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The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

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17 hours ago, AronG said:

There are dozens of effective ways to design streets for slow traffic, and they work great. 

Sorry - I should have clarified and you are absolutely right. Speed humps and narrowing streets (via squeezing in parked cars) seem to be the only effective cheap solutions on residential streets. If we can’t even get sidewalks, we are not getting bulb outs, material changes, etc. on non-collector or arterial streets.

This being said, I saw a new traffic circle on a residential street the other day, which made me happy.

The most effective cheap solution (which Nashville would never go for) is to do what Berkeley does and stop all residential streets every two blocks. Bikes and emergency vehicles can get through, but everyone else is pushed onto a collector. The result is only hyper local residential street traffic.

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17 hours ago, AronG said:

There are dozens of effective ways to design streets for slow traffic, and they work great. Narrower lanes, sidewalk bulbouts, raised crosswalks, pedestrian islands, material changes, in-street crosswalk signs, decreased curb turning radius, street furniture, rumble strips, diagonal diverters, etc. It's been shown over and over that people choose their speed based on the street design, not the posted speed limit. We just need to design neighborhoods for people, not cars. Big, wide lanes with no obstructions on either side invite people to pick up speed. Intersections with a huge turning radius and slip lanes encourage people to see how much speed they can maintain as they fly through intersections. We're all subject to it when we get behind the wheel. And it's equally well documented that your effective peripheral field shrinks as you go faster, meaning you're less aware of foot traffic around you. Unfortunately we've spent the last 50 years building streets that were completely optimized for driving speeds. It's going to take a while to unwind, but the sooner we start the better.

 

 

Excellent. Good traffic engineering commentary with the basic human factors science that is taught early on.  :tw_thumbsup:

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13 minutes ago, 12Mouth said:

The most effective cheap solution (which Nashville would never go for) is to do what Berkeley does and stop all residential streets every two blocks. Bikes and emergency vehicles can get through, but everyone else is pushed onto a collector. The result is only hyper local residential street traffic.

I'm having a hard time picturing this, can you say where some examples are?

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I believe what that means is the streets were laid out in a grid to begin with and now every other street is cut off (to cars) from the cross street.  Of course, Nashville have very little street grid; and too many streets in neighborhoods (with cul-de-sacs etc.) that don't connect to thoroughfares as it is. 

Edited by MLBrumby

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8 minutes ago, MLBrumby said:

I believe what that means is the streets were laid out in a grid to begin with and now every other street is cut off (to cars) from the cross street.  Of course, Nashville have very little street grid; and too many streets in neighborhoods (with cul-de-sacs etc.) that don't connect to thoroughfares as it is. 

Kind of, but you are actually forced onto the cross street and cannot continue on the street you were on. Maybe that is what you were describing. Makes cutting through so ineffective that everyone stays on the arterial and collector streets.

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If that's the tactic then East Nashville has that down on lock already.  Just look at Google Maps for a minute and look at all the cross streets and connector streets that just stop.

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Some examples of through-traffic diversions existing in Nashville:

Hawkins and Sigler Streets through Tony Rose Park near Music Row:

Capers Avenue north of Hillsboro Village near Vanderbilt:

 

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Yes...cool. Those are the expensive versions, but I forgot Nashville did that at some point. I’m just suggesting some cheap concrete bollards with one in the middle short enough to allow emergency vehicles to pass over.

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Nashville did that as part of urban renewal in the 60s. Grand Ave is also like that. They wanted to cut off residential access from the developing Music Row, and there is little doubt that some or most of it was race related.  The downside is that it divided those neighborhoods, potentially led to more crime, and even today some of those places feel isolated (especially Sigler and Hawkins since they end in cul de sacs). 

IMO, calming traffic isn’t worth the costs it demands in neighborhood cohesiveness, accessibility and crime.

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4 hours ago, 12Mouth said:

Sorry - I should have clarified and you are absolutely right. Speed humps and narrowing streets (via squeezing in parked cars) seem to be the only effective cheap solutions on residential streets. If we can’t even get sidewalks, we are not getting bulb outs, material changes, etc. on non-collector or arterial streets.

Yeah, I guess I'd make the case that it's still worth advocating for this stuff though, because from what I can tell metro is still only about half devoted to pedestrian-friendly design on *new* infrastructure work. I still see intersections show up in new developments downtown with a giant turning radius, for example, which is just the most basic way to demonstrate that you're more interested in shaving a few seconds off driving times than in building an environment that people want to stroll through. 

And it may be true that we can't fix every over-engineered "stroad" in the immediate future, but it's also true that metro does hundreds of small repair and improvement projects every year, pouring concrete in every neighborhood. If they took advantage of some of the dozens of intersections they rework for ADA compliance, for example, to add bulb outs where appropriate, it would demonstrate that we're getting serious about turning the ocean liner.

They needed to do some repairs and improvements to a high-foot-traffic intersection in my neck of the woods (Eastland & Chapel) last year, and their original proposal was completely depressing. Until @bwithers1 led the charge to motivate some revisions, they were essentially going to waste the whole project without fixing a completely dysfunctional intersection. And I don't think the price tag was even wildly different.

Another example I was just griping about a few weeks ago is the slip lane at 12th and Demunbreun. It's basic knowledge that slip lanes on urban streets are dangerous to pedestrians, and they're being aggressively removed in every city that cares. Are we really going to miss an opportunity to fix this as the entire block is ripped up to build Gulch Union?

