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KaskadskyjKozak

Gas Prices above $3 Again

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Building rail systems is an incredible waste of money.

 

1. The vast majority of people who will use light rail will simply be people who would otherwise ride the bus, so congestion is not impacted.

 

2. Light rail is vastly more expensive than bus systems

 

3. Light rail is inflexible and can not adapt to changing consumer behavior, where-as a bus system is perfectly flexible

 

Finally, for the price of light rail in Seattle, we could double the number of buses on the road, and make all rides free. That would be a much better use of public funds.

 

Rail is an 1800's technology which just doesn't fit in the modern world. Rail is all about centralization and fixed assets; the modern commute is all about decentralization and flexibility.

 

Here's some data on the experience of other cities which have installed rail systems:

 

Transit Share Data

I dont' think a single one of your points is true.

 

1) Light rail is faster than a bus, so more people would use it for longer commutes because it compares to the speed of a car.

 

2) Light rail is only vastly more expensive if you don't count the money spent on the roads that the buses use. You are only counting the incremental cost of more busses.

 

3) Light rail can handle much greater numbers of people than a bus. The idea of rail is that growth follows the line rather than the line following growth.

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The study you cited is fundamentally flawed and, I suspect, propoganda for the anti-rail folks.

 

The most glaring and immediate flaw is the primary statistic: a decline in work ride marketshare. Think about it for two seconds and of course this is true: rails serve urban cores with populations that are stable relative to the faster growing suburbs. Most of the growth in commuters is in those suburbs. Therefore, rail ridership 'marketshare' must decline over time, even if the rail line capacity has remained maxed out at near 100% (which it has in most major cities). Rail ridership itself has not declined; only rail ridership relative commuter trips in the burbs. This is certainly not an argument against building a light rail system in denser urban cores. Western cities that have built new rail systems recently (Portland, SF) have enjoyed great success.

 

Another factor that is not included in the study is that population (development and property values) gravitates towards light rail corridors for obvious reasons. Again, SF and Portland have both enjoyed this result.

 

Third, your conclusions assume static, low gas prices. Nuff said there.

 

Four, you equate buses with trains, but buses must use roads, and therefore are subject to (and part of) the very conjestion and delays that light rail riders seek to avoid. Light, simply put, is much, much faster than bus commuting.

 

Five, you claim that light rail is more expensive than buses, but you fail to factor in such things as a $2.8 BILLION fix for a single section of road called the Viaduct and other such projects. When compared to these kinds of expensive road projects, light rail is invariably cheaper for the amount of traffic it handles, and much, much more environmentally friendly by any measure.

 

Finally, public transportation ridership in Puget Sound is growing at a record 12% per year, a figure which is accelerating. Your study tries to make it seem like this figure is declining by using misleading statistical definitions. It is, therefore, propoganda and suspect as such.

 

The ideal public transportation system for a city of reasonable size consists of light rail corridors that are served by and complemented with flexible buses.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Actually, if you look at the data, in several cities, total transit ridership numbers fell after the introduction of light rail. Not just share, total ridership fell.

 

Personally, I've lived in the NYC, Washington DC, and Atlanta metro areas. All places with extensive rail systems. In NY, a significant minority ride the subway to work. In DC and Atlanta, the vast majority of people drive to work.

 

Also you point about the suburbs is exactly the point - there is no population growth in urban areas anymore. People just don't want to live in urban environments. You might want to, but most people don't. The growth is happening in the suburbs. So, why invest in an outmoded technology to serve an outmoded lifestyle?

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1) Light rail is faster than a bus, so more people would use it for longer commutes because it compares to the speed of a car.

 

2) Light rail is only vastly more expensive if you don't count the money spent on the roads that the buses use. You are only counting the incremental cost of more busses.

 

3) Light rail can handle much greater numbers of people than a bus. The idea of rail is that growth follows the line rather than the line following growth.[/

 

Light rail is only faster if you live on a rail line and work on a rail line - so, for a tiny portion of the population, light rail will be faster. For the vast majority of people, a bus will be faster.

