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    This one is particularly lunatic, given that there’s still a civil rights lawsuit alleging that the Zoo Interchange plan is discriminatory and violates federal law. (And I tend to believe them; they’ve piled up a mass of evidence of actual animus from the people pushing the Zoo Interchange plan at WisDOT.)



    Bus lanes can be implemented overnight with a few cans of road paint.

    The fact that this is not generally done overnight has to do with a giant set of bureaucratic regulations designed to favor cars. It is, in physical reality, simple. It’s the politics which are not simple.



    If your streets are a sane width, 5 seconds per lane is 10 seconds (two lane street with bulbouts at intersections), 20 sections (two lane street with parking on each side), or maybe 30 seconds (overbuilt boulevard with two moving lanes in each direction and parking on each side). Hell, allow 10 seconds per lane and you’re still only up to 60 seconds.



    Wow. This is deplorable.



    I think the overall cost of the Zoo Interchange is understated, as part of the project includes the accusation and demolition of exciting developed land which will erode the local tax base for the entire life of the project.


    Baloo Uriza

    While there’s clearly some problems with the current system, that would royally hose me. I make $11/hour and 26¢/mi, covering a largely rural midwestern territory roughly the size of Massachusetts. I’m just clawing my way back into a career after years of sporadic employment and long term unemployment in Oregon. Your idea would rip self-sufficiency right out of the deathgrip I have on it right now.



    Information was gathered, but concerns were ignored by the past administration.
    I listened yesterday and few minor changes will make this work for all. Simpson, Young and Seelbach have been ignoring businesses and the West End forever.



    Grist seems to miss the point a lot too:

    For all the hype about gentrification, most rich people remain in
    suburbia, and cities such as D.C. and New York remain poorer than any of
    their surrounding suburban counties.

    Well, duh, their surrounding counties are full of people who moved to them based on class and income. There are shitloads of wealthy people in NYC and DC, and there are shitloads of poor people. Poor people could never live in idyllic suburbia, and weren’t welcome anyway, which is why poor people stayed behind in cities when they went to hell. Now the middle class is being priced/incentivized out. Suburbia is attracting poorer people now that wealthier people are abandoning it. They get the scraps. Either way, the whole income spectrum is covered is covered in healthier cities. At least poorer cities have a robust building and infrastructure stock to build from. Do suburbs?

    That said, glad I wasn’t the only one who got the point about transportation. But why did they bury it halfway down the article?


    Paul Haebig

    Surprised how many of these airports are in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Would much rather see bus service to these places, would never consider flying to them.


    Aaron Priven

    Many of the hot cities weren’t settled significantly until air conditioning, which coincidentally came at roughly the same time as suburbanization.



    This is a bad graph. It should plot the disease in on axis, the % of population walking on other.

    I don’t think it was done with ill-intent, but from a statistician point of view, presenting graphs as in the article is a poor choice, if you want to argue anything about the model fitness.



    58,000/yr according to this study from tailpipe emissions in the US alone.


    Erik Griswold

    I think I, and others, got this fixed now, but for a while, the official State of California database on traffic fatalities showed the death toll at the 2003 Santa Monica Farmers’ Market mass slaughter as being just one, because only one person had been on an “open” piece of asphalt when the elderly driver fled from a fender-bender and into the crowds.



    Sorry Alan, I should have made it clearer that I was joking.



    “belief” is faith.



    Pure Fear Mongering;

    32 years of needless CO2 panic can only be judged as a war crime in the history books.

    Celebrate our success not our fears on this Earth Day for we have achieved the laws, protections and standards that have enhanced the environment since we defeated the smoggy 70’s when a river caught fire in Ohio. So celebrate. Xmas bird counts have risen every year since Rachel Carson days a half century ago. So celebrate. Most of the US and Canada has not had one single smog “warning day” in almost 10 years. So celebrate.

    *Alerts, watches and advisories and “be kind to the air days” are not measurements of smog; just predictions of a possible smog day warning being issued within the next 36 hours.

