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tracer1138

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Everything posted by tracer1138

  1. Check out Grand Rapids at the bottom: The Best U.S. Transit Systems You Never Knew Existed I'll agree with several of the comments further down that this is certainly not what I would call good reporting, however, someone is taking notice of something.
  2. Excellent discussion on here. From my limited perspective, it seems that this was not merely an issue of branding (though this was, no doubt a major component of the failure). Many have said that the ITP did not adequately control the message going out to voters, while this is likely true, I would like to address posts by GRDad and the above post specifically. Marketing for something like this in these times is hard enough when you have a united front. But it seems that not even all transit supports were onboard with this one. As was said above, political campaigning comes down to maybe just 5% of the vote, but that's assuming you have your base at your back. As such, to me it seems that the idea itself needs revision, not just the way it was sold. This comment specifically interested me. While small steps are preferred and even necessary to lay the groundwork for an expansion of transit like this, I believe that the "gentleness" of the proposal itself was a liability rather than an asset. A more bold proposal (such as light rail ) I think would have brought the conversation to a more visible level and certainly would have ignited more passion especially within the supportive base. To put it simply, when you're climbing a mountain, slow and steady, step by step is the way to go, but when you come to a ravine, you have to be willing to make a much larger leap. From my outsiders perspective, the BRT proposal, while probably both appropriate and cost effective just seemed underwhelming. An LRT proposal is just easier to excited about - one of its non-statistical benefits. Thus, I think that, with an eye for moving forward, a no vote must be viewed as an opportunity to go back and review both the message and its content.
  3. Just because it seems to take such a long to implement transit projects in the US does not mean that it always has to be that way. Consider examples abroad where the time between conception and construction seems to be lot shorter. Albeit many of these examples likely occur in countries with entirely different legal precedents/structures this does not mean that we should always appeal to the lowest common denominator. Part of what makes something happen quickly and efficiently is an expectation that that is the way it should be.
  4. Having read a little more recently, it appears many of the athletes were steered toward a single class; an independent study with this one psych professor, I don't remember his name off the top of my head. The obvious concern there is favoritism and leaniency above and beyond what you might find in a General Studies Class largely populated by athletes.
  5. Well, I only read the AANews on Mlive and right now, I don't get it. So far all they've posted are a few graphs.
  6. First Picture, the glass cylinder holds suits for the Radisson Plaza Hotel. At the base is outdoor seating for Burdick's. As for the second picture, the park is located right next to the museum (center left). You're looking Northeast from the top of the parking deck across from the Radisson. The arch in between the two buildings on the far side of the park shows where Arcadia Creek flows through the opening. That's Borgess Hospital on the hill in the distance.
  7. Whew! Took a little while but here's a sample as promised... you can check out the rest at http://www.flickr.com/photos/umleroi/ FIN
  8. Bush seeks to virtually eliminate federal funding for public transit and ultimately undermine Amtrak in favor of highway development. http://www.passengerrailtoday.com/ - from the article on the page entitled "Bush Budget Draws Fire" The ink was hardly dry on the President’s fiscal year 2009 budget submission before the critics surfaced. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is outraged that the Bush Administration’s budget request for FY 2009 would cut $202.1 million for public transportation and proposes to transfer an estimated $3.2 billion dedicated for public transportation to fund highway projects. It's like he's slashing and burning his way out of office - what an ass. Pardon my Freedom... i mean French. I'm assuming the cuts would come largely from New Starts and Small Starts funding and projects that have not begun construction would be particularly vulnerable - a la Grand Rapids BRT and streetcar projects (though I thought the streetcar project was slated to be locally funded).
  9. Haha, my roomate wrote that. He posts on here, mostly in the Kalamazoo section - see if you can find him.
  10. I know it's off topic a little, but I've ridden the TGV in France (LGV Paris to Marseille) and I have to disagree somewhat with your assessment of high speed rail transit as merely an equal replacement for airline travel. I found the experience far superior. I took the RER from my hotel in Paris to the Gare de Lyon and waited only 20-30 minutes for my train, waved goodbye to my parents, boarded the train (no security process - my parents could have come right on to the platform with me), found a seat and made my self as inconspicuously American as possible. The ride itself was breathtaking as well. While you don't get the birds eye view of air travel, the views from the train were still superb, especially on our way out of Metropolitan Paris at normal speed. The ride was very smooth and I fell asleep several times. The only downside really was waiting in the station in Marseille for my connecting train to Aix-en-Provence. Don't get me wrong, I love air travel, but the way Europeans have set up High Speed rail, it's a cheaper, more efficient time saver. Recall that Europe is smaller than the US, thus the added time requirements of Air travel negate the advantages of that mode between many cities (especially now that the new route between Dover and London is complete - the route between London and Paris is highly competative). As a result, High speed rail in the United States would work well as a regional connector vis-a-vis the Northeast Corridor, Midwest Regional Highspeed Rail Initiative, Windsor-to-Quebec in Canada, California High Speed Network, Florida High Speed network etc. On the other hand going from Chicago to Seattle by train, while possible easily bows to the superiority of Air Travel on that route.
