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Paradigm Shift in Houston

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  • Mike Harrington
    Ten years ago, if you told me a conservative republican elected official in Harris County, Texas would propose commuter rail in Houston, I would have had
    Message 1 of 26 , Jun 26, 2003
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      Ten years ago, if you told me a conservative republican elected official in Harris County, Texas would propose commuter rail in Houston, I would have had difficulty believing you. Well, it happened yesterday. County commissioner Steve Radack is pushing a commuter line within a mile or less of the Northwest Freeway in Houston. The entity he proposes would be called the Harris County Rail Authority. It seems at least some of Bush's Republican Texas base is deviating from Bush's anti-rail stance:

      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.hts/metropolitan/1965785


      The Texas Transportation Institute revealed in 2000 that Houstonians spend 58 hours per year stopped in traffic jams, hours exceeded only by Los Angeles and Seattle. Dallas' voter-approved bond referendum building fifty miles of commuter rail and ninety-three miles of light rail, of which half has already been completed in just a few years, hit Houston like a bombshell. Houston's first light rail line, 7½ miles, will go into service next January. There is a bond referendum on the November ballot to build 41 miles of light rail in Houston, and polls seem to indicate it will succeed because of the frustration and danger motorists in Houston face every day of the week. The City of Houston, not counting unincorporated suburban areas, is 625 square miles with 1.95 million residents. Representatives for low income areas say that the plan favors more affluent neighborhoods and that the proposed rail system is not big enough:

      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.hts/metropolitan/1967725

      Community meetings can be quite boisterous here and there has been some spirited opposition to local freeway and tollway expansion projects. Houston embarked on a huge highway improvement project in the eighties and people have started to realize that things only got worse, not better like the road hogs said they would.

      This is where Kunstler could be wrong. He seems to think that the auto-oriented sunbelt cities are a complete write-off in the coming age of expensive energy. The big change may originate where he least expects it. The most agressive rail transit project in the US today is not in Seattle, Chicago, New York, or Boston, but Dallas, irony of ironies. I think most on this forum agree that transit-oriented development and carfree cities are pretty much just facets of the same concept in North America. In big cities, you have to have a delivery mechanism to get large numbers of people back into pedestrian mode. Houston proves that buses without rail cannot deliver the volume, and it has become obvious to most people here. One generation hates the ideas of the previous and history often unfolds in a way you'd least expect.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • mtneuman@juno.com
      This is no paradigm shift in Houston at all in my opinion. It s the same old, same old. In fact, it s the worst of both worlds. First they fill up the
      Message 2 of 26 , Jun 26, 2003
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        This is no paradigm shift in Houston at all in my opinion. It's the same
        old, same old. In fact, it's the worst of both worlds.

        First they fill up the freeways with fossil fuel burning single occupancy
        vehicles (SOVs). Then, because everyone has to wait in traffic, and the
        freeway is as wide as they can build it; they build a grossly expensive,
        neighborhood gulping and land disrupting diesel oil burning commuter
        line. Then they get everyone from the Sierra Club on down to bless them,
        as if they have done something good for the environment for a change.
        It's pathetic.
        Michael Neuman
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/shp.html
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/trans/neuman_vmt.html
        http://danenet.wicip.org/bcp/neuman_gw.pdf
        http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/neuman_gw_letter.pdf


        On Thu, 26 Jun 2003 10:11:43 -0500 "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
        writes:
        > Ten years ago, if you told me a conservative republican elected
        > official in Harris County, Texas would propose commuter rail in
        > Houston, I would have had difficulty believing you. Well, it
        > happened yesterday. County commissioner Steve Radack is pushing a
        > commuter line within a mile or less of the Northwest Freeway in
        > Houston. The entity he proposes would be called the Harris County
        > Rail Authority. It seems at least some of Bush's Republican Texas
        > base is deviating from Bush's anti-rail stance:
        >
        > http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.hts/metropolitan/1965785
        >
        >
        > The Texas Transportation Institute revealed in 2000 that Houstonians
        > spend 58 hours per year stopped in traffic jams, hours exceeded only
        > by Los Angeles and Seattle. Dallas' voter-approved bond referendum
        > building fifty miles of commuter rail and ninety-three miles of
        > light rail, of which half has already been completed in just a few
        > years, hit Houston like a bombshell. Houston's first light rail
        > line, 7� miles, will go into service next January. There is a bond
        > referendum on the November ballot to build 41 miles of light rail in
        > Houston, and polls seem to indicate it will succeed because of the
        > frustration and danger motorists in Houston face every day of the
        > week. The City of Houston, not counting unincorporated suburban
        > areas, is 625 square miles with 1.95 million residents.
        > Representatives for low income areas say that the plan favors more
        > affluent neighborhoods and that the proposed rail system is not big
        > enough:
        >
        > http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.hts/metropolitan/1967725
        >
        > Community meetings can be quite boisterous here and there has been
        > some spirited opposition to local freeway and tollway expansion
        > projects. Houston embarked on a huge highway improvement project in
        > the eighties and people have started to realize that things only got
        > worse, not better like the road hogs said they would.
        >
        > This is where Kunstler could be wrong. He seems to think that the
        > auto-oriented sunbelt cities are a complete write-off in the coming
        > age of expensive energy. The big change may originate where he
        > least expects it. The most agressive rail transit project in the US
        > today is not in Seattle, Chicago, New York, or Boston, but Dallas,
        > irony of ironies. I think most on this forum agree that
        > transit-oriented development and carfree cities are pretty much just
        > facets of the same concept in North America. In big cities, you
        > have to have a delivery mechanism to get large numbers of people
        > back into pedestrian mode. Houston proves that buses without rail
        > cannot deliver the volume, and it has become obvious to most people
        > here. One generation hates the ideas of the previous and history
        > often unfolds in a way you'd least expect.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
        > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
        > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >


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      • Mike Harrington
        You ve got to start somewhere. I admit Houston is a mess, but so are all the others. Canada included. Diesel electric is actually very energy-efficient. The
        Message 3 of 26 , Jun 27, 2003
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          You've got to start somewhere. I admit Houston is a mess, but so are all
          the others. Canada included.

          Diesel electric is actually very energy-efficient. The light rail system in
          Houston, projected opening date January 1, is electrified. In any case,
          railroads can be electrified relatively easily. That won't happen while
          we're still living in the cheap oil era, but I think it will someday.

          Anyway, take Kunstler's hometown, Saratoga Springs. How is the Albany area
          really any different than Houston? Sure, it's cold there instead of hot,
          hilly instead of flat, but the transportation system is the same. All
          American cities are equally sprawling. It doesn't matter if they're in the
          Northeast, Illinois, the West Coast, or Florida.

          Sure, some of them might have enclaves like parts of San Francisco or the
          Garden District in New Orleans where some less car-centric development
          exists, but those are really small parts of the metropolitan areas that they
          are in.

          Take New York City and its surrounding suburbs, for example. Public transit
          use there is a small fraction of what it was in 1945. When they tore down
          the elevated railways in Manhattan, junked the Third Avenue Railway,
          Brooklyn and Queens Transit, the Connecticut Company, and Public Service of
          New Jersey streetcar systems, and built freeways all over the place they
          lost huge numbers of riders that have never returned. Pathetic?
          Absolutely.


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <mtneuman@...>
          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2003 9:52 PM
          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Paradigm Shift in Houston


          > This is no paradigm shift in Houston at all in my opinion. It's the same
          > old, same old. In fact, it's the worst of both worlds.
          >
          > First they fill up the freeways with fossil fuel burning single occupancy
          > vehicles (SOVs). Then, because everyone has to wait in traffic, and the
          > freeway is as wide as they can build it; they build a grossly expensive,
          > neighborhood gulping and land disrupting diesel oil burning commuter
          > line. Then they get everyone from the Sierra Club on down to bless them,
          > as if they have done something good for the environment for a change.
          > It's pathetic.
          > Michael Neuman
          > http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/shp.html
          > http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/trans/neuman_vmt.html
          > http://danenet.wicip.org/bcp/neuman_gw.pdf
          > http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/neuman_gw_letter.pdf
          >
          >
          > On Thu, 26 Jun 2003 10:11:43 -0500 "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
          > writes:
          > > Ten years ago, if you told me a conservative republican elected
          > > official in Harris County, Texas would propose commuter rail in
          > > Houston, I would have had difficulty believing you. Well, it
          > > happened yesterday. County commissioner Steve Radack is pushing a
          > > commuter line within a mile or less of the Northwest Freeway in
          > > Houston. The entity he proposes would be called the Harris County
          > > Rail Authority. It seems at least some of Bush's Republican Texas
          > > base is deviating from Bush's anti-rail stance:
          > >
          > > http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.hts/metropolitan/1965785
          > >
          > >
          > > The Texas Transportation Institute revealed in 2000 that Houstonians
          > > spend 58 hours per year stopped in traffic jams, hours exceeded only
          > > by Los Angeles and Seattle. Dallas' voter-approved bond referendum
          > > building fifty miles of commuter rail and ninety-three miles of
          > > light rail, of which half has already been completed in just a few
          > > years, hit Houston like a bombshell. Houston's first light rail
          > > line, 7½ miles, will go into service next January. There is a bond
          > > referendum on the November ballot to build 41 miles of light rail in
          > > Houston, and polls seem to indicate it will succeed because of the
          > > frustration and danger motorists in Houston face every day of the
          > > week. The City of Houston, not counting unincorporated suburban
          > > areas, is 625 square miles with 1.95 million residents.
          > > Representatives for low income areas say that the plan favors more
          > > affluent neighborhoods and that the proposed rail system is not big
          > > enough:
          > >
          > > http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.hts/metropolitan/1967725
          > >
          > > Community meetings can be quite boisterous here and there has been
          > > some spirited opposition to local freeway and tollway expansion
          > > projects. Houston embarked on a huge highway improvement project in
          > > the eighties and people have started to realize that things only got
          > > worse, not better like the road hogs said they would.
          > >
          > > This is where Kunstler could be wrong. He seems to think that the
          > > auto-oriented sunbelt cities are a complete write-off in the coming
          > > age of expensive energy. The big change may originate where he
          > > least expects it. The most agressive rail transit project in the US
          > > today is not in Seattle, Chicago, New York, or Boston, but Dallas,
          > > irony of ironies. I think most on this forum agree that
          > > transit-oriented development and carfree cities are pretty much just
          > > facets of the same concept in North America. In big cities, you
          > > have to have a delivery mechanism to get large numbers of people
          > > back into pedestrian mode. Houston proves that buses without rail
          > > cannot deliver the volume, and it has become obvious to most people
          > > here. One generation hates the ideas of the previous and history
          > > often unfolds in a way you'd least expect.
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
          > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          > > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
          > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
          > >
          > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          > > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          > ________________________________________________________________
          > The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
          > Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
          > Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
          > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >
        • Mike Neuman
          Do you happen to know from what energy sources Houston gets its electricity? But that is really beside the point. The point is, we need to minimize motorized
          Message 4 of 26 , Jun 27, 2003
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            Do you happen to know from what energy sources Houston gets its
            electricity?

            But that is really beside the point. The point is, we need to
            minimize motorized travel, not just add more of it to what we already
            do. With all those single occupancies vehicles running around in
            Houston and other cities in the U.S., one has to believe that more
            carpooling could be done if there were greater incentives to not
            drive so much.

            Similarly, are there really many incentives for employers in Houston
            to allow employees to work at home, or perhaps use working stations
            scattered throughout the city for the dedicated exclusive use of
            Houston's office workers? How about shopping? Are city subsidies
            provided to local grocery and hardware stores to encourage them to
            compete with big box stores that draw motorists from all throughout
            the city, on a daily basis?

            There needs to be much positive encouragement for people to drive
            less, and it needs to be more than just saying "its the right thing
            to do". It has to be a strong enough incentive so that drivers will
            think twice about getting into their car the next time to go buy
            something, rather than checking with a neighbor or hopping on a
            bicycle.

            Cities need to help, too, by rezoning residential areas to allow some
            limited developed to accomodate the purchasing and recreational needs
            of local residents.

            School districts can help to, by adopting policys that do not
            discourage kids from bicycling to school rather than being driven to
            school daily.

            The answer lies in reducing the desires for motorized highway travel,
            by everyone, throughout the city and the surrounding areas. The
            answer does not lie in lining up more routes, using more land that
            might have been used to accomodate the needs of the local residents
            along the way, and ultimately relying on outside sources of energy.

            Offering financial incentives for people to drive less might just
            reduce their desire to drive anywhere and everywhere, all the time.
            Use the money that would have otherwise been used for the commuter
            line development.

            In the meantime, have a happy 4th of July! Then sit back and watch
            the paradigm shift. It has to anyway, eventually.
            mtn

            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...>
            wrote:
            > You've got to start somewhere. I admit Houston is a mess, but so
            are all
            > the others. Canada included.
            >
            > Diesel electric is actually very energy-efficient. The light rail
            system in
            > Houston, projected opening date January 1, is electrified. In any
            case,
            > railroads can be electrified relatively easily. That won't happen
            while
            > we're still living in the cheap oil era, but I think it will
            someday.
            >
            > Anyway, take Kunstler's hometown, Saratoga Springs. How is the
            Albany area
            > really any different than Houston? Sure, it's cold there instead
            of hot,
            > hilly instead of flat, but the transportation system is the same.
            All
            > American cities are equally sprawling. It doesn't matter if
            they're in the
            > Northeast, Illinois, the West Coast, or Florida.
            >
            > Sure, some of them might have enclaves like parts of San Francisco
            or the
            > Garden District in New Orleans where some less car-centric
            development
            > exists, but those are really small parts of the metropolitan areas
            that they
            > are in.
            >
            > Take New York City and its surrounding suburbs, for example.
            Public transit
            > use there is a small fraction of what it was in 1945. When they
            tore down
            > the elevated railways in Manhattan, junked the Third Avenue Railway,
            > Brooklyn and Queens Transit, the Connecticut Company, and Public
            Service of
            > New Jersey streetcar systems, and built freeways all over the
            place they
            > lost huge numbers of riders that have never returned. Pathetic?
            > Absolutely.
          • Mike Harrington
            Comments below. ... From: Mike Neuman To: Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 1:08 PM Subject: [carfree_cities]
            Message 5 of 26 , Jun 28, 2003
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              Comments below.

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Mike Neuman" <mtneuman@...>
              To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 1:08 PM
              Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


              > Do you happen to know from what energy sources Houston gets its
              > electricity?

              Almost all is from NG, which is very worrisome. There are two 1250 mw nuclear reactors, but one is down due to corrosion from boric acid. It will be brought back on-line probably later this year, but I've heard of no date. The nearest coal is in North Texas and the nearest high-quality coal is in Wyoming. Coal never has not and never will be important in South Texas. Most of the steam locomotives here in an earlier time burned oil, not coal.

              >
              > But that is really beside the point. The point is, we need to
              > minimize motorized travel, not just add more of it to what we already
              > do. With all those single occupancies vehicles running around in
              > Houston and other cities in the U.S., one has to believe that more
              > carpooling could be done if there were greater incentives to not
              > drive so much.

              Carpooling was implemented in Houston in the eighties by building HOV lanes and park n' ride lots on the metropolitan peripheral. Most carpoolers work downtown for the large energy companies and banks. Employers and Harris County have done as much as possible to provide incentives for carpooling. The bus system also has point to point lines that run from one station in the outlying area to downtown using HOV lanes mainly at rush hour, with no stops in between. Both modes are fine if you are going from a suburban point of origin to downtown on a weekday morning, but destinations in between are not served, nor is there much off-peak service, and none on weekends. Bus and carpooling trips in the direction against the main rush hour flow are minimal, since the HOV lanes are unidirectional. Houston freeways often back up in both directions. Both carpools and point to point buses have not been able to deliver the reduction in SOV trips in spite of a large investment by Houston Metro. After twenty years' experience with what seemed to be innovative ideas, it is doubtful there can be much more improvement with these modes. Houston, believe it or not, was actually late getting started with freeways. No suburban shopping malls appeared until the mid-1960's, and almost all shopping and white-collar employment was confined to downtown until then. Although ~110,000 work downtown, that is fairly insignficant for a city this size. What is really needed is a mass transit system with trunk lines and bi-directional flow, and a restructured feeder bus system to break away from a downtown-vectored system into a regional grid pattern. The current point to point bus system, really just a glorified vanpool, will not be able to deliver the volume required for a meaningful reduction in SOV trips.

              The other collective portion of the transportation system, local buses, average less than 10 MPH on city streets. In nearby Galveston, population 60,000, a crosstown bus trip takes about a half an hour. In Houston, a local bus crosstown takes two and a half hours. I've talked to people that, usually due to limited financial resources, make this trip by bus everyday. It means getting up by 5 AM to be to work by 8 AM. Unlike cities in many other parts of the US, Detroit being the best example, housing prices tend to greatly increase the closer the location is to downtown. The wealthy can afford to live close in. The poor must make do with a location further out because they are priced out of the inner-city market.

              The problem is that Houston's present transportation infrastructure precludes further savings on transportation energy use. Carpooling, point-to-point suburbs to downtown express buses at forty-two miles per hour and local buses at eight miles per hour, have been deployed to their greatest potential. Yet traffic gets visibly worse every year. New freeways are built yet the traffic invariably gets worse after the construction is finished. Houston proves that carpooling, HOV lanes and buses cannot by themselves produce the necessary energy savings. They can only be made to work for certain transportation niche markets and cannot provide a regional alternative to SOV's. Hence the paradigm shift toward rail. Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an alternative. Dallas' light rail and commuter rail average 30-35 MPH, which means they have to hit close to sixty miles per hour between stations. Dallas' light rail stations average 1.25 miles apart. The commuter rail stations are about three miles apart. The reason the light rail system is the same effective speed as the commuter rail even though its stations are closer together is that light rail cars accelerate more than twice as fast as trains. Light rail, unlike trains, can ascend 4-5% grades like an automobile, so rail/highway grade separation is more easily implemented for light rail. The DART light rail system rather resembles an attenuated roller-coaster.

              >
              > Similarly, are there really many incentives for employers in Houston
              > to allow employees to work at home, or perhaps use working stations
              > scattered throughout the city for the dedicated exclusive use of
              > Houston's office workers? How about shopping? Are city subsidies
              > provided to local grocery and hardware stores to encourage them to
              > compete with big box stores that draw motorists from all throughout
              > the city, on a daily basis?

