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    If you can put some serious media heat on the Chicago yard operations, I suspect Amtrak’s top management would thank you.

    If the investigation makes clear that the Chicago behavior is NOT the same as what’s going on at the other locations, the union members at the other locations will probably be willing to gang up against the Chicago slugs, too.



    Ha! Exactly as I expected. I’ve heard *horrible* things about Amtrak’s Chicago yard operations specifically.

    Apparently Los Angeles, Seattle, and DC are all just fine, and Sunnyside (NY) is mostly OK, but Chicago is awful.



    It’s worth noting that the expressways are a large part of the awfulness in both cases. In Rochester, the “Inner Belt” is strangling the city and needs to be removed entirely. In KC… they don’t need all those expressways either.


    C Monroe

    Reason I voted for Rochester is because someone tried to hard to prove the point with the red outlines in KC. Yes it is horrible, but it would have been more dramatic with a natural picture.



    The Windy City. We call it Naptrak.



    Tragic story similar to those of the destruction of our other cities.


    Mr Michael David

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    Miles Bader

    The area around the Tokyo Dome doesn’t suck… :]

    [It's sandwiched between a famous garden and an amusement park of sorts, and if there's any parking, it's not obvious. The surrounding business area is pretty cool as well, incredibly walkable anyway.]


    Andrew Dawson

    All roads need to be tolled.


    Andrew Dawson

    Teabaggeconomics, deliberately destroy railroads, then say that railroads don’t work! :$


    Andrew Dawson

    Why should some one be obligated to buy a car?



    Big question: *where* did you work for Amtrak? I’ve heard some really bad things about one or two of the locations, whereas I’ve heard good things about most of the other locations. I want to see if your location matches up with what I’ve heard before.



    They’re both awful. KC is arguably worse… but I’m voting for Rochester, because of local bias (Rochester is closer and I’d like them to fix this crap).



    Thanks Jeff that’s a huge complement! JHK is referenced in this video. I wish more folks read / listened to JHK. We’d be so far ahead as a nation.


    Justin Peterson

    Interestingly enough, the number one biggest complaint from the locals here is a lack of parking downtown.


    Ben Alexander

    For the record, that’s Missouri. Downtown on the KS side is also run down, but in a poverty sort of way that isn’t quite as overwhelmingly car-centric.


    Emily Catherine

    I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that many of the buildings around these surface lots are just parking garages–enough that, before I outlined them, you couldn’t tell which was which. Ironically, the Rochester image might have more visual impact because there are actually cars in the image, while Kansas City lots are empty asphalt



    Anybody who reads this blog regularly got the point a long time ago: Many American cities are still wasting their downtowns to surface parking. There are no winners here.


    Kyriacos Stavrinides

    Way to go Gallagher!


    Kyriacos Stavrinides

    If I ever need parking ‘ll know there’s some available in Rochester.



    Good for you FOH! back at ya



    This guy is like a less funny version of James Howard Kunstler.


    Michael Klatsky

    The NEC should be severed and given to the 8 states and D.C. that pooled the resources and funding to hire the FRA to do the NEC Future study.



    This is a tough call.





    Holy crap, check out this thorough documentation (with lots and lots of before and after pictures, including of the tree-lighting festivities) of the destruction of this part of Rochester:


    Oregon Mamacita

    Cars are not the only factor contributing to climate change. For instance, two big dogs can have a carbon footprint similar to a fuel efficient car. Cows, goats and sheep are problematic. Rather than expecting the poor to sacrifice, how about we look at the big picture and start asking everyone to make reasonable sacrifices. Meat may be more expensive, and Great Danes unfeasible. Farming techniques may need to change. What if beer brewing turns out to be a poor use of scare water supplies (brewing uses lots of water). Will we give up our craft beers, or ask someone else to sacrifice?

    It’s time we ended the hyper focus on cars and look at what we really need to do. I suspect that some urbanists will scream about big dogs & a tax on beef- but look at the British research. If you ask the poor to give up cars, the rich better give up beef, big dogs, rice and other things in our lives that may have high carbon footprints.



    From what I can see, Kansas looks worse but Rochester’s story is sadder, so I’ll go with Rochester.



    Here’s a great related satirical video about cargo-bike backup cameras:


    Brian Morrissey



    He is also taking a very narrow view of “the poor” – looking only at the poor in America and ignoring the rest of the world.

    Think about how much Americans’ cars contribute to global warming, and how much damage global warming is doing to the poorest people in the world – such as the people in Bangladesh who are being displaced from their homes by rising sea levels.

    Promoting more automobile use in America clearly harms the world’s poor.


    Andres Dee

    The “beauty” of tying a car voucher to a housing voucher is that in a troubled economy or community, it helps tide over what are often the “key” players; the car dealers, the developers/realtors and the mortgage lenders.



    So what if it’s “negligible”? “NYC and a couple of other places” with transit are among the largest metropolitan economies in the USA, and typically contribute more per-capita too. Transit is valuable to the people who take it, and they contribute to the economy too. That’s still millions of people every day. It’s a safe bet those metro areas are typically relatively low-growth, despite the wealth they generate, because they can’t invest in the transit they need.



