The Death Spiral of Urban Transit: How to Avoid?

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Peter M. White

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Sep 15, 1994, 3:52:00 PM9/15/94
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gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:

>>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>>areas.

>That I don't believe. If you double the capacity of the roads, and
>nothing else changes, there will be half the traffic density, on average,
>on the new system of roads.

Neverless, building new roads does not necessarily help, even if the
average traffic density decreases. What really happens is that greater road
capacity decreases the *length* of the "rush hour", not its intensity.
People strongly prefer to work roughly 9-5, simply because those are standard
business hours. It can be quite difficult to arrange your day to be 7-3,
just to avoid traffic.

BTW, it is _possible_ for more roads to make traffic objectively worse,
if you put the new capacity in the wrong places. The problem is that
more capacity may simply shuttle people more quickly into the bottlenecks
causing the flux of vehicles to actually decrease. Fixing bottlenecks
is not at all easy, especially if you can't stomach bulldozing
prosperous businesses.

--Peter
p-w...@uiuc.edu

John Palkovic

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Sep 15, 1994, 10:14:42 AM9/15/94
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dan...@panix.com (Daniel Convissor) writes:

>Ooooh boy, millions of cars sitting in traffic jams. Gee, thats VERY
>"effective." In places where cars are the most effective means of
>transport, they became that because the government built the roads
>and required the provision of parking. It continues to this day. It
>is time to change the perogatives.

T. Mark Gibson:

>No, it's time to fire a bunch of misguided mass-transit planners and
>start building more roads. Remember, the food you eat is delivered by
>roadway, not by subway!

What does food delivery have to do with this issue? I have not heard
of any food shortages caused by lack of road.

Mark, have you ever been to Los Angeles or Chicago? Have you ever
found yourself sitting in your car on the Tri-State "expressway"
(major route in chicago area) in the middle of a 10 mile long mass of
automobiles? (Yes, I have, all too many times) I lived out in the west
suburbs of Chicago for 5 yrs. I have no idea how many traffic jams I
experienced, but it was way too many.

Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these

areas. It does not appear possible to build road capacity fast enough
to prevent traffic congestion. This is a well known problem (at least
I thought it was) in urban planning in the US. Comments, anyone?

-John

palk...@desy.de Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, Relativity Engineering
"The more you drive, the less you think." -- Repo Man

Edward Hartnett

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Sep 15, 1994, 4:10:41 PM9/15/94
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>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

>> Mark, have you ever been to Los Angeles or Chicago? Have you ever
>> found yourself sitting in your car on the Tri-State "expressway"
>> (major route in chicago area) in the middle of a 10 mile long mass of
>> automobiles? (Yes, I have, all too many times) I lived out in the west
>> suburbs of Chicago for 5 yrs. I have no idea how many traffic jams I
>> experienced, but it was way too many.

T> Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
T> obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

Obvious and also wrong.

LA has freeways bigger then anywhere else in the world. They asl have
one of the worst traffic situations in the world. If you were correct
there would never be a traffic jam in LA, because they have always had
the biggest freeways.

>> Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>> areas.

T> That I don't believe. If you double the capacity of the roads, and
T> nothing else changes, there will be half the traffic density, on average,
T> on the new system of roads.

Quite true!

But if you have that little traffic on the roads, more people will use
them. People using other roads will switch, if they can. People with
jobs at one end of the road will now be able to get jobs at the other
end of the road.

I'm not making this up. LA is a real example of this happening.

>> It does not appear possible to build road capacity fast enough
>> to prevent traffic congestion. This is a well known problem (at least
>> I thought it was) in urban planning in the US. Comments, anyone?

T> If things get so congested that there isn't room to build new roads in
T> densely populated urban areas, it is time for people to start lliving
T> elsewhere. Most of the problems our big cities face are related to having
T> too many people in too little space.

Nope. Very simplistic and superficial analysis. How does too little
space contribute to, for example, the deprivations of the drug war?

T> I've spend a lot of time in big (>1M pop.) cities, but I hope I never
T> have to live in the middle of one. And yes, I drive around those cities.
T> (I've done a lot of driving in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Miami; less
T> in several other big cities, including London.)

T> If you think about it, there is a decreasing need for people to crowd
T> into densly populated urban areas. Now that we enjoy modern communications
T> and computer networks, more and more people can work at home...showing
T> up at the office only occasionally. That's the real solution to much
T> of the traffic problem caused by commuters--arrange things so they need
T> not commute as often if at all. I bet most people would much rather not
T> spend an hour or two commuting each day.

Now this might actually happen if people were able to save money by
staying at home. But since the gov't assumes the cost of the commute,
there is not much savings to be gained by avoiding it. If you had to
pay for that road you were driving on, that might change your attitude
a little.
--
Edward Hartnett e...@larry.gsfc.nasa.gov
(301) 286-2396 fax: (301) 286-1754

"Tut! Tut!" cried Sherlock Holmes. "You must act, man, or you are
lost. Nothing but energy can save you. This is no time for dispair."

T. Mark Gibson

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Sep 15, 1994, 3:24:39 PM9/15/94
to
palk...@desy.de (John Palkovic) writes:

>dan...@panix.com (Daniel Convissor) writes:

>>Ooooh boy, millions of cars sitting in traffic jams. Gee, thats VERY
>>"effective." In places where cars are the most effective means of
>>transport, they became that because the government built the roads
>>and required the provision of parking. It continues to this day. It
>>is time to change the perogatives.

>T. Mark Gibson:

>>No, it's time to fire a bunch of misguided mass-transit planners and
>>start building more roads. Remember, the food you eat is delivered by
>>roadway, not by subway!

>What does food delivery have to do with this issue? I have not heard
>of any food shortages caused by lack of road.

>Mark, have you ever been to Los Angeles or Chicago? Have you ever
>found yourself sitting in your car on the Tri-State "expressway"
>(major route in chicago area) in the middle of a 10 mile long mass of
>automobiles? (Yes, I have, all too many times) I lived out in the west
>suburbs of Chicago for 5 yrs. I have no idea how many traffic jams I
>experienced, but it was way too many.

Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The


obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>areas.

That I don't believe. If you double the capacity of the roads, and


nothing else changes, there will be half the traffic density, on average,

on the new system of roads.

>It does not appear possible to build road capacity fast enough


>to prevent traffic congestion. This is a well known problem (at least
>I thought it was) in urban planning in the US. Comments, anyone?

If things get so congested that there isn't room to build new roads in


densely populated urban areas, it is time for people to start lliving

elsewhere. Most of the problems our big cities face are related to having

too many people in too little space.

I've spend a lot of time in big (>1M pop.) cities, but I hope I never


have to live in the middle of one. And yes, I drive around those cities.

(I've done a lot of driving in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Miami; less

in several other big cities, including London.)

If you think about it, there is a decreasing need for people to crowd


into densly populated urban areas. Now that we enjoy modern communications

and computer networks, more and more people can work at home...showing

up at the office only occasionally. That's the real solution to much

of the traffic problem caused by commuters--arrange things so they need

not commute as often if at all. I bet most people would much rather not

spend an hour or two commuting each day.

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Gibson | Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.
gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu | The meek shall inherit the dearth.
1:233/16 (Politzania) | The Bill of Rights: Void Where Prohibited By Law.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
These opinions and comments are mine. I speak only for me, not BMRL or UIUC.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dave Palsen

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Sep 15, 1994, 7:58:40 PM9/15/94
to
gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:

<A heckuva lot deleted here>

I'm forced to disagree with much of this. I don't claim to be a
professional planner(I'm only a Junior in college), but I've seen
numerous articles in which studies have been done on the theory of
building more roads. All this does is make more room for MORE traffic.
If you make a patient with a virus bigger, doesn't the virus grow as
well? The bottom line here is that more roads aren't the answer. Better
rapid transit and the encouragement of HOVs(High-Occupancy Vehicles) is
the answer, which I site the Houston area in support of. Ever listen to
a Chicago/St. Louis traffic report? They're long! Houston, on the other
hand, has an efficient system of moving people, even in rush-hour.

>If you think about it, there is a decreasing need for people to crowd
>into densly populated urban areas. Now that we enjoy modern communications
>and computer networks, more and more people can work at home...showing
>up at the office only occasionally. That's the real solution to much
>of the traffic problem caused by commuters--arrange things so they need
>not commute as often if at all. I bet most people would much rather not
>spend an hour or two commuting each day.

This sort of works, but I'm afraid not everything can be done at home,
either. Home and office need to be separated. Perhaps more offices
within walking distance of res. areas, perhaps?


--
============================================================================
= Catch ya on the flip side! = I speak only for the Brain, in an=
= Dave Palsen(dpa...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu) = effort to take over the world. =
============================================================================

Lawrence Charap

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Sep 16, 1994, 11:35:43 AM9/16/94
to
In article <35a71n$h...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu> gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:
>Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
>obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

No, what happens is that more people use the road. This is the case
*everywhere* I have ever lived. Washington's 12-lane parking lots are one
example.

