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Thread: I love public transit but.........

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I love public transit but.........

    As inspired by Carlomarx.....I wanna hear about the 3 train wreck.

    I spent most of my pre-teen and teenage years traveling to and from school on public transit. I loved it because I could do my homework before I got home or to school and I met a lot of other kids similar to me.

    My worst experience on public transit was when I was 13 yrs old. It was Christmas time and I had about $20 on me, which is a fortune to kid at that age. Anyway, there were a few scam artists on the bus that were doing that nut under the cup trick. I saw this guy win extra money so I thought that I could double my earning so that I could buy more Christmas presents for my family. Lo and behold, I was robbed big time. May those creeps burn for eternity for stealing money from a child!
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    sounds like you like the transit part but don't like the public part.

    I think those are called taxis.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Public transit gave me freedom to go places that I wouldn't have had if I lived in the suburbs. I got my first "cool" haircut on my first solo bus trip (awesome flat-top!) Suburban high schoolers have to be driven everywhere like babies until they're 16 and then have to do anything to get money for a car and insurance. Like most people I would take it if I worked closer to home.

    But . . . buses suck for longer distances. I would take me about 1 and a half hours to take the bus to work when I can drive in 30 minutes

    But . . . buses are only as fast as traffic, especially going into downtown's narrow streets. Most public transit is downtown-oriented. I now live south of the city so going anywhere other than downtown requires a time-consuming transfer.

    Mid-size cities have it the worst. Real transit systems with light rail etc. would be great but the overall mass ins't there, so they're stuck with buses on clogged streets.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    So i grew up in a small town (5,000) on the jersey shore.
    I don't think anyone would describe it as anything else but
    suburban. At 45 miles south of New York i think it's fairly accurate.

    I could ride my bike to beach in 20 minutes. I could ride to the neighboring town (12,000) to enjoy their much larger downtown in 15 minutes. I could ride to the train in 5 minutes for the one hour ride up to New York City.

    Other than the train there really wasn't any transit but I still enjoyed my mobility and access to the city without having to live in it.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I love public transit, but... well, we don't have any here. it may not do me a whole lot of good now, since I have the little one to take to school every day. But down the road, I would love to hop on a bus and zone out on the way to work and back.

  6. #6
    i love public transit. in fact, i depend on it. but, it's not without its share of problems. even the maddeningly sterile washington metro rail has problems sometimes....
    unlike the nyc subway, each metro line has only one track in each direction for the length of the line. there are rail yards located near the end of each line, but no place to tow a broken-down train should something happen...so when a train breaks down, it causes a major delay because they are forced to 'single track' past the offending train. since the metro already strains under a normal d.c. rush hour, the crowds present when a train breaks down rival crowds for major events (i.e. forth of july) to metro's credit, these breakdowns don't occurr very often.


  7. #7

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    Wow. I didn't think anybody was really going to start this thread...

    OK, so a group us were going on Mid-Semester break from the School for Field Studies, Center for Wildlife Management Studies in Kenya. We were leaving Nairobi to head to the coast and party like Ziggy Marley. Kenya Railways, still exhibiting British colonial panache, was to serve dinner dinner not long after we departed the Nairobi station: Oxtail soup followed by ...some other food.. I forget. But I digress.

    About an hour or two into the ride, as the train passed the game ranch where we had spent the last month and a half, my friend and I were sitting on the couch in our berth, the upper bunk folded up into the wall. I think there was some talk of having a tarot session when WHAM! the train went 80kph to 0 in about a tenth of a second. We were fine, but that upper bed didn't have it so good-- it came unfastened from the wall and swung down. Now, it would have broken its hinges (giving me nowhere to sleep that night) if I hadn't been the split-second decision-maker that I am. I don't remember this, but I must have thought "my head can stop this falling bunk" and being the taller of the two I saved the bed by taking its momentum on the apex of my noggin and the base of my neck. Translated: the bed knocked me in the head.

    Immediately the train bgan to warm up. All power to the cabin air-conditioning (sporadically functioning fans like those your junior high bus driver had on the visor) failed and the equatorial sun cooked us in the train.

    We spent the next twelve hours dozing and playing cards, hanging out on the train, and inthe morning they got it rolling again.

    Whoo... long story. Here are the mechanics of the wreck: at points, the single track becomes a double so that two trains going opposite directions can pass each other. The trick to this is that the trains have to agree to go on DIFFERENT TRACKS. A few hours before our train came to the area, two trains lacking "the social skills" faced each other on the same track. Boom. They jack-knifed and the wrecked cars spilled over onto the parallel track, upon which ran our unsuspecting train. Boom: three-train wreck.

    Well, I hope I've entertained somebody. I have to get back to work.

    Cheers,

    c

  8. #8
    gotta love public transit. but this is just silly.


