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Thread: Enjoy the ignorance: mass transit in Charleston, South Carolina

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Enjoy the ignorance: mass transit in Charleston, South Carolina

    Here is the link to the story that ran in Sunday the 6th's Post and Courier online. Enjoy the comments from the "real" public. I really want to comment but it's proabably not worth it. I am all for this train line (most of which is existing freight line). I am really for it over the proposed I-526 expansion or any additional lanes on I-26.

    Here's the discussion point.... What can we do as planners and public advocates to counter the paper thin arguments of right wing extremests and how, if any way, could we provide intelligent discussion that cannot be poked full of holes?

    Enjoy: http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/...6670/#comments
    @GigCityPlanner

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Rather than just blasting the respondents (OK, I agee that ne or two commetns were pretty effing ignorant...) consider that the existing sprawl makes railroad transport difficult. i.e., if a lot of peopel live and or work away from a railway node, the trip would involve some driving as well as rail. As lond as the driving is at the home end and short you're ok. But a lot (most?) people do not work within walking distance of rail lines, do they? Car+Train+Bus/taxi ebcoems a logn trip jsut in terms of intermodal changes and a lot less comfortable (suit and briefcase in the low-country heat, anyone??)

    I'm all pro-rail, but let's be realistic.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Lucia is correct that a lot of people in the US live so far removed from a rail line that a mode change would be required at the Home end of the trip. However, if $ are going to be spent in adding capacity, do it with rail and do not continue to reenforce the foundations of sprawl. With transit in place, allow/promote transit frendly development. $4+ per gallon gas will help. Many families in the US have 3+ autos. And thjose vehicles are, on average, very much larger than the typical family care in Europe. A two mile bike/segway or drop off trip followed by a 10 mile train trip to town where another mode would have to be employed is notan awfull thing.

    I don't know what the average is in South Carolina or nationally, but in Florida a recent study found that the average home based work trip is 12 miles. Tallahassee sees well over 1,000 autos drive in to work from surrounding counties with trip average (one way) of 25 miles. (I used to do it from Wakulla County. So glad I moved to the City!)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    I don't find these comments to be overly ignorant or any different than what would be seen in most other areas of the country. The biggest problem an area like Charleston faces is the dispersion of work places. While the penisula is certainly dense enough to support transit, it is not really job rich enough. This means that most trips would require an intermodal change at both ends of the rail trip. The shear number of jobs is the primary reason places like downtown Boston and midtown Manhattan can boast transit trip shares of 50% or more. Transit would be more effective and efficient if the city and region were to concentrate jobs in the downtown core or along the planned rail line through changes to the zoning code.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richi View post
    Lucia is correct
    "Lucia" was my aunt .

    Luca = 'Luke'
    Lucia = 'Lucy'
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Oops! MY bad. My fingers do their on thing often.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I don't think everyone advocating road construction is a right-wing extremist, nor is everyone who wants better transit a bleeding heart liberal. What we need to focus on in planning are improving options. Divisiveness does nothing but make it harder to come to a consensus. Some of the most difficult people I've ever had to deal with are transit advocates that can't understand that roads are used by buses, a dollar spent on bike paths or resurfacing is not wasted, or who want to leave a dangerous intersection dangerous so more money can go to transit.

    Officials will not take them seriously as they (the advocates) don't understand compromise, or that by spending $100,000 on an intersection we are reducing the probability of death for the 50,000 who go through it everyday.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  8. #8
    Here was my favorite comment:

    Posted by The_Mouth_of_the_South on July 6, 2008 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