 

The roads have to built anyway to accomidate cars and truck traffic, the share of road expense which an economist would allocate to bus travel would be minimal.

 

There is no reason why light rail could accomidate more people. You can always add more buses, and pretty cheaply, too.

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For all the information you could possible want about commute patterns in the US, see this report:

 

Commuting in the United States

 

Some key facts:

 

1. The dominant type of commute is now suburb-to-suburb, and this is also the fastest growing type of commute.

 

2. The only three commute modes which experienced an actual decline in number of commuters in the period between 1990 and 2000 were motorcycle, walking, and transit.

 

3. The percent of commuters who drove alone to work rose from 73% to 76% in the 90's. The only other mode with any significant growth in share was Work at Home (3% to 3.3%).

 

 

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in the 90's when gas was still cheap, i bet if you looked now it would be growning at a stweady rate, even with it being incomvenant.

oh and btw, wont putting more busses on the road only make traffic worse. in san diego the trolley system works awsome saves time and money. same in san fransico, and also in the more hevily popualted areas of japan, china, and europe. trolleys or speed trains is the way to go.

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Gas is still cheap. If you look at the percentage of after-tax income spent on gasoline, it's actually pretty close to a historic low. People, relatively, spent a lot more on gas in the 70's and 80's.

 

I can't find any more recent commute data, but just looking at population growth, in the years from July 2001 - July 2005 (most recent data available), the percentage of population growth that occured in King/Pierce/Snohomish counties that fell within cities was never greater than 8% and has averaged about 4.5%.

 

That means that at least 95% of the growth in western Washington is falling in the suburbs. Despite the rise in oil prices, people are still moving to the suburbs.

 

Just look at King County alone: the percentage of people living in King County who choose to live in Seattle has fallen steadily, year-by-year, from 32.4% in 2002 to 31.9% in 2005.

 

Even in a time of rising gas prices, people are NOT moving back to the cities. Suburbanization continues unabated.

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the fact that people are not moving into the city has little to do with how the gas prices efect people's driving, they should take a poll. and you just disproved your own point, in the 70's and 80's gas was relitivly expensive.. 90's gas cheaper = the growth of people driving themselfs and not useing public transit that, which is what you based your point on in the your last post.

now gas is more expensive, than the nitties, there will be a shift back to public transit. and this shift would increase if t the system was better: more conveniate and more extensive/ faster.

people are avoiding crime and the high cost of houseing in the cities, this by far out ways the impact of a high oil/ gas prices

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I'm biking tomorrow, so y'all can lick sack

 

Get on your bikes and ride. GET SOME!!!

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I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, so maybe my point wasn't clear:

 

Looking at historical demographic patterns, it is evident that the majority of people in the United States prefer to live in the suburbs, work in the suburbs, and drive alone to work. This is the preferred mode of living, working, and commuting for about 75%-90% of the population.

 

This preference is so strong that a mere $1 or $2 per gallon increase in gas prices will not impact the trends of increasing suburb population and decreasing transit usage.

 

If gas becomes too expensive, we will simply replace it with an alternative fuel source which will meet the overwhelming demand for autonomous, always available, instant, and perfectly flexible transportation (ie, cars).

 

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Thought this was interesting on CNN:

 

"Roughly two-thirds of new oil demand is coming from countries that have subsidized oil markets," said Christopher Ruppel, a senior geopolitical analyst with the consulting firm John S. Herold. "So demand is not going to be affected if oil goes from $60 a barrel to $80."

 

http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/04/news/economy/gas_demand/index.htm?postversion=2007050417

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When the average POS 3/2 craftsman in Ballard that has both wiring and plumbing from the 1940s or earlier is going for something north of $500K - any expense associated with driving is going too and from a much less expensive home is going to be trivial by comparison. People may elect to commute in more fuel efficient cars, but when you factor all of the other elements that determine where people live - the price of fuel is way, way down on the list.

 

It's also worth remembering that the price of fertilizer, energy, shipping, plastics, etc, etc are all affected by the price of oil, so pretty much anything that's made, grown, shipped - eg, everything - will rise along with the price of oil. Those who spend a disproportionate share of their money on consumer goods and utilities will see a real reduction in their purchasing power, ability to save, and overall standard of living as a result of higher oil prices. The much loathed rich guys in SUV's that divert much more of their income into savings, investments, etc really aren't going to notice the impact much.