>densely populated urban areas, it is time for people to start lliving
>elsewhere. Most of the problems our big cities face are related to having
>too many people in too little space.

>[...]


>If you think about it, there is a decreasing need for people to crowd
>into densly populated urban areas. Now that we enjoy modern communications
>and computer networks, more and more people can work at home...showing
>up at the office only occasionally. That's the real solution to much
>of the traffic problem caused by commuters--arrange things so they need
>not commute as often if at all. I bet most people would much rather not
>spend an hour or two commuting each day.

Too bad for the poor buggers who don't have their own computers and fax
machines. If this was an entirely automated world, there might be something
to what you're saying... but most people still cannot make use of such tech-
nology...
Well, I guess we should screw them, shouldn't we? It would be "socialism" to
think otherwise, I suppose. Except that when I can't afford a car, it ticks
me off quite a bit to hear how unjust and fascistic it is to build public
transport... especially from people who cry "welfare" in such situations, then
defend to the death the welfare-for-the-rich programs everywhere else... one
of which is indiscriminate road-building to subsidise suburban upward mobility.

Do you realize that twenty times more is spent each year on road building than
public transport? "Welfare" is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Mark Gibson | Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.
>gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu | The meek shall inherit the dearth.
>1:233/16 (Politzania) | The Bill of Rights: Void Where Prohibited By Law.

-Lawrence C.,no .sig.


--

Adrian Brandt

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Sep 15, 1994, 9:52:18 PM9/15/94
to
gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:
>
> traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
> obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

In most cases there is a large (maybe even huge) *latent* (unmet)
demand for vehicle trips. The only thing preventing this latent
demand from hitting the road is the congestion. The system is in
a mode of self-regulation, to an extent.

[Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse]

> That I don't believe. If you double the capacity of the roads, and
> nothing else changes, there will be half the traffic density, on
> average, on the new system of roads.

Usually there is some relief, but it's temporary. The latent demand
kicks in pretty fast and make sure that doubled road capacity does
NOT halve the traffic density. Then, you have all kinds of
trip-generating developement decisions that either get triggered in
anticipation of, or in response to, the increased road capacity.

When the road is widened, all of the sudden you find that huge
new housing tracts are sprouting up on the urban periphery, and
I've even seen where they cite the "easy commute" on the new or
widened roadway or bridge in their big newspaper advertisements
in the Real Estate section of the Sunday papers. The developer
that's been waiting to open that new office complex or that new
hotel or business park will know that the time is right to do so
when the road is widened. The time will never be better, because
anybody that's been around a while knows that additional road
capacity doesn't last very long before you have TWICE as many
cars (many of them driving into their jobs from *even* further
out because they bought into that big new affordable development
that went on the market about the same time the new lane/road was
opened) stuck in traffic generating twice as much pollution.

That's why environmentalists around here go nuts when Caltrans (the
California Dept of Transportation) justifies their road widenings
by saying that by moving traffic along faster will cut smog. In
most cases, it may lead to an initial cut in smog/traffic, but it
is soon much worse than before. The congestion alleviated by a
widening in one place is often moved a little further down the
road (or even off the road) as more cars are delivered faster to
some other spot that is now the new "tight spot". And so the cycle
continues as there are calls to "fix" just this one more interchange
or road... More and more the realization is that you can't just
build your way out of congestion anymore around here in the urban
parts of California. That's why California is going for rail and
other alternatives in an ever increasing way...


> If things get so congested that there isn't room to build new roads in
> densely populated urban areas, it is time for people to start lliving
> elsewhere. Most of the problems our big cities face are related to having
> too many people in too little space.

Yeah, just spread out thin all over! That's great. I hate big open
natural spaces. You can never find a McDonalds or a cheesy strip mall
when you need one when you're stuck out in them. Sometimes they're
even full of strange and dangerous (but endangered) wildlife. I'm with
you (and the Pope?): populate and pave it all!

--

Adrian Brandt (415) 940-2379
adr...@ntmtv.com

gal...@ll.mit.edu

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Sep 16, 1994, 12:38:24 PM9/16/94
to
In article <35c67n$n...@charm.magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu>, alj...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Alice L Jones) writes:
>In article <35a71n$h...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>,
>>
>>
>>Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The

>>obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.
>>
>>>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>>>areas.

>>
>>That I don't believe. If you double the capacity of the roads, and
>>nothing else changes, there will be half the traffic density, on average,
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
>Ah, but you see, therein lies the fundamental fallacy of your argument. Look
>around you and see if you can find a place where road capacity has increased,
>and NOTHING ELSE HAS CHANGED.
>
>Increasing road capacity is a *catalyst* for change.
>

So maybe the answer to all of our traffic problems is to remove roads.

- Robert Galejs

Daniel Convissor

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Sep 16, 1994, 1:51:24 PM9/16/94
to
>T. Mark Gibson:

>>No, it's time to fire a bunch of misguided mass-transit planners and
>>start building more roads. Remember, the food you eat is delivered by
>>roadway, not by subway!

And the cost of my food is increased due to so many people driving cars
getting in the way of the delivery truck. That congestion makes trips
take longer, so the delivery company needs more drivers and vehicles to
get things done in a timely fashion, plus overtime is needed sometimes
too. Gee, driving is VERY "effective."
--
|| D A N I E L C O N V I S S O R : Some people see things as they are
|| e-mail: dan...@panix.com : and say why.
|| Transportation Consultant : I see things that never were
|| Brooklyn, New York : and say why not. -Geo. Bernard Shaw

Rick Child

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Sep 16, 1994, 9:40:47 PM9/16/94
to
In article <1994Sep16.1...@midway.uchicago.edu>, somebody was
quoted as writing:
> >If you think about it, there is a decreasing need for people to crowd
> >into densly populated urban areas. Now that we enjoy modern communications
> >and computer networks, more and more people can work at home...showing
> >up at the office only occasionally. That's the real solution to much
> >of the traffic problem caused by commuters--arrange things so they need
> >not commute as often if at all. I bet most people would much rather not
> >spend an hour or two commuting each day.

Commuting is only one part of the problem. In many areas our road
structure cannot support non-commute traffic. This is readily apparent in
the San Francisco/San Jose bay area as well as numerous other locations
across the country. Public transportation, along with rational civic
planning must play a greater role. Roads won't go away, but we need other
options.

Alice L Jones

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Sep 16, 1994, 9:23:03 AM9/16/94
to
In article <35a71n$h...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>,
>
>
>Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
>obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.
>
>>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>>areas.
>
>That I don't believe. If you double the capacity of the roads, and
>nothing else changes, there will be half the traffic density, on average,
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Ah, but you see, therein lies the fundamental fallacy of your argument. Look
around you and see if you can find a place where road capacity has increased,
and NOTHING ELSE HAS CHANGED.

Increasing road capacity is a *catalyst* for change.

When road capacity increases, developers look and say, "Why, there's a
beautiful piece of underused road leading to virtually nowhere. I can put my
development out on it and bear no infrastructure costs." Or people say, "Why,
look at that beautiful, half-empty road! I could move my family out to some
quiet little subdivision with access to that road, and still get to work in
half an hour!" It's easy to see how this process gets repeated over and over
until so many so many people have moved into quiet little subdivisions along
the road that the 1/2 hour commute becomes 45 minutes.... an hour....

When road capacity increases, Anthony Downs' "triple-convergence principle"
happens:
1) people who used to alternate routes now hop on the road because they
see that it's empty;
2) people who used to travel at other times to avoid traffic now hop
on the road during rush hour; and
3) people who used public transit or some other form of transportation now
say, "Glory be! I can use my car again!"

And pretty soon, you're back at ground zero again. Increasing road capacity
does not decrease conjestion in the long run . . . it just increases the number
of cars that can be stuck in traffic on that road in the future.
--
_________________________________________________________________
Alice Jones | CARPE CARP!
alj...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu | (seize the fish)
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Randolph Fritz

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Sep 17, 1994, 5:50:26 AM9/17/94
to
In article <PALKOVIC.94...@x4u2.desy.de>,

John Palkovic <palk...@desy.de> wrote:
>
>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>areas. It does not appear possible to build road capacity fast enough
>to prevent traffic congestion. This is a well known problem (at least
>I thought it was) in urban planning in the US. Comments, anyone?
>

It's an inherent problem in all cities where land values rise high
enough, I think; the other uses of the space crowd out the use for
transport. If this is a correct analysis, it explains a lot (though
of course bad planning can aggravate congestion & good planning can
ameliorate congestion). This also suggests that, in the larger
car-oriented cities, we use too much space on cars; if, let us say,
most shopping trips were made via mass transit (commute is, I think a
more difficult problem), we would get back considerable space which
might be put to other uses.

Randolph

Daniel Convissor

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Sep 16, 1994, 5:04:47 PM9/16/94
to
In <1994Sep16....@ll.mit.edu> gal...@ll.mit.edu writes:

>So maybe the answer to all of our traffic problems is to remove roads.

