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Author Topic: TxDOT recommends massive, mind-boggling rebuild of downtown Houston freeways  (Read 28748 times)

kphoger

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Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.
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thisdj78

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Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.

Or to amend even further, you can’t get around big automobile-centric cities very fast using public trans. Examples would be LA, Phoenix, Houston & Dallas. The growth of these cities came after the car, whereas NYC and to a lesser extend Chicago, experienced growth when not many people had cars....therefore it’s easier to get around without one in those cities.
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nolia_boi504

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Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.
Chicago's highways are significantly smaller than ours, and they don't have multiple massive business centers outside of the downtown area like we do. Plus their high parking rates, lack of parking options, congested streets, etc etc, etc are all a direct result of their mass transit focus from decades ago. Houston has evolved completely different than Chicago/NY. What works there doesn't work here. We should continue focusing on transit in heavily populated areas (Downtown, Galleria, etc).

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Plutonic Panda

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Even without the cultural and policy differences, time is still a big drawback to mass transit. You cannot get around in a big city very fast using subways, light rail lines, buses, etc.

Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

For tourists, transit is also superior in my opinion, as you don't have to pay for expensive parking and then walk a mile from your parking spot to wherever you're going.  Directions are easy too.  Instead of having to know all the streets to turn on, you just have to know what bus or rail line to get on and where to get off.  Pretty much any A-to-B journey can thus be accomplished with two transfers max.

I'd amend your statement to say you cannot get around in a small city very fast using transit, because smaller cities tend to have less frequent departures.
Thats generally only true if you have no transfers. Even a single transfer from my experience can add quite a bit of time to the trip and make it that much worse on the top of the grocery of reasons mass transit sucks.
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Bobby5280

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Quote from: kphoger
Having used transit extensively in Chicago, I disagree with that statement.  Not having to find a parking spot downtown, not having to deal with traffic jams, etc—all of that saves time and, depending on the service, offsets the added time of waiting for transfers.  In fact, at rush hour, I found that I could often get around faster on transit than in my own car.

I lived in New York City for 5 years and traveled daily between Staten Island and Manhattan for 4 of those years and Brooklyn for the last. Using the buses, subways and Staten Island Ferry was anything but fast. The commute was at least 90 minutes each way. The only way I could shave any time at all, maybe 10-15 minutes at most, was catching a bus over the Verrazano Bridge and getting on the R Train in Bay Ridge at just the right time. The commute was a slog.

Contrast that to my experiences temping at a couple "Wall Street" companies during the summers. I'd work late and the car service for Merrill Lynch would take me from the World Financial Center to my front door step in Staten Island in under 30 minutes. It was a pretty big extreme, and not one lost on me when I hear rich politicians extolling the virtues of mass transit when those same douche bags don't soil themselves with riding on the subway with "common folk." They're getting from point A to point B in a car service or some other kind of exclusionary gig.

Mass transit does offer its benefits. But time saving is definitely NOT one of them. If I was back in NYC the ONLY benefit I would see in using mass transit as opposed to driving a car is the cost savings on tolls and garage parking. There is absolutely nothing time saving about taking the bus, train and ferry.
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rte66man

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Bringing this back on subject......

Any updates on the Hardy Toll Road connection to I10/I69?
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Revive 755

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Chicago's highways are significantly smaller than ours, and they don't have multiple massive business centers outside of the downtown area like we do. Plus their high parking rates, lack of parking options, congested streets, etc etc, etc are all a direct result of their mass transit focus from decades ago. Houston has evolved completely different than Chicago/NY. What works there doesn't work here. We should continue focusing on transit in heavily populated areas (Downtown, Galleria, etc).
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Schaumburg, Oak Brook, and whatever village/city has the area along Lake Cook Road west of the Tri-State might disagree with the "business centers outside of downtown" part (maybe not the "massive" part though).

I strongly agree about the size of the highways in Chicagoland, especially considering the smaller St. Louis and Omaha metro seem to have as many highways at the same width.
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kphoger

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I lived in New York City for 5 years and traveled daily between Staten Island and Manhattan for 4 of those years and Brooklyn for the last. Using the buses, subways and Staten Island Ferry was anything but fast. The commute was at least 90 minutes each way. The only way I could shave any time at all, maybe 10-15 minutes at most, was catching a bus over the Verrazano Bridge and getting on the R Train in Bay Ridge at just the right time. The commute was a slog.