    Polar Bears were indigenous to as far south as Minnesota upon settlement but called the Yellow Bear because it retained its summer coat longer but still the same bear and yes you were lied to about Polar Bears dying. But celebrate anyways. If Human CO2 was burning up the planet they would have been 100% certain not 95% certain for 32 years. So celebrate and love and respect our planet not fear for it.


    Tanya Snyder

    You’re welcome to submit photos that weren’t taken where you live.


    Joe B

    I’ve got some awesome pictures of me riding in the rain (with Ortliebs!) in Tahoe. Too bad that’s not where I live. Might submit them anyways.



    Sounds like you’re discriminating against Californians in Tahoe and Arcata.


    Dave Weckl

    Nice picture of a guy jaywalking and a bus getting ready to run him over. Not sure you could have picked a more ridiculous photo.


    Dave Weckl

    Umm…that data is only for federal money. What about telling the complete story with state funds and local (e.g., county and city) funds? Technically, that data shows how states are spending federal money.


    Chris McCahill

    That wasn’t actually one of our selection criteria, just my own observation. It would affect the outcomes, but wouldn’t necessarily be problematic. Our goal was to represent the full range of possibilities for US cities (car use was one of our main criteria) and Cambridge was on one far end of that spectrum. That being said, I think Harvard Square revealed a lot more than we might have otherwise uncovered.



    Milwaukee is a great city that is fit for light rail and bus rapid transit in many places. I can’t imagine the kind of LRT and BRT system $6.2 billion could buy for the Milwaukee region. It most certainly could have paid for the enhanced rail service from Madison to Chicago for many, many years.



    Isn’t the fact that you specifically “chose the part that changed the least problematic”? It sounds like that’d have a pretty significant impact on your findings…



    This contest discriminates against Californians. We don’t have weather, we only have a climate :-)

    Kidding aside, this seems like a fun contest.


    Garrett (ctylem)

    Improving stop spacing would be huge in Salt Lake City. Stops along certain routes are spaced horrendously close to each other. You’ll have buses stop twenty times over the span of twenty-one blocks, 99% of the time because of people who are vastly capable of walking forty-five more seconds. The worst part of all this is that every stop takes at best thirty seconds and at worst a couple of minutes (especially along two lane roads) because most drivers here lack the courtesy to let the bus pull back in. The result? A bus that’s eventually ten minutes late. Cutting every other stop would do wonders in fixing that. Otherwise, it means buses that get really popular take eons to get anywhere because they’re spending more of their time stopping for passengers than going.


    C Monroe

    Actually I think it is the paying part is the cause for most delays. You will always get those idiots who are waiting at the bus stop, talking on the cell, wait to pay, then they start searching for their fare, digging in their pockets.


    C Monroe

    Many states have a five second per lane crossing signal ordinance. If you shorten the signal cycle, how will grandma who has severe arthritis be able to cross the road before the cross traffic starts to move?


    C Monroe

    The main reason ‘rear view’ cameras will be mandatory on new cars in a few years.


    Jym Dyer

    ? Excellent coverage.

    It has been estimated that the deaths from tailpipe pollution is about the same as that from collisions. In addition, the World Health Organization has estimated that the emissions from manufacturing cars is about the same as the emissions from the cars, so I tend to triple the numbers when I read the collision stats.



    Many major intersections utilize 90 second signal cycles. If you reduce to 60, you only impact vehicular traffic by approximately 5 or 6 cars per hour however a bus can get back into the green band much easier after servicing stops. It takes a bit of work for signal crews to redo the math but can really help


    Shaun Jacobsen

    WI also built an entire new bypass near my hometown a few years ago. About the same cost. If you drive on it it’s nearly empty. It was built to bypass the downtown (and it’s freight rail tracks) but it really only saves a few minutes, and is why my family regularly drives through the old downtown anyway. Complete waste of money — WI has many more projects like this and it comes at the expense of improvements we could have had to rail service (KRM!)



    Thank you.


    Streetsblog Network




    Thanks Peyton for posting this. In terms of far side stops, transit agencies have tested the benefits. Sometimes the bus gets caught near side of a signal and then has to stop again. But in general there’s less delay using the far side stop. It’s particularly effective in combination with item 3–transit signal priority–to get the bus through the signal. These all work individually, but a lot of them work better in combination.