              Telecommuting and the like are more common here than in smaller cities. To a large extent cheap bandwith and home computers have permitted work-at-home to be exploited to its maximum potential. The large employers, like Shell and Exxon-Mobil, have locations scattered throughout the area, although their prinicipal place of business is downtown. There may be some potential for neighborhood working stations, but I think it would be an order of magnitude more difficult for employers and government to organize than encouraging carpooling. Also, commuting to and from work only constitute a small percentage of total vehicle miles. I don't think there is any room for subsidies to encourage neighborhood stores. Property taxes on a $200,000 house in Houston are about $4500 per year, so there is no room for any upward expansion of city and county expenditures. Just like everywhere else, existing ratepayers must subsidize the growth of big box stores on the peripheral. New freeways and secondary roads are built by the county and TxDOT and utilites are required to provide new connections to greenfield development, just like everywhere else in the US. The reason Wal Mart and Best Buy prosper is that existing taxpayers and utility ratepayers must subsidize most of their development. That, plus large defense expenditures, largely explains why there is never any money left over for anything else in the US. What has happened here in the past ten years is that most of the original suburban shopping malls have gone out of business or have been severely scaled back due to taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies of new malls on the outskirts.

              >
              > There needs to be much positive encouragement for people to drive
              > less, and it needs to be more than just saying "its the right thing
              > to do". It has to be a strong enough incentive so that drivers will
              > think twice about getting into their car the next time to go buy
              > something, rather than checking with a neighbor or hopping on a
              > bicycle.

              Bicycles are going to be pretty hard to implement in an area where the average one-way distance is twelve miles. What would probably better encourage cycling here would be additional square footage on transit vehicles to enable people to use two wheels for part of their trip. But I don't see much point in that until the bus system can be reorganized around currently non-existing rapid transit stations in a grid feeder pattern. Don't forget that the summer sun at 30­° latitude can be almost as brutal as the cold in Detroit in winter. And when it rains here it usually storms and the rain comes down in sheets. I don't think we'll be checking with our neighbors every time we need to go somewhere, at least as long as the price of oil remains cheap, a condition which won't last forever. Also, half the energy used by an automobile is expended in its manufacture. When hydrocarbon prices rise, and it is a question of when and not if, most people will likely not be able to afford new cars. Consumer debt is already maxed out.

              >
              > Cities need to help, too, by rezoning residential areas to allow some
              > limited developed to accomodate the purchasing and recreational needs
              > of local residents.
              >
              > School districts can help to, by adopting policys that do not
              > discourage kids from bicycling to school rather than being driven to
              > school daily.

              Again, difficult to implement because of the construction of mega-schools that pull in students from a large area. Some of the newer high schools here have enrollments in excess of three thousand. School buses, unlike public transit vehicles, sit idle most of the time. And bicycling here in heavy traffic often moving at high speeds can be hazardous to your health.

              >
              > The answer lies in reducing the desires for motorized highway travel,
              > by everyone, throughout the city and the surrounding areas. The
              > answer does not lie in lining up more routes, using more land that
              > might have been used to accomodate the needs of the local residents
              > along the way, and ultimately relying on outside sources of energy.
              >

              > Offering financial incentives for people to drive less might just
              > reduce their desire to drive anywhere and everywhere, all the time.
              > Use the money that would have otherwise been used for the commuter
              > line development.

              History shows you can use mass transit and pedestrian-oriented development to reduce per-capita energy consumption. If you check http://www.eia.doe.gov you'll see that per capita gasoline consumption increased by 90% from 1949 to 2001, even though miles per gallon increased from 15 to 22. In other words, instead of per capita consumption decreasing by a third, it increased by 90%. To think of it another way, it went from sixteen barrels of refined gasoline per capita to more than thirty barrels. The difference is explained by constantly rising miles per motor vehicle and per capita motor vehicle registration. Any fuel economy was overwhelmed by increased reliance on the automobile for transportation.

              Modern-day suburbs are totally different than they were in 1949. The pattern then was that of the streetcar suburb, small urban clusters, walk-in stores and businesses with apartments above them, surrounded by single-family homes. If I needed some bread, I just walked down the block and around the corner. Today, in most of the US, I have to drive two and a half miles to the strip center. The contemporary US lifestyle, therefore, is dependent upon cheap energy. To the extent this post-1950 investment cannot be adapted to a regime of energy austerity, it will be worth much less than it is today. Like Kunstler says, well before mid-century, some engineer's McMansion in the suburbs will have twenty families in it with Swiss chard where the lawn used to be. The purchase and operating cost of the automobile will be so far beyond the average person's collateral that the automobile will revert to what it was in the first half of the twentieth century, something only the wealthy will be able to afford. In Houston, we'll live in much smaller square footage because cooling costs will be a major problem, as will heating costs in other parts of the US. Our travel destinations will be defined by the range of foot, bicycle, and collective transportation. Take away the precondition, cheap energy, and society necessarily reverts to the former model.

              Today, all the infrastructure development since 1950 is catching up with us. We've painted ourselves into a corner with high energy consumption and we've completely lost our historical perspective. Highway lobbyist Wendell Cox gives me the impression that 1980 is a long time ago to him. If you study history, you'll find that it is not evolution, but rather long periods of status quo punctuated by violent upheavals that change everything. In other words, modern man has been lulled into a false sense of security by cheap oil and takes what is really a brief period in the US and extrapolating it into the unlimited future. What I think will happen is that things will continue on as they are for a few more years, and then the massive write-downs and layoffs will hit. There could be an 8.0 on the economic Richter Scale before depletion midpoint, but barring the unforeseen, I think that is when it is most likely to occur. At that point the only thing left to do will be to start anew and pick up the pieces that are left. It's too bad the word "sustainability" isn't in everyone's thoughts today, because it will be then.

              The 1970's and 1980's concept of getting by in big cities without significant investment in commuter and light rail was fairly intensively implemented in Houston by the early 1990's, and has not worked. It's time to move on.

              >
              > In the meantime, have a happy 4th of July! Then sit back and watch
              > the paradigm shift. It has to anyway, eventually.
              > mtn
              >
              > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...>
              > wrote:
              > > You've got to start somewhere. I admit Houston is a mess, but so
              > are all
              > > the others. Canada included.
              > >
              > > Diesel electric is actually very energy-efficient. The light rail
              > system in
              > > Houston, projected opening date January 1, is electrified. In any
              > case,
              > > railroads can be electrified relatively easily. That won't happen
              > while
              > > we're still living in the cheap oil era, but I think it will
              > someday.
              > >
              > > Anyway, take Kunstler's hometown, Saratoga Springs. How is the
              > Albany area
              > > really any different than Houston? Sure, it's cold there instead
              > of hot,
              > > hilly instead of flat, but the transportation system is the same.
              > All
              > > American cities are equally sprawling. It doesn't matter if
              > they're in the
              > > Northeast, Illinois, the West Coast, or Florida.
              > >
              > > Sure, some of them might have enclaves like parts of San Francisco
              > or the
              > > Garden District in New Orleans where some less car-centric
              > development
              > > exists, but those are really small parts of the metropolitan areas
              > that they
              > > are in.
              > >
              > > Take New York City and its surrounding suburbs, for example.
              > Public transit
              > > use there is a small fraction of what it was in 1945. When they
              > tore down
              > > the elevated railways in Manhattan, junked the Third Avenue Railway,
              > > Brooklyn and Queens Transit, the Connecticut Company, and Public
              > Service of
              > > New Jersey streetcar systems, and built freeways all over the
              > place they
              > > lost huge numbers of riders that have never returned. Pathetic?
              > > Absolutely.
              >
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
              > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
              >
              >

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Mike Harrington
              Don t forget that wide metropolitan areas precede automobile induced-sprawl in the US by many decades. Even though I m impressed by Dallas big new light rail
              Message 6 of 26 , Jun 28, 2003
              • 0 Attachment
                Don't forget that wide metropolitan areas precede automobile induced-sprawl
                in the US by many decades. Even though I'm impressed by Dallas' big new
                light rail system, I've no illusions that Dallas is even remotely close to
                the scale of the electric rail system they had there until after WWII. The
                old electric interurban, suburban and city streetcar system in Dallas, one
                of the last in the US to be dismantled, included Waco, 120 miles, Sherman,
                64 miles, Corsicana, 54 miles, and Denison, 75 miles from Dallas Union
                Station. Those points are on the average a hundred miles from each other,
                and indicate then, as now, the practical limits of the Dallas-Fort Worth
                Metroplex. If you look at the old interurban timetables, you'll see that
                travel speeds were exactly the same a century ago as they are by freeway
                today, although per capita energy consumption for transportation is probably
                twenty times higher now then it was in the early years of the twentieth
                century. For instance, a Galveston Houston Electric Railway trolley car in
                1914 could get me from downtown Houston to southern extreme of Galveston
                Island in an hour and ten minutes, a distance of fifty miles. Today,
                maps.yahoo says the driving time on Interstate 45 would be an hour and five
                minutes. That's really ideal driving time, because there's no room for a
                freeway once you get on Galveston Island and you'll have to stop for ten
                traffic lights to get across some of Galveston to get close to the Gulf. If
                you encounter Houston rush hour traffic, about seven hours a day now, or
                beach traffic and other festivities in Galveston, your trip is a lot longer.
                The GHE Railway took an hour and ten minutes, whether beach traffic was
                heavy or not and whether it was 8 AM on a Sunday or 5 PM on a Friday. There
                has been no noticeable change in surface transportation speed in one hundred
                years. In the case of the Pacific Electric streetcar between San Bernardino
                and downtown LA, based on the old timetable, the streetcar would beat a
                modern car on the Caltrans freeways by half an hour.

                All that's really happened is that the sole option of the private motorcar
                has increased household transportation costs to 20% of the family budget in
                America. With the poor and middle classes, this accounts for much of the
                massive increase in personal debt that started in the 1950's. In fact, if
                you eliminate the extra personal and government expense of the US highway
                transportation system, since Europe relies less on the automobile than the
                US, per capita income is higher in Rumsfeld's Old Europe than it is in here.
                Considering that much or all of the US' huge national defense budget is now
                dedicated to preserving cheap oil, it is reasonable to conclude that this
                system is coming apart. The Saudis and others have overstated their reserve
                estimates for purely political reasons, lies are common currency in the
                Middle Eastern Gulf, and it is much more likely that the world will peak at
                a maximum production of 84 million barrels per day instead of going to 120
                mbpd in 2030 like the bullish economists are predicting. Besides a military
                presence in oil producing regions, and I think a US military occupation of
                Iraq is going to get pretty tedious for people in the US in about a year,
                the other straw the Bush administration is grasping at is the hydrogen
                economy, as if this could ever scale to the more than eight million barrels
                of gasoline now used daily in the US. Bush can think that, if it gives him
                comfort. They'll hold on for a few more years, and then the illusion of
                cheap energy will be shattered. In a geological analogy, it will be like a
                long period of stress followed by a shear.


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Mike Neuman" <mtneuman@...>
                To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 1:08 PM
                Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


                > Do you happen to know from what energy sources Houston gets its
                > electricity?
                >
                > But that is really beside the point. The point is, we need to
                > minimize motorized travel, not just add more of it to what we already
                > do. With all those single occupancies vehicles running around in
                > Houston and other cities in the U.S., one has to believe that more
                > carpooling could be done if there were greater incentives to not
                > drive so much.
                >
                > Similarly, are there really many incentives for employers in Houston
                > to allow employees to work at home, or perhaps use working stations
                > scattered throughout the city for the dedicated exclusive use of
                > Houston's office workers? How about shopping? Are city subsidies
                > provided to local grocery and hardware stores to encourage them to
                > compete with big box stores that draw motorists from all throughout
                > the city, on a daily basis?
                >
                > There needs to be much positive encouragement for people to drive
                > less, and it needs to be more than just saying "its the right thing
                > to do". It has to be a strong enough incentive so that drivers will
                > think twice about getting into their car the next time to go buy
                > something, rather than checking with a neighbor or hopping on a
                > bicycle.
                >
                > Cities need to help, too, by rezoning residential areas to allow some
                > limited developed to accomodate the purchasing and recreational needs
                > of local residents.
                >
                > School districts can help to, by adopting policys that do not
                > discourage kids from bicycling to school rather than being driven to
                > school daily.
                >
                > The answer lies in reducing the desires for motorized highway travel,
                > by everyone, throughout the city and the surrounding areas. The
                > answer does not lie in lining up more routes, using more land that
                > might have been used to accomodate the needs of the local residents
                > along the way, and ultimately relying on outside sources of energy.
                >
                > Offering financial incentives for people to drive less might just
                > reduce their desire to drive anywhere and everywhere, all the time.
                > Use the money that would have otherwise been used for the commuter
                > line development.
                >
                > In the meantime, have a happy 4th of July! Then sit back and watch
                > the paradigm shift. It has to anyway, eventually.
                > mtn
                >
                > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...>
                > wrote:
                > > You've got to start somewhere. I admit Houston is a mess, but so
                > are all
                > > the others. Canada included.
                > >
                > > Diesel electric is actually very energy-efficient. The light rail
                > system in
                > > Houston, projected opening date January 1, is electrified. In any
                > case,
                > > railroads can be electrified relatively easily. That won't happen
                > while
                > > we're still living in the cheap oil era, but I think it will
                > someday.
                > >
                > > Anyway, take Kunstler's hometown, Saratoga Springs. How is the
                > Albany area
                > > really any different than Houston? Sure, it's cold there instead
                > of hot,
                > > hilly instead of flat, but the transportation system is the same.
                > All
                > > American cities are equally sprawling. It doesn't matter if
                > they're in the
                > > Northeast, Illinois, the West Coast, or Florida.
                > >
                > > Sure, some of them might have enclaves like parts of San Francisco
                > or the
                > > Garden District in New Orleans where some less car-centric
                > development
                > > exists, but those are really small parts of the metropolitan areas
                > that they
                > > are in.
                > >
                > > Take New York City and its surrounding suburbs, for example.
                > Public transit
                > > use there is a small fraction of what it was in 1945. When they
                > tore down
                > > the elevated railways in Manhattan, junked the Third Avenue Railway,
                > > Brooklyn and Queens Transit, the Connecticut Company, and Public
                > Service of
                > > New Jersey streetcar systems, and built freeways all over the
                > place they
                > > lost huge numbers of riders that have never returned. Pathetic?
                > > Absolutely.
                >
                >
                > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
                >
              • Chris Loyd
                Message 7 of 26 , Jun 28, 2003
                • 0 Attachment
                  <<Almost all is from NG, which is very worrisome. There are two 1250 mw
                  nuclear reactors, but one is down due to corrosion from boric acid. It will
                  be brought back on-line probably later this year, but I've heard of no date.
                  The nearest coal is in North Texas and the nearest high-quality coal is in
                  Wyoming. Coal never has not and never will be important in South Texas.
                  Most of the steam locomotives here in an earlier time burned oil, not
                  coal.>>

                  Do you live in Houston or Dallas? You sound familiar with both.

                  If so, and even then familiarity may be enough, what is that large power
                  plant in 2nd ward, east of downtown? Is that a NG plant?

                  <<Carpooling was implemented in Houston in the eighties by building HOV
                  lanes and park n' ride lots on the metropolitan peripheral. Most carpoolers
                  work downtown for the large energy companies and banks. Employers and
                  Harris County have done as much as possible to provide incentives for
                  carpooling. The bus system also has point to point lines that run from one
                  station in the outlying area to downtown using HOV lanes mainly at rush
                  hour, with no stops in between. Both modes are fine if you are going from a
                  suburban point of origin to downtown on a weekday morning, but destinations
                  in between are not served, nor is there much off-peak service, and none on
                  weekends. Bus and carpooling trips in the direction against the main rush
                  hour flow are minimal, since the HOV lanes are unidirectional. Houston
                  freeways often back up in both directions. Both carpools and point to point
                  buses have not been able to deliver the reduction in SOV trips in spite of a
                  large investment by Houston Metro. After twenty years' experience with what
                  seemed to be innovative ideas, it is doubtful there can be much more
                  improvement with these modes. Houston, believe it or not, was actually late
                  getting started with freeways. No suburban shopping malls appeared until
                  the mid-1960's, and almost all shopping and white-collar employment was
                  confined to downtown until then. Although ~110,000 work downtown, that is
                  fairly insignficant for a city this size. What is really needed is a mass
                  transit system with trunk lines and bi-directional flow, and a restructured
                  feeder bus system to break away from a downtown-vectored system into a
                  regional grid pattern. The current point to point bus system, really just a
                  glorified vanpool, will not be able to deliver the volume required for a
                  meaningful reduction in SOV trips.>>

                  There are HOV buses that server the Galleria/Uptown area, although there are
                  no HOV lanes on the West Loop. These buses use the HOV lanes from the Katy
                  & Southwest Corridor. There is off-peak service until 20:00, albeit in
                  much-reduced intervals.

                  The huge Katy expansion will include bi-directional HOV lanes, with center
                  toll lanes (as I understand them to be). The really far-out areas, like
                  Katy before Beltway 8, use "diamond lanes", which run in both directions.
                  They are honored most of them time, but there are a few instances where
                  people use them as passing lanes. A more dangerous problem is when traffic
                  on the main lanes are crawling at less than 30 mph, but the non-barrier
                  separated diamond lane is traveling in excess of 85 mph. Barriers would
                  negate these relatively simple problems. The largest problem is actually
                  getting to these diamond lanes. During rush hour, there are stop lights on
                  the access ramp, so you have to wait until the light turns green. Then you
                  have to fight three lanes of thousands of aggressive, tail-gating traffic at
                  speeds varying from 5 to 65 mph, just to get to the diamond lane. The only
                  solution that I could see is having separate access ramps, but you'd might
                  as well have a double-decker: lower for mainlanes, upper for HOV.