Funny you mention that! It's where this whole thing started! In
response to someone asking how to end the downward spiral of transit, I
suggested removing roadway space. My mentioning that started Mark Gibson on
a uninformed/libertarian tirade and everyone else telling him how off base
he is.

Don Anderson

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Sep 16, 1994, 2:48:55 PM9/16/94
to
<35a71n$h...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu> <35a8l0$l...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>
Organization: Eskimo North (206) For-Ever

In article <35a8l0$l...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu> pmwg...@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu

(Peter M. White) writes:
>gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:
>
>>>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>>>areas.
>
>>That I don't believe. If you double the capacity of the roads, and
>>nothing else changes, there will be half the traffic density, on
average,
>>on the new system of roads.
>
>Neverless, building new roads does not necessarily help, even if the
>average traffic density decreases. What really happens is that greater
road
>capacity decreases the *length* of the "rush hour", not its intensity.
>People strongly prefer to work roughly 9-5, simply because those are
standard
>business hours. It can be quite difficult to arrange your day to be
7-3,
>just to avoid traffic.
>
>BTW, it is _possible_ for more roads to make traffic objectively worse,
>if you put the new capacity in the wrong places. The problem is that
>more capacity may simply shuttle people more quickly into the
bottlenecks
>causing the flux of vehicles to actually decrease. Fixing bottlenecks
>is not at all easy, especially if you can't stomach bulldozing
>prosperous businesses.
>
>--Peter
>p-w...@uiuc.edu


Don't forget the *REAL* problem with rapid transitIt provides unwanted
easy communication between the ...uh...less desirable areas of town and
the previously pleasant suburbs. Urban blight generally extends just
about as far as the metro rapid transit scope. See USN&WR Aug 15, 94
page 18.

Daniel Convissor

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Sep 17, 1994, 7:22:17 PM9/17/94
to
In <Cw8K9...@eskimo.com> big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:

>Don't forget the *REAL* problem with rapid transitIt provides unwanted
>easy communication between the ...uh...less desirable areas of town and
>the previously pleasant suburbs. Urban blight generally extends just
>about as far as the metro rapid transit scope. See USN&WR Aug 15, 94
>page 18.

Let me be blunt. That is the STUPIDEST thing I've EVER seen on the net.
First, it is patently false. Second, it's racist. Sure, commuter rail
links rich and poor neighborhoods, but it is not a conveyance of blight
or crime in any significant way. It's a way for people to travel between
places where they live, work, have friends/relatives, shop, etc.
Traveling on mass transit to commit crimes is pretty rare. Actually,
some of the most blighted places in NYC have no convenient mass transit
access at all.

Let me add, "US News and World Report," from which Don paraprhrases, is a
bunch of right wing radical jerks.

T. Mark Gibson

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Sep 18, 1994, 11:12:59 PM9/18/94
to
dan...@panix.com (Daniel Convissor) writes:

>In <1994Sep16....@ll.mit.edu> gal...@ll.mit.edu writes:

>>So maybe the answer to all of our traffic problems is to remove roads.

>Funny you mention that! It's where this whole thing started! In
>response to someone asking how to end the downward spiral of transit, I
>suggested removing roadway space. My mentioning that started Mark Gibson on
>a uninformed/libertarian tirade and everyone else telling him how off base
>he is.

Only in your drug-induced little dreams, Danny...

You are the one who is way off base and you know it, but you are to much
the coward to admit it. Your job security depends upon the continued
promotion of the mass-transit rip-off.

--


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Gibson | Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.
gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu | The meek shall inherit the dearth.
1:233/16 (Politzania) | The Bill of Rights: Void Where Prohibited By Law.

T. Mark Gibson

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Sep 18, 1994, 11:14:50 PM9/18/94
to
lg...@quads.uchicago.edu (Lawrence Charap) writes:

>In article <35a71n$h...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu> gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:
>>Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
>>obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

>No, what happens is that more people use the road. This is the case
>*everywhere* I have ever lived. Washington's 12-lane parking lots are one
>example.

There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one increases
the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

--


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Gibson | Tyrants prefer unarmed peasants.
gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu | The meek shall inherit the dearth.
1:233/16 (Politzania) | The Bill of Rights: Void Where Prohibited By Law.

Colin R. Leech

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Sep 19, 1994, 1:15:03 AM9/19/94
to

In a previous article, palk...@desy.de (John Palkovic) says:

>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>areas. It does not appear possible to build road capacity fast enough
>to prevent traffic congestion.

Adding capacity merely encourages increased trip making.

>This is a well known problem (at least
>I thought it was) in urban planning in the US. Comments, anyone?

You've hit the nail on the head!
--
Colin R. Leech |-> Civil Engineer by training,
ag...@freenet.carleton.ca |-> Transportation Planner by choice,
h:613-224-2301 w:613-741-6440 |-> Trombonist by hobby.
My opinions are my own, not my employer's. You may consider them shareware.

Gareth Newfield

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Sep 19, 1994, 2:39:12 AM9/19/94
to
T. Mark Gibson (gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu) wrote:
: There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one increases

: the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

Yes at any given moment there probably is a finite number of people with
cars, but with every new moment there are more. It is proven, obvious
and demonstrated daily that as road capacity increases so car ownership and
usage also increase, except usually at a much faster pace.
There are several reasons for the increase in car ownership, one is that
cars are more heavily subsidized than any other form of transportation, and as
monies are diverted away from other modes of transportation the car becomes
more viable or necessary from the point of view of an individual's pocket.
Personally I often need to drive to work, and the reason is simple because
companies that were formally in the city have been given grants and
subsidies to move out of the city, where transportation is difficult for the
carless. As more and more people decide to buy a car, more and more parking
and roads are built, lowering the density and creating more need to drive,
and on and on. In the last 20 years in the Chicago Metropolitan area the
population grew about 4% and yet the land used has grown nearly 50%. Much
of this rampant growth in land use is for new and wider roads. As someone
who loves the country AND the city, I find this destruction of both to be
very sad.
One may think that everyone that would or could own a car already does
own a car. This is not the case and new registrations are being issued at
many times the population growth rate.
In short I agree with you that we should not force people to pay for or
use any given form of transportation. It turns out though that the most
costly, heavily subsidized, and ineficient form of transportation to be
foisted upon us is the automobile system.
As to your assertion that we all benefit from goods carried on roads? This
is very silly, we all benefit from electrcity that companies use to make
products, and yet should we subsidize electricity? Water? The raw materials
used? No. Anyway you probably don't realize that as much freight is carried
by railroad as is carried by trucks, and that it used to be that much more
was carried by railroad at far less cost to the taxpayer and environment.

Gareth


Colin R. Leech

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 1:33:00 AM9/19/94
to

In a previous article, e...@larry.gsfc.nasa.gov (Edward Hartnett) says:

>>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:
> T> Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
> T> obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.
>
>Obvious and also wrong.
>

>LA has freeways bigger then anywhere else in the world. They also have


>one of the worst traffic situations in the world. If you were correct
>there would never be a traffic jam in LA, because they have always had
>the biggest freeways.

Same goes for Houston (or was it Dallas? I always get them mixed up!).

> T> and computer networks, more and more people can work at home...

According to your "free market" analysis, they should be doing so already
in large numbers. Yet a miniscule percentage do so.

The last thing we need to do is cause even more environmental degradation
by emptying out our cities and sprawling all over the countryside in
single houses with lots of grass around each one, and then having to
drive dozens of miles into the towns to get groceries, see friends, etc.
This planet simply cannot support 6 billion people this way. Cities are a
necessary evil, so we might as well figure out how to make them work to
our advantage.

Colin R. Leech

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 1:36:21 AM9/19/94
to

In a previous article, gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) says:

>smi...@pobox.upenn.edu (Exile on Market Street) writes:
>
>>An aside: I assume you've read your Jane Jacobs. So far, I've seen
>>nothing that refutes one of her principal assertions, which is that the
>>automobile is at heart an anti-urban form of transportation. She phrased
>>this view in _The Death and Life of Great American Cities_ as a choice:
>>"the erosion of cities by cars or the attrition of cars by cities." The
>
>No, I haven't read anything by Jane Jacobs that I can recall.
>Can you give me a title that I should look for?

The answer is in the paragraph above.

>I'm not convinced that we shouldn't abandon our big cities. They seem to
>be the source of many of the worst problems we face as a society--poverty,
>crime, pollution, high prices, excessive government, etc.

The idea that density is the major contributing factor to social problems
is fallacious and has been disproven. There are a lot of other
contrbuting social ills (which we will leave to other newsgroups to discuss).

