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Re: [carfree_cities] Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

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  • Martha Torell
    ... ###DART s rail system has failed to reduce traffic congestion for two reasons. First; it is simply too slow. DART data indicates that the light rail system
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 29, 2000
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      > I discovered this interesting article presenting arguments on the
      > "non-efficacy" of light rail in urban centers such as Dallas. Specious
      > reasoning abounds, especially in the last two paragraphs. I can hardly
      > stand reading the argument that more highway construction is occuring
      > to offset population growth--hurts my head. DART is failing simply
      > because it is drowning in an insidious, ever-evolving automobile
      > quagmire, continually feeding a chaotic, shotgun-developed urbanized
      > sprawl.

      ###DART's rail system has failed to reduce traffic congestion for two
      reasons. First; it is simply
      too slow. DART data indicates that the light rail
      system operates at an average of 14 miles
      per hour, less than a half the average peak hour
      automobile commuting speed in Dallas.
      Second; the rail system provides access to only a
      small part of the Dallas area. It is focused
      on downtown, which contains just 10 percent of
      DART area employment, on its way to seven
      percent in 2020.###

      Inside the pound signs is a quotation from the article. Note that the
      average speed of 14 mph is less than half the average peak hour
      automobile commuting speed in Dallas. That is an astounding
      statement. Taken with the admission the the piece that there will be
      more cars on the road, it renders the article nonsensical. So let's be
      generous and say the peak hour commuting auto commuting speed is 35
      mph. That is pretty pathetic. If the speed is that low it is a slow
      down and speed up cadence, not a steady velocity. It must be a hellish
      commute.

      And it is only going to get worse. The population is growing. The
      driving population is growing.

      If someone could commute home at an average of 14 mph , sipping a soft
      drink, mind on email or a downloaded novel or a DVD laptop movie, that
      would more closely fit a definition of quality time than making an
      average 35 mph in heavy traffic.

      That article is only a part of the PR campaign we know will counter
      efforts at carfree. It's infuriating but don't lose sleep over it.
      Remember the cigarette companies had a lot of people writing that there
      was no definite proof linking cigarettes with cancer or emphysema and
      that smoking helped keep weight off, so a moderate cigarette habit was
      proably healthful.

      Martha
    • Doug Salzmann
      ... For a little perspective, it s worth noting that 35 mph is pretty close to the speed of maximum capacity for controlled access highways. Much faster than
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 29, 2000
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        Referring to Dallas (and DART operations), Martha said:

        > So let's be
        >generous and say the peak hour commuting auto commuting speed is 35
        >mph. That is pretty pathetic. If the speed is that low it is a slow
        >down and speed up cadence, not a steady velocity. It must be a hellish
        >commute.

        For a little perspective, it's worth noting that 35 mph is pretty close to
        the speed of maximum capacity for controlled access highways. Much faster
        than that and throughput is reduced because of wider spacing between
        vehicles (or reduced because of collisions blocking lanes when wider
        spacing isn't observed).

        And, as Martha predicts, it can only get worse. There are no solutions
        that include continuing dominance of personal autos. They just don't work
        in urban areas.

        On the other hand, *really* hellish auto commutes are *much* slower than 35
        mph. (Here come the horror stories.)

        BTW, I received a warning, the other day, from an officer of some
        corporation or other (I deleted the message) announcing that "automobility"
        is a registered trademark of (some corporation or other) and that I must
        cease using said word in my writing. I guess he has been searching
        newspapers, Usenet and mailing list archives for instances of "his"
        word. I told him to call his trademark attorneys for a briefing on the
        limits of protection. The following is for his future amusement:

        automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility -
        automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility -
        automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility -
        automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility -
        automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility -
        automobility - automobility - automobility

        Be sure that you, too, use this silly fellow's favorite word as often as it
        fits.

        -Doug
        ------------------------------------------------------------
        "Not everything that can be counted counts,
        and not everything that counts can be counted."

        -Albert Einstein
        -------------------------------------------------------------

        Douglas A. Salzmann
        Post Office Box 2215
        Santa Rosa, CA 95405-0215
      • Martha Torell
        ... Automobility his mother. Automobility the auto industry. Automobility sprawl builders. Automobility the Bushes for quashing rail plans. Martha
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 30, 2000
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          > BTW, I received a warning, the other day, from an officer of some
          > corporation or other (I deleted the message) announcing that "automobility"
          > is a registered trademark of (some corporation or other) and that I must
          > cease using said word in my writing.
          >
          > automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility - automobility -

          > Be sure that you, too, use this silly fellow's favorite word as often as it
          > fits.

          Automobility his mother. Automobility the auto industry. Automobility
          sprawl builders. Automobility the Bushes for quashing rail plans.

          Martha
        • Randall Hunt
          Writing is virtual speech, and free speech cannot be denied! So I also say: Automobility! Automobility! (Do you think it s worse if you say it with a capital?)
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 30, 2000
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            Writing is virtual speech, and free speech cannot be denied! So I also say:
            Automobility! Automobility!

