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Old October 7th, 2008, 01:35 PM   #3021
ddki39
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I just glanced at both presidential websites and McCain does not mention transportation while Obama seems to have a plan as far as congestion management is concerned. Obama's approach seems to be to fix what we have (bridges, highways, railroads, etc...) and invest in more mass transit for cities and also more investment in high-speed rail networks while also improve river transportation and port security.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 05:17 PM   #3022
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Well, it's time to get the Mass Transit fine. A month or two ago I was in an Atlanta suburb, and the only way to get to Atlanta is by car. In Atlanta there is a mass-transit system (MARTA), but it only runs to the border of the city, and then it stops. Same situation in Dayton and Cincinnati. The two cities are 50-60 miles apart, and both are quite big. The Interstate between them (I-75) is often congested. Still, people prefer to drive, or even worse, to fly. Since I had a horrible ticket, I was 'forced' to take a Delta flight between Cincinnati and Dayton, and I was shocked when I saw that the plane was completely full with people who went shopping or to work. I don't know if there is a train or sth, but regarding the fact that everyone drives or flies, I don't think so. So that's the main problem: the US relies too much on cars and planes.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 05:27 PM   #3023
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Thats a pretty good summary.
The US has unfortunately invested it's wealth in a living arrangement which has no future in the 21st century
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Old October 7th, 2008, 05:38 PM   #3024
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Well, the big problem is that they relied on the low oil prices. Lots of Americans thought they would stay low forever. Now it turns out to be wrong, and here you are. Now they wish they had a good mass-transit system.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 05:42 PM   #3025
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Thats a pretty good summary.
The US has unfortunately invested it's wealth in a living arrangement which has no future in the 21st century
Keep in mind, that the early part of our car-centric growth(post WWII until about 1975-1980) was primarily driven on whites wanting to get away from the cities and essentially leave the poor blacks to fend for themselves(or "white flight" as we call it). Granted Europe has a similar situation with suburbs that are ghettoized but those places were built from the ground up with immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Both situations were pretty damn sorry, and in this day and age you're finally starting to see the racial boundaries going down in big ways(both in the Americas and Europe). Abandonment begets Poverty, which in turn begets Violence and lack of education/transferrable skills.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 05:58 PM   #3026
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Not really.
It was more a flight from 19th / early 20th century industrial city living. Most blacks lived in rural areas when the first waves headed for the suburbs. The 1950's and 60's saw a massive influx of African Americans to the cities who as lower end income earners filled up the void created by the departed working and middle classes in the central areas. Unfortunately the whole suburban experiment is based on a steady supply of cheap fossil fuel. That age is drawing to a close which poses the question as to what is going to happen to the 50+% of Americans who live in the outer suburbs of cities. We are seeing ''energy poverty'' increasing as the lower incomes are now seeing up to 40% of their income go up in energy costs. It won't be long before we see the middle class hamoraging their earnings into just getting to work. A similar situation exists in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand where car use is endemic.
Europe has it's racially based neighbourhoods too and there was an exodus of the middle classes to new suburbs from the late 70's (somewhat later than the afore mentioned countries). But these suburbs are by and large compact and situated relatively close to urban centres. Because of their compact nature they are also well served by PT. Sprawl hasn't occured in Europe like in the more car centric countries. Even SUV driving Europeans will have easy access to alternative transport when driving becomes too expensive. The same can't be said for most Americans.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 08:58 PM   #3027
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I like the Portland urban growth model. It's called smart growth I believe. Concentrating population along light rail lines instead of endless suburbia where public transport never stands a chance.

I think the problem with urban growth in the US was that everyone could affort a suburban house on a nice lot. You nearly have to be a millionaire to own the average house in say, a Dallas suburb in Europe. I mean, what's wrong with decent rowhouses?

I think the westcoast suburbia of even LA is a hell lot better than the nearly rural area's around the large cities on the eastcoast. Did you know the Netherlands and Flanders is even more densely populated on average than Atlanta metro?

However, I don't see the Paris suburbia (sea of rundown flats) or commieblocks as a great way to live. I think it's somewhere in between, more mixed neighborhoods than homogenous suburbs. They try to create that model in the Netherlands.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 09:34 PM   #3028
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Atlanta is probably the most extreme example how NOT to create an urban area, in terms of infrastructure and urbanetics. I guess the living quality is very high here though. I wouldn't mind living there, but commuting, no thanks.