What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?
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thisdj78

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I lived in New York City for 5 years and traveled daily between Staten Island and Manhattan for 4 of those years and Brooklyn for the last. Using the buses, subways and Staten Island Ferry was anything but fast. The commute was at least 90 minutes each way. The only way I could shave any time at all, maybe 10-15 minutes at most, was catching a bus over the Verrazano Bridge and getting on the R Train in Bay Ridge at just the right time. The commute was a slog.

What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?

I don’t live there but have made that drive several times while there on business. Hotel to office was an hour minimum in non-peak times.

I looked up the route on Waze and it shows an hour and 26 minute drive during morning rush hour. But of course it could be different depending on which part of Staten and Manhattan you’re going to and from, but probably not by much.
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Chris

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Nearly 600,000 Americans commute 90 minutes or more one way, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2013/cb13-41.html

About 8.1 percent of U.S. workers have commutes of 60 minutes or longer, 4.3 percent work from home, and nearly 600,000 full-time workers had "megacommutes" of at least 90 minutes and 50 miles. The average one-way daily commute for workers across the country is 25.5 minutes, and one in four commuters leave their county to work.

According to Out-of-State and Long Commutes: 2011, 23.0 percent of workers with long commutes (60 minutes or more) use public transit, compared with 5.3 percent for all workers.

(...)

Based on the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, 586,805 full-time workers are mega commuters -- one in 122 of full-time workers. 


So while there are a lot of anecdotes about the terrible commutes and large amounts of people having very long commutes, the actual share of them is pretty low: 8.1% commute 60 minutes or more and only 0.8% of full-time workers commute 90 minutes or more. So it's safe to say a 90 minute commute is an outlier, though they might be more common in certain metropolitan areas with severely unaffordable housing or a higher transit share, as transit commutes tend to be significantly longer than other modes, this is true even in Europe.

kphoger

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The reason I asked is that I don't consider a 90-minute public transit travel time to be outrageous, if the drive time is also 90 minutes.
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In_Correct

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The reason I asked is that I don't consider a 90-minute public transit travel time to be outrageous, if the drive time is also 90 minutes.

Also consider that the roads can some times have delays which means the travel time is similar with general Public Transit and some times faster with Commuter Rail.
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Bobby5280

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Quote from: kphoger
What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?

Commuting by car took about half the time. When my parents where in NYC I would sometimes be able to catch a ride in my Dad's carpool from Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island to midtown Manhattan. That, and the short subway ride on the 6 train from 59th and 23rd Street would take roughly 45 minutes. This was roughly 30 years ago. Driving time might be a little longer in 2019, but I'm sure that the buses, ferry and subway haven't sped up at all either.

If I lived in NYC I would probably still use mass transit rather than drive a car into Manhattan. The tolls and parking costs are way too expensive. Cost savings is really the only advantage of using mass transit in New York City. Mass transit has plenty of its own drawbacks. I froze my butt off plenty of times standing at bus stops or on outdoor subway platforms. There's not too much shelter from the wind and rain there. Summer weather in the subway can be pretty unpleasant too. I've read NYC's homeless population has grown dramatically in recent years, so I imagine the subways have plenty of that piss, orange juice and carbon smell. Even if things are clean you still have to deal with crowds. God forbid you have to carry anything like a briefcase or portfolio case onto a crowded bus or subway car with standing room only space. Those real world features of mass transit aren't included in the romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit sell to the public.
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nolia_boi504

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Quote from: kphoger
What was the travel time by car for the same trip?  Without knowing that, I have no idea if 90 minutes is good or bad.  From your front door of your house to the front door of your destination, what was the time difference between driving and transit?

Commuting by car took about half the time. When my parents where in NYC I would sometimes be able to catch a ride in my Dad's carpool from Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island to midtown Manhattan. That, and the short subway ride on the 6 train from 59th and 23rd Street would take roughly 45 minutes. This was roughly 30 years ago. Driving time might be a little longer in 2019, but I'm sure that the buses, ferry and subway haven't sped up at all either.

