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Pro tip for driving in any big city. Always. Always check for some VIP (Pffft, important my ass, muckety muck)  in the area or a big event. Never willy nilly just go out and drive. Because you will stew in a 5 block radius for 2 hours. Take the train, or plan around the event.

 

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This is truth. Always check for events in NYC if you're planning to drive in the city. But the crap that blows traffic down in manhattan is typically in mid-town. You can usually go around it by taking one of the parkways at the east and west sides of the city. Unless your destination is in midtown. Then your screwed... Take the subway. 

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38 minute delay during morning rush hour. Man, when the L train shutdown happens, gonna be hell.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/broken-train-triggers-chaotic-morning-rush-hour-commute-article-1.3511043

 

And allegedly no safety checks before opening second avenue subway.

http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/transit/2017/09/20/second-avenue-subway-reportedly-opened-with-thousands-outstanding-defects-mta-nyc.html

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Just back from Italy.  We traveled via train from Naples to Rome's Termini Station.  150 miles in a little over an hour.  Got off the train, walked over to the express train to the airport, which took about 35 minutes.  The entire trip was less than 2 hours and cost $40 per person.

Yes, they have pop-up strikes that can throw a wrench into one's travel machinery but my experience has always been great.   

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Put it all together and Clewlow and Mishra’s research suggests that cities have to strengthen and improve transit service in response to the growth of ride-hailing. They recommend dedicating street space to high-occupancy vehicles like buses and adopting policies like congestion pricing to counteract the rising traffic caused by ride-hailing services in central cities.

Ride-hailing services can be a helpful addition to transportation systems, curbing car ownership, reducing drunk driving, and complementing transit networks. But if cities and transit agencies don’t take action to improve the quality of bus and rail service, Uber and Lyft can end up doing more harm than good, clogging streets and cannibalizing transit.

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/10/13/uber-and-lyft-are-cannibalizing-transit-in-major-american-cities/

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 8.37.38 PM.png

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I also read somewhere that the average yellow cab deadheads 7-8 miles to find a fare compared to Uber/Lyft/etc, which deadheads 12-13. You'd think it would be less because you would pick the next fare closest to you. Need to look into that.

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The results suggest that ride-hailing draws people away from public transit. And the authors, Regina Clewlow and Gouri Shankar Mishra, estimate that 49 percent to 61 percent of ride-hailing trips either wouldn’t have been made at all if these apps didn’t exist, or would have been made by foot, biking or transit. All of those trips, in other words, added cars to the road that otherwise wouldn’t have been there.

That picture implies that Uber and the like could make traffic worse. And let’s further assume that many of those trips additionally require drivers to cruise around waiting for rides, and to “deadhead” occasionally after the rides are over (to return to, say, the airport with an empty back seat).

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/upshot/is-uber-helping-or-hurting-mass-transit.html

America, short term thinking abounds.

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The misreading of what is occurring in America isn’t confined to driving. While spending money to build roads is seen as a public investment, critics characterize public transportation as a wasteful welfare subsidy. The pervasive myth that public transportation riders are subsidized and that people who drive pay the full cost of their trips has never been less true than it is today. Many drivers indignantly believe that by filling their tanks with gas and paying for registration and insurance, they’ve paid more than their fair share. But recent data show that drivers don’t pay the full cost of the roads they drive on, and they’ve never paid less. A 2015 study by US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found that from 1947 to 2012, American taxpayers as a whole paid $1 trillion more to sustain the road network than people who drive paid in gasoline taxes, tolls, and other user fees. In 2012, $69 billion in highway spending came from general tax revenues, driver taxes and tolls pay for only about half of the cost to build and maintain the physical infrastructure needed to drive. The remainder is paid for with general tax revenues including 10 percent from municipal bonds issued to pay for new projects.
 