 

 

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I assume you mean Piece of Shit. If you can find one of those in Ballard, let me know. Rewiring can be done for a coupla grand and I can replace plumbing in less than a week. The drive is worth it b/c living in the city fucking sucks. So where is this underpriced $500K home?

 

 

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I assume you mean Piece of Shit. If you can find one of those in Ballard, let me know. Rewiring can be done for a coupla grand and I can replace plumbing in less than a week. The drive is worth it b/c living in the city fucking sucks. So where is this underpriced $500K home?

 

Photo.jpg

 

"This delightful 3 bedroom Craftsman home built in 1925 boasts tons of original charm: built-ins, and hardwood floors throughout. Sunny spaces including living room with traditional fireplace, formal sitting den/parlor, and large updated eat-in kitchen w/French doors leading out to deck for BBQs & huge level backyard for relaxing & summertime fun! Two bedrooms upstairs, one bedroom on the main, full bath updated w/pedestal sink. Unfinished lwr lvl for expansion or storage. Sweet Ballard location!"

 

3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1280 square feet. $499,950

 

Underpriced isn't an adjective that I'd use in association with long-commute-free real estate in Seattle. Whether you think that paying a half-a-fucking-million for a 1300 square foot home on a postage-stamp lot constitutes a good value becomes irrelevant at some point. Get to a certain price threshold, and the math just doesn't work anymore for the average household, and the folks that want to own their own detached house start moving to places where they can actually afford to buy, and perhaps buy something with a bit more square footage than your average two bedroom apartment. Supply/demand constraints being what they are, that's bound to be way out in commuterland for the forseeable future.

 

 

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when you factor all of the other elements that determine where people live - the price of fuel is way, way down on the list.

 

I agree, but there are more costs associated with commuting than just fuel, namely the car itself, maintenance, and insurance. Because we live in Ballard, my wife and I are able to make due with one car as I'm able bike/bus to work. The further you live out in commuter land, the more likely it is that the typical family will require two cars.

 

Most importantly, and not directly related to fuel prices, is the cost of my time. I work a lot, and I can get home to my family far quicker on my bike than I could in a car if I lived in commuter-land. That's a huge added value.

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when you factor all of the other elements that determine where people live - the price of fuel is way, way down on the list.

 

I agree, but there are more costs associated with commuting than just fuel, namely the car itself, maintenance, and insurance.

 

Yeah, and you pay for all that crap whether you drive-commute or not. Maintenance costs are lower if you drive less, but you still pay insurance, tabs, and car payments until you own. That makes bussing/using public transit less attractive - esp. when the cost is close to the cost of driving.

 

 

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"I agree, but there are more costs associated with commuting than just fuel, namely the car itself, maintenance, and insurance. Because we live in Ballard, my wife and I are able to make due with one car as I'm able bike/bus to work. The further you live out in commuter land, the more likely it is that the typical family will require two cars.

 

Most importantly, and not directly related to fuel prices, is the cost of my time. I work a lot, and I can get home to my family far quicker on my bike than I could in a car if I lived in commuter-land. That's a huge added value."

 

I agree with a lot of what you've said, and share alot of your priorities, but you have to be able to actually afford a place before any of these considerations become material.

 

There's always renting, but the popular mythology surrounding home-ownership is such that relatively few people are content with this option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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when you factor all of the other elements that determine where people live - the price of fuel is way, way down on the list.

 

I agree, but there are more costs associated with commuting than just fuel, namely the car itself, maintenance, and insurance.

 

Yeah, and you pay for all that crap whether you drive-commute or not. Maintenance costs are lower if you drive less, but you still pay insurance, tabs, and car payments until you own. That makes bussing/using public transit less attractive - esp. when the cost is close to the cost of driving.

 

 

just to be clear, I was referring to the cost of a second car that is used by the commuting partner. For us no commute = no second car = no second car costs.