                  Central Houston, Inc, has the downtown employment at 140,000
                  (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)
                  However, downtown residential is not even 3000, but CHI's figures, is
                  growing pretty rapidly.
                  (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)

                  Expanding the workforce population of downtown Houston will be a hard bet.
                  Like San Antonio, its downtown is surrounded on all sides by freeways.
                  Unless you bulldoze one of the freeways, or send it underground, you cannot
                  expand downtown geographically. Even then, you encounter resistance from
                  gayborhoods to the west, old, rich money to the north, Hispanics to the
                  east, and blacks to the south. Of these, the mid-town area between downtown
                  and the downtown-esque Texas Medical Center, is urbanizing. Apartments of
                  all kinds are being built.

                  The S-Main/Fannin/San Jacinto strip from downtown to TMC is also where the
                  new light rail is going. If anything, this corridor is your best bet for
                  carfree development.

                  Oh, and there is a problem with implementing a grid-bus system within the
                  Loop in Houston: there's no grid. North-south access stinks in the west
                  side; Memorial and Buffalo Bayou Park cuts it in half. Heck, the Bayou cuts
                  the whole inner loop in half. Rice University and TMC wreck the grid coming
                  from downtown. The only grid in inner loop is north of the bayou, and
                  around the University of Houston, in SE inner loop. It would be simpler to
                  keep the downtown hub and have the one inner-loop crosstown bus.

                  Aside from that, yes, much of Houston is grid like, especially in the vast
                  westward developments. However, I don't expect Houston to be quite so big
                  in 50 years.

                  <<The other collective portion of the transportation system, local buses,
                  average less than 10 MPH on city streets. In nearby Galveston, population
                  60,000, a crosstown bus trip takes about a half an hour. In Houston, a
                  local bus crosstown takes two and a half hours. I've talked to people that,
                  usually due to limited financial resources, make this trip by bus everyday.
                  It means getting up by 5 AM to be to work by 8 AM. Unlike cities in many
                  other parts of the US, Detroit being the best example, housing prices tend
                  to greatly increase the closer the location is to downtown. The wealthy can
                  afford to live close in. The poor must make do with a location further out
                  because they are priced out of the inner-city market.>>

                  There are closer locations, provided that you're willing to live in violent
                  ghettoes or in mini-Mexico. In the current situation, if you wanted to rent
                  an apartment in inner loop without blowing scads of money, would be near the
                  TMC, following the Brays Bayou until you hit the Loop.

                  <<The problem is that Houston's present transportation infrastructure
                  precludes further savings on transportation energy use. Carpooling,
                  point-to-point suburbs to downtown express buses at forty-two miles per hour
                  and local buses at eight miles per hour, have been deployed to their
                  greatest potential. Yet traffic gets visibly worse every year. New
                  freeways are built yet the traffic invariably gets worse after the
                  construction is finished. Houston proves that carpooling, HOV lanes and
                  buses cannot by themselves produce the necessary energy savings. They can
                  only be made to work for certain transportation niche markets and cannot
                  provide a regional alternative to SOV's. Hence the paradigm shift toward
                  rail. Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an
                  alternative. Dallas' light rail and commuter rail average 30-35 MPH, which
                  means they have to hit close to sixty miles per hour between stations.
                  Dallas' light rail stations average 1.25 miles apart. The commuter rail
                  stations are about three miles apart. The reason the light rail system is
                  the same effective speed as the commuter rail even though its stations are
                  closer together is that light rail cars accelerate more than twice as fast
                  as trains. Light rail, unlike trains, can ascend 4-5% grades like an
                  automobile, so rail/highway grade separation is more easily implemented for
                  light rail. The DART light rail system rather resembles an attenuated
                  roller-coaster.>>

                  What hasn't been tried is the Federal auctioning of freeways, or the
                  replotting of land such that the burden of road maintenance falls on the
                  property-owner that fronts the road.

                  Houston's light-rail for 2004 essentially replaces the #15 Hiram/Clarke bus,
                  which was one of the most over-used buses during rush hour. Too bad they
                  didn't continue the rail up north of downtown, following the #15 to its
                  north transit station. The current system smacks of city boosterism in the
                  face 4,000,000 people yawning "whatever". The most obvious bus route to
                  upgrade to rail is the #82 Westheimer, which comes every 8 minutes during
                  peak, and runs until very late, around 0200. The advantage was obvious:
                  Westheimer is a 23-mile long road that runs from mid-town through the
                  gayborhoods to Galleria/uptown way out until it hits Cullen-Barker park, and
                  becomes FM 1093. West of the loop, the road is very wide. However,
                  precislely for those reasons (gayborhoods and the Galleria), the idea never
                  made it past the transit-planners' wives and homosexual friends.

                  <<What has happened here in the past ten years is that most of the original
                  suburban shopping malls have gone out of business or have been severely
                  scaled back due to taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies of new malls on the
                  outskirts.>>

                  The only exception being the Galleria, but that place has two advantages:
                  it's the poshest mall in the city, and there's enough urban office and
                  residential development around the mall, to qualify it as semi-downtown-ish.

                  <<Bicycles are going to be pretty hard to implement in an area where the
                  average one-way distance is twelve miles. What would probably better
                  encourage cycling here would be additional square footage on transit
                  vehicles to enable people to use two wheels for part of their trip. But I
                  don't see much point in that until the bus system can be reorganized around
                  currently non-existing rapid transit stations in a grid feeder pattern.
                  Don't forget that the summer sun at 30­° latitude can be almost as brutal as
                  the cold in Detroit in winter. And when it rains here it usually storms and
                  the rain comes down in sheets. I don't think we'll be checking with our
                  neighbors every time we need to go somewhere, at least as long as the price
                  of oil remains cheap, a condition which won't last forever. Also, half the
                  energy used by an automobile is expended in its manufacture. When
                  hydrocarbon prices rise, and it is a question of when and not if, most
                  people will likely not be able to afford new cars. Consumer debt is already
                  maxed out.>>

                  There are some bike paths, but I have ridden the AC'ed bus versus ride a
                  bike. Houston may be flat, when it's 95 degrees with 70% humidity, I'd
                  rather not move at all. Despite that, I have seen more bicyclists in
                  Houston than in San Antonio.
                • Mike Harrington
                  Don t know what plant you re talking about. There s so much industry east of downtown Houston that it s kind of like a needle in a haystack unless you live or
                  Message 8 of 26 , Jun 28, 2003
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Don't know what plant you're talking about. There's so much industry east
                    of downtown Houston that it's kind of like a needle in a haystack unless you
                    live or work around there. Anheuser-Busch has a huge brewery on the
                    eastside that I believe does NG cogeneration.

                    The bi-directional lanes will be a failure since it sill means
                    point-to-point transportation mostly to downtown, with some new buses to
                    uptown, not true mass transit. The HOV lane buses have no backhaul and
                    don't serve intermediate points. In the few places that they do have
                    intermediate stations, they can't stop in mid-freeway, they have to make at
                    the very least a five-minute detour on elevated access roads to serve the
                    station. Five minutes is a long time to make a stop, it increases operating
                    cost and irritates riders. The Galleria is already choking in traffic and
                    bus operation there slows to a crawl for much of the day. If I want to go
                    from the Galleria to mid-point on Katy Freeway [westside Houston], say
                    Gessner, I'll still be stuck in a city bus going eight miles per hour, and
                    that's on a Sunday when traffic is lighter. The Westheimer and Bellaire
                    buses have fairly frequent service seven days a week nineteen hours per day,
                    but at eight miles per hour you're talking about really long bus rides and
                    there are some sixty traffic lights on both streets between the westside at
                    State Highway 6 and downtown Houston. By comparison to the new Dallas
                    implementation of elevated rail in high-traffic areas, most of Houston's bus
                    system will still be chugging along at twice walking speed. Bus ridership
                    in Houston, which traditionally increased right up through the mid-1990's,
                    has been falling in recent years. They'll push these 1970's concepts here
                    for a few more years, but this system has no good substitute for cheap oil,
                    and that's what keeps me from being bullish on its long-term prospects.

                    People keep saying the Houston will lose population, but that isn't likely.
                    Houston is among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US. The
                    regional population increased by almost 25%, close to a million people,
                    between 1990 and 2000 and was likely undercounted due to a large number of
                    illegals. The immigrant population, particularly Hispanic but also Asian,
                    probably will keep going right on up.

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...>
                    To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2003 12:04 PM
                    Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


                    > <<Almost all is from NG, which is very worrisome. There are two 1250 mw
                    > nuclear reactors, but one is down due to corrosion from boric acid. It
                    will
                    > be brought back on-line probably later this year, but I've heard of no
                    date.
                    > The nearest coal is in North Texas and the nearest high-quality coal is in
                    > Wyoming. Coal never has not and never will be important in South Texas.
                    > Most of the steam locomotives here in an earlier time burned oil, not
                    > coal.>>
                    >
                    > Do you live in Houston or Dallas? You sound familiar with both.
                    >
                    > If so, and even then familiarity may be enough, what is that large power
                    > plant in 2nd ward, east of downtown? Is that a NG plant?
                    >
                    > <<Carpooling was implemented in Houston in the eighties by building HOV
                    > lanes and park n' ride lots on the metropolitan peripheral. Most
                    carpoolers
                    > work downtown for the large energy companies and banks. Employers and
                    > Harris County have done as much as possible to provide incentives for
                    > carpooling. The bus system also has point to point lines that run from
                    one
                    > station in the outlying area to downtown using HOV lanes mainly at rush
                    > hour, with no stops in between. Both modes are fine if you are going from
                    a
                    > suburban point of origin to downtown on a weekday morning, but
                    destinations
                    > in between are not served, nor is there much off-peak service, and none on
                    > weekends. Bus and carpooling trips in the direction against the main rush
                    > hour flow are minimal, since the HOV lanes are unidirectional. Houston
                    > freeways often back up in both directions. Both carpools and point to
                    point
                    > buses have not been able to deliver the reduction in SOV trips in spite of
                    a
                    > large investment by Houston Metro. After twenty years' experience with
                    what
                    > seemed to be innovative ideas, it is doubtful there can be much more
                    > improvement with these modes. Houston, believe it or not, was actually
                    late
                    > getting started with freeways. No suburban shopping malls appeared until
                    > the mid-1960's, and almost all shopping and white-collar employment was
                    > confined to downtown until then. Although ~110,000 work downtown, that is
                    > fairly insignficant for a city this size. What is really needed is a mass
                    > transit system with trunk lines and bi-directional flow, and a
                    restructured
                    > feeder bus system to break away from a downtown-vectored system into a
                    > regional grid pattern. The current point to point bus system, really just
                    a
                    > glorified vanpool, will not be able to deliver the volume required for a
                    > meaningful reduction in SOV trips.>>
                    >
                    > There are HOV buses that server the Galleria/Uptown area, although there
                    are
                    > no HOV lanes on the West Loop. These buses use the HOV lanes from the
                    Katy
                    > & Southwest Corridor. There is off-peak service until 20:00, albeit in
                    > much-reduced intervals.
                    >
                    > The huge Katy expansion will include bi-directional HOV lanes, with center
                    > toll lanes (as I understand them to be). The really far-out areas, like
                    > Katy before Beltway 8, use "diamond lanes", which run in both directions.
                    > They are honored most of them time, but there are a few instances where
                    > people use them as passing lanes. A more dangerous problem is when
                    traffic
                    > on the main lanes are crawling at less than 30 mph, but the non-barrier
                    > separated diamond lane is traveling in excess of 85 mph. Barriers would
                    > negate these relatively simple problems. The largest problem is actually
                    > getting to these diamond lanes. During rush hour, there are stop lights
                    on
                    > the access ramp, so you have to wait until the light turns green. Then
                    you
                    > have to fight three lanes of thousands of aggressive, tail-gating traffic
                    at
                    > speeds varying from 5 to 65 mph, just to get to the diamond lane. The
                    only
                    > solution that I could see is having separate access ramps, but you'd might
                    > as well have a double-decker: lower for mainlanes, upper for HOV.
                    >
                    > Central Houston, Inc, has the downtown employment at 140,000
                    > (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)
                    > However, downtown residential is not even 3000, but CHI's figures, is
                    > growing pretty rapidly.
                    > (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)
                    >
                    > Expanding the workforce population of downtown Houston will be a hard bet.
                    > Like San Antonio, its downtown is surrounded on all sides by freeways.
                    > Unless you bulldoze one of the freeways, or send it underground, you
                    cannot
                    > expand downtown geographically. Even then, you encounter resistance from
                    > gayborhoods to the west, old, rich money to the north, Hispanics to the
                    > east, and blacks to the south. Of these, the mid-town area between
                    downtown
                    > and the downtown-esque Texas Medical Center, is urbanizing. Apartments of
                    > all kinds are being built.
                    >
                    > The S-Main/Fannin/San Jacinto strip from downtown to TMC is also where the
                    > new light rail is going. If anything, this corridor is your best bet for
                    > carfree development.
                    >
                    > Oh, and there is a problem with implementing a grid-bus system within the
                    > Loop in Houston: there's no grid. North-south access stinks in the west
                    > side; Memorial and Buffalo Bayou Park cuts it in half. Heck, the Bayou
                    cuts
                    > the whole inner loop in half. Rice University and TMC wreck the grid
                    coming
                    > from downtown. The only grid in inner loop is north of the bayou, and
                    > around the University of Houston, in SE inner loop. It would be simpler
                    to
                    > keep the downtown hub and have the one inner-loop crosstown bus.
                    >
                    > Aside from that, yes, much of Houston is grid like, especially in the vast
                    > westward developments. However, I don't expect Houston to be quite so big
                    > in 50 years.
                    >
                    > <<The other collective portion of the transportation system, local buses,
                    > average less than 10 MPH on city streets. In nearby Galveston, population
                    > 60,000, a crosstown bus trip takes about a half an hour. In Houston, a
                    > local bus crosstown takes two and a half hours. I've talked to people
                    that,
                    > usually due to limited financial resources, make this trip by bus
                    everyday.
                    > It means getting up by 5 AM to be to work by 8 AM. Unlike cities in many
                    > other parts of the US, Detroit being the best example, housing prices tend
                    > to greatly increase the closer the location is to downtown. The wealthy
                    can
                    > afford to live close in. The poor must make do with a location further
                    out
                    > because they are priced out of the inner-city market.>>
                    >
                    > There are closer locations, provided that you're willing to live in
                    violent
                    > ghettoes or in mini-Mexico. In the current situation, if you wanted to
                    rent
                    > an apartment in inner loop without blowing scads of money, would be near
                    the
                    > TMC, following the Brays Bayou until you hit the Loop.
                    >
                    > <<The problem is that Houston's present transportation infrastructure
                    > precludes further savings on transportation energy use. Carpooling,
                    > point-to-point suburbs to downtown express buses at forty-two miles per
                    hour
                    > and local buses at eight miles per hour, have been deployed to their
                    > greatest potential. Yet traffic gets visibly worse every year. New
                    > freeways are built yet the traffic invariably gets worse after the
                    > construction is finished. Houston proves that carpooling, HOV lanes and
                    > buses cannot by themselves produce the necessary energy savings. They can
                    > only be made to work for certain transportation niche markets and cannot
                    > provide a regional alternative to SOV's. Hence the paradigm shift toward
                    > rail. Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an
                    > alternative. Dallas' light rail and commuter rail average 30-35 MPH,
                    which
                    > means they have to hit close to sixty miles per hour between stations.
                    > Dallas' light rail stations average 1.25 miles apart. The commuter rail
                    > stations are about three miles apart. The reason the light rail system is
                    > the same effective speed as the commuter rail even though its stations are
                    > closer together is that light rail cars accelerate more than twice as fast
                    > as trains. Light rail, unlike trains, can ascend 4-5% grades like an
                    > automobile, so rail/highway grade separation is more easily implemented
                    for
                    > light rail. The DART light rail system rather resembles an attenuated
                    > roller-coaster.>>
                    >
                    > What hasn't been tried is the Federal auctioning of freeways, or the
                    > replotting of land such that the burden of road maintenance falls on the
                    > property-owner that fronts the road.
                    >
                    > Houston's light-rail for 2004 essentially replaces the #15 Hiram/Clarke
                    bus,
                    > which was one of the most over-used buses during rush hour. Too bad they
                    > didn't continue the rail up north of downtown, following the #15 to its
                    > north transit station. The current system smacks of city boosterism in
                    the
                    > face 4,000,000 people yawning "whatever". The most obvious bus route to
                    > upgrade to rail is the #82 Westheimer, which comes every 8 minutes during
                    > peak, and runs until very late, around 0200. The advantage was obvious:
                    > Westheimer is a 23-mile long road that runs from mid-town through the
                    > gayborhoods to Galleria/uptown way out until it hits Cullen-Barker park,
                    and
                    > becomes FM 1093. West of the loop, the road is very wide. However,
                    > precislely for those reasons (gayborhoods and the Galleria), the idea
                    never
                    > made it past the transit-planners' wives and homosexual friends.
                    >
                    > <<What has happened here in the past ten years is that most of the
                    original
                    > suburban shopping malls have gone out of business or have been severely
                    > scaled back due to taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies of new malls on the
                    > outskirts.>>
                    >
                    > The only exception being the Galleria, but that place has two advantages:
                    > it's the poshest mall in the city, and there's enough urban office and
                    > residential development around the mall, to qualify it as
                    semi-downtown-ish.
                    >
                    > <<Bicycles are going to be pretty hard to implement in an area where the
                    > average one-way distance is twelve miles. What would probably better
                    > encourage cycling here would be additional square footage on transit
                    > vehicles to enable people to use two wheels for part of their trip. But I
                    > don't see much point in that until the bus system can be reorganized
                    around
                    > currently non-existing rapid transit stations in a grid feeder pattern.
                    > Don't forget that the summer sun at 30­° latitude can be almost as brutal
                    as
                    > the cold in Detroit in winter. And when it rains here it usually storms
                    and
                    > the rain comes down in sheets. I don't think we'll be checking with our
                    > neighbors every time we need to go somewhere, at least as long as the
                    price
                    > of oil remains cheap, a condition which won't last forever. Also, half
                    the
                    > energy used by an automobile is expended in its manufacture. When
                    > hydrocarbon prices rise, and it is a question of when and not if, most
                    > people will likely not be able to afford new cars. Consumer debt is
                    already
                    > maxed out.>>
                    >
                    > There are some bike paths, but I have ridden the AC'ed bus versus ride a
                    > bike. Houston may be flat, when it's 95 degrees with 70% humidity, I'd
                    > rather not move at all. Despite that, I have seen more bicyclists in
                    > Houston than in San Antonio.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
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                    >
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                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • dubluth
                    ... It would be bad policy to subsidize small local merchants so that they could compete with big box stores that have the advantage of a subsidized automobile
                    Message 9 of 26 , Jun 28, 2003
                    • 0 Attachment
                      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Neuman" <mtneuman@j...>
                      wrote:
                      ------snip----------------->How about shopping? Are city subsidies
                      > provided to local grocery and hardware stores to encourage them to
                      > compete with big box stores that draw motorists from all throughout
                      > the city, on a daily basis?
                      >------------snip---------------------

                      It would be bad policy to subsidize small local merchants so that they
                      could compete with big box stores that have the advantage of a
                      subsidized automobile transportation system.