  11. Starting with bus service is especially poignant given that Government Starts programs seem to require numbers from existing transit lines before they're willing to upgrade to rail. It's a good way of laying the groundwork.
  12. I really hope it's something like this that finally brings in the contempt of congress charge. Something he probably thought was nothing but a flea on his radar screen. As a future student (hopefully) in the transport arts, this drives me crazy. The hurdles in the way of a successful transit system are hard enough without the government blatantly misleading the public. Worst. President. Ever.
  13. That would be the North Campus Phallus... I mean Belltower.
  14. I think a small part of the argument for investment associated with fixed guideway systems is how these investments are viewed by businesses and developers. Investment in this kind of infrastructure, even something small, is a signal to developers of progressive, long term thinking. In this way, approval of a streetcar is as much a symbolic representation of a city's willingness to invest in its future as it is a physical tool for improved mobility and accessibility. I think the recent trend of redevelopment of major cities we've seen where transit is at the heart has at least some to do with the perception that our cities are coming back and we're willing to make these kinds of investments. As a result, when a city finally takes those steps (as Grand Rapids seems about to do), it's a sign to developers that this city is finally moving into the 21st century and is now ripe for development. When people in an area vote for and support these kinds of initiatives it's a sign that there's demand for more development downtown. Developers pick up on that and move right on in. After that, if investment and excitement keep up, the cycle can take on a life of its own, but it seems to need a combination of small moves and big moves, like the installation of streetcar loop.
  15. One more grass comment... I think it has to do with people's perceptions of urban spaces that they need to be completely paved over. It reminds of recent arguments regarding Hart Plaza in Detroit. People kept arguing that grassy plains have no place in the middle of city. I totally disagree with this attitude. While I do believe that "open-space" has little if no place in the middle of a city adding the occasional green strip here and there without creating new setbacks or breaking up urban blocks, i.e. berms, (especially in retail corridors) is a positive step in new thinking about urban spaces. I think this point is best made from the standpoints of 1. permeability and 2. man and nature. Don't you think we've done enough to pave paradise and put up a parking lot? Living in the built environment doesn't have to mean living in the paved environment. Besides, overpaving is bad for the environment in many ways including exacerbating the heat island effect. And in terms of man and nature, I don't see why we shouldn't try to maximize nature in urban settings without compromising the vitality of density. In terms of this strip of grass, why not hold off on paving it until necessity absolutely requires it? -Enough of that from my corner though...
  16. For those that keep track... it looks like they've updated the googleearth satellite image for a sizable chunk of metro Detroit including downtown. Judging by what shows up and what's changed, the image looks like it was taken late summer of this year! Check it!
  17. I've never been downtown Pontiac, but I think those beautiful streetscape finishes warrant a gander.
  18. I've always felt like the Grand River "seawall" is a really unpleasant hodgepodge of cement and weeds along the east bank downtown. It's really disappointing because there's a lot of potential there. Take Chicago's riverfront for example. Beautiful, consistent stonework plus permanent stairway access to the esplanade which is landscaped with benches and planters. In Grand Rapids, the esplanade could be closed during high water and as for the openings in the side of the embankment in Chicago, in Grand Rapids this could lead to a sort-of spillway for the Grand River limiting the impact of the development on the water's course. Really though, the main point of my argument is consistency. The wall along the grand river really needs a unified look.
  19. But as has been said, it wouldn't take much to upgrade that image. Some trees would really help and they could probably cheaply add a vinyl cornice that few would notice was so cheap or add fake iron balconys. Does someone want to e-mail them to inform them of some cheap options?
  20. I think Eugene, Oregon might have a peer system worth looking at. No solid data on development yet, but Eugene just completed and is looking to expand their BRT system which currently runs to the suburb of Spring field. Wikipedia - EMX (Emerald Express) Lane Transit It's interesting because I was there just last May and they hadn't finished it yet. From what I could tell just on a visual basis, they have dedicated lanes and fully built station stops in what looked like the former street right of way. If I hadn't known better and if I hadn't noticed the conspicuous lack of tracks in the road, I would have said they were buildling a light rail system. The buses run on lanes of concrete versus asphalt for the road and while they're not grade-separated, I would get the sense you shouldn't be driving in them although I don't know what the official policy is. :::-edit- going back and looking at the pictures, it looks like guidway system::: We'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. I don't know of any others in the U.S. off the top of my head, but I do know of a system in Ottawa, Ontario. I think they're still floating plans to convert that system to light rail with Diesel Multiple Units. For reference, Eugene is essentially the Ann Arbor of Oregon... with a BRT system.
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