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I assume you mean Piece of Shit. If you can find one of those in Ballard, let me know. Rewiring can be done for a coupla grand and I can replace plumbing in less than a week. The drive is worth it b/c living in the city fucking sucks. So where is this underpriced $500K home?

 

Photo.jpg

 

"This delightful 3 bedroom Craftsman home built in 1925 boasts tons of original charm: built-ins, and hardwood floors throughout. Sunny spaces including living room with traditional fireplace, formal sitting den/parlor, and large updated eat-in kitchen w/French doors leading out to deck for BBQs & huge level backyard for relaxing & summertime fun! Two bedrooms upstairs, one bedroom on the main, full bath updated w/pedestal sink. Unfinished lwr lvl for expansion or storage. Sweet Ballard location!"

 

3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1280 square feet. $499,950

 

Underpriced isn't an adjective that I'd use in association with long-commute-free real estate in Seattle. Whether you think that paying a half-a-fucking-million for a 1300 square foot home on a postage-stamp lot constitutes a good value becomes irrelevant at some point. Get to a certain price threshold, and the math just doesn't work anymore for the average household, and the folks that want to own their own detached house start moving to places where they can actually afford to buy, and perhaps buy something with a bit more square footage than your average two bedroom apartment. Supply/demand constraints being what they are, that's bound to be way out in commuterland for the forseeable future.

 

When I commute from North Ballard (technically Crown Hill, so I'm as north west as you can get without being in Golden Gardens) to Seattle in my car, it takes 20 min.

I am at the start of the bus line, so the bus is always on time. If I take the express, it takes about 30-35 min. So what is this horrible commute?

I understand the restraints and moving somewhere you can afford and all that shit--that's how I bought my place in Ballard. All the whining in the world won't change that (not that you are whining-I just mean folks in general). Housing is expensive and living on the streets ain't fun.

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[quote=JayB. . . but you have to be able to actually afford a place before any of these considerations become material.

 

True dat, but eliminating second-car costs just might give someone enough financial wiggle room to afford a POS Ballard house with one of those nifty I/O, neg. am. ARMs. ;)

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I assume you mean Piece of Shit. If you can find one of those in Ballard, let me know. Rewiring can be done for a coupla grand and I can replace plumbing in less than a week. The drive is worth it b/c living in the city fucking sucks. So where is this underpriced $500K home?

 

Photo.jpg

 

"This delightful 3 bedroom Craftsman home built in 1925 boasts tons of original charm: built-ins, and hardwood floors throughout. Sunny spaces including living room with traditional fireplace, formal sitting den/parlor, and large updated eat-in kitchen w/French doors leading out to deck for BBQs & huge level backyard for relaxing & summertime fun! Two bedrooms upstairs, one bedroom on the main, full bath updated w/pedestal sink. Unfinished lwr lvl for expansion or storage. Sweet Ballard location!"

 

3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1280 square feet. $499,950

 

Underpriced isn't an adjective that I'd use in association with long-commute-free real estate in Seattle. Whether you think that paying a half-a-fucking-million for a 1300 square foot home on a postage-stamp lot constitutes a good value becomes irrelevant at some point. Get to a certain price threshold, and the math just doesn't work anymore for the average household, and the folks that want to own their own detached house start moving to places where they can actually afford to buy, and perhaps buy something with a bit more square footage than your average two bedroom apartment. Supply/demand constraints being what they are, that's bound to be way out in commuterland for the forseeable future.

 

When I commute from North Ballard (technically Crown Hill, so I'm as north west as you can get without being in Golden Gardens) to Seattle in my car, it takes 20 min.

I am at the start of the bus line, so the bus is always on time. If I take the express, it takes about 30-35 min. So what is this horrible commute?

I understand the restraints and moving somewhere you can afford and all that shit--that's how I bought my place in Ballard. All the whining in the world won't change that (not that you are whining-I just mean folks in general). Housing is expensive and living on the streets ain't fun.

 

I was using Ballard of an example a place that's close to the city but now well beyond the means of the average household, who will have to choose between staying close to the city and never owning a home or buying something more affordable in commuterland.

 

 

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