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The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread


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24 minutes ago, PillowTalk4 said:

You guys really think flying cars are around the corner?  Maybe the technology of it (though I doubt it). 

I certainly don't think so. But, I would like some flexibility built into the front-end of the plan. Just in case something better (and cheaper) becomes viable. I'd like the powers that be to integrate that possibility into the plan - and communicate that clearly to the public. Ya never know what's around the corner....

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1 hour ago, PillowTalk4 said:

You guys really think flying cars are around the corner? 

There are many who are experimenting with hover-type transport...and some who believe they are close to having usable prototypes.  Even Uber has talked about using "flying cars" in the near future.

Now...do I think consumer models for everyone to buy and use as they see fit is coming soon?  No.  FAA will have to catch up to the technology.  However...I do believe GPS controlled mass-transit hovercraft (similar to large propeller driven drones) could work flying an exact route just above the treetops...and I do believe this is coming within the next couple of decades.  There will be a lot of growing pains...and many will be skeptical...but it's really not much different than helicopters.

Think about it.  You basically would have landing pads with a landing port for people to gather.  Since they're GPS controlled, they would land and leave at specified times, pick up maybe 20-30 people at a time and take off.  Few minutes later, another would land.  A trip from downtown to M'Boro would take less than 10  minutes or so.

Again...single-use consumer models are another story.

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1 hour ago, Pdt2f said:

Does the density of Charlotte between 440 and White Bridge warrant a light rail? It's mostly single family homes, with a few apartment complexes scattered in around 40th-46th avenues. Traffic issues in that stretch aren't too bad, and it's kind of built up so there's not much stock behind wanting to spur additional development. The lack of high density, the lack of developable space, the lack of office space that commuters are trying to reach, the lack of bad traffic issues, and the relative lack of large numbers of lower income residents who need access to public transit makes it kind of unnecessary to me to add rail just for symmetry or whatever. 

There seems to be a fair number of used car lots, light industrial, older retail, and other underdeveloped lots ripe for redevelopment along  and near the Charlotte corridor to my eye. Personally, I would like to see that entire shopping center at Morrow Road redeveloped at some point.  I also think that traffic situation can be problematic particularly when there's an accident or construction along I-40.  

That said, I understand if the current density and bus ridership make the corridor a less attractive option than the proposed longer lines in other corridors. I simply would like to see it compared to the density, single-family homes, etc. in other areas so I have a better understanding of why the area will be underserved in this plan.

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1 hour ago, Flatrock said:

I certainly don't think so. But, I would like some flexibility built into the front-end of the plan. Just in case something better (and cheaper) becomes viable. I'd like the powers that be to integrate that possibility into the plan - and communicate that clearly to the public. Ya never know what's around the corner....

I agree 100% that the next decades in transportation are going to be a wild ride (get it?), and a necessary component of any long term plan is to maintain flexibility in the face of the various technologies that are percolating. Fortunately the vote in May isn't going to somehow lock us into spending money on stupid projects long after technology has solved all of the problems. The vote is to marginally increase several taxes in order to secure $110 million/year (rising to $200 million in 2023) of dedicated funding for transit in Nashville. Our budget for FY2018 is $2.2 billion, this isn't some extravagant overcommitment.

As to what those technologies might bring us, I'm excited to find out, if only because most all of them sound like they would drastically decrease our need for parking lots. Parking lots are a giant buzzkill for walkability, whether it's big surface lots that space everything out too much, or multi-story structured parking that drives up the cost of urban development. Anything that lessens our dependency on them will be a huge win, and will drastically improve the cheapest mass transit of all, walking.

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36 minutes ago, ariesjow said:

There seems to be a fair number of used car lots, light industrial, older retail, and other underdeveloped lots ripe for redevelopment along  and near the Charlotte corridor to my eye. Personally, I would like to see that entire shopping center at Morrow Road redeveloped at some point.  I also think that traffic situation can be problematic particularly when there's an accident or construction along I-40.  

That said, I understand if the current density and bus ridership make the corridor a less attractive option than the proposed longer lines in other corridors. I simply would like to see it compared to the density, single-family homes, etc. in other areas so I have a better understanding of why the area will be underserved in this plan.

So I guess the question is, does the - current density + capacity for further development + need of more service + use of current service - merit the expense of light rail, or does it merit BRT, Rapid Bus, or just the current local/express service. As far as rail, I think the response I would have is: not yet, but maybe one day. The other options are definitely on the table, as that area seems to have a lot of room to expand the roadway to offer dedicated bus lanes (which can eventually be converted to rail lines, if and when needed). 

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12 hours ago, Flatrock said:

I reckon you and I may not always be on the same page re: transit....yet I really enjoy your perspectives and this point resonates big time.  IF transit technology/methodology experiences a sea change with autonomous vehicles or other disrupter - we need to keep our options open. This plan is going to take a long time to materialize. A long time before detailed plans are completed, eminent domain /rights of ways nailed down, dirt is moved, trains purchased, track laid, etc.  Could we, as a city, have the flexibility to pivot if needed? Walking away after spending $1b is far better than spending $6b needlessly. If this plan proceeds, I don't think that'll happen, but I always like a plan B....and C. :)

There's a number of issues that bother me with this. I'll point out a couple: A big one is that this Mayor is a spendthrift and doesn't care about costs and saddling us with debt for the long term (well, frankly every Mayor in my lifetime except Beverly Briley has been a fiscal profligate, but they've each gotten progressively worse in that regard). I think of the similar "Big Dig" fiasco in Boston, where costs spiraled far out of control.

I also cannot support jacking up our already way too high sales tax rate. It needs to be lowered, not increased. From a "progressive" Mayor who supposedly cares for the poor, that squarely hits them in the pocketbook.

I also do not believe we are remotely near the point of population density to go in a light rail direction, and these comparisons to NYC or Europe or Asian cities doesn't equate. Even with lousy traffic, you're not going to force enough people to change their habits to abandon their vehicles, because it still remains the most convenient option for them.

Frankly, I'd rather private enterprise pursue issues of mass transit as they did in the past, as there would at least be fiscal accountability.

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3 hours ago, AronG said:

It's funny how, after 70 years of trying to rip up everything to make it more car-friendly, we're really just discovering that they had it right back at the beginning. Somebody tweeted this map from http://nashvillehistory.blogspot.com/2015/03/street-railways-in-nashville.html, that site is full of amazing stuff. Oh to have this street grid back, before it was sliced and diced by interstates & superhighways .

txu-oclc-6445490-electric_railway-nashvi

 

Was this company privately owned or was it subsidized by the city? I remember reading somewhere that the private transit companies before MTA actually made a profit. I guess my limited knowledge point would be that all this vs being equal the free market enterprise system will always find a way to supply a desired need. Let some venture capitalist sink their own money into this project and I know it will work more effectively and have profitability over anything a government ran program will do. Thank you for listening to me.

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A big issue that forces a lot of people I know to live far from where they work is the cost of housing. And it's something that we need to fix if we want our economy to remain healthy. There's a good article this morning in the NBJ about how people when they get into their 30s are starting to move (when they transition into family mode). They can't find affordable housing for their families, traffic drives them crazy, and they decide it's just best to go elsewhere. And Nashville loses talent/part of it's community with every family that leaves.

 

All that to say it seems the Murfreesboro/Nolensville light rail lines have lots of underdeveloped land along the routes. Could that land be intelligently designed to provide a LARGE amounts of future housing for our workforce?  

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