                      On the other hand, removing subsidies from the automobile
                      transportation system would be good policy. Merchants could then
                      compete on quality, convenience, and price without "earning" various
                      subsidies. Local stores might even return. No-one would need to
                      pretend they've figured out the right level of subsidy. Life wouldn't
                      be breathed into a new lobbying group.

                      I don't believe that Mike Neuman means to advocate for the
                      subsidization of store shopping. However, it is rather clear that
                      this would be the effect of his proposal.

                      Buying from local shops isn't the only alternative to warehouse stores
                      which cater to automobile drivers. Door to door delivery is an
                      alternative some may want. This might be subsidized also, but WHY
                      subsidize the buying of consumer goods at all?
                      <+> <+> <+> <+> <+>
                      Most of my shopping is for groceries. There are two grocery stores
                      and one convenience store within walking distance of my home. Another
                      supermarket is going up -- a replacement for a one floor store that
                      had a surface parking lot. It will have underground parking and
                      condos above store level. A substantial part of the expense of
                      building this store is surely the underground garage.

                      I would walk a couple of extra blocks to shop at a store that didn't
                      provide free or subsidized parking to customers. I know of no such
                      store. As a result, part of my grocery bill goes to facilitating the
                      pollution of my neighborhood and city.

                      For the store owners it may be the simple determination that the added
                      cost of providing parking is more than offset by the added revenue
                      gained from driving shoppers. (I don't know if they legally have a
                      choice -- wierd laws do exist).

                      Competing for the business of the motorists is more important to the
                      stores than competing for the business of the walkers and bicyclists.
                      A bicyclist or pedestrian pays as much for a bag of groceries as a
                      motorist would pay for the same bag of groceries plus store provided
                      parking.

                      Motorists expect the free parking. They have been conditioned to
                      believe that parking is costless or that there is a justification in
                      making someone else pay those costs.

                      If I purchased enough groceries in a shopping trip I may receive a
                      refund of a few cents for using my own bags. On the store receipt it
                      is called something like enviro-save.

                      I don't get any refund on my groceries for not parking a car in the
                      garage or lot. The long term costs to the store alone are more
                      substantially influenced by its decision to install parking than would
                      every customer asking that their groceries quadruple bagged.

                      Will people turn their attention from bags to parking? Standing up
                      for the interests of pedestrians by fighting against transfers that
                      support motoring is a political cause that should wake up.

                      Providing pedestrians with someone else's idea of a benefit wouldn't
                      have as big a positive effect on people's choices as single-mindedly
                      working to take away the subsidies to driving and seeking to
                      internalize the negative externalities.

                      Bill Carr
                    • J.H. Crawford
                      ... Just for a cross-cultural viewpoint on this, I don t know of a grocery store in the center of Amsterdam that provides ANY parking, free or otherwise.
                      Message 10 of 26 , Jun 29, 2003
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                        Bill Carr said:

                        >Motorists expect the free parking. They have been conditioned to
                        >believe that parking is costless or that there is a justification in
                        >making someone else pay those costs.

                        ...

                        >I don't get any refund on my groceries for not parking a car in the
                        >garage or lot. The long term costs to the store alone are more
                        >substantially influenced by its decision to install parking than would
                        >every customer asking that their groceries quadruple bagged.

                        Just for a cross-cultural viewpoint on this, I don't know of a grocery
                        store in the center of Amsterdam that provides ANY parking, free or
                        otherwise. Everybody walks or bikes to the stores (which are rarely
                        very far away) and hauls their own stuff home. (The biggest local
                        chain has Internet ordering and home delivery, for Euro 6.80. The
                        minimum order is Euro 50.00. The delivery people will take your bottles
                        and crates back for you. You have to choose a two-hour delivery window.)

                        Out of the city center, there are a few stores with parking garages,
                        but, as far as I am aware, you always have to pay.

                        Regards,



                        -- ### --

                        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                        mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                      • Chris Loyd
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jun 29, 2003
                        • 0 Attachment
                          <<Don't know what plant you're talking about. There's so much industry east
                          of downtown Houston that it's kind of like a needle in a haystack unless you
                          live or work around there. Anheuser-Busch has a huge brewery on the
                          eastside that I believe does NG cogeneration.>>

                          It's on Harrisburg St, I believe. Large scale compared to the surrounding
                          neighborhood. Just curious.

                          <<The bi-directional lanes will be a failure since it sill means
                          point-to-point transportation mostly to downtown, with some new buses to
                          uptown, not true mass transit.>>

                          Not necessarily. There are exits outside downtown, and if HOV lanes were
                          ever placed on the West Loop or the Beltway, clearly it couldn't serve
                          downtown.

                          <<The HOV lane buses have no backhaul and
                          don't serve intermediate points. >>

                          Backhaul? Do you mean feeder routes?

                          They serve all the transit park-n-rides along a given corridor during
                          off-peak hours. It's only during the peak hours that a bus going from a
                          given park-n-ride will not stop on its way to downtown.

                          <<In the few places that they do have
                          intermediate stations, they can't stop in mid-freeway, they have to make at
                          the very least a five-minute detour on elevated access roads to serve the
                          station. Five minutes is a long time to make a stop, it increases operating
                          cost and irritates riders.>>

                          Would a solution be then to have the stops actually on top (or right below)
                          the freeway?

                          <<The Galleria is already choking in traffic and
                          bus operation there slows to a crawl for much of the day.>>

                          Yes, I have found traffic to be worst in that area than in downtown, which
                          was curiously sparse the last time I was there on a weekday around 5:00pm.

                          <<If I want to go
                          from the Galleria to mid-point on Katy Freeway [westside Houston], say
                          Gessner, I'll still be stuck in a city bus going eight miles per hour, and
                          that's on a Sunday when traffic is lighter. The Westheimer and Bellaire
                          buses have fairly frequent service seven days a week nineteen hours per day,
                          but at eight miles per hour you're talking about really long bus rides and
                          there are some sixty traffic lights on both streets between the westside at
                          State Highway 6 and downtown Houston. By comparison to the new Dallas
                          implementation of elevated rail in high-traffic areas, most of Houston's bus
                          system will still be chugging along at twice walking speed.>>

                          Have you seen what Metro did to the intersection at (I think) Fannin and
                          Holcombe? Fannin (or whatever the north-south street is called) has through
                          lanes that go underneath Holcombe. The Light Rail will use the through
                          lanes, bypassing the traffic lights. I don't see why the same thing
                          couldn't be done with buses. Stop minor streets from crossing the major
                          road, forcing a right turn. At major intersections, create an underground
                          bypass for the buses, or trains.

                          <<Bus ridership
                          in Houston, which traditionally increased right up through the mid-1990's,
                          has been falling in recent years.>>

                          Says who? Metro only gives annual boardings for 2000. Texas Policy tracked
                          boarding increases through 1998. The Census Bureau has only released data
                          on their website through 1990.

                          <<They'll push these 1970's concepts here
                          for a few more years, but this system has no good substitute for cheap oil,
                          and that's what keeps me from being bullish on its long-term prospects.>>

                          So why does anyone who could afford to drive to work ride Metro at all?

                          <<People keep saying the Houston will lose population, but that isn't
                          likely.
                          Houston is among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US. The
                          regional population increased by almost 25%, close to a million people,
                          between 1990 and 2000 and was likely undercounted due to a large number of
                          illegals. The immigrant population, particularly Hispanic but also Asian,
                          probably will keep going right on up.>>

                          Isn't that assuming that the past economic trends will continue into the
                          future?

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...>
                          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2003 12:04 PM
                          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


                          > <<Almost all is from NG, which is very worrisome. There are two 1250 mw
                          > nuclear reactors, but one is down due to corrosion from boric acid. It
                          will
                          > be brought back on-line probably later this year, but I've heard of no
                          date.
                          > The nearest coal is in North Texas and the nearest high-quality coal is in
                          > Wyoming. Coal never has not and never will be important in South Texas.
                          > Most of the steam locomotives here in an earlier time burned oil, not
                          > coal.>>
                          >
                          > Do you live in Houston or Dallas? You sound familiar with both.
                          >
                          > If so, and even then familiarity may be enough, what is that large power
                          > plant in 2nd ward, east of downtown? Is that a NG plant?
                          >
                          > <<Carpooling was implemented in Houston in the eighties by building HOV
                          > lanes and park n' ride lots on the metropolitan peripheral. Most
                          carpoolers
                          > work downtown for the large energy companies and banks. Employers and
                          > Harris County have done as much as possible to provide incentives for
                          > carpooling. The bus system also has point to point lines that run from
                          one
                          > station in the outlying area to downtown using HOV lanes mainly at rush
                          > hour, with no stops in between. Both modes are fine if you are going from
                          a
                          > suburban point of origin to downtown on a weekday morning, but
                          destinations
                          > in between are not served, nor is there much off-peak service, and none on
                          > weekends. Bus and carpooling trips in the direction against the main rush
                          > hour flow are minimal, since the HOV lanes are unidirectional. Houston
                          > freeways often back up in both directions. Both carpools and point to
                          point
                          > buses have not been able to deliver the reduction in SOV trips in spite of
                          a
                          > large investment by Houston Metro. After twenty years' experience with
                          what
                          > seemed to be innovative ideas, it is doubtful there can be much more
                          > improvement with these modes. Houston, believe it or not, was actually
                          late
                          > getting started with freeways. No suburban shopping malls appeared until
                          > the mid-1960's, and almost all shopping and white-collar employment was
                          > confined to downtown until then. Although ~110,000 work downtown, that is
                          > fairly insignficant for a city this size. What is really needed is a mass
                          > transit system with trunk lines and bi-directional flow, and a
                          restructured
                          > feeder bus system to break away from a downtown-vectored system into a
                          > regional grid pattern. The current point to point bus system, really just
                          a
                          > glorified vanpool, will not be able to deliver the volume required for a
                          > meaningful reduction in SOV trips.>>
                          >
                          > There are HOV buses that server the Galleria/Uptown area, although there
                          are
                          > no HOV lanes on the West Loop. These buses use the HOV lanes from the
                          Katy
                          > & Southwest Corridor. There is off-peak service until 20:00, albeit in
                          > much-reduced intervals.
                          >
                          > The huge Katy expansion will include bi-directional HOV lanes, with center
                          > toll lanes (as I understand them to be). The really far-out areas, like
                          > Katy before Beltway 8, use "diamond lanes", which run in both directions.
                          > They are honored most of them time, but there are a few instances where
                          > people use them as passing lanes. A more dangerous problem is when
                          traffic
                          > on the main lanes are crawling at less than 30 mph, but the non-barrier
                          > separated diamond lane is traveling in excess of 85 mph. Barriers would
                          > negate these relatively simple problems. The largest problem is actually
                          > getting to these diamond lanes. During rush hour, there are stop lights
                          on
                          > the access ramp, so you have to wait until the light turns green. Then
                          you
                          > have to fight three lanes of thousands of aggressive, tail-gating traffic
                          at
                          > speeds varying from 5 to 65 mph, just to get to the diamond lane. The
                          only
                          > solution that I could see is having separate access ramps, but you'd might
                          > as well have a double-decker: lower for mainlanes, upper for HOV.
                          >
                          > Central Houston, Inc, has the downtown employment at 140,000
                          > (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)
                          > However, downtown residential is not even 3000, but CHI's figures, is
                          > growing pretty rapidly.
                          > (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)
                          >
                          > Expanding the workforce population of downtown Houston will be a hard bet.
                          > Like San Antonio, its downtown is surrounded on all sides by freeways.
                          > Unless you bulldoze one of the freeways, or send it underground, you
                          cannot
                          > expand downtown geographically. Even then, you encounter resistance from
                          > gayborhoods to the west, old, rich money to the north, Hispanics to the
                          > east, and blacks to the south. Of these, the mid-town area between
                          downtown
                          > and the downtown-esque Texas Medical Center, is urbanizing. Apartments of
                          > all kinds are being built.
                          >
                          > The S-Main/Fannin/San Jacinto strip from downtown to TMC is also where the
                          > new light rail is going. If anything, this corridor is your best bet for
                          > carfree development.
                          >
                          > Oh, and there is a problem with implementing a grid-bus system within the
                          > Loop in Houston: there's no grid. North-south access stinks in the west
                          > side; Memorial and Buffalo Bayou Park cuts it in half. Heck, the Bayou
                          cuts
                          > the whole inner loop in half. Rice University and TMC wreck the grid
                          coming
                          > from downtown. The only grid in inner loop is north of the bayou, and
                          > around the University of Houston, in SE inner loop. It would be simpler
                          to
                          > keep the downtown hub and have the one inner-loop crosstown bus.
                          >
                          > Aside from that, yes, much of Houston is grid like, especially in the vast
                          > westward developments. However, I don't expect Houston to be quite so big
                          > in 50 years.
                          >
                          > <<The other collective portion of the transportation system, local buses,
                          > average less than 10 MPH on city streets. In nearby Galveston, population
                          > 60,000, a crosstown bus trip takes about a half an hour. In Houston, a
                          > local bus crosstown takes two and a half hours. I've talked to people
                          that,
                          > usually due to limited financial resources, make this trip by bus
                          everyday.
                          > It means getting up by 5 AM to be to work by 8 AM. Unlike cities in many
                          > other parts of the US, Detroit being the best example, housing prices tend
                          > to greatly increase the closer the location is to downtown. The wealthy
                          can
                          > afford to live close in. The poor must make do with a location further
                          out
                          > because they are priced out of the inner-city market.>>
                          >
                          > There are closer locations, provided that you're willing to live in
                          violent
                          > ghettoes or in mini-Mexico. In the current situation, if you wanted to
                          rent
                          > an apartment in inner loop without blowing scads of money, would be near
                          the
                          > TMC, following the Brays Bayou until you hit the Loop.
                          >
                          > <<The problem is that Houston's present transportation infrastructure
                          > precludes further savings on transportation energy use. Carpooling,
                          > point-to-point suburbs to downtown express buses at forty-two miles per
                          hour
                          > and local buses at eight miles per hour, have been deployed to their
                          > greatest potential. Yet traffic gets visibly worse every year. New
                          > freeways are built yet the traffic invariably gets worse after the
                          > construction is finished. Houston proves that carpooling, HOV lanes and
                          > buses cannot by themselves produce the necessary energy savings. They can
                          > only be made to work for certain transportation niche markets and cannot
                          > provide a regional alternative to SOV's. Hence the paradigm shift toward
                          > rail. Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an
                          > alternative. Dallas' light rail and commuter rail average 30-35 MPH,
                          which
                          > means they have to hit close to sixty miles per hour between stations.
                          > Dallas' light rail stations average 1.25 miles apart. The commuter rail
                          > stations are about three miles apart. The reason the light rail system is
                          > the same effective speed as the commuter rail even though its stations are
                          > closer together is that light rail cars accelerate more than twice as fast
                          > as trains. Light rail, unlike trains, can ascend 4-5% grades like an
                          > automobile, so rail/highway grade separation is more easily implemented
                          for
                          > light rail. The DART light rail system rather resembles an attenuated
                          > roller-coaster.>>
                          >
                          > What hasn't been tried is the Federal auctioning of freeways, or the
                          > replotting of land such that the burden of road maintenance falls on the
                          > property-owner that fronts the road.
                          >
                          > Houston's light-rail for 2004 essentially replaces the #15 Hiram/Clarke
                          bus,
                          > which was one of the most over-used buses during rush hour. Too bad they
                          > didn't continue the rail up north of downtown, following the #15 to its
                          > north transit station. The current system smacks of city boosterism in
                          the
                          > face 4,000,000 people yawning "whatever". The most obvious bus route to
                          > upgrade to rail is the #82 Westheimer, which comes every 8 minutes during
                          > peak, and runs until very late, around 0200. The advantage was obvious:
                          > Westheimer is a 23-mile long road that runs from mid-town through the
                          > gayborhoods to Galleria/uptown way out until it hits Cullen-Barker park,
                          and
                          > becomes FM 1093. West of the loop, the road is very wide. However,
                          > precislely for those reasons (gayborhoods and the Galleria), the idea
                          never
                          > made it past the transit-planners' wives and homosexual friends.
                          >
                          > <<What has happened here in the past ten years is that most of the
                          original
                          > suburban shopping malls have gone out of business or have been severely
                          > scaled back due to taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies of new malls on the
                          > outskirts.>>
                          >
                          > The only exception being the Galleria, but that place has two advantages:
                          > it's the poshest mall in the city, and there's enough urban office and
                          > residential development around the mall, to qualify it as
                          semi-downtown-ish.
                          >
                          > <<Bicycles are going to be pretty hard to implement in an area where the
                          > average one-way distance is twelve miles. What would probably better
                          > encourage cycling here would be additional square footage on transit
                          > vehicles to enable people to use two wheels for part of their trip. But I
                          > don't see much point in that until the bus system can be reorganized
                          around
                          > currently non-existing rapid transit stations in a grid feeder pattern.
                          > Don't forget that the summer sun at 30­° latitude can be almost as brutal
                          as
                          > the cold in Detroit in winter. And when it rains here it usually storms
                          and
                          > the rain comes down in sheets. I don't think we'll be checking with our
                          > neighbors every time we need to go somewhere, at least as long as the
                          price
                          > of oil remains cheap, a condition which won't last forever. Also, half
                          the
                          > energy used by an automobile is expended in its manufacture. When
                          > hydrocarbon prices rise, and it is a question of when and not if, most
                          > people will likely not be able to afford new cars. Consumer debt is
                          already
                          > maxed out.>>
                          >
                          > There are some bike paths, but I have ridden the AC'ed bus versus ride a
                          > bike. Houston may be flat, when it's 95 degrees with 70% humidity, I'd
                          > rather not move at all. Despite that, I have seen more bicyclists in
                          > Houston than in San Antonio.
                          >
                          >
                          >
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                          >
                          >


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                        • Mike Harrington
                          By backhaul, I mean that the point to point suburbs to downtown commuter buses don t make intermediate stops, and the service is unidirectional. At rush hour,
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jun 29, 2003
                          • 0 Attachment
                            By backhaul, I mean that the point to point suburbs to downtown commuter
                            buses don't make intermediate stops, and the service is unidirectional.

