near. There's a lead acid battery recycler/manufacturer that operates outside of Reading, PA that was subject to some litigation that I worked on in the 90's. Soil concentration of lead in the residential community around the plant got up as high as 10,000 ppm, and the stream that received the discharge up to 30,000 ppm. For reference, I think the actionable soil lead concentration - not sure if it's brownfields or clean up standards - is a still pretty damned high 300 ppm. Or at least it was back then.

I'll spare you the stories of how it affected the kids. It was pretty grim.

Edited to add: Don't know much about the other batteries.
   80. Shredder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3989237)
Also, for everyone who extols the wonders of a subway system, I just can't see how it beats owning your own car and letting you go anywhere you want
Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Being a regular user of mass transit does not preclude someone from also owning a car. I take the train to work every day, and I take my car to the suburbs to play golf on the weekends. But life would suck infinitely more if I actually had to live in the suburbs and either drive to work or drive to the train.

Look, I love Los Angeles, but if you like to actually go out and have fun and not worry about driving drunk, or finding parking, etc., it's infinitely better to live in a city where you can drive when you want to drive, and take public transportation (or cabs) when you don't want to drive. And with car share programs, you really don't even need to own anymore if you live in the city. People always ask me why I'm still in Chicago, and the reason is because it's almost impossible to have this kind of lifestyle in Los Angeles. I'll deal with the cold winters in exchange for a walkable neighborhood and excellent public transportation.
   81. Hombre Brotani Posted: November 09, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3989254)
Richard Mueller, one of the most oft-cited global warming skeptics, created the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project, and set out to correct for all the perceived flaws he and a scant few others have criticized existing research for having. He wrote about in the WSJ.
When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.
What's really fun is that the single largest contributors to the BEST Project are the Koch brothers. The project did not yield the results they had expected.
   82. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3989263)
The roots of the conspiracy run deep indeed.
   83. Hombre Brotani Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3989270)
Relevant: Jim Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, on Mueller's study:
It should help inform those who have honest skepticism about global warming.

Of course, presuming that he basically confirms what we have been reporting, the deniers will then decide that he is a crook or has some ulterior motive.

As I have discussed in the past, the deniers, or contrarians, if you will, do not act as scientists, but rather as lawyers.

As soon as they see evidence against their client (the fossil fuel industry and those people making money off business-as-usual), they trash that evidence and bring forth whatever tidbits they can find to confuse the judge and jury.
I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
   84. just plain joe Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3989271)
I'm here in the Bay Area, and there are free charging stations everywhere.


Free for the user perhaps but someone, somewhere is paying for that electricity. Like others have said, the people with the wherewithal to purchase (usually expensive) electric cars are getting a subsidy at someone else's expense. Good for them I guess but where do I go to get my free tank of unleaded.
   85. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#3989279)
(as far as I can tell) the closest bus line drops off about half a mile away.

So, an 8-10 minute walk? That doesn't sound too bad.

I've been car-free (mostly SF but also three years in DC) for fifteen years, and I love it. Within town, cabs work - they're hard to get in SF in general, but I live next to Union Square, where they're plentiful - and if I need a car, City CarShare has always been very good to me.
   86. Spahn Insane Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:14 PM (#3989282)
79:

scotto! Word up. And thanks for the response...interesting and disturbing stuff.

As a non-car owner and non-aspiring car owner, I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I'm a little skeptical of the reflexive "electric/hybrid=greener than thou" sentiments I tend to hear.
   87. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3989289)
As I have discussed in the past, the deniers, or contrarians, if you will, do not act as scientists, but rather as lawyers.

As soon as they see evidence against their client (the fossil fuel industry and those people making money off business-as-usual), they trash that evidence and bring forth whatever tidbits they can find to confuse the judge and jury.