    Public transportation leads to urban blight. Anybody who uses it is taking an unnecessary foolish risk with their own lives, and besides, public transportation will give criminals easy access to the suburbs. A lack of public transportation is a great natural barrier to all those who are too lazy to go out and earn the money to buy a car and prefer to support themselves through criminal activity.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Learn your facts.
    The TX DOT worked out the level of public subsidy they needed for road construction and maintenance - the numbers were not at all pretty. - http://www.keeptexasmoving.com/index..._Themselves%3F
    Ottawa is switching to transit for budget reasons - story here (long ugly url).
    Then there is the cost to the economy of car crashes as released in the Cambridge Systematics written, AAA report released in March 2008 which concluded that while "congestion" is pegged as having a very high economic cost, the cost of car wrecks is two and a half times worse. That comes out of the government and insurance. More recently was this report that concludes that rising gas prices are having a substantial positive effect on public safety.
    There's actually more, but those are the low hanging fruit on my desktop, as it were.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    This whole last week the Post & Courier devoted a day to different topics on rail/light rail. For the most part the stories were good and helpful. However they included a story on Nashville's newest rail line and the numbers for 05 - 06 which didn't help the fiscal case of rail here.

    The biggest argument is "why should our tax dollars go to subsidize someone's train trip" to which I have to say, "The current road network is entirely subsidized by public funds (save a few toll roads)".
    @GigCityPlanner

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by The Urban Politician View post
    Here was my favorite comment:

    Posted by The_Mouth_of_the_South on July 6, 2008 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

    Public transportation leads to urban blight. Anybody who uses it is taking an unnecessary foolish risk with their own lives, and besides, public transportation will give criminals easy access to the suburbs. A lack of public transportation is a great natural barrier to all those who are too lazy to go out and earn the money to buy a car and prefer to support themselves through criminal activity.

    Thats pretty much why the city of Arlington, TX is one of the largest cities without public transportation. The council believes public transportation would be unsafe and would only be used by the urban poor.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally posted by The Urban Politician View post
    Here was my favorite comment:

    Posted by The_Mouth_of_the_South on July 6, 2008 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

    Public transportation leads to urban blight. Anybody who uses it is taking an unnecessary foolish risk with their own lives, and besides, public transportation will give criminals easy access to the suburbs. A lack of public transportation is a great natural barrier to all those who are too lazy to go out and earn the money to buy a car and prefer to support themselves through criminal activity.
    Yea unfortunately I've heard these type of comments in regards to various proposal for mass transit improvements in Milwaukee, WI too... just terrible

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Here's a link to a thread on another forum where I get into it over the course of a rather long thread with a right wing type. Maybe I caught a few points that someone might find useful next time they hear the same stuff in one of their meetings, I dunno. It's long enough that i'm not sure how to encapsulate it all though.. hopefully this doesn't violate any policies here, apologies if so.
    Does anyone else have any good links to good rebuttals? I'm curious to see if anyone has seen some good arguments or talking points that I haven't come across before. Alternately, a few common arguments that come up a lot that I might not have encountered yet.
    Link here

  14. #14
    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    This whole last week the Post & Courier devoted a day to different topics on rail/light rail. For the most part the stories were good and helpful. However they included a story on Nashville's newest rail line and the numbers for 05 - 06 which didn't help the fiscal case of rail here.

    The biggest argument is "why should our tax dollars go to subsidize someone's train trip" to which I have to say, "The current road network is entirely subsidized by public funds (save a few toll roads)".
    ... and then they stick their fingers in their ears and do the "lalalala i can't hear you" thing.

    The Nashville rail is a good idea in concept, but most people in suburban Nashville think it's perfectly acceptable to live 40 miles out, get in their cars and sit in traffic for an hour. Plus, the fact that Nashville's transit system is almost non existent anyway probably doesn't endear commuters any to taking it (I used to follow a bus in my car when I would drive to work down there, but i'm pretty sure that was the only one I really ever saw).

    Plus, you know, the whole "urban blight" thing. I wasn't aware that just because I ride the train every day that I was a criminal. I guess I should tell my bosses at both of my jobs that.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    You don't have to look as far as Nashville. Charlotte's LYNX train serves most of its line as a park and ride. It's been open about a year and ridership is off the charts. Parking spaces at any of the stations are few and far between. http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/CATS/LYNX/home.htm
    Trains aren't bad and sometimes roads do need to be widened.

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