                            At rush hour, there is a bus every three for four minutes from downtown to
                            Highway 6, 19 miles. But there is no service to intermediate points, and
                            the buses run virtually empty in the opposite direction. If I want to
                            travel against rush hour flow, say I work for Shell or BFI at Dairy Ashford
                            from my home in Houston Heights near downtown, there is no public transit
                            option for me. The Houston commuter buses are just a glorified vanpool.
                            They can only provide service to downtown and therefore do not scale.

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...>
                            To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2003 1:05 PM
                            Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


                            > <<Don't know what plant you're talking about. There's so much industry
                            east
                            > of downtown Houston that it's kind of like a needle in a haystack unless
                            you
                            > live or work around there. Anheuser-Busch has a huge brewery on the
                            > eastside that I believe does NG cogeneration.>>
                            >
                            > It's on Harrisburg St, I believe. Large scale compared to the surrounding
                            > neighborhood. Just curious.
                            >
                            > <<The bi-directional lanes will be a failure since it sill means
                            > point-to-point transportation mostly to downtown, with some new buses to
                            > uptown, not true mass transit.>>
                            >
                            > Not necessarily. There are exits outside downtown, and if HOV lanes were
                            > ever placed on the West Loop or the Beltway, clearly it couldn't serve
                            > downtown.
                            >
                            > <<The HOV lane buses have no backhaul and
                            > don't serve intermediate points. >>
                            >
                            > Backhaul? Do you mean feeder routes?
                            >
                            > They serve all the transit park-n-rides along a given corridor during
                            > off-peak hours. It's only during the peak hours that a bus going from a
                            > given park-n-ride will not stop on its way to downtown.
                            >
                            > <<In the few places that they do have
                            > intermediate stations, they can't stop in mid-freeway, they have to make
                            at
                            > the very least a five-minute detour on elevated access roads to serve the
                            > station. Five minutes is a long time to make a stop, it increases
                            operating
                            > cost and irritates riders.>>
                            >
                            > Would a solution be then to have the stops actually on top (or right
                            below)
                            > the freeway?
                            >
                            > <<The Galleria is already choking in traffic and
                            > bus operation there slows to a crawl for much of the day.>>
                            >
                            > Yes, I have found traffic to be worst in that area than in downtown, which
                            > was curiously sparse the last time I was there on a weekday around 5:00pm.
                            >
                            > <<If I want to go
                            > from the Galleria to mid-point on Katy Freeway [westside Houston], say
                            > Gessner, I'll still be stuck in a city bus going eight miles per hour, and
                            > that's on a Sunday when traffic is lighter. The Westheimer and Bellaire
                            > buses have fairly frequent service seven days a week nineteen hours per
                            day,
                            > but at eight miles per hour you're talking about really long bus rides and
                            > there are some sixty traffic lights on both streets between the westside
                            at
                            > State Highway 6 and downtown Houston. By comparison to the new Dallas
                            > implementation of elevated rail in high-traffic areas, most of Houston's
                            bus
                            > system will still be chugging along at twice walking speed.>>
                            >
                            > Have you seen what Metro did to the intersection at (I think) Fannin and
                            > Holcombe? Fannin (or whatever the north-south street is called) has
                            through
                            > lanes that go underneath Holcombe. The Light Rail will use the through
                            > lanes, bypassing the traffic lights. I don't see why the same thing
                            > couldn't be done with buses. Stop minor streets from crossing the major
                            > road, forcing a right turn. At major intersections, create an underground
                            > bypass for the buses, or trains.
                            >
                            > <<Bus ridership
                            > in Houston, which traditionally increased right up through the mid-1990's,
                            > has been falling in recent years.>>
                            >
                            > Says who? Metro only gives annual boardings for 2000. Texas Policy
                            tracked
                            > boarding increases through 1998. The Census Bureau has only released data
                            > on their website through 1990.
                            >
                            > <<They'll push these 1970's concepts here
                            > for a few more years, but this system has no good substitute for cheap
                            oil,
                            > and that's what keeps me from being bullish on its long-term prospects.>>
                            >
                            > So why does anyone who could afford to drive to work ride Metro at all?
                            >
                            > <<People keep saying the Houston will lose population, but that isn't
                            > likely.
                            > Houston is among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US. The
                            > regional population increased by almost 25%, close to a million people,
                            > between 1990 and 2000 and was likely undercounted due to a large number of
                            > illegals. The immigrant population, particularly Hispanic but also Asian,
                            > probably will keep going right on up.>>
                            >
                            > Isn't that assuming that the past economic trends will continue into the
                            > future?
                            >
                            > ----- Original Message -----
                            > From: "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...>
                            > To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                            > Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2003 12:04 PM
                            > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston
                            >
                            >
                            > > <<Almost all is from NG, which is very worrisome. There are two 1250 mw
                            > > nuclear reactors, but one is down due to corrosion from boric acid. It
                            > will
                            > > be brought back on-line probably later this year, but I've heard of no
                            > date.
                            > > The nearest coal is in North Texas and the nearest high-quality coal is
                            in
                            > > Wyoming. Coal never has not and never will be important in South Texas.
                            > > Most of the steam locomotives here in an earlier time burned oil, not
                            > > coal.>>
                            > >
                            > > Do you live in Houston or Dallas? You sound familiar with both.
                            > >
                            > > If so, and even then familiarity may be enough, what is that large power
                            > > plant in 2nd ward, east of downtown? Is that a NG plant?
                            > >
                            > > <<Carpooling was implemented in Houston in the eighties by building HOV
                            > > lanes and park n' ride lots on the metropolitan peripheral. Most
                            > carpoolers
                            > > work downtown for the large energy companies and banks. Employers and
                            > > Harris County have done as much as possible to provide incentives for
                            > > carpooling. The bus system also has point to point lines that run from
                            > one
                            > > station in the outlying area to downtown using HOV lanes mainly at rush
                            > > hour, with no stops in between. Both modes are fine if you are going
                            from
                            > a
                            > > suburban point of origin to downtown on a weekday morning, but
                            > destinations
                            > > in between are not served, nor is there much off-peak service, and none
                            on
                            > > weekends. Bus and carpooling trips in the direction against the main
                            rush
                            > > hour flow are minimal, since the HOV lanes are unidirectional. Houston
                            > > freeways often back up in both directions. Both carpools and point to
                            > point
                            > > buses have not been able to deliver the reduction in SOV trips in spite
                            of
                            > a
                            > > large investment by Houston Metro. After twenty years' experience with
                            > what
                            > > seemed to be innovative ideas, it is doubtful there can be much more
                            > > improvement with these modes. Houston, believe it or not, was actually
                            > late
                            > > getting started with freeways. No suburban shopping malls appeared
                            until
                            > > the mid-1960's, and almost all shopping and white-collar employment was
                            > > confined to downtown until then. Although ~110,000 work downtown, that
                            is
                            > > fairly insignficant for a city this size. What is really needed is a
                            mass
                            > > transit system with trunk lines and bi-directional flow, and a
                            > restructured
                            > > feeder bus system to break away from a downtown-vectored system into a
                            > > regional grid pattern. The current point to point bus system, really
                            just
                            > a
                            > > glorified vanpool, will not be able to deliver the volume required for a
                            > > meaningful reduction in SOV trips.>>
                            > >
                            > > There are HOV buses that server the Galleria/Uptown area, although there
                            > are
                            > > no HOV lanes on the West Loop. These buses use the HOV lanes from the
                            > Katy
                            > > & Southwest Corridor. There is off-peak service until 20:00, albeit in
                            > > much-reduced intervals.
                            > >
                            > > The huge Katy expansion will include bi-directional HOV lanes, with
                            center
                            > > toll lanes (as I understand them to be). The really far-out areas, like
                            > > Katy before Beltway 8, use "diamond lanes", which run in both
                            directions.
                            > > They are honored most of them time, but there are a few instances where
                            > > people use them as passing lanes. A more dangerous problem is when
                            > traffic
                            > > on the main lanes are crawling at less than 30 mph, but the non-barrier
                            > > separated diamond lane is traveling in excess of 85 mph. Barriers would
                            > > negate these relatively simple problems. The largest problem is
                            actually
                            > > getting to these diamond lanes. During rush hour, there are stop lights
                            > on
                            > > the access ramp, so you have to wait until the light turns green. Then
                            > you
                            > > have to fight three lanes of thousands of aggressive, tail-gating
                            traffic
                            > at
                            > > speeds varying from 5 to 65 mph, just to get to the diamond lane. The
                            > only
                            > > solution that I could see is having separate access ramps, but you'd
                            might
                            > > as well have a double-decker: lower for mainlanes, upper for HOV.
                            > >
                            > > Central Houston, Inc, has the downtown employment at 140,000
                            > > (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)
                            > > However, downtown residential is not even 3000, but CHI's figures, is
                            > > growing pretty rapidly.
                            > > (http://www.centralhouston.org/Home/DowtownDevelopment/Office/)
                            > >
                            > > Expanding the workforce population of downtown Houston will be a hard
                            bet.
                            > > Like San Antonio, its downtown is surrounded on all sides by freeways.
                            > > Unless you bulldoze one of the freeways, or send it underground, you
                            > cannot
                            > > expand downtown geographically. Even then, you encounter resistance
                            from
                            > > gayborhoods to the west, old, rich money to the north, Hispanics to the
                            > > east, and blacks to the south. Of these, the mid-town area between
                            > downtown
                            > > and the downtown-esque Texas Medical Center, is urbanizing. Apartments
                            of
                            > > all kinds are being built.
                            > >
                            > > The S-Main/Fannin/San Jacinto strip from downtown to TMC is also where
                            the
                            > > new light rail is going. If anything, this corridor is your best bet
                            for
                            > > carfree development.
                            > >
                            > > Oh, and there is a problem with implementing a grid-bus system within
                            the
                            > > Loop in Houston: there's no grid. North-south access stinks in the west
                            > > side; Memorial and Buffalo Bayou Park cuts it in half. Heck, the Bayou
                            > cuts
                            > > the whole inner loop in half. Rice University and TMC wreck the grid
                            > coming
                            > > from downtown. The only grid in inner loop is north of the bayou, and
                            > > around the University of Houston, in SE inner loop. It would be simpler
                            > to
                            > > keep the downtown hub and have the one inner-loop crosstown bus.
                            > >
                            > > Aside from that, yes, much of Houston is grid like, especially in the
                            vast
                            > > westward developments. However, I don't expect Houston to be quite so
                            big
                            > > in 50 years.
                            > >
                            > > <<The other collective portion of the transportation system, local
                            buses,
                            > > average less than 10 MPH on city streets. In nearby Galveston,
                            population
                            > > 60,000, a crosstown bus trip takes about a half an hour. In Houston, a
                            > > local bus crosstown takes two and a half hours. I've talked to people
                            > that,
                            > > usually due to limited financial resources, make this trip by bus
                            > everyday.
                            > > It means getting up by 5 AM to be to work by 8 AM. Unlike cities in
                            many
                            > > other parts of the US, Detroit being the best example, housing prices
                            tend
                            > > to greatly increase the closer the location is to downtown. The wealthy
                            > can
                            > > afford to live close in. The poor must make do with a location further
                            > out
                            > > because they are priced out of the inner-city market.>>
                            > >
                            > > There are closer locations, provided that you're willing to live in
                            > violent
                            > > ghettoes or in mini-Mexico. In the current situation, if you wanted to
                            > rent
                            > > an apartment in inner loop without blowing scads of money, would be near
                            > the
                            > > TMC, following the Brays Bayou until you hit the Loop.
                            > >
                            > > <<The problem is that Houston's present transportation infrastructure
                            > > precludes further savings on transportation energy use. Carpooling,
                            > > point-to-point suburbs to downtown express buses at forty-two miles per
                            > hour
                            > > and local buses at eight miles per hour, have been deployed to their
                            > > greatest potential. Yet traffic gets visibly worse every year. New
                            > > freeways are built yet the traffic invariably gets worse after the
                            > > construction is finished. Houston proves that carpooling, HOV lanes and
                            > > buses cannot by themselves produce the necessary energy savings. They
                            can
                            > > only be made to work for certain transportation niche markets and cannot
                            > > provide a regional alternative to SOV's. Hence the paradigm shift
                            toward
                            > > rail. Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an
                            > > alternative. Dallas' light rail and commuter rail average 30-35 MPH,
                            > which
                            > > means they have to hit close to sixty miles per hour between stations.
                            > > Dallas' light rail stations average 1.25 miles apart. The commuter rail
                            > > stations are about three miles apart. The reason the light rail system
                            is
                            > > the same effective speed as the commuter rail even though its stations
                            are
                            > > closer together is that light rail cars accelerate more than twice as
                            fast
                            > > as trains. Light rail, unlike trains, can ascend 4-5% grades like an
                            > > automobile, so rail/highway grade separation is more easily implemented
                            > for
                            > > light rail. The DART light rail system rather resembles an attenuated
                            > > roller-coaster.>>
                            > >
                            > > What hasn't been tried is the Federal auctioning of freeways, or the
                            > > replotting of land such that the burden of road maintenance falls on the
                            > > property-owner that fronts the road.
                            > >
                            > > Houston's light-rail for 2004 essentially replaces the #15 Hiram/Clarke
                            > bus,
                            > > which was one of the most over-used buses during rush hour. Too bad
                            they
                            > > didn't continue the rail up north of downtown, following the #15 to its
                            > > north transit station. The current system smacks of city boosterism in
                            > the
                            > > face 4,000,000 people yawning "whatever". The most obvious bus route to
                            > > upgrade to rail is the #82 Westheimer, which comes every 8 minutes
                            during
                            > > peak, and runs until very late, around 0200. The advantage was obvious:
                            > > Westheimer is a 23-mile long road that runs from mid-town through the
                            > > gayborhoods to Galleria/uptown way out until it hits Cullen-Barker park,
                            > and
                            > > becomes FM 1093. West of the loop, the road is very wide. However,
                            > > precislely for those reasons (gayborhoods and the Galleria), the idea
                            > never
                            > > made it past the transit-planners' wives and homosexual friends.
                            > >
                            > > <<What has happened here in the past ten years is that most of the
                            > original
                            > > suburban shopping malls have gone out of business or have been severely
                            > > scaled back due to taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies of new malls on the
                            > > outskirts.>>
                            > >
                            > > The only exception being the Galleria, but that place has two
                            advantages:
                            > > it's the poshest mall in the city, and there's enough urban office and
                            > > residential development around the mall, to qualify it as
                            > semi-downtown-ish.
                            > >
                            > > <<Bicycles are going to be pretty hard to implement in an area where the
                            > > average one-way distance is twelve miles. What would probably better
                            > > encourage cycling here would be additional square footage on transit
                            > > vehicles to enable people to use two wheels for part of their trip. But
                            I
                            > > don't see much point in that until the bus system can be reorganized
                            > around
                            > > currently non-existing rapid transit stations in a grid feeder pattern.
                            > > Don't forget that the summer sun at 30­° latitude can be almost as
                            brutal
                            > as
                            > > the cold in Detroit in winter. And when it rains here it usually storms
                            > and
                            > > the rain comes down in sheets. I don't think we'll be checking with our
                            > > neighbors every time we need to go somewhere, at least as long as the
                            > price
                            > > of oil remains cheap, a condition which won't last forever. Also, half
                            > the
                            > > energy used by an automobile is expended in its manufacture. When
                            > > hydrocarbon prices rise, and it is a question of when and not if, most
                            > > people will likely not be able to afford new cars. Consumer debt is
                            > already
                            > > maxed out.>>
                            > >
                            > > There are some bike paths, but I have ridden the AC'ed bus versus ride a
                            > > bike. Houston may be flat, when it's 95 degrees with 70% humidity, I'd
                            > > rather not move at all. Despite that, I have seen more bicyclists in
                            > > Houston than in San Antonio.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                            > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                            > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                            > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                            > >
                            > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                            http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                            >
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                            >
                          • mtneuman@juno.com
                            I am responding to Mike Harrington s initial post of June 28th. I don t have time to read the rest of the message after that one. I will be gone on a sailing
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jun 29, 2003
                            • 0 Attachment
                              I am responding to Mike Harrington's initial post of June 28th. I don't
                              have time to read the rest of the message after that one. I will be gone
                              on a sailing trip up the Door County penninsula (from Green Bay) and out
                              into Lake Michigan for the next 10 days. Cheers, and hang in there all.
                              Mike Neuman

                              http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/shp.html
                              http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/trans/neuman_vmt.html
                              http://danenet.wicip.org/bcp/neuman_gw.pdf
                              http://danenet.danenet.org/bcp/neuman_gw_letter.pdf

                              > Message: 1
                              > Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 09:13:46 -0500
                              > From: "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
                              > Subject: Re: Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston
                              >
                              > Comments below.
                              >
                              > > Do you happen to know from what energy sources Houston gets its
                              > > electricity?
                              >
                              > Almost all is from NG, which is very worrisome.

                              Then Houston's train's in essence runs on fossil fuel derived energy,
                              which add's more greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere.

                              > Both carpools and point to point buses have not been able to deliver
                              > the reduction in SOV trips in spite of a large investment by Houston
                              > Metro. ...

                              They would be if you offered money for people to leave their cars in the
                              garages (to drive less). Under my plan, government would pay rebates to
                              individuals and families who drive less that, say 8,000 miles a year on
                              all their vehicles in total (based on family size). For example, if a
                              family of 4 drove only a total of 7,500 miles in a year, they would
                              receive a "rebate" of $1,200 year at the end of their full year in the
                              program. This would also encourage transit use as an alternative to
                              driving for some people. This is much different than just token gestures
                              for people to carpool and use transit.