I think most people know to reflexively ignore anything a lawyer says, given the whorish and dishonest nature of their profession.
   88. Shredder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3989292)
Free for the user perhaps but someone, somewhere is paying for that electricity.
Well, someone, somewhere is paying for all of the pollution and other externalities that come from vehicle exhaust. Presumably, San Franciscoans feel that it's worth the cost of the electricity to encourage reduction of those externalities. As for the stations at Safeco, as mentioned above, people are actually paying for the electricity
The four charging stations at Safeco Field are Level 2, or 240 volt AC input. Each is capable of fully re-charging a vehicle battery in two-to-six hours. Anyone can plug into the charging stations 24 hours a day, even on days when the Mariners are not playing. Each Blink Pedestal features a touch screen with information on charge status, cost, payment options (mobile phone or credit card) and billing information. Charging costs are set by ECOtality.
It seems to me that with the increasing ease of paying for things on the spot, electronically, that this would actually be pretty viable in the future. Assume that a car with a range of 240 miles takes four hours to charge. If I could plug for 20 minutes while I'm at the grocery store, that more than replenishes the electricity discharged to get there. And it could add additional revenue for the store owner. It's a lot more convenient and efficient to recharge my car while running errands than it is to run errands, then make an extra trip the gas station to fill up. And again, if businesses could add electricity charges for electric cars to their revenue streams, it seems like it would be something they would embrace (depending on how long it takes to recoup initial set-up expenses).
   89. scotto Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#3989303)
I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I'm a little skeptical of the reflexive "electric/hybrid=greener than thou" sentiments I tend to hear.

I think there's some merit to your skepticism. While the electric/hybrid thing is certainly better from a gas consumption perspective, it's really a transition technology. From what to what it an open question that hasn't been answered, and is unlikely to be answered in a systematic or even thoughtful manner.

To the extent that the free market favors those technologies that most effectively externalize their production/use/disposal costs, I don't know that the most sustainable solution will be the one that is ultimately adopted. The costs of whatever transportation technology of the future gets adopted will be subsidized one way or another, whether directly to the industry or by externalizing them to the environment and public health.

I'd add that hybrid cars, like many other consumer-directed sustainability efforts, miss the point. People can feel good about themselves that their carbon footprint is smaller and it is commendable, but it's a drop in the bucket. To the extent that feel-goodism becomes the only alternative to the status quo and detracts from more systematic efforts to address root causes, then it's a problem. My attitude about this is probably why Whole Foods gives me the heebie-jeebies, as much as I love their cheese selection.

My own take is that sustainability isn't something that's going to be effectively addressed by market forces, but that's really swimming against a strong ideological current. Barry Commoner's long pointed out that the most effective ways that pollution have been dealt with is by banning certain products and processes, including tetraethyl lead in gasoline and PCBs. While a certain lip service to this approach has entered the halls of corporate and public governance and been manifested in some ways, e.g. the medical profession and mercury, plastic additives to packaging, and such, it hasn't gotten the full credence that it deserves.

To my thinking, anyway.
   90. base ball chick Posted: November 09, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#3989324)
56. BourbonSamurai, now sold with Wife! Posted: November 09, 2011 at 09:39 AM (#3989164)

I've been car free for the past two years and I'm never going back. It's great.



- i guess i'm too texan to ever give up mah car. i'd give up mah phone first.

and to put it nicely, public transportation in a city that has a 60+ mile diameter is difficult. the cute little choochoos are for show - going from downtown to the football stadium through the medical center. big deal. bus transportation is a nightmare unless where you are going just happens to be on the route of the bus you originally catch. AND getting your kids from skool, especially if they go to different ones? you are supposed to get them - and you ARE expected to go and get them - like HOW?

besides, my last real sin besides hanging out here too gol-durned much, is taking the car outside the city and driving fast. danica patrick with flava, that's me
   91. Gaelan Posted: November 09, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3989349)
I lived in Seoul for three years and the subway system and the associated bus system is unbelievably awesome. The subway goes everywhere and is cheap. What could be better? The difference in quality of life between living in Seoul and living in say, Northern Virginia or DC cannot be expressed in words designed to express scale. They are different in kind not degree. And it all comes down to the virtues of high density living and quality mass transit.

It's funny with all the political debates over irrelevant issues the real enemy of humanity is never attacked. That enemy is suburban development which should be attacked at every opportunity. That said, I own a house 5 kilometres from downtown of a city of a million people and without suburban development that probably wouldn't be possible. Nonetheless, I still say a mass transit system that goes everywhere and has a train every five to ten minutes is a basic condition for living life to its fullest in a mass society.
   92. Greg K Posted: November 09, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3989371)

- i guess i'm too texan to ever give up mah car. i'd give up mah phone first.

I've never driven a car, though I did get my first cell phone last year!
I'd like to visit Texas one day.

EDIT: I think you nail it though. For all the talk of politics, or personal preference, I'd say the largest determining factor of whether you like public transportation or not is where you live.
   93. Greg K Posted: November 09, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3989375)
It's funny with all the political debates over irrelevant issues the real enemy of humanity is never attacked. That enemy is suburban development which should be attacked at every opportunity.