    Yeah, I don’t believe a word of what you wrote. FOH!


    ped guy

    While I’m a fan of Klein (and Sadik-Khan), I think it’s time to move beyond this rock star mythology for agency heads. Chicago certainly saw a nice bump under his tenure, but it’s not as if they hadn’t built any bike lines prior. The article just proves that strong grassroots advocacy, experienced and creative agency staff and willing political leadership togher can bring about progress regardless of any one particular person.


    Perry Cole

    They are blaming the pedestrians only to avoid “wasting time in helping the pedestrians. I wonder why?

    They should make the pedestrian crossings or the pathways for the pedestrians to walk on easily instead of blaming them for “dying their own death”.
    Strict actions should also be taken on drivers and others responsible for pedestrians death.

    parking deals


    C Monroe

    Many that work for minimum wage do that now, “I can’t work over 25 yours otherwise the state will cut my help.”


    C Monroe

    But Reagan didn’t enact the law and W didn’t tweak it. So how can the Obama name get labeled on it? If you wonder where I get that from, Ronald Reagan back in the 80′s passed a law that subsidized phones for the poor and elderly, George W Bush tweaked the law to include cell phones, which didn’t come on line until January 2009, When Obama took office.


    Steven Vance

    The 19-United Center Express, 20-Madison, and 50-Damen buses all move pretty slowly before events. The traffic management aides and their employer OEMC often have the good idea of restricting traffic on Madison between Damen and Paulina? to include only buses and taxis. I’ve heard they sometimes exclude pedicabs.


    Larry Littlefield

    Real headline: suspected drunk bicyclist falls off his bicycle and gets a boo boo.

    Reminds me of something told to me by a bartender at Timmy’ Tavern in Kingsbridge, Bronx, 30 or so year ago. When I told him I didn’t want another beer, he asked if I was afraid to drink and walk.


    Khal Spencer

    Attorney Bob Mionske has a scathing indictment of traffic justice in Pennsylvania at his site.



    I worked for Amtrak for over a year and could not take it another minute. They are the laziest bunch or workers you will ever meet, foreman included. They work harder at finding a locomotive to sleep in than doing a half hours worth of work in a day. The union backs up this behavior as well. I am so suprised the trains even run. Here is how they work. The new most intellegent new workers are made to do all the work, while the rest sleep. They do all the work because they don’t have senority yet and don’t want to make waves and either loose their job or get tagged a problem. If everyone actually worked like any other job, they wouldn’t need 70 percent of the lazy garbage they have.
    Seriously, a news station should investigate Amtrak, and I would help out in a heart beat.
    Another government catastophe.



    I don’t get the benefit in metro areas with a taxi system already in place. The potential of technology error simply replaces human error. And we have thousands of people who have lost their means of income.



    Clearly, we, Americans, argue over pennies given to AMTRAK and other ventures that benefit US, citizens, on a daily basis.
    Why not open this conversation by eliminating subsidies to foreign countries that spit on our flags and kill our soldiers? Who am I talking about? PAKISTAN is one country that we give 8 billion dollars a year to who then turn around and fund TELEBAN who kills OUR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN. IF you are going to talk about wasted government funds, bring this into the conversation FIRST.



    I can see it coming now – Obamacar! You need a free car – you got it!



    I guess it’s beside the point raised here, but I see that nowhere is there discussion regarding how you would decide who qualified for a “free” car.

    Sure, every form of government assistance has to have qualifying standards, and this at first glance seems no different. But unlike monetary assistance, which can come in an essentially infinite different quantities depending on need, free cars will not be so. A family would (I presume) receive a single car, which raises issues very different than with other aid. First off, this immediately risks the resentment of that portion of the working population who themselves only have one car yet do not have an income sufficiently low to qualify for a car.

    Now suppose that working family has their only car break down. Car payments, or more likely, the down payment for a car, seem out of reach. But they make, let’s say, $27,000 a year, and the cutoff is $24,000 to qualify for a car. The difference between having a car and not is only $3000. So what if this person goes to their employer and says, Lower my pay $250 a month? And if I do that, I qualify for a car?

    It just looks ugly to me. Far better to simply make mass transit free to all, which is something I’ve advocated for years. Doesn’t help in towns without it, I know, so I’m not claiming to have all the answers. I’m just saying that this article doesn’t even have all of the questions.



    Areas where a substantial share of workers use transit to go work usually have far more reliable public transportation than what is available in most American metros. If you have networks with many frequent services running around, having one tram break down or one bus miss its connection will not mean, as it often does in many US systems, that you are now 2h late.



    I’m not saying zoning is perfect as it is now, especially the hideous practice of outlawing pretty much everything except what ad-hoc committees approve on a case-by-case basis.

    However, there are some detrimental impacts when your house is now surrounded by two high-rises and the privacy of your backyard is now gone as 200 flats have windows that give direct sight to your small deck and swimming pool.


    Andres Dee

    If you look at how cities were built up to 100 years ago, you’d notice that they were built for people getting around locally on foot, using horses for longer distances or heavier loads, or if you could afford the upkeep.



    I know. You know there are whole groups of people that blame global warming on animals! Ever see those crazy 1800′s traffic jam pictures where it was all horses and buggies? No matter wher you look, there is blame to be had!