If I lived in NYC I would probably still use mass transit rather than drive a car into Manhattan. The tolls and parking costs are way too expensive. Cost savings is really the only advantage of using mass transit in New York City. Mass transit has plenty of its own drawbacks. I froze my butt off plenty of times standing at bus stops or on outdoor subway platforms. There's not too much shelter from the wind and rain there. Summer weather in the subway can be pretty unpleasant too. I've read NYC's homeless population has grown dramatically in recent years, so I imagine the subways have plenty of that piss, orange juice and carbon smell. Even if things are clean you still have to deal with crowds. God forbid you have to carry anything like a briefcase or portfolio case onto a crowded bus or subway car with standing room only space. Those real world features of mass transit aren't included in the romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit sell to the public.

I wish more people with experience/perspective like you would speak up more about the downsides of public transit. I especially agree with your last sentence, where those "minor" inconveniences are swept aside.

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kphoger

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I doubt the "romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit" have ever had to actually get by without a car in the suburbs.  In the northern states.  In February.
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kphoger

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God forbid you have to carry anything like a briefcase or portfolio case onto a crowded bus or subway car with standing room only space. Those real world features of mass transit aren't included in the romantic sales pitch proponents of mass transit sell to the public.

There was this one time...

I was catching Amtrak out of Chicago's Union Station with my then-two-year-old daughter.  We were getting there from Glen Ellyn, out in the western suburbs.  I had a rolling suitcase, a backpack, a car seat, a pack-and-play, a diaper bag, and maybe something else I'm forgetting.  As such, my goal was to get from Glen Ellyn to Union Station with as little walking as possible.  We took Metra to Oak Park, then took a city bus down Harlem to the Eisenhower, then the Blue Line L from Harlem to Clinton, then walked a few blocks from the Clinton subway station to Union Station—and all she was old enough to really carry was a stuffed animal.  I counted at the end, and I had made use of seven total strangers along the way.  This included loading or unloading things on or off a bus or train, and even one lady who held my daughter's hand to cross the street in downtown Chicago because for some reason she was refusing to budge and I didn't have an empty hand to grab her with.  Oh yeah, and the elevator was out of service at the Clinton subway station, so I had to haul all that baggage up the stairs without being able to help my daughter, who could still only climb stairs by using her hands—one of which was clutching the stuffed animal.  Which therefore became quite filthy.

Or those times I took Pace bus to do my grocery shopping, hauling one of those old-lady carts full of groceries on and off the bus.  That would have been impossible on a crowded CTA bus downtown, but it worked OK in the suburbs—but only because I was strong enough to load the whole cart onto my back while climbing the steps of the bus.
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Bobby5280

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Your story gave me more flashbacks to living in New York City, as well as living in Japan. My family didn't have a car when we were stationed in Japan for 3 years. When we lived off the Marine Corps base "out in town" we had to heat our old rental house using kerosene heaters. That meant frequent trips at least a half mile away to the nearest "Mama San Shop" convenience story that sold kerosene among other things. We would buy our groceries on the Marine Corps base and push them in four wheel carts all the way back home. Complete pain in the ass.

Hauling bags of groceries onto a city bus or subway train is no picnic either. Gotta always buy light loads of stuff and make more trips to the store.
 :-/
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In_Correct

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These comments about the problems with public transit reminds me of The Bob Newhart Show, about Dr. Hartley walking endlessly to get to work. One of the scenes has him walking with Elliot Carlin.

Even if there are many problems with Public Transit, There are times that I want to take Public Transit. There are too many dangerous drunk drivers, or on the smart phones, or they simply do not have an understanding of traffic rules. Or perhaps some traffic rules is too dangerous. I hate "Turn Right On Red". I have heard an increase of horns honking at each other. Also if there are self driving cars that is going to cause even more problems as the car stalls during a software update.  :-o :crazy: :paranoid: :rolleyes:

Another concern I have is Ethanol. I will go out of my way to get NON Ethanol Gas (and even Diesel might contain Ethanol.) and almost every gas station in urban and suburban areas is going to have Ethanol, perhaps even E85. It seems they want to scare people who use conventional Petrol, and even Diesel.

I like to drive. I certainly like carrying every thing that I need. But if driving becomes too annoying, I would much rather take Public Transit if it is there and functional.

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