Don Anderson

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 5:05:24 AM9/19/94
to
<Cw8K9...@eskimo.com> <35ftn9$i...@panix.com>

Organization: Eskimo North (206) For-Ever

In article <35ftn9$i...@panix.com> dan...@panix.com (Daniel Convissor)
writes:
Dan, it is obvious you didn't read the cited article. It is risky to
make arguments like yours when you haven't reviewed the
evidence. The copyright holders shouldn't get their noses
too far out of joint if I quote some of the highlights:
--
*****from USN&WR Aug 15 1994, page 18:
...A new train stop tucked in the trees...would let Linthicum remain
a small town while giving its people easy access to the shops, culture,
and jobs of nearby Baltimore....But that was a year ago before inner
city troubles arrived...before light rail became known as "loot rail."
...County sheriff Robert Pepersack, says he is comfortable riding the
train only because he's "a law enforcement official with a 9-mm
pistol." ... State Senator Michael Wagner insists, "We have to
address the problems, ... We can't run from them."
******
-
Dan, you have some problems, too. You have probably been living
in New York City for so long you have no concept of what gracious
suburban living can be like. There are plenty of areas of the country
where you don't need bars on the doors and windows, and six
deadbolts, to feel safe and have your property protected.
-
Also I wonder if you make your living from rapid transit or related
enterprises and come unglued if someone dares reveal the ugly truth
about your baby.
-
If "less desirable" conjures up minorities in your mind, that's your
racism, not mine. Are you one of those thin-skinned
African-Americans by chance?
-
I subscribe to Time, Newsweek, and USN&WR and do not see any
significant un-natural distortion in USN's editorial posture, it is a
mainstream news magazine, not "right-wing radical jerks" as you
put it. Newsweek has better writers, though.
Again, go read the article!
-
Now shame on you, Dan, stop shooting the messenger. I think you
made a 30-second knee-jerk response to someone who shot down
your sacred cow. Admit it, the "loot rail" phenomenon is real.
You owe me an apology.
-
Big Don <big...@eskimo.com>

Daniel Convissor

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 10:40:37 AM9/19/94
to
In <CwDD8...@eskimo.com> big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:

>*****from USN&WR Aug 15 1994, page 18:
>...A new train stop tucked in the trees...would let Linthicum remain
>a small town while giving its people easy access to the shops, culture,
>and jobs of nearby Baltimore....But that was a year ago before inner
>city troubles arrived...before light rail became known as "loot rail."
>...County sheriff Robert Pepersack, says he is comfortable riding the
>train only because he's "a law enforcement official with a 9-mm
>pistol." ... State Senator Michael Wagner insists, "We have to
>address the problems, ... We can't run from them."
>******

Sounds like right wing drivel to me.

>Dan, you have some problems, too. You have probably been living
>in New York City for so long you have no concept of what gracious
>suburban living can be like. There are plenty of areas of the country
>where you don't need bars on the doors and windows, and six
>deadbolts, to feel safe and have your property protected.

Sure, I have problems, but you haven't identified any of them. I grew up
in the suburbs and my parents still live there. I have traveled
extensively in the region's suburbs as well. That's funny, I don't feel
awkward leaving my front door open in my Brooklyn neighborhood.

>Also I wonder if you make your living from rapid transit or related
>enterprises and come unglued if someone dares reveal the ugly truth
>about your baby.

No, I don't work for a transportation provider. "Ugly truth?" Hardly.

>If "less desirable" conjures up minorities in your mind, that's your
>racism, not mine. Are you one of those thin-skinned
>African-Americans by chance?

Get real.


>Now shame on you, Dan, stop shooting the messenger. I think you
>made a 30-second knee-jerk response to someone who shot down
>your sacred cow. Admit it, the "loot rail" phenomenon is real.
>You owe me an apology.

Bullshit. That may be "real" in a few areas, but your original statement
was a generalization about transit that just doesn't work on the whole.
Even more importantly, the spin you put on your original post sounded
like city scum is going out to the burbs and robbing homes. From the
article you quoted, it seems they are talking about crime while riding
the transit system itself. In New York City, the subway is safer than
the streets. Here's some data to prove that:

Travel by transit and railroad is far safer than by motor vehicle:

47,903 Killed by motor vehicles (US, 1988)
510 Killed by railroads (US, 1988)
19 Killed by rail rapid transit (US, 1988)

35 Homicides to cab drivers (NYC, 1989)
20 Homicides on the NYC transit system (1989)


==================================

153,385 Larcenies of and from autos (NYC, 1990, first 8 months)
11,958 Larcenies on NYC transit system (1990, first 8 months)

12.8 Times more incidents in autos
x .8 Times more people using autos
-------
16.4 Times more larcenies per traveler

**************************

615 Auto related deaths (crashes only) (NYC, 1989)
220 Deaths in the NYC transit system (all means of death,
such as, homicides, suicides and heart attacks) ('89)

2.8 Times more incidents in autos
x .8 Times more people using autos
-------
3.6 Times more deaths per traveler


In calculating times more incidents per rider: 42.8% of all person trips
are taken by auto and 54.6% by transit, accounting for 97.4% of all trips
in survey of motorized modes. Comparing the auto/transit mode split
only, autos are used 43.9% and transit 56.1% (equaling 100%). Thus,
there are .8 times as many people using cars in NYC.

T. Mark Gibson

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 10:49:16 AM9/19/94
to
gar...@metl.chi.il.us (Gareth Newfield) writes:

>T. Mark Gibson (gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu) wrote:
>: There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one increases
>: the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

>Yes at any given moment there probably is a finite number of people with
>cars, but with every new moment there are more. It is proven, obvious
>and demonstrated daily that as road capacity increases so car ownership and
>usage also increase, except usually at a much faster pace.

Where's your proof? Can't find any? Hmmm?

Robert K. Lincoln

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 7:20:21 AM9/19/94
to

Having followed this thread for a while now, I think it time that some
grownups stepped in and raised the level of the conversation.

First - Dan Convissor made a radical suggestion (deleting roadway space) that
could have engendered some legitimate debate.
Points:
1) In many street/highway systems there are "irrational" interconnections
that could removed (see the "blocking streets combats crime) and result in an
effective increase in throughput. The reason: intersections and merge lanes
create chaotic traffic patterns when the street or highway is operating at a
low level of service and is densely packed with vehicles.
2) In some cases, converting existing lanes or medians to express bus lanes
might change the commute calculus for enough drivers to result in a net
increase.
Unfortunately, Daniel has slipped into lots of sarcastic and relatively
indefensible comments [c'mon, are you really going to posit bus and rail as
means of delivering commercial goods within the city?????]

Second - As far as the "more roads = less congestion" debate goes; the
problem *is* that travel patterns are the result of long term effects of
investment and social behavior, both of which are affected by the form and
extent of public investment in ****any*** transportation technology. We are
currently coming down off a 40 binge of investment in "interstate" highways
that generally included highspeed bypasses and beltways (the "195" or
"496" type roads) whose primary function has been making exurban land
available for urban levels of development (generally in suburban patterns).
This investment was a necessary (though perhaps not sufficient) impetus to
massive shifts in land use -- the suburbs and edge cities. Thus investment
in transportation facilities will always produce long run changes in land use
that result in greater use of the facilities.

Note also that many of these investments were programmed a long time ago.
These shifts are ****long**run****. Road building decisions made in the
early 70's may only be producing their natural effects today. Building the
same roads (or expanding them) is much more expensive that it was 25 years ago
and light years more expensive than in the early 50's, when the Interstate
projects began. We probably cannot sustain the future investment in road
capacity necessary to continue to develop exurban areas into the forms that
were created by the 50's-70's investments. [BTW, this means that the
scholarship that seeks to argue that the polycentric form of cities (i.e. edge
cities, suburbs, office nodes and malls) has a) allowed constant commute times
and b) is therefore OK social policy is a wrongheaded planning notion, because
we won't be able to replicate the conditions that allowed the adjustments that
they base their work on.

The long run problem of our massive investment in roads as a primary
transportation technology is worsened by current demographic and employment
trends. In short, the tendency to live farther out, combined with a) lower
persons per household, b) two-earner families and c) teen-agers driving [often
their own cars] and working longer distances from home, have resulted in an
explosion in trips per household and net distances driven (miles per year per
person). This is exacerbated by the increasing social distances created
between "drivers" and "mass transit users," that is, we're marginalizing
transit users socially and creating the impression that "good people don't do
that" [take mass transit]. The social stigmatization of mass transit may now
be the most important limit on its expansion and further use.

Three -- The right wing nasties on the net.
Big Don and the other "anti-transit, pro-car" comments by *Mark?* are
indicative of a "I want mine, screw you" attitude all too common among
non-professionals involved in planning issues. Sure there's crime and social
interaction problems associated with interconnecting different areas, but
they're a lot more severe today because we've been engaged in a pathological
quest to separate classes and races over the last 40 years. Just because more
poor people commit crimes doesn't justify pinning them all into the city with
each other, but what you're suggesting [Big Don] is that its OK for us to use
transportation policy to pen the criminal poor in with the law-abiding poor.
This policy is no more moral and proper than making human sacrifices to the
Gods to prevent volcano eruptions or other catastrophes.

The bottom line is that our tranportation investments policy has benefitted
the middle and upper classes for the last forty years, while not-so-benignly
neglecting the needs of the urban poor. Now, in a time of increasing costs
and decreasing tax resources to fund those investments, the middle class is
demanding that their interests in maintaining their lifestyle and social
prejudices surrounding automobile use be protected no matter what the long
term consequences to the environment, the economy or the status of the poor
-- basically by maintaining and increasing massive subsidies to the highway
system. That's poor planning on an instrumental level, and poor social policy
on a normative level.