Everything within this picture is an urbanized area. It becomes worse, because there's 20 miles of urbanized area south of this picture (the pic is taken looking north).
[IMG]http://i34.************/j8gvtf.jpg[/IMG]

Another picture. Nearly everything in this picture is semi-rural, urbanized area within the Atlanta metropolitan area. As far as my eyes can see..
image hosted on flickr
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:06 PM   #3029
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Well, I've been in some of Atlanta suburbs and most people there don't mind driving big distances to get to work. There is a very high living standard over there. So big houses, pools, big gardens, etc. This is also because in the suburbs where I've been, lots of pilotes are living. I remember when I was there five years ago, I saw lots of houses for sale, because Delta fired lots of pilots to cut costs. But yes, the suburbs run as far as you can see, which is not a good thing
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:16 PM   #3030
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There's also not a line between where Atlanta ends, and rural areas begin.

For instance, the most eastern urbanized area is over 50km/30 miles away from downtown. The northernmost suburbs are about 55 km / 35 miles away from downtown.

And that for an urbanized area of about 5 million inhabitants. You can fit those easily on an area that's 11 times smaller. (100x100km vs 30x30km), without the place getting that crowded.

However, this is how the cards are dealt. Bad decisions from the past in urbanized areas can hardly be undone without huge investments. It would mean the relocation of millions of people. But we can learn from the mistakes from the past, restricting new urban development to stricter rules about a minimal density.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #3031
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I like the Portland urban growth model. It's called smart growth I believe. Concentrating population along light rail lines instead of endless suburbia where public transport never stands a chance.
Yeah, Portland relies more heavily on light rail than other West Coast cities. Seattle is catching up too with its metro system.

Quote:
I think the westcoast suburbia of even LA is a hell lot better than the nearly rural area's around the large cities on the eastcoast. Did you know the Netherlands and Flanders is even more densely populated on average than Atlanta metro?
I can't really compare East coast suburbs with those of West coast, but I can
tell you from my experience (6 years living in Sacramento suburbia) that without a car you cannot do anything there. It gets even so extreme that you cannot access some neighbourhoods other than by car. Where I lived, the closest grocery store was 3 kms away. With car, you need about 5 minutes to get there, and all may seem well. Now, imagine that for whatever reason (other than financial difficulties) petrol becomes unavailable for an extended period of time. People would be screwed. Even if you walk for half-hour to get to the store, you can't possibly buy more than 5-6 kg of groceries and other needed stuff. Of course, it is an extreme example, but it may happen one day due to a natural disaster.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #3032
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Well, I have to admit I do grocery shopping too with my car, and so do a lot of people from my neighborhood. I'm living in a 4-person household, so I need to buy a lot of stuff at the same time, which I cannot carry with my bike.

However, I see them make stupid policy decision in the Netherlands, like restricting bikes from the shopping streets so you have to carry your stuff all the way to your bike. People switch back to cars for shopping that way, which is not really a good thing.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:32 PM   #3033
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Well, when you have to buy lots of stuff, it's not very inviting to go by bike. I use my bike a lot for school/work/shopping, and if I don't, I use the train or bus. However, I'm only 16, so I don't have my drivers licence yet. I think I do 160 kms by bike per week in a normal week.
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Old October 7th, 2008, 11:08 PM   #3034
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New section of (future) interstate opens

Running about 12 km from Lindley, NY to Tioga, PA, a new four lane section of US 15 (future I-99) opened on Wednesday, 2008-10-01.

See:
http://www.the-leader.com/homepage/x556002023



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Old October 7th, 2008, 11:17 PM   #3035
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That closes the last 2-lane gap between Williamsport and the New York State border. Just north of Williamsport, there's still a section missing at freeway standards. Any plans to improve the US 15 between Williamsport and Harrisburg? It's a four-lane highway all the way right now.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 12:24 AM   #3036
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
That closes the last 2-lane gap between Williamsport and the New York State border. Just north of Williamsport, there's still a section missing at freeway standards. Any plans to improve the US 15 between Williamsport and Harrisburg? It's a four-lane highway all the way right now.
IIRC there was a study underway for a freeway running from Selinsgrove to the end of the PA 147 freeway, but, weirdly, I don't find anything about it or any other studies on PennDOT's website, which is where I would've read about it.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 12:36 AM   #3037
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Atlanta sprawl may have high standards of living, but I bet its very boring for many people and ugly as well(strip malls and big box chain stores all over the place as examples).
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Old October 8th, 2008, 03:57 AM   #3038
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I-85 and friends,
Lawrenceville GA to Cary NC

Part 3, near Greenville SC

part 1 (page 36)
part 2 (page 40)


I forgot to mention--maybe you figured it out: on the previous 2x3 section of I-85, the pavement was completely replaced (that's how the southbound roadway got to be all-concrete ). On the next, the existing pavement was overlaid, but the bridges were all replaced, allowing provision of a full-width left shoulder throughout. The work was done in the late '80's-early '90's, and the pavement isn't in great shape. There's cracking where the new lanes don't align with the old, as you can see here. Here's an unusual median treatment, with the jersey barriers continuing even as the median becomes very wide.