Roads are expensive to build in the first place, but they require on-going maintenance, repair and rehabilitation during their lifetimes. So who pays for roads? Everybody does, no matter how much they drive. PIRG estimated that accounting for these costs, every American household pays more than $1,100 in addition to whatever they pay in direct transportation costs to drive - even if they don’t drive at all. And that money subsidizes an inequitable use of roads. Governments spend more general tax revenue on highways than on transit, walking and biking combined. So people who walk, bike or take public transit are effectively subsidizing the least efficient transportation mode at the expense of their own way of getting around.
 
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
Janette Sadik-Khan,‎ Seth Solomonow

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Great experiences this past week on both the London Underground and the Paris Metro.  The Tube was newer and (being all in English) very easy to follow.  The Metro was a little older in spots (one of the trains actually had a manual door release) but still very easy to navigate.

Interesting tidbit about Underground; they make you pay a 5 pound deposit for your “Oyster” card but oddly, when we went to turn it back in, the machine refunded us the 5 plus the 3 and change we had on the card ... but didn’t actually take the cards back.  Not sure what the deposit was for?

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The Oyster card is awesome, so flexible although Londoners will still complain about it. In comparison, the standard NY Metrocard is so much less so. Like comparing a smartphone to a flip phone. You can't check or refill balance via app. You lose it tough luck.

 

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Another feature of the Oyster card NY has yet to implement.

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“... With the [new] technology, if you in fact swipe through enough times in a month you could automatically be given the 30-day benefit,” said David Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York and MTA board member. “The backend of this technology is sophisticated enough that it can tally how many times you are using the system.”

This policy is called fare capping. Cubic Transportation Systems, the company replacing the MetroCard, already has implemented such a feature in London, where it operates Transport for London’s fare system. On the Underground, Transport for London offers daily and weekly capping. So riders no longer have to decide if a daily or weekly pass would be most cost-effective for them. They can pay per ride until they reach the daily or weekly capping rates, at which point they could then continue riding the system for free.

https://www.amny.com/transit/mta-metrocard-fare-1.14945261

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Cities are struggling to find funding because of the high cost of repairing the infrastructure.  They require a lot of state and federal grants to rebuild roadways. In terms of public transportation, it is pretty much up to the states and cities to build it.

If you are not in a urban area then getting access to public transportation will be tough. Europe has a big advantage due to their population density.

http://blog.midwestind.com/cost-of-building-road/

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Nonetheless, here are the daunting numbers: constructing a two-lane, undivided road in a rural locale will set you back somewhere between $2 and $3 million per mile — in urban areas, that number jumps to between $3 and $5 million. In a rural area, you can essentially build a road wherever you please (local zoning and property laws abiding), but in a city, you have to avoid the surrounding firmament and infrastructure and comply with strict construction codes.

And if you want wider roads, the costs understandably go up: for the production of a 4-lane highway, the cost per mile will run between $4 and $6 million in rural or suburban areas, and between $8 to $10 million in urban areas. For a 6 lane interstate highway, you’re looking at $7 million for a rural mile of road, and $11 million-plus in an urban locale.

The biggest driver of cost is curb and gutter systems.

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As I mentioned, it’s much less expensive to maintain existing roadways. To mill and resurface a 4-lane road, it costs an average of $1.25 million per mile. Then, if you want to expand said road from four lanes to six, you can expect to pay roughly $4 million.

 It looks like it cost about 1/4 the full rebuild cost to maintain the road (mil and repave)

The USA could do a lot for public transportation. A lot of cities are doing that with being more bike friendly. There has been a big push for this over the past decade. Being the home of the automobile, I can see how we are more tuned towards driving cars versus taking public transportation.

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In Vancouver, 50% of trips are by foot, bike, or transit. This video shows how they did it.

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/12/9/13897078/walkable-vancouver-video

I bought my folding bike to Toronto during a family visit. Riding in Toronto compared to New York is much less stressful, it was interesting seeing the King Street experiment, the protected bike lanes are decent, could be more. Would love to ride in Vancouver.

 

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