I just attended a lecture on medieval urban history today...we should try their tactic. Build a wall around the suburb, boot out the undesirables, and tax the leftovers.
   94. Hombre Brotani Posted: November 09, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#3989394)
EDIT: I think you nail it though. For all the talk of politics, or personal preference, I'd say the largest determining factor of whether you like public transportation or not is where you live.
We visited Seattle earlier this year, and between the airport light rail, the street car lines, and the monorail, we never had to walk more than 10, maybe 15 minutes in any direction. It was amazing. I'd kill myself if I ever had to move to that sunless hipsterville, but it's fun to visit, and I'd love to see Los Angeles have anything resembling what Seattle has in terms of public transportation. (Of course, L.A. has a ton of issues that makes it difficult, but whatever.)
   95. aleskel Posted: November 09, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#3989397)
but it's fun to visit, and I'd love to see Los Angeles have anything resembling what Seattle has in terms of public transportation. (Of course, L.A. has a ton of issues that makes it difficult, but whatever.)

Not a fan of the LA subway, eh?
   96. just plain joe Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#3989416)
Well, someone, somewhere is paying for all of the pollution and other externalities that come from vehicle exhaust.


There is very little pollution from vehicle exhaust at this point, especially compared to 30-40 years ago. I will concede that extracting and processing petroleum so that it can be used for vehicle fuel does add to the pollution level, the same thing can be said for electric cars. All they do is concentrate the pollution into fewer places; I presume you have never lived downwind from a coal fired power plant or seen what is left after coal has been strip mined from the earth. I found your comment about the car with a range of 240 miles to be amusing; at this point there is no electric car in production that will go more than 80-100 miles on a full charge, if used in normal stop and go driving.
   97. phredbird Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3989444)
Not a fan of the LA subway, eh?


i've never ridden it, but i don't need to. i live 3 blocks from work.

i've been told one of the problems the system is having is that there are a lot of fare jumpers. city needs to address that.

and the fact that the darn thing doesn't even go where its supposed to go.
   98. aleskel Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3989450)
There is very little pollution from vehicle exhaust at this point, especially compared to 30-40 years ago. I will concede that extracting and processing petroleum so that it can be used for vehicle fuel does add to the pollution level, the same thing can be said for electric cars.

It goes without saying that emissions from cars are less polluting than they were in the past, but don't think for a second that they're not still dangerous. I just wrote a paper on energy use in Houston, which has some of the worst air quality in the country. Look at the EPA data on pollutant source:

CO

SO2

Particulate matter

mobile source emissions from vehicles is up there, especially in CO (Houston also has a big problem with ozone, but I don't have any data on cars' contribution there).
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 09, 2011 at 07:53 PM (#3989463)
EDIT: I think you nail it though. For all the talk of politics, or personal preference, I'd say the largest determining factor of whether you like public transportation or not is where you live.

Where you live, and where you go to on a regular basis. Washington has a great Metro system if you live within walking distance of a Metro stop, or if the long term parking lots aren't full when you get there, and if where you're going doesn't require two additional bus transfers. But when that's not the case, you're often out of luck. It goes back to Gaelan's example of Seoul, where the density reaches a critical mass and the economics of scale make public transport more than just a liberal ideology.

And Gaelan's also right about suburban sprawl being the enemy of public transportation. 60 years ago, when well over half of the DC metro population was in the city, the bus system was both thorough in scope and thoroughly efficient. Bus routes came down many neighborhood streets dozens of times a day, and you could get from one part of the area to another with relatively little waiting and virtually no cost at all---an unlimited weekly bus pass was the equivalent of $8.63 in 2011 dollars, less than the cost of many round trip rush hour Metro rides today. But both that degree of reach and that degree of cost efficiency is impossible when that 1951 population has both quintupled and dispersed, and the majority of people in the DC metro area now have no convenient way of getting from Point A to most Points B without the use of a car.
   100. Shredder Posted: November 09, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#3989499)
I found your comment about the car with a range of 240 miles to be amusing; at this point there is no electric car in production that will go more than 80-100 miles on a full charge, if used in normal stop and go driving.
My mistake. Then 100 miles. Big deal. No one buys an electric car for long road trips. The point is still the same. How many people live more than 5 miles from a grocery store? You'd need all of 15 minutes to replenish that usage.
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