==========================================================

There are at least three bridge guardrail designs used for the bridges over this section: the usual low jersey barrier, the taller concrete pedestrian-friendly design in the next photo, and this rakish-looking metal design. The vertical posts are very slim and are almost invisible when viewed from directly perpendicular.


==========================================================

Chaotic-looking signs approaching the I-185 interchange, which you see in the background. The signs on the southbound side are simpler, without the horizontal line and the two-signs-in-one look.


The I-185 interchange has a cloverdirectional layout. This layout was popular up until the early '70's since it provides all movements cheaply and with no weaving and has a geometric bias that's useful for skewed crossings. It fell out of favor because it also requires two wrong-side exits or entrances. There were five of these on I-285 in Atlanta and many others elsewhere, but AFAIK this is the first that's been built anywhere for a long time.

OT for this post since I couldn't justify a detour for photos: While we're in the neighborhood, check our the I-185/385/US 276 interchange on the south side of Greenville. Originally this was the US 276 freeway running NW to SE. The connection to the northern/eastern leg of I-385 was added (as was the I-385 designation) in the '80's, then I-185 was scabbed on around 2000 IIRC. The connection of I-185 to I-385 north runs along a massive mountain of fill nearly a mile long.

==========================================================

North of I-185 the full reconstruction continues though two collector-distributor systems, one at US 25 and SC 20, the other at Augusta Road, SC 292 and Mauldin Road. There is provision on the right side of each roadway for an eventual 2x4 mainline-- in fact, where there's a jersey barrier between the CD's and the mainline, the lanes are paved but not striped for use, as you see here at US 25.


==========================================================

Entering the second CD system...


...and leaving. The provision for an extra two lanes on the mainline ends just before the end of the CD system. WTF? From here all the way to Green 85 in Spartanburg, it's back to 2x3 and a jersey barrier median with narrow left shoulders.


==========================================================

The I-385 interchange. I-385 used to extend only westward from I-85, ending at a trumpet interchange. It was extended eastward to the US 276 freeway in the '80's IIRC, and this interchange was duly expanded. Unusually, the central spans of the old trumpet bridge over I-85 were used for the ramp from eastbound 385 to northbound 85. New spans were added over the new CD's, built in the same style as the old bridge. As you can see, the center spans are horribly rusted and could collapse at any time could use some paint.


===================================================================

BMW built its much-coveted US plant along I-85 north of Greenville, and in preparation most of the interchanges between Greenville and Spartanburg were rebuilt: There are new bridges, relocated frontage roads, some onbound loop ramps, and this single point interchange at SC 14. A CD northbound and a ramp braid southbound connect this interchange to the airport access road. Note: the Google satellite photo shows the SPUI but not the CD or ramp braid-- they were built later..


=========================================================

Despite the bridge replacements and provision for extra mainline lanes, the narrow left shoulder remains. Perhaps it will be added if they ever expend this section to 2x4.

The Brockman-McClimon Road on that sign is actually an almost-stack interchange directly serving the BMW plant. I took photos of the interchange, but they suck-- sorry.

Last edited by Tom 958; October 13th, 2008 at 12:36 PM. Reason: repost deleted photo
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Old October 8th, 2008, 06:01 AM   #3039
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Yeah, Portland relies more heavily on light rail than other West Coast cities. Seattle is catching up too with its metro system.
Nooo way Mr. Alex, Seattle is DECADES away from catching up. The only light rail planned is from the airport to downtown. A vote is going to go on November about a 36-mile light rail extension to Bellevue and other areas. What does that mean?

If passed: Seattle will have a complete 52-mile light rail system by year 2030.

If not: Seattle won't get anything.

That means that even if it passes, it's going to be a long time. I'm sixteen now in 2008, so add 22 years and I will be 38 years old before I will be able to ride the light rail in Bellevue. If we have Dino Rossi as a governor in November, then chances are I should start saving up for an immigration to the UK.
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Old October 8th, 2008, 06:03 AM   #3040
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Nooo way Mr. Alex, Seattle is DECADES away from catching up. The only light rail planned is from the airport to downtown. A vote is going to go on November about a 36-mile light rail extension to Bellevue and other areas. What does that mean?

If passed: Seattle will have a complete 52-mile light rail system by year 2030.

If not: Seattle won't get anything.

That means that even if it passes, it's going to be a long time. I'm sixteen now in 2008, so add 22 years and I will be 38 years old before I will be able to ride the light rail in Bellevue. If we have Dino Rossi as a governor in November, then chances are I should start saving up for an immigration to the UK.
Rossi won last time, and that's all I have to say about that.
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