                              > What is really needed is a mass transit system with trunk lines and
                              > bi-directional flow, and a restructured feeder bus system to break
                              > away from a downtown-vectored system into a regional grid pattern.

                              Right. That's what's needed in most cities, but the federal government
                              has not been adequately funding them. That also is needed.

                              > The other collective portion of the transportation system, local
                              > buses, average less than 10 MPH on city streets. In nearby
                              > Galveston, population 60,000, a crosstown bus trip takes about a
                              > half an hour. In Houston, a local bus crosstown takes two and a
                              > half hours. I've talked to people that, usually due to limited
                              > financial resources, make this trip by bus everyday. It means
                              > getting up by 5 AM to be to work by 8 AM.

                              With that kind of transit schedule, it's no wonder Houston's traffic
                              arteries are clogged all the time. The > city transit system needs a
                              complete overhaul, and the sooner that is done, the better.

                              > Unlike cities in many
                              > other parts of the US, Detroit being the best example, housing
                              > prices tend to greatly increase the closer the location is to
                              > downtown. The wealthy can afford to live close in. The poor must
                              > make do with a location further out because they are priced out of
                              > the inner-city market.

                              Houston needs to address the issue of affordable housing. Madison (WI),
                              where I live, is presently deciding on whether to have zoning
                              requirements that require builders to include a certain number of unit at
                              lower rent cost so that there is a mix of income levels all throughout
                              the city. That kind of blend will reduce traffic, since the lower income
                              folks don't have to drive so far to get to work.
                              >
                              > The problem is that Houston's present transportation infrastructure
                              > precludes further savings on transportation energy use. Carpooling,
                              > point-to-point suburbs to downtown express buses at forty-two miles
                              > per hour and local buses at eight miles per hour, have been deployed
                              > to their greatest potential. Yet traffic gets visibly worse every
                              > year. New freeways are built yet the traffic invariably gets worse
                              > after the construction is finished. Houston proves that carpooling,
                              > HOV lanes and buses cannot by themselves produce the necessary
                              > energy savings.

                              But cities and states can't keep widening freeways endlessly. There is a
                              limit to this kind of construction. The amount of urban land that can
                              aesthetically, environmentally, socially and economically be devoted to
                              cars and parking is not unlimited. That's what happened to Milwaukee,
                              WI. There was too much growth in highways and thoroughfares in the city,
                              the city declined in value, it created a sprawling effect outwards to the
                              suburban counties, and Milwaukee has has continued to go down hill. Now
                              they want to continue the madness by widening all the freeways that skirt
                              the city, so people can travel faster between the numerous suburbs that
                              have popped up in the meantime.

                              > Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an
                              > alternative.
                              No, I don't believe EVERYTHING else has been tried. Most people have NOT
                              tried to minimize the distance they need to travel each day. (I mean
                              REALLY minimize it, not just make a feeble attempt at it.) As you say,
                              gas is still relatively cheap (because of subsidies). If people were
                              given rewards for not using their vehicles so much, and the price of gas
                              was increased significantly to fund those rewards, their surely would be
                              more of an attempt by lots of people to be more efficient in their travel
                              budgets. No, it has not been tried elsewhere. But if we go by that
                              rule, nothing new would ever be tried.

                              > Dallas' light rail and commuter rail average 30-35
                              > MPH, which means they have to hit close to sixty miles per hour
                              > between stations. Dallas' light rail stations average 1.25 miles
                              > apart. The commuter rail stations are about three miles apart. The
                              > reason the light rail system is the same effective speed as the
                              > commuter rail even though its stations are closer together is that
                              > light rail cars accelerate more than twice as fast as trains. Light
                              > rail, unlike trains, can ascend 4-5% grades like an automobile, so
                              > rail/highway grade separation is more easily implemented for light
                              > rail. The DART light rail system rather resembles an attenuated
                              > roller-coaster.
                              >
                              > >
                              > > Similarly, are there really many incentives for employers in
                              > Houston
                              > > to allow employees to work at home, or perhaps use working
                              > stations
                              > > scattered throughout the city for the dedicated exclusive use of
                              > > Houston's office workers? How about shopping? Are city subsidies
                              >
                              > > provided to local grocery and hardware stores to encourage them to
                              >
                              > > compete with big box stores that draw motorists from all
                              > throughout
                              > > the city, on a daily basis?
                              >
                              > Telecommuting and the like are more common here than in smaller
                              > cities. To a large extent cheap bandwith and home computers have
                              > permitted work-at-home to be exploited to its maximum potential.
                              > The large employers, like Shell and Exxon-Mobil, have locations
                              > scattered throughout the area, although their prinicipal place of
                              > business is downtown. There may be some potential for neighborhood
                              > working stations, but I think it would be an order of magnitude more
                              > difficult for employers and government to organize than encouraging
                              > carpooling. Also, commuting to and from work only constitute a
                              > small percentage of total vehicle miles.

                              It's a large percent for most cities. Not sure why in Houston it isn't.

                              > I don't think there is any
                              > room for subsidies to encourage neighborhood stores.

                              I don't believe there is any room for the automobile industry to be
                              killing the planet and its people, either. That is certainly happening
                              now.

                              >
                              > Bicycles are going to be pretty hard to implement in an area where
                              > the average one-way distance is twelve miles.

                              Bicycle are going to be pretty hard to implement with that kind of
                              prevailing attitude as well. But attitudes can change over time. That's
                              what a paradigm shift is all about, isn't it?

                              >What would probably
                              > better encourage cycling here would be additional square footage on
                              > transit vehicles to enable people to use two wheels for part of
                              > their trip.

                              All of our buses in Madison have racks on the front that allow the buses
                              to transport bicycles. They seem to be used a fair amount, especially in
                              raining weather.

                              > But I don't see much point in that until the bus system
                              > can be reorganized around currently non-existing rapid transit
                              > stations in a grid feeder pattern.

                              I'm not totally against rapid transit, it's just a lot of extra money,
                              landscape and greenhouse gases; but if there really is no other solution,
                              then go with it I guess.

                              > Don't forget that the summer sun
                              > at 30�� latitude can be almost as brutal as the cold in Detroit in
                              > winter.

                              Don't your buses have air conditioning?

                              BTW, it's brutal in July and August here, too. That's why it is so
                              important to prevent global warming from getting worse. Global warming
                              will make heat waves last longer, get hotter, and add more humidity. The
                              highways that people love to travel on so much will begin to buckle. It
                              happened here in Madison the other day, right during rush hour, on the
                              busiest freeway in the city. Traffic was backed up for hours until they
                              fixed the concrete blowout.

                              >And when it rains here it usually storms and the rain comes
                              > down in sheets.

                              That's not so great for car travel either.

                              I don't think we'll be checking with our neighbors
                              > every time we need to go somewhere, at least as long as the price of
                              > oil remains cheap, a condition which won't last forever.

                              There's that attitude problem cropping up again. Seems we need to give
                              the paradigm a little push before it will begin to shift. That's needs
                              to be done now, before the rain begins to deluge even more.

                              >Also, half
                              > the energy used by an automobile is expended in its manufacture.
                              I have heard that too, but I don't believe it. Besides, if we use our
                              automobiles less, we should be able to get by with fewer of them.

                              > When hydrocarbon prices rise, and it is a question of when and not
                              > if, most people will likely not be able to afford new cars.
                              > Consumer debt is already maxed out.

                              Deflation might take care of that. We're already getting close to that
                              now, aren't we?

                              > Again, difficult to implement because of the construction of
                              > mega-schools that pull in students from a large area. Some of the
                              > newer high schools here have enrollments in excess of three
                              > thousand. School buses, unlike public transit vehicles, sit idle
                              > most of the time. And bicycling here in heavy traffic often moving
                              > at high speeds can be hazardous to your health.

                              The changes that are needed will not be easy or simple, to be sure. But
                              unless there is radical change on a massive scale in this country, and
                              fairly soon, today's children's future quality of life will be severely
                              impaired. The politicians are just now beginning to understand the
                              reality of the situation, at least on the democratic side. Change is
                              inevitable, and the timing is all important. Great peril by the end of
                              the century, or before, is the inevitable result if GW's Bush and Cheney
                              continue to get their way.

                              > >
                              > > The answer lies in reducing the desires for motorized highway
                              > travel,
                              > > by everyone, throughout the city and the surrounding areas. The
                              > > answer does not lie in lining up more routes, using more land that
                              >
                              > > might have been used to accomodate the needs of the local
                              > residents
                              > > along the way, and ultimately relying on outside sources of
                              > energy.
                              > >
                              >
                              > > Offering financial incentives for people to drive less might just
                              > > reduce their desire to drive anywhere and everywhere, all the
                              > time.
                              > > Use the money that would have otherwise been used for the commuter
                              >
                              > > line development.
                              >
                              > History shows you can use mass transit and pedestrian-oriented
                              > development to reduce per-capita energy consumption. If you check
                              > http://www.eia.doe.gov you'll see that per capita gasoline
                              > consumption increased by 90% from 1949 to 2001, even though miles
                              > per gallon increased from 15 to 22. In other words, instead of per
                              > capita consumption decreasing by a third, it increased by 90%. To
                              > think of it another way, it went from sixteen barrels of refined
                              > gasoline per capita to more than thirty barrels. The difference is
                              > explained by constantly rising miles per motor vehicle and per
                              > capita motor vehicle registration. Any fuel economy was overwhelmed
                              > by increased reliance on the automobile for transportation.

                              Right. This is exactly my point. We must get the average miles of travel
                              per capita down back to the level it was prior to 1970, or before. That
                              is what is killing us. There is no question that Americans respond
                              positively to positive rewards. That's why rebate strategies are so
                              popular, especially for auto sales. We can apply the same principle to
                              reduce motor vehicle mileage driven in a year. There is no better
                              incentive than cold hard cash to get people pumped up over something.
                              Take away the precondition, cheap
                              > energy, and society necessarily reverts to the former model.

                              Probably. But people in this country will not stand for an increase in
                              gasoline taxes charged at the pump unless they know they will have an
                              opportunity to get that money, or more money, back in return. Without
                              low-mileage rebates, any significant enough increase in the gas tax is
                              dead in the water, until hell freezes over. (And we know now that's not
                              going to happen, at least not in our lifetime.)
                              >
                              > What I think will happen is that things
                              > will continue on as they are for a few more years, and then the
                              > massive write-downs and layoffs will hit. There could be an 8.0 on
                              > the economic Richter Scale before depletion midpoint, but barring
                              > the unforeseen, I think that is when it is most likely to occur. At
                              > that point the only thing left to do will be to start anew and pick
                              > up the pieces that are left. It's too bad the word "sustainability"
                              > isn't in everyone's thoughts today, because it will be then.

                              I think it will occur in less than two years, but I've been optimistic
                              before. We will be hearing plenty about the need for CO2 reduction from
                              the democratics after today, and the newpapers of the country (other than
                              the New York Times, that is) are likely to begin reporting on the climate
                              change issue in a much more responsible fashion after today.

                              >
                              > The 1970's and 1980's concept of getting by in big cities without
                              > significant investment in commuter and light rail was fairly
                              > intensively implemented in Houston by the early 1990's, and has not
                              > worked. It's time to move on.

                              I agree more with the concept of light rail than I do with commuter rail.
                              Commuter rail just contributes to more outward sprawl of urban
                              development when they are plenty of places already disturbed in most
                              cities that can be used for development.

                              ________________________________________
                              > _________________________________________________________

                              ________________________________________________________________
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                            • Richard Risemberg
                              ... Yes, but trains use 1/4th the energy that trucks (or buses) carrying the equivalent load would use. And they use much much less land--with a subway train
                              Message 14 of 26 , Jun 29, 2003
                              • 0 Attachment
                                mtneuman@... wrote:
                                > Then Houston's train's in essence runs on fossil fuel derived energy,
                                > which add's more greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere.
                                Yes, but trains use 1/4th the energy that trucks (or buses) carrying the
                                equivalent load would use. And they use much much less land--with a
                                subway train using almost no land at all (except for station entrances).
                                This leaves room for denser development. Fewer and narrower roads =
                                things closer together = less driving/more transit, walking, biking.


                                Richard
                                --
                                Richard Risemberg
                                http://www.living-room.org
                                http://www.newcolonist.com

                                "A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life
                                are based on the labors of others."
                                Albert Einstein
                              • J.H. Crawford
                                On the long-winded topic of communter rail: In Carfree Times for March 2001: http://www.carfree.com/cft/i018.html I wrote: We are awarding the first Golden
                                Message 15 of 26 , Jun 30, 2003
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  On the long-winded topic of communter rail:

                                  In Carfree Times for March 2001:

                                  http://www.carfree.com/cft/i018.html

                                  I wrote:


                                  We are awarding the first Golden Spike to a somewhat surprising
                                  candidate - not the French TGV or Japan Rail, but to a small
                                  but vital commuter railroad that links Lisbon with the coastal towns
                                  that lie to its west. The simple two-track railroad serves 17 stops
                                  using skip-stop expresses. The railroad has been there for about
                                  a century, and entire towns have grown up around it. The line
                                  was electrified decades ago and provides service four times an hour
                                  to Lisbon from each of the towns. Service begins early in the morning
                                  and runs until very late at night. Trains are crowded at all times
                                  of day, not just rush hour, and traffic is brisk between stations
                                  along the line, not just to and from Lisbon. ...

                                  This is an example of urban railroading at its best - huge numbers
                                  of riders are provided with fast, safe, comfortable, inexpensive service
                                  using a minimum of land, natural resources, energy, and labor.
                                  Hats off to Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses for operating this wonderful
                                  service. Commuter operators everywhere could do well to study this example.


                                  Since I wrote that, alas, the service frequency has been reduced somewhat
                                  during off-peak hours (budget shortages), but the rest of what I said
                                  is still valid. The most important point is that, because this service
                                  has been predictable, fast, and reliable for decades, living and working
                                  patterns in the area have adapted to using the train for many trips.
                                  It is probably so that a majority of riders are not going to/from Lisbon
                                  but between other towns on the line. When you achieve this, you no longer
                                  have "commuter rail" but really a sort of wide-area metro. (The stops are
                                  on average about 2 km apart, I think, which is several times the distance
                                  typical of metro systems.)

                                  Commuter rail to downtown DOES help, as it gets some of the traffic off
                                  the road, but until you have a rail system that is used throughout the
                                  day and not just to downtown, you haven't achieved what is really needed.
                                  Likewise, traffic should be moving in both directions at all times.

                                  Regards,


                                  -- ### --

                                  J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                  mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                                • Mike Harrington
                                  Here s a commuter rail timetable that serves two downtowns. TRE didn t exist a few short years ago: http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/newweekeb.html
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Jun 30, 2003
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Here's a commuter rail timetable that serves two downtowns. TRE didn't
                                    exist a few short years ago:

                                    http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/newweekeb.html

                                    Here's one of my photographs of it:

                                    http://abpr2.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?january03/01-04-03/tre09.jpg

                                    If it can happen in Dallas, it can happen anywhere.


                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                                    To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                                    Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 2:10 AM
                                    Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


                                    >
                                    > On the long-winded topic of communter rail:
                                    >
                                    > In Carfree Times for March 2001:
                                    >
                                    > http://www.carfree.com/cft/i018.html
                                    >
                                    > I wrote:
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > We are awarding the first Golden Spike to a somewhat surprising
                                    > candidate - not the French TGV or Japan Rail, but to a small
                                    > but vital commuter railroad that links Lisbon with the coastal towns
                                    > that lie to its west. The simple two-track railroad serves 17 stops
                                    > using skip-stop expresses. The railroad has been there for about
                                    > a century, and entire towns have grown up around it. The line
                                    > was electrified decades ago and provides service four times an hour
                                    > to Lisbon from each of the towns. Service begins early in the morning
                                    > and runs until very late at night. Trains are crowded at all times
                                    > of day, not just rush hour, and traffic is brisk between stations
                                    > along the line, not just to and from Lisbon. ...
                                    >
                                    > This is an example of urban railroading at its best - huge numbers
                                    > of riders are provided with fast, safe, comfortable, inexpensive service
                                    > using a minimum of land, natural resources, energy, and labor.
                                    > Hats off to Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses for operating this wonderful
                                    > service. Commuter operators everywhere could do well to study this
                                    example.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Since I wrote that, alas, the service frequency has been reduced somewhat
                                    > during off-peak hours (budget shortages), but the rest of what I said
                                    > is still valid. The most important point is that, because this service
                                    > has been predictable, fast, and reliable for decades, living and working
                                    > patterns in the area have adapted to using the train for many trips.
                                    > It is probably so that a majority of riders are not going to/from Lisbon
                                    > but between other towns on the line. When you achieve this, you no longer
                                    > have "commuter rail" but really a sort of wide-area metro. (The stops are
                                    > on average about 2 km apart, I think, which is several times the distance
                                    > typical of metro systems.)
                                    >
                                    > Commuter rail to downtown DOES help, as it gets some of the traffic off
                                    > the road, but until you have a rail system that is used throughout the
                                    > day and not just to downtown, you haven't achieved what is really needed.
                                    > Likewise, traffic should be moving in both directions at all times.
                                    >
                                    > Regards,
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > -- ### --
                                    >
                                    > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                    > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                                    > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                    carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                                    > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                                    >
                                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • Chris Loyd
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Jun 30, 2003
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      <<Then Houston's train's in essence runs on fossil fuel derived energy,
                                      which add's more greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere.>>

                                      What if it replaces a bus route, or at least the southern leg of it? Which
                                      is more effecient? Steel wheels on steel track or rubber tires on concrete?