            (Do you think it's worse if you say it with a capital?)

            :)
          • Michael Schramm
            ... It is indeed a hellish commute as I ve twice experienced the rush hours commute from one city center to the other (Dallas to Ft. Worth) on interstate 30.
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 31, 2000
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              --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, Martha Torell <eyrehead@a...>
              wrote:

              >So let's be generous and say the peak hour commuting auto commuting
              >speed is 35 mph. That is pretty pathetic. If the speed is that low
              >it is a slow down and speed up cadence, not a steady velocity. It
              >must be a hellish commute.

              >That article is only a part of the PR campaign we know will counter
              >efforts at carfree. It's infuriating but don't lose sleep over it.
              >Remember the cigarette companies had a lot of people writing that
              >there was no definite proof linking cigarettes with cancer or
              >emphysema and that smoking helped keep weight off, so a moderate
              >cigarette habit was probably healthful.
              >
              > Martha

              It is indeed a hellish commute as I've twice experienced the rush
              hours commute from one city center to the other (Dallas to Ft. Worth)
              on interstate 30. What makes it so intolerable is that there are
              spurts of higher speed traffic flow interspersed with agonizingly low
              speed flow, just as you've surmised. This frustrates commuters,
              frequently illiciting the response to compensate for the traffic crawl
              by over accelerating where traffic is less tied up. The result? An
              increased incidence of hard braking.

              I believe that there is indeed a very close parallel between the
              marketing of automobiles today and where we were with tobacco many
              years ago. We look back at those early TV commercials and the
              ludicrous efforts to entice the consumer to smoke a certain brand, but
              car commercials today are equally ludicrous. I recall seeing at least
              two recently implying that driving was superior in every way to rail
              service. One commercial depicted well dressed business people hobbling
              along on rickety tracks, bumping one another and spilling coffee
              everywhere, while the car, the only one on the road, slips by with
              total ease and comfort. Another, with the aid of computer animation
              showed the car passing a train bearing more than a passing resemblence
              to the TGV. I should write to GM sometime and ask which car it was
              that exceeds 200 mph, because I sure need to lessen my commute time.

              Michael
            • Ronald Dawson
              ... I ve seen that Lincoln(Ford) ad as well, did you notice on the train that people were reading and playing chess. Also it appeared that the train was
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 31, 2000
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                Michael Schramm wrote:
                > Another, with the aid of computer animation
                >showed the car passing a train bearing more than a passing resemblence
                >to the TGV. I should write to GM sometime and ask which car it was
                >that exceeds 200 mph, because I sure need to lessen my commute time.

                I've seen that Lincoln(Ford) ad as well, did you notice on the train that
                people were reading and playing chess. Also it appeared that the train was
                slowing down for a station on the other side of the bridge and(as always)
                that that Lincoln was the only car on the road, but so what else is new.
                Dawson
              • Martha Torell
                ... I realized how nervous the auto industry is about rail travel when I saw a commercial, three faces looking down out of a passenger rail car, and this
                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 31, 2000
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                  > I believe that there is indeed a very close parallel between the
                  > marketing of automobiles today and where we were with tobacco many
                  > years ago. We look back at those early TV commercials and the
                  > ludicrous efforts to entice the consumer to smoke a certain brand, but
                  > car commercials today are equally ludicrous. I recall seeing at least
                  > two recently implying that driving was superior in every way to rail
                  > service. One commercial depicted well dressed business people hobbling
                  > along on rickety tracks, bumping one another and spilling coffee
                  > everywhere, while the car, the only one on the road, slips by with
                  > total ease and comfort.

                  I realized how nervous the auto industry is about rail travel when I saw
                  a commercial, three faces looking down out of a passenger rail car, and
                  this convertible passes the train. The couple in the convertible reeked
                  of success, and the close of that scene was the three rail passengers
                  looking at each other, full of envy and thoughts of someday...

                  It was false from start to finish. The more likely scenario would be
                  the rail passengers passing a sea of stop and go traffic, maybe someone
                  looks up from his book and with a little shudder notes the traffic, sips
                  a latte, reads a few more pages, looks back out the window and it is
                  still the same traffic jam.

                  I haven't seen the ad with the business people on the tracks. But the
                  fact that it exists is just great. The auto companies are really trying
                  to pound home the message that rail passengers are losers. It doesn't
                  help that rail scenes are showing up more and more in movies as a cool,
                  romantic way to travel.

                  There was an ad that compared an SUV with a helicopter, the car somehow
                  made it possible to dance around or over the traffic other mortals had
                  to contend with. It was a crock. I am sure the auto corporations would
                  love a cute, engaging way to deal with slow, frustrating commutes, but
                  it could so easily backfire as people endure the reality.

                  The traffic jam is what auto companies do not want to admit exists.
                  Their prosperity depends on making it worse. It's not a tenable
                  position.

                  Martha
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