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December 08, 2011

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There was a time when cattle was king. As a result there are still civil laws and tax laws on the books that favor cattle owners over everyone else.

There was a time when railroad was king. As a result there are still civil laws, tax laws and transport regulations that still favor railroads over everyone else. I often go up against some of these old railroad regulations and I have won zero battles and lost too many to count.

At their height there were 230,468.32 miles of trackage. (Emil, the .32 is for you,. I thought you might like that) Currently there are still 200,000 miles of trackage.

The "date of death" on the death certificate of the railroads would have to state "during the 50's and 60's, which was also the birth of "the explosion of cars" and the interstate highway system.

As has been mentioned on the blog before, we should be discussing flying cars at this point in our history. The fact that we are not having that discussion would mean that somewhere we bumped into an invisible wall that stopped our forward progress as a society. I wonder what it is that composes that invisible barrier???

Har,

Commuter rail only works where you have a dense enough destination to push the workers into their jobs. One of the grand failures of Phoenix is the lack of jobs downtown. The spread of downtown to the freeway corridors, with the 101 being the perfect example, further dictates that unless you follow the freeways with service connects to real bus lines, you have nothing. Quite simply, Phoenix is ill designed, and does not have the density at the current prices of gas sufficient to push people into bus transit.

Without sufficient taxes to subsidize bus service, the poor can't even use our marginal bus system, because it does not have a rich enough interconnect system between bus lines. Two hours to travel 12 miles is common, and that just doesn't compete with a car that takes 20 minutes.

I am tired of heavy infrastructure failures, when the damn bus is the starting problem.

All of this light rail crap could be done much cheaper with natty gas buses and with better service.

Stupidity is not confined entirely to the right in this case.

Rail simply costs too much.

For the cost of light rail, we could have but thousand of new riders onto our bus system, and still had money left over.

That waste, more than anything, is what pisses me off. I have lived in urban areas, and good bus service is what allows the poor real freedom to commute to jobs. Which is the point of a real transit system.

"The remaining trains are highly popular, much to the chagrin of Amtrak haters such as wealthy Republican John Sidney McCain III." - Rogue

Just imagine our Congressmen travelling from their states to Washington by rail, mingling with their constituents, instead of flying there in their corporate jet cocoons. A connected, new world.

"Without sufficient taxes to subsidize bus service[...]" - AllenM

Automobiles are subsidized in our system at every level. Change in transit, as for change in the energy regime, requires first addressing entrenched subsidies.

“I am tired of heavy infrastructure failures, when the damn bus is the starting problem.”

Actually, the starting problem is what you wrote here:

“Quite simply, Phoenix is ill designed, and does not have the density at the current prices of gas sufficient to push people into bus transit.”

Real estate development patterns are influenced by the type of infrastructure built. Since WWII, highway funding has been available at a ratio of about 8:1 compared to transit funding. The outcome of decades of highway projects and other market distortions is the dispersed, car-dependent urban form that you see in Phoenix and most other cities that were created in the second half of the 20th century.

So, when you write: “good bus service is what allows the poor real freedom to commute to jobs. Which is the point of a real transit system.”

This is false, particularly in a city like Phoenix. The point of a real transit system in a post-war city is to stimulate the re-design of the environment into a walkable format that focuses development close to transit and, in turn, increases accessibility to jobs and services for everyone, not just people who can’t afford cars. Buses alone do not accomplish this objective. The quality and certainty provided by rail infrastructure is required (it’s also cheaper in the long run due to lower operating costs).

There is a large and growing market for neighborhoods that do not require long commutes and daily driving for all of ones needs. This market includes not just low-income folks, but people who prefer to live in active urban centers and walkable neighborhoods. What real estate has the highest price per square foot in America? (hint: it’s not in Paradise Valley or Gilbert) The key to meeting this demand with additional supply is providing the right type of infrastructure – and that starts with rail transit.

Phx Planner beat me to the chicken-and-egg argument, and stated it better than I would have.

Scene: Hallway in the hall of congress.

Railroad lobbyist to congress-person, "hey buddy, here's a brand spanking new $20 bill. How about you hang on to it and maybe throw a little favorable legislation our way?"

Congress-person, Scowling, silent.

Oil lobbyist to congress-person, Hey, can I get your wire-transfer info for your bank in the Bahamas? We have $1,500,000 to help with your re-election efforts. Maybe you could introduce legislation making a person a terrorist if they say anything bad about the oil industry. You know, the war on terror thing?

congress-person, "sure, I'd be glad to."