    Detroit, MI
    Downtown People Mover

  9. #9
    Member sthooligan's avatar
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    Ahh the beauty of the MBTA in Boston. While the T and busses do run, Boston can be a real headache to get around on public transportation. The T follows the classic hub and spoke system so everyone has to go in to get out. Going from Cambridge to Allston is roughly a 15 minute walk or 5 minute drive; taking the T you will average roughly 45. A circular line connecting all the lines would be great, however it seems like all the city's money is tied up in the Big Dig. Wow, my first semi-rant on cyburbia, liberating.
    pl

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Wasn't there a folk song from the 1960's about a guy doomed to forever ride the MTA because he did not have a dime to get off?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Originally posted by sthooligan
    Ahh the beauty of the MBTA in Boston. While the T and busses do run, Boston can be a real headache to get around on public transportation. The T follows the classic hub and spoke system so everyone has to go in to get out. Going from Cambridge to Allston is roughly a 15 minute walk or 5 minute drive; taking the T you will average roughly 45. A circular line connecting all the lines would be great, however it seems like all the city's money is tied up in the Big Dig. Wow, my first semi-rant on cyburbia, liberating.
    pl

    Is the bus system good at connecting the outlying neighborhoods?

    The T is dirty, hot, ugly and crowded but I love it. I love its gritty efficiency and the cross section of people all going somewhere. I haven't heard of much crime on it either, unlike NY.

  12. #12
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Originally posted by Seabishop
    The T is dirty, hot, ugly and crowded but I love it. I love its gritty efficiency and the cross section of people all going somewhere. I haven't heard of much crime on it either, unlike NY.
    I love the T. I never drive beyond Sullivan Square when I go to Beantown....I always use the T.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Yeah, there is some folk song about Scollay Square in Boston. It's now called Government Center and sometimes there is a subway performer down there who sings it.

    The bus system does cover the suburbs and the urban areas that are not reachable or convenient via the T. sthooligan has a good example of how the T can be seen as inefficient. However - I used to live in Allston - you can take a 10 minute bus ride to anywhere in Cambridge or the other way to Brookline.

    Boston's MTA does need some updating, but compared to what most US cities have, it's pretty good. NYC and DC have better systems - and maybe Chicago does, too (I've never been there) - but there are no other rivals.

    The Big Dig did sop up our public works money, but it's just so damn cool. I drove through the central tunnel last week for the first time and drove over the new cable-style bridge. Pretty cool. I can't wait to see what downtown Boston will look like in 4 years when they finally dismantle the elevated highway. Of course, that's one thorny planning issue right now.....

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    The T in Boston always reminded me more of a tic-tac-toe board than of a hub and spoke system. And other than not having a connection between North and South Stations the regional rail system is pretty comprehensive.

    Which is the great thing about SEPTA - all the regional rail trains pass through the same 4 stations Temple U., Market East, Suburban, and 30th St. so you can change between any of the 15 lines that serve the suburbs and outlying 'hoods in the city.

    http://www.septa.org/parking_project/fullmap_septa.html
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  15. #15
    Member sthooligan's avatar
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    Yeah the new Zakin bridge is pleasing to the eye but I think some of the design is silly. I think the tops are supposed to resemble the bunker hill monument which just seems a bit cheesy.
    The busses do have good coverage and the T is safe and clean I just wish the system was a bit more extensive. The busses are very hit or miss. Sometimes you catch them and make it to where you need to go in no time. Other times it takes a bit longer...
    There is also something to be said about the MBTA coverage being less than optimal in low-income areas. The recent "Silver Line" is not really all that the MBTA claims it is. Several community groups wanted a light rail system rather than a "high-speed" bus line.
    pl

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Yes, the Zakim bridge was designed to mirror the Bunker Hill Monument. I usually think things like that are cheesy, but I acutally think the bridge looks sharp, especially at night when they light it up with purple.

    Here's a daytime picture if anyone's interested. I know this thread started out about safety on the subway. Sorry!

    I don't know how to upload photos, but I'll give it a try:




    Here's the link in case it doesn't work:
    http://www.bigdig.com/thtml/f062802/img004.htm

  17. #17
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    ...I drive alone and I drive fast, in my SUV.

  18. #18
    Originally posted by sthooligan
    Ahh the beauty of the MBTA in Boston. While the T and busses do run, Boston can be a real headache to get around on public transportation. The T follows the classic hub and spoke system so everyone has to go in to get out. Going from Cambridge to Allston is roughly a 15 minute walk or 5 minute drive; taking the T you will average roughly 45. A circular line connecting all the lines would be great, however it seems like all the city's money is tied up in the Big Dig. Wow, my first semi-rant on cyburbia, liberating.
    pl
    I experienced what your talking about during my Boston days. When I lived in Salem I found it frustrating to reach the close by cities and towns that weren't between Salem and Boston. it was esier for me to go into Boston than to some of the neighborhing communities. When I lived in Boston I found the classic hub and spoke system to work towards my advantage though.