Is rail the answer? Busways? Distributed forms like min-buses? Can
technology increase road capacity at less marginal cost than new construction?
Can pricing strategies spread traffic around by changing the economic
calculus? Do we have to change the ways we regulate land (minimum instead of
maximum densities, street and pedestrian layouts that facilitate walking and
transit use) to change behavior and social values to support less
individualistic transportation technologies? Planners have to find out, not
just take positions or whine, and it's an incredible problem because the
decisions have to be made now and every day, even though all the data isn't
available. These are real questions that require sophisticated answers, not
just Net-Posturing. Let's raise the level of the debate and make this Group a
useful forum.

Best to All,


Robert Lincoln, Assistant Professor
Michigan State University
16852rkl@msu -- Opinions expressed are mine alone.

Edward Hartnett

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 11:29:38 AM9/19/94
to
>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

T> lg...@quads.uchicago.edu (Lawrence Charap) writes:
>> In article <35a71n$h...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu> gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:
>>> Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
>>> obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

>> No, what happens is that more people use the road. This is the case
>> *everywhere* I have ever lived. Washington's 12-lane parking lots are one
>> example.

T> There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one increases
T> the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

If you keep saying this over and over, it still won't be true,
unfortunately. Otherwise we could still have as many cars as we did in
the '30s.

Don Anderson

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 11:12:41 AM9/19/94
to
<1994Sep16.1...@midway.uchicago.edu>
<35ivna$p...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>

Organization: Eskimo North (206) For-Ever


I have seen no mention of bicycle commuting here. I did it for ten
years, 8-mile each way, even in the snow and ice, here in Western
Washington (that's the *Other* Washington for you Right-Coasters).
When traffic got bad my commute was half the time of an automobile,
pass-em-all on the shoulder and get thru intersection on the fiirst
light. Planner types need to educate employers on need for
lockers and bike safe-keeping facilities. All new bridges out here have
bike lanes. Many existing and planned recreational pathways provide
convenient and safe routes. You can crank all this into the zoning and
permitting processes if you are progressive and have vision.
-
Public organization of car pools and van pools is big time out here too.
-
Big Don <big...@eskimo.com>
... NO LOOT RAIL **

Edward Hartnett

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 11:58:40 AM9/19/94
to
>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

T> gar...@metl.chi.il.us (Gareth Newfield) writes:
>> T. Mark Gibson (gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu) wrote:
>>> There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one increases
>>> the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

>> Yes at any given moment there probably is a finite number of people with
>> cars, but with every new moment there are more. It is proven, obvious
>> and demonstrated daily that as road capacity increases so car ownership and
>> usage also increase, except usually at a much faster pace.

T> Where's your proof? Can't find any? Hmmm?

Look around. If what you said were true, then why do we need more
highways? We have enough to meet the damands of 1970, right?

Joseph Barr

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 3:33:14 PM9/19/94
to
As to the argument about urban blight being caused by rapid transit (which I
didn't feel like requoting):

I think that cause and effect are being mixed up here. Just because there
happens to be uban blight along transit lines, doesn't mean that it was
caused by those transit lines. The causes of uban blight are very
complicated, and can't be summed up in the statement "It was caused by that
damn subway line". As I (and others) have said before, try reading Jane
Jacobs "The Death and Life of Great American Cities". Note that she has
"Life" second in the list, indicating that there is hope. Bad planning of a
rapid transit line, or a highway, or almost any other transportation
structure, can have a disastrous affect on the area around it. However, good
planning of any of those can have a positive effect. All over the place, a
well paced transit line can be a valuable tool for urban revitalization. But
they can also be bad. Transit lines are not the be all and end all (or even
necessarily an incredibly important element) of urban problems / solutions.
Sometimes they are important, other times unimportant. What IS important is
that we don't get caught up in sweeping generalizations as a means of avoiding
dealing with the real, more complicated problems.
--
_______________________________________________________________________________
Joseph E. Barr (jo...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu)
Student; Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (708) 332-4945
GO WILDCATS!! NU: 14 Air Force: 10 (1-1-1)

Bob Janssens

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 3:45:00 PM9/19/94
to
big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:

>Don't forget the *REAL* problem with rapid transitIt provides unwanted
>easy communication between the ...uh...less desirable areas of town and
>the previously pleasant suburbs. Urban blight generally extends just
>about as far as the metro rapid transit scope. See USN&WR Aug 15, 94
>page 18.

You could also argue that "suburban blight" extends about as far as the
boundaries of the metro rapid transit scope. Take a metro area like
Chicago. I consider the only pleasant parts of the suburbs the downtown
areas that surround commuter rail stations. As for suburbs I would
actually like to live in, I can think of two of the top of my head,
Evanston and Oak Park. They also happen to be the only two major
suburbs served by the CTA rapid transit.

Bob
--
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bob Janssens jans...@uiuc.edu U. of Illinois Urbana, IL 61801 USA
WWW: <a href="http://www.cen.uiuc.edu/~bj4409/bob.html">home page</a>
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daniel Convissor

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 5:30:25 PM9/19/94
to
In <16852rkl....@msu.edu> 1685...@msu.edu (Robert K. Lincoln) writes:
>Unfortunately, Daniel has slipped into lots of sarcastic and relatively
>indefensible comments [c'mon, are you really going to posit bus and rail as
>means of delivering commercial goods within the city?????]

Huh? I never said that. But I won't say that it doesn't happen, though.
In New York City, movement of small commercial items does take place by
messengers using the subways and buses.

Daniel Convissor

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 5:46:41 PM9/19/94
to
>In <CwDD8...@eskimo.com> big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:

>>*****from USN&WR Aug 15 1994, page 18:

>>But that was a year ago before inner
>>city troubles arrived...before light rail became known as "loot rail."

I just got the Aug/Sep edition of "Moving People," which mentions this
article. They mentioned that there is no enforcement of the
Proof-Of-Payment fare system, thus people can get on for free. In NYC,
crime has been significantly reduced by cracking down on fare evasion.

T. Mark Gibson

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 6:17:06 PM9/19/94
to
e...@larry.gsfc.nasa.gov (Edward Hartnett) writes:

>>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

> >>> Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
> >>> obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

> >> No, what happens is that more people use the road. This is the case
> >> *everywhere* I have ever lived. Washington's 12-lane parking lots are
> >> one example.

> T> There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one

> T> increases the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

>If you keep saying this over and over, it still won't be true,
>unfortunately. Otherwise we could still have as many cars as we did in
>the '30s.

I'm talking about a reasonably short time frame, say ten years. The number
of people who drive isn't going to jump dramatically in ten years, but it
is certainly possible to dramatically increase the capacity of our roads in
ten years.

If we doubled the capacity of the roads over the next ten years, the number
of drivers would not double, nor would the number of miles people drive
double.

T. Mark Gibson

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 6:22:04 PM9/19/94
to
e...@larry.gsfc.nasa.gov (Edward Hartnett) writes:

>>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

> T> gar...@metl.chi.il.us (Gareth Newfield) writes:
> >> T. Mark Gibson (gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu) wrote:

> >>> There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one
> >>> increases the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

> >> Yes at any given moment there probably is a finite number of people with
> >> cars, but with every new moment there are more. It is proven, obvious
> >> and demonstrated daily that as road capacity increases so car ownership and
> >> usage also increase, except usually at a much faster pace.

> T> Where's your proof? Can't find any? Hmmm?

>Look around. If what you said were true, then why do we need more
>highways? We have enough to meet the damands of 1970, right?

Is the population of all urban areas the same as it was in the 70s? No?

Ron Newman

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 10:40:58 PM9/19/94
to
In article <CwDD8...@eskimo.com>, Don Anderson <big...@eskimo.com> wrote:
>*****from USN&WR Aug 15 1994, page 18:
>...A new train stop tucked in the trees...would let Linthicum remain
>a small town while giving its people easy access to the shops, culture,
>and jobs of nearby Baltimore....But that was a year ago before inner
>city troubles arrived...before light rail became known as "loot rail."
>...County sheriff Robert Pepersack, says he is comfortable riding the
>train only because he's "a law enforcement official with a 9-mm
>pistol." ... State Senator Michael Wagner insists, "We have to
>address the problems, ... We can't run from them."

OK, I read the US News article. When 1300 people, out of a total
population of 7500, sign a petition to close the town's light-rail stop,
there's a problem that needs to be addressed--even if it's only a
perception problem.

The article says that after the light-rail opened, "bikes started
disappearing from porches, lawn equipment from sheds." Can you take a
bicycle on Baltimore light-rail, or are the theives coming to
Linthicum on the train and leaving on stolen bicycles? And wouldn't
someone look pretty suspicious lugging a lawnmower through suburban
streets and boarding a train with it? You probably wouldn't buy a
stereo system or a TV and bring it home on the streetcar; I doubt
many criminals would try to transport one that way either.