    Big Al

    That’s WI Highway 164, not 165.



    I also worked for Amtrak, but lasted even less than a year. My “problem” was that I refused to falsify reports. I was not going to do that and that made me a problem for some of my co-workers. There was nothing more to discuss about it, so I left the job but retained my integrity. It is sad that there are people who would work for Amtrak and try to make it a better company, but I suspect are often deterred from working there because of a culture of corruption. When I left, I was put down as re-hireable, but I don’t believe that I could ever trust the company enough to go back with them. I really wanted to do what I could do to help the company become better.


    Alex Benn

    I’m all for biking and walking advocacy, but we need to be careful to back it up with robust models. These data should be put on a scatterplot if we want to show a linear correlation, rather than just putting a sorted list of states on the x-axis. The trendline and R^2 values here don’t mean anything, as presented.


    C Monroe

    Also the bus might be stuck at a red light multiple cars away from the stop. It then waits for the green, proceeds to the stop, loads passengers, then the light turns red again. And waits again. My city of Grand Rapids has as a majority of these types of stops, makes no sense.



    I think removing stops would be the biggest improvement actually. Paying before boarding becomes really important when you have very long vehicles, articulated buses and more. That way, you can have boarding from many doors at the same time. However, if you simply have regular buses, paying before boarding is not all that useful. It can shave off one second or two per passenger. But getting rid of a stop saves the bus at least 15 seconds, plus it removes the need to slow down the bus to stick to the schedule when you pass empty stops.

    So if a regular bus that stops at 20 stops on its route and picks up 60 passengers would save 60 seconds by adopting pre-boarding payment, but 150 seconds by removing half its stops.



    The fact is if there were stricter laws to deal with drunk driving, pedophiles and murderers, our roads would be a safe place for kids to ride their bikes and walk to school. I walked to school at six years old, but I would not let my children do it.



    Here (NYC) too, I think, but probably that is completely ignored.

    The near side of a light could be difficult for fairly benign reasons though because drivers aren’t always sure when they can pass through the light, or when the bus will leave its stop. Having the stop on the far side eliminates that ambiguity, and means the driver who blocks a bus is always at fault!



    Ah, I see. Here in Montreal buses have the right of way when pulling out — even though other drivers of course don’t always respect that.


    Scott Sanderson

    Chicago buses would really benefit from #1. I recently took a ride on Ashland Ave, and the bus made 22 stops in 23 minutes. I think half of them could be removed.



    I think the pre-board pay is far the biggest improvement.

    Cities like minneapolis encourage this. With a pre-pay card you put money on the card. (keep the card for life)



    What @valar84:disqus said.

    Also, improving bus service does mean faster trip times, reduced fuel use, and even labor savings if a bus whole round trip can be made faster. Capital intensive isn’t always bad.



    5 can be capital-intensive, you’re right.

    6 can be considered capital-intensive… except that most agencies change their buses every 10-15 years anyway, so they’re likely alway buying new buses. They just have to make sure that they’re proper models and not the usual high-floor models.

    8 is not capital intensive. You don’t need to build new roads from scratch, it’s just a bit of paint on the pavement, it can be done in one night. The biggest problem is opposition from car drivers.



    I fail to see how number 5, 6, and 8 could be considered “simple ways to speed up your city’s buses”. These are all capital intensive solutions with long lead-times.



    They work in airports, but I’m not so sure how well they’d work with the general public.

    I like the idea of a person on a train who keeps it safe, clean and free of graffiti.

    …I actually would like to see operators taking a little more responsibility for the last 2 items… at least in San Francisco.



    I agree, I don’t think it makes sense to have people walking through the train taking tickets, though I’m sure it is old-tymey, 19th century hipster fun…

    I’m just saying I still think it’s important to have at least one person on a train who has the ability to communicate with the people controlling the electricity and the switching, etc, etc.

    … and this discussion has centered on trains, which get most people halfway to their destination. Eliminating drivers from busses is much farther into the future, I would think.