Thanks, Mr. McCain, tell your friends Kyl and Lieberman and Graham there's plenty for them too.

Well, to be fair, trains can't fly over to South Korea for cheap maintenance: you know, the very minimum required for compliance.

From planestupid.com
--------
Plane Stupid is a network of grassroots groups that take non violent direct action against aviation expansion.

We have three demands:

•End to short haul flights and airport expansion
•Stop aviation advertising
•A just transition to sustainable jobs and transport

This is on topic because a rail line ran through Maricopa.

I had the misfortune of visiting Maricopa, AZ today.

I hadn't been to Maricopa since around 1980 when I went dove hunting down there. There used to be a four way stop at the main intersection and there was a Circle K store on one corner. THAT WAS IT.

Today in Maricopa, I spent a good deal of time caught up in traffic jams all through town.

Are you kidding me?????

Who in their &%$#@ minds would buy a house down there?

Who in their *&%@$%*&%$# minds would commute from there to the valley??

Who in their &%$#@%#@& minds would put up with a traffic jam down there on a daily basis???

I was so &%$#*# *&%$#@ about the whole experience that I had to have a big *&%$@$^ drink just to settle down.

That is the biggest pile of &%$@$%&* bull&^%$#^ I have seen in my *&^%$*& life.

Hey, Maricopa, AZ &%$@ you.

Isn't Maricopa (the city of, pop. ~40K) now contiguous with Gila Bend?

Dosent Sara Palin's kid live in Maricopa?
Didnt one of them thar princes visit Gila Bend? There is a nice drive between Maricopa and Gila Bend.
AZREBEL You go to Maricopa after the fan club meeting?

Yes, cal I went there after the meeting.

GBD & MS,
If Maricopa is contiguous with Gila Bend, then &%@$ Gila Bend too.

Thanks, GBD & MS, I had just settled down and you done got me all fired up again.

Maricopa also had a couple of nasty bars. Those were the days. By the 2000s, it was claiming it would become the next Scottsdale. Now it's just an exurban disaster.

I'll be in town next week for a few days. If anybody wants to meet Thursday afternoon somewhere on the LRT line, let me know.

Jon: enjoy your time in Phoenix. May the sun shine brightly on you and Ms. Susan! Having an escape from PuddleTown is a very good thing . . . .

See what you did, GBD & MS, You took advantage of me being upset at Maricopa thus under the influence of fire-water and you caused me to curse at Gila Bend. I just Google mapped Gila Bend and it is still the quaint fork in the road in the middle of nowhere. So, along with my apologies, I would like to direct that curse back at Maricopa, AZ where it belongs.

Again, this post is on topic as there is a rail line through Gila Bend.

Welcome to Haboobville.

AZREBEL Did you miss the 100 year run from Tucson to downtown Gila Bend a couple of weeks ago?

"To his credit, Ross' examination of Phoenix is much more complex and substantive than most of the simplistic screeds so apparently popular among journalists who live in wet, dreary places". -Grady Gammage

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/2011/12/10/20111210phoenix-sustainability-criticism-wrong.html#ixzz1gFVdioVC

Hmmmm, I wonder who he could be talking about? Gammage makes some good points but fails to mention what really is unsustainable about metro Phoenix; urban sprawl, air pollution, etc. He also can throw in mass transit and lack of commuter rail into the mix.


The thing that stood out in highest profile from Gammage's column was the admission that he was the author of the Morrison Institute study "Watering the Sun Corridor".

The water supply issue is complex and I haven't made a study of it vis a vis sustainable population growth. I'll leave it to Mr. Talton and others to opine. Ditto high-speed rail, though many of Mr. Talton's broader points in this essay are excellent.

At the moment I've been busy researching Phoenix's economy in response to Robert Robb's boosterish column a week or so ago. It's fascinating and I've already made some interesting discoveries. Any response is likely to be fully in the spirit of Rogue Columnist, so perhaps Mr. Talton will consider it for possible inclusion as a Guest Column at some point. (It's currently a work in progress and will only be offered if I feel that the end results are sufficiently compelling.)