I also agree with Dan Convisser that fare enforcement is in order
here. The Baltimore MTA ought to deploy enough inspectors to check
the tickets of *everyone* entering or leaving the train at this stop for
a few weeks.

>I subscribe to Time, Newsweek, and USN&WR and do not see any
>significant un-natural distortion in USN's editorial posture, it is a
>mainstream news magazine, not "right-wing radical jerks" as you
>put it. Newsweek has better writers, though.
>Again, go read the article!

I concur that US News is a mainstream magazine, a little
more conservative than Time and Newsweek, but by no means part of the
right-wing fringe. And yes, people should try to read this article
before commenting on it.

>Admit it, the "loot rail" phenomenon is real.

It sounds real....but why doesn't it happen here in Boston? I live
one block from the Davis Square Red Line station in Somerville, Mass.,
and it hasn't brought the crime problems of Roxbury and Dorchester to
Somerville.

The MBTA Green Line's "D" branch snakes its way through the expensive
suburbs of Brookline and Newton, and it doesn't seem to have brought
violent crime there either. Sure, it costs $2 in exact change to come
back from Newton, but I can't believe that's really a deterrent to
criminals.

And if any MBTA line was going to be a vector for crime, surely it
would be the "High-Speed Trolley" that connects Dorchester's Ashmont
Red Line station with Mattapan Square, by way of expensive suburban
Milton. But again, it doesn't happen here.
--
Ron Newman rne...@athena.mit.edu

Don Anderson

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 11:01:04 PM9/19/94
to
<CwDD8...@eskimo.com> <35kp1q$c...@news.acns.nwu.edu>

Organization: Eskimo North (206) For-Ever

In article <35kp1q$c...@news.acns.nwu.edu> jo...@casbah.acns.nwu.edu
I don't claim that *all* urban blight is caused by public
transportation, just *a lot* of it. Another good technique, if you are
into botched urban planning, is to rezone and permit building of a huge
number of apartment units in a previously low-density suburb. Then wait
a few years for an economic down-cycle so the vacancy rate increases
forcing the apt operator to go Section 8. Oh yes, also build a huge new
"social services" complex ( or whatever the PC terminology is these days
for welfare office) and you have an instant iinner city, oops, make that
"mid city." Build the complex right in the middle of all these
apartments. Do this, and you have Kent, Wa, USA, the high-density
housing capitol, and botched urban planning capitol, of the Great
Northwest!
-
Big Don <big...@eskimo.com>
*** NO LOOT RAIL ***

Orc

unread,
Sep 19, 1994, 7:50:57 PM9/19/94
to
In article <CwDD8...@eskimo.com>, Don Anderson <big...@eskimo.com> wrote:
>In article <35ftn9$i...@panix.com> dan...@panix.com (Daniel Convissor) wrote:
>>[his usual rant]

>If "less desirable" conjures up minorities in your mind, that's your
>racism, not mine. Are you one of those thin-skinned
>African-Americans by chance?

Speaking of racism, perhaps you could have chosen a better
insult for this particular paragraph.

>Admit it, the "loot rail" phenomenon is real.

Proof? I keep hearing this from transit foes, but have not yet
seen anything supporting or contradicting it. (Though I'll admit
that the idea of somebody robbing a house, then trotting out to the
bus-stop and waiting for a bus [with a bagful of good silver and
china] is more hilarious then threatening.)

When I had my house robbed, the five-finger discounters parked a
car in the alley and shovelled all of my possessions into it. And
this with an elevated station all of one block away. Apparently
nobody bothered to tell them that modern criminals always take the
train.

____
david parsons \bi/ perhaps they didn't listen to the anti-transit folks.
\/

Joseph Barr

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 1:01:18 AM9/20/94
to
In article <CwEr1...@eskimo.com>, Don Anderson <big...@eskimo.com> wrote:
><CwDD8...@eskimo.com> <35kp1q$c...@news.acns.nwu.edu>

>I don't claim that *all* urban blight is caused by public
>transportation, just *a lot* of it. Another good technique, if you are
>into botched urban planning, is to rezone and permit building of a huge
>number of apartment units in a previously low-density suburb. Then wait
>a few years for an economic down-cycle so the vacancy rate increases
>forcing the apt operator to go Section 8. Oh yes, also build a huge new
>"social services" complex ( or whatever the PC terminology is these days
>for welfare office) and you have an instant iinner city, oops, make that
>"mid city." Build the complex right in the middle of all these
>apartments. Do this, and you have Kent, Wa, USA, the high-density
>housing capitol, and botched urban planning capitol, of the Great
>Northwest!
>-
>Big Don <big...@eskimo.com>
> *** NO LOOT RAIL ***


Well, I claim that NO urban blight is caused by rapid transit. If you have
that low an opinion of transit users, then don't forget that you are insulting
a lot of people. Also, see the previous explanations of why crime by transit
is sort of a silly idea. Also, highways cause much more urban blight than any
transit infrastructure. It is usually the physical infrastructure, not the
--
_______________________________________________________________________________

Colin R. Leech

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 1:05:55 AM9/20/94
to

In a previous article, alj...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Alice L Jones) says:

>Increasing road capacity is a *catalyst* for change. [...]
>When road capacity increases, Anthony Downs' "triple-convergence principle"
>happens:
> 1) people who used to alternate routes now hop on the road because they
> see that it's empty;
> 2) people who used to travel at other times to avoid traffic now hop
> on the road during rush hour; and
> 3) people who used public transit or some other form of transportation now
> say, "Glory be! I can use my car again!"

4) New trips that were too difficult previously are now made
5) New developments of urban sprawl farther and farther out (described in
your previous paragraph which I deleted)

Patricia Thompson

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 2:24:50 AM9/20/94
to
T. Mark Gibson (gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu) wrote:
: lg...@quads.uchicago.edu (Lawrence Charap) writes:

: >In article <35a71n$h...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>
: >gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T. Mark Gibson) writes:
: >>Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
: >>obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

: >No, what happens is that more people use the road. This is the case
: >*everywhere* I have ever lived. Washington's 12-lane parking lots are one
: >example.

: There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one increases
: the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

Logically correct, but observably not true. When I lived in Southern
California, about 100 meters North of the San Bernardino Freeway, we
prayed for the opening of the Pomona Freeway, running parallel to the San
Bernardino Freeway, about 4 miles South, for some relief in commuter
traffic. The first day the Pomona Freeway opened, we got some relief. A
week after the Pomona Freeway opened, the traffic on *both* the San
Bernardino Freeway and the Pomona Freeway was worse than before the
Pomona Freeway opened. The consensus was that freeways secretly breed
cars under the on-ramps (sort of like the Queen Alien in the movie
'Aliens', only nastier):-)

--
Gene Thompson patr...@comtch.iea.com
Spokane,WA

T. Mark Gibson

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 9:55:43 AM9/20/94
to
patr...@comtch.iea.com (Patricia Thompson) writes:

Heheheheh!!!

OK, I oversimplified. There are two possible explanations of the effect
you described: (1) people see that nice new road and decide to drive more,
and (2) people abandon whatever roads they used to use and take the nice
new one. Note that the first explanation involves an actual increase in
road usage, while the second one describes a shift in road usage.

Personally, I don't think that (1) is much of a factor, but you won't have
any difficulty convincing me that (2) is.

Edward Hartnett

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 9:44:28 AM9/20/94
to
>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

T> e...@larry.gsfc.nasa.gov (Edward Hartnett) writes:
>>>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

>> >>> Such traffic jams are caused by roads with inadequate capacity. The
>> >>> obvious solution is to increase the capacity of the roads.

>> >> No, what happens is that more people use the road. This is the case
>> >> *everywhere* I have ever lived. Washington's 12-lane parking lots are
>> >> one example.

T> There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one
T> increases the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

>> If you keep saying this over and over, it still won't be true,
>> unfortunately. Otherwise we could still have as many cars as we did in
>> the '30s.

T> I'm talking about a reasonably short time frame, say ten years. The number
T> of people who drive isn't going to jump dramatically in ten years, but it
T> is certainly possible to dramatically increase the capacity of our roads in
T> ten years.

T> If we doubled the capacity of the roads over the next ten years, the number
T> of drivers would not double, nor would the number of miles people drive
T> double.

Oh, you should have made it clear that you were engaging in a
discussion that had no relationship to the real world of roads and
cars, then I never would have bothered replying.

If I could wave my magic wand and double the size of the beltway this
afternoon, people would get home a lot faster!

Please, Mark, if you want to have a reasonable discussion, be
reasonable. Firstly, in what city could one possible double the road
capacity in anything like ten years? To double the road capacity in
D.C., even supposing they had the space (they don't) and the money
(they don't) would still take more then ten years, even if the doubled
the size of their roads department.

Furthermore I doubt ten years is short enough for this hypothetical
double-the-roads/halve-the-trafic plan. Probably within five years or
less more people would be driving on those roads. The beltway around
D.C. did not take anything like ten years to start getting congested.