  19. #19
    Originally posted by Greenescapist
    Yeah, there is some folk song about Scollay Square in Boston. It's now called Government Center and sometimes there is a subway performer down there who sings it.

    The bus system does cover the suburbs and the urban areas that are not reachable or convenient via the T. sthooligan has a good example of how the T can be seen as inefficient. However - I used to live in Allston - you can take a 10 minute bus ride to anywhere in Cambridge or the other way to Brookline.

    Boston's MTA does need some updating, but compared to what most US cities have, it's pretty good. NYC and DC have better systems - and maybe Chicago does, too (I've never been there) - but there are no other rivals.

    The Big Dig did sop up our public works money, but it's just so damn cool. I drove through the central tunnel last week for the first time and drove over the new cable-style bridge. Pretty cool. I can't wait to see what downtown Boston will look like in 4 years when they finally dismantle the elevated highway. Of course, that's one thorny planning issue right now.....
    lol. Scolley Sq. has been called Government Center for the longest.

  20. #20
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    transit

    The new governor of Mass. says that he was going to try to shift funding from sprawl inducing highway projects and far flung commuter rail projects to well used urban transit. The inner circle line is a high priority. Boston's inner city coverage is pretty good, but Philly is not far behind with the west side lrt routes, and subway system. Boston seems to still be expanding it's transit system however, while Philly is contracting.

    New york City's transit system is no longer a dangerous system for the most part. I was a messanger there using the train at all hours, thousands of times, and never had any trouble. They have rebuilt most of the crumbling stations and cleaned up the subway cars. The new trains are bright and modern. Some lines are overcrowded. The MTA tried to solve this problem by misstating it's finances and raising the fares.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    iBus

    I used mass transit, a stinking city bus, as a teenager to get to the beach and the mall.

    Today I think it is a shame that we are no closer to let someone else to do the driving. Still, American kids in the suburbs and rural suburbs are cultured to use mass transit, starting in the form of school bussing and the local subsidized on call dispatch jitneys and city busses, to then as adult individuals in the suburbs we ditch the whole idea of using public transportation because it is so easy to acquire a vehicle. SO in suburbanizing rural areas, we ususally see just the nondriving population using public transit. It is not really even touted to the driving population as an alternative to the car. Too expensive per trip for the dispatch busses, i suppose

    In rural suburbanizing areas we could do a better job of encouraging that continued use of public transportation, keeping that young ridership that will grow into adulthood and want to use an express bus to the metro centers to work or shop.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    excellent point.

    when i was in northern ireland working with a community group on their "rural transport scheme" they were completely beffudled by the incredible waste of us having 3 of 4 different types of transit operating in the same area.

    public school buses
    shuttles for seniors
    shuttles for the disabled
    and transit for everyone else
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Go German

    My only public transit ridership was during three years in West Germany during the late 80’s. I lived in downtown Mannheim and commuted via the Straßenbahn to the base I worked at which was located on the outer edge of the city. By the time I left Germany, I was using public transportation for about 90% of my personal transportation.

    I still kept a car for mainly tourism uses. Often you could not get a train back to base from downtown late at night. This fact alone forced me to have to search for overnight lodging with the native female population more than once.

    Therefore, a car was necessary when club hopping or planning day trips. If I had lived there another year I likely would have sold the car and gone native. I loved the Straß and the Fußgangerzone. I often traveled to distant cities on the train and I once took the fariy from the Netherlands to England. It's easy in Europe, but I don't see it catching on in the Midwest until we are stacked like cordwood out here.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Runner's avatar
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    I love public transit but.........

    I imagine Mrs. Runner and I will always have a (singular) small car.

    Which reminds me I saw a H1 driving through town last night, a quick check determined that the dork paid $75K for the thing.

    My primary experience with transit was riding Boston's MBTA while growing up. If I remember correctly, the Red and Green lines. Also, in Portland (our next home) on TriMet. Travel has also included trips on the NYC and DC transit systems.
    Cheers,
    UrbanRunner
    :)
    _____________________________
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  25. #25

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    It highly restricts life-style choices

    Access to high-quality public transit means

    MOVING TO A HUGE, OVERPRICED AND GENERALLY OVERCROWDED CITY

    Paying obscene prices for housing

    Now, don't get me wrong... there's nothing inherently wrong with the "City" lifestyle, but it doesn't fit raising children very well UNLESS you're very wealthy and can afford to send your kids to private schools. There's no way in h3ll I would send my children to public schools in core DC, Philly, Atlanta, LA, etc. Those places are warzones. The reasons so many people are slaved to their cars and suburbia is they don't want to deal with the mess that most central cities have evolved into. Its not for everyone. But mass transit is great if you're young, and single, or young and have no kids, or if you're DINKs and love the city.

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