"This is false, particularly in a city like Phoenix. The point of a real transit system in a post-war city is to stimulate the re-design of the environment into a walkable format that focuses development close to transit and, in turn, increases accessibility to jobs and services for everyone, not just people who can’t afford cars. Buses alone do not accomplish this objective. The quality and certainty provided by rail infrastructure is required (it’s also cheaper in the long run due to lower operating costs)."

You have to be kidding, Phx Planner.

Those houses are built. The infrastructure is built. The lack of jobs in the center city core dictates you go bus now, because there is not the density to sustain light rail.

How many people per square mile, plus how many feeder bus lines? Do the math, we don't have it, and without a large center city cluster, we ain't ever gonna get it.

Now, if we burned down half of the crappy neighborhoods south of the cute hysterical districts, you could rebuild it under the flight paths of the airport.

Where are the jobs to support your fantasy? Might as well start more real bus service, and as someone pointed out, it won't show up without subsidy.

Now, for all of those millions needed to move that rail one mile, how many bus lines could move at one per 12 minutes for rush hour, which would push massive ridership of the poor.

And the poor are what ride the bus.

The urban hipster fantasy is just ridiculous outside of Manhattan.

Sorry, but we live with what we got, not what we would have with a total fantasy reset of the last two decades.

Choices were made, and the consequences are here for decades.

My office coordinator used to ride the bus from 35th ave and Bell to downtown Phx, and miss one bus connection and she was more than 1 hour late. Ridiculous.

Simply ridiculous.

And yes, I have lived in places with serious downtowns, and old suburbs with train, subway, and bus connections. Only with sufficient job density would the middle class ride transit, and only if it was time efficient to the jobs.

Agreed. The bridges were burned long ago. Escape.

AllenM, the point is that future development should occur in dense CBDs. The infrastructure for sprawl is there, but to maintain it as is or expand it would mean that externalities will have to be added in; eventually. That will make the status quo much less appealing and give the much needed push for intense urban development; even in Phoenix.

Bus transit is inefficient and expensive. Your office-mate not only missed connections because of ridiculous headway, but due to predictable and unpredictable traffic patterns and congestion; e.g. accidents, event traffic, etc.

phxSUNSfan said, "even in Phoenix."

EXCEPT in Phoenix.

Escapee, it is already happening. Light rail in Phoenix is extremely successful and properties that were vacant, including highrises, have no vacancies. More housing in downtown is on the way, just not fast enough!

The ever optimistic phxsunfan. Hope your right. the city grows, UP, not out and like the core of the human body it does ever thing to keep the heart pumping even if it means losing its extremities.

phxSUNSfan said, "More housing in downtown is on the way, just not fast enough!"

Just where I'd wanna 'live' with my kids: in the middle of a brown cloud above toxic waters.

Escapee, I was just trying to buoy up phoenixsunfan.
But
I am with you.
Sounds like you are one of those folks in the "Good News" by Edward Abbey.
From
the Sajuaro Kid
and his dog spot.

PS some say the coming Global conditions will make Louisiana and the Dakotas the place to be.

Since I work in aviation, I'm opposed to the above limits. I'm too old to learn useful work.

"Just where I'd wanna 'live' with my kids: in the middle of a brown cloud above toxic waters". - Escapee

Find me a large city where this is not the case. HINT: Flagstaff doesn't count as a large city...

"PS some say the coming Global conditions will make Louisiana and the Dakotas the place to be". -Cal Lash

Louisiana if you like house boats.

;-)

Rising ocean/sea levels will make parts of Louisiana uninhabitable. Unless of course, huge levies are raised around certain cities like New Orleans...


But it will make for great Hydroponics and fish farms

OK you folks brought up the air thing, so this posting is for morecleanair.

In the old days, I remember watching the brown cloud build up along the length of I 17 then it would slowly spread across the downtown area. If nothing else, it was interesting.

I recently had the opportunity to go aloft with my brother-in-law pilot.

Here's the scenario: 9am, weekday around 3500 ft, traveling the valley south to north. I was able to make out the I 17 cloud, I 10 cloud, 60 cloud, 51 cloud, 202 cloud, 101 cloud (picture the 101 cloud as a big circle around the whole valley. The only cloud I couldn't make out was the 303 cloud.

Talk about progress.

And what about the black jet fuel cloud on top of the brown cloud over Sky Harbor?

Sky Harbor: The Airport to Nowhere.

So escapee did you land in Portal

Homey is here

Nice rain u brought, HOMEY
The Barrio need it

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