Edward Hartnett

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 9:48:04 AM9/20/94
to
>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

T> e...@larry.gsfc.nasa.gov (Edward Hartnett) writes:
>>>>>>> "T" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

T> gar...@metl.chi.il.us (Gareth Newfield) writes:
>> >> T. Mark Gibson (gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu) wrote:

>> >>> There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one
>> >>> increases the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.

>> >> Yes at any given moment there probably is a finite number of people with
>> >> cars, but with every new moment there are more. It is proven, obvious
>> >> and demonstrated daily that as road capacity increases so car ownership and
>> >> usage also increase, except usually at a much faster pace.

T> Where's your proof? Can't find any? Hmmm?

>> Look around. If what you said were true, then why do we need more
>> highways? We have enough to meet the damands of 1970, right?

T> Is the population of all urban areas the same as it was in the 70s? No?

So what are you saying Mark?

I am saying that increasing road capacity will not help the traffic
problem. You are saying it will, or at least that's what you were
saying.

Now what is your point? If by proof you are demanding a city that
nothing has changed in, except the road capacity, for 20 years, then I
guess you never will see any proof.

Oh, sorry, you seem to be demanding that *all* urban areas stay
completely static before you will condecend to examine them. Well, all
I can say is, you probably can learn more about transit issues by
studying real examples than you can by thinking up new theories while
you drive around in your car. But maybe that's just my old-fashioned
attitude.

Don Anderson

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 10:34:06 AM9/20/94
to
<35l0s1$9...@panix.com>

Organization: Eskimo North (206) For-Ever

In article <35l0s1$9...@panix.com> dan...@panix.com (Daniel Convissor)
writes:

>>In <CwDD8...@eskimo.com> big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:
>
>>>*****from USN&WR Aug 15 1994, page 18:
>>>But that was a year ago before inner
>>>city troubles arrived...before light rail became known as "loot
rail."
>
>I just got the Aug/Sep edition of "Moving People," which mentions this
>article. They mentioned that there is no enforcement of the
>Proof-Of-Payment fare system, thus people can get on for free. In NYC,

>crime has been significantly reduced by cracking down on fare evasion.
>--
>|| D A N I E L C O N V I S S O R : Some people see things as they
are
>|| e-mail: dan...@panix.com : and say why.
>|| Transportation Consultant : I see things that never were
>|| Brooklyn, New York : and say why not. -Geo.
Bernard Shaw


MORE LOOT RAIL SYNDROME:
On Sept 19, 1994, the Associated Press (no doubt another "radical
right-wing bunch of jerks," eh Dan?) released a story about a Trumbull,
CT shopping mall which is trying to stop transit service from
Brideport,CT (a nearby, apparently inner-city kind of place, which holds
the CT record for number of murders last year). The mall thinks teens
from Bridgeport who arrive at the mall via transit are causing excessive
trouble. The Bridgeport Transit system is protesting (racism) since
many of the problem kids are Black.
-
I suppose the Bridgeport system also has no Proof-of-Fare process
either !!????
-
Big Don <big...@eskimo.com>
*** NO LOOT RAIL ****

Rolf Mantel

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 1:54:12 PM9/20/94
to
>>>>> "Mark" == T Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> writes:

Mark> There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As
Mark> one increases the capacity of the roads, the traffic density
Mark> MUST decrease.

On a global picture: yes. But there is no reason why the traffic
should decrease locally, and the global traffic density is very low to
start with.

Also, extra roads might mean that some more people buy cars, thus
reducing the effect in global terms as well.

Rolf
--
Rolf Mantel, * ma...@csv.warwick.ac.uk @ ) _ _
Dept. of Mathematics, * r...@maths.warwick.ac.uk /\ * | |_| |
University of Warwick, * _`\ `_(== | |
Coventry CV4 7AL, England * ________________________(_)/_(_)______ | |

Exile on Market Street

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 6:25:01 AM9/20/94
to
In article <35mpkv$6...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>, gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu (T.
Mark Gibson) wrote:

> Heheheheh!!!
>
> OK, I oversimplified. There are two possible explanations of the effect
> you described: (1) people see that nice new road and decide to drive more,
> and (2) people abandon whatever roads they used to use and take the nice
> new one. Note that the first explanation involves an actual increase in
> road usage, while the second one describes a shift in road usage.
>
> Personally, I don't think that (1) is much of a factor, but you won't have
> any difficulty convincing me that (2) is.

Been following Colin Leech's posts on the subject, Mark?

Since I am not employed in the profession, I do not have the studies at
hand or the citations, nor am I inclined right now to go wading through
the stacks in our Engineering School library in search of them. But the
gist is that new road capacity has had the -- yes, logically perverse, but
nonetheless quantifiable -- effect of generating new trips by car not
previously taken, even above and beyond the population increase during the
construction period and/or growth in auto registrations.

At least this is true for high-grade arterials and expressways. Maybe if
we mandated that all new roads be local.... :-)

-Sandy F. Smith, Jr.----...@mac.dev.upenn.edu, smi...@pobox.upenn.edu-
"Exile on Market Street" in the Penn Office of News and Public Affairs
Suite 1B South, 3624 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2615 / 215-898-8721
(Opinions mine, NOT Penn's. If they want 'em, they gotta pay for 'em.)

"It just goes to show you the flexibility of the human organism that
people who would willingly sit in the mud and chant 'no rain' periodically
between badly amplified rock groups could suddenly turn out to be the ones
to run the U.S. economy."
-------------------The late Frank Zappa, on the first "Woodstock Nation"--

John Eaton

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 3:28:34 PM9/20/94
to
Daniel Convissor (dan...@panix.com) wrote:

: In <Cw8K9...@eskimo.com> big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:

: >Don't forget the *REAL* problem with rapid transitIt provides unwanted
: >easy communication between the ...uh...less desirable areas of town and
: >the previously pleasant suburbs. Urban blight generally extends just
: >about as far as the metro rapid transit scope. See USN&WR Aug 15, 94
: >page 18.

: Let me be blunt. That is the STUPIDEST thing I've EVER seen on the net.

: First, it is patently false. Second, it's racist. Sure, commuter rail
: links rich and poor neighborhoods, but it is not a conveyance of blight
: or crime in any significant way. It's a way for people to travel between
: places where they live, work, have friends/relatives, shop, etc.
: Traveling on mass transit to commit crimes is pretty rare. Actually,

: some of the most blighted places in NYC have no convenient mass transit
: access at all.

Thats why they are some of the most blighted places in NYC. Most cities in
Europe have fairly decent transit systems that will get you around in the
city. They also do not have the same level of problems with ghettos as we
do in this country. The reason is that you can live in a bad neighborhood
in Europe and still be able to work anywhere in the city.

Most systems in this country are designed to get people in and out of the
city center. Going between neighborhoods is not always that efficient.
If you find a job with weird hours in a distant neighborhood then you may
find that you cannot get there on mass transist. Thats what makes a ghetto
because the residents can't get to the jobs.

John Eaton
!hp-vcd!johne



Colin R. Leech

unread,
Sep 21, 1994, 12:36:05 AM9/21/94
to

In a previous article, big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) says:

>Don't forget the *REAL* problem with rapid transitIt provides unwanted
>easy communication between the ...uh...less desirable areas of town and
>the previously pleasant suburbs.

Horsecookies. You think that roads don't provide access between the
different sections of town as well??

Exile on Market Street

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 6:52:59 AM9/20/94
to
In article <35li3q$r...@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU>, rne...@ATHENA.MIT.EDU
(Ron Newman) wrote:

> In article <CwDD8...@eskimo.com>, Don Anderson <big...@eskimo.com> wrote:
> >Admit it, the "loot rail" phenomenon is real.
>
> It sounds real....but why doesn't it happen here in Boston?

Or in Los Angeles, or San Diego, or here in the Philly suburbs, or St.
Louis, or in Portland (just down a ways from where Big Don lives), or....

Now I have not read the article, either, but when I combine Ron's
additional information with Daniel's info about non-enforcement of the POP
system, what I conclude is that:

--The "crime wave" is of the highly opportunistic variety -- light objects
that are easily transportable (or in the case of bikes, transport
themselves -- my hunch, Ron, is that if this is indeed related to the LRT,
they take the train out and the bike back), and that

--it occurs because the thieves can travel without cost or penalty of any
kind. Mere enforcement of the honor system would probably put a serious
dent in it.

With David Parsons' related comment on the parent thread fresh in mind,
may I suggest that we not build new highways from city to suburb, either,
because criminals can drive?

Remember, transportation is the means, not the end. If someone desires a
certain end, they will use (ahem) "any means necessary" to achieve it.

Lawrence Charap

unread,
Sep 20, 1994, 5:52:02 PM9/20/94
to
In article <16852rkl....@msu.edu> 1685...@msu.edu (Robert K. Lincoln) writes:
>
>The bottom line is that our tranportation investments policy has benefitted
>the middle and upper classes for the last forty years, while not-so-benignly
>neglecting the needs of the urban poor.

Thank you very much for hitting the nail on the head. Undoubtedly the most
intelligent post I've ever read on the net. As such, expect to be mercilessly
bashed.