                                      <<They would be if you offered money for people to leave their cars in the
                                      garages (to drive less). Under my plan, government would pay rebates to
                                      individuals and families who drive less that, say 8,000 miles a year on
                                      all their vehicles in total (based on family size). For example, if a
                                      family of 4 drove only a total of 7,500 miles in a year, they would
                                      receive a "rebate" of $1,200 year at the end of their full year in the
                                      program. This would also encourage transit use as an alternative to
                                      driving for some people. This is much different than just token gestures
                                      for people to carpool and use transit.>>

                                      You just lost the rural and suburban vote. How are you going to encourage
                                      mass transit in rural Nevada? Most of the USA is rather empty, and a good
                                      chunk of its population (at least 25%) live in census-determined "rural"
                                      areas. For a family of four, driving three cars, that's expecting them to
                                      add no more than 2667 miles per year per car (about 7.31 miles per day, so
                                      much for going anywhere) How are you going to check this? Add "Check
                                      odometer" to the yearly vehicle inspections? Can you guarantee that no one
                                      is going to be rolling back their odometers, or hacking the
                                      computer-controlled odometers? Not only have you just lost the rural and
                                      suburban votes, you've lost pretty much everyone.

                                      <<Right. That's what's needed in most cities, but the federal government
                                      has not been adequately funding them. That also is needed.>>

                                      If most of the city is going to be anbandoned due to densification, why
                                      build trains on the suburban grid? Do you honestly expect SouthernCity to
                                      have livable areas out on 275th street, 20 miles away from downtown?

                                      So instead of Federally-funded urban highways (which work SO well), you're
                                      going to have federally-funded trains. The American train system worked
                                      until it was nationalized during World War I, and it was never the same
                                      since.

                                      <<With that kind of transit schedule, it's no wonder Houston's traffic
                                      arteries are clogged all the time. The city transit system needs a
                                      complete overhaul, and the sooner that is done, the better.>>

                                      This is agreed, but wasting money and time for building high-capacity routes
                                      at Westheimer and Hwy 6, if most of the population is going to end moving
                                      closer to the Ship Channel, doesn't make any sense. Upgrade the bus routes
                                      that have the greatest need to be upgraded. The current plan for light rail
                                      throughout Houston (http://www.ridemetro.org/motion/solutions/emap.asp)
                                      shows the trains mostly occuring over freeways, not replacing buses like the
                                      #82 Westheimer. The only exception is the surface-street trains running
                                      down Harrisburg St, and to UH and Hobby Airport.

                                      <<Houston needs to address the issue of affordable housing. Madison (WI),
                                      where I live, is presently deciding on whether to have zoning
                                      requirements that require builders to include a certain number of unit at
                                      lower rent cost so that there is a mix of income levels all throughout
                                      the city. That kind of blend will reduce traffic, since the lower income
                                      folks don't have to drive so far to get to work.>>

                                      Houston has no zoning, and frankly having wealthy people living inside the
                                      inner city is a good thing. Housing in Houston is much cheaper than cities
                                      larger than it (New York, LA, and Chicago) and smaller than it (San
                                      Franciso, San Jose, all of the Pacific Coast?). You can rent or buy
                                      middle-class housing not far from TMC, still inside the Loop. Then of
                                      course, there's the violent ghettoes of 5th ward, the Mexico of 2nd ward, or
                                      the not-as-violent ghetto of 3rd ward. Even in third ward there are
                                      middle-class families and a few very old mansions kept up in good condition.
                                      If you're willing to live among Afro-Americans or Hispanics (or with crack
                                      gangs in 5th ward), there's affordable housing.

                                      How is Madison's new law different from rent control in New York City? If I
                                      can't build what I want in the city, what's stopping me from building out in
                                      the county?

                                      <<But cities and states can't keep widening freeways endlessly. There is a
                                      limit to this kind of construction. The amount of urban land that can
                                      aesthetically, environmentally, socially and economically be devoted to
                                      cars and parking is not unlimited. That's what happened to Milwaukee,
                                      WI. There was too much growth in highways and thoroughfares in the city,
                                      the city declined in value, it created a sprawling effect outwards to the
                                      suburban counties, and Milwaukee has has continued to go down hill. Now
                                      they want to continue the madness by widening all the freeways that skirt
                                      the city, so people can travel faster between the numerous suburbs that
                                      have popped up in the meantime.>>

                                      Houston has met the limit for most of its freeways. The Southwest Freeways
                                      butts up against people's backyards. The Katy Freeway expansions is
                                      bulldozing over 1700 businesses and homes. The West Loop cuts through the
                                      most posh part of town, and they wouldn't take kindly to 610 being
                                      double-decked or widened. That leaves just tunneling through the swamp-like
                                      Gulf Texas soil.

                                      <<No, I don't believe EVERYTHING else has been tried. Most people have NOT
                                      tried to minimize the distance they need to travel each day. (I mean
                                      REALLY minimize it, not just make a feeble attempt at it.) As you say,
                                      gas is still relatively cheap (because of subsidies). If people were
                                      given rewards for not using their vehicles so much, and the price of gas
                                      was increased significantly to fund those rewards, their surely would be
                                      more of an attempt by lots of people to be more efficient in their travel
                                      budgets. No, it has not been tried elsewhere. But if we go by that
                                      rule, nothing new would ever be tried.>>

                                      Why not just drop the subsidies? Have the Feds dump the responsibility for
                                      the funding of roads to the States, and the States can pass the buck to the
                                      Cities or try to fund it all themselves, or through partnerships, or
                                      something. As for raising the price of gas, there's a reason OPEC fell
                                      apart in the mid-1980s.

                                      <<It's a large percent for most cities. Not sure why in Houston it isn't.>>

                                      It really depends on where you work, and what you like to buy and do when
                                      not working. If 12 miles is an accepted average distance between work and
                                      home, one should consider how far away the grocery store is (1/8 mile to 8
                                      miles), and where one likes to shop. If you love the Galleria area, but
                                      live on the other side of town, that's quite a drive. Plus, based on my
                                      experience in Houston, people aren't hesitant to drive to a certain place
                                      that they are familiar with. Six students taking two cars to drive five
                                      miles to Fuddrucker's, then drive another ten miles buying architecture
                                      supplies, then drive five miles back to school, is nothing extraordinary.
                                      Then they drive home. Then some come back. Given that they carpool anyway,
                                      with or without HOV lanes, and rotate cars, and their cars are actually
                                      cars, not SUVs, their gas expenditures aren't much of a worry to them.

                                      <<Bicycle are going to be pretty hard to implement with that kind of
                                      prevailing attitude as well. But attitudes can change over time. That's
                                      what a paradigm shift is all about, isn't it?>>

                                      I guess. Was bicycling popular in Houston before cars? San Antonio had
                                      bike congestion during the early 1900s, leading to some misognystic laws.
                                      It was an issue right until 1920, when cars replaced bikes.

                                      <<All of our buses in Madison have racks on the front that allow the buses
                                      to transport bicycles. They seem to be used a fair amount, especially in
                                      raining weather.>>

                                      How about trains? If you implement LRT in cities, will bikes be allowed on
                                      trains, or only during off-peak hours?

                                      <<I'm not totally against rapid transit, it's just a lot of extra money,
                                      landscape and greenhouse gases; but if there really is no other solution,
                                      then go with it I guess.>>

                                      Don't settle for less.

                                      <<Don't your buses have air conditioning?>>

                                      Sure. Bus stops, and the walk to and fro the actual building is another
                                      story though. Visit downtown Houston, and notice the lack of people during
                                      the day. They are all in the AC'ed tunnels and skywalks.

                                      <<BTW, it's brutal in July and August here, too. That's why it is so
                                      important to prevent global warming from getting worse. Global warming
                                      will make heat waves last longer, get hotter, and add more humidity. The
                                      highways that people love to travel on so much will begin to buckle. It
                                      happened here in Madison the other day, right during rush hour, on the
                                      busiest freeway in the city. Traffic was backed up for hours until they
                                      fixed the concrete blowout.>>

                                      I have never heard of that happening in San Antonio and Houston, and based
                                      on my family, not an issue in Tucson (AZ) either. The bigger problem is
                                      seismic activity in San Antonio, and the swamp land in Houston. Some
                                      Houston streets are really not paved -- they have these concrete decks or
                                      plates laid out on the road. It sounds like you're on a bridge when driving
                                      around: d-dunk, d-dunk, d-dunk.

                                      <<That's not so great for car travel either.>>

                                      It's not great for anything. Especially in flatland, where the ground is
                                      almost mud even when it's dry.

                                      <<There's that attitude problem cropping up again. Seems we need to give
                                      the paradigm a little push before it will begin to shift. That's needs
                                      to be done now, before the rain begins to deluge even more.>>

                                      You go ahead and do that in Wisconsin. I say, end federal subsidies, let
                                      the States and Cities handle it. It becomes less of a Federal and/or
                                      centralized issue, and State and Cities that can't make it won't. They
                                      probably should have never existed in the first place.

                                      <<I have heard that too, but I don't believe it. Besides, if we use our
                                      automobiles less, we should be able to get by with fewer of them.>>

                                      Got any evidence to prove otherwise? It is true that the above family of
                                      four would probably only need one car if they drove less than 8000 miles per
                                      year.

                                      <<Deflation might take care of that. We're already getting close to that
                                      now, aren't we?>>

                                      Deflation and credit default would take care of a lot of things. No reason
                                      to drive if there's no work, right? Of course, that would only send the
                                      price of gas down, until the peak.

                                      <<The changes that are needed will not be easy or simple, to be sure. But
                                      unless there is radical change on a massive scale in this country, and
                                      fairly soon, today's children's future quality of life will be severely
                                      impaired. The politicians are just now beginning to understand the
                                      reality of the situation, at least on the democratic side. Change is
                                      inevitable, and the timing is all important. Great peril by the end of
                                      the century, or before, is the inevitable result if GW's Bush and Cheney
                                      continue to get their way.>>

                                      Don't flatter the current administration by placing the fault on them for
                                      quality-of-life issues circa 2050. There's plenty of blame to go around for
                                      everyone, dead, alive, and not yet born. The current problem you and we
                                      face is how to make it worth it to people to change their current
                                      lifestyles? What's in it for them, right now?

                                      <<Right. This is exactly my point. We must get the average miles of travel
                                      per capita down back to the level it was prior to 1970, or before. That
                                      is what is killing us. There is no question that Americans respond
                                      positively to positive rewards. That's why rebate strategies are so
                                      popular, especially for auto sales. We can apply the same principle to
                                      reduce motor vehicle mileage driven in a year. There is no better
                                      incentive than cold hard cash to get people pumped up over something.
                                      Take away the precondition, cheap energy, and society necessarily reverts to
                                      the former model.>>

                                      Why 1970? Why not 1960? 1910? The simplest solution is to evict everyone
                                      from post-19xx developments and only allow them to live in pre-19xx city
                                      boundaries. Too bad that would incite mass riots and shorten the lifespan
                                      of the politicians who carry that out. The question is, how do you reduce
                                      the miles driven without twisting the arms of the people who voted you into
                                      office? How do you convince people that an economic condition circa
                                      pre-1970 is something good?

                                      <<I think it will occur in less than two years, but I've been optimistic
                                      before. We will be hearing plenty about the need for CO2 reduction from
                                      the democratics after today, and the newpapers of the country (other than
                                      the New York Times, that is) are likely to begin reporting on the climate
                                      change issue in a much more responsible fashion after today.>>

                                      OK, so on 30 June 2005, we'll might right back here and...say "told you so?"

                                      <<I agree more with the concept of light rail than I do with commuter rail.
                                      Commuter rail just contributes to more outward sprawl of urban
                                      development when they are plenty of places already disturbed in most
                                      cities that can be used for development.>>

                                      Already disturbed? Verus the mellow, easy-going places in cities?
                                    • Chris Loyd
                                      The fares certainly look reasonable. Wonder how subsidized it is. The schedule shows 1h 11m to get from one end of the line to the other. Mapquest shows that
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Jul 1, 2003
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                                        The fares certainly look reasonable. Wonder how subsidized it is. The
                                        schedule shows 1h 11m to get from one end of the line to the other.
                                        Mapquest shows that it takes about 38m to get from downtown Fort Worth to
                                        downtown Dallas. Are there any first-hand accounts of how fast it takes
                                        during the morning and evening rush hours? That's the train's potential
                                        time advantage.

                                        Houston plans on having a commuter rail, too, but as an extension of the 1
                                        Jan 2004 LRT line. Metro claims that the trains will average 17 mph as a
                                        bus-replacement, but reach top speeds of 66 mph if part of an actual
                                        commuter rail.

                                        Throughout Texas, budget shortages have prompted TX-DOT to offer toll roads
                                        as way of furthering road construction
                                        (http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2003/05/19/story5.html), and
                                        the proposed San Antonio-Austin railway is still alive after five years of
                                        almost no activity on that front
                                        (http://www.texastransit.org/archives/000625.html)

                                        ----- Original Message -----
                                        From: "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
                                        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                                        Sent: Monday, 30 June, 2003 08:13
                                        Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


                                        > Here's a commuter rail timetable that serves two downtowns. TRE didn't
                                        > exist a few short years ago:
                                        >
                                        > http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/newweekeb.html
                                        >
                                        > Here's one of my photographs of it:
                                        >
                                        > http://abpr2.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?january03/01-04-03/tre09.jpg
                                        >
                                        > If it can happen in Dallas, it can happen anywhere.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > ----- Original Message -----
                                        > From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                                        > To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                                        > Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 2:10 AM
                                        > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > >
                                        > > On the long-winded topic of communter rail:
                                        > >
                                        > > In Carfree Times for March 2001:
                                        > >
                                        > > http://www.carfree.com/cft/i018.html
                                        > >
                                        > > I wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > We are awarding the first Golden Spike to a somewhat surprising
                                        > > candidate - not the French TGV or Japan Rail, but to a small
                                        > > but vital commuter railroad that links Lisbon with the coastal towns
                                        > > that lie to its west. The simple two-track railroad serves 17 stops
                                        > > using skip-stop expresses. The railroad has been there for about
                                        > > a century, and entire towns have grown up around it. The line
                                        > > was electrified decades ago and provides service four times an hour
                                        > > to Lisbon from each of the towns. Service begins early in the morning
                                        > > and runs until very late at night. Trains are crowded at all times
                                        > > of day, not just rush hour, and traffic is brisk between stations
                                        > > along the line, not just to and from Lisbon. ...
                                        > >
                                        > > This is an example of urban railroading at its best - huge numbers
                                        > > of riders are provided with fast, safe, comfortable, inexpensive service
                                        > > using a minimum of land, natural resources, energy, and labor.
                                        > > Hats off to Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses for operating this wonderful
                                        > > service. Commuter operators everywhere could do well to study this
                                        > example.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > Since I wrote that, alas, the service frequency has been reduced
                                        somewhat
                                        > > during off-peak hours (budget shortages), but the rest of what I said
                                        > > is still valid. The most important point is that, because this service
                                        > > has been predictable, fast, and reliable for decades, living and working
                                        > > patterns in the area have adapted to using the train for many trips.
                                        > > It is probably so that a majority of riders are not going to/from Lisbon
                                        > > but between other towns on the line. When you achieve this, you no
                                        longer
                                        > > have "commuter rail" but really a sort of wide-area metro. (The stops
                                        are
                                        > > on average about 2 km apart, I think, which is several times the
                                        distance
                                        > > typical of metro systems.)
                                        > >
                                        > > Commuter rail to downtown DOES help, as it gets some of the traffic off
                                        > > the road, but until you have a rail system that is used throughout the
                                        > > day and not just to downtown, you haven't achieved what is really
                                        needed.
                                        > > Likewise, traffic should be moving in both directions at all times.
                                        > >
                                        > > Regards,
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > -- ### --
                                        > >
                                        > > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                        > > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                                        > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                        > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                                        > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                                        > >
                                        > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                                        http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                        carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                                        > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                                        >
                                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                      • Mike Harrington
                                        The fares are reasonable. I am sure they are heavily subsidized. Houston Metro s commuter buses are almost three times as expensive per mile as TRE s. The
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Jul 2, 2003
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                                          The fares are reasonable. I am sure they are heavily subsidized. Houston Metro's commuter buses are almost three times as expensive per mile as TRE's. The fares in Dallas, including the TRE, have gone up since March. The TRE costs 50¢ more now between Big D and Fort Worth. This is due to the major funding source, sales tax, plummeting after the Y2K crash.

                                          I've had problems with Mapquest before. They seem to do alright with small towns but their estimates break down in big cities. Their travel times by auto are apparently close to the ideal. For instance, most hours of the week, it will take you more than an hour to get from downtown Houston to downtown Galveston, fifty miles, but an hour is what they show. At rush hour, which is turning into all day in Houston, or with weekend beach traffic, it takes an hour and a half. I would suspect the same applies between Dallas and Fort Worth. Traffic on I-30, which the railway parallels, is usually just creeping along when I've seen it, at least on the Dallas end. Unless you travel the entire distance by car close to the speed limit, you're not going to be able to drive the 32 miles between downtown Dallas and Fort Worth in 38 minutes, or a fifty miles per hour average, which would include time spent on local streets getting to and from I-30. The distance from the Texas & Pacific station in Fort Worth to Union Station in Dallas is 33 miles, so that means that the train runs about 28.5 mph, including stops. The T&P station is only about a mile from the Fort Worth Intermodal Transit Center, but the timetable says it takes five minutes to go the one mile from the downtown Fort Worth ITC and the T&P station. This is the slowest part of the line, and runs through a railroad yard. I think that the T&P station was added mainly to provide free parking, which is not available at the kiss & ride ITC. If you calculate only from the FWITC, the speed is a bit faster, 30 MPH.

                                          Obviously, what slows the train down is the half-dozen stops in between Dallas and Fort Worth. If you compare this with the average running speed of a Houston commuter bus, forty-two miles per hour, it seems slow. But the Houston HOV commuter bus doesn't make any intermediate stops, so the comparison is misleading. For instance, Houston Metro's 228 Addicks makes no stops between the end of the line at the Addicks park & ride and Smith and Congress in downtown Houston. The 228 bus misses at least six important potential transit markets on the nineteen miles between the western suburbs and downtown Houston. The intermediate areas not served by the 228 are either entirely without any bus service or else have the standard-issue slow, infrequent city bus service of eight miles per hour. The TRE, on the other hand, serves the Dallas and Fort Worth suburbs, employment centers, particularly Bell Helicopter and the Medical Center, and has a good bus connection to DFW airport from a point near the Tarrant County line. You've got people in Tarrant County using the train to get to Fort Worth. The Houston commuter bus, on the other hand, is entirely dependent on the number of people that want to ride from west Houston to downtown in the morning and back again in the evening, period. If you want to go to, say, shopping or the hospital at Gessner Rd., shopping at West Belt, to work at Dairy Ashford Rd. or Eldridge Rd., or you live near one of those locations or residential areas around Heights Blvd., Post Oak Rd., Bingle Rd., Bunker Hill Rd., or Wilcrest Rd., you either can't do it by transit or else it's by eight-mile-per-hour local bus. I think it is better to have a thirty percent reduction in speed and serve a larger area, rather than the downtown workday niche market that Houston Metro has catered to.

