Socialism!

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Lyle
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Ohiojeff
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Of course, if all 562 spots in the Park and Ride are full, that’s 562 fewer cars on the road in the center of town. Frankly, I think our region could use more of them. They don’t have to be free though, especially with the Smart Cards coming to PAT. I parked my car at the Shady Grove METRO station in Washington DC once and upon exiting had to back out of one lane to find the one that would take a credit card. Most of them were only able to accept a Metrocard for payment.


Ohiojeff
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And let me add it would be awesome if someone realized charging a dollar or two at most for a Park and Ride space and dedicating that income to maintenance–even to having Bike parking facilities–at the lot instead of viewing it as a source of income to be tapped for other municipal purposes is the way to go. $1 or $2 to park? Good Deal. $5 plus the bus fare? Lots of empty spaces.


Mick
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A quick guess at the costs of each parking place, based on information in that article, was about $4-$5 per working day.


Ohiojeff
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That particular facility may not have been well planned or executed, but I still think the concept of intercepting cars after a shorter drive from their home is a good thing. Fewer hydrocarbons and fewer cars crowding bikes on the road. I guess I wouldn’t mind if some of my tax dollars are spent on park n rides.. good heavens.. maybe I’m a socialist? Egad!


edmonds59
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I love my west busway routes, apparently everyone else does too, the park-&-ride lots all the way in fill up by about 7:15 am. I’m motivated to use transit, so I find a way. But for most suburbians, I would guess a filled park-&-ride equals “fk it, I’ll just drive in…”.


Mick
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Fact: State owned roads are socialist.


StuInMcCandless
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Keep your ears to the ground, listening for drumbeats relative to Port Authority’s parking garage at its South Hills Village “T” station. They do charge to park there. It is rarely full, as I understand it.

PAT owns comparatively little P&R space. Usually it’s a PennDOT lot (like the I-279/Ross/Perrysville) or it’s a church or some other private property (dozens of examples).

To the purist, P&Rs are bad, in that they encourage sprawl development and use of cars. To the realist, as mentioned above, they keep cars out of Downtown and encourage transit use.

@edmonds59, what you said is why I’ve been calling for increased bike parking at P&R lots.


rsprake
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I used the Hamnet Station park and ride last week and will most likely use it again. If the EBA had bike racks, or the station had secure bike parking I would almost never drive but that’s not an option right now.


Lyle
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Fact: socialism is defined as state ownership of the means of production.

What is interesting about the argument is the implication that the middle class are more heavily subsidized than the lower class. Not that this is news.

Also interesting to consider that the city is not collecting parking tax revenue from those 562 cars in the park-n-ride.

I’ve always been boggled that parking fees and transit fares aren’t tied to the “Ozone Action Day” declarations. Maybe busses don’t actually reduce ground-level ozone.


Kordite
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A full bus means 100 cars not on the road. Even a crappy, polluting bus is going to do better ozone-wise than 100 cars.


Lyle
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… if it’s full.


Kordite
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I’ve seen numbers of about 4 to 1, that is a bus produces as much pollution as 4 cars. So, get more then 4 people on a bus and you’ve got a net gain. Sure, a full bus is better but it doesn’t take that many to start making a significant difference.


StuInMcCandless
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The last reliable numbers I had from Port Authority were from the buses they retired about four years ago. They got about 4 mpg. So, Kordite’s figures are accurate enough. PAT prefers that its routes maintain at least 18 passengers per vehicle-hour.


Lyle
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Stu, do those vehicle-hours include the empty/return to garage hours?

I am thinking that the diesel busses probably produce far less ground-level ozone (and far more fine particulates) than automobiles, per gallon of fuel. As I understand it, the ozone is a byproduct of the catalytic converters’ production of NOx and SOx.


StuInMcCandless
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Yes, on-road and off-road trips are counted in there. One of my fellow transit geeks has done some in-depth calculations on their (now-being-replaced) routes. PM me if you’re really interested.

I think the bottom line for us is, the more that buses get used, the less traffic we cyclists have to deal with. The more actual buses that are out there, the more racks are rolling down the street that we can use.

And if that be socialism, then I’m all for it, because “privatism” (is that a word?) means more personal autos, more pollution, more traffic, more oil imports, and more governmental spending on strictly highways.