>Robert Lincoln, Assistant Professor
>Michigan State University
>16852rkl@msu -- Opinions expressed are mine alone.

-Lawrence Charap

--

Orc

unread,
Sep 21, 1994, 3:15:56 AM9/21/94
to
In article <CwFn4...@eskimo.com>, Don Anderson <big...@eskimo.com> wrote:

>MORE LOOT RAIL SYNDROME:

>On Sept 19, 1994, the Associated Press (no doubt another "radical
>right-wing bunch of jerks," eh Dan?) released a story about a Trumbull,
>CT shopping mall which is trying to stop transit service from
>Brideport,CT (a nearby, apparently inner-city kind of place, which holds
>the CT record for number of murders last year). The mall thinks teens
>from Bridgeport who arrive at the mall via transit are causing excessive
>trouble.

"Excessive trouble"? Please, do tell, what exactly does
"excessive trouble" mean?

The large urban centers in the East and Midwest have had rail
service connecting the suburbs to the center city for somewhat over
a hundred years now. From my experience riding these rail lines,
I've not noticed any collapse into inner-city anarchy happening
around any of the (prosperous) suburbs served by rail.

Since you've not yet bothered to produce any figures showing that
rail lines are magnets for the well-bred criminal, please excuse me
if I don't believe what you're saying. And, while I'm at it, your
catchy little "loot rail" slogan is offensive, and is an insult to
those of us who use rapid transit to get around.

Back up your thesis, please.

____
david parsons \bi/ And don't forget Europe. A hotbed of criminals,
\/ no doubt.

Colin R. Leech

unread,
Sep 21, 1994, 12:15:54 AM9/21/94
to

>In a previous article, John Palkovic <palk...@desy.de> wrote:
>>Building more roads has only made traffic problems worse in these
>>areas. It does not appear possible to build road capacity fast enough
>>to prevent traffic congestion. This is a well known problem (at least
>>I thought it was) in urban planning in the US. Comments, anyone?

Yes, well known except by the car promotors.

In a previous article, rand...@netcom.com (Randolph Fritz) says:
> (though of course bad planning can aggravate congestion & good planning can
>ameliorate congestion).

Absolutely.

> This also suggests that, in the larger
>car-oriented cities, we use too much space on cars;

Right again.

> if, let us say,
>most shopping trips were made via mass transit (commute is, I think a
>more difficult problem), we would get back considerable space which
>might be put to other uses.

Close but backwards. Commuting is the easiest trip to attract to transit,
because it is regular. Passengers only have to learn the route and timing
once or twice, for the most part. Discretionary trips like shopping are
harder because people want to travel infrequently to different places, and
so must make an extra effort to learn the system each time.

However, your point about reducing the sea of asphalt in parking lots is
well taken.

Randolph Fritz

unread,
Sep 21, 1994, 2:29:44 AM9/21/94
to
In article <35ivna$p...@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>,
T. Mark Gibson <gib...@bmrl.med.uiuc.edu> wrote:
>
>There are a finite number of people with motor vehicles. As one increases
>the capacity of the roads, the traffic density MUST decrease.
>

?

If roads go from congested to uncongested, people use their cars more
because driving is more pleasant. Also, of course, new development
takes advantage of the new capacity. It's a complex system: the
response to road changes depends on other elements. Historically,
however, congestion in a car-oriented city goes to a "maximum
tolerable level" and stays there; more roads are simply more used.

Randolph

Peter M. White

unread,
Sep 22, 1994, 1:02:12 PM9/22/94
to
big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:
>
>Lots of inner city hoods don't own cars. I'm amazed at the comments I
>keep getting from folks who won't read the article. That's not too
>smart. Also read my followup post to Dan C,a couple days back about the
>AP item where a Trumbull, CT shopping mall is trying to get bus service from
>the Bridgeport inner city stopped. PUBLIC TRANSIT ALLOWS INNER CITY ILK
>TO GET WHERE THEY OTHERWISE COULDN'T. It's documented. It's real.
>Believe it.

Of course public transit allows inner city ilk to get where they
otherwise couldn't. That is exactly one of the things it is designed
for. We want everyone to be able to look for jobs across the entire
city and be productive citizens. Do you think it would be an improvement
to fence people into their neighborhood? Force people in decaying
neighborhoods to only get jobs in the decaying local business climate?
Or should we concentrate on creating ghettos for those who don't
have a pink slip like Real Citizens?

--Peter
p-w...@uiuc.edu

cu...@vms.cis.pitt.edu

unread,
Sep 22, 1994, 3:05:39 PM9/22/94
to
In article <CwICr...@eskimo.com>, big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:
> -
> Look, I ride the buses myself on occasion. I have no problems with
> transit riders who use the service for legitimate purposes. A couple of
> other folks made comments that implied I had iinsulted all transit
> riders. NOT! Methinks you don't all read very carefully. My problem is
> with the transit service that is so good, the bad guys can zip into and
> out of your area easily at midnit & 2AM, for example. Transit service
> during morning/evening commute periods, especially express service, is
> great.
> -


Yeah, this is a common scenario: Some hoods bus out to the 'burbs, commit a few
murders and rapes, steal some TVs and stereos, then hang out at the bus stop for
the 1:15 AM local to downtown, stolen goods and bloodied weapons in hand.

Get real.


Curt Wohleber / cu...@vms.cis.pitt.edu
Communications Specialist / Univerity of Pittsburgh / (412) 624-4790

Exile on Market Street

unread,
Sep 22, 1994, 8:15:48 AM9/22/94
to
In article <35r7u2$b...@krel.iea.com>, patr...@comtch.iea.com (Patricia
Thompson) wrote:

> A note of explanation to posters on this thread, hopefully cooling the
> flames. Big Don's signature includes the location of Kent, WA, which
> would give a clue to anyone who lives in Washington as to what the heat
> is about.

[a tale of two Washingtons, one bucolic, one apparently Californicated]

Thanks for the info, Gene, and my profuse apologies to Big Don for
assuming that he never rode mass transit.

There is no denying that bad people can, and do, use mass transit in order
to "get to work." And in a place that is apparently as isolated and
tranquil as Linthicum, Maryland, any petty crime can be unsettling and a
stabbing at the train station downright frightening (hell, it'd be
frightening if it happened at 13th and Market, too). Nonetheless, I agree
with the dissenting member of the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement
Association mentioned in the _U.S. News_ article. The answer to the
problem is not to cut off access and thus punish the good along with the
bad. It is to improve security (viz. LA Blue Line) to make sure the
troublemakers at least think twice before setting out.

One other point that nobody has mentioned thus far: one reason for the
crime wave in Linthicum is that word has spread that the town is an "easy
mark". There are steps people can take to make themselves less of an easy
mark. Now I know that a lot of people leave the city precisely because
they don't want to go through the hassle of taking these steps, but let's
face it: we can run, and run, and run some more, and eventually the
problem will catch up with us one way or another. Solving it, or even
mitigating it, is now going to take a lot of time, or money, or both --
most likely both. We kid ourselves to think otherwise.

-Sandy F. Smith, Jr.----...@mac.dev.upenn.edu, smi...@pobox.upenn.edu-
"Exile on Market Street" in the Penn Office of News and Public Affairs
Suite 1B South, 3624 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2615 / 215-898-8721
(Opinions mine, NOT Penn's. If they want 'em, they gotta pay for 'em.)

"You are not caught in the traffic jam. You ARE the traffic jam."
------------original author unknown; quoted by Colin R. Leech on m.t.u-t--

Loren Petrich

unread,
Sep 23, 1994, 12:54:24 AM9/23/94
to
In article <35l0s1$9...@panix.com> dan...@panix.com (Daniel Convissor) writes:
>>In <CwDD8...@eskimo.com> big...@eskimo.com (Don Anderson) writes:

[On Baltimore "Loot Rail"...]

It must be said that that is a fear expressed out here in
Livermore, since a new BART station is under construction in
Dublin/Pleasanton, about 2/3 of the way from the existing line in
Hayward. Someone at work actually once confessed to a desire to move to
some out-of-the-way place, because of you-know-what.

>I just got the Aug/Sep edition of "Moving People," which mentions this
>article. They mentioned that there is no enforcement of the
>Proof-Of-Payment fare system, thus people can get on for free. In NYC,
>crime has been significantly reduced by cracking down on fare evasion.

I've ridden the San Jose and Sacramento LRT's, and LA's Red and
Blue Lines, and I've had my ticket checked only once or twice (I recall
that happening on the SJ system, and I'm not sure about the Sac'to one;
the LA one was only once) -- and I confess I feel slighted when my ticket
isn't checked. Actually, on the Sac'to system, I once saw from inside
someone being escorted out of the LRV by some transit staffers -- could
this have been enforcement?

--
Loren Petrich, the Master Blaster
pet...@netcom.com Happiness is a fast Macintosh
l...@s1.gov And a fast train

Randolph Fritz

unread,
Sep 25, 1994, 9:14:36 PM9/25/94