I know that, politically, the safe answer in past decades was always to pay lip service to "complete streets" while letting a hundred basic engineering assumptions demonstrate that we don't really believe in any of that. You can see this lingering in the debate about BL2019-1492, which is really a pretty damn timid measure directing Public Works to do an analysis. But I think the scales are turning with so many new residents that care about walkability, and if our council persons, Public Works, and the mayor's office hear enough people passionate about it, we may actually start putting some wood behind those arrows.

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3 hours ago, Hey_Hey said:

Nashville did that as part of urban renewal in the 60s. Grand Ave is also like that. They wanted to cut off residential access from the developing Music Row, and there is little doubt that some or most of it was race related.  The downside is that it divided those neighborhoods, potentially led to more crime, and even today some of those places feel isolated (especially Sigler and Hawkins since they end in cul de sacs). 

IMO, calming traffic isn’t worth the costs it demands in neighborhood cohesiveness, accessibility and crime.

Absolutely agree. The interesting thing is that it seems to have done the opposite in Berkeley, where diversions put more bikes/peds on streets and connected neighbors.

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So you get a scooter form downtown to your house. Then have to park blocks away from you house because there is no "dock" near your house?

Kinda defeats the ENITRE PURPOSE of them...

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Guest

I doubt anyone is surprised by this failure .... yet the money and time wasted for this ‘train to nowhere’ is instructive....

High speed rail fail...

 

During Gov. Gavin Newsom's first State of the State speech Tuesday, he surprised listeners by announcing he would put the quest for high-speed rail connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles championed by his predecessor far on the back burner.

Instead, Newsom offered a consolation prize: high-speed rail between Bakersfield and Merced.

"Let's level about the high-speed rail," Newsom said. "Let's be real, the current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. Right now, there simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were."

ALSO: Gavin Newsom rebuts Trump in 1st State of State

Recent estimates assessed former Gov. Jerry Brown's plan would be cost about $77 billion and be completed in 2033. Newsom then pivoted to his alternate proposal, to instead connect the two Central Valley cities, 160 miles apart.

"Critics are going to say that's a train to nowhere, but I think that's wrong and that's offensive," said the governor.

He laid out a vague vision of the Central Valley's future that included more than just agriculture, citing the need for more investment in the region.

CALIF. POLITICS: Kamala Harris says she's smoked pot and inhaled

"Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield and communities in between are more dynamic than people realize.
The valley may be known around the world for agriculture but there's another story ready to be told.

"Abandoning the high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions and billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises... and lawsuits to show for it," Newsom added, explaining he wouldn't want to send the $3.5 billion in federal money the project has been granted back to the Trump administration.

LATEST: California governor pledges PG&E plan in 60 days

He alluded to a future where the Central Valley high-speed rail system would be connected to greater California, but didn't offer details.

"Let's get something done once and for all," he said.

Edited by Guest

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I question whether you really need high speed rail just between Bakersfield and Merced.  The only rail that would really make sense is between SF & LA or SD & LA.

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10 minutes ago, PaulChinetti said:

How can other countries do high speed rail and we just seem to have the inability to do anything.

Perhaps because you can get from “here to there” fast and for a lower cost by plane.

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30 minutes ago, PaulChinetti said:

How can other countries do high speed rail and we just seem to have the inability to do anything.

I love travelling by rail and have done it many times in other countries.  Honestly though, I think part of the reason long distance train travel hasn't taken off in this country is simply that airplane travel is often either cheaper or quicker in this country than a comparable rail route, and sometimes it's both cheaper and quicker,  at least for trips more than 200 or 300 miles.  If we could find a way to give rail the advantage over air travel on at least one of those variables, whether that is by building high speed rail or something else, I think it would take off and would be amazing to have as an option.  As it is right now though, for example, for me to travel from Chicago to NYC on Amtrak it would take at least 35 HOURS of combined travel time round trip, and cost a around $180 for the cheap seats.  Now that $180 might be cheaper than most airplane tickets I could find, but I'm also having to live in that one seat for the duration of that time, and for that amount of time most people are going to want a cabin, which is SIGNIFICANTLY more money.  Combine that with the fact that you basically have to take an extra two days off from work just to allot for travel time, and it just isn't worth it.  If I find a plane ticket that is within $200 of the cost of a train ticket (and I always can, for CHI-NYC at least) then I'm taking it every single time, because it's absolutely worth the time savings. 

All that being said, having high speed rail as an option in the more densely populated parts of the country such as the northeastern seaboard from Boston to DC where trips are much shorter and demand is much higher, high speed rail seems like an absolute no-brainer and I can't for the life of me understand why it doesn't exist there.  To be able to drop a hundo, skip the lines at the airport, hop on a train in Boston and be in DC in two hours would be huge for that entire region.  

As for the California project specifically, it is unfortunate that it sputtered out after all that money was spent on planning and research, and the estimated cost was becoming rather exorbitant, I think we can all agree.  However, I do applaud California for at least trying to do something to advance and move into the future instead of seemingly being content to just spin their wheels in the mud and consistently be decades behind the rest of the developed world like so many other places.  Their efforts don't always work out, and sometimes those efforts result in misguided legislation, but at least there are efforts!

Edited by BnaBreaker

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oh no someone tried something and failed

lets stay inside, pray about it and never attempt anything ever again

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^ you can stay inside and pray all you want

 

...back here on earth... I see 3.5 billion in federal funds (allocated under false pretenses as everyone knew the pie-in-the sky cost and time-frame projections were laughable) wasted on another high-speed rail delusion

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How many dollars of the military budget are you willing to give back?  Didn't they just spend a couple trillion on a  war ship that they're only going to make three of?  I'm going to lie to you when I say that I "feel safer".

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