                                          The T&P Station in Fort Worth is an architectural gem, and it is indeed fortunate that it hasn't been torn down and is still in use as BNSF RR offices. One of the little details of the station that the following pictures don't show is the enamel-colored T&P emblem on the main entrance door handles. These pictures predate the TRE commuter service, which is only about two years old:

                                          http://www.trainweb.org/stations/texas/ftworth/ftworth.htm



                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...>
                                          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 1:06 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston


                                          > The fares certainly look reasonable. Wonder how subsidized it is. The
                                          > schedule shows 1h 11m to get from one end of the line to the other.
                                          > Mapquest shows that it takes about 38m to get from downtown Fort Worth to
                                          > downtown Dallas. Are there any first-hand accounts of how fast it takes
                                          > during the morning and evening rush hours? That's the train's potential
                                          > time advantage.
                                          >
                                          > Houston plans on having a commuter rail, too, but as an extension of the 1
                                          > Jan 2004 LRT line. Metro claims that the trains will average 17 mph as a
                                          > bus-replacement, but reach top speeds of 66 mph if part of an actual
                                          > commuter rail.
                                          >
                                          > Throughout Texas, budget shortages have prompted TX-DOT to offer toll roads
                                          > as way of furthering road construction
                                          > (http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2003/05/19/story5.html), and
                                          > the proposed San Antonio-Austin railway is still alive after five years of
                                          > almost no activity on that front
                                          > (http://www.texastransit.org/archives/000625.html)
                                          >
                                          > ----- Original Message -----
                                          > From: "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
                                          > To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                                          > Sent: Monday, 30 June, 2003 08:13
                                          > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > > Here's a commuter rail timetable that serves two downtowns. TRE didn't
                                          > > exist a few short years ago:
                                          > >
                                          > > http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/newweekeb.html
                                          > >
                                          > > Here's one of my photographs of it:
                                          > >
                                          > > http://abpr2.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?january03/01-04-03/tre09.jpg
                                          > >
                                          > > If it can happen in Dallas, it can happen anywhere.
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > ----- Original Message -----
                                          > > From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                                          > > To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                                          > > Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 2:10 AM
                                          > > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Paradigm Shift in Houston
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > On the long-winded topic of communter rail:
                                          > > >
                                          > > > In Carfree Times for March 2001:
                                          > > >
                                          > > > http://www.carfree.com/cft/i018.html
                                          > > >
                                          > > > I wrote:
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > We are awarding the first Golden Spike to a somewhat surprising
                                          > > > candidate - not the French TGV or Japan Rail, but to a small
                                          > > > but vital commuter railroad that links Lisbon with the coastal towns
                                          > > > that lie to its west. The simple two-track railroad serves 17 stops
                                          > > > using skip-stop expresses. The railroad has been there for about
                                          > > > a century, and entire towns have grown up around it. The line
                                          > > > was electrified decades ago and provides service four times an hour
                                          > > > to Lisbon from each of the towns. Service begins early in the morning
                                          > > > and runs until very late at night. Trains are crowded at all times
                                          > > > of day, not just rush hour, and traffic is brisk between stations
                                          > > > along the line, not just to and from Lisbon. ...
                                          > > >
                                          > > > This is an example of urban railroading at its best - huge numbers
                                          > > > of riders are provided with fast, safe, comfortable, inexpensive service
                                          > > > using a minimum of land, natural resources, energy, and labor.
                                          > > > Hats off to Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses for operating this wonderful
                                          > > > service. Commuter operators everywhere could do well to study this
                                          > > example.
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > Since I wrote that, alas, the service frequency has been reduced
                                          > somewhat
                                          > > > during off-peak hours (budget shortages), but the rest of what I said
                                          > > > is still valid. The most important point is that, because this service
                                          > > > has been predictable, fast, and reliable for decades, living and working
                                          > > > patterns in the area have adapted to using the train for many trips.
                                          > > > It is probably so that a majority of riders are not going to/from Lisbon
                                          > > > but between other towns on the line. When you achieve this, you no
                                          > longer
                                          > > > have "commuter rail" but really a sort of wide-area metro. (The stops
                                          > are
                                          > > > on average about 2 km apart, I think, which is several times the
                                          > distance
                                          > > > typical of metro systems.)
                                          > > >
                                          > > > Commuter rail to downtown DOES help, as it gets some of the traffic off
                                          > > > the road, but until you have a rail system that is used throughout the
                                          > > > day and not just to downtown, you haven't achieved what is really
                                          > needed.
                                          > > > Likewise, traffic should be moving in both directions at all times.
                                          > > >
                                          > > > Regards,
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > -- ### --
                                          > > >
                                          > > > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                          > > > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                                          > > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                          > > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                                          > > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                                          > > >
                                          > > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                                          > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                                          > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                          > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                                          > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                                          > >
                                          > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                                          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                                          > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                                          >
                                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >

                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • J.H. Crawford
                                          Hi All, Some posts have been getting very long. Please remember, when replying to an earlier post, to trim off all the quoted material from the previous posts
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Jul 2, 2003
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                                            Hi All,

                                            Some posts have been getting very long. Please remember,
                                            when replying to an earlier post, to trim off all the
                                            quoted material from the previous posts that is not relevant
                                            to your response.

                                            Thanks!


                                            -- ### --

                                            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                            mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                                          • Chris Loyd
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Jul 2, 2003
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                                              <<The fares are reasonable. I am sure they are heavily subsidized. Houston
                                              Metro's commuter buses are almost three times as expensive per mile as
                                              TRE's. The fares in Dallas, including the TRE, have gone up since March.
                                              The TRE costs 50¢ more now between Big D and Fort Worth. This is due to the
                                              major funding source, sales tax, plummeting after the Y2K crash.>>

                                              What do you mean plummeting? Did the Metroplex lower sales taxes after 1
                                              Jan 00? Did they actually experience problems in the new year? A year head
                                              start on the recession?

                                              <<I've had problems with Mapquest before. They seem to do alright with
                                              small towns but their estimates break down in big cities. Their travel
                                              times by auto are apparently close to the ideal.>>

                                              They probably assume that you'll be traveling at the speed limit. Time
                                              spent at traffic lights or in slow downs is compensating by speeding the
                                              rest of the time. They show that it takes more than three hours to get from
                                              my San Antonio house to the University of Houston. I can make that trip in
                                              about two-and-a-half hours, but I'm doing 84 mph, not 70.

                                              <<For instance, most hours of the week, it will take you more than an hour
                                              to get from downtown Houston to downtown Galveston, fifty miles, but an hour
                                              is what they show. At rush hour, which is turning into all day in Houston,
                                              or with weekend beach traffic, it takes an hour and a half.>>

                                              It's only bad all day on the west side, West Loop 610, Energy Corridor,
                                              Galleria, 290 near 610, and I-45 as passes next to downtown. I've never had
                                              problems on the inner loop Gulf Freeway unless there's an accident. And
                                              Hardy Toll is apparently sparse all day long, maybe because it parallels the
                                              toll-less North Freeway.

                                              <<I would suspect the same applies between Dallas and Fort Worth. Traffic
                                              on I-30, which the railway parallels, is usually just creeping along when
                                              I've seen it, at least on the Dallas end. Unless you travel the entire
                                              distance by car close to the speed limit, you're not going to be able to
                                              drive the 32 miles between downtown Dallas and Fort Worth in 38 minutes, or
                                              a fifty miles per hour average, which would include time spent on local
                                              streets getting to and from I-30.>>

                                              So the train is worth it much of the time. That's the only advantage that
                                              Metro has during rush hour: it can use the HOV lanes, but as you said, only
                                              to downtown and back. Of course, slugging is free except for the driver.

                                              <<Obviously, what slows the train down is the half-dozen stops in between
                                              Dallas and Fort Worth.>>

                                              Well, it has to make some stops, otherwise it falls under your criticism
                                              below of the Metro HOV.

                                              <<If you compare this with the average running speed of a Houston commuter
                                              bus, forty-two miles per hour, it seems slow. But the Houston HOV commuter
                                              bus doesn't make any intermediate stops, so the comparison is misleading.
                                              For instance, Houston Metro's 228 Addicks makes no stops between the end of
                                              the line at the Addicks park & ride and Smith and Congress in downtown
                                              Houston.>>

                                              The same could be said for Kingsland (my slugging stop-over), Kuykendahl,
                                              etc.

                                              <<If you want to go to, say, shopping or the hospital at Gessner Rd.,
                                              shopping at West Belt, to work at Dairy Ashford Rd. or Eldridge Rd., or you
                                              live near one of those locations or residential areas around Heights Blvd.,
                                              Post Oak Rd., Bingle Rd., Bunker Hill Rd., or Wilcrest Rd., you either can't
                                              do it by transit or else it's by eight-mile-per-hour local bus. I think it
                                              is better to have a thirty percent reduction in speed and serve a larger
                                              area, rather than the downtown workday niche market that Houston Metro has
                                              catered to.>>

                                              We'll see what the Katy LRT has in store for their specific lines. The
                                              Metro Solutions map still shows Westheimer road being avoided at all costs
                                              (Galleria via Katy Fwy? What??).

                                              OK, then, how do increase access to this commuter bus, or hypothetical
                                              train, without the five minutes it would take to get off the freeway and
                                              serve the Heights? Inner loop Katy is below grade, so build on top of it,
                                              with the train running at grade. The Southwest Freeway is also being
                                              lowered.

                                              The previous days' discussion has inspired me to conceive of how to make
                                              some parts of Houston or San Antonio carfree. I will write it up and post
                                              it on my website, but would it go against Mr Crawford's wishes if I proposed
                                              ideas here on this discussion?
                                            • J.H. Crawford
                                              ... I ve been getting a bit concerned that the discussion on Houston was getting very deep and possibly not of real interest to people who don t live in Texas.
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Jul 2, 2003
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                                                Chris Loyd said:

                                                >The previous days' discussion has inspired me to conceive of how to make
                                                >some parts of Houston or San Antonio carfree. I will write it up and post
                                                >it on my website, but would it go against Mr Crawford's wishes if I proposed
                                                >ideas here on this discussion?

                                                I've been getting a bit concerned that the discussion on Houston was
                                                getting very deep and possibly not of real interest to people who
                                                don't live in Texas. I have to confess, in fact, that I have only
                                                been skimming the postings myself.

                                                I don't have any objection to posting ideas for carfree developments
                                                in Houston or San Antonio, but I don't think we want this to devolve
                                                into detailed planning for these cities.

                                                I have in mind a detailed planning for a carfree area sometime in the
                                                coming year, but I would expect to move that onto a separate list
                                                when it gets very far along.

                                                Regards,




                                                -- ### --

                                                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                                mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                                              • Chris Loyd
                                                ... It will mostly be a contrast on how one would develop a carfree district in two different urban environments. Downtown Houston is mostly hi-rise, with a
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Jul 3, 2003
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  > I don't have any objection to posting ideas for carfree developments
                                                  > in Houston or San Antonio, but I don't think we want this to devolve
                                                  > into detailed planning for these cities.

                                                  It will mostly be a contrast on how one would develop a carfree district in
                                                  two different urban environments. Downtown Houston is mostly hi-rise, with
                                                  a grid street pattern, no zoning, and has a light rail system. Downtown San
                                                  Antonio is mostly lo-rise, with twisty, curvy, narrow streets throughout,
                                                  zoning, historically preserved, and no light rail system. Since both cities
                                                  are in the same State (thus, the laws are the same), and have not entirely
                                                  dissimaler cultures, they could be treated as archetypes, not necessarily
                                                  detailed case studies.

                                                  > I have in mind a detailed planning for a carfree area sometime in the
                                                  > coming year, but I would expect to move that onto a separate list
                                                  > when it gets very far along.

                                                  When that list is created, there'll be need to focus exactly what is the
                                                  difference between carfree_cities and this new list. One might be general
                                                  information or discussion, the other could be more specific.
                                                • David Forbus
                                                  One thing that makes it difficult for people to live close to their work is the fact that few people today have only one job in a lifetime. Many people have
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                                    One thing that makes it difficult for people to live close
                                                    to their work is the fact that few people today have only
                                                    one job in a lifetime. Many people have jobs that last only
                                                    a few years, then they are laid off or go to a better job.
                                                    In Houston, you could get a new job that is 10 - 20 miles
                                                    from the first. For an apartment dweller this might not be
                                                    much of a problem, but for someone who owns a home, it is.

                                                    DLF

                                                    --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, mtneuman@j... wrote:
                                                    > > Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an
                                                    > > alternative.
                                                    > No, I don't believe EVERYTHING else has been tried. Most people
                                                    > have NOT tried to minimize the distance they need to travel each
                                                    > day. (I mean REALLY minimize it, not just make a feeble attempt
                                                    > at it.) As you say, gas is still relatively cheap (because of
                                                    > subsidies). If people were given rewards for not using their
                                                    > vehicles so much, and the price of gas was increased significantly
                                                    > to fund those rewards, their surely would be more of an attempt by
                                                    > lots of people to be more efficient in their travel budgets.
                                                    > No, it has not been tried elsewhere. But if we go by that
                                                    > rule, nothing new would ever be tried.
                                                  • mtneuman@juno.com
                                                    There are many people who hold onto their same job for years. Besides myself, most of the people I know have done that. I decided 28 years ago I was going to
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Sep 16, 2003
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                                                      There are many people who hold onto their same job for years. Besides
                                                      myself, most of the people I know have done that. I decided 28 years ago
                                                      I was going to bike (bicycle) to work, so I chose a place to live in the
                                                      city where I work.

                                                      But a majority of the people made the swift shift to suburbia or the
                                                      country as soon as they saved up enough for buying a house. So they
                                                      commute to the city every day, emitting things out of their automobile
                                                      that are know to cause respiratory illness, cancer, stroke and heart
                                                      attack, especially when they accumulate with 10 thousand other sources of
                                                      the same stuff. And each gallon of fuel burned in an automobile or other
                                                      internal combustion engine adds another 22 pounds of the greenhouse gas
                                                      carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which adds to the global warming
                                                      problem that confronts all of us. But that's the way it is most of the
                                                      large cities I know of, and people are not going to stop driving. But it
                                                      would be best for all if they at least car pooled -- until they are able
                                                      to move in closer -- because carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for
                                                      120 years, on average. So global warming is essentially irreversible, at
                                                      least within our lifetimes, if not our children's lifetime, and their
                                                      children's lifetime, assuming humanity lasts that long.

                                                      Changing jobs is no excuse for excessive driving. If a job is too far
                                                      away, they should either move there, or not take the job. It's a matter
                                                      of whether or not we want a healthy planet in 20 years, or an overheated
                                                      one. We have an obligation to pass down a planet that's livable, and the
                                                      way we're going about it now, it ain't gonad happen.

                                                      "It is incumbent on us here today to so act throughout our lives as to
                                                      leave
                                                      our children a heritage for which we will receive their blessings and not
                                                      their curses".

                                                      Theodore Roosevelt
                                                      - from a speech he gave in Dickinson, North Dakota, July 4, 1886

                                                      MTN

                                                      On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 17:26:23 -0000 "David Forbus" <forbus@...>
                                                      writes:
                                                      > One thing that makes it difficult for people to live close
                                                      > to their work is the fact that few people today have only
                                                      > one job in a lifetime. Many people have jobs that last only
                                                      > a few years, then they are laid off or go to a better job.
                                                      > In Houston, you could get a new job that is 10 - 20 miles
                                                      > from the first. For an apartment dweller this might not be
                                                      > much of a problem, but for someone who owns a home, it is.
                                                      >
                                                      > DLF
                                                      >
                                                      > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, mtneuman@j... wrote:
                                                      > > > Everything else has been tried, and only rail remains as an
                                                      > > > alternative.
                                                      > > No, I don't believe EVERYTHING else has been tried. Most people
                                                      > > have NOT tried to minimize the distance they need to travel each
                                                      > > day. (I mean REALLY minimize it, not just make a feeble attempt
                                                      > > at it.) As you say, gas is still relatively cheap (because of
                                                      > > subsidies). If people were given rewards for not using their
                                                      > > vehicles so much, and the price of gas was increased significantly
                                                      >
                                                      > > to fund those rewards, their surely would be more of an attempt by
                                                      >
                                                      > > lots of people to be more efficient in their travel budgets.
                                                      > > No, it has not been tried elsewhere. But if we go by that
                                                      > > rule, nothing new would ever be tried.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
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                                                      >


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                                                    • J.H. Crawford
                                                      ... We have to be careful here. There isn t ANY excuse for excessive (whatever that may turn out to be) driving. However, in the economy we have built, which
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Sep 16, 2003
                                                      • 0 Attachment
                                                        Neuman said:

                                                        >Changing jobs is no excuse for excessive driving. If a job is too far
                                                        >away, they should either move there, or not take the job. It's a matter
                                                        >of whether or not we want a healthy planet in 20 years, or an overheated
                                                        >one. We have an obligation to pass down a planet that's livable, and the
                                                        >way we're going about it now, it ain't gonad happen.

                                                        We have to be careful here. There isn't ANY excuse for "excessive" (whatever
                                                        that may turn out to be) driving. However, in the economy we have built,
                                                        which depends utterly on intense specialization of many workers, it is
                                                        necessary that people be able to get to the jobs, and to find new ones
                                                        when the multi-national they work for goes bankrupt because of accounting
                                                        fraud. In a household with two earners, it is often impossible to find a
                                                        residence where neither person has to drive.

                                                        What we need is to reconcentrate our cities along transit corridors,
                                                        so that you can, as in the Reference Design, take public transport to
                                                        any job, in a fairly short time and without extreme distance being
                                                        covered.

                                                        (Spoken by a man whose commute takes him across his bedroom.)

                                                        Regards,


                                                        -- ### --

                                                        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                                                        mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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