Afterthought: Coincident with more bike racks on buses, more bus engines are being fitted to be “clean diesel”. Some are retro-fits, as with racks on existing buses.


azbikelaw
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a couple of notes about capacity, and efficiency —

these are not the urban transit buses you might be thinking of. Here (maybe everywhere?) this is called “Bus Rapid Transit”.

They are set up more like “motor coach” bus, capacity is probably 50 seats. not sure about standing, I’m sure some do but not many will, because there are no short trips, as it is express only.

The route is strictly one-way (inbound in the morning 5a-8a. outbound in the afternoon 3p-6p).

I completely agree that i’d rather see 50 people on a bus rather than 50 SOV’s (single occupant vehicle)… BUT … routes like these are probably best seen or understood as sprawl-enablers.

This park-and-ride lot is located in the suburb where i live; (enabling some here to commute downtown), the reason for the expansion is a huge influx of commuters who drive in from new exurbs, and park there to then make the last leg downtown. (enabling ever-more exurbs). plus the aforementioned multi $millions in existing plus new parking.

Because it only operates one-way, it’s efficiency in terms of energy is in the BEST CASE cut in two.

These buses are relatively-speaking quite luxurious, and appear expensive (though I can’t find any $’s for the vehicles themselves). In any event we have, just for this one route, perhaps 4 of these vehicles, making a total of 16 round-trips per day (that is at best maybe 800 people per day).

Meanwhile our local bus service withers.

And the downtown this route serves, although arguably improving, is moribund. (lots of commute in-out, not much lingering).

And (sorry about the diatribe) my main point is that by hiding costs in things like car-parking lots inevitably leads to more car use.

See more “externalities”


ieverhart
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@azbikelaw – Looks like you’re already familiar with Donald Shoup’s discussions of “free” parking. (Summary: it’s not free–when there’s no additional charge, it’s factored into higher prices for everything else–higher rent for your office or apartment, higher prices for shoes or bananas than it would be, and skews mode choice towards automotive transit.) I really enjoyed reading Shoup’s book “The High Cost of Free Parking.” I didn’t necessarily expect a 700-page book on parking policy to be a good read, but it was.


Mick
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these are not the urban transit buses you might be thinking of. Here (maybe everywhere?) this is called “Bus Rapid Transit”.

I’ve notice, over the decades, a great willingness to improve public transportation that will only aid car owners, with less willingness to serve others.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Someone wrote a book about why the South Hills have the T and the East End does not.

This Park-and-Ride/Express bus sounds like one of them. Imagine the frustration if you had a daytime job out there near the park and ride “There is a bus that goes exactly where I need to go- but they won’t let me ride it.”

Mick


StuInMcCandless
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The last couple of posts have a couple of pieces to them, and a proper response would take pages. Let’s see if I can summarize:

a) We already have 40 of those big buses azbikelaw refers to, our 1900s. Many run West Busway trips like the 33X and 100, but many more run expresses from suburban park & rides. They’re a delight to ride on — reading lights, personal ventilation, arm rests. Huge: 57 seats, 18 standees.

b) While the 100/33X (soon to be G1-G2) are busy both ways, some of the suburban runs are only lightly used two-way. I used the HP and 28M outbound-a.m. inbound-p.m. for years. Underused, yes, but don’t knock them. They’re what got me out of my car.

c) Some are poor uses of time, and are getting cut. The 33F McDonald trip is going bye-bye. (I wish the 13K would do likewise, but that’s a personal grudge. Its biggest clientele is Cranberry Twp residents, whose state rep is Daryl Metcalfe, a noted transit opponent.)

d) Yes, I agree, park & rides in outer areas are sprawl enablers. OTOH, I would rather see more P&Rs in inner areas already built up.

But the Bus Rapid Transit idea is a good one, one we’re already using in the three busways and HOV lane. The new thing is the Rapid Bus idea, express versions of the 71A and other heavily traveled East End routes. I like the idea and hope it catches on.

I can’t talk about all this transit stuff without putting a plug in for membership on the Allegheny County Transit Council, of which I am VP. Getting into the meat of improving the system, as opposed to merely griping about it, is what ACTC is all about.


Swalfoort
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@rsprake — We are working with the Port Authority to try to convince them that they need more bike racks at busway stations. But, it is a circular argument — they put in one lonely rack, get no users, and claim there is no demand. Watch